Rhubarb and Banana Bread

I was given some fresh rhubarb so went searching online for a healthier recipe to use it in and found this rhubarb and banana bread at Kim’s Cravings (see original recipe here).  I have converted the cup measurements where necessary for ease.

What you need:

340g wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 large mashed bananas (I used a hand held blender)
1 large stalk rhubarb
5 tablespoons honey

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 180c.  Using low fat cooking spray (e.g Fry Light) grease and line your loaf tin. Mine is approx 8×4″.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon and mixed spice in one bowl and put aside.
  • Beat the eggs for approx 30 seconds using hand held or freestanding mixer.  Add the vanilla, honey and mashed banana and mix.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and mix on low speed.
  • Gently fold in the rhubarb.
  • Pour mixture into prepared loaf tin.  I then added some of the rhubarb to the top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • Serve warm with a smidge of butter…yum! 🙂

Results

Despite having a power outage of an hour during the baking of the bread it turned out ok.  It was a little overbaked in my opinion but I think that’s because I lost track of the time baked.  I served it at my book club meeting and everyone was really surprised that it didn’t contain any sugar or fat as it still tasted sweet, moist and really tasty.

Having calculated the ingredients, based on 10 slices per loaf, each slice has a Weight Watchers point value of 5 which is was good for me as I could fit it into my daily plan allowance without too much juggling.  Next time though, I’d use more rhubarb and it was hard to detect.

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Hot Cross Buns (Weight Watchers #Recipe)


This is the first time I’ve baked in about 2 months and the first recipe I’ve tried in my healthier lower fat sugar challenge/experiment.  I had to use some substitutions as I didn’t quite have all the correct ingredients in the cupboard but this didn’t impact negatively in any way.

What you need:

For the buns
375g strong white flour (bread flour)
25g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
7g dried baking yeast (1 sachet)
1 medium egg, whisked lightly
220 ml tepid skimmed milk
2 level tsp ground mixed spice
60g low fat spread melted
6 sprays calorie controlled cooking spray
For the crosses
100g currants (I used sultanas)
35g plain white flour
1g baking powder
1 tsp honey warm, to glaze (I used golden syrup)

What you do:

  • In a large bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, yeast, salt and mixed spice. Make a well in the centre then pour in the milk, egg and spread. With a wooden spoon, mix to form a dough.
    Use your hands to bring the dough together, then knead the dough for at least 10 mins until smooth and elastic. I used the dough hook on my freestanding mixer.
  • Put the dough in a clean bowl misted with the cooking spray. Place a clean tea cloth over the dough and leave in a warm place to rise for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 180°c.
  • Knock back the dough by kneading for another 2 minutes, adding the currants/sultanas. Shape the dough into 12 small round buns, making a cross shape on each one using a knife. This, I found, virtually impossible, as the dough just gets dragged on the knife so I didn’t bother after a couple.
  • Mist a baking tray with cooking spray and place the buns on it in a rectangle close together. Cover with a tea cloth and leave for another 30 mins to prove.
  • Make the crosses by mixing the flour with the baking powder and 3 tbsp water to form a thick paste. Spoon the paste into a piping bag and carefully pipe a cross onto each bun.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Carefully tap the bottom of the buns – if they are light and sound hollow then they are done.
  • Once cooked, leave to cool slightly on a wire rack and then brush with the honey/syrup to glaze.

Results

I was really pleased with my first ever batch of hot cross buns and especially with the doubling in size of the dough (rarely happens for me).

As this was a Weight Watchers recipe, for those of you who are unfamiliar with how the WW plan works, each food and drink is given a points value and you have a daily and weekly points allowance calculated upon weight and gender etc to spend.  My daily allowance is 30 with a weekly allowance of 42 for extras and treats.

These hot cross buns have a value of 6 points. For comparison, Aldi Hot Cross Buns have a point value of 7, Sainsbury’s 8, Marks & Spencer luxury 9.  However, the Co-Op’s are 6, same as the WW recipe – interesting!

All in all, the homemade buns are very nice and I didn’t feel as I’d been short changed in any way by using some lower calorie alternatives.  However, given the length of time they take to make, I’d probably nip down the Co-Op if I wanted some more! 😉

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Novice Baker – Going Forward

You may or may not have realised that my novice baker posts have slowed down of late, this is somewhat due to lack of baking audience (otherwise known as guinea pigs..sorry I mean eaters) but also because I started Weight Watchers on the 6th February.  This year I’m really committed to losing a considerable amount of weight (at the point of posting I’ve lost 11lbs in 4 weeks), obviously this means cutting out the rubbish, being more aware of what I’m eating and portion size and so cake has (mostly) had to go.

However, I’ve invested a lot of time in my Novice Baker posts to date and also money on some new equipment and I still have a cupboard full of baking necessities which need to be used up and honestly I don’t want to give up on a hobby I’ve come to enjoy this past couple of years.  So…how do I move forward?

I suppose the main thing is to cut back on the sugar and the fat so I’m going to need to find some recipes that are basically lower in these ingredients and and ultimately test if the substitutes can taste as good as the real thing.

Can the low calorie option (right) ever taste as good as the classic (left)?

So that’s gonna be my new challenge for this year, find some new recipes and see how they work out.  Unfortunately Weight Watchers don’t have a dedicated baking recipe book so I’ll need to find them from other sources.  They do though, have a handy app if you’re on the plan, so I’ll probably start there.  Hopefully, you’ll still find these baking posts interesting and entertaining.

If you have any recommendations or have tried making low fat or low sugar cakes, do let me know 🙂

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ok, so I have gone a little muffin mad just lately, but that’s because I’ve had two new different sized silicone trays to experiment with, but I promise to step away from the muffin tray for now and try some other bakes.

What you need:img_2684

250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g caster sugar
50g butter
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
250ml milk
175g milk or plain chocolate chips

What you do:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 200°c.  Lightly grease a 12 muffin tin or use paper muffin cases if you don’t have a silicone tray.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and then add the butter in chunks, rubbing it into the flour using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar and the chocolate chips.
  • In another bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla essence and milk and then pour into the dry mixture and combine. Don’t overmix, it should be a chunky rough mix.
  • Share evenly between the tin or the paper cases.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.chocolate-chip-muffins
  • Cool in the tray initially then on a wire rack.chocolate-chip-muffins

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Double Chocolate Muffins

I’d seen this recipe over at Claire’s blog some time ago and I’d wanted to have a go and now that I have my super duper silicone muffin tray I had a go.  I used half of the measurements below which comfortably made 6 muffins.

What you need:

375g self-raising flourimg_2620
1 tsp baking powder
25g cocoa powder
175g caster sugar
200g chocolate chips or chopped up regular chocolate
(I ended up using half chips and half chopped up Wispa bites)
175ml milk – semi skimmed works fine
175ml vegetable oil
2 eggs

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c and line a muffin with paper case if you don’t have a silicone tray.
  • If you’re using regular chocolate, chop it up.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl.  Add your chocolate chunks and the sugar to the bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk the eggs, milk and oil together.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix with a metal spoon until combined.double-chocolate-muffins
  • Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.double-chocolate-muffins

I did slightly over bake mine so were best eaten on the day of baking as they were a tadge dry but yummy on the same day 🙂

double-chocolate-muffins

Until next time…Happy Baking!