My Favorite Muffin

The delectable baked goods from Mrs. Scott’s kitchen have previously been documented here at three squabbling asians. I have fond memories of walking through her door, plopping down at the kitchen counter, and chatting with Mrs. Scott in front of a plate of these banana chip muffins. She always seemed to have a batch ready when I showed up at her house – which was often.

Having moved away from Mrs. Scott’s kitchen years ago, there has been a notable dearth of banana chip muffins in my life. So, finding some overripe bananas in my fruit bowl recently, I procured the recipe from Mrs. Scott and soon the familiar aroma of banana muffins filled my house. Since I got the recipe two months ago, I have made these at least 5 times. There also always seems to be “extra” bananas in the fruit bowl recently.

Banana Chip Muffin

The recipe makes a dozen muffins and after I eat a couple, I individually wrap the rest in saran wrap and stick them in a ziplock in the freezer. They defrost well on the counter, in the microwave, or the toaster oven and are a great complement to your morning coffee or just as a snack at any time of day.

Mrs. Scott’s Banana Chip Muffins
adapted from Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook

Makes one dozen amazing muffins

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbs hot water
  • 1 tbs instant coffee or espresso
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mash bananas, add combined water and coffee mixture. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 min). Add egg and mix well. Add banana mixture and mix. Add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter into a well-greased muffin pan and bake for 25-30 min until tops are brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Cupcakes & Coffee Cake

Spice

As I mentioned in the post below, Little Miss demanded that I make coconut cupcakes for her bridal shower. While I am normally not a coconut person, I make exceptions for a few coconut items – the coconut cake at the Halekulani in Honolulu and the coconut cupcakes from the Barefoot Contessa store in my hometown of Bonac, aka East Hampton. The Barefoot Contessa was a specialty store on Newtown Lane that sold prepared foods, delectable dessert items and $4 lattes back in 1992. Not being much of a baker, my mom was a frequent shopper and when I worked in town, I always had a friend or two who worked there that would sneak me a cupcake or two. I always said that when I got married I wanted a cupcake tower full of coconut and chocolate ganache cupcakes from the Barefoot Contessa instead of a wedding cake.

Alas, by the time I got married, the Barefoot Contessa store was no longer (I had to settle for an equally amazing wedding cake made by the talented pastry crew at the Halekulani), but its proprietor, Ina Garten has made quite a name for herself with a slew of cookbooks (I even accompanied her to a book signing party as a bookseller when her first cookbook came out) and a show on the food network. I love her cookbooks and watching her show, not just because it reminds me of home and features places and people I grew up with, but because her recipes are easy and delicious. Her cookbooks are filled with all the stuff from her store that I used to love (see shrimp salad) including this recipe for coconut cupcakes. Through the years, I have made these cupcakes for birthdays, baby showers and bridal showers and have converted all my friends, including Little Miss, into coveting these cupcakes. This recipe can also be modified into a layer cake.

Coconut Cupcakes
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Ina Garten

Makes about 18-20 large cupcakes or 3 dozen small cupcakes and 1 dozen large cupcakes

  • 3 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 oz sweetened, shreeded coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degeees.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after every addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In three parts, alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk to batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined and fold in 7 oz of coconut.

Line muffin pan with paper liners (I usually make a mix of mini muffins and regular sized muffins). Fill each cup to the top with batter. Bake for 20-30 min, until tops are brown and toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 min then remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese icing and sprinkle with coconut.

Cream Cheese Icing
Note: This is a halved recipe since I always found I had way too much icing left over but if you’re into lots of icing on your cupcakes, double the quantities here.

  • 1 package (1/2 lb) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3/4-1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Blend together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add powdered sugar to taste and mix until smooth.

Streusel Coffee Cake
I also included the recipe we attached to the bridal shower favors for a moist streusel coffee cake that I make when I have leftover plain yogurt that I need to use up (why are those containers so big?). This recipe is not from the Barefoot Contessa but is always a big hit with my co-workers.

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 stick cold butter
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter room temp
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

Mix first five ingredients together to make streusel. Set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix eggs in one at a time, beating well after each. Mix in vanilla.

Fold in dry ingredients and yogurt alternately in thirds beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Pour half batter into a bundt pan, sprinkle with streusel. Pour in rest of batter and top with streusel. Bake for 55 min in bundt pan at 350°. Cool on rack.

Shower Brunch

Shower

The brunch spread we put together for Little Miss’s bridal shower included a breakfast casserole, a corn and cheddar quiche, assorted pastries from La Farine Boulangerie, bacon (because you cannot have brunch without bacon) and a fresh summer fruit salad.

The breakfast casserole is a recipe I picked up from one the local ladies I worked with in Hawai’i. She brought it to a party and I could not stop eating it. After I got the recipe, I was a bit horrified to find out what was in it, but like any good casserole, it contains cream of mushroom soup and it is seriously delicious.

Breakfast Casserole 

  • 16 oz package of ground pork breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 10 oz box defrosted frozen spinach, chopped, squeezed dry
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 10 3/4 oz milk (use soup can to measure)
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 bag (32 oz) frozen bag tater tots

Follow directions to bake tater tots. Remove from oven and adjust oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, brown sausage. Drain and set aside. Using the same large skillet, drain out excess oil from sausage saving 1-2 tsp and sauté onions and spinach (you can also include sliced fresh mushrooms) on medium heat for 5 min. Turn off heat and add back drained sausage. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, beat eggs, mix in soup, milk and half of the shredded cheddar cheese. In a 9×13 inch baking dish, even spread tater tots to cover bottom of pan. Spread a layer of the sausage, onion and spinach mixture over the tater tots. Pour the egg mixture over tater tots and sausage mixture.

Bake for 45 min. in 350 degree oven. Remove from oven, sprinkle remainder of cheese over the top of the casserole and bake for an additional 5-10 min until cheese is melted. Eat right away or at room temperature.

Corn and Cheddar Quiche
Recipe courtesy of my fabulous cohost Erin

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp thyme
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine eggs, flour, pepper, nutmeg, thyme and 1/3 of corn in a food processor. Blend until corn is finely chopped.

Pour into large bowl and add half & half and melted butter. Whisk to combine. Add remaining corn and grated cheddar cheese.

Prepare pie crust and place in pie pan. Pour mixture into crust. Bake until filling is set and golden, about 50 min. Serve warm.

Granola!

You know you’ve been in California too long when you start making your own granola.  But readers, that is what has happened.  I find that store bought granola is generally too sweet and has weird things in it.  This is a delicious old family recipe supplied by my mother-in-law.  Clearly, not my side of the family – since Asian people don’t have a tradition of making granola.  Our old family recipes are of like miso paste and dumplings.

Rollefson Family Granola
(Notes are from Grandma D)

  • 1 – 42 oz. box old fashioned Quaker oats
  • 12 oz. jar wheat germ (or 12 oz. rolled wheat, rye, bran etc.) – I always use wheat germ
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 2-3 cups nuts (I chop them coarsely; Aunt Betty doesn’t chop them – your call)  – I usually use walnuts and pecans but almonds work too

Mix the above.  Then in a blender combine:

  • 12-16 oz. jar honey – I use 12 oz of honey (or 3/4 c. light molasses + 1/4 c. honey , or 1 c. malted barley + 1/4 c. black strap molasses)
  • 1 cup safflower oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla (yes, that is really tablespoons!)
  • (optional: 2 T. cinnamon – I never have used this)
  • 1 tsp salt

Blend the liquids until smooth, then mix with the dry ingredients.  Add raisins here if desired.

Spread on cookie sheets (2 large cookie sheets on 2 shelves of the oven). Bake at 175-200 for 3-4 hrs. max. (what I do) OR at ~250 for 1-2 hours.

My breakfast of yogurt, granola, bananas and maple syrup. Yum.

Benedict!

Not America’s most infamous traitor! Everyone’s favorite artery clogging, sinful breakfast item! Little Miss and Yuan came out to Davis for an experimental cooking weekend and as we sat around having our Sunday morning coffee, Bjorn said something about Benedict, Yuan declared that he wanted to work on his Hollandaise sauce, and I remembered I had an egg poaching pan. Good thing I had picked up some delectable Canadian bacon from the pig man at the farmer’s market the day before and my freezer just happened to contain English muffins (I love Costco). Half an hour later, to Bjorn’s delight, we were enjoying benedict! I definitely need to learn how to effectively use my egg poaching pan since every time (twice) I’ve used it, I overcook the yolk, but Yuan’s Hollandaise sauce was delicious!When Little Miss and I think of benedict, we always have to mention the benedict that defies all the usual pitfalls of breakfast buffets, the Orchids Sunday Brunch at the Halekulani Hotel in Honolulu – we HIGHLY recommend it. The crispy English muffin, the slice of salty pork product, the perfectly poached egg smothered in a creamy yellow deliciousness…all sitting in a warming pan on the buffet line. We don’t know how you do it Orchids, but it’s the stuff we dream about…

Momma Erickson’s Hollandaise Recipe

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Heat very slowly, stirring constantly.
Salt to taste.
Optional: pepper or pinch of cayenne