Tag Archives: bake

The Moistest Banana Bars Ever

Wondering what to do with those brown bananas that are starting to attract fruit flies?  Well one concept is to peel them and freeze them for smoothies, but an even better idea is to make these breakfast bars from Gooseberry Patch.image

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar

Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt.  In another bowl mash together the wet ingredients: bananas, shortening, eggs, vanilla.

Next, combine the wet ingredients with the dry until the flour mixture is just moistened.

Grease a 13″ x 9″ pan and pour the batter in, spreading out evenly.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit for approximately 20 minutes.

When cool, cut into squares and serve using a sifter to sprinkle fresh powdered sugar on top.image

Another topping option I didn’t make because I was out of cream cheese, and not feeling like a 20 minute drive to the store, is cream cheese frosting. All you need to do is cream together one package of cream cheese, a stick of butter, 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.  Then top the frosting with chopped walnuts for an extra nutty crunch.image

I’ve never had banana bread this moist, fluffy or tasty before. The top stays sticky where the sugar seems to rise and sit.  The inside is extremely light and fluffy, unlike most banana breads, which are a little dense.  It’s not over-filling and makes a larger quantity than a small bread pan would.  My mom suggested it needed walnuts, which, if you make it with the cream cheese frosting, would be the cherry topping of the sundae.  It’s an easy, grab-and-go breakfast for the week.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Food

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This is a great treat to wake up to or snack on at lunch.  It can get your kids and husbands to eat their vegetables without even knowing it.  I decided to make this when my boss gave us all club sized zucchini’s from her garden.  I didn’t even use half of the zucchini with two batches of this bread.  That’s some healthy soil right there.image

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup Diet Coke
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini (not packed)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.

In a bowl, mix together your dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chips.  The whole wheat flour is an acquired taste, so if you prefer, use white. I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to accentuate the mini bread loaves I ended up with.image

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract, butter, Diet Coke, milk and zucchini.  The recipe I found on skinnytaste.com reccommended apple sauce, which would make this bread much sweeter and super moist, but we didn’t have any in the cabinet or fridge.  I took Caroline’s earlier suggestion of Diet Coke in cake batter in place of the wet ingredients.  I minimized the wet ingredients, but added milk for a thicker, heartier dough.  You can also grate the zucchini directly into the dry ingredients bowl, as it will sit directly on top instead of sinking to the bottom of the wet ingredient bowl so you can see how much you have grated.  I used a simple hand cheese grater, which was perfect for the huge size of the zucchini.
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Combine your wet ingredient bowl into the dry ingredient bowl and stir until just mixed.  You will see the beautiful green of the zucchini radiating against the dark chocolate chips.  Scrumptious.

Crisco/butter either a 9″ x 5″  bread loaf pan or for my second batch I used 4 mini aluminum loaf pans for an individual touch I could give away at work.  These come with cute plastic covers, but will need a lot of attention with the Crisco/butter in each crease. 
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Pour the batter in your pan.

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Bake for 50-60 minutes at 325 degrees Farenheit. image
If you are using the mini pans, cook for approximately 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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The zucchini adds a nice texture to the bread, but the taste really comes from the chocolate chips, wheat flour and brown sugar.  I personally didn’t notice a difference in taste when using Diet Coke in place of the “wet ingredients” but in the future will use apple sauce for bread as it will add more moisture.  The Diet Coke would be great in a box cake mix in place of the eggs, oil and water. The wheat flour adds a healthy flavor and slight grain texture that may or may not put you off, so as mentioned, white flour will suffice.   Like my boss did, your husband and kids may ask you if there is really zucchini in the bread.

Add a little butter to your warm slice of bread for moisture, or eat directly from the pan. Either way this chocolatey, thick and flavorful bread is quite appetizing.

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Filed under Breakfast, Food

Carmelized Praline French Toast Bake

 

This is a Paula Deen recipe that I changed around a little with the Raspberry sauce, so expect a lot of butter, cream and an amazing breakfast/brunch.  My college friends were in town for a wedding and found this delicious.

Add to your grocery list:

1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup milk
8   large eggs
2 cup half-and-half
Butter, for pan
1   loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Raspberry Syrup, recipe follows

Praline Topping:
2 sticks butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2-tsp. nutmeg

Raspberry Syrup:
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. preserves (I used Bumbleberry, purchased on a fruit picking farm)
2 tablespoons white wine, I used a dry white wine to take away from the sweetness.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit (unless you are using the overnight method). Generously butter a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.  Slice your french bread into approximately one-inch thick slices. The recipe calls for 20, but I had a hard time fitting them all in a single layer in the casserole dish.  After jamming the slices in, I realized an easier layout for the bread would be to layer them resting on top of each other, like a cheese tray.

In a mixing bowl, whip together the eggs, milk, half-and-half, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla with either a whisk or a hand mixer. I also added in a little bit of black pepper.  The mix should be thouroughly blended, so I suggest the hand mixer.  I used a fork and had two egg yolks still whole when I poured the batter over the toast, the next step. When pouring the egg combo, be sure to cover all the bread slices evenly. I kept going and just baked the bread immediately after I soaked the bread slices.  You can also cover up the baking pan and refrigerate overnight for a softer texture and fully soaked bread.

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When your bread has chilled overnight, or you are ready to immediately bake your dish, whip up the praline topping.  In another bowl, intermingle all the ingredients until well-integrated.  Evenly paint on the mixture to the top of your bread covering the entire dish creating a sweet, slightly thick, top layer.  Cook in the oven for 45 minutes or until the egg mixture turns into a solid, slightly mushy state.  The eggs should have cooked thoroughly through and the praline topping will have melted and become a dark brown, crystallized crust.image

While your brunch is baking, you can heat up the fruit topping. I didn’t have the ingredients Paula called for, so I whipped up my own version. In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients on low heat stirring until completely heated.  Set aside for later.

 It was a little sweet, so you could probably remove either the corn syrup or honey.  The wine definitely brought down the kid-in-a-candy-store sweetness with a grown up kick, so if you follow the recipe exactly I would make sure to add this.  Any fruit and preserve would work, so if blueberries are in season and cheaper, try a variation of the raspberry topping.image

When the french toast bake is finished, dish out one-two slices per plate and top with the raspberry topping.  Delectable!image

The best part was definitely the crunchy, candied pecans crusting onto the gooey, egg-thick french toast.  It didn’t stick your teeth, but sure tasted like a taboo candy that would rot out your molars.  The fresh fruit on top made the dish feel healthy and brought another level of flavor to the agreeably sweetened, nutty french toast.  A great brunch item paired with a mimosa or watermelon cooler and some fresh fruit.image

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Nutella Bites

I found this recipe on the main page when I signed in to WordPress and just had to make it for my cousin Eileen’s bridal shower. The Nutella Cheesecake Layer Bars are from The Moonlight Baker, and I changed the recipe around a tad.

For this version you will need:

1 cup Oreo Cookie Crumbs Pie Crust Mix or I purchased vanilla with chocolate filling wafers
1 cup Graham Cracker Crumb Pie Crust Mix
1 stick of melted butter
4 boxes of Philadelphia lite cream cheese, softened
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon of heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of Nutella
Line a greased 13 x 9″ baking pan with parchment paper, pushing it into the edges.

In a bowl, crumble the wafers to a dust and add in the graham cracker pie crust mix.

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image  Pour the melted butter in the bowl and mix until coated.  Press the mixture into the base of the parchment paper lined pan.  Put in the oven at 325 degrees Farenheit for 12 minutes or until a slight crust texture.

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In another bowl combine the cream cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Stir together with a hand mixer until smooth.  Take about 2/3 of the mixture and set aside. In the remaining 1/3 add the Nutella and mix again with the hand mixer.  When the pie crust has finished and cooled for several minutes, layer in the white cheesecake mixture.  On top of that pour the nutella cheesecake mixture on top. I marbled the two together, but they still show distinct layers when cut open.

Cook the bars for a remaining 40 minutes or until slightly jiggly but mostly cooked.  When finished and the pan is cooled, refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

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Cut into bite sized bars and savor this treat.  Unlike cheesecake, it isn’t too overpoweringly sweet.  The Nutella’s chocolate hazelnut doesn’t entirely take over the flavor, but rather melds lightly with the cream cheese for an even taste.  The crust adds a little crunch with a chocolatey sweetness to complete the light dessert.

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Ellen’s All-Healing Brownies

Ellen introduced me to a version of this brownie utopia, and boy is it good.  I fudged around with it a little, but anyway you treat these chocolate-lover heaven brownies should turn out mouth-watering delights.  My original plan was to make these for a mourning friend in hopes that their all-healing power would transfer on to her, but while shopping I had to buy ingredients for two batches.

What you will need:
2 boxes of brownie mix (and the ingredients according to the directions on the box)
1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips (or heath candy, or Milky Way, or mint chocolate, or anything you wouldn’t normally eat in abundance)
desired amount of nuts
1 can of frosting

These are actually quite simple.  In a mixing bowl combine the two boxes of mix and the ingredients for one and a half of the directions. I used a box of fudgy brownie mix, a box of milk chocolate brownie mix, 4 eggs, 1/3 cup of water, and a half cup of oil.   Mix until all the powder disappears into a sea of dark brown batter.  Pour the bag of chocolate chips in.  Dark chocolate counteracts the overpoweringly chocolate flavor of these rich brownies, but for this recipe I added a bag of pre-mixed peanut-butter and milk chocolate chips.  Crush up your nuts and toss them into the mixing bowl of batter.  I used about three handfuls of walnuts.  The nuts really break up the amount of chocolate as well, and I had a non-nut lover actually state that it was better with them in this recipe.  You can use pecans, walnuts, or any other nut you have in your cabinet.  Next pour the mix into a greased 13″ x 9″ pan and toss in the oven for exactly the stated time on the box of mix.  image

It may appear slightly uncooked (If it is runny, by all means continue cooking these. Use your judgement here.) where the toothpick doesn’t come out totally clean, but they will keep cooking.  I toss them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes after this step and wait until they are cooled.  Using the whole can of frosting (here I chose to use dark chocolate since I did not throw in dark chips) and frost the top of the brownies. Throw them back in the fridge until the frosting firms up, and enjoy the chocolate lover’s dream.  Each bite will bring melting brownie with pieces of slightly harder chips and nuts creating a flavor shock.  The frosting melts nicely and when re-hardened becomes the perfect topper.  Frosting can often be too overpowering, but I believe that on these it pairs well enough to keep you from falling into a chocolate coma.  My dad and his girlfriend used to mail these treats to me for birthdays in a disposable container, and I tried really hard to share.  The trick to mailing them (though costly as they weigh a ton and a half) is to freeze them so they thaw along the way.

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Spinach Calzones

Danielle again amazes me with her healthy recipes, so I decided to stop by and cook for her.  The recipe calls for 1 (10 oz) can of refrigerated pizza crust, 4 garlic cloves, 4 cups of spinach leaves, 8 (1/8 inch thick) slices of a sweet onion, 1 and 1/3 cups of sliced button mushrooms and 3/4 cup (3 oz) crumbled blue cheese.

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Pillsbury has the best refrigerated and in a can rolls, so I assumed correctly that their pizza dough would have that similar sweet, light, and fluffy taste.  You start by popping the can, and jumping with fright every time if you are like me, then spread out the dough on a greased baking sheet.  Cut it into four and pat out 6″ by 5″ rectangles.  Starting with the minced garlic cloves, spread out each vegetable into your four rectangles.

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I cut the onions a little too thick, and they probably would fit better if you actually chop them up instead of ringed slices.  I also added tomatoes, but after making this got to thinking they would also be incredible doused in tomato/pizza sauce like your own personal folded up pizza, or panzerotti as the Italian restaurants will call it.  Mini Bella mushrooms were on sale and are oh so much better of a texture and taste that your typical white button mushroom.  Also, I tried frozen spinach, as it is cheaper and easier, quickly zapped it in the microwave, and it still added a desirable, fresh flavor to the dish.  I decided to shop at Meijer after realizing that the Wal-Mart I went to was not a super Wal-Mart, and Meijer had this 4 oz block of blue cheese still in the wax.  It was the perfect size and not as strong and vibrant on your tongue as your typical blue cheese.  It also didn’t have the usual blue mold you see mixed into your cheese.  Highly recommend trying this kind.

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So once all the ingredients are piled high, but not too high or like me you won’t be able to close these babies, you will grab opposing corners of the pizza dough and pinch them together then start down the sides closing the calzone.

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They bake in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  This is when we decided it was okay that the calzones were overstuffed and unable to close.  They still came out looking, smelling and tasting as good as if they had sizzled and baked inside their own personal pod.

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Upon eating these Tobi and Danielle decided it needed some savory or spice for added flavor, but overall a good meal.  Add a chopped salad (thanks to Danielle’s mom) and some raspberry sorbet for a complete dinner.

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Filed under Food, Lunch/Dinner

Enchee-la-das

This recipe came from Danielle’s mom, after eating a delicious meal at her house.  The recipe was so easy and tasty that it is a staple meal every couple of months in our household now.

To make these enchiladas, either buy refried beans or make them according to the recipe on the bag of pinto beans (the method I used adding cooked onions and serrano peppers), 16 oz of cheese, corn tortillas, something to mix in (or nothing if you just want beans and cheese.  I added a frozen bag of already mixed southwestern vegetables), enchilada sauce, and salsa. Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together the beans, half of the cheese and the ingredients you picked out to stuff in the middle.

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Take your corn tortillas one at a time and dip them into the enchilada sauce until they are coated then grab a decent handful of your bean mixture and toss a line of it into the middle of your red-coated tortilla, then roll it up and put the edge side down into a 13 by 9 inch baking pan.  continue until you’ve filled the pan.  Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas making sure to cover all bare edges as these will dry out while baking then top with the remaining cheese.  Cook at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

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Then eat this gooey, warm, flavor packed, cheesy meal.  Two will fill you right up.  It will fall apart, so be careful when scooping, but once you try it, it won’t matter how the dish looks on your plate.

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Filed under Food, Lunch/Dinner