banana bar cookies

Banana Bar Cookies

1 large banana mashed or enough bananas to make 1 cup mashed bananas
6 tbs margarine (softened)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease 8x8" pan and line with wax paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix the margarine and brown sugar till creamy.
3. Add in the mashed bananas, egg, vanilla, baking powder and salt.
4. Add in the flour and mix till well blended.
5. Add the chocolate chips and stir till just mixed.
6. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth out.
7. Bake for 20 minutes till set and let cool.

cherry pie

I needed to use up the last bit of morello cherries which I already used a little over half of the jar so far. For the last round of my cherry run, I decided to go a bit more traditional and classic and made an all American cherry pie!

I would have liked to use fresh cherries for this but morello works really well too as you get that tarty sweetness too. The shortcrust recipe is from this site. It came together quickly and easily even with just my hands and no KitchenAide or machine whatever. I let it chill overnight which definitely made a difference in rolling out the dough.

Once it finished baking, I dusted it with icing sugar and dug straight in while it was nice and hot! Yum! It feels like the 4th of July already! Except that it's cold and wintry here in Melbourne while sunny and perfect beach weather everywhere else.

oatmeal jam crumble bars

Oatmeal Jam Crumble Bars

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter (softened and cut into chunks)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup jam (use your favourite flavour, I used raspberry)

1. Cut the butter into the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt and vanilla till they are blended and resemble coarse crumbs with small and big chunks.
2. Take half of the mixture and press them into the prepared 8 x 8 inch baking pan till the bottom is covered evenly.
3. Using a piping bag or a zip-lock bag with one side of the tip snipped off, pipe the jam all over the mixture leaving half an inch of space from the sides.
4. Sprinkle the remaining mixture all over the jam but do not press down. Make sure they are evenly spread.
5. Bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 30-35 minutes. Let cool then slice into bars.

chocolate cherry brownies

Chocolate Cherry Brownies

1 cup butter
1 cup dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa broken into pieces)
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup drained morello cherries

1. Melt dark chocolate and butter in a microwavable bowl at medium for about a minute and till it's thick and creamy when stirred. Let cool.
2. Beat sugar, vanilla, and eggs till creamy and smooth.
3. Mix the chocolate mixture with the eggs mixture.
4. Add in the flour and salt and mix till well combined.
5. Fold in the morello cherries and spread the batter onto prepared brownie pan.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 25-30 minutes.
7. Let cool then slice into squares.

eggless chocolate chip cookies

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 2-3 dozen cookies depending on their size)

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/3 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup combination chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark and white)

1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt until well combined.
3. Cream together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add in the low-fat yogurt and vanilla, beat until well incorporated.
5. Add the flour in 2 installments mixing/beating well after each addition.
6. Mix in the chocolate chips till well incorporated.
7. Drop on greased cookie sheets in 1 tbsp quantities (2 inches apart) and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown on the sides.

cherry custard pie

Chery Custard Pie

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups pitted fresh cherries sliced in half
2 eggs

1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. Cream the butter and sugar. Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Add to butter/sugar and mix briefly. The mixture should be crumbly but moist enough to hold together when pressed. Set aside 1/4 cup and press remaining dough into tart pan, making sure the sides are strong and even.
3. Arrange cherries, spreading evenly over the bottom. Sprinkle on the reserved 1/4 cup of mixture and place tart pan on a baking sheet and slide into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add the milk and whisk until combined. After 15 minutes, open oven door and pull the baking sheet half way out of the oven. Carefully and quickly pour the custard mixture over the tart and carefully push the baking sheet back in and close the oven door. Bake another 25 minutes, until crust is deep gold and the custard is set and beginning to brown.
5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing tart ring. Let cool completely before sliding off bottom. Serve warm, at room temperature or slightly chilled with ice cream.

rosemary loaf cake

Rosemary Loaf Cake (Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking)

1 cup soft butter
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 tbs skim milk

1. Preheat the oven to 170 C.
2. Mix flour, salt and baking powder.
3. Cream butter and sugar until pale, smooth and light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, folding in a spoonful of flour after each addition, then add the vanilla extract. Fold in the rest of the flour and finally add the rosemary.
4. Thin the batter with the milk - you're aiming for a soft, dropping consistency.
5. Pour the batter into a buttered (or lined with parchment paper) 450 g loaf tin.

6. Cook for 60 minutes or a bit longer, until a cake-tester comes out clean.
7. Leave to cool in its tin on a wire rack. When completely cold, unmould and wrap well in foil until you need to eat it.
8. Keeps well for a few days.

milo chocolate chip muffin

Milo Chocolate Chip Muffin (makes 9 muffins)

1 1/4 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup Milo powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter (chopped into small cubes)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix the flour, Milo and baking powder in a large bowl.
2. Rub in the butter till it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Mix in the sugar and chocolate chips.
4. Mix the eggs, milk and vanilla in a smaller bowl.
5. Stir the wet into the dry mixture till the batter just comes together.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
7. Bake in preheated oven at 200 C for 20 minutes till brown and well risen.
8. Let cool then eat!

puff pastry pinwheels

Rugelach Dough (Adapted from Kate Zukerman's The Sweet Life)

1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

1. Sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and soft cheese together till ilight and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients till well combined.
3. Scrape the dough onto plastic wrap and press into a flat disk. Then, double rap the dough and refrigerate overnight.
4. To use, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle about 12 x 16 inches. Then, cut into two 6 x 16 pieces.
5. Fill as desired with the long side facing you, and roll up. Wrap the dough in wrap again and chill for 30 minutes. Or, if you want, you can freeze the log to use later in the week.

6. To cook, slice the log into 1-inch cross sections, and place each little round about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is a light golden brown. Allow the pinwheels to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. They will keep up to 4 days, depending on your filling.

easy sticky toffee pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding (Adapted from Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson)

For the cake:

1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar (I used raw brown sugar)
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs unsalted butter (melted)
200 g medjool dates (chopped)

For the sauce:

1 cup dark muscovado sugar
about 2 tbs unsalted butter (to top the pudding), broken into little pieces
2 cups boiling water

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
2. Generously butter a baking dish that has a capacity of 1-1/2 litres.

3. In a bowl, combine the sugar and the flour, making sure there are no lumps.
4. Pour the milk into a measuring cup and beat in the egg, vanilla and melted butter. Mix well.
5. Pour the milk mixture into the sugar and flour mixture and mix until just combined.
6. Fold in the dates.
7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly across the bottom of the dish.
8. Sprinkle the 1 cup of muscovado sugar over the top of the batter. Dot with the 2 tbs of butter.
9. Pour the boiling water over everything.
10. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake is springy when touched.

11. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. When you cut into it, you will have a lovely sponge cake on top and the most delicious sauce on the bottom.
12. Serve with ice cream, yoghurt or creme fraiche while still warm!