Tag Archives: Baking

Matcha Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Let’s talk about Matcha.

Matcha is the finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea.

It is special because the green tea plants for Matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, this is how it produces more theanine and caffeine.  This combination of chemicals is considered to account for the calm energy people might feel from drinking Matcha. The powdered form of Matcha is consumed dissolved in water or milk.
I love Matcha dissolved in almond milk sweetened with a little honey. Known as the “Matcha Latte”. And the calm energy part is the perfect description of the energy you feel after a cup of Matcha, it’s not like when you drink too much coffee, where you might feel uncomfortable with a raced feeling. Matcha just gives you tons of energy due to the high levels of Theanine. Theanine makes the brain produce alpha waves, which induce a state of relaxation and focused attention, similar to meditation. Matcha has a high amount of EGCG, a plant chemical that stimulates cell suicide in unhealthy cells, and stimulates metabolism as well.
It also has one of the highest ORAC values and is therefore a potent antioxidant. The ORAC value for Matcha is 1348 units per gram, compared to 24 units for blueberries.
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) unit, ORAC value, or “ORAC score” is a method of measuring (in vitrio) the antioxidant capacity of different foods and supplements. The higher the food on the ORAC scale the more effective it will be at neutralizing free radicals.

Since I love  Matcha so much I have come up with many ways to incorporate it into baking. Today I’m sharing one of my favourite recipes for Matcha Cupcakes,  with a delicious white chocolate buttercream.

Makes: 12 Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cupcakes;

  •  1 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. Matcha green tea powder, culinary grade
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  •  1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup butter or margarine
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk + 1/4 cup milk, mixed in a jug

For the Buttercream;

  • 5 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 Cup butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 1/4  Cup confectionary sugar
  • 2 tsp. Matcha powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Sift flour, Matcha, salt and baking powder together into a bowl.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the bowl.
  4. Meanwhile line a cupcake tin with liners and pre heat the oven to 180° C. / 350° F.
  5. Mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk, mix with a spatula and do not over mix.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners half way.
  7. Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out dry.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a rack before frosting.

To make the buttercream;

  1. Melt the white chocolate au bain-marie by bringing a pot of water to a simmer, suspend a bowl in the pot without touching the water, break up the chocolate into smaller pieces and place in the bowl, leave to melt stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula .
  2. Meanwhile beat the butter with your mixer until fluffy, slowly add the confectionary sugar and the Matcha powder, mix until well incorporated.
  3. Once cooled, slowly add the melted chocolate and beat quickly to incorporate.
  4. You may have to put the butter cream in the fridge for half an hour if it is too soft before piping onto the cupcakes.

To assemble:

  1. Simply place the buttercream in a piping bag and put on your favourite tip. Squeeze the buttercream gently in a circular motion over the cupcake until you have a nice peak. Decorate with flowers and/or sprinkles.

Enjoy!

Double chocolate zucchini banana bread

Chocolate zucchini banana bread

One bowl and 15 minutes, that’s all it takes.

Death by Chocolate cake is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about this dense chocolatey zucchini banana bread.

It’s by far our favorite one.

Intensely chocolaty…with chocolate in the batter and more chocolate in the form of chocolate chunks, and plenty of them. Soft gooey puddles of chocolate throughout, a tender crumb and so perfectly soft yet firm enough to slice effortlessly.
There’s just something about homemade banana bread that I find irresistible, add chocolate to the equation and you’ve got yourself the perfect breakfast, tea or dessert loaf.
About the ingredients, when it comes to  cocoa, I like to get the best quality I can get my hands on.  It’s worth the extra money.
The yoghurt may come as a surprise but it is perfect to balance out the intense chocolate flavor. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 c. grated zucchini (after squeezing dry), about 1 large
  • 1 cup bananas mashed, about 2 large
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup regular plain yoghurt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole grain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or  chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a buttered loaf tin 22cm/9″ with parchment paper.

Start by grating the zucchini with a medium grater onto a kitchen towel. Bring the corners of the towel together and squeeze out all the moisture. Set aside.

In a large bowl mash the bananas with a fork, add the eggs, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla and yogurt. Beat together until well combined. Add the zucchini and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to combine without over mixing.

Chop the chocolate leaving some chunks, mix into the batter. Alternatively add the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared loaf tin, smooth out the top of the batter with a small spatula and place in the middle of the oven.

Bake for about 55-60 minutes, insert wooden skewer to check, if it comes out dry it’s done.

Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Remove from loaf tin, leaving on the parchment paper and let cool completely before cutting.

This loaf will keep for 3 to 4 days, or you can slice and freeze individual portions.

Enjoy!

Spread with some extra Nutella…for a full chocolate explosion 🙂

wonder bread

10 most popular recipes of 2020

2020 is coming to an end and what a challenging year it has been, to say the least. With one terrible event after the other. Heartbreaking, confusing and dispairing come to mind.
Am I the only one feeling a sense of relief that the year is almost over?

…but also hope, hope that next year will be better. It has to be and that’s we’ll hang on to for now.

Hopefully next year we can all go back to normal,  and live our lives to the fullest. 

Meanwhile… everyone has been on social media more than ever before,  so I wanted to share the most popular recipes of 2020, to inspire everyone to keep on cooking as much as we all did this past year.
I really noticed how everyone was baking more than usual so it comes as no surprise that the two most popular recipes this year were both bread.   Here are the top ten.

10.Pollo al Ajillo, Chicken in Garlic white wine Sauce .

An oldie but a goodie, we make this at home all the time, great for company too.

9. Homemade Spelt Tortilla

Nothing beats a home made tortilla and the are so simple and freeze well.

8. Whole Spelt Pizza with Chorizo, caramelized Onions and Basil

Chorizo with caramelized onions really can’t be beat:)

7. Chocolate Dulce de Leche mini Tarts

Mini buttery pastry crusts filled with gooey caramel and chocolate, a great dessert or tea-time treat

6. Smoky Chili con Carne with Pumpkin

Smokey Chili with the addition of Pumpkin, perfect for cold evenings plus you get extra veggies.

5. Chia Seed Bread

A protein packed loaf with a great bite and super healthy. Makes great toast.

4. Steak au Poivre, Steak in a creamy green peppercorn sauce

A classic that all meat lovers enjoy. Straight forward and so delicious with a non alcoholic green peppercorn sauce.

3. Cod and Shrimp in a Lemon cream sauce

This recipe has been a favorite for years and is the easiest recipe on the blog, pretty much fool proof and still kind of fancy.

2. Everyday Spelt Bread

Our go-to Spelt bread, I receive a ton of positive reviews on this loaf, it’s so easy and perfect for everyday baking.

1. Norwegian Health Bread

This is the most popular recipe on the blog and one of my personal favorites, so healthy and full of goodness. Perfect for a fresh and healthy start in the new year.

wonder bread

I hope you enjoyed the roundup, and if you make any of the most popular recipes of 2020 be sure to leave a comment and/or pin it to Pinterest. And of course, if you do make any of these recipes, don’t forget to post on instagram and tag me #thecookingspoonblog

Gluten Free Bread Loaf

I’ve been testing some gluten free flour mixes and this is the best one so far, I can use it in any recipe requiring regular flour, in a one to one ratio, so no further calculating is necessary.
I have been using it for my quick gluten free bread loaf, pancakes and even pizza bases.


GLUTEN FREE ALL PURPOSE FLOUR MIX;
In a large bowl mix;
150 gr. potato starch (or corn starch)
150 gr. tapioca flour
200 gr. brown rice flour
200 gr. oat flour
300 gr. white rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum

Stir until everything is mixed very well and store in an airtight container.

Prep time : 30 minutes (this includes making the flour mix)
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Makes : 1 loaf
INGREDIENTS;
• 3 1/2 – 3 3/4 cups gluten free all purpose flour mix
• 2 tsp. instant yeast
• 1 tsp himalayan salt
• 2 1/2 cups plus 1 or 2 tablespoon warm water
• 1 tbsp. honey or agave syrup
• 1 tsp. (apple cider) vinegar
• 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil or olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS;
1. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour mix, the instant yeast and salt in mixer bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. In a jug measure out the warm water and add the agave or honey, the apple cider vinegar and coconut oil.
3. Add to flour mixture.
4. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. It should be the consistency of a thick batter which is too thick to pour but not thick enough to form a ball. Add additional water or flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to get this consistency.
5. Generously grease bottom and sides of 1 loaf pan. I find cooking spray works best, but you can use butter or oil.
6. Spread batter in loaf pan, slice down the middle with a very sharp knife. (see photo)
7. Let rise in warm place for about an hour. Covered loosely with cling film that has been sprayed with a little oil.
8. Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F
9. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until bread looks firm and is fairly brown on top. Knock on it and if it sounds hollow it’s done.
10. Let cool for 20-30 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack.
11. Let cool completely before slicing.
12. I like to brush the loaf with a little olive oil for shine
13. It will keep for only three days tops, so I slice it and freeze it and take out as needed.
NOTE: You can add things like sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds to the dough if you like, not more than a 1/4 cup. Sprinkle some on the top too!

Enjoy!
Myra