Posts Tagged ‘nuts’

Honey Walnut Cake

I saved a life today.

The patient was a 28-year-old male who arrived by ambulance after a motor vehicle accident. Upon arrival, his heart went into a dangerous arrhythmia known as ventricular tachycardia or v-tach as we say in the biz and had no pulse. I proceeded to run the code, ordering several rounds of epinephrine and vasopressin, multiple defibrillation shocks, as well as amiodarone (an antiarrhythmic) and lidocaine. I ordered a fellow student to conduct CPR and I quickly intubated the patient for airway management.

He eventually went into a normal sinus rhythm with strong pulses.

We all cheered and I congratulated my team on a job well done.

My patient?

At the end of the day he was packed up into a suitcase of sorts and stored in the closet with all the other mannequins.

I took my ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) class today. 10 hours. Part two is tomorrow. Another 10 hours. Yayyyyyyyyyy!

Pardon me, I’m a bit delirious.

But I’m sane enough to know a good cake when I eat one and this is it. I made this cake yesterday for a little end-of-the-year party a couple friends threw. Sorry for the lack of pictures but, you know, PARTY with DRINKS so.. blogging was on the backburner.

Anyway, delicious cake.

AND! For the first time, I’m submitting something to Regional Recipes! Hollerrrrrrrrr.

I really did save a life today.

REALLY!

Honey Walnut Cake
adapted from epicurious

Makes one 9″ cake.

Ingredients
3/4 c sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c chopped walnuts (or any nut combo of your choice)

For honey syrup:
1/2 c honey
1/2 c water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Optional garnish:
fresh fruit (I used strawberries and blueberries)
sweetened whipped cream

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 9″ round cake pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves together. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, rub orange zest into sugar. Cream butter and orange-rubbed sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly in between. Alternating, mix the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions, finishing with the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan.

While the cake is baking, combine the honey, water, lemon juice, and zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

After the cake has cooled in the pan for 10-20 minutes, pour the syrup over the cake, cover, and allow to sit for several hours before serving so the syrup can soak in properly.

Bon appetito!

– Sharlene

Roasted Banana & Pecan Mini-Cupcakes

“I think you’ve outdone yourself this time.” – Boy

And I had.

Do you ever get into a rut? This week was my rut.

I was just sick of the same ol’ same ol’. I wanted different new different new! I wanted a change. Job/school, Boy, everything else. It was the same thing every day. I was tired of going to the hospital at a certain hour, eating lunch at a certain hour,  waiting for the clock to hit the certain hour so I could go home. (I’m on research elective right now so I don’t even have much interaction with other human beings. It’s awful lonely.) I was tired of coming home, cooking, eating in front of the laptop/television, and then continuing research. I was tired of eating leftovers for lunch the next day. I was tired in general.

So what did I do? I baked.

I had two overripe bananas and I decided that this time they wouldn’t be turned into pancakes (my usual go-to) or even bread (everyone else’s go-to so I have it often enough even though I don’t make it). They were going to be my change. They would bring me out of my rut.

I looked around the internet ahem-myfavoriteblogs-ahem for something to strike my eye but nothing really did. Breads and pancakes were rampant. I WANTED DIFFERENT NEW!

And then.. these cupcakes appeared. (Well, not really appeared. More like, I literally looked around my room and saw Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book, flipped through it, and saw these.) And while Martha has her own banana pecan cupcake, the idea of roasting my bananas was enough to pull me out of my rut alone. Making them tiny and adding the candied pecans I made earlier in the week? A stroke of genius.

These really are pull-you-out-of-a-rut-cupcakes. Mini-cupcakes are the perfect size for a pick-me-up without concern for thighs, abs, or chicken arms. And if you keep them in an airtight container in the fridge, they turn into a delicious cold treat when New Jersey decides to be over 90F in April and you haven’t turned on the a/c yet. Win!

Roasted Banana Mini-Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting & Candied Pecans
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Makes 48 mini-cupcakes.
[I halved this recipe so pictures will be half what you’d see if you make the full recipe.]

Ingredients
For cupcakes:
3 ripe bananas
2 c cake flour, sifted [or all-purpose flour + cornstarch!]
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 c) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

For frosting:
2 1/2 confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 sticks (1 c) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For pecans:
See recipe here.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F. Place whole unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Peels will darken. It will smell divine. Remove bananas from oven and let cool before peeling. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a bowl, on medium speed with a hand or stand mixer, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Set aside.

On medium-high speed with a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition, and scraping down the bowl as needed. Add roasted bananas. They’ll just fall apart. It’s glorious. Add flour in 3 batches alternating with the sour cream in 2 batches, just combining the ingredients before adding the next batch. Beat in vanilla. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter at a time until all incorporated. Divide batter among a pre-lined mini-cupcake pan. 3/4 full is ideal. Press 3 pecan halves into each mini-cupcake. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

While baking, make the frosting! On medium with a hand or stand mixer, combine all the ingredients until smooth. So easy!

To finish: When cupcakes are cooled, use your favorite tip or plastic baggie with the corner cut off to pipe frosting. Top with banana slices or a whole pecan. Eat a minimum of 5. Wash down with milk.

Smiles.

– Sharlene

Candied Nuts

I don’t like nuts.

Okay. That’s a lie.

I don’t usually like nuts.

If given the choice between a baked good with nuts or.. nothing, I’d go dessert-less. Even if I was craving chocolate. I just don’t like the crunch in my baked goods.

Sure, I can scarf down a bowl of cashews with the best of them. (By the way, my dad’s cashews and toasted/roasted/who-knows-what-he-does garlic? Wowza.) But other than cashews, I don’t really eat nuts.

Oh I also pad thai, including the nuts if they are present. I basically lick the bowl clean. YUM!

Anyway. Yeah. Not so much with the nuts.

But me and these nuts? We’re best friends.

How did that happen?!

Well if you really want the whole story read the whole thing. For the abridged version, only read what is in the brackets below (I stole this method from the missals in church. I hope that’s okay.)

I originally wanted to make this poppy seed lemon cake. I’ve been staring at it since Deb posted it in January. Doesn’t it look divine? Then with the springtime weather and my lemon/orange/all-things-that-smell-like-cleaning-products kick, I had to, HAD TO make it. And Deb gave suggestions for what to do with the 8 egg whites I’d have left over! Win! Because I didn’t really feel like making an angel food cake. It’s never really been my thing. Also, two cakes? For one person? That just seems overboard. So I looked over the recipes and settled on three, THREE uses for my to-be-yolkless egg whites including these here nuts.

One problem.

The sole bundt pan within my apartment was filled with a sour cream coffee cake my roommate had made for work last week.

*shakes fist and glares at cake*

What was I to do? It’s her bundt pan in the first place. (Why the heck don’t I own one?!) So, alas, no poppy seed lemon cake was to be made that day. I went grocery shopping for the week and didn’t buy poppy seeds or lemons Okay I bought lemons. I’m obsessed. But no poppy seeds! No hazelnut brown butter cake. No amaretti cookies. No nuts.

Nuts. (Get it?)

But when I got home from the grocery store and finished making dinner I just didn’t feel right. I had to bake something. But what? I looked around for the usual suspects. Chocolate chips? For cookies, muffins, or brownies even? Plain sugar cookies then? Maybe something with the lemons you bought for no predetermined purpose? Pecans? PECANS?! I HAVE PECANS?! I saw a recipe for pecans! Pecans I will make. Pecans I will shake. Pecans I will bake.

And so I did.

And now we’re best friends. One, because they gave me something to bake when I thought all hope was lost. And two, because they literally haven’t left my side since I made them. I carry them in baggies with me. (What? I needs snacks!)

[Abridged: The whole story was kind of pointless. These nuts are yum.]

Sugar-and-Spice Candied Nuts
Adapted from smitten kitchen, originally from Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country

Ingredients
1/3 c dark brown sugar
2/3 c granulated sugar
1 heaping tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lb walnut or pecan halves or whole peeled hazelnuts [I used pecans. Heaven.]
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tbsp water

Instructions
Preheat oven to 300F.

Sift together sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon and mix, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts, and stir to coat evenly. Toss nuts with sugar mixture until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together. [Or keep them in chunks for one-handed munching if, say, you’re using a mouse with the other hand.]

Addictive.

– Sharlene