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Category Archives: Sweets

Cinnamon Freud Banana Bread

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I was assigned to Karen’s blog, Cinnamon Freud, for the Secret Recipe Club this month. She’s a counseling psychology doctoral student who also loves to cook and bake. How genius is her blog name?! I know she must get that a lot, but it’s true. Genius.

So anyway, last month I chose banana bread for my SRC assignment and Debra suggested I do banana bread every month because of my outrageous obsession with it. Although I didn’t intend to take her up on that challenge, as soon as I received my SRC assignment, I looked to see if Karen had a banana bread recipe, because I had a bunch of bananas that were really overripe and needing to be used. And she did – this recipe, in fact.  I made this bread the same day I received my assignment – the quickest I’ve ever done it!

Since she simply called it banana bread, and I have way too many banana recipes on my blog to call it just banana bread, I added her blog name into it.  I couldn’t resist – it’s just so catchy!  :)  My second choice for this bread’s name would be “Dessert Banana Bread.”  This bread has more sugar than normal (which I totally am on board with – the more sugar the better, as far as I’m concerned), making it a bit more indulgent and appropriate for dessert…with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce on top, of course. haha! ;)  Oh and I have to tell you this bread is excellent with black walnuts. I made one plain, one with black walnuts. They were beautiful – sweet, dense, soft & velvety, just perfect.  These disappeared FAST – a definite winner!

Cinnamon Freud Banana Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 cups mix-ins (nuts, chocolate chips, etc)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and any mix-ins you want to add. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until blended, then add the remaining ingredients, beating until combined. Add approximately 1/4 cup dry ingredients into the wet. Mix until just combined. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients.

Spread into prepared loaf pans & bake for 55-70 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Recipe source: Cinnamon Freud

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I usually keep my recipe posts and baby posts totally separate, but since I haven’t been posting very much period, I just can’t resist including some baby love. :)  Here he is being a cloth diaper and baby leg warmers model. :D

Be sure to check out the other Group C Secret Recipe Club contributions this month by clicking the linky frog below!

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Biscoff Butter Bars

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This month my Secret Recipe Club assignment was Annie’s Noms and I was in heaven. A baking blog with the majority of recipes given with grams instead of cups!  Be still my beating heart. :) While I enjoyed scouring through her recipes to find the one, I actually found it in the first thirty seconds but just had to keep looking because, hello. A baking blog. I love you and all your desserts, Annie!

I knew before I even saw the recipe that her Biscoff Butter Bars were exactly what I wanted to make. Hello. Biscoff and butter? Gimme gimme. If you haven’t had Biscoff yet, it’s cookie butter – smooth and creamy like peanut butter but made with lightly spiced cookies instead of peanuts.  Yes, seriously, cookie butter really is a thing, and it’s so good.  I encourage you to try it.  Most supermarkets, including Walmart, sell it now, and can be found by the peanut butter usually. Annie likes to eat it on croissants and that sounds like heaven!! Personally, I try not to buy it too often because it inevitably gets eaten spoonful by spoonful until I’ve devoured the entire jar in a shamefully short amount of time. But adding it to a butter-laden recipe, while perhaps even more sinful, makes it a lot easier to share with others and keep it off my own hips.

Unfortunately, I ended up eating more than my fair share anyway. Although I over-baked them a bit (something I previously considered an unforgivable culinary sin until I had a child and realized that over-baking is sometimes unavoidable), they were so good it was hard to stop eating them. Butter makes everything better, even something as perfect as Biscoff.

Please stop by Annie’s blog to see how beautiful these bars are when baked perfectly, and check out her other yummy desserts!

Biscoff Butter Bars

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

½ lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
½ cup (3 ½ oz / 100 g) granulated sugar
¾ cup (3 oz / 84 g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups (8 ½ oz / 242 g) all-purpose flour
1 (14.1 oz) jar Biscoff Spread

Preheat the oven to 325F and grease a 9×9 in pan. Place the butter and sugars into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on med-high speed. Add the vanilla extract and flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Press half the dough into the greased pan (wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate) and bake for 12-14 minutes, until puffy and ever so slightly firm to the touch. It will not look done.

Allow the base to cool for 15 minutes. Once cooled, spread the Biscoff over the base, leaving a 1/4 inch gap around the edge. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the Biscoff and bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffy, very lightly golden and slightly firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan. Slice into 12-15 bars.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Annie’s Noms.

Microwave Peanut Butter Cookies

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For some reason I’ve never had the urge to make one of those quick and easy chocolate mug cakes that are done in the microwave.  I’ve saved recipes for them, thinking it sounds like a fun idea, but I guess it seems like too much work to mix up the ingredients for such a small cake. Especially since I know I’d have to do it at least twice in a row to satisfy my sweet tooth-lol.

But a microwave cookie?  I had to try that.  (Don’t forget my second favorite food group is “Cookies,” with “Dip” being the first-haha.)  The original recipe was for a single cookie but I don’t keep a carton of Egg Beaters on hand and didn’t want to measure out a single tablespoon of egg white from a real egg, so I just multiplied the recipe by four to use a whole real egg (I’ve got mad baking mathematical skillz and knew that a whole egg = 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons, just like I know how many ounces is in a cup of flour & sugar so that I don’t have to use measuring cups!).  This yielded four cookies, which is totally preferable to one cookie in my world.  :D

Dennis and I split the cookies and both loved them!  They are soft and chewy and totally hit the sweet spot. So simple and you don’t even have to turn on the oven.  Now that’s a summer dessert I can get behind. Extra bonus for those with food allergies: these are naturally gluten and dairy free!

Microwave Peanut Butter Cookies

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

½ cup (4 ¾ oz) creamy peanut butter
¼ cup (2 oz) brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg

Use a fork to mix the peanut butter and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Stir in the baking powder until completely incorporated. Mix in the egg until batter is uniform, thick & smooth. Remove ¼ – 1/3 of the batter and place on a small microwave-safe plate. Press into a thick cookie shape about 2″ in diameter and microwave 1 minute. Allow to cool while repeating with remaining batter. I preferred these when just a little warm.

Makes 3-4 large cookies.

Recipe source: adapted from Carrot’s ‘n Cake

Nutter Butter Banana Cream Pie

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This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to Our Eating Habits – pretty nifty considering I had Jamie’s blog last month!  Jamie called my blog “pay dirt” and I’d have to say the same of hers – there were just so many comfort food recipes (my favorite kind!) that I had a blast browsing through them.  I decided to make something for our annual Mother’s Day picnic from her blog and ended up making two things, this delicious pie and Smoky Baked Beans – both fabulous!

There was only one piece of pie left when we arrived late to the picnic (the pie preceded us in my IL’s van), but I had a good excuse to make it again in order to get pictures of the inside – my Father-in-law’s birthday was coming up, and he just so happens to adore banana cream pie.  Turns out so do I. It was so hard not to hog the pie all to myself but I took my single slice and let him have the three pieces that were left after we’d all had one.  He raved, everyone raved, and the pie is an official success.  Thank you, Jamie, for sharing such a fun and delicious recipe! I never would have thought to use Nutter Butters for a pie crust but it is the perfect compliment to the banana cream filling.

Nutter Butter Banana Cream Pie

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Crust
12 nutter butter cookies
1- 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

Banana Cream Filling
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 bananas, sliced

Topping
1 (8 oz) tub frozen whipped topping, defrosted
4 Nutter Butters, crushed
Place 12 Nutter Butters in food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. Add cream cheese and process until completely incorporated. Press into 9″ pie plate (not deep dish) and bake at 350F for 12 minutes. Set aside to cool while you continue with the recipe.

In medium-sized saucepan whisk together white sugar, flour, and salt.  Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbles form. Cook for additional 2 minutes, whisking constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from heat.

Place egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk. Whisk in a small amount of milk mixture to egg yolks, then repeat a second time.  Pour egg yolk mixture into remaining milk mixture in pot and whisk to combine. Return to burner and heat again over medium heat for about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Slice bananas into the pudding and stir gently to combine well, then pour and smooth into prepared crust.  Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pie to seal out air and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least four hours.  Before serving, spread whipped topping over the top and sprinkle on the crushed Nutter Butters.

Recipe source: Our Eating Habits

Baked Banana Doughnuts with Brown Butter Glaze

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My sister-in-law gave me a doughnut pan for Christmas two years ago…maybe three.  It’s what I asked for, had wanted for years, and yet I only used it to bake the doughnut mix she gave me with it until now!  What is UP with that?

I was Pinteresting (yes, I’m allowed to turn nouns into verbs haha) and came across Shelby’s baked banana doughnuts with a browned butter rum glaze and I HAD TO HAVE IT RIGHT THEN…or at least my own version of it.  :) I had my nearly forgotten doughnut pan, a single overripe banana, and the baby was taking a nap – it was like the stars aligned and God smiled down on me in that instant. I got to work and boy oh boy. These were quick to make and so delicious!  Brown butter and banana are a match made in heaven.  Actually, browned butter makes everything better, don’t you think?

Baked Banana Doughnuts with Brown Butter Glaze

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 cup (4 ¼ oz / 120 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large (about 5 ½ oz / 156 g without peel) overripe banana
1 large egg
¼ cup (2 ¼ oz / 64 g) buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup (2 oz / 58 g) light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup (4 oz / 113 g) powdered sugar
1-3 teaspoons milk, as needed to thin the icing

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 6-well doughnut pan with oil and set aside (I wipe off the top with a paper towel to reduce the amount of baked-on oil build-up on there but that is your call). Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium sized bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, mash the banana, then whisk in the egg, buttermilk, oil, and sugar. Add to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined (a few small flour lumps are OK). You can either use a spoon to fill the doughnut pan or put the batter in a ziploc bag and snip a corner to squeeze the batter into the pan. Fill each well 3/4 full. If you have extra, you can make it into mini muffins or wait until the first batch is done baking to make a couple more doughnuts. Bake doughnuts for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and doughnuts bounce back when lightly pressed. Turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

While doughnuts are cooling, brown the butter. Place in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the solids separate and turn a chocolate brown color. Remove from heat and add the powdered sugar and enough milk to get a glaze consistency (it doesn’t take much. Dip the tops of each doughnut in the warm glaze with the cooling rack over the sink so the glaze can drip off as you finish dipping each one. If you have extra, you can put it in a ziploc bag or disposable piping bag and snip a corner to drizzle over the doughnuts because extra glaze makes them extra good! :)

Recipe source: adapted from The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honey Bunch

Lemon Cream Whoopie Pies

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It’s been a year since I left the Secret Recipe Club but I’m finally back, baby! So excited! If you haven’t been around here long enough to know what the heck the Secret Recipe Club is, lemme break it down for ya. Once you’re in the club (click the link to sign up), each month that you participate, you’re assigned to another participating blog. Nobody knows who has whose blog, and everyone in the group picks a recipe from their assigned blog and makes it, then everyone posts on the same day and it’s all fun and exciting looking through the posts to figure out who had your blog and to see which recipe they picked. It’s a really fun way to visit new blogs and make recipes you might not usually try.

This month I was assigned to Chris and Amy’s blog, A Couple In The Kitchen. Aww! So sweet – a couple that cooks and blogs together! Their motto is, “The couple that sautes together, stays together.” I just love it.  The coolest thing is that they had my blog back in October of 2011 and made my Apple Cider Doughnuts, so it’s neat to finally get assigned to them in return.

I went crazy perusing their blog and pinning the recipes I wanted to try to one of my secret boards.  I’ve never made a risotto and really want to try it, so I was very close to picking their Springtime Risotto.  Their Corn and Black Bean Salsa Nachos were also calling my name, along with their Seared Scallops with Blood Orange Gastrique and Chicken Piccata.  However, my sweet tooth and curiosity drew me to their Flour Frosting and I thought I could use it as a filling in some springtime-y whoopie pies.

I’ve heard of flour frosting before and have wanted to try it for a long time, much longer than I’ve wanted to make a risotto, and I was glad to have the extra motivation to finally make it.  But let me tell you, I nearly had as much trouble with this frosting as I did with another SRC post on the whole wheat bread that would never turn out for me, even after 9 loaves. I don’t know what my problem is, but I just could not get the flour mixture right – it was always lumpy and made my frosting lumpy no matter how much I beat it (we’re talking 20 minutes people!).  Through trial and error, I devised a fool-proof way to create the smooth and fluffy frosting it’s meant to be, and while it’s a little more tedious because it involves an extra step, it’s worth the effort if you have lumpy thickened milk issues like me.  This lightly sweet frosting is incredibly light and fluffy, perfect for sandwiching between sweet, lemony cake-cookies.  Get your whoopie on!

Lemon Cream Whoopie Pies

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Cookies:
1 (15.25 oz) lemon cake mix
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup water
3 eggs

Filling:
¼ cup (1 1/8 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (3 ¼ oz) vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper and set aside.

Before starting the cookies, do the first step for the filling: whisk the flour and milk together in a small saucepan and continue to whisk constantly while cooking it over medium heat until it forms a thick paste, about five minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Combine cookie ingredients in large bowl and beat on low until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl to incorporate. Increase speed to medium and beat for an additional minute. Drop 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of dough (preferably from a cookie scoop to make them nicely round) onto prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart, and bake for about ten minutes or until lightly golden brown on edges and set in the center. Remove onto a wire rack to cool and repeat with remaining batter.

To make the filling, add the cooled milk and flour mixture to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add the vanilla and process until completely smooth and no lumps remain, a minute or two. (You can also beat it with a mixer but if there are any lumps, it will ruin your frosting. I couldn’t get the lumps out of mine without using the food processor.) In a large mixing bowl, add remaining filling ingredients and beat on medium-high for four minutes, then add in the flour mixture and beat together until nice and fluffy and no grit from the sugar remains, 3-4 minutes.

To make the pies, turn half the cookies over and spread about 2 tablespoons of filling over the flat side. Top with another cookie, flat side down and press lightly together.

Recipe source: a Veronica’s Cornucopia original, with the filling recipe adapted from A Couple in the Kitchen

A Brony Birthday Party

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My little sister (that’s her with the black ponytail) threw a My Little Pony birthday party for her boyfriend last week.  That’s right, he’s a Brony.  A brother who likes My Little Pony.  I love that he’s secure enough in his masculinity not to have any shame about it!  He was so excited about the party and while she was taking millions of pictures of him posing with ponies, he declared it to be the best birthday party of his life.

Although I’ve sworn off decorated cakes (multiple times), she talked me into making the cake for his party.  (What convinced me was her offering a really strange amount of money – not like $20 or $30, but $32.73.  It was so weird and funny I had to say yes! lol)  It was a super-simple cake and I thought I’d share how to make one if you ever have need of a rainbow or MLP cake.

You only need a round single layer of cake.  If you make it in a 10″ pan, a cake mix will fit in it and the finished cake will serve up to 16 people, although it will be pretty difficult to serve.  I made mine in an 8″ pan and baked the rest of the batter into cupcakes, so this cake only served 8 but with the cupcakes it would have served 20.  You will also need red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and sky blue frosting for the rainbow.  Pack the frosting into disposable pastry bags, preferably fitted with couplers, though you can just slice the tip off the bag to pipe the frosting directly onto the cake out of the bag if you don’t own a lot of couplers or don’t want to buy them. If you are going to make this into a My Little Pony cake, you will also need extra green for the grass (I used a lighter green than in the rainbow). You’ll need some flower sprinkles (I used these) and a grass tip (Wilton #233, and ignore all the other tips – I didn’t end up using them).  If you want to make a pond, you’ll need some clear piping gel and sky blue gel coloring (available at Walmart by the cake decorating supplies in the arts & crafts section).

Slice your cake in half and squeeze/spread frosting onto one side. I made too much red so that’s the color I chose to use.

Sandwich the halves together.

Place the cake cut-side down to your platter or cake board.

Squeeze frosting onto the cake, starting at the middle with the red (I had to build it up a little to make it higher since it dipped down), making stripes in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  I just squeezed it out from my coupler without a tip and I thought this made the perfect width of frosting for each stripe.

Repeat down the other side and fill in the bottom of both sides with sky blue frosting to make it look like you’re looking through to the sky underneath the rainbow.

If you’re going to make a MLP cake, figure out where you’re going to put the ponies, then pipe a blue border to outline where your pond(s) will be.  Using your (clean) finger, spread a thin layer of blue frosting over the platter or cake board so that the silver (or other color of the board) doesn’t show through the piping gel.  Tint enough piping gel to fill the pond(s) with sky blue gel color and spread into the pond, creating some ripple effects with your spoon.

Pipe grass onto the rest of the platter and when you run out of light green, use up the rest of your darker green, then panic and use up your yellow.  Then realize there is no other color left that is suitable for grass so be really strange and spread some orange over the rest of the platter, hoping it won’t look too weird if you write a birthday message across it.  Sprinkle your flower sprinkles all over the grass.

Realize the orange is just wrong, and scrape it all off, rejoicing that you found some extra blue you had set aside in a bowl.  Use it to pipe a border for another lake and repeat the steps to create a second lake.  Rejoice that you saved a little bit of white frosting and tint it green to go around the lake, then steal some of the flower sprinkles to put on the new grass.  Much better.

To serve, cut it in half down the middle, then cut each half in half, angling toward the center.  Essentially, you are cutting it the way you would if it was right-side up, but from the side instead of the top.  Cut each thick slice in half and use a spatula or cake server to draw out one of the bottom pieces (most likely two pieces will come out and you’ll have to pull the top piece off onto another plate.  Once the first piece is out, serving the others is pretty easy as they just start falling onto your spatula.

TASTE THE RAINBOW!

Whoa. It’s like a rainbow…IN MAH MOUTH.

 

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