Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Favorite Banana Bread

I almost forgot to put bananas in this banana bread.

It's true.  I was literally standing over the loaf pan about to pour in the batter when I snapped out of a brief banana-not-on-the-brain funk and shouted "omg the bananas!"  Back to the mixer we go.  Just a tad embarrassing.  I would have had to title this post My Favorite...uhh Bread. 

So anyway, I want to introduce you to my favorite banana bread.  I first made a loaf of this about two years ago.  In fact, I remember making it and munching on it during the car trip to Tulsa when my adorable nephew was born.  It's a rather healthy version using no butter, and instead subbing in applesauce.  I was tempted to try it using butter this time but why change a good thing, ya know?  So I put the stick back in the fridge and grabbed the jar of applesauce.  (I definitely don't recommend doing this substitution frequently as it often results in a gummy texture- capital YUCK) but the addition of sour cream and sliced (not mashed) bananas make this hands down the best banana bread I've ever had. 

My Favorite Banana Bread

Makes one 9x5-inch loaf

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 medium bananas, sliced thin (not mashed)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In large bowl, stir together the applesauce and sugars.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Fold in the sour cream.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir into the egg mixture until smooth.  Fold in sliced bananas.  Spread evenly into prepared 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Adapted from AllRecipes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chocolate Oreo Cut-Outs

Sooooo there's a few holidays coming up...

ya know...halloween, thanksgiving, christmas and the sort. 

Annnnd there's sorta kinda one today.  It's Annabelle's birthday.  Who's Annabelle you ask?  This cutie:

My pup.  She turns the big 7 (that's 49 in dog years and I can only hope I'm still as bouncy and playful as her when I turn 49), and you know how much of a sucker I am for celebrating birthdays (see Ben's birthday and Mel's birthday) so I'm at it again.  This time with some chocolate bone oreos.  Yeahhhhh....

Here's the sweet part (other than the cookie itself, of course): I filled these little guys with orange frosting making for a Halloween Bone Oreo- yup, that's right.  Bone as in dog treat, or bone as in halloween skeleton!  Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.  Because that's how I roll.

As for the cookie:  this is a softer cookie rather than the crisp sugar version you usually see; however, it doesn't disappoint.  And with a thin layer of creamy orange icing- in the spirit of halloween- devilishly perfect :)

Oh, and speaking of Halloween and Oreos...did you hear?  Candy Corn Oreos.  I'm on the lookout!

Chocolate Oreo Cut-Outs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t worry if they go into the oven looking 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.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pina Colada Cakes

I've got one more for ya...

Don't get me wrong, I've been itching to dig into all of the apple and pumpkin flavors fall has to offer, but I made these a couple of weeks ago and am determined to slip them in and share them with you before summer comes to its official close (autumn starts tomorrow!).

First off, the smell.  Oh.  Em.  Gee.  The oven was giving off this warm, tropical and buttery smell the afternoon I made these guys and the taste was equivalent.  So good warm with a sprinkling of coarse sugar on top giving it a sweet little crunch.  Paradise in your mouth.

Adios summer!  See ya in nine months.

Pina Colada Cakes

Serves 4

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pineapple
4 teaspoons raw sugar

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until well combined. Add in vanilla and yogurt and stir. Mix dry ingredients together and add to batter, only mixing until just combined. Fold in pineapple.

Spray 4 ramekins with non-stick spray and pour batter into them equally.  Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon raw sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Idea adapted from How Sweet It Is.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Corn and Cheddar Quinoa

I did it...

I've been smothering you with a lot of sweet stuff lately so I figured it was high time for something savory.  Something I've been wanting to make and try for quite a while now.  Something people all over America are raving about.  I finally made quinoa!  (And in order to do this I finally broke down and purchased the 12-ounce, five bucks a pop box).

But it was money well spent.

I have been curious about this latest craze and last night I hopped on the bandwagon and experienced all the grainy glory that is quinoa.  This particular version was cheesy and salty and...corny...?  In other words, it was fantastic and I'm officially hooked.  End of story.

Corn and Cheddar Quinoa

Serves 2-3

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in corn kernels and sprinkle with pepper and salt.  Cook until warmed and golden (about 7 minutes).  Set aside.
Add quinoa and chicken stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 15-18 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Immediately stir in butter and cheddar. Add in corn and stir to combine, then top with a bit of fresh cilantro.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chunky Peanut Butter White Chocolate Snickerdoodles


It has been one H-E-double-hockey-stick-acious week for me.  

Extra early mornings and extra late nights so the weekend is verrrrry welcome.  (But it also makes me appreciate my usual schedule!)  I was wise and prepared in advance though: I made a batch of these cookies last weekend and they have been my late night indulgence all week long.

This cookie is my own creation- from the dough (I make a couple thousand cookies every week so I'm beginning to figure out what makes an awesome cookie) to the choice of chip (white chocolate chips this time, no crazy salt and vinegar), to the cinnamon sugar coating.  Just a little something I dreamed up and it turned out fabulous; soft and chewy with the perfect ratio of pb to white chocolate to cinnamon.   Yay me!  And yay weekend!

Chunky Peanut Butter White Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Makes 28 cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup extra chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and mix until smooth.  Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.  Fold in white chocolate chips.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Scoop dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. 

Chelsea Original!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bits and Bites

It's bits and bites time people.

I'm gonna be quick and to the point today so let's just get straight to the fun stuff. 

Make this:

1.  How stinkin cute are these Pencil Pusher Cupcake Pops!?  If only I had children in school I would have the perfect excuse to make these.  Ummmm but rush.

2.  And speaking of cute school treats:  PB&J Sandwich Cookies!  These may be the cutest cookies I've ever seen.

3.  Chubby Hubby's Chubby Wifey...homemade...

4.  Chick-fil-a!  homemade! :)

5.  An excuse to eat cake for breakfast (or breakfast for dessert): French Toast Angel Food Cake.

6.  My next birthday cake.  Period.

Buy this:

7.  Mission Summer Lime Tortilla Chips:

LOADED with goodness

Not sure if you can tell by the practically empty bag of chips we polished off in about 24 hours but there's a wholelottastuff on those chips. 

8.  Cookie Butter:

Tastes exactly as described (like christmas).

9.  Coconut Fudge Ice Cream:

I heart blue bell.

10.  We have already kicked off the approach of fall with a bag of candy corn pumpkins in our house, have you?

Fall is coming!  woot woot!  (I may or may not have invested in five pairs of skinny jeans this weekend in honor of the looming season change...)

and I've been getting creative in the kitchen lately so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cappuccino Angel Food Cupcakes

I don't like coffee.

But for some strange reason I had the urge to buy this grinder simply because it involved the words "sugar" and "chocolate".  I'm a sucker.

No really, I have a strong aversion to anything with even the slightest hint of coffee.  With one exception: Braum's Cappuccino Chunky Chocolate Ice Cream.  Best stuff on earth.  Not Snapple. 

But a special occasion prompted me to break out this grinder.  And this occasion also prompted me to finally make something that's been sitting on my kitchen bucket list since the inception of this blog.  (I've barely put a dent in the thing!):  my older sis turns __ today!  (Not sure if she's hit the point where she doesn't want to tell people her age so I'm gonna play it safe).

Anywho, my sis, Melissa (aka Mel) has a birthday today and I know her pretty well so I know that she typically likes her bday cake of the angel variety and I also know she loves Starbucks.  So I chose to combine the two and make her a special treat for her special day. 

I must declare coffee = awesome in this recipe!  It's there but not enough to make me furrow my brow and pucker my lips and run to the sink to spit up the disgusting bitterness that all things coffee-flavored usually carry.  And they're pretty light so you can average about three or four a day, like me :)

Cappuccino Angel Food Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes

1/2 cup cake flour (or 1 tablespoon cornstarch + fill the rest of the 1/2 cup with all-purpose flour)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6-7 large egg whites (1/2 cup + 1/3 cup)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground coffee
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sift flour and powdered sugar through sieve set over a small bowl.  Set aside.

In large mixing bowl with whisk attachment, beat egg whites, cream of tarter, salt, coffee, and cinnamon at medium speed until foamy.  Increase speed to medium-high; beat until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted.  Sprinkle in granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until sugar has dissolved and egg whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks when whisk is lifted.  Beat in vanilla extract. 

Sift the flour mixture, one-third at a time, over the beaten egg whites.  Fold in each addition with a rubber spatula until the flour mixture is no longer visible. 

Drop 1/4 cup-fulls into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed.  Serve topped with whipped cream and a few turns of the grinder! (Or sprinkle with a mixture of 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Junk Food Cookies

There's cookie batter underneath all that goodness.

And yes those are chips in there.  Salt and vinegar chips.  No lie.

I'm sure potato chips would work just fine, but you know you secretly want to invest in a bag of the S&V goodness.  If not just for these cookies, to casually eat the entire bag in one sitting. 

What is it with salt and vinegar chips?  I remember when I was younger my mom would occasionally purchase a bag and I swear, they were the most addicting chip on the planet.  I could not stop eating those things.  COULD NOT STOP.  Open the bag and -poof!- all gone. 

But then I grew up, I moved on, and I matured into a Doritos fan.  During college I couldn't live without them.  A new flavor would come out and I'd buy it and text everyone I knew that "holy crap there's a new doritos flavor!!"  So after eating these insanely incredible soft and chewy chock-full-of-goodness cookies, I'm envisioning a version involving doritos.  The nacho cheese ones of course. 

And while you're reading all of this crazy talk and thinking I'm out of my mind I will have you know that someone else is on the cheese and cookies bandwagon as well, so ha!

Junk Food Cookies

Makes 16 cookies

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup crushed salt and vinegar potato chips
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup crushed salted pretzels
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons flaked coconut
3 tablespoons butterscotch chips
2 tablespoons assorted sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt, then set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the cooled butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until mixed and smooth. Gradually add in dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until mixed.  Fold in all of your add-in’s.

Scoop into 1 1/2-inch balls and place on a nonstick baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until the middles are just set. Don’t over bake! Let cool almost completely.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is.