Sunday, March 2, 2014

Baked Sunday Mornings-Bananas in a Blanket

I'm a morning person; early morning I would say. Even on that coveted Saturday morning, where sleeping in is the prize after a long work week, I'm awake and busy very early. I do my best work in the morning- no matter what it is I'm doing, I do it best in the morning. What I don't accomplish by, let's say noon at the latest, usually doesn't get done that day. 
So on Saturday mornings, while the rest of the house is still snoring, I bake. I usually bake a bread or two and then something sweet. It's become my special time and I love it!

This morning I made a bread that has become a household favorite and the reason you will no longer see a store-bought package of bread in my house--ever. But that is for another post, sometime soon I hope.
The sweet on the list this Saturday morning was the designated recipe from "Baked Sunday Mornings" from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. They call it "Bananas in a Blanket".......reminds me of "pigs in a blanket"- just the name I guess, but the title had me thinking something else entirely, before I read the recipe.  Basically, it's a chocolate jelly roll sponge cake filled with a chocolate banana cream, rolled around some bananas.
Some members of the group mentioned that this cake was a bit scary looking (the directions, that is) but I decided to take it on anyway. The cake base is the tricky part, but if you follow their instructions to a tee, then there should be no problem. The cream itself was easy to make and tasted yummy all on it's own. I spread the entire amount on the cake roll which in retrospect, was too much. After I placed the bananas, (which I sliced in half lengthwise) and started to roll, I could see that less would have been better. The cream and a few banana pieces oozed out the end, but that was fixable. 
Conclusions- less cream on the cake, delicious taste and nice presentation.

So that was my Saturday morning and by the time I knew it, the clock struck noon and it was time for a bit of a "late" Saturday morning sleep!
You can find the recipe here . Enjoy!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels (salty ones too)

Theory and reality are two different things. One presents the best laid plans and if all steps are followed correctly, the end result should be as the hypothesis predicted. Then, of course, there is reality. The unexpected factors that were not taken into account in the original theory.
There are at least two possible outcomes- one, the end result remains the same, or two, more likely, the end result will change. Such is the case with these soft pretzels. 

I made the dough and put is aside to rise. So far , so good. As time went on I noticed it was rising, but not to my expectations. Telephone rings- daughter arrives at airport from week long snowboarding trip. Last day of trip, last run, a fall on the ice- ouch! Knee swells up to the size of a very large grapefruit. Leave the house at 6:45 in the evening to pick her up. Go straight to the emergency room from the airport and wait in the emergency room until 1:00 a.m. ( I remembered at the last second before running out the door, to put the questionable dough in the refrigerator-what will be , will be.)

Enter the house at 1:15 a.m. and straight to bed. Next morning, I take the injured to work-can't push on the clutch with her leg- too painful. Finally arrive back home after a few errands and take the dough out of the fridge. 
Now the question is, work it or throw it? I decide to give it a try- no big loss if it flops. And..... it works! The pretzels come out just beautiful, with a  warm golden color. Half get the cinnamon sugar coating and half get the salt ( which is my favorite). 
Moral? Not sure, but sometimes reality and theory come together and produce a favorable result. Worth a try!

Next time, I 'll experiment without the reality (hopefully) as a factor and see what , if any, difference it makes.
You can find the recipe here, at Baked Sunday Mornings. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bale Bars

The winter in Israel continues- that is, continues to look like spring. I've said many times before that I miss the four seasons I grew up with in Upstate New York. A distinct change from summer to fall to winter , then spring. Rain here is a scarcity and when it does rain, it's at the top of the news.

Certain kinds of food go with certain seasons- and then there is food that you can eat no matter what the weather outside. These Bale Bars are one of those. They remind me of compost type cookies where you put in anything and everything you may have in the house.  Now I know that is not what the original recipe calls for but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. This calls for a cooked mixture of sugar, cream white chocolate and peanut butter which you pour over and mix with peanuts and pretzels. No baking, just refrigeration and you've got a delicious sweet and salty snack (that is a bit difficult to stop eating, I might add!).

I 'm not a big fan of white chocolate, so I substituted dark instead. I also did not have enough pretzels, so this is where the compost cookie idea comes in. I took some Biscoff cookies and crushed them to small bits, not crumbs, and added them to the nuts and pretzels. Since the recipe calls for fleur de sel and the pretzels are salted, I decided to add raw peanuts instead of salted. Wise choice- the bars are plenty salty without the added salt from the peanuts. The result is a crunchy, salty, sweet snack that tastes  best (in my opinion) straight from the freezer, which is where I store them. Add a nice hot cup of coffee and snack away!
You can find the recipe at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chocolate Whiskey Tart

Sometimes you come across a recipe that becomes one of your "go to" recipes. One that you know is successful, easy to make in a short period of time and is also adaptable to different flavors. I made this tart the first time a few weeks ago and since then I have come back to it at least 3 times. 
Now, I am not a whiskey lover by any means (more of a white wine person myself) but I always like to make a recipe , at least the first time, according to the original directions and ingredients. I served it at a family Friday night dinner and everyone really went crazy over it. I actually did make one change and used crushed Biscoff cookies for the base. They really deepened the flavor of the whole tart. The whiskey was very evident but in a positive way and gave the tart a wonderful flavor. The options are open as far as different liquor flavors- off the top of my head , I can see trying either Kahlua, Irish Cream or even an orange liqueur. Orange and chocolate go together like peas in a pod (least in my taste opinion!)

Pictures were taken at the very (and I mean very) last minute before the family dove into, and finished off I may add, the tart. I had every intention of sprinkling a pretty design of cocoa powder on top of the whipped cream.....never quite made it that far!Photo quality is not great,(no lighting etc. ,etc.) but you get an idea of what it looked like before barely a crumb was left on the plate (and those were gone in a second after that as well!)

You can find the recipe at Baked Sunday Mornings. Enjoy!