I’m pretty picky when it comes to bananas. Once they have a single spot on them any chance of me eating them is pretty much gone…they can either go into a smoothie or a baked good. This means a LOT of banana bread, muffins, scones, etc. I usually try to stick with things that are somewhat healthy that I can eat on my way out the door in the morning, but sometimes I want something a little more decadent.
This coffee cake is probably one of my favorite banana recipes. It’s ridiculously moist and flavorful. It’s got plenty of banana flavor, but not overwhelmingly so. I’ve tried many different combos and never get tired of it.,,if you really want to amp it up, I recommend chocolate chips instead of the blueberries
I have a bit of a weakness for cookie cutters. I can never pass up fun shaped cookie cutter, especially if they’re a good deal (or nautical). And I definitely can’t leave Sur la Table without at least one cookie cutter from the awesome $1 rack. The only problem is that I really don’t like most cut out cookies. Sugar cookies aren’t bad, but there are plenty of fun (and chocolatey) things I can make instead! Luckily I finally found a chocolate roll-out cookie that is totally worth the effort!
Come summer I’ll be dusting off my nautical cutters to make these again! And maybe next time I make peppermint ice cream, because they would be perfect for ice cream sandwiches!
Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer, then add in the eggs, vanilla and cocoa. Once well combined, gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth.
Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
Roll out cookie dough on floured counter and cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (Any excess flour will disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly worry if they go into the oven looking a bit white.)
Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.
Blood oranges are kind of a new discovery for me. Every year around this time Honeybell oranges are everywhere in Southwest Florida. Fruit stands, grocery stores, and the farmers market are ALL about the Honeybells, so I was surprised when I spotted bags of Blood Oranges at Target last week.
I’m pretty much obsessed with blood orange soda and love it as a cocktail mixer, so I knew the first thing I had to make would be cocktails. The obvious choice being Margaritas. Can you say awesome?!! I did scale down the recipe a bit though…I’m not going to say we couldn’t have had the whole pitcher, but it was probably best that we didn’t!
Last week was a long, busy week. We had a surprise corporate inspection, which of course means STRESS, but I’m very happy and relieved to say that we did very, very well. I knew I wanted to make cupcakes to bring in for my coworkers and of course the blood oranges were calling to me!
I love the combo of chocolate and orange, plus the deep red juice makes a perfect pink frosting…so perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Oh and this is somehow the first cupcake recipe I’ve posted??! Kinda sad when cupcake is in the name, but I promise there will be more to come!
Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 standard muffin pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla, orange zest, and warm water. Beat with a paddle attachment on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about ⅔ full Baking for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for a few minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, cook the orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Cream the butter, vanilla, and reduced orange juice until smooth. Add two cups of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy, add more powdered sugar if necessary, a little at a time.
Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with buttercream and decorate as desired.
One-bowl Chocolate Cupcake Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Last week I got the strong urge to bake lemon bars. I honestly can’t tell you why…I’ve never made lemon bars, and I’m about 95% sure that I’ve never actually had one either. Yet I had the very strong desire to make some!
So Friday I made the trip to Target to grab some lemons…about an hour of Target wandering later I had pretty much forgotten about the lemon bars and found myself buying some yoga pants, peppermint chapstick, and a jar of raspberry preserves to make these jam bars. I should have known better than to think I could go to Target and actually leave with the items I intended to buy!
Nothing against lemon bars, but I’m SO glad I went with these! The raspberry flavor really shines and I LOVE the crumbly texture of the base and top which are similar to almond shortbread. If you had some caramel just laying around I think that would be amazing in place of the jam…maybe even with some chocolate
Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 11 x 7 inch baking dish and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixtures resembles coarse crumbs.
Press half the crumb mixture into prepared baking sheet. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and use a large spoon or spatula to press dough evenly into pan. Make sure the dough is firmly packed with no holes or cracks.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Spread the jam over cooled crust and scatter with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until the topping begins to turn light golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before lifting out of baking dish and slicing.
I have tried many different granola recipes and techniques over the year. Most of them are quite tasty, but never quite what I’m looking for. I’m happy to say I’ve FINALLY found a recipe that I really love!
We really like the Back To Nature Cranberry Pecan Granola and usually would stock up when Publix has it BOGO, but now we don’t have to because this is wayyyy better. Plus it’s totally customizable! Use whatever nuts and dried fruits you’ve got on hand! I think it would be amazing with dried cherries and walnuts, and of course you can sub out the juice for whatever you’ve got on hand. Just be mindful of the amount of sugar or you’re looking at a dessert granola rather than breakfast!
Do you have a favorite granola recipe, or do you usually just stick with store bought?
Now that the holidays are over the cookies are gone and we are back to our mostly healthy eating habits. But there is one thing we will never give up: ice cream.
I have a tendency to buy a bunch of candy canes, then not eat a single one, so this was the perfect recipe to put them to good use. The crushed candy mixed into the ice cream give it a nice little crunch and adds extra mint flavor without going over the top. The chocolate is just a given.
What I like best about this ice cream is that I can eat a small bowl and be completely satisfied. Yes, I COULD sit and eat the whole tub…but I’m just as happy with a reasonable amount. And that to me is what ‘diets’ are all about: balance.
And for those of you that live up north and aren’t really feeling ice cream this time of year….I’m sorry, I’ll eat a bowl for you!
Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream, the half and half, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer, watching to make sure it does not boil.
Pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh sieve on top. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour some of the heated cream and sugar mixture into the egg yolks to temper them, whisking constantly, then pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture over medium heat scraping the bottom often with a rubber spatula. Allow to thicken until it coats the back of the spatula (it should be at about 170 degrees).
Pour through the mesh sieve into the remaining cream, then stir in the vanilla and mint extract. Cool down over an ice bath, stirring occasionally.
Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before churning.
Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add in the chocolate and crushed candy 5 minutes before it is done churning. Freeze until firm.
If your New Years resolution was to eat healthy and lose weight, then this dish is not for you. But if you’re like me, you have to cheat every so often. And this is the PERFECT cheat meal. The sauce is simple, but it’s such a great way to highlight the fresh pasta.
Serve this with a bottle of good wine and you’ve got winter comfort food at it’s finest. I seriously don’t think there’s much better than this.
You can find my recipe for fresh pasta here. You don’t have to make your own pasta, but I absolutely recommend doing so!
The first time I ever tried homemade pasta was on my first trip to Italy. I was probably about 12 at the time and although I really enjoyed it, I definitely didn’t appreciate it like I would now. From what I remember we were at a really neat restaurant in Rome inside a cavern of some sort, we watched a pasta making demonstration and then ate pasta a million different ways. I’m dying to go back.
It wasn’t until recently that I started to contemplate making my own pasta, and I must say that it is soooo worth it. I’m already adding a pasta machine to next years Christmas list. If you don’t have one, it’s still totally doable, but you’ll certainly get an arm workout between the rolling and kneading the dough!
Have you made homemade pasta before? There are so many possibilities that I can’t wait to explore, but ravioli is definitely next on my list!
Later this week I’ll share the recipe I made with my homemade pasta. It was absolutely amazing, but definitely a “cheat meal” for those of use who just made resolutions for the new year!
Add flour to a large mixing bowl, or onto a clean dry counter. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, olive oil, and salt.
Use a fork to beat the eggs together, then begin to incorporate the flour.
Once the eggs have been mostly incorporated into the flour, begin kneading with your hands. If the dough is too sticky dust with flour while kneading. If it is to dry wet your hands and continue.
Knead by hand for 8 to 10 minutes, pushing the dough away from your with your palm , then turning clockwise. Continue this pattern of pushing and turning until the dough is smooth and velvety.
Cut dough in half and let rest for an hour.
When ready to roll, dust the counter and top of the dough with flour. Start in the middle of the dough and push away with the rolling pin. Keep weight towards the middle of the rolling pin to keep the dough from creasing. Continue rolling until you can see your fingers through the dough. Let dry for 10 minutes.
Dust the top of the dough with flour and fold loosely a few times. Cut dough into ¾ – 1 inch wide slices.
Unwrap and place on a sheet pan until ready to boil.
To cook: Boil in water for 3 minutes, strain well, and serve immediately.
Recipe from Anne Burrell, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef
Getting tired of cookies yet?! Cookies have definitely taken over the blogosphere in the last couple weeks, but I am MORE than ok with it! They are one of my favorite things to both make and eat and I look for any excuse to try new cookie recipes. A coworker and I decided to host a little cookie exchange at work this week for this exact reason and we had lots of fun with it!
These are the cookies I chose to bring to the cookie exchange. I probably should have attached a warning label because they are ridiculously chocolatey! If you don’t want them quite so over the top, you can skip the chocolate dip and they’ll still be wonderful! I may have sampled a few that way when they came out of the oven and they were pretty awesome
You can also sub out the peppermint for vanilla extract if you want just a regular chocolate cookie…I’m also considering whipping up another batch and subbing peanut butter chips for the last cup of chocolate chips.
I definitely recommend adding these to your holiday baking list, they’re sure to become a favorite!
Melt together the unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, whip together the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Stir in the peppermint and chocolate mixture, and mix well.
Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and gradually stir into the chocolate mixture. Mix in the remaining 1 cup chocolate chips. Cover dough and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, then allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a cooling rack.
Chocolate Truffle Cookie recipe from allrecipes.com