Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pop tarts and Banana Bread

I love to bake.  If I had inexhaustible energy, I would throw all else to the wind, and just bake all day.  Well, there are a few days I have thrown all else to the wind and done that.  But I didn't have inexhaustible energy.  By the end of the day, I felt like Medusa looked.  Another picture image could be Pigpen from Charlie Brown cartoon series.  Although, the reason he looked that way was from never showering...

Yep, rabbit trail.

SO, I have been chomping at the bit to do some baking posts.  Something to do with time and not enough of it.  And maybe because when I do have time, I'm baking or something else.  :-)

Homemade Pop tarts

Mmmm!!  These turned out great.  I used a Goiabada filling that is plentiful here in Brazil.  Goiabada is a sort of stiff marmalade made from guavas.  Guavas are a tropical fruit but you might be able to find Goiabada in stores in the States in the ethnic isle.  Otherwise, any jelly filling works great, or even things like chocolate bar pieces.


Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together:
2 Cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt

Add with pastry blender or fork:
1 Cup butter (or margarine), cut into smaller pieces

1 Egg and 2 Tablespoons milk, whisked together.

NOTE:  Keep everything as cold as you can, even refrigerating your flour ahead of time.  I always keep my baking goods in the fridge because it stays fresher longer anyway.  This just creates a nice, flaky crust.

Briefly kneed the dough.  Don't try to make it all smooth, but leave some pea-size chunks of butter.  It does need to stick together though, so kneed enough to have a real dough.  You can refrigerate until ready to use, or move onto rolling it out.

Separate into 2 halves, refrigerate the other.  Roll out the dough to about 1/8" thickness.  Try to roll out in a rectangle shape since you want to cut 3"x4" squares out (or smaller even).

I just cut my Goiabada and stuck it in the middle of the squares.  Try to create "matching" squares of dough to go over the filling.

Cover the filled square with matching dough, crimp edges with edge of fork, and poke some holes on the top so it doesn't balloon in the oven.  And they look cool.  Before placing in oven, brush the tops with some whisked egg and lightly sprinkle some sugar on top.  This just adds a finished look to it.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Banana Bread

This keeps kids fed and helps fill up hollow legs.  Yes, I'm a professional author about hollow legs.  Having 3 boys in (almost) their teens qualifies one to write professionally about it.  And banana bread is a must have.  You'll see why below.

Double Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350.

Smooch together in a mixing bowl with beater:
 6-8 ripe bananas

Add and mix well:
1 1/2 Cups sugar
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup oil
1 Teaspoon vanilla

Mix together and add to above:
3 - 3 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons baking soda

Add the floor by hand with a mixing spoon instead of beater.  You don't want to over mix the dough.  Stir until all flour has been "enveloped" well by the wet mix.  Add more flour if needed, but it needs to be runny-ish-like...  I also like to replace some of my flour with wheat germ and oat bran, differing in various amounts but never more than 1 cup of the flour.
Butter and flour 2 molds and pour dough/batter in, leaving enough space (about 1 inch) for it to rise.  Sprinkle sugar on top.  I like to use the large grain sugar.

Bake for about 1 hour, checking by inserting a toothpick in middle.  If it comes out clean, it's done.

Allow to cool and cut into 1 inch or so pieces.  But don't turn your back...

...or all you'll have left is the heel of one of the loaves.   Sheesh.  Those hallow legs can become troublesome at times.  But, I guess that's why you are making the banana bread in the first place!