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Tag Archives: walnut

Spiced Butterscotch & Black Walnut Banana Bread


This month I was assigned to Manu’s Menu for the Secret Recipe Club. Manuela is an Italian married to an Indian, living in Australia with her family, so her blog is a smorgasbord of delicious international recipes, with the majority being delicious, authentic Italian food. She has recipes for many things on my 40 by 40 list, like Lamingtons, croissants, biscotti/Cantucci, & risotto. And what did I do? I’m so predictable. I went for the banana bread because as you know, I have an obsession and I seem to always have overripe bananas on hand. I may have not checked anything off my bucket list of recipes to make, but we’re enjoying some really delicious banana bread in the mean time, so that makes up for it. :)

I took Manu’s recipe for the bread and kicked it up a notch, just on a whim that started because of the butterscotch chips sitting on my desk when I was reading her recipe. We really loved the combination of oozing butterscotch, black walnuts, and subtle spices in a loaf rich in banana flavor.  I went ahead and used the butter called for but next time will try oil as I just really prefer the soft & silky texture that oil gives to quick breads. If only oil had all the delicious flavor as butter!

This was a wonderful loaf and I thank you, Manuela for helping me create it. Buon appetito!

Spiced Butterscotch & Black Walnut Banana Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 cups (8 ½ oz / 245 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (5 ½ oz / 150 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2 eggs
½ cup (4 oz / 113 g) butter, melted
3 large (or 4 small) overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (2 ½ oz / 60 g) toasted black walnuts, chopped
½ cup (3 ½ oz / 94 g) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, bananas, and vanilla. Stir together until just moistened, then add the walnuts and butterscotch chips. Stir together until just combined and spread into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

Recipe source: adapted from Manu’s Menu

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Caramel Walnut Brownies


These things are killer. But I must apologize because they have a very unique ingredient that can be hard to find:

Seriously! Did you know that this even existed??  Can I tell you how much I LOVE this product now that I’ve discovered it?????  Caramel cake–it’s every bit as delicious as you imagine it would be.  And the mix makes for some seriously excellent “brownies.” (I put that in quotations because they actually have no chocolate in them and I thought that chocolate was essential to a brownie!)

Do I even need to tell you how good these are?  Caramel on caramel with walnuts in the middle.  Ooooh, so delicious and they were a favorite at our family’s Christmas party.  If you haven’t seen the cake mix on your store shelves, see if you can get the store to get it special for you like I did.  It’s worth the extra effort!

Caramel Walnut Brownies

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

14-oz. bag caramels
5-oz can of evaporated milk, divided use
1 box Duncan Hines Caramel Cake Mix
1 teaspoon cinnamon
12 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X9-inch pan and set aside.

Place the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl and add 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk. Microwave for 1 minute on high and stir to combine. Continue microwaving on high at 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until the caramel and milk are melted, smooth, and combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, cinnamon, butter, vanilla, and remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Stir until combined and no lumps remain.  Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Set the remaining cake batter aside. It will firm up as it sits.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Spread the walnuts onto a shallow pan and toast them while the cake is baking. Remove the walnuts from the oven when they are fragrant and golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes. Pour melted caramel over the semi-baked batter and evenly sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top. Take large spoonfuls of the remaining batter, approximately 1/3 cup, which is now firm, and press it between the palms of your hands. Pat it as thinly as possible without breaking it apart. Lay the batter on top of the walnuts. Continue patting the batter and placing it on top of the walnuts. There might be some overlapping of the batter, and there might be several spots where the caramel barely peeks through. Precision is not necessary.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack. It is helpful to refrigerate the brownies before cutting them into squares. Serve at room temperature.

*Veronica’s notes: I used an 8×8 pan, which made them a bit thicker, and I had to bake them five minutes longer to get them done.  I also found it difficult to cut them after refrigerating them overnight because the caramel was so hard.  I’d say either only refrigerate them an hour or two or leave them out for at least fifteen minutes before trying to cut them if you’ve left them in there for a long time.

Recipe source: Sassafras Cafe

Chicken Kiev with Garlic Rosemary Potatoes & Walnut Apple Salad

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On the recommendation of my dear friend, Jaci, I prepared chicken Kiev when my little sister and her family joined us for dinner last night.  It was a raging success, even with all my mistakes (slightly burning the crust on the chicken (at least the inside was perfect), getting impatient with the potatoes and not waiting for them to get crunchy on the outside, putting too much vinegar in the dressing (that’s why the apples look brown–the balsamic dyed them!)), and my company is already looking forward to their next invitation for dinner.  Thanks for the great recipes, Miss Jaci!

Chicken Kiev with Sautéed Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
Rachel’s Food for Living by Rachel Allen

4 Chicken Breasts-skinned
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garlic Butter
4 oz butter, softened
2-4 garlic cloves
1 heaping Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, thyme & rosemary and used more than recommended)
finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 a large lemon

Coating
2oz flour
1 lg beaten egg
6 Tbsp plain breadcrumbs
oil for frying

Potatoes
8 potatoes
2 oz olive oil
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Lay chicken breasts on chopping board; slit  but don’t cut completely in half.  Season with salt and pepper.



Cream butter & add garlic and herbs and zest and juice of lemon; mix well.  Spread garlic butter out onto the center of chicken breasts leaving about 1/2 inch all around the breast.  Fold chicken breast back to original shape.

Place flour,beaten egg and breadcrumbs on 3 separate plates (or shallow bowls).  Toss each breast in flour,coat with egg and roll in bread crumbs until chicken is well covered.  Set aside.


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cut potatoes into slices or cubes,dry with paper towels if needed.  Heat oil in frying pan, add potatoes,season with salt and pepper and cook on med low heat for 16-20 min until almond golden and crunchy on the outside but soft on inside.  Toss in garlic,chopped herbs and a little more olive oil,cook for couple more minutes until garlic is golden.  To keep warm, place in uncovered casserole in the warm oven.


Sorry no prep photos on the potatoes, just the finished product–it should actually look crispy and golden but I only cooked mine until tender b/c I had hungry people waiting.

For chicken, place 4 Tbsp oil of choice and 1oz of butter in frying pan–heat until hot.  Add the chicken and cook about 2 minutes on each side until golden,transfer to the oven for about 8 minutes until cooked through, serve with sauteed potatoes and salad–Jacie’s recipe follows.

Jacie’s Walnut Apple Salad

One bag baby spinach (I used 1/2 bag butter lettuces and 1/2 bag spring mix)
3/4 c walnuts–toasted (I used some pecans too)
1 sweet apple, such as Red Delicious, cored and diced (I used Braeburn for crispness)
1/2 c feta cheese

Make a dressing with 4 parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar with one tsp of honey per 4 T of evoo.  Toss with salad ingredients.

(If you don’t want to do the math, just mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp of honey.  Add more vinegar and/or honey to suit your tastes.)

Brownie Mania: Mocha-Frosted Kahlua, Peanut Butter Truffle & Chocolate Caramel Walnut

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I went a bit brownie crazy early in the week and baked five 9×13-sized pans (5 pans but only three kinds) of them.  I mailed two pans to a friend serving in Iraq (this required some mad packing skills & ingenuity on my part) for his birthday and the rest were frozen* until ready to use for two potlucks we were attending this weekend.

Here are the brownies I made (I dare you not to get a toothache after reading them): Mocha-Frosted Kahlua Brownies, Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies and Chocolate Caramel Walnut Brownies.

Although I’m partial to the Kahlua Brownies b/c they are my own recipe, I have to say that the Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies are my new favorite (yes, of all time!).  The Chocolate Caramel Walnut Brownies are very decadent, but somehow not as refined (if a brownie can be called refined) as the former two–they remind me more of a juvenile treat but this doesn’t keep them from being outstanding.  Brownies with thick, gooey caramel and dripping with chocolate chips and walnuts?  What could be wrong with that?

I have to apologize to all the people who are going to be aghast that I dared to use brownie mix instead of measuring out flour & sugar, but I just prefer the mix, people!  I’ve made scratch brownies and I just don’t like them as much. I guess I should try some more recipes before I set my mind against from-scratch brownies but why mess with perfection when it’s this easy?  If you’re passionate about this subject and have a great recipe that you think would change my mind, please share!

Kahlua Brownies
These brownies are best-sellers at the Flying Pig Gift Boutique.  It doesn’t matter what kind of outlandish treats I bring in to sell, if the brownies are sitting there alongside them, the other stuff only goes after the brownies are sold out.  Which never takes very long.

Brownies
1 box fudge brownie mix
2 eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1/4 cup Kahlua

Frosting
2 Tbsp. Kahlua
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened

Make the brownies: mix up everything, spread in a 9×13 pan (grease the bottom only) and bake at 350 for however long the box says.  Don’t overbake unless you like dry brownies.  Cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

Make the frosting: Microwave the Kahlua for 30 seconds or until boiling (I use a glass 1-cup measuring cup and fill it 1/2 way to the 1/4 cup line).  Stir in the instant coffee and place in the freezer to cool.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute, stir and then give it another 30 seconds, stirring again.  It should be melted but if not, continue this cycle in 30 second intervals.  Once smooth, set aside to cool.  Cream the butter then beat in the cooled chocolate.  Last, add the coffee mixture and beat it until everything is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl.  Spread over the cooled brownies.

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies
Recipe from Betty Crocker with instructions modifed by me.

1 9×13 pan of brownies, cooled (if using a mix, be sure to substitute melted butter for the oil)

Filling
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. milk

Topping
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter

Directions:
Beat filling ingredients until smooth and spread evenly over the cooled brownies.  An offset spatula is almost required for this task as the filling is thick and hard to spread.

Microwave the topping ingredients in 30-second intervals, stirring between, until smooth (should only take a couple times).  Cool 10 minutes, then spread over the filling layer. Again, I would never try this without an offset spatula.  The layer has to be spread very very thin and I can’t imagine doing it without one.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before cutting–you want the chocolate on top to be hardened so that the brownies cut easily.  I cut mine frozen and that worked fine.

Chocolate Caramel Walnut Brownies
Recipe from the back of a generic sweetened condensed milk label

2 boxes of fudge brownie mix

Caramel Topping
1/2 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
dash of salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups walnuts
2 cups chocolate chips

Prepare the brownies according to package directions (except substituting melted butter for the oil) and stick them in the oven to bake according to the package directions.  As soon as they’re in, start the caramel topping.

Melt the butter in a heavy 3 quart saucepan.  Stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Blend in sweetened condensed milk, continue stirring, and heat to 245 degrees (approximately 10 minutes). I heated mine to 250 degrees to no ill result.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Let caramel cool while brownies finish baking.

Pour the caramel over the brownies when they come out of the oven.  Scatter the walnuts & chocolate chips over the top and let cool completely before attempting to cut into bars.

*Brownies freeze extremely well!  They retain their moisture and texture perfectly and are never any worse for wear after defrosting.  They are a perfect make-ahead treat in any instance when you need to make-ahead or just want to make something to keep on hand in case of emergency.

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