Kitchen Therapy


Cowgirl Cornmeal Pecan Finaciers

IMG_7110Cowgirl Cornmeal Pecan Financiers from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook, are simple, honest and I think I ate an entire tray of 12 mini muffin sized bites all by myself.
I loved these!
There are some nuts my nut allergic children can tolerate and luckily, pecans are one of them! I loved eating the pecans straight off the tray as they came out of the oven, toasty, fragrant and warm. And I loved the strong pecan flavour that builds in your mouth as you bite into the financiers.

They were simple to make and easy to eat 🙂
Eaten warm, their texture is light and airy. Once they are cold, the texture becomes heavier and more dense however the flavour is not compromised. I am waiting for the kids to come home from school so I can bake another tray of 12. Or maybe 24…
I love having the batter in the fridge ready to cook, makes me feel very domestic goddess like (laughing).
Looking forward to reading about the thoughts of the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group!



Tiger Cakes


In her book Baking Chez Moi, Dorie Greenspan describes these mini bite sized cakes as “…a traditional French pastry made with egg whites, almond flour and lots of butter. The addition of finely chopped chocolate that melts and stripes the little cakes explains their name.”


That sums up nicely this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe!
The problem for me however was that two out of my three children have nut allergies.
So after a little bit of research, I substituted almond flour with coconut flour.
I had read that coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture and can result in a dry and flaky end product.
Google had many suggestions on how to fix this little problem and to be honest the more I read, the more I felt overwhelmed with ratios, quantities of eggs and liquids etc to add moisture.
So I decided to keep it simple and keep the almond flour and coconut ratio the same, I replaced the cup of almond flour the recipe called for, with a cup of coconut flour.
I mixed the flour into the egg whites as the recipe instructed and then I added a cup of milk to the mixture before following the rest of the recipe as it is in the book.
My little cakes didn’t rise with baking and I was worried!
However I pulled them out and they turned out amazing.
The outside was firm and the inside was moist and delicious.
The family loved them and the only complaint I heard was “I can’t stop eating these!”
The boys in the family loved them dipped in chocolate, my daughter and I preferred the naked 🙂


Nutella Buttons


This week is catch up week for the Tuesdays with Dorie group. Which is great for me since I have a lot to catch up on! The Nutella Buttons were an easy choice. We are a Nutella loving family! My daughter turned 18 a few weeks ago and her friends arrived with a 5kg tub of Nutella.


My husband is the only one who doesn’t like Nutella. He’s also the only one in the family who isn’t into superheroes and comic books. We don’t understand it but we love him nevertheless 🙂
So when completing this week’s recipe I took Dorie’s suggestion and filled some of these bite sized mini muffins with jam.


It’s school holidays here so these didn’t last long. They were delicious!
Looking forward to reading the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie posts.


Buttermilk Crumb Muffins

This muffin was simple, sweet and easy.
The way life is meant to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fancy cakes.
With layers, fillings and frostings.
They’re stunning to look at and exciting to cut into.

But after dealing with the everyday dramas of life, every now and then you can’t beat simple.

It’s predictable.

The perfect snack to come home to after school.
To fill up on after jumping on the trampoline with friends.
To pick at while catching up with friends over a cup of tea.
And to grab before heading out to the evening’s futsal match.

So when you are ready for some sweet simplicity in you life, head over to Alisa’s blog, Easier Than Pie to get the recipe.


Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Winter is on it’s way out here in Sydney.
The days are getting longer and the temperatures are starting to average in the 20’s (degrees celsius that is).

I’m looking forward to summer fruits.
Peaches, nectarines and sweet juicy mangoes.
In the meantime, I’ve been using up left over bananas any chance I get to make banana bread.

I’ve experimented with recipes from Joy the Baker Cookbook, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, Home Baked Comfort William Sonoma and the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook to name just a few.


What can I say… we’ve eaten our way through a lot of banana bread!
We’ve had heated debates about which one is the best, we all have a favourite.
I’ve even gone as far as making each version a variety of ways, with nuts, with choc-chips, with both and even with bourbon (thanks to Joy the Baker)!

I’m going to go off an a tangent here so bear with me… I do have an important point!

Lately I’ve found myself with the usual crazy schedule of kid related events, like the book parade at my son’s school.


However, in addition to all the running around I’ve also had a string of frequent visitors stopping by for cups of tea and coffee! And because I’ve been running around more than usual, I’ve taken to stopping by a cupcake bakery store that’s just opened at our mall to grab something sweet for my guests and I to share while we chat!

Aren’t they just soooo pretty!

Now these are tasty cupcakes. Some more than others. But tasty nevertheless!


But as I was chatting away I couldn’t help but think how much I’d prefer to be eating the Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins that I had made the night before.

I went through a phase of making these on a very regular basis a few months ago, my daughter took them to school and she and her friends were absolutely obsessed with these and kept asking me to make more!


They come from one of my most flicked through books, Baked ‘New Frontiers in Baking’ by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

I cannot recommend these enough…




1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (sometimes I put up to 3 teaspoons, other times I just leave it out)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I use Cadbury Baking Chips and I can’t help wonder if this is what takes them to the next level irresistibility!)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 180 degrees Celsius).
Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk and egg.

In a another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill each cup about three-quarters full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Move the muffin pan to a cooling rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack.


Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

These are honestly amazing!!!

















Ham, Cheese & Chive Muffins and Bread

I decided to make a kid friendly version of this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe!

Actually, I made the bread to start with and was a little hesitant about the cheese. I used Gruyere and Emmenthal.
The smell that greeted me when I opened the packets was… well… bad!
But I’m glad I persevered.
Once the bread was in the oven, the smell changed and it really surprised me that something that started off so stinky could change so much!
I really did think that there was no saving this baby and had written it off, but suddenly, as the new smell filled the kitchen I felt hope!
I couldn’t wait to taste it and see if it was as good as it smelled.

And you know what? It was really, really good…
I swapped Dorie’s chives and walnuts for ham and shallots in an attempt to make it more tempting to the kids.
But I was enough of a realist to know that while the kids were encouraging, they would like it way more with a good dose of cheddar cheese.
So back to the kitchen and this time I dumped the Gruyere and Emmenthal for a packet of “4 cheese blend”! (It’s a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses).
I know what you’re thinking… Classy!
Hey, it worked! The kids loved them!

If you want to see many more exciting and varied versions of this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe click here!