Banana Bread with Maple Syrup

I remember when I was in elementary school, I had a Japanese friend who was also my classmate and neighbor. Her mother was creative in origami and baking. She would give us banana bread on a regular basis. It was always soft, subtly sweet, and smelled deliciously like freshly baked bananas! I think the memory of enjoying her banana bread inspired me to bake my own years later.

I used extra virgin olive oil for a healthier banana bread in this recipe! It’s one of the healthiest and best oils to use for cooking and I feel that it doesn’t affect the taste of the banana bread while keeping it nice and moist!

This banana bread is not too sweet at all which my family prefers. If you’d like your banana bread to be a bit sweeter, you can drizzle honey on top of your cooled banana bread.

Banana bread drizzled with honey.

Yield: 7.5 x 9.5 inch loaf of bread
Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup maple syrup (grade A)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in the middle.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg) in a separate bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix mashed bananas, maple syrup, olive oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in an electric mixer until well combined.
  4. Slowly stir in remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Spray baking pan with oil and pour batter in the pan. Even out the surface and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Let it cool and enjoy!

Browned Butter Chocolate Cookies

This was my first time browning butter and using it to bake cookies. The browned butter adds a depth to the flavor of cookies in a tasty way. I’m glad that these cookies turned out so well despite it being my first time experimenting with them! I also recommend the walnut milk from Elmhurst in the photos. It’s very tasty without any artificial gums! Their oat milk is also delicious!~

These Browned Butter Chocolate Cookies were a gift to Chai as part of his Valentine’s day present. I created a personalized advent calendar for his Valentine’s day present and included these cookies as part of the treats for one of the days. Creating an advent calendar was a lot more work than I thought but it was worth it seeing the smile and joy on his face everyday! 😊

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Yield: 10 large cookies
Time: 45 min.

Ingredients

  • .75 cup or 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 ½ cup chocolate, chopped in large pieces

 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in the middle. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat while whisking frequently. When the butter starts to brown on the bottom of the pan, take it off the heat immediately.
  • Beat the brown butter and sugar until smooth in an electric mixer on low-medium. Add the eggs one at a time while continuing to beat the mixture. Add the vanilla extract and beat until well-mixed.
  • Add the flour, sea salt, baking soda, and cinnamon powder on mix on a low setting. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  • Form balls of cookie dough about the size of golf balls onto the pan with enough space in between each cookie. You can place about 6 large cookie balls on each tray.
  • Bake for 12 minutes and allow cookies to cool before enjoying!

Organic Cacao Brownies

I think the three things I love bringing to potlucks or gatherings are cookies, Bundt cakes, and brownies. They’re all simple to make, don’t take up too much time, and delicious to eat. Having said that, they’re naturally my go-to recipes if I’m craving baked goods or something sweet. The first time I made brownies was with my sister when I was in elementary school. I remember the brownies were more burnt than anything but have fond memories of picking off the burnt parts and eating whatever tiny amount of good parts were left. Thankfully, I’ve become a much better baker throughout the years. My next attempt at brownies were using those pre-packaged mixes from Costco and bringing them to gatherings when I was a college student. They were easy to make and hard to mess up but not the healthiest.
My mother bought a big bag of organic cacao powder for its antioxidant properties. We are a health-conscious family and like to eat fresh and wholesome foods (while indulging from time to time.) I have a difficult time thinking of ways to consume all this cacao powder though as I mentioned previously in my first post that I am not fond of chocolate. It turned out to be my problem on how to cook and eat all this cacao powder despite the fact it was my mother who ordered the bag… These brownies are one of the best ways to use up the cacao powder and get a healthy serving of antioxidants while indulging. The brownies have a moderately sweet fudgy texture and it’s hard to stop eating after one! I’d love to hear from visitors to comment below and share how they use their bottomless bag of cacao powder!

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Yield: 8 Brownies
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup of all-purpose flour
½ cup of unsweetened organic cacao powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
Optional: Add up to 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, or small pieces of dried fruits

Instructions
1) Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in the middle.
2) Lightly grease a 4 x 8 inch pan with cooking oil spray
3) Mix oil and sugar together. Then add eggs and vanilla extract and combine well.
4) Add flour, cacao powder, sea salt, and baking powder and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Top with optional add-ins if desired.
5) Bake for 20-25 minutes and let brownies cool to room temperature before serving.

Jam filled Cookies

I let myself indulge in these Jam filled Cookies this summer. This type of cookies is a favorite anywhere you go whether it’s the US, Europe or Asia! I see them often in supermarkets and freshly made in bakeries. This was my first time making them and was happy to see that they’re easy to make and simply yummy! Chai said that the cookies remind him of Danish cookies that are enjoyed by Europeans especially around the Christmas season. My mother took about ¾ of all the cookies and shared them with her friends. I wish she left a little more cookies for us to enjoy but I’m happy that more people get to enjoy the food I made. I think that’s the beautiful part about food and cooking!

IMG_0565 (2)IMG_0557 (2)As you can see, I had a little fun with the cookies. :O

Yield: about 15 cookies
Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients
½ cup softened butter
½ brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of your favorite jam*

*Notes
I used a French berry jam.


Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350°F with racks placed in the middle of the oven and line baking tray with parchment paper.
2) Use an electric beater to whisk butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Add egg and whisk until combined. Slowly stir in flour until well combined.
3) Form a large TBSP of dough into balls and place on to the tray. Flatten the cookies slightly with fingers pressed together until the cookies have an even surface. You don’t want to flatten the cookies too much so that they’re too thin. You can also use cookie cutters to make fun shaped cookies!
4) Use the back of a ½ tsp spoon to create indents in the center of the cookie. Put ½ tsp of jam into the center of the indents of each cookie.
5) Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden color. Let the cookies cool and enjoy!

The Best Baked Korean Honey Chicken Drumsticks

I know the first two recipes I’ve posted boast that they’re the BEST but they’ve been tested multiple times and loved by all those who’ve tried it!
I’ve made this chicken dish every week for the past month and my family still loves it! My husband “Chai” can’t handle spicy foods well but makes a rare exception for this dish. The spiciness depends on how spicy the gochujang (Korean red chili paste) is so you can adjust the level to your own preference.
The spicy-sweet sauce is especially delicious and goes well with rice and other vegetables.
I love how this chicken dish is on the healthier side since it’s made with honey and baked instead of being fried.
Please try it and comment below! I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!

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This is a photo of the sesame oil I used to make the dish. You can use it as a reference if you need help finding sesame oil in a Korean/Asian supermarket.

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Yield: 5 servings
Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients
5-7 medium chicken drumsticks or 2 ½ lb chicken drumsticks
5 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ cup honey
¼ cup ketchup
½ cup soy sauce
*2 tbsp gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
*1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
*1 tbsp sesame oil
*freshly grounded sesame seeds

*Notes
You can find these ingredients at your local Korean grocery store or H-mart.
The level of spiciness depends on how spicy the gochujang is.
If you can’t handle spicy foods then omit the gochujang and gochugaru. You’ll still end up with delicious honey garlic chicken drumsticks!

Instructions
1) Put chicken drumsticks in a large bowl and submerge with icy cold water for about 15 minutes.
2) Prepare the sauce by mixing honey, ketchup, soy sauce, gochujang, gochugaru, sesame oil and garlic together.
3) Remove the chicken from the water and make 3 slits on both sides of the drumstick with a knife to allow the sauce to cover the chicken thoroughly. Place the prepared chicken in a baking pan that has high sides and allows all the drumsticks to fit in.
4) Pour the marinade over the drumsticks evenly and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to overnight.
5) Preheat the oven to 350 °F with racks in the middle.
6) Put the chicken in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Raise the temperature to 425°F. Take the chicken out and flip the drumsticks on to the other side. Return to oven and let it caramelize for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
7) Garnish with freshly grounded sesame seeds and enjoy!
8) You can also use the leftover sauce for stir fried vegetables or to mix with rice!