Brownies are one of those things you can never get enough of. But you try to stop at one slice (or two at most) because they’re full of all the good sinful stuff that makes us sugary happy. And I’ve been very good. I haven’t had brownies in a while. But Daryl got some keto brownies yesterday and it really hit the spot. We woke up thinking of brownies this morning.
As Daryl is on health binge so he made some with black chick peas and stevia. They tasted good but the chickpea taste was just too overpowering.
So I googled for a recipe and found a fuss-free one. I made some adjustments and wham, within 20 mins I had myself some insanely moist and deep dark brooding brownies that I haven’t been able to stop eating. Four slices in, and I’m still trying to resist. It’s that good. It certainly made my Saturday. If you’re looking to score some points with a friend (or lover or your favourite person), make them these. Best of all, you don’t need a fancy-esque mixer – just a whisk and a bowl.
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp sucanat*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp instant coffee (I used decaf here)
10 tbsps butter or 141g
2 oz dark chocolate
3 eggs at room temperature
Preheat oven to 175°. Grease a 8×8 inch pan or line with parchment paper/aluminium foil.
Whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sucanat, and instant coffee in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, melt the butter and chocolate. Whisk in the eggs and gently whisk in the dry ingredients just until mixed through. Do not over mix the batter to keep it light.
Transfer batter into the baking pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out moist. Let cool 30 mins to 2 hours and slice before biting in!
*Note: Sucanat is pure dried sugar cane juice. The juice is extracted by mechanical processes, heated, and cooled, forming small brown grainy crystals. It contains less sucrose and retains the natural molasses and trace nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium, and B vitamins.
**You can make these keto if you used a sugar substitute like erythritol
Food to me is life. I don’t care much for the material things of this world, really. For as long as I know, I’ve been searching for food experiences to keep in my memory bank. Food gives me comfort, it is the epitome of love – love for yourself (feeding your body well), love for others (expression of your love to others), and love for the world (respecting food, by enjoying the ingredients and making it well).
It is to no surprise then, that I found a chef to marry me (I must have cast quite a spell, I like to think it was my baking) and who still wants to be with me even after almost 4 years of marriage. Given the current circuit breaker (Singapore’s version of a lite lockdown), I was ready to face a version of us that was all snark, and no patience. With 5 warm bodies under 1 roof, tensions will run high and it has. Thankfully we are in tune to our love languages – that being acts of love, like cooking for one another.
So last Saturday, I woke up and decided to bake Daryl some stupendously delicious banana bread. He had casually mentioned the other day that banana bread was one of the first things he made for me. As I have a memory as non-existent as Dory from Finding Nemo, I could not remember. He told me to go check Instagram and lo and behold, I found that dish of love:
That brought back so many warm and fuzzy feelings! We had only just started dating little over a month by then. All our dates were about food – checking out that new cafe, or him surprising me with a night picnic (a small grass patch just below his apartment ha) with a charcuterie platter. Just thinking about those memories made me relish our time and bond together. It was a good reminder of what a great team we make. And I truly believe any day is a good day to say ‘thank you’ via a loaf of pure banana-nana love (trust me on this, it’s that good).
I will have you know first that I’ve not made many banana breads in my life. Probably only 5 other times. And each time, I have used only recipes from Smitten Kitchen. She’s a great cook and baker and she’s so precise with her instructions. This time, I made several small tweaks just to change things up. Dang, it turned out to be a bonus! One thing I did right was to buy Pisang Raja bananas (or Musa Belle, here’s a guide on which is which), and to wait patiently for it to go really black and ugly (overripe). You will know when they are ready to be used for your banana bread – that intoxicating scent catches you when you walk past.
Once ripe, and if you’re not going to use it immediately, do freeze it – they last a long time.
50g light brown sugar (small note on sweetness. I prefer to let that natural ripe banana sweetness come through thus I use less sugar. you can tweak sugar amount to preference)
4 large mashed large Pisang Raja bananas (try not to use Marshall Cavendish ones – they have the least flavour)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt (sea salt or otherwise)
1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Heat oven to 175°C. Butter a loaf pan or coat it with a nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Keep 2 slices of banana for decorating the top, before you mash the rest.
Melt butter (or coconut oil, if going vegan) in a large bowl and whisk in the sugars until smooth.
Stir in mashed banana. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle the surface of the batter evenly with salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder, and whisk until the ingredients are mixed well.
Add flour and stir until combined. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. It should come to just over 1/2-inch from the top rim. Place your two bananas at the top. If you like a nice caramelised top, sprinkle some raw demerara sugar
Bake banana bread for 65 minutes. It is done when a toothpick or skewer inserted into the bread is batter-free
Let cool completely in pan. Remove from pan once cool. Make sure not to slice it until it’s completely cool.
It keeps for a week in the fridge (or 5 days at room temp).
Have a lovely week, and remember, love one another and if you’re not one to verbalise it, then use your actions! Bake a banana bread, go bananas!
My g0-to fast snack option for the family. Takes less than 15 mins.
Snack bars are my achilles heel. Last month, I counted more than 6 varying types and brands of snack bars bursting through my pantry shelves. Granola, nut, protein, chia seed, wholegrain, and buckwheat bars, just to name a few. My husband Daryl has since banned me from adding to my impressive stash. I am trying to reign my obsession in. I would argue that snack bars are an essential. Fellow mothers reading this, I’m sure you’d nod in unison to all the reasons why snack bars are a must-have (especially with our on-going Covid-19 pandemic)!
You can multi-task even if inundated with back-to-back-to-back work conference calls; no time for lunch, no problem, a bar, 3 bites and all the energy to keep going
Keeps for longer, which means lesser grocery runs
Nutritious! Well most are, depends which ones you get. I like oat-based, wholegrain ones.
Great for when I feel peckish and trying not to open that bag of crisps.
But I’m not here to sell you snack bars or fawn all over them. I wanted to share a really great snack bar recipe I found and have been adapting every time I make it. Since I gobble that much snack bars, I might as well make my own and put in all the good stuff.
These bars are a cinch to make because they do not require you to bake and only involves 5 ingredients (excluding the fixings you decide to add).
1 heaping cup packed pitted dates (medjool/deglet noor)*
2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave nectar or honey)
2 tbsp barley malt syrup*
1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter (or any nut butter really)
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, coarse chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats, toasted (I like to use Bob Red Mill’s Extra Thick Rolled Oats)
Cocoa nibs, raisins, cranberries, vanilla, or any other dried fruit etc would make great add-ins.
Process pitted dates in a food processor or blender (I use the latter and it works fine) for about 1-2 mins until it forms a sticky dough-like consistency.
If your almonds aren’t pre-roasted, toast them at 150°C for 10 mins
Optional: Toast your rolled oats at 180°C for 10-12 mins (it should be a nice toasty golden brown)
Combine rolled oats, almonds and date mixture in a bowl and set aside
Combine your syrups and peanut butter and warm them up in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over the oat mixture.
Use a sturdy spatula to mix thoroughly, until combined. Place in an 8×8-inch baking dish or a small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
Press down firmly until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove bars from pan and chop into however many bars or squares you want, to size. I prefer small bite-size 1.5 inch squares.
Store them in the freezer so they last longer.
Notes: *Barley malt syrup is something I just discovered. It is easily available on iHerb and is an unrefined liquid sweetener made from soaked and sprouted barley. Its consistency is similar to molasses and golden syrup. I find that it helps bind these snacks better and I really like the flavour.
As a chocolate fiend, I had to resist throwing in chocolate chips into these bars. I wanted it to be healthy so cocoa nibs was a good alternative. It was a double-win actually – bittersweet meets natural gooey sweetness. Utter bliss and without (that much) guilt. I much prefer these bars now, and have indeed been buying less commercial made ones.
Simple and (slightly) effortless, that’s everything you need to know about these bars. Blend, chop, mix, freeze and slice. I usually make them at night so they are nice and sturdy by the next day for my (and my son’s) enjoyment and due sustenance.