Friday, January 7, 2011

Impulsive Buys and Tasty Mistakes

How many of you out there have an impulse shopping problem? You know the kind I mean... you run to the grocery store for "just a couple things" midweek, and somehow wind up returning with a bagful of goodies that were nowhere near appearing on your list? 

Me too. In particular, if you find me alone in an Oriental grocery store, you can pretty much bet your bottom dollar that some extra bits and pieces are coming along for the ride in my grocery cart. Not that it's always a bad thing, of course... in general, everything you see me buy on a whim will get used in one way or another! That's one of the main benefits of being a foodie, a baker and (especially) a blogger: you are never short of inspiration sources! I can even find uses for my purchases when those particular impulse buys turn into a bit of an "oops". Just like what I did with these bakes.

It all started when I purchased a big bag of what appeared to be quickly blackening bananas for a steal - 75 cents - at my local Asian market, with a mind to make some roasted banana muffins. It was not until I got well into the recipe that I realized that those bananas that should have been sickly sweet and oozing with sticky goodness just didn't smell like bananas! Turns out that I had bought a mix of plantains and bananas, which I wasn't sure would work at all: after all, plantains are a starchy, almost vegetal ingredient, and I was looking for sugary caramel flavour. In the end, I decided to heck with it all - I wasn't about to waste my money and ingredients on the trashcan! And you know what? Being so ripe they lent almost a pumpkiny note to the sweet cakes... what an unexpected plus!

Fruit and Yogurt Cinnamon Spiked Muffins
Makes 8 jumbo muffins
3 large, over-ripe bananas
2 large, over-ripe plantains
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup hot water
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup (3.5 oz) soft palm sugar (or brown sugar)
½ tbsp cinnamon
3/4 cup all purpose flour
½ cup oat flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup yogurt chips
½ cup cinnamon chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and arrange the bananas (whole, peels on) in a ceramic roasing dish.
  2. Bake 25 minutes, then peel into a large mixing bowl and mash thoroughly. Reduce oven to 350°F and grease or line 8 jumbo muffin cups.
  3. In a small dish whisk together flaxseed and hot water, let stand 10 minutes to thicken.
  4. Add flax mixture, vanilla and sugar to the mashed bananas and beat in well.
  5. Add cinnamon and blend in completely.
  6. Add flours, baking powder and making soda, stirring just to combine, then fold in the yogurt and cinnamon chips.
  7. Bake for 38 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 316.0
Total Fat: 7.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.2 mg
Sodium: 10.1 mg
Total Carbs: 67.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.9 g
Protein: 5.7 g


I was so glad that I had forged ahead with the muffins that I used up the remainder of the bag in two chocolate-hazelnut loaf cakes, both of which were thoroughly (and quickly) enjoyed!

Plantain-Banana Gianduja Loaf Cake
Makes 2 loaf cakes, 20 slices
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp hot water
2 large, over-ripe bananas
2 large, over ripe plantains
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp Nutella
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup oat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Frangelico
4 oz (about 1/3 cup) chopped chocolate disks
3 oz (½ cup) whole hazelnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, grease 2 loaf pans.
  2. Whisk together flaxseed and hot water in a small dish, let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Mash the fruit in a large bowl with the sugar, Nutella and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Add flaxseed mixture and beat in.
  5. Blend in the cocoa powder until very well incorporated, then add ½ cup of the all-purpose flour and all the oat flour.
  6. Stir just to mix, then add buttermilk and Frangelico, stirring.
  7. Add remaining flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring just to mix, then fold in the chocolate and hazelnuts.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300°F and bake a further 15 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 159.8
Total Fat: 5.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.4 mg
Sodium: 12.5 mg
Total Carbs: 25.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
Protein: 3.4 g

1 comment :

manju said...

What a serendipitous mistake! These look absolutely delish. We love just plain fried plantains -- they're actually quite sweet when cooked, but I've never baked with them. Going to give your recipes a try. Thanks!