26 February 2017

Banana, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pancake Stack

Disclaimer: Sponsored Post 
Aldi very kindly provided me with the ingredients to bring this post together.
All comments are completely my own.

American style pancakes are my favourite. Don't get me wrong, those thin, French Crepe style pancakes have their place, but sit a stack of fluffy, thick, almost spongy American pancakes in front on me and you can call me your girl!

So often eaten with crispy bacon and dripping in maple syrup of pancake syrup, these pancakes are to die for. Today I have put a spin on the traditional and turned breakfast into a dessert. Toady with the help of Aldi,  and their advocacy programme, I am going to show you how I use Aldi products in everyday ways. Regulars round these parts will know Aldi feature heavily in my baking on a budget theme and today is no different. 

An easy peasy recipe that uses up a ripe banana and maybe gets you one of your five a day (or at least pretends you are anyway) these pancakes are the perfect excuse to blow out this Pancake Tuesday!!

Fluffy buttermilk pancakes, slathered in hot chocolate fudge sauce, drippy peanut butter and a whirl of cream for good measure, they sure won't disappoint! The recipe for the pancakes is so simple to follow and once made you can dress them up or down how you like. There are no right or wrongs here.. sprinkle a few blueberries onto the uncooked side right after you've poured the batter onto the pan. Keep them plain and enjoy with some Greek Yoghurt and Maple Syrup or toss on a few chocolate chips in the same way you do the blueberries.

The possibilities are endless. 

Banana Pancakes

225g plain flour
1 tbs baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp caster sugar
2 large eggs, free range, beaten
1 ripe, mashed banana (you can omit the banana and just have buttermilk pancakes)
30g salted butter, melted
300ml buttermilk

Cooking spray/ oil/ butter for frying.

There is no easier way to make these then to put every single ingredient into a bowl and either mix together using an electric hand mixer or by hand. Continue mixing the batter together until it is thick and pour-able, you may need to add a tad more milk.

Transfer the batter from the bowl to a jug, for ease of pouring onto the pan. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.

Warm the pan on the hob and spray with cooking spray or brush lightly with butter/oil. Over a medium heat (turn heat down if pancakes start burning) pour about 60ml of batter onto the pan. Once the up turned side of the pancake starts popping bubbles and looks like it's lost the wet batter look, about 1 minutes, it's time to flip over and cook that other side.

Chocolate Fudge Sauce

200g dark chocolate
100ml double cream

Break the chocolate up and pop into a heat proof bowl. Put the cream into a pot and heat until just before the boil, small bubbles bursting in the top. Once the cream is heated, pour it in over the chocolate and cover the bowl with a plate. Allow the cream to melt the chocolate. Once melted stir the whole thing together and leave to stand to thicken up.

Putting it altogether

Heat the peanut butter in the microwave for a couple of seconds to make it runny. Layer the pancakes, sandwiching each layer with some chocolate sauce and peanut butter.  Repeat until you have exhausted all the pancakes.. top with whatever topping you have left over, garnish with some fresh whipped cream and sprinkle on some peanuts and chocolate chips.


Tell me how you are having your pancakes? I love to hear how others enjoy their food...

12 February 2017

Red Velvet Cake

"Red Velvet is red.
White Chocolate is white.
I have made you this cake,
'Cause I think you're alright."  

With Valentine's Day fast approaching some of you might be thinking the way to someones heart is through their stomach.. and if you are asking my opinion, I wholeheartedly agree. I have yet to experience a time where cake was not welcomed. It's a go too thing for me.. and if you happen to be on my friends-who-I-like-to-make-cake-for list, well then, you know the drill!

Are you sad? Cake. Are you happy? Let's have cake. Are we celebrating, commiserating. plain old being alive-ating.. there's a cake for that!

We don't actually celebrate Valentines in the traditional sense. No cards, flowers, chocolate... promises we don't intend to keep. But surrounded by the hubbub of the day, I guess we are influenced to acknowledge each other more, maybe make a special effort to remind each other how we feel and pretty much let husband know that things haven't changed since the first time I told him I loved him. The auld softy that I am!

This Red Velvet Cake helps with that..  yet takes a break from the norm and incorporates a luscious, yet light White Chocolate Buttercream. It screams Valentine's Day- just LOOK how much I love you, right? I made you a cake.

Eaten as part of a healthy diet, this provides way more than your recommended daily amounts of sugar. I'd say a slice covers your sugar intake for the week... But what does it matter? Calories don't count when you're in love!!

Red Velvet Cake 

Line and spray two or three 8 inch round baking pans and leave to one side. Turn your oven to 180C/160C fan/350F or Gas Mark 4.  

125g of soft butter
125g of caster sugar
275g of self raising flour
3 large eggs (free range)
125ml buttermilk
60g cocoa powder
2 tbsp (30ml) red food colouring (liquid)
1tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

Cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Dry whisk the flours.
Add the eggs into the butter/sugar mix, one at a time and mix until the yolk has disappeared. Repeat for the other 2 eggs. Scrap down the sides of the bowl as you go.
In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder, vinegar and baking soda together to form a paste.
Add half the flour to the egg mixture, then half the milk and then the rest of the flour, just mix until combined. 
Scrap in the cocoa paste and mix until combined.
Finally add in the food colouring and mix until red throughout. 

Be careful not to over mix as you want it to stay nice and light and fluffy!

Divide the mixture between your two/three tins and pop into a pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until darker on top or your cake tester comes out clear. Allow to cool in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack. 

Cool completely before filling.

When cool, level the cakes and keep any off cuts in a separate bowl. You could make cake crumbs out of these and use in your decoration.

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

225g soft, room temperature, unsalted butter
500g sifted icing sugar
50g white chocolate (melted)**
up to 60ml cream/whole milk

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until it is very soft and pale. (TIP: pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds until very soft.)
Add in the icing sugar a few cups at a time.
If the buttercream is very thick, add a tablespoon of cream or milk in until the desired texture has been reached. 
Add the white chocolate. 
Mix the crazy out of it until light and fluffy. The faster and longer you mix this, the lighter and fluffier it will be. 

** I dipped the strawberries in white chocolate as a garnish. I melted 120g of white chocolate and reckon I had about 50g of melted chocolate left over. 

Putting it all together...

Start layering your cakes topside down, sandwiching in between with buttercream. Cover the outside of the cake with the remaining buttercream and garnish with cakes crumbs and dipped strawberries. 

06 February 2017

Banana and Blueberry Bread

Straight into February, no messing about here.

We've been eating up leftovers, over ripe and needing using ingredients around this house like no one's business! We have made meal plans each week since January and we are keeping it going. My year of the environment is really starting to take affect.

Our house is now producing less waste and I am growing more conscious of what we buy, consume and put in our bodies. I am also very conscious of what we are not using and just hate seeing things, especially food, go to waste. Ripe bananas are the perfect example.

It takes two ripe bananas, a handful of blueberry and some store cupboard ingredients to make this yummy loaf. The perfect way to use up what is going off in the fruit bowl. With a really tender crumb, that's even better the next, this load is ideal for a treat yo' self breakfast!!

Banana and Blueberry Loaf

2 ripe bananas
125g caster sugar
250g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
125ml almond milk
100g blueberry

Preheat your oven 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4.
Line a 2lb loaf tin with some parchment or loaf liner.
Mash the banana in a bowl. Add all the ingredients, except the blueberries, into the bowl and mix with an electric mixer until just combined.
Fold in the blueberries, until spread throughout.

Bake in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden and crusted or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear.

Allow to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool fully before slicing.

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