rainy day baking

Seattle returns to its rainy old self today. I’m kind of happy about that. We had a few really sunny and hot days this week, but I almost felt they were coming too early.

 Over the years, I’ve grown to love the gray and wet. Plus, it’s baking weather! Plus, I’m sure we will have plenty of hot, summery, sunny days, usually July through September.

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So today I decided to bake something simple. Some mini cupcakes. And, as I go on with this blog, I’m coming to the realization that ideally I want my cupcakes bare (no liners), with domed tops (or at least not sunken in at the top), and not a lot of frosting. I don’t like cupcakes where one can only see the frosting and the paper.

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And this recipe fits the bill. It rises well, and comes out of the pan well. Just make sure you let it cool for about 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven, as they are soft and dent easily! But they hold their shape fairly well after that.

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Although they will keep well for up to two days in an air-tight container, they are best eaten on the same day they are made.

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brown butter banana mini cupcakes with dulce de leche frosting

ingredients for the cupcakes (makes about 36 mini cupcakes):

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup browned butter, cooled

1 cup brown sugar, packed tightly

3 medium bananas, about 1 cup mashed

1 egg

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

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method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 36 mini cupcake molds. I used a non-stick baking spray that was a combination of butter and flour. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Then use a whisk to mix and blend it thoroughly in the bowl. Set aside.

In a saucepan, brown the butter on medium-high heat. This could take several minutes, and watch carefully because it’s easy to burn. You will want the milk solids to turn brown, but if they are dark brown/black, it might be too bitter to use. Transfer to a bowl. If brown bits are sticking to the pan, you’ll want to scrape it with a spatula to make sure you get them brown bits–that’s what brown butter is all about! Set aside to cool.

In a medium to large bowl, using a hand held mixer, blend the cooled brown butter and brown sugar well. Add vanilla, mashed bananas and blend well. Gradually add flour mixture on medium speed and stop as soon as the flour is moistened by the batter. It’s better to under-mix than to over-mix, as over-mixing can make the cupcakes tough. Fold it slightly with a spatula if there are big lumps of dry flour left.

Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, add to cupcake molds. Place mini cupcake trays on baking sheets and place in oven for 12-14 minutes, or until tops have risen and are not shiny, and a toothpick comes out clean when tested in the middle. Let rest on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then carefully invert and re-invert on rack to completely cool before frosting.

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For frosting:

8 ounces of unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 dulce de leche (choose your method.)

Blend with a hand held mixer until thoroughly blended and smooth. Place into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe swirls on top of mini cupcakes.

4 thoughts on “rainy day baking

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