Saturday, April 27, 2019

Maui Scones

These scones take me back to thoughts of the tropics. The tropics...where things like pineapple and bananas seem to grow without any effort. Along with that, there is a vast array of big flowers you will find growing everywhere. Jamaica or Hawaii is the place for fruit and flowers. However, in a pinch, California and Florida are good seconds.

Well, there are no fruits growing here and the only flowers I see around are bluebonnets, so these tropical treats were welcome on the breakfast table. When I saw the recipe had pineapple and macadamia nuts in the ingredient list, I thought nothing much can go wrong with these two flavors and I was pleased with the results.

One bite reveals a cake like texture with the crunch of buttery macadamias. With a sweet pineapple drizzle on top and crushed pineapple baked inside, this is a great way to start the day or to have as an afternoon snack. Also, you will not be spending your whole day in the kitchen.

Maui Scones
adapted from Land O Lakes

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup crushed pineapple (drained and juice reserved)
2 eggs
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup sweet flaked coconut
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour

2 tbs sweet flaked coconut
3/4 cup powdered sugar
reserved juice from above

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sift together baking powder and flour in a large bowl. Whisk in brown sugar. Add 4 butter cubes and blend with a pastry cutter. Continue to add cubes and blend with pastry cutter until all is incorporated and is coarse crumbs with the largest chunk of butter being only pea sized. Stir in the coconut and chopped macadamia nuts.

Fill a medium size bowl with 1 tbs of juice, eggs and crushed pineapple. Whisk the ingredients together until well blended. Form a well in the brown sugar /flour mixture and pour the pineapple/egg blend into the well. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Knead about 10 times. You may have to add more flour or more juice to get to dough consistency. Once the correct consistency is achieved, divide dough in half.

Place each ball of dough on the prepared baking sheets and form into a flat disc. Cut each disc into 6 wedges but do not separate wedges, leave disc intact. Sprinkle each disc with 1 tablespoon of coconut.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until scones are lightly browned on top. Cut through scones to fully separate but do not pull from disc.

Once the scones are completely cooled, prepare pineapple drizzle. Start with 3/4 cup of sifted powdered sugar and add 1 tsp of pineapple juice. Continue to blend pineapple juice and powdered sugar until correct drizzling consistency is met. Drizzle on to cooled scones and wait one hour until set. Then separate and serve.
                                      **LAST YEAR: Homemade Pop Tarts**

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Monkey Tail Banana Cake

I am glad to have the weekend to recoup from bread baking, but here I am baking on my own time. Sometimes blogging and baking of my choice is a great diversion or way to unwind. Through work and my personal life, I have come to realize that people's perceptions are just as diverse as people themselves. A misperception can be major or minor, depending on the person and we cannot control another person's perception. Someone once told me perception is everything. If so, things can easily get quite confusing.

Just like my perception of the name of this cake. When I came across this recipe, I thought the name was just a whimsical choice. I soon came to realize it actually defined the cake flavor. I had never heard of an edible monkey tail. If you a unfamiliar with this as I was, it is something they serve at festivals or carnivals. A monkey tail is actually a frozen banana that is dipped in chocolate and covered in peanuts.

This particular banana cake has pecans instead of peanuts and the filling is hazelnut spread. I liked a slice slightly warmed which makes the filling and the chocolate chips slightly melted. This has a whipped cream and cream cheese blend frosting, so it has to be refrigerated. However, since the cake contains 6 bananas it is very dense, so it is best served at room temperature or warmer.

Monkey Tail Banana Cake
adapted from The Cooking Channel

3 eggs, room temp.
6 mashed, ripe bananas
16 oz sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup chopped pecans, plus extra for garnish
1 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs baking soda

Ingredients/Frosting and Filling
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs whipped cream stabilizer (optional)
1-8 oz cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
13 oz hazelnut spread (I used nutella brand)

For the cake, grease the interior of three 9 inch round cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter and both types of sugars. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until blended. Fold in mashed bananas.

Combine 1/3 of the dry ingredients with the banana batter, folding until no dry streaks remain. Repeat adding the sifted ingredients in two more additions. Once blended, add nuts and chocolate chips and stir until evenly dispersed into batter. Divide batter evenly into thirds, about 3 cups each, filling each prepared pan. Bake until tester comes out clean, about 45-60 minutes, rotating at the halfway point.

Let cakes cool in pan 10-15 minutes and then invert layers onto rack to completely cool. Once cooled, proceed with frosting.

Start on the frosting by filling the bowl of a stand mixer with cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until no lumps remain, stopping on ocassion to scrape down sides of bowl. On medium high speed, continue to beat and stream in the heavy cream. If you opt to use the stabilizer, add it with the heavy cream. Beat the mixture until you have a whipped cream consistency.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on a serving place or cake board. Cover the top of the layer with half of the hazelnut spread. Add the next layer and cover it with the rest of the spread. Then top with the third cake layer. Frost cake on top and sides. Sprinkle top of the cake with nuts and mini chocolate chips. Lightly press to adhere.

Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed for best texture.

                                     **LAST YEAR:St Patricks Mocktail Cheesecake**