Monday, October 26, 2009

Back with Banana Muffins and Apple-Pumpkin Kuchen!

Look at those babies! Those are banana muffins my friends! They were baked with love and swiftness last night while Favorite was bringing my computer back from the dead. Apparently I had unwittingly happened into the dreaded virut virus which is a particularly nasty one that likes to find windows exe files and eat them up until your computer can't even boot in safe mode...

So, the muffins came from the banana bread recipe in my handy Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

Banana Bread

2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup mashed banana
1 c. sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
optional nuts or crumbly topping

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease your vessel.
  3. Mix all ingredients up to nutmeg in large bowl.
  4. Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl.
  5. Stir wet into dry all at once until just moistened. Fold in any extras.
  6. Fill your baking vessel and bake until done (15 to 20 for muffins, 30 to 75 for loaf pans, depending on size)
This recipe was super easy as you only need two bowls and about 5 minutes to prep your ingredients. I only had two bananas which made a little more than 3/4 c when mashed, so I halved the recipe and cut the oil down to two tablespoons (because of the extra banana). This made 4 decent sized muffins in my "Giant" muffin pan. Question for my readers: anyone know how to get real muffin tops? I am talking about the kind of muffin that has a top that has a greater diameter than its stump. I filled each well within a half inch of the top and got NO shoulder on my muffin. Any hints would be greatly appreciated.

I also recently made(and captured) my first ever attempt at a yeast leavened pastry! The hardcore German tastiness known as kuchen (pronounce koo-ken, apparently). I bought a small sugar pumpkin with designs on making some sort of pumpkin dessert with the real thing, and not the Libby's can. This was partially just for curiosity's sake and partly because, as some of you know, there was a horrendous shortage of canned pumpkin earlier this year. I didn't want to do something traditional where you end up boiling and mashing the pumpkin because I had a beautiful SOLID pumpkin and I wanted to take advantage of that fact. I finally had the idea to make an apple-pumpkin crisp with equal portions tasty apples and soft sweet cubes of pumpkin all dripping with sweet cinnamon goodness and topped with enough brown sugar to make Favorite proud (that is a LOT let me tell you...) Well I scrapped the idea of the crisp when I saw the Apple Kuchen in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine "Holiday Baking". I will literally be baking my way through this entire magazine! There has never been a periodic publication with so many deliciously sweet recipes to try! Anyhow, I took the Apple Kuchen and added my Pumpkin Twist.

Apple (Pumpkin) Kuchen

2 1/4 c. flour
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 c. apples (about 4 apples, or 2 apples and half a small pumpkin, par boiled)
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp quick cooking tapioca, crushed (I substituted with mochi rice flour because I had it)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice)
Crumb Topping

  1. Grease 13X9X2 pan.
  2. Mix 1 c. of flour and package of yeast.
  3. Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt until butter is almost melted.
  4. Add milk mixture, along with eggs, to flour and yeast. Beat on low 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl, and high for 2 minutes or until smooth. Beat in remaining flour.
  5. Spread mixture in prepared pan.
  6. Mix apples (and pumpkin), brown sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, and spices together in large bowl. Spread mixture over batter in pan.
  7. Sprinkle with crumb topping (1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 3 tbsp butter, cut in to pea sized crumbs) and allow to sit in a warm place for an hour.
  8. After dough has risen, bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until top is browned and apples are tender.
I used raw apples in this recipe, but I par boiled the pumpkin because I figured it wouldn't cook as fast and I didn't want raw pumpkin. It worked well as the pumpkin got soft enough without being overly mushy. The recipe in the magazine also suggests topping with a cream cheese frosting, but I decided to nix it as I had no cream cheese and don't care much for frosting anyhow. The kuchen is definitely tasty. The base is more substantial than I thought it would be. I was expecting something like a coffee cake,but it was definitely more bread or biscuit like (though admittedly I DID overcook it a tad). If I were to make this recipe again with the pumpkin, however, I would have more pumpkin and less apple as the empire apples I used overwhelmed the more subtle flavor of the pumpkin. More pumpkin, more spice, and vanilla ice cream on top!


  1. Both of these are delicious! I agree that the Kuchen should have more pumpkin and less apple, otherwise I love it. And the banana muffins turned out perfectly! Very moist, fluffy, and delicious -- I know, because I ate one with a cup of coffee when I got to the office. Great way to start my day!

  2. Both look wonderful! I've never had or made kuchen before so I'm intrigued. I think it's the perfect time of year to give it a shot :)