Banana Cupcakes with Chantilly Icing

Banana Cupcakes with Chantilly Icing

I recently found myself with several over ripe bananas and leftover Buttermilk.  I know over ripe bananas usually mean a batch or two of Banana Bread, but I still had a few loaves in the freezer.  Besides I wasn’t in the mood for Banana Bread.

I was however in the mood for cake!  So why not bake some banana cupcakes?  Then I remember that a local bakery sold this yummy banana cake with Chantilly Icing.  I think Chantilly icing must a a local Hawaii favorite because the recipe isn’t too easy to come by.

You might be wondering what Chantilly Icing is.  Well it’s sort of hard to describe, it’s sweet, creamy, and buttery; kind of but not quite like the frosting on a German Chocolate cake.

In Hawaii Chantilly icing is used on Chantilly Cake which is very similar to a German Chocolate Cake but with macadamia nuts instead of coconut flakes.  It’s also used to top Liliha Bakery’s Coco Puffs, those delectable chocolate cream filled puffs. It’s also used on Banana Cake!

So to make these really yummy Banana Cupcakes with Chantilly Icing I used 2 different recipes.  The Banana Cake recipe and a recipe for that delicious Chantilly Frosting.  The frosting I made was more than enough to ice the cupcakes.  I refrigerated the leftover frosting and used them on a chocolate cake a few days later.

Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Butter, softened to room temperature

2 Cups Sugar

3 Eggs

1 Tsp. Vanilla

1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2 Very Ripe Bananas, mashed

2 Tsp. Lemon Juice

3 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda

1/4 Tsp. Salt

1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees

Line Cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.

Beat in vanilla and cinnamon.

Add lemon juice to mashed bananas and stir until smooth.

Add to butter mixture.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together.

Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture.

Mix well.

Pour batter into cupcake wraps about 3/4 full.

Smooth tops.

Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool.

Frost when completely cooled.

Chantilly Icing

Ingredients:

1 2/3 Cup Butter

1 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk

1 1/2 Cup Baker’s or Caster Sugar

2 Tsp. Vannilla

2 Eggs

2 Egg Yolks

2 Tbs. Corn Starch

Directions:

Melt Butter in saucepan over medium low heat.

Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Whisk in milk, sugar, and vanilla.

Then whisk in eggs and yolks one at a time.

Cook on medium hear until it comes to s low boil.  Whisking is it intermittently.

Once it boils cook for another 2 minutes continuing to whisk intermittently.

Remove from heat then quickly sift in cornstarch while whisking.  Whisk cornstarch quickly and hard to prevent it from lumping.

Pour into a shallow bowl and cool to room temp.

Cover and refrigerate about 3 hours or until it’s in a spreadable consistency.

Frost cooled  cupcakes.


Banana Cupcakes with Chantilly Icing
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Banana Cupcakes with Chantilly Icing
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Banana Cupcakes
Chantilly Icing
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Tortang Talong  – Filipino Eggplant Omelette

Tortang Talong – Filipino Eggplant Omelette

Italy may have their Eggplant Parmesan but the Philippines has their Tortang Talong or Eggplant Omelette.  The word “torta” has many meanings in the Latin based language.  In Italy and other countries whose language is rooted in latin it usually means cake or pie.  In Mexico it refers to a sandwhich.  In Spain it can mean either a cake or an omelette.

The Philippines was under Spanish rule for about 500 years.  Much of its language, customs, and cuisine is adapted from the Spanish culture.  Hence many favorite Filipino dishes include Arroz Valenciana or Paella,  Arroz Caldo, Pastel de Lengua, Menudo, Chorizo, and Torta, just to name a few.

The word “tortang” is derived from the Spanish word “Torta”.  In the Philippines when they refer to something as “tortang” it means that it is made like a torta, which in this case mean omelette.  So Tortang Talong means Eggplant Omelette since Talong is the Filipino name for Eggplant.

Tortang Talong is a simple yet tasty way to eat eggplant.  It uses the long Asian eggplant instead of the large round eggplant normally used in the Italian Eggplant Parmesan.  The eggplant is cooked, usually over an open fire or grill, flattened, dipped in beaten eggs, then fried.  There are many versions of this Filipino dish, some of which include ground meat.  In my family we usually make it without as it’s pretty filling without meat.  I make it at home for our meatless dinner nights.  Served with a tossed salad and some olives and pickles on the side it’s simply delicious!

You can roast the eggplant up to a day in advance.  Leave the skin on and store in the fridge until ready to use.  Depending on the size of the eggplant you can either make one to share or smaller individual ones.  I usually make 2 and that feeds around 4 people.

Tortang Talong

Ingredients:

1 Asian Long Eggplant

2 Eggs

1/2 Tsp. Minced Garlic

Salt & Pepper to taste

Oil for frying

Directions:

Roast or broil the eggplant with the skin on.  You will know the eggplant is cooked when it is soft and the skin is a bit wrinkled and has turned brownish in color.

Peel cooked eggplant.  You can do this by holding the stem and gently pulling off the skin with your fingers.  The meat may stick to the skin so be careful peeling it so that you don’t take the eggplant meat with the skin.  Do not remove the stem.

Place peeled eggplant on a flat plate and gently flatten with a fork.  You should end up with eggplant meat fanning out from the top stem.

Beat eggs, garlic, salt & pepper together in  a shallow dish.

Place about 1/2 tsp. oil in a large frying pan and heat.

Place eggplant in egg mixture.  Use the fork to gently immerse eggplant (but not the stem) in the egg mixture.  Allow the eggplant to absorb as much of the egg mixture as possible.

Holding the eggplant by the stem gently place it in the hot oil.  You can pour some more egg mixture over the eggplant in the pan so that the eggplant is completely covered.

Cook until the bottom starts to turn golden brown and the egg mixture on the top starts to get a bit dry.

Gently flip the eggplant over and cook until that side turns golden brown.

Slide finished omelette onto a serving dish and serve.

Tortang Talong - Filipino Eggplant Omelette
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Easy French Toast

Easy French Toast

What is French Toast and where did it get its name?  I’m sure just about everyone has had French Toast sometime or other, it is after all a popular breakfast food and is featured on many restaurants’ breakfast menus.  But I everyone knows its origins or how it got its name.

Some version of this popular breakfast fare has been around for centuries.  Yes I said centuries.  And why not?  All French Toast is bread that’s been soaked in a milk and egg mixture and then fried.  We know that milk and eggs have been a food staple through out most of civilization.

According to Apicius a collection of recipes from the 5th. Century AD the dish we know as French Toast was around during the Roman Empire.  Their version called Pan Dulcis, was bread soaked in a milk mixture then fried in oil or butter.  In the court English of Henry V during the 15th. Century “Pain Perdu” was all the rage.  The name which was in French literally means “lost bread” because it calls for soaking hard or stale bread in a milk and egg mixture then frying it.  The French still call it Pain Perdu to this day.

So how did it come to be called French Toast in America when clearly it didn’t originate in France?   Well legend has it that a New York innkeeper named Joseph French created the dish in 1724 and sold it as French Toast.  It’s believed he meant to call it French’s Toast but he was grammatically inept and forgot the apostrophe.

Whatever you call it and whatever its origins French Toast is delicious and actually very simple to make.  Of course there are now different versions of this simple dish including IHOP’s Stuffed French Toast and Denny’s Fabulous French Toast.  I actually make Creme Brulee French toast on Christmas mornings!

I look at French Toast as a blank canvas.  You can have it just with syrup and butter, and that’s delicious! Or you can embellish it with fruit, whipped cream, jam, nutella, or whatever else you can think of.  But before you can embellish you’ll need the basic recipe.  I prefer to use day old french bread, but really you can use whatever bread you have on hand.  But do try to avoid using freshly baked bread as it tends to be too soft and will fall apart when soaked in the liquid mixture.  Once you’ve got the basics you can add toppings or even add ingredients to the batter.  So here’s the basic recipe!

Basic French Toast

Ingredients:

6-8 slices of day old French Bread or whatever bread you have on hand

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Sugar

1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

Butter for frying and for topping

Syrup

Fruits, jams, whipped cream, etc. for toppings (optional)

Directions:

Beat Eggs, Milk, and Sugar together until well combined.

Stir in vanilla.

Melt a pat of batter in a skillet.

Dip both sides of bread slice in egg mixture until soaked.

Lift bread out of liquid and let excess liquid drain off.

Place soaked bread in skillet and cook until first side starts to brown.

Flip over and cook other side until brown.

Place in serving dish and serve immediately.

Serve with butter and syrup or whatever topping you like.

Easy French Toast
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Butter Mochi

Butter Mochi

When I was growing up surrounded by family, mostly all were Filipino, this yummy dessert was called Bibinka.  It’s soft and sticky in the middle with a bit of coconutty crust on top.

When my family moved to Hawaii back in the late 1970’s what we called Bibinka was called Butter Mochi.  They are essentially the same thing and whatever you call it it’s delicious!

I looked up the recipe for both Butter Mochi and Bibinka and they are very similar.  In fact when I make it I often interchange the recipes.  My kids and grandkids love it which ever recipe I use.

Both ingredients use Sweet Rice Flour which can be purchased at an Asian Market.   They also so use coconut milk which again can be  purchased at the Asian Market.

Butter Mochi

Ingredients:

1 Box Mochiko Flour (Sweet rice flour)

2 Eggs, beaten

1/2 Cup melted butter

1 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Tsp. Vanilla

1 3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Can Coconut milk

1 Can Evaporated Milk

1/2 Cup Water

Directions:

Oil a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

Pour into baking pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the middle is firm.

Cool and cut into squares.

 

Butter Mochi
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chips are probably the most popular cookies in the world.  I know they’re my favorite.  I also know that there are many recipes out there and we all have our favorites.

The original creator of the chocolate chip cookie is said to be Ruth Graves Wakefield.  She first made it in the late 1930’s when she and her husband owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts.  The Inn was a popular restaurant known for its home cooking and desserts.  She created the cookie to serve to her guests, the recipe was published in the Boston Herald-Traveler and she was featured on a radio program hosted by Marjorie Husted aka Betty Crocker.  She later gave her recipe to Nestle and was paid with a lifetime supply of chocolate.  The recipe was also published in the 1938 edition of her cookbook “Ruth Wakefield’s Tried and True Recipes”.  It rapidly became a favorite cookie in American homes.  As they say the rest is history.

As much as I love homemade chocolate chip cookies (I have several favorite recipes), I’m not too fond of making them.  Actually I’m not a great fan of making any type of cookie, not because it’s difficult, more so because I find it tedious.

I find that dropping, cutting, or pressing cookies on to sheet and baking for less than 10 minutes is tiresome.  The only time I really enjoy making cookies is when I do my Christmas baking when I devote a couple of days in the activity with my grandchildren.  That’s why I absolutely love bar cookies!

Cookie bars are so easy to make.  You mix the dough, spread into a pan, bake, cool, and cut into bars.  It’s a wonderful way to get your homemade cookie fix without spending the day in the kitchen.  And chocolate cookies are no exception.  Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are just as yummy as any Chocolate Chip Cookie you can make.  So here’s a recipe so you can make some today.  You probably already have all the ingredients in you kitchen!

One thing I’ve found when baking chocolate chip cookies, or actually when baking anything, that’s to use the best and freshest ingredients available.  I never use generic brands so for this cookie stick with Nestle’s Toll House Semi-Sweet chips, Guittard, or Gharadelli brands.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

2 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Cup Butter, softened

3/4  Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

2 Eggs

1 12-0z Package Semi Sweet Chocolate chips

Nuts are optional, but if you want to add them use 1 cup of the nut you prefer, chopped up of course.

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking pan

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Cream together butter and both  sugars using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer.  If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer.

Add vanilla and mix  until creamy.

Add in eggs one at a time while continuing to mix.

Gradually add in dry ingredients making sure to mix it well.

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if you’re using nuts.

Spread evenly in the pan.

Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 minutes then cut into bars.

I use flip the pan over onto a large sheet and use a pizza cutter to cut it into bars.  I find it easier to cut into even pieces.

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies
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Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies
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