Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Easy and Moist Basic Banana Muffins with Nutella Swirl (made with less / minimal dishwashing)

Who love banana muffins?

Me me me me me ...

Who love Nutella?

Me me me me me ...

Who hate dishwashing?

Me me me me me ...

I must say that these delicious Nutella swirl banana muffins are super super super easy to bake. Best of all,  they are baked with minimal amount of dishwashing!!!

Thanks to Google! I have found these two fantastic basic banana muffin recipes from Cat Can Cook and Yammie's Noshery and also this brilliant less-dishwashing baking idea from Yammie's Noshery. These two basic banana muffin recipes are always the top two hits whenever I Google for banana muffin recipes. After I made a comparison of both recipes, I have found that Cat's ones contain slightly more banana than Yammie's and surprisingly, the slight difference in their contents can make such a difference in overall texture of the muffins. Having more banana, Cat's muffins are denser and more banana taste while Yammie's muffins are more cake-like with more tender crumbs. Personally, I like Yammie's more than Cat's but I think this preference can be very subjective as both can be equally super moist and yummy.

How did I bake these banana muffins with minimal washing? The original idea from Yammie's Noshery says that her muffins are baked without dirtying a single dish? Well, not exactly and I don't want to make too big claim for that because there is still washing to do but probably the least or minimum.

To bake these muffins, I have mashed the banana and mixed the batter using zip lock bags. By doing that, all I have to wash is one muffin pan and some measuring spoons and cups. If you uses plastic bags to contain the ingredients by weighing, you probably can wash a few less measuring spoons... LOL! And, if you use disposable baking cups to bake these muffins, you can avoid washing the muffin pans too. I usually use the disposable baking cups that I have for steaming cakes because I don't like to use them for baking due to their waxy interior... Sorry that I'm really fussy with this!

As I was tossing these plastic or zip lock bags into the waste bin, I must admit that this is not entirely an environment-friendly method to bake but I did save some effort and time from any extra dishwashing and also a little money from using less water and dishwashing detergent... LOL!

Now, who love banana Nutella muffins?

easy moist best basic banana muffins nutella swirl
Easy and Moist Basic Banana Muffins with Nutella Swirl
To bake the muffins, these are all I need to wash.
Shaking and squishing the contents in these zip lock bags can mix this batter very well.
Then, make a snip at the corner of the bag and squirt the batter into a lined muffin tin...
Want something extra with these muffins??? Nutella, please!
Squeeze about 1-2 teaspoonful of Nutella into each muffin. Use a toothpick to make a swirl.
Can't wait to try these muffins!
Muffin made with Cat's recipe. Fully packed with banana with denser texture.
Muffin made with Yammie's recipe. Although it is flatter, it is lighter with cake-like texture.

Here are the recipes that I have mostly adapted from Cat Can Cook and Yammie's Noshery

*Alfa One rice bran oil contains 0% trans fat.

Preheat oven to 375ºF / 190ºC or 170ºC fan forced. Line a standard 12 hole size (1/3 cup) muffin tray with baking cups.

Using a weighing scale, weigh sugar and flour in two separate plastic bags or use a 1/4-cup measuring cup and a 1/4-tsp spoon to measure all ingredients.

In a large Ziploc bag, mash the bananas. Add eggs, sugar, melted butter or oil (and vanilla if you are baking Yammie's recipe), seal the bag, and shake and squish until well combined.

Add in the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder (and cinnamon if you are baking Yammie's recipe). Seal the bag again and shake and squish again until well combined. Do not over-squash the bag at this stage as the batter is ok to be lumpy.

Make a snip at the corner of the bag and squirt the batter into a lined muffin tin. Don't make the snip too big as the batter can be runny. To avoid excessive mess, pinch and hold the corner of the bag while transferring from one muffin cup to another.

Bake for 20 mins or until a toothpick (not skewer so that you can throw away the toothpick without washing it) comes out clean.

Finding the banana muffins too plain???

These basic banana muffins are very delicious on its own. Although they are not too sweet, I reckon the sweetness is just right for us. If you find them too plain and simple, these are extras that you can add on ...

You can either:

1) make a lemon glaze like the one in Yammie's recipe for the muffins. Mix 1/2 cup icing sugar, 1 tbsp milk or lemon juice until your required consistency and pour it over the cooled muffins.
or 2) add walnuts and/or chocolate chips into the batter before baking.
or 3) make them like ours with Nutella swirl. To do that, you need to wash one more spoon to spoon Nutella onto the muffin directly or spoon tablespoonfuls of Nutella into a disposable piping bag and pipe about 1-2 tsp of Nutella onto each muffins. Then, use a toothpick to make the swirls.

Happy Baking

This post is also linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Faeez from Bitter Sweet Spicy at this post.

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is BANANA for March 2015 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st Mar 2015.

What after March 2015? Diana from The Domestic Goddess Wannabe will be the next hostess of April 2015 and her theme is CHICKEN! Unlike the usual schedule, her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the 1st Apr 2015.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY or/and Faeez from Bitter Sweet Spicy. For more details, please see this.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Tim Tam Truffle Chocolate Easter Eggs

I can't believe that it is March now...


Just weeks ago, my blogging friends and I have been cooking and baking heaps for Chinese New Year and Valentine day. We had 225 posts linking with us at Cook and Celebrate: CNY 2015 and 59 posts linking with Grace for Little Thumbs Up (chocolate) at here. I like to thank all of you for your participation. Sad that the Tong Tong Chiang (the sound of lion dance) and the romantic kissy kissy season are over...

On the bright side, Easter is arriving... It is the time of the year when supermarkets are displaying racks of freshly baked hot cross buns and Easter chocolate eggs and I'm telling myself now that I have to do something for Easter.

Instead of baking hot cross buns like I did at here and here and Easter bread at here, I like to make something a little different... Not something extraordinary but something traditional with an extraordinary twist. Geez! I need a light bulb, please!

*Think! Think!*

Got something here... Remember the easy Tim Tam truffles that I made when I first started blogging? They are pretty unforgettable because they are extremely easy to make and sinfully good to eat! I got an idea here... An idea to make my own Easter chocolate eggs with these unforgettable Tim Tam truffle filling.

Tim Tam truffle chocolate Easter eggs
Tim Tam Truffle Chocolate Easter Eggs
To start, I need to melt some good quality dark chocolate.
This dline Easter egg mould is one of the fabulous tools that I have received from Donaldson :)
All done... and so I placed these into the freezer for a quick chill.
I like to use these two different kinds of cookies to create two different truffles fillings.
Plus, I like to use the 35% fat reduced cream cheese for a lighter and fluffier texture.
Use either a food processor or zip lock bags to crunch and mix the cookies and cream cheese together.
When the chocolate eggs are semi-set, place adequate amount of cream cheese filling into each half of the eggs and cover the filling with some melted chocolate to secure the filling into the eggs.
Do this step for half of the chocolate eggs.
Remove the other half of the chocolate eggss from the mould and place the empty eggs onto the filled halves.
Notice the condensation of my chocolate eggs.
It has been hot and humid in Melbourne for the past few days with thunderstorm!
The sudden temperature change is causing some of my eggs to crack!!! And I sweat even more when this happened - LOL! ... but lucky me! Most of them survive!!!
I've also made a large chocolate egg for my son. And of course, I didn't fill this enormous egg with any truffle filling... Too much cream cheese can be extremely jelak!!! - meaning food that is too rich in Malay language.
I hope you will like these little homemade chocolate Easter eggs.
Indeed that they are pretty traditional but with an interesting Aussie twist.

I must apologise that I don't really have a concise recipe to make these chocolate Easter eggs as the yield depends on the size of chocolate mould that you used and also how many chocolate layers that you would wish to coat on your mould.

Besides, I must admit that I have gone overwhelmed with the amount of filling that I had prepared and used only the Tim Tam filling to fill my Easter eggs. What happens to the rest? I have used the leftover to make them into truffles like what I have done here. It is a fuss free and easier way to incorporate nice creamy fillings into chocolate. Like it happened before, my husband brought the truffles to "feed" his colleagues and they were loving them! :)

Didn't I (Zoe) say that the truffles are easier to make than chocolate eggs??? Yes yes yes but but but chocolate truffles are never traditional like the chocolate eggs for Easter celebrations! Agree?

This is how I made my Tim Tam Truffle Chocolate Easter Eggs which is partially adapted from here

You need:
chocolate eggs mould
good quality chocolate (I have used Callebaut dark chocolate callets with 56% cocoa)
Tim Tam or Oreo cookies
30% fat reduced cream cheese (same as the amount of cookies that you used)

Brush the Easter egg mould lightly with vegetable oil - optional because I believe the chocolate will be easily removed if they are properly set in a chilled enough temperature.

Using a microwave (with short pulses of medium power and stirring) or a double boiler, melt chocolate until it is smooth and glossy. If you wish to make chocolate with the perfect shine, you wish to adapt the precise chocolate tempering methods from here, here and here to melt and set your chocolate. If you are like me who is happy enough to eat good quality kind of chocolate in regardless how it looks, you can choose to ignore the temperature factor :p 

Spoon melted chocolate into the prepared mould. Depending on the size of the mould, use a toothpick or the back of a teaspoon to spread the chocolate evenly over the inside of the mould. Place chocolate in a freezer for a quick chill until the chocolate are properly set.

Meanwhile, crush, mix and combine Tim Tam or Oreo and cream cheese with equal proportion in a food processor or zip lock bags.

Refrigerate the cream cheese mixture for about 30 mins until it firms up slightly. When the chocolate cases are set, spoon adequate amount of cream cheese mixture into half of the chocolate eggs and remove half of the chocolate eggs from the mould - Please see *. Cover the cream cheese filling with some melted chocolate to secure the filling into the eggs and place the empty eggs onto the filled halves making sure that the edges join to form shapes of a full egg. Chill the chocolate in a freezer until totally set.

* If you are using the mould that allows you to align and join the eggs without removing half of the egg (like the large chocolate egg that I made), you don't have to remove half of the chocolate egg. Align the eggs to form shapes of a full egg and use clips to secure the mould. Shake to coat on both sides. Chill the chocolate in a freezer until totally set.

Remove the clips if required. Gently press the top and bottom of the mould, one side at a time, to release the egg and serve!

Enjoy the treats