Chocolate Banana Muffins

As Garlic Goddesses turns 2, here’s another sweet treat from our kitchens. The past year has been slow from our end due to personal commitments. We do hope we can do better this year! We appreciate and welcome all your support and encouragement. Here’s to another year of delicious food 🙂

I always turn to making the dependable Banana Bread every time I have ripened bananas on hand. This time I wanted something different and decided to turn to my favorite, Nigella Lawson, for ideas. These muffins are definitely more interesting than the bread given that it has chocolate in it and I decided to throw in some chips for good measure! I’ve swapped the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Good for breakfast or if you want to sneak in a snack. You can find the original recipe here

Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour – 1.5 cups
Over-ripe Bananas – 3
Unsweetened cocoa powder – 3 tbsp
Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup
Eggs – 2, room temperature
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Raw cane sugar – 1/2 cup
Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius
  • Place 12 liners in a muffin tin
  • Sift flour, baking soda and cocoa powder in a bowl; set aside
  • In a large bowl, mash the three bananas using a fork until you get a thick paste
  • Beat on low using a hand mixer and add vegetable oil to the bananas
  • Continue beating and add the eggs one by one, followed by sugar
  • Add the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder mixture, beating on low until everything is combined
  • Stir in the chocolate chips
  • Spoon this mixture into the muffin liners
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes 
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack before refrigerating
  • You can eat them warm as well

Brownies

Brownies are a favorite at my place. These brownies are the firm-kind, not gooey. I incorporated the recipe from Hersheys. Tried and tested, it’s my go-to recipe when I am looking to whip up some brownies quickly. They are a great gift as well 🙂 Happy holidays!

Brownies

Makes: 15

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter – 1 cup
All-purpose flour – 1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder – 3/4 cup
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
Eggs – 4
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Chopped walnuts – 1/2 cup (optional)
Chocolate chunks – 1/2 cup (optional)
Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius
  • Grease a baking pan or line it with parchment paper and set aside
  • Place the butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt by heating for about 2 minutes
  • Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract once the butter cools down slightly
  • Using an electric beater or whisk, add one egg at a time and combine till well-mixed
  • Add sifted cocoa powder and mix well
  • Stir in sifted flour, baking powder and salt
  • Combine the walnuts and chocolate chunks with a teaspoon of flour and stir into the above mixture
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and bake for about 35 minutes
  • Keep the pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely

Brownies

Note:
1. You can use regular white sugar if you don’t have brown sugar. I use brown sugar as it makes the brownies more moist and rich.
2. If you don’t have walnuts, you can even use chopped almonds and cashew nuts. 

Chocolate Cake

It’s a very special day today as Garlic Goddesses completes an entire year around the sun. We are one! It was exactly one year ago that we started our small but significant entry into the world of food blogging. We have grown as a blog and as individuals interested in food as well. We have had an exciting year, cooking some unexpected dishes and some favorites too! We have had to throw out some batches of food because they didn’t turn out quite right but it has all been a massive opportunity to learn and do better. We would like to thank each and everyone of you for supporting us and stopping by our page. It means a lot to us. 

On this special day, I’m posting a cake I made for my husband’s birthday this year. While I have made the chocolate cake before (it’s a handy recipe to have from Hershey’s), I was attempting ganache for the very first time. Ganache is nothing but a deliciously thick mixture of cream and chocolate. While the cake tastes good as is, I did want something extra special to go with it and the ganache did exactly that! If this extra layer of goodness appears intimidating, let me assure you that it’s super easy to make. I also went ahead and whipped some of the ganache in order to try some piping on the cake (again, a first for me!). My only reason to do this was I wanted some sort of decoration on the cake (I take the liberty to call my child-like piping, decoration!) but not in the form of ready-made candy or shaved chocolate or kit kat bars. I wanted to make the decoration myself and didn’t want anything too rich. And this was the result! The husband was pleased and I was too 🙂

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

All-purpose flour – 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – 6 tbsp
Baking soda – 3/4 tsp
Baking powder – 3/4 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Egg – 1
Milk – 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil – 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Boiling water – 1/2 cup

For the Ganache:

Heavy whipping cream – 1 cup
Semi-sweet chocolate chunks/chips – 1 cup
Instant Coffee powder – 1/2 tsp (optional)

Method:

Making the cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius
  • Prepare a baking dish by greasing with butter and sprinkling a teaspoon of flour; shake off excess flour
  • In a mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients including flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and sugar
  • Add the egg, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and beat using an electric mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed
  • Stir in the boiling water and mix well; you will get a runny batter
  • Pour this batter into the prepared dish and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes till an inserted skewer comes out clean
  • Remove from oven and allow this to rest for about 10 minutes before transferring the cake on to a cooling rack

Making the ganache

  • In a heat-proof bowl, combine chocolate chunks and coffee powder; set aside
  • Heat the cream in a saucepan on medium flame
  • Swirl the cream occasionally while keeping an eye on it
  • Once it comes to a low simmer, remove from heat and pour on to the chocolate-coffee mixture
  • Set this aside for 5 minutes without stirring
  • After 5 minutes, use a whisk to slowly mix until it becomes smooth and runny
  • Allow this to rest until it cools down completely and begins to thicken
  • If you have time, let this rest at room temperature overnight; otherwise, refrigerate it for a couple hours after it cools down
  • The consistency of the ganache should be thick enough to spread over the cake 

Assembling the cake

  • Once the cake is completely cooled and the ganache has reached the desired consistency, take a couple of tablespoons of the ganache and spread it on the cake, starting from the middle and moving to the sides
  • Do this until you have used up all the ganache
  • Alternatively, you can use half of the ganache to spread over the cake; with the other half, you can beat it using an electric mixer for a few minutes until it becomes pale in color, fluffy in texture and light in taste
  • You can transfer this whipped ganache in to a piping bag and pipe designs on your cake (as shown in the photo)
  • This cake stays in the fridge for at least 4 days and tastes even better when it’s cold!

Chocolate Cake

Notes:
– In this recipe, you can make only the cake and it tastes yum without the ganache as well
– With the ganache, you need to use your judgement to decide whether the consistency works for you. I allowed it to cool down completely before refrigerating it for about an hour or two. I then spread about a layer of ganache on to the cake and then refrigerated both the cake and the ganache as it was a very hot day. After about 30 minutes, I spread another layer and put it back in to the fridge
– If the ganache becomes too thick, add a tablespoon of hot water and mix well

– As far as the whipped ganache goes, this is entirely optional. It only adds another dimension to the cake with very little effort
– If the room temperature is high, place the cake in the fridge at intervals while spreading the ganache. This helps the ganache to set on the cake
– Adding instant coffee powder to the ganache enhances the flavor of chocolate
– The ganache recipe isn’t from a particular source but a result of reading a few recipes online. Some recipes call for butter while others stick to equal portions of cream and chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet)

Chocolate Cake

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

Milk – 1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder – 2 tbsp
Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp
Salt – a pinch
Vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp

Method:

  • In a mug, mix cocoa powder, sugar and salt
  • In a bowl, heat milk till it reaches desired temperature or heat in microwave for 1.5 minutes
  • Pour the milk into the mug containing cocoa mixture
  • Stir till it’s well mixed 
  • Add the vanilla extract and stir again
  • Serve hot!

Note:
– You can use white sugar instead of brown sugar
– Sift the cocoa powder before adding to the mug as it prevents lumps after adding milk
– If you still get lumps after stirring in the milk, pass it through a strainer before serving
– You could even add a 1/4 teaspoon of instant coffee powder to enhance the chocolate flavor