Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

February 25, 2012

I told you all about Pop-pop Roy in my Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings post not too long ago. Mom-mom Mary was his wife and a fantastic, much loved Grandma.

Mom-mom Mary & Pop-pop Roy (on left) shortly after they were first married

She wasn’t one of those old fashioned Nannas that would just sit in a chair knitting. She was really funny, loved to laugh and actually liked to play with us when we were kids. I mean really play, like running around outside, swinging on swings, digging in the dirt and building forts.

Me (at 9 months) & Mom-mom Mary

Mom-mom Mary & her pup Wrecker

One of my earliest memories of her is hanging out in the kitchen watching her make this Jewish Apple Cake, which she did quite often. There always seemed to be one available for snacking on in her kitchen. I was super impressed that she could peel an apple and manage to have one long continuous apple peel. I never peel an apple to this day that I don’t think of her and try to keep that peel in one piece. Before she passed away, she was kind enough to give me a enameled butterfly pin that her brother had given her years before. I carried this butterfly with me pinned to my bridal bouquet on my wedding day and thought it should make an appearance in the pictures of her Jewish Apple Cake.

Grandma's Butterfly on my Wedding Bouquet

I must admit, I’ve often wondered why it was a “Jewish” Apple Cake. My family is not Jewish, so I kind of always wondered where she got the recipe and why it was “Jewish”. I did a bit of poking around online recently and discovered that Jewish Apple Cakes are a regional favourite found in bakeries from Philadelphia, PA down to Baltimore, Md. My family is from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so that did make sense. No one seems to know if the cake actually has any Jewish connections. The cake does not contain any dairy, using oil and orange juice instead. So it could be eaten with meals that include meat in accordance with Jewish dietary rules. However, I also read that it may have no Jewish connection at all and actually be a Pennsylvania Dutch cake that has been mistakenly named as Jewish because it seemed to have and “old-world” character about it.

One thing you won’t be mistaken over is how delicious this cake is. As I mentioned previously, Pop-pop Roy didn’t eat many sweets, but he would always have a bite or two of her Jewish Apple Cake. It’s no wonder, because this cake is irresistable. Dense, very moist, not too sweet and chock full of sugar cinnamon coated apples. A real winner for breakfast, dessert or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of tea. The cake is very easy to make and will not disappoint. Make sure you peel your apples so that you are left with one long continuous peel for each apple. I think they might actually taste better if you do. :)

Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

recipe from: My Grandma

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 – 5 Apples, sliced (I used MacIntosh)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a tube cake or Angel cake pan.

Mix sugar and oil in the bowl of stand mixer. Add Eggs, salt, 1 1/2 Cups of flour, orange juice, baking powder and vanilla. Mix well. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 Cup flour.

Peel and core apples. Slice them into 1″ cubes. In a medium sized bowl, toss sliced apples with the cinnamon and sugar.

In greased tube pan, alternate layers of the apple/cinnamon, sugar mixture and batter, starting with the batter.

Bake for 1 1/4 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Place on rack to cool. You can remove sides of pan after about 15- 20 minutes.

Enjoy!


Moroccan Beef Bundles

February 21, 2012

You ever just get in the mood for food that is a bit different? You know, some different flavours than those you experience in the same old run of the mill dinners. I definitely felt that way recently and was quite intrigued to see this recipe for Moroccan Beef Bundles. Hmmm….let’s see….this recipe has that familiar old ground beef, but it is seasoned with cinnamon, ginger and mint. Well, that’s a bit different. And then there was that yogurt/harissa sauce to be served along with it. Harissa? Where would one find Harissa? It seems it is a spicy chile paste which comes from North Africa. The blog on which this recipe was found claimed that you would be able to find it in the International Aisle of your supermarket, or a Middle Eastern Market. So off I went to my local Giant and though I searched high and low, there was no Harissa to be found. Then I remembered that there was a Penzeys Spices store close by. I was sure they would have it, however once I arrived there (yup…should’ve called ahead) I was informed that they did not carry it. Luckily, the salesperson was quite helpful and suggested I head down the street to a store called The Lebanese Butcher. On a mission at this point, I set right out and with the assistance of a very helpful salesperson, was able to get my hands on some Harissa.

Elusive Harissa

Clutching my prized Harissa I was all set to make these little Moroccan Beef Bundles and rushed right home to get started. Everything went quite smoothly as I prepared the Moroccan Beef stuffing. The house smelled amazing…very exotic! Then came the time to work with the phyllo dough. Having never worked with this type of dough before, I didn’t know what to expect. All I can say is God Bless anyone who has to fool with this stuff on a daily basis! It was definitely challenging to get that phyllo into the muffin tins. In the end I won out, but came quite close to losing my religion several times while fiddling around with that stuff! I am happy to say though that in the end it was worth it!

The Moroccan Beef Bundles were delicious, and that Harissa/yougurt sauce was fantastic. It really spiced things up. Oh, and just a word of advice for those of you who think there is nothing too spicy for you and are tempted to stick your finger in the harissa to get a large dollop to pop right onto your unsuspecting taste buds….DON’T! That stuff is the real deal SPICY! You know… coughing, sputtering and sweating spicy. Consider yourself warned. That being said, combined with the yougurt which mellows it out significantly, it is gorgeous! I served the bundles for dinner with some spinach and chickpea couscous. Delicious!

But these little gems would also make great appetizers. So when you’re in the mood to try something a bit different, are prepared to go on the hunt for Harissa, and are not short on patience, try these amazing Moroccan Beef Bundles.

Moroccan Beef Bundles

recipe from: In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita

Yield: 12 bundles

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped ginger
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • ½ cup jarred tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 package phyllo pastry
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil or melted butter, for brushing phyllo pastry
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. harissa sauce, store-bought or homemade

Directions:

In a large fry pan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook ground beef until well browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add onions, garlic and ginger, cinnamon and cumin and continue to cook until onions have softened and mixture is fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes more. Add the tomato puree and continue to cook until moisture from the tomato puree has evaporated and mixture looks dry, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the parsley and mint. Remove mixture from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut phyllo sheets into 4-inch squares and brush each square lightly with olive oil or melted butter. Place 6 squares of phyllo into each muffin cup, overlapping each layer. Spoon 2 ½ tbsp. the beef mixture into each of the phyllo cups and then carefully pleat the phyllo bundle closed. Brush tops with more olive oil or melted butter.

Bake bundles until pastry is golden brown and filling is hot, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir together yogurt and harissa sauce and serve with bundles.

Enjoy!


Mud Hen Bars

February 17, 2012

Bet I’ve got your attention huh? I’m sure you’re wondering what in the heck is a “mud hen”. I certainly didn’t know either. However, when I looked over the ingredients in these delicious bars, I knew I had to make them and all of my pondering about that hen ceased for the moment. These bars have a delicious cookie base, which once baked, gets covered with marshmallows and semi-sweet chocolate chips. And as if that wasn’t enough, then you cover the lot of it with a brown sugar meringue and pop it in the oven to bake. That rich chocolate melts, the marshmallows bubble up into the meringue, which puffs up to a crispy, crackly cloud. Oh my Giddy Aunt!!! These bars are amazing!

Once I polished off the whole pan (just kidding….sort of…)

I started wondering how such a delicious treat can to have such a bizarre name. Well, it seems a Mud Hen is a type of bird with really short wings and rather long legs that lives in swamps and marshes. The poor little thing has a hard time getting airborne and has to pedal along the water for quite a while, stirring up a bunch of mud in the process. Hence Mud Hen.

The bird himself caught kicking up some mud!

Apparently some folks think that the lovely meringue topping on this bar resembles that muddy water. While eating that lovely crunchy meringue I can absolutely say that I never once thought of mud. But, there you go. Don’t let the odd name and mysterious origins dissuade you from making these amazing bars. They are very easy to prepare and gorgeous right out of the oven. They will not disappoint! And the name will undoubtedly inspire conversation at any event to which you bring them!

Mud Hen Bars

recipe from twopeasandtheirpod

yield: 24 bars

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, divided (1 egg, 2 yolks, and 2 egg whites)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I added this)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I left these out)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (put aside the whites for later.) Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Blend until just combined. Spread mixture into 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and nuts-if using.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the brown sugar. Spread mixture evenly over marshmallows and chocolate chips. Bake for about 30 minutes or until bars are a deep golden brown. Let bars cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.

Enjoy!


Luscious Lemon Squares for my Valentine

February 14, 2012

So, today is Valentine’s Day. And I know for a lot of folks, Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be complete without chocolate…lots of chocolate. Now, Don’t get me wrong, I like chocolate, but for me it’s all about cupcakes (hint, hint, hint!) I would really like some cupcakes right about now!

Perhaps one (or two, or so...) like this....

However, I wasn’t trying to make Valentine’s Day goodies for me. I was making something for my sweetie. That being said, some folks might consider my fellow’s dessert cravings a bit odd. He will walk right  by most chocolate confections with no more than a passing glance. ( What in the world?!!) However, any fruit dessert will undoubtedly catch his eye from a country mile away. And one of his favourite of all fruit desserts is the elusive lemon bar. I say elusive because I have tried on several occasions to make these little devils and had never gotten it quite right. I either didn’t like the soggy crust, or the filling was too sweet or too tart or the wrong consistency all together! You can imagine how happy I was when I saw that one of my all-time favourite blogs, Once Upon a Chef, had a Lemon Square recipe posted. I have made many of the recipes that Jenn has posted on her fantastic, tried and true blog and have never been disappointed. Everything has turned out incredibly tasty. So, what was left to do but make these Luscious Lemon Squares. And luscious is exactly what they were.

The crust was amazing, a crisp buttery shortbread that was well able to stand up to the delicious filling which was just the right ratio of tart to sweet. They were beautifully topped with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I am not even a lemon dessert fan and I couldn’t resist eating them. My sweetie was dazzled both with the dessert and my baking prowess. So if you happen to have one of those chocolate indifferent Valentines (again…What the what!), give these luscious little treats a try. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Luscious Lemon Bars

recipe from Once Upon a Chef

yield: 16 – 2″ squares

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar (plus more to decorate finished bars)
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into ½-inch pieces

For Lemon Topping:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (you’ll need between 2 and 3 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon, be sure to zest before juicing)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour

Directions:

Make the Crust

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cover a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Push foil neatly into corners and up sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure that foil overlaps all edges (the overhang will help removal from pan). Spray foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the flour, corn starch, salt and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and mix for a few seconds. Add the butter and mix to blend, until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Sprinkle mixture into prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire bottom, building up a thin ½-inch edge around the sides (this keeps filling from spilling beneath crust). Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bake the crust until lightly golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Make the Topping

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour.

As soon as the base is baked, give lemon mixture a quick final stir and then pour over top. Immediately return the pan to the oven and bake another 20-25 minutes, or until the topping is set and firm. Let cool on a rack to room temperature, or at least 30 minutes, then cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to cut (it will be much easier to cut when cold).

To cut, use the foil overhang to lift baked square out of pan and onto cutting board. Loosen the foil from the edges of the crust (use a knife to separate crust and foil if necessary). Using a sharp knife, trim the edges off, then cut into 2-inch squares. Use a fine sieve to dust squares with confectioners’ sugar. Store finished lemon squares covered in refrigerator and serve chilled.

Enjoy!


Lasagna Cupcakes

February 10, 2012

Finally! A way to make Lasagna a portable, finger food. Lasagna Cupcakes! No utensils needed, you can just pick them right up and proceed to chow down! Of course, if you feel compelled to bring out your cutlery, don’t let me stop you. Serve them in whatever way makes you happy.

I was inspired to make these after seeing a post at thegirlwhoateeverything. I did make a few changes to her recipe however. Her cupcakes call for ground beef and I decided to go with Italian Sausage. She also used wonton wrappers in lieu of lasagna noodles. I must admit, I am intrigued by the use of the wonton wrappers, and may give that a try next time I make these. ( and oh yes, I will be making them again) The wonton wrappers might prove a bit easier to work with. I bought fresh, refrigerated, fresh lasagna noodles and held them over steam from a boiling pot of water to soften them up a bit and then used a cookie cutter to cut out circle shapes to line each muffin well.

If you don’t like having to fiddle around with things, this recipe might not be for you. Or perhaps the wonton wrapper method might suit you better. (you will need 24 wrappers for this recipe) But if you have the patience to play around with the fresh pasta, you won’t be disappointed with the results. I assembled these little gems early in the day and refrigerated them until I was ready to prepare dinner later that evening. Then I just popped them into the oven and 20 minutes later, they were bubbling hot perfection, crispy pasta noodles on the outside, filled with layers of spicy italian sausage sauce and three types of gooey cheeses. Yum, yum, yum!!!

Lasagna Cupcakes

recipe: inspired by the girlwhoateeverything

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup marinara sauce (I actually used Arrabiata – I’ve mentioned previously that we like spicy! )
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage ( of course, we used “hot” but “mild” would be fine )
  • 2 packages of fresh lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 3 ounces Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • Basil to garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray Muffin tin with cooking spray. Put sauce pan of water on to boil.

Brown the sausage and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain. Add the marinara sauce and stir to combine.

Remove one sheet of lasagna noodles and hold over steam from boiling water to soften slightly. Using a 4″ cookie cutter, cut circle shaped pieces and fit them gently into the muffin tins, covering the bottom and sides of the muffin wells. Reserve the noodle scraps for later layers.

Start layering the lasagna cupcakes. Start with the sauce/sausage mixture. Place approximately 1 Tablespoon in each well. Place 1/2 tablespoon ricotta cheese on top of the meat mixture. Continue layering with a sprinkle of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Using a 2″ cookie cutter and some of the reserved lasagna noodle scraps, cut circles of noodle to layer in next. Repeat the layers, ending with the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To remove use a knife to loosen the edges and then gently slide each cupcake from the tin.

Garnish with basil and serve.

Enjoy!


Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart

February 5, 2012

A Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart for the Annual World Nutella Day. Be still my heart! Has there ever been a happier, more delicious convergence of ingredients? I think not, though perhaps adding a little peanut butter into the mix would have made it even more enticing… if that is possible. That’s right, today February 5th is World Nutella Day. This celebration of all things Nutella was started in 2007 by Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso as a day to celebrate, get creative with and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

I absolutely love Nutella. Just spreading it on toast is a joy, not to mention just eating it straight out of the jar. Yup, I might do that from time to time. I participated in World Nutella Day last year with my Nutella & Banana filled Peanut Butter Ebelskivers. ( See..I got the peanut butter in there, but alas no chocolate. I will have to work on this idea for next year…)

This year I present a Nutella, Double Chocolate  Banana Tart. This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, which I was lucky enough to receive for Christmas. There are so many fantastic recipes in this book, but this tart caught my eye right away.

The tart looks pretty impressive huh? But it was really surprisingly easy to make and can be done in stages if you’re pressed for time on the day you wish to serve it.  It has a chocolate shortbread base, which can be made ahead of time. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to one month. Once you’ve baked the base, you spread a layer of Nutella over the bottom of the tart shell and then chill it for about 1 hour. While it is chilling, you caramelize a banana and let it cool to room temperature. You then layer the caramelized bananas over the Nutella. But wait, you’re not done yet. Then you pour a rich bittersweet chocolate ganache over the caramelized bananas. The ganache can be made ahead of time as well. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. You just need to pop it into the microwave to melt it a bit when you’re ready to assemble your tart.

Once you’ve added the ganache, you chill the tart once again for 30 – 60 minutes, or until you’re ready to serve it. At that point, you finish it off by topping it with freshly cut banana slices.

How does it taste? Unbelievably decadent. You should plan on eating this tart up on the day you make it. I don’t think you’ll have a problem there, it is soooo delicious! If by some bizarre set of circumstances the entire tart is not gobbled up, it will still be fine the next day, except the bananas won’t look as pretty.

Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart

recipe from : Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table

Ingredients:

For Chocolate Shortbread Dough

  • 1 1/4 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 Cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 Tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Large egg yolk

For the Caramelized Bananas

  • 1 ripe but firm banana
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons sugar

For the Bittersweet Ganache

  • 1/2 lb. bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into four pieces, at room temperature

For the Banana Topping

  • 1/2 Cup Apricot jam, strained
  • 2-3 ripe but firm bananas
  • Fresh lemon juice

2/3 Cup Nutella

Directions:

For the Chocolate Shortbread Dough

Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt into a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses- about 10 seconds each – until the dough which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and very lightly knead it just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Butter a 9 – 9 1/2 ” fluted tart pan with a removable bottom (butter the pan even if it’s nonstick)

Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but don’t use a lot of force  working lightly will preserve the crust’s shortbread-ish texture. Prick the crust all over and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and press the foil snugly against the crust.

Bake the crust for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and allow the crust to cool before you fill it.

Once the crust is completely cooled, spread 2/3 cup of Nutella over the bottom of the baked tart shell and chill the tart for 1 hour.

For the Caramelized Bananas:

Line a plate with parchment paper. Cut the banana into 1/8″ thick slices and toss the slices with lemon juice to keep them from blackening.

Put a large skillet – nonstick – over high heat and toss in the butter. When it melts and starts to bubble, add the bananas, turning them so that they’re coated with butter. Sprinkle the sugar over the bananas and cook, still over high heat, turning, until they’re golden and caramel-coated on both sides. Transfer the bananas to the parchment-lined plate and pat them gently on both sides with paper towels to remove any excess butter. Cool to room temperature. The bananas can be caramelized a couple of hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

To Make the Bittersweet Ganache:

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.Bring the cram to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 30 seconds or so, then, with a whisk or spatula, gently stir the chocolate and cream together. Stir gently, and when the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter, piece by piece. The ganache can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months; reheat gently in a microwave before proceeding.

Remove the chilled Nutella covered crust from the refrigerator. Arrange the caramelized bananas in an even layer over the bottom of the crust, then pour over the ganache. Hold the tart pan with both hands and rotate it lightly from side to side to encourage the ganache to even out, then slide the tart into the fridge again to set the ganache, 30 – 60 minutes. You can refrigerate the tart until serving time; just be certain to cover it once the chocolate sets.

To make the topping:

Bring the apricot jam to a boil in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven.

Peel the bananas and cut them on the bias into slices that are a scant 1/4 ” thick. Toss them lightly with just the slightest bit of lemon juice – the juice will keep them from blackening, but you don’t want them to be so wet that they dribble on the ganache. Arrange the banana slices in concentric circles over the top of the tart – start at the outer edge and slightly overlap the slices in a circle, then continue building concentric circles, having each circle slightly overlap its neighbour. Brush the bananas with a thin coating of the hot jam, glazing them evenly. Allow the glaze to cool and set.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan and slide the tart off the bottom of the pan and slice.

Enjoy!


Banana Rum Muffins to celebrate my food blog’s 1st anniversary!

February 1, 2012

So wow! Today, February 1st marks not only Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day and Groundhog Day ( I hope the little critter doesn’t see his shadow, not that we’ve had much of a winter thus far), but also one year of blogging about food for me. The first recipe I published was Cream Tea Scones with Currants, which are fantastic if you have yet to give them a try.

Cream Tea Scones with Currants

I really didn’t know at the time that I was starting an actual food blog. I was really just into those scones and wanted to share. This blog started for me almost 3 years ago when my husband & I were planning our wedding, which took place in Ireland.

Cloghan Castle Ireland - Wedding Venue

Yup...no surprizes, it was raining!

We really just used it to easily get our wedding plans as well as travel tips out to our guests who were going to travel to attend. But it seems that now it has evolved into an honest to goodness food blog. In this 1st  year that I’ve been blogging about food, I’ve learned how to do some canning and have some great jams to show for it.

Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Vanilla Bourbon Blackberry Jam

Blueberry Lemon & Chili Jam

Drunken Granny Apple Butter

I’ve not only come across some delicious recipes, but I’ve also learned quite a bit about food styling and photography, so that I’m able to show them off appropriately. (Please see Runcible Eat’s Galleries on Foodgawker and Tastespotting) Not to mention, I’ve had a lot of fun doing it. Thanks to everyone who stops by from time to time to see what I’m cooking! I’m definitely looking forward to year number 2! What can my readers look forward to seeing? I’m hoping to update my site with some fun bells and whistles, like a print button for recipes and the ability to search my published recipes. I will definitely once again be posting a submission for Nutella Day, which happens on February 5th.

Nutella & Banana Stuffed Peanut Butter Ebelskivers - last year's entry

In the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, I will once again be cooking up a bunch of great, Irish inspired recipes. Here are last year’s offerings. All of the recipes for the items below can be found in Runcible Eats/ Recipes.

Cheese & Onion Pie

Irish Soda Bread

Shepherd's Pie

Beef & Guinness Pie

Irish Brown Bread

Drunken Irish Brownies

Curry Chips

Deep-Fried Snickers Bar

Gaelic Boxty

Celtic Pork Tart

Chranachan with Irish Butter Shortbread

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

And I have some great new recipes in store for everyone. Some family favourites like Jewish Apple Cake and Smith Island Cake. I will definitely be trying out more of Peter Reinhart’s bread. Some Bacon Jam is in the works and I’m sure a few more chili recipes will make an appearance. Where is all of this blogging leading to? I’m not certain. Perhaps one day, someone might even ask me to do a cookbook. My husband wants me to open a bakery…I’m not sure I’m on board with that, but am happy to keep making delicious dishes for my family and friends.

In celebration of this milestone, I thought I’d make my all-time favourite muffin, Banana Rum Muffins. My Mom would always make these muffins around Christmas and I just couldn’t wait! And then it occurred to me…I don’t have to wait. I can have them anytime of the year that I want!

These muffins are very moist and the banana flavour is quite promenent. I hate getting a banana bread that tastes as if a banana might have, at some time, been waved somewhere in its vicinity. You won’t get that here. You’ll know its a banana muffin. And then there is the sauce. That buttery, dark rum laden, syrupy sauce. Oh joy! While the muffins are still hot and in the muffin tin, you pour in slowly all over them. I even use a butter knife to pull the edges slightly away from the pan, so that the rum sauce will run down the sides of the muffin and pool in the bottom of the muffin wells. Then you just allow the muffins to sit an soak it all in for a bit. Once the sauce cools, it gives the muffin a slightly crispy sugary rum glaze. Pure bliss! How perfect for a celebration. Especially when paired with a good old bottle of Veuve Clicquot! Happy 1 year Anniversary to Runcible Eats!

Banana Rum Muffins

yield: 24 muffins

recipe from: My Mom

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Rum Sauce:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup dark rum
  • 1 Cup sugar

Directions:

For the Muffins:

Pre heat oven to 350°F

In medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Add dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until the batter just comes together. Do not over mix!

Pour batter into muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes. If you wish to bake the batter in a 4×8 loaf pan, bake for 60 minutes.

For the Rum Sauce:

Place butter, rum and sugar in medium-sized sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir to combine.

Bring to boil for 5 minutes. Do not overcook.

Remove Banana Muffins from oven and set muffin pan on slightly larger cookie sheet. Pour Rum Sauce slowly over muffins just as they are removed from the oven. Let muffins stand for 5 minutes to soak up as much of the Rum Sauce as possible before removing them from the pan.

Enjoy!


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