Saturday, June 29, 2013

Banana Bourbon Muffins

The past month has been an unfortunate one in our household. No, all ten fingers and all ten toes are still intact. No, our garden is still thriving against all odds and days of rain. No, I didn't coat a body part in gold during an unfortunate smelting accident.

Our oven was broken.

As in, it would heat up, beep loudly, stop it's foot and shut down. Just like that our Sunday pizza nights came to a halt. No more roasted vegetables. Most tragically, baked goods ceased to exist. This was not an exciting discovery to make less than two weeks after moving into our apartment.

Life happens and it took a while to coordinate a visit from the repair man. He came by, listed to the bowls of our aging stove and diagnosed it as needing some surgery. Placed on the donor list and hoping for a new part, we waited for relief. Thankfully, the temperature outside rose and the desire to turn on the oven was less tempting. But a crockpot cannot be used as an oven forever and my desire to bake was bulging. Eventually, as this post would suggest, our oven was successfully mended and I got back to baking.

With bourbon. Because I said so… and because "A" went down to Louisville for a bachelor party and we are now are well on our way to having a legitimate collection. There were also some bananas in the corner maturing into prime fruit fly food. Putting two and two together seemed like the best option.

Then because I have a slight addiction to cocoa nibs, I threw in a handful for crunchy good measure.

Banana Bourbon Muffins with Cocoa Nibs

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 3/4 cups sugar 
  • 3 large very ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • Scant 3/4 cup cocoa nibs

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with liners or grease with vegetable oil if not using liners.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. 
  3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat bananas until mushy. Add in oil and sugar and beat for 2 minutes, or until well combined. Add in eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Mix in bourbon and vanilla extract.
  4. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in cocoa nibs. Scoop batter into muffin tin, filling 2/3 of the way.
  5. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Apple & Pear French Tart

Let's play two truths and a lie. I like most things geekery. I don't like math. Math was my worst subject in school.

What did you guess? If you said geekery…. EEEEEEHHHH. WRONG. Guys, my iPhone cover is a TARDIS, I saw Star Wars when it was rereleased in theaters in elementary school, Mark Hamill was my first crush, I make "A" see the Star Trek movies with me and I celebrate Pi Day every year.

Which brings me to my lie. Math was not my worst subject in school, but it was my least favorite. Writing aside, math was an anomaly that made its way to the top of my standardized test scores. To this day, I have no idea why. But secretly? I think I'm a math genius who will solve the world water crisis with a math equation I casually doodle on the back of a letter I have yet to open. Apathetic enough for you?

While my prophecy hasn't come true yet, I'm prepared for the day it does by celebrating Pi Day every year. Last year I made some mini vegan roasted apple pies. The Year of the Epic Cherry/Apple Venn Pieagram crowned my first March in Seattle. This year? I christened my new Nordic Ware tart pan by making "A's" pie of choice: an apple & pear French tart.

Math isn't ever going to be something you see me begging to do, but I will keep up appearances by making a pie every March 14th.

Apple & Pear French Tart
Adapted from La Fete Blog

  • 1¼ cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted goat butter, cubed and chilled
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 baking apples, peeled, cored and slices
  • 3 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • ⅓ cup sugar with a shake a cinnamon combined
  • ½ cup apricot jam
  • 2 tbs. rum

  1. Combine flour, 8 tablespoons goat butter, and salt in a food processor and pulse until pea-size crumbles form. When properly (not over!) mixed, it should feel like wet sand.
  2. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons ice-cold water and pulse until dough is moistened, about 3-4 pulses.
  3. If dough seems too dry, drizzle in additional water 1 teaspoon at a time until dough is the correct consistency. 
  4. Transfer dough to a work surface and form into a flat disk; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Unwrap dough and place between two pieces of parchment paper.
  6. Using a rolling pin, flatten dough into a 13″ circle and then transfer to a 11″ tart pan with a removable bottom.
  7. Using fingertips, lightly press dough into the bottom and sides of tart pan.
  8. Using a rolling pin, gently press down on top edge of tart pan to trim excess dough.
  9. Chill for 1 hour.
  10. Meanwhile, heat oven to 375°F.
  11. Gently move the slices to the crust and make a pattern with the apples overlapping so there are no gaps of crust showing through.
  12. Once tart shell is completely filled with apples, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and dot with remaining 4 tablespoons of goat butter.
  13. Bake until golden brown, 60-70 minutes.
  14. Meanwhile, heat apricot jam and rum in a small saucepan until warmed and thin.
  15. Transfer tart to a wire rack; using a pastry brush, brush top of tart with jam rum glaze.
  16. Let cool completely before slicing. Serve with ice cream of choice!


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