Grilled Bananas

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If you’re grilling burgers or hot dogs this summer, why not make grilled bananas for dessert too?  They’re tender and sweet, and are great with vanilla ice cream if you really feel decadent.

Note: For the cinnamon sugar, you can use a ratio of 2 teaspoons cinnamon to 1/4 cup sugar.

 

Grilled Bananas

  • Bananas, as many as desired
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter per banana
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar per banana

 

  1. Heat your grill.  (Presumably you’ll also be making burgers or something like that.)
  2. Slice bananas lengthwise, cutting all the way through the edible part of the banana but not through the skin on the opposite side.  (You don’t want your buttery, cinnamon-y goodness to run out of the other side!)
  3. Spread butter on the inside of each banana.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar inside each banana.
  5. Wrap each banana in aluminum foil and place directly on the hot coals.  Let bananas cook until soft, about 20 minutes.
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Cinnamon Squares

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The cinnamon squares turn out very tender and moist, if a little crumbly.  Even someone who hates gluten-free desserts surprised himself by liking them.

Baking Notes:

  • Make sure to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, or it will be hard to get the cake out in one piece.
  • If using gluten-free flour, use over 1/2 of the batter in the bottom layer because the chocolate chips will sink while baking.

 

Cinnamon Squares
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9 squares

For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped OR 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped OR 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

 

  1. Center rack in oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Butter 8″ x 8″ baking pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper.  Place pan on a baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and espresso (if using).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. Pour liquid mixture over flour mixture and gently whisk until batter is homogeneous.
  6. Using the whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in butter just until butter is absorbed.  The batter will be smooth and satiny.
  7. Scrape about half of batter (or over half of the batter if using gluten-free flour) into the pan and smooth the top.
  8. Sprinkle chocolate over the batter.  Then sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over the chocolate.
  9. Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top.
  10. Bake for 65-70 minutes if gluten free, OR 35-40 minutes if not.  (Yes, the gluten-free version takes a lot longer to bake.)  The cake will look puffed and start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  A thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean.
  11. Transfer pan to wire rack and let it cool for 15 minutes before unmolding it onto another rack.
  12. Peel off paper, invert onto first rack, and cool to room temperature right side up.
  13. After the cake has cooled, put the chocolate and butter in a small non-stick saucepan.  Melt them together on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.  The mixture will be smooth, very shiny, thick, and spreadable.  (If it thins out from overheating, leave it at room temperature for a bit until it thickens a little.)
  14. Using an offset metal icing spatula or table knife, spread frosting in generous sweeps and swirls over the top of the cake.
  15. Allow frosting to set at room temperature, then cut cake into 9 squares.

Cinnamon Mochi Triangles (Yatsuhashi)

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When my sister’s friend visited from Japan, he brought a box of delicious mochi triangles filled with red bean and matcha green tea paste.  I just had to make them myself, with a few modifications for my friends with food allergies.  The combination of mochi and vanilla pudding filling (to avoid beans) creates an intriguing flavor.  You can probably use pastry cream or ice cream too.

The shiratamako and joshinko flours are unusual, but you can find them in a Japanese grocery store.  Otherwise, just use mochiko flour, although the original recipe warns that the texture will be different.

Original recipe

 

Cinnamon Mochi Triangles (Yatsuhashi)
Adapted from Just One Cookbook

Yield: 8-10 mochi triangles

  • Scant ¼ cup (30 g) shiratamako OR mochiko flour
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon water
  • ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon (60 g) sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons (50 g) joshinko rice flour OR more mochiko if you can’t find joshinko
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup (150 g) red bean paste (anko) OR a package of cook and serve vanilla pudding
  • Soybean powder (kinako) OR rice flour, for dusting work surface

 

  1. If using vanilla pudding for the filling, prepare this now, following directions on the package.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine shiratamako and water.  The shiratamako looks very coarse, but the lumps dissolve will quickly.
  3. Whisk until there are no more lumps of flour.
  4. With a spatula, mix in sugar and joshinko, until the mixture is smooth and you can see the bottom of the bowl for a second when you draw a line.  If necessary, add a little more water.
  5. To cook the mochi mixture, you can use a microwave or steam it on the stove.

    To microwave it, cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap, adjust microwave power to about 700W, and microwave for 1.5 minutes.  Stir mixture with a wet spatula, cover again, and microwave for another 1-1.5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and sticky.

    To steam the mochi mixture on the stove, put a steamer rack in a large pot, fill the bottom of the pot with water, and bring to a boil.  Place bowl on steamer rack, making sure that the water won’t flood into the bowl.  Wrap the pot lid with a kitchen towel so that condensation won’t drop into the mixture, cover pot, and steam for 12-15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and sticky.

  6. Dust a work surface with soybean powder OR rice flour.
  7. Flatten the dough somewhat, sprinkle with cinnamon, and knead it in.
  8. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin, roughly rectangular sheet and cut out 3″ x 3″ squares.  They will look like wonton wrappers.
  9. Knead and roll out the dough scraps to cut more squares.
  10. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each square and fold in half diagonally.
  11. Pinch edges together gently, wetting them with water to seal if necessary.
  12. Store at room temperature for up to 1 day.  (Putting them in the refrigerator will make the mochi hard.)

 

 

Baked Honey Cinnamon Peaches

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We made these back in the summer when we had a surfeit of peaches and decided to make a Roman-inspired dessert.  They were very tasty and simple, and relatively healthy (at least compared to a pound cake).

The original recipe is here:

Original Skinny Fork recipe

Baked Honey Cinnamon Peaches
From The Skinny Fork

2 large, ripe peaches
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut peaches in half and remove the stone.
  3. On top of each peach half, place 1/2 tablespoon butter, a pinch of cinnamon, and 1/2 tablespoon honey.  (The amounts really don’t need to be that precise.)
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the peaches are golden brown and soft.