Archive for the ‘Sweets!’ Category

Banana and Chocolate Chip Bars

I love banana bread but a little deviation from the norm never hurt anyone! I found this delicious recipe over at my favorite sweet treats blog, Cookie Madness! If you haven’t checked out her blog you are REALLY missing out!

These bars are really simple and are just the right texture. Try them next time instead of bread when your ‘nanas are extra ripe!

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Banana Chocolate Chip Bars

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (2.25 oz)
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ oz banana, mashed (a little less than ¼ cup if you don’t have a scale)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter (cooled) – I used salted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (I used walnuts and forgot to toast)
1/3 cup chocolate chips or chunks (use more if you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Stir flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl.

Stir mashed banana, syrup, melted butter and vanilla in a second bowl. Pour flour mixture into banana mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in pecans and chocolate. Mixture should be goopy, but not too runny. If it’s runny, chill it for an hour.

Empty the goopy banana mixture onto the parchment lined sheet and shape into a rectangle about 9×2 inches. The best way to do this is with damp hands.

Bake on center rack for 15 minutes. Pull from oven and quickly score the long bar into 1 ½ to 2 inch wide bars, but don’t separate. If you have a sharp pizza cutter, this will work awesomely! Quickly return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on tray, then carefully separate the bars and let them sit on a cooling rack to finish cooling. They should develop kind of a crispy shell.

Makes 6

Next time and I am doubling this recipe because I think a lot of the kiddos I babysit would love these guys!

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German Chocolate Cupcakes

Before I begin, let it be known that this was on of the most intricate recipes I’ve ever followed. If that doesn’t scare you away, maybe the fact that a dog ate more of the cupcakes than humans did will, but that is a story for another time.

However, if I made this as a cake, as it was intended to be, it would have cut approximately 1 hour of prep time down. The fact that I got the recipe from David Lebovitz, one of the most well known pastry chefs of our time, doesn’t help either. If I can’t be honest here, where can I?
All in all, they were deliciously light and fluffy and… delicious.

I decided to make the recipe into cupcakes because it was for a late night birthday celebration, which means booze. Basically, I didn’t want anyone to handle a knife or forks. I plan on making the cake for my father’s birthday in May, and perhaps I will make an addendum to this post (if you remind me).

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I am posting the original cake recipe. For cupcakes I filled the cupcakes wrappers, in a cupcake pan 2/3 full then dress each individual cupcake with syrup and icing. This recipe yielded approximately 36 cupcakes.

Cake:
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

Syrup:
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum

Chocolate Icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

1. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.

6. In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff.

7. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.

8. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake layers completely.

While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.

 

To make the filling:

1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)

3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)

 

To make the syrup:

1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.

 

To make the icing:

1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.

2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.

 

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

 

 

David says to use all the chocolate icing at all costs and you won’t be sorry, and I definitely look forward to using it all for the cake I make for my father, because I used about a third for the cupcakes and left so much good quality icing! I definitely think that each bite would benefit from an ample amount of icing.

Enjoy!

Easy Granola!!

I’ve been known to be a follower, a copy-cat, a _____. But when there something this delicious, yes I am a follower. However!! I did tweak the recipe a bit, well found a new one. Just because I’m not a huge fan of maple.

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4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl mix oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm the oil and honey. Whisk in the vanilla.

Carefully pour the liquid over the oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon; finish mixing by hand. Spread granola in a 15×10 inch baking pan I actually had to spread in 2 different pans.

Bake 20 minutes, check (some granola makers advise flipping sections over like cookies, but I didn’t. Cook 20 more minutes. 
Transfer granola-filled pan to a rack to cool completely. Then sprinkle cranberries, raisins, or anything else that tickles your taste buds over the top. Break your granola into pieces and you’re done! Yum!

Seal granola in an airtight container or self-sealing plastic bag. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months. (I doubt mine will last this long)!

Overall, I was really surprised at how incredibly easy this was; I’ve been putting it off for so long. Addendum to New Years Resolutions: Never buy granola again!

Enjoy!

The Best Pumpkin Roll EVER!

I found this recipe last Thanksgiving on Anna’s site, Cookie Madness. I love her site, and will be making a few of her treats this Christmas!! This is my favorite baked gift! It’s so simple but aesthetically pleasing! Plus you can make it ahead and seriously the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes (within reason of course).
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Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
6 T. soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan and line with wax paper. Butter the wax paper.

In on bowl, beat eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy. Mix in pumpkin.

In another, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, then stir into batter.

Pour into lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees 13-15 minutes. Spread a clean linen dish towel on counter. When pumpkin bread is removed from oven immediately spread powdered sugar all over it and flip the cookie sheet onto the towel quickly. Remove wax paper from bottom of bread. Roll the bread along with the towel into log shape and try not to break it as you curl it (It’s easier than you might think). Allow to cool at least an hour (I usually move on to another batch while it’s cooling). This will give the bread the tendency to curl after it has cooled off.

Mix all ingredients for the filling.

After it’s completely cooled, unroll the dish cloth and bread and spread the filling onto the bread and roll the bread into the same direction. Now cover with wax paper and chill to set for a few hours. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before cutting into slices. It really tastes good after sitting in the refrigerator for a day or so.

So very yum and festive! Enjoy!

Nerd’s Chocolate Silk Pie

Approximately four years ago I convinced Nerd to go on a date with me. Our date was to consist of me making his all time favorite Jell-o Chocolate Silk Pie from the box … I never spent time in the kitchen back in those days, and about had a nervous breakdown shaping the crust (crust still makes me cry occasionally). Welp, Nerd ended up making the pie, and he still reminisces about that night when I’m slaving away in the kitchen. He got lucky, we both did. Anyway, they discontinued the Jell-o silk pie and it had been years since he’d had his beloved pie. 

So last summer when he spent 10 weeks in Cleveland, doing nerdy things working for NASA, I searched for a recipe to surprise him with when he returned home:) I found this recipe here on recipezaar. As Nerd requested I made this pie for two thanksgiving dinners, and it was a big hit!! I will be making it again next week, as should you!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture before we cut it but it’s still beautiful!
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Cooked Chocolate Silk Pie

1 cup whipping cream
6 oz semisweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 T whipping cream
1 baked 9 inch pie shell

In a 2 quart saucepan, combine 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate pieces, butter, and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted; about 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and gradually stir ~half of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, then return the egg mixture back to the saucepan.

Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened and almost bubbly (3-5 minutes). Then remove saucepan from heat and stir in 3 T of whipping cream.

Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water, stir occasionally, until mixture becomes stiff and tough to stir (20 minutes)
Transfer stiff mixture to a mixing bowl and beat on medium to high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes)

Spread the filling in your baked pastry shell, cover, and chill for 4-5 hours, but is best when chilled overnight.

It’s delectably rich and delightfully sinful! Enjoy!