BROWN BUTTER BANANA BREAD

You’ll never make another banana bread/muffin recipe after trying this one. In this recipe, I heat the butter in a saucepan to ‘brown’ the butter and bring out some nutty flavors and I also bake the bananas to release the sweetness in them!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125g Butter (unsalted & softened)
  • 1 cup White or Brown Sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 large, ripe Bananas
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Place your bananas on a baking tray on a piece of baking paper and bake them until the skins turn brown all over. This is going to make the bananas super sweet.

Grease a loaf tin with butter or non-stick spray and line with baking paper.

Brown the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. The butter will turn a deep brown color. Be careful not to burn it, but you want to create some flavor and you will smell the butter. You also don’t want your butter boiling with big bubbles, but just a very light simmer.

Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl with a hand or stand mixer for about 2 minutes until combined. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.

Add the baked/mashed bananas and vanilla extract.

Next, add the dry ingredients and only mix until just combined. Now transfer the mixture into your greased and lined loaf tin.

You can add nut or chocolate chips to this recipe. Add some into the batter while mixing and add some more on top just before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer (toothpick) comes out clean.


FRENCH BAGUETTE

Bread doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating to make at home. There are so few ingredients that go into making bread at home, that you really can’t go very wrong. And it’s so rewarding to make your very own bread in your own kitchen and of course even more satisfying to eat! When you feel that soft dough in your hands, smell the fresh yeast aroma through the house and hear that crispy crunch, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made this sooner!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g (4 cups) All Purpose Flour
  • 350ml (1½ cups) Warm Water (37°C – not boiling water, just warm to the touch as too hot will kill the yeast)
  • 5g (1½) teaspoons Yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Salt

HOW TO MAKE FRENCH BAGUETTES:

In a bowl, add the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and mix with the back of a wooden spoon as it is very sticky at this point.

If you are using a stand mixer, add the flour and salt and then add the yeast and water. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on medium-low speed until the dough becomes smooth and resembles a creamy dough. (the dough is very sticky at this stage)

Brush a large bowl with some vegetable oil and place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place it somewhere warm to rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size.

Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer it to a floured surface and divide the dough into 2, 3 or 4 equal parts. Roll each piece into a 30cm/12 inch rope and place them on a baguette pan or baking tray. Cover them with a tea towel and let them rise until doubled in size, around 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 240°C/460°F and place an oven proof dish or skillet on the bottom rack. Place the baguette pan/baking tray on the top shelf and add 1 cup of water or a handful of ice blocks to the dish/pan on the bottom and close the door quickly.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Let them cool for a little while before serving.

BROWN BUTTER BANANA MUFFINS

You’ll never make another banana bread/muffin recipe after trying this one. In this recipe, I heat the butter in a saucepan to ‘brown’ the butter and bring out some nutty flavors and I also bake the bananas to release the sweetness in them!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125g Butter (unsalted & softened)
  • 1 cup White or Brown Sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 large, ripe Bananas
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Place your bananas on a baking tray on a piece of baking paper and bake them until the skins turn brown all over. This is going to make the bananas super sweet.

Grease a muffin tin with butter or non-stick spray.

Brown the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. The butter will turn a deep brown color. Be careful not to burn it, but you want to create some flavor and you will smell the butter. You also don’t want your butter boiling with big bubbles, but just a very light simmer.

Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl with a hand or stand mixer for about 2 minutes until combined. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.

Add the baked/mashed bananas and vanilla extract.

Next, add the dry ingredients and only mix until just combined. Use an ice-cream scoop or a large spoon to divide the batter into the muffin tray.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer (toothpick) comes out clean.


This recipe can be used as Loaf Banana Breads too. Just transfer the batter into a greased baking loaf tin that is lined with baking paper and bake for 45 minutes.

You can of course also add some nuts or chocolate chips to the batter and sprinkle some on top!

HEALTHY PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA (VEGAN)

I’ve never found a granola that I really like, so I decided to make my own homemade granola with yummy smooth peanut butter and you can choose between honey or maple syrup! I have never bought granola from a store since!

  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Baking Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • This recipe will make 2 to 3 cups of Granola

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Oats
  • ½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Natural Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ¼ cup Honey OR Maple Syrup (vegan)
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 160°C/325°F and grease a large baking tray or lay a sheet of baking paper down.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, salt and cinnamon and set aside.

In a microwave safe dish or on the stove top, melt the peanut butter and honey (or maple syrup) together until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Mix in the dry ingredients until well combined. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the granola is lightly browned. Stir the granola half way through.

Remove from the oven and let it cool completely. It should harden and be in clumps.

INDIVIDUAL LEMON MERINGUE PIES

Lemon and Meringue are two of my favorite things, so when they are combined I’m a happy girl! This recipe is divided into 3 parts, the pastry shells, the lemon curd and finally the meringue. I’m also going to give you some options, because there is a more and less complicated way of achieving this recipe.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PASTRY:

  • 170g (1 cup) Cake Flour
  • 110g (½ cup) Butter (cold, unsalted & cut into cubes)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 40g (1/3 cup) Icing/Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cold Water

ALTERNATIVE PASTRY BASE: An easier & quicker way to make a pastry base is with some biscuits (digestive/tennis biscuits/tea biscuits/coconut biscuits) and butter. So you will need 200g biscuits and 100g butter. Crush the biscuits and melt the butter and mix the two together. There you have it, a simple pastry base ready to be used. I would recommend filling your baking dish/tin/tray and then place it in the fridge for the butter to harden again which will keep this base compact and together.

METHOD:

Add the flour and butter to a food processor and mix together until it looks like fine bread crumbs. Then add the powdered sugar and mix again until incorporated. Next, add the water and mix until the pastry forms a ball inside the processor.

The pastry will be crumbly , but you don’t need to any more water. On a floured surface, knead the pastry until it becomes smooth. Shape it into a ball and then squash it flat to make it about 2cm thick. Place the pastry in some plastic film and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Grease a cupcake/muffin tin and divide the pastry evenly between each hole. Once you’re done, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Remove from the freezer and smooth out the edges and inside of the pastry shells with the back of a teaspoon. Place the tray back into the freezer for about 10 minutes, until they are hard.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.

Blind bake the shells for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven and brush with egg white to create a seal. Continue baking them for another 8 minutes. Once they are golden brown, remove from the oven and and let them cool completely before taking them out the baking tin.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE HOMEMADE LEMON CURD:

  • 3 lemons (freshly squeezed) OR 150ml of lemon juice
  • 115g (¾ cup) unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 125g (2/3 cups) white sugar

ALTERNATIVE LEMON CURD: 1 can of condensed milk, 2 Egg Yolks & 125ml Lemon Juice. Start by whisking the condensed milk in a large bowl, add the lemon juice slowly while continuously whisking and then add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Pour over your pastry shells/base and bake for 10 minutes to cook the eggs.

METHOD:

Cut the butter into cubes and set aside.

In a pot, whisk the eggs as you add the sugar and mix well.

Add the lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon (zest is optional but helps with flavor)

Transfer to the stove top and cook over a gentle/medium heat for 5 – 8 minutes to thicken the mixture

Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter piece by piece, while mixing and incorporating the butter well with a whisk

Pour the finished Lemon Curd into a glass jar and let it rest in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MERINGUE:

You can use an Italian Meringue:

  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 60g / 1/4 cup Boiling Water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Place the boiling water and sugar into a pot and simmer over medium heat until it reaches 100°C/243°F.
  2. While the sugar is reaching temperature, place the egg whites in a bowl and once the sugar reaches 110°C start whisking your egg whites slowly. (you can use a hand mixer, but I really recommend a stand mixer)
  3. When the sugar syrup reaches 117°C/243°F, remove from the heat and drizzle slowly, in a thin stream down the side of the bowl with the egg whites whisking on high speed.
  4. Reduce the speed of the mixer, add the vanilla extract and continue whisking the meringue until the bowl is cool and you have stiff peaks.

Or you can use a French Meringue:

  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 3/4 cup White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Whisk the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks.
  2. Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Just before you reach stiff peaks, add the lemon juice and then the vanilla extract and stop whisking the meringue when the peaks are stiff.

Assemble your individual tarts by filling each one with some lemon curd. Place your meringue in a piping bag (optional) and pipe the meringue on top of the lemon curd. Place them in the oven under the grill option, to brown the meringue, or use a blowtorch if you have one.

FRENCH MACARONS

Making french macarons can seem very intimidating and don’t get me wrong, they can be tricky to get right, but they really don’t have to be so scary to attempt. I think I can speak for anyone who has ever made macarons and say that we probably all failed on our first attempt, if not the second and third too, but we all start at the same place. The other thing with macarons is that you can be really great at making them, but then one day you make a batch and they just flop! It will happen to even the best of the best!!

I remember my first time making these…I was so nervous that I looked like a headless chicken running around the kitchen! Where’s the almond flour, has the meringue started, when do I need to mix the eggs in, how do I know the batter is not over mixed or under mixed, Oh no I lost count of how many times I’ve stirred the batter!! (just kidding, I’ve never counted how many times to mix the batter, to me that’s just plain old crazy!)

But, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get these delicious little shells done right the first time, but like many things in life, it takes time, patience, practice and lots of PATIENCE!

Firstly, there are 2 methods to making macarons. One option is to use a simple french meringue and the other is to use a more complicated, but achievable, italian meringue.

I will give you the recipes and methods for both, but for this post, I’m going to show you how to make macarons easily, using the french meringue method. So let’s get to it!!

French Macarons using French Meringue Method

Essentials you will need:

  • A stand mixer is really helpful to have, but a hand mixer will work too
  • A scale is preferable as precise measurements are better, but you can achieve great macarons without one and using your cup measurements
  • Sieve
  • Spatulas
  • 2 Bowls to separate the eggs (keep the egg yolks to use in another great dessert)
  • 2 bowls for the dry ingredients
  • 1 large mixing bowl for the french meringue

INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g (1½ cups) Almond Flour
  • 130g (1 cup) Icing/Powdered Sugar
  • 100g Egg Whites (3 medium sized eggs)
  • 90g (½ cup) White Sugar
  • Food Coloring (optional, use gel or powder coloring for best results)

HOW TO MAKE FRENCH MACARONS USING FRENCH MERINGUE:

  1. Prepare 2 baking trays with baking paper or a silicone mat (your preference), I like using baking (parchment) paper. You can print out a template from the internet to place under your baking paper and this will give you a guide when piping your macarons.
  2. Measure out all your ingredients before you start mixing anything.
  3. Start by sifting the almond flour and icing sugar at least 3 times. You are looking to get rid of any big pieces of almonds and don’t push them through the sieve, throw them away rather. Your macaron shells will be nice and smooth if you don’t have big pieces of almond in your batter.
  4. Once you have sifted your dry ingredients, set them aside and start whisking the meringue.
  5. Whisk the meringue until soft peaks form and then add the white sugar to the meringue a tablespoon at a time. You will hear and feel when the sugar dissolves and that is when you add the next spoonful of sugar. You want stiff peaks so that your meringue is stable and ready for mixing. Here is a video from Martha Stewart that shows you the different stages of meringue.
  6. You can add food coloring to your meringue. Ii would advise adding it once you have added all your sugar, just before your meringue is ready.
  7. Now comes the mixing part. Add half of your dry ingredients into the meringue and combine well. At first it seems as though it doesn’t want to incorporate, but keep mixing, being gentle. You can watch how I fold the dry ingredients into the meringue here on my video.
  8. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and fold in. You want to push some of the air out of the meringue, by pressing the batter around the sides of the bowl and alternating this with folding and scraping. You will get the hang of it after some practice. Keep checking for readiness while after a few mixes.
  9. How do you know when your batter is ready? Again, check out my video to see a visual of this, but when the batter can form a figure of 8 without breaking and the batter ‘ribbons’ off the spatula. It shouldn’t be runny as then you’ve over mixed and shouldn’t be too stiff as then you’ve under mixed. I assure you, this all comes with time and practice. After a few times of making these, you will know exactly when it’s ready.
  10. Now you can pour your batter into a piping bag with a round piping tip and pipe your macaron shells onto your baking trays.
  11. The final step before baking is to tap the trays on a flat surface to release any air bubbles, (see video) you can pop them if they are quite large with a toothpick and leave them to rest until they form a skin. You should be able to run your finger across the macaron shell without it being sticky at all. After about 20 minutes of them resting, preheat your oven to 150°C/300°F.
  12. Finally, you can bake your macarons for 12 to 15 minutes. This time all depends on your oven, so you will know when they are ready when they release easily from the paper or mat. If it feels like they want to stick and are not coming off clean, then continue baking a minute at a time until they come off easily.
  13. When they are done baking, take them off the trays, leaving them on the paper or mat and let them cool completely.

Match your shells up so that they are the same size and fit onto each other well (you don’t want one big shell on the bottom and a small one on top). You can now add any filling you like and there are many, many options. My favorite macaron fillings are american buttercream (vanilla, chocolate, rainbow colored), ganache (white, milk or dark chocolate) or a zingy homemade lemon curd.

If you make these macarons, please let me know how they turn out and you can even tag me in your Instagram posts or stories and you can follow me on Facebook too!

If you want to see how French Macarons are made using the Italian meringue method, then be sure to watch my video! Happy Baking!!

FUDGE BROWNIES

Brownie recipes are so versatile because you can add almost anything to make them different, but always delicious. Some people like their brownies dry and some people like theirs fudgy. If you fall into the latter category then this brownie recipe is definitely for you! IF you like your brownies less gooey, then all you have to do is bake these a little longer and they won’t be as fudgy in the centre. So it’s a Win-Win! 🙂

So what do you need to make these brownies? Well not a lot and the best part is that you just add everything into a bowl and mix it by hand! You don’t need a hand or stand mixer to get the job done.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (227g) melted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 4 large Eggs at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup (150g) All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup (123g) unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1½ cups roughly chopped Chocolate or large Chocolate Chips

HOW TO MAKE BROWNIES:

As usual, you will need to preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F and grease your baking tin with non-stick spray or butter. For these brownies you can use a square or rectangular tin or glass dish that is oven proof. You can also line your tin with some baking paper to make sure the brownies don’t stick and release easily.

Prepare all your ingredients before starting, so measure out your ingredients, chop your chocolate if you are not using chocolate chips, melt your butter and crack your eggs.

In a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar and mix well.

Next, add the eggs, vanilla extract and salt and mix for about 1 minute. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the wet ingredients. Fold in the dry ingredients until well combined.

Fold in half of the chocolate and fold in. This is a thick mixture. Pour your batter into your prepared baking dish and sprinkle the rest of your chocolate on top.

Bake these for 30-40 minutes or until the brownies are firm and the centre doesn’t jiggle. You can stick a knife through the centre to check how well done they are. You want the centre to remain fudgy, but not runny.


Madeleines

Sweet little sponge cakes, with their distinct shell shape, Madeleines are simple to make and so delicious to eat!

Mille Feuilles / Custard Slices

Mille feuilles, also known as a Custard Slice, is an oldie, but a goodie! This recipe is easy enough for beginners and versatile enough to be adjusted for the more experienced!

CHOCOLATE NUTELLA CUPCAKES

Nutty, chocolaty goodness is how I describe these delicious Nutella Cupcakes!! You cannot go wrong with these, whether it’s for a birthday or just because you HAVE to have them! 🙂

Another very simple chocolate cupcake recipe and if you already know how to make a basic buttercream recipe, then it won’t take you long at all to bake these beauties!

Let’s get baking…

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:

  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Baking Time: 22 minutes
  • Makes 12 Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g (3/4 cup) Self-raising flour (OR you can use All Purpose Flour and add 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder)
  • 25g (¼ cup) Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 125g (1 cup) White Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 140g Butter (unsalted and softened)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1½ tablespoons Milk (whole or skimmed)
  • ¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES:

1.Preheat your oven to 170°C / 340°F. Place cupcake cases into your baking tin or grease your tin with some butter.

2.Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and set aside.

3.Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each one. Then add your dry, sifted ingredients to the wet mixture and mix until just combined. You can go ahead and add the milk and vanilla extract and mix that in.

4.Spoon even amounts of batter into your baking tin and bake for 22 minutes or until a skewer (or toothpick) comes out clean.

5.When your cupcakes are done, transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

Nutella Buttercream Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g (½ cup) Butter (unsalted and softened)
  • 150g (½ cup) Nutella
  • 225g (2 cups) Icing/Powdered Sugar (i always suggest tasting your buttercream and deciding if you want to add more or less as everyone’s taste is different)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Milk

HOW TO MAKE NUTELLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:

1.Beat the butter for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the nutella and mix again for about 2 to 3 minutes.

2.Sift the icing sugar and add half of it at a time to the butter mixture. Mix well after each addition.

3.Finally, add the milk and check the consistency. If you want it thicker, add less and if you prefer it a little looser, add more. It is all up to you and your taste preferences!!

4.Your Nutella Buttercream is now ready and you can choose a fun piping tip or just use a knife to frost your yummy chocolate cupcakes.

If you love chocolate then be sure to check out my recipe for Chocolate cake or Fudgy Brownies!!

VANILLA CUPCAKES

Cupcakes shouldn’t be difficult to whip up at all and that’s why I have my go-to recipe and I want to share it with you! When your kids want a sweet treat or you have to prepare something for a school party, use this fool-proof recipe and you will have success every time!

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Baking Time: 22 minutes
  • Makes 12 Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125g (1 cup) Self-raising Flour (OR you can use All Purpose Flour and add 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder)
  • 125g (1 cup) of White Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
  • 125g (½ cup) Butter (unsalted & softened)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1½ tablespoons Milk (whole or skimmed)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

HOW TO MAKE VANILLA CUPCAKES:

Preheat your oven to 170°C / 340°F. Prepare your muffin/cupcake tin with paper cases or grease with butter.

Start by mixing your butter until light & fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the sugar and cream together with the butter. Once the butter and sugar is well combined, add the eggs one at a time.

Sift the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the wet mixture.

Once the wet & dry ingredients are well combined, add the milk and vanilla essence. Mix again until all the ingredients are combined, but don’t mix for too long, just until it all comes together and you can no longer see wet or dry patches of ingredients in the batter.

Bake your cupcakes for 22 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

When your cupcakes are done, transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

You can frost these cupcakes with any frosting of your choice. You can find the recipes for my Chocolate Buttercream or Cooked Flour Buttercream here.