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While these banana muffins might look cute enough to be lunch box treats for kids, I would recommend saving them for a grown-up tea party.  To please your younger guests, you would probably make them with candied cherries and milk chocolate chips but the recipe from Manila Spoon invariably works better with tart cherries [using Seeberger’s Soft Dried Cherries here] and chopped dark chocolate. I think it would be a fine idea to make a double batch so that you can split the batter between the two combinations and make both your kids and yourself happy.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY BANANA MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1 cup caster sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1 cup unsweetened yogurt

1/2 cup banana, mashed

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh or dried cherries

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, mix  dry ingredients. Mash or puree bananas in a food processor.

  • In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, crack the eggs and beat until just combined. Add the wet ingredients.

  • Beat at medium speed until batter is smooth and there are no big banana lumps for about 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Combine the wet with the dry ingredients until well-blended. Fold in the cherries and the chocolate chips.

  • Divide evenly into a 12-cup muffin pan with liners. Fill each cup until nearly full. Bake for 18-22 minutes.

  • Leave to cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Makes 12 muffins.

Chocolate Cherry Banana Muffins

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While plain buttermilk pancakes are a breakfast treat in themselves, you can make them a tad more special with roasted strawberries on top. Cooked until tender alongside vanilla beans, these mushy berries will have you giving up on strawberry jam every time you need a syrupy fruit topping for pancakes, waffles or ice cream. The recipe from Epicurious, uses buttermilk which we cannot find easily here but you can substitute by thinning a cup of unsweetened yogurt with 3/4 cup semi skimmed milk with equally delicious results.

BUTTERMILK PANCAKES & ROASTED STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients:

For the Roasted Strawberries

4 cups strawberries, hulled

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of kosher salt

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

For the Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

Method:

  • To roast the strawberries, preheat oven to 425°F. Place strawberries, sugar, and salt in a glass baking dish.

  • Scrape in vanilla seeds, add pod and stir to combine. Roast, stirring occasionally, until juices are bubbling.

  • Roast for 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool slightly and discard pod. To make the pancakes, whisk flour and sugar.

  • Add salt, baking powder, and baking soda, then beat in eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract and melted butter.

  • Batter will be slightly lumpy. Heat a large griddle or 2 cast-iron skillets over medium; brush it with butter.

  • Drop batter by 1/4 cupful onto griddle. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and the underside is golden.

  • This will take about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until it is lightly browned for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes more.

  • Serve pancakes topped with roasted strawberries and sprinkled with almonds. Makes 12 (4-inch) pancakes.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Roasted Strawberries

Cute and portable cheesecakes with a generous swirl of homemade blueberry jam are sure to be on your to-do list this summer. The recipe, from Evil Twin Kitchen, is easy to assemble ahead and keeps well for a week in the fridge and up to months in the freezer so that you can have cheesecake anytime you feel like without having to worry about having ingredients or time for baking one. Switch to strawberries, cherries, chocolate or any of your favorite flavors if you do not like blueberries, though it beats me how one would attempt to fiddle with such a heavenly pairing.

MINI BAKED BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKES

For the Crumb Crust

1 cup (125g) graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup (60g) melted butter

For the Cheesecake Filling

2x 227g packages full fat cream cheese

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (115g) 14% fat sour cream

1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons corn starch

6 tablespoons blueberry jam

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar.

  • Pour in melted butter and stir until well combined. Divide equally between 12 paper lined muffin cups.

  • With a glass or flat object roughly the same size as the bottom of the muffin cup, press mixture down.

  • Press firmly to form a crust and set aside. Combine all the ingredients for the filling except for the jam.

  • Mix till the filling mixture is super smooth and creamy and completely lump free for about 2 minutes.

  • Divide mixture equally between the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup almost all the way to the top.

  • Make a small well in the center of each cake with a spoon and drop in about a teaspoon blueberry jam.

  • With the help of a skewer, delicately mix the blueberry jam into the cheese filling, making little swirls.

  • Do not go all the way to the bottom with that skewer or you might end up damaging the crumb crust.

  • Bake for 20 minutes until tops start to get colored, edges start to set but centers remain a little jiggly.

  • Do not overbake, otherwise your cakes will be dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour.

  • Cover the cakes loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours before serving time.

  • Serve cold, topped with an extra spoonful of blueberry jam and fresh blueberries. Makes 12 servings.

  • Leftover cakes will keep in the refrigerator for about 10 days, or in the freezer for up to a few months.

Mini {Baked} Blueberry Cheesecakes

 

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