Lavender and Chocolate

Today I decided to cook banana bread, lavender cookies, and some chocolate cheesecake cupcakes.  

I changed the banana bread recipe today by incorporating some nutmeg (1/8 tsp).  Just to try out the flavor.   The last loaf I was told that it wasnt moist enough, and was asked if there was a way to make it more moist.   The first significant change between this receipe and the last one was the “aged” bananas.  I let the bananas ripen for about a week, once I got them to the house.   The other change was no baking powder, as I was unaware that we needed more.  When I hear critiques of the bread, I will be sure to let everyone know what people thought. 

The Lavender Cookies……    I knew lavender was strong, but wasnt aware it was “extreme.”  I found the recipe from a chef in Provence, France.  Having to do a bit of math to understand what I was getting myself into,  I doubled all ingredients except the lavender.  The recipe called for 30g (1 oz) of lavendar.  My next attempt will be to maybe even use 1/4th (7g).   I dont know much about temperatures but the original recipe said 60C (320 F) for 15 mins.   Having followed the recipe to the letter,  the cookies were under cooked.   I added an additional 5 mins… still the same.  Research mode kicked in, and saw that most recipes suggested 375 F for 8-10 mins.   I bumped up the temp to 375, and cooked them for an addition 3 mins.   They now appeared “golden” as the recipe suggested.  The recipe also called for it to chill in the fridge for an hr.  Not sure if that was necessary to be honest.  The other thing I learned from this recipe, if you remember I doubled it,  half the cookie dough was placed on a greased baking sheet, the other on a lined sheet.   Well,  dont cook these cookies on a greased pan.   They turned to mush.   For my first attempt, I think that I did a good job, and will try and perfect this recipe over the course of my culinary education.

The Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes recipe was rated as “intermediate”  by the culinary world.  I can see why.  I decided to approach this dish in stages, to make it a bit more manageable.  The first stage, I made the base for the chocolate cupcake.   Second stage was the cheesecake filling. The third and final stage will be the Ganache Frosting.   This entire recipe was from scratch, and required me to think on my feet.   I learned that a spoon is my best friend when making these cupcakes. I wonder how a pastry bag would have helped in putting it all together.   Tasting the completed product, though the hard work paid off.   These cupcakes  (even without the Ganache) are moist and delicious.



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