Sweet Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake.

rhubarb_cake

Fresh out of the oven.

I am not a huge fan of rhubarb, but I keep trying. Everyone else seems to like it – in muffins or crumbles or.. whatevers.  This recipe called to me, and I had exactly 1 pound of rhubarb in my fridge, so I made some quick changes and popped this into the oven.

I am now fully in love with rhubarb. Or, at least, this recipe. Be forewarned: it’s really sweet and really tart!

Sweet Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick) and 6 tablespoons butter, cold.
  • Zest of one lemon + save the juice (you need 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons)
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Heat a 10″ cast iron skillet over medium. Add in 1 cup of sugar, 4 tablespoons butter (room temp), lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir gently while things melt and get goopy.
  3. When the butter and sugar have melted together, add the rhubarb pieces and cook, stirring occasionally. The rhubarb will give off quite a bit of moisture – that’s okay! Cook until the rhubarb is tender (approx 6 to 8 minutes). Allow to simmer while you complete the next steps.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining sugar and salt, plus flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add the cold butter, and use your fingers to rub the flour and butter together to form coarse pea-size chunks.
  5. Add milk and eggs and stir until a soft, sticky dough forms.
  6. Turn off the heat underneath the skillet (it’s okay to leave the skillet on the burner, though).  Take pieces of dough and stretch them gently – and place over the hot rhubarb mixture. Try to cover the entire surface. It’s okay for dough chunks to overlap – it’s a bit like making rhubarb cobbler! I ended up using only about 2/3rds of the dough because I wanted a bit less cake – if you’d like a thicker cake, use the full amount.
  7. Put the skillet onto a baking sheet (just in case of overflow!) and put into the centre of the pre-heated oven.  Bake until the cake is golden – for a 2/3rds dough, this will be about 25 minutes. For the full dough recipe, expect between 30 and 35 minutes.
  8. Remove baking sheet and skillet from the oven and let the cake rest for about 10 minutes.
  9. Place a platter or plate on top of the skillet and invert quickly and carefully. The rhubarb will be gooey and sticky on top. Yay!
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature!
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Banana-y Banana Bread.

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Bananay Banana Bread!

 

 

There are probably 990 kabillion banana bread recipes on the internet and in every grandmother’s cookbook. The problem, according to my husband, is that none of those recipes contain enough bananas.  A lot of them tell you to use an overly ripe banana, or maybe two, but depending on the size of your bananas, this one can take as many as 6.

It should not surprise you that this is really banana-y banana bread.

Bananay Banana Bread.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture – stir just until moistened.
  3. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into centre of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

Notes:

This banana bread is dense and .. well, there are a lot of bananas in it. You can adjust the cinnamon to your preference – we often use closer to a tablespoon because it compliments the banana flavour (and because we like cinnamon).

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Muffins!

I’ve been away for a bit – travelling for work – so haven’t had a lot of chances to bake anything new or crochet anything fancy. But it’s a long weekend here in Ontario and I had some older bananas to use up. One thing led to another and now there are muffins cooling on my counter.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins (not ‘jumbo’, just large). 

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 mashed bananas
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
6 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.  Spray or grease-and-flour a muffin tray. You could use cupcake liners if you happen to know where yours are at the moment – some of us aren’t that prepared for this whole thing.
  2. Mix together the bananas, egg, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix just ’til everything is combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 18-22 minutes (test after 18 minutes) – or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Or, y’know, eat them scaldingly hot and burn your tongue. Whatever works for you.

Violet’s Cheatie Kringles.

The cheatiest Kringle EVER.

The cheatiest Kringle EVER.

My husband hails from Wisconsin which is the Land of Kringle. He requested Kringle for Solstice this year (we don’t celebrate Christmas). The last time he asked for a Kringle I just mail-ordered it – a process that turned out to be ridiculously complicated. We live in Canada, you see, and there are rules about how things can be shipped and extra costs for pastries (or something) and, in the end, it was stupidly expensive.

I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make one at home – I mean, it’s food. And, if it didn’t turn out, I’d just get out ye olde credit card and buy one from Wisconsin.

My first attempt was awful in terms of what you’d expect from a Kringle. I’m not from Wisconsin and even I knew it wasn’t authentic by any stretch of the imagination. I had my suspicions after viewing the recipe, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.

Nope. There’s a reason that recipe isn’t posted here.

In order to make the official O&H version, I discovered that I would need to spend 3 days in the process. I intend to attempt this during the Christmas holidays – when I have 3 days off in a row and the patience to spend rolling things out. When that happens, I’ll post again to let you know how it turns out.

In the meantime, however, I made the easiest cheatiest Kringle EVER and my beloved husband really liked it and, so, I am going to share the recipe. If you can call something that uses frozen pastry a recipe.

Violet’s Cheatie Kringles

Makes 2 Kringles.

Ingredients:
1 box of frozen puff pastry (contains 2)
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 can of pie filling (your choice of flavour)
1 egg
2 tablespoons white sugar (or coarse, if you’re fancy)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Thaw your puff pastry per the directions on the box. I used President’s Choice brand and thawed it on the counter, at room temperature, for about 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Using a mixer, combine the softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup of white sugar. Mix until it’s light and fluffy and happy.
  5. Lay the pastries flat. Divide the cream cheese mixture in half – spread one half down the centre of each pastry (in a strip that’s about 2 inches wide)
  6. Spread pie filling on top of the cream cheese. It’s up to you how much pie filling you decide to use – go nuts or be conservative.
  7. Fold one length of the pastry over top of the filling. Fold the other side of the pastry on top of that. Repeat with the second Kringle. Fold the ends of both Kringles underneath. (I feel like I have made this step very confusing. Have I?)
  8. Brush the tops of both Kringles with the beaten egg (you won’t need the whole thing) and then sprinkle with white sugar. Bonus points if you had some fancy, coarse sugar sitting around for this.
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes – or until everything is nice and browned. I turned mine halfway through to keep things even.
  10. Cool the Kringles for about 15 minutes. While they’re cooling, combine the icing sugar with the 2 tablespoons of milk and the vanilla extract.
  11. Drizzle the extract over the cooled Kringle.
  12. Cut ’em up and eat ’em.

Notes:
Make your own icing sugar by tossing a cup of white sugar into the blender and pulsing until it’s powdery. This stuff tastes WAY better than the icing sugar you buy in the store – did you know they put corn starch in there to keep it from clumping? Ew.

Violet’s Vitamin C Breakfast.

Mmm.. smoothie.

Mmm.. smoothie.

There are few things that I love more than kitchen-related gadgets – except maybe when kitchen gadgets go on sale at Costco and then they’re a really good deal. I emptied my piggybank this week and bought a Blendtec blender. It was a really good deal.

The blender, so far at least, is all that it’s cracked up to be. Powerful as all get-out, loud as all get-out, and fun. You may know the name from the “Will It Blend” series – and the answer is, Holy Crap, It Will Totally Blend and You Will Squeak With Glee While It Blends, Too.

So far I’ve used it just to make smoothies – and two glasses of carrot ginger juice. I’ve been drinking my breakfasts for a few years now, following almost the same recipe for all those mornings, so I’m on a quest to shake that up a bit. Today I invented a recipe (based on one of the recipes that came with the blender).

Violet’s Vitamin C Breakfast

Makes 2 servings. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of milk
1 orange, peeled
3/4 cup ice cubes
3 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
3 tablespoons of wheat bran
1 scoop of vanilla soy protein powder
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon of honey

Directions:
Throw everything into the Blendtec in the order above. Hit the “whole juice” button.

Notes:
I add wheat bran and/or oat bran to almost everything.