Monday, February 27, 2012

Brown Butter Banana Bread Filled with Peanut Butter Cups { for the Secret Recipe Club }

Brown Butter Banana Bread Filled with PB Cups
Here it is…my first post for the Secret Recipe Club. It was so fun to be introduced to Carrie’s blog, Bakaholic Mama. What  great blog she’s got going! After skimming through a few recipes, I came upon this and knew my kids would go “ga-ga” for it because they love all things peanut butter, but to have it in this otherwise healthy banana bread, even better!
I followed the recipe exactly other than I had to bake mine a few minutes longer. I think I chopped up my mini peanut butter cups a little too small, so next time (and there will be a next time!), I make this bread, I will probably leave the cups chunkier and bump up the quantity slightly! This would be a great dessert served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
Thanks Carrie for such a creative spin on banana bread!

Monday, February 20, 2012

SOFT ITALIAN BREAD TWISTS


My family adores bread in all forms, but since I tend to be a little freakish about using wheat flour and other grains in bread, it's a rare "treat" to have bread with 100% a/p flour around here. As good as wheat breadsticks are, there's no comparison to the baby-skin-smooth dough this recipes produces using nothing but a/p flour! 

SOFT ITALIAN BREAD TWISTS                MAKES ABOUT 1 DOZEN
Recipe from my neighbor, Melinda Lee

1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt, divided use
1 pkg (1/4 oz.) quick-rise yeast
2 -2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. warm water (120-130 degrees F.)
1 Tbsp. Canola or Vegetable oil
2-3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. paprika (optional)
Italian seasoning or grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a food processor or stand mixer, combine the sugar, 3/4 tsp. salt, yeast and 2 C. flour. Cover and mix for 5-10 seconds. While mixing, gradually add warm water and oil in a steady stream. Mix for one minute or until smooth and elastic. Check dough; add 1 to 2 Tbsp. of water or flour if needed. Dough should be slightly sticky to the touch, but not come off onto your finger. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times and roll into a 15" x 12" rectangle. Cut into 12 strips using a pizza cutter. Fold each strip in half lengthwise; twist each strip a few times. Pinch ends to seal. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. In a bowl, combine butter, garlic powder, paprika and remaining salt. Brush some over dough. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning or Parmesan cheese if desired. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 25 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with remaining butter mixture



Friday, February 10, 2012

GRANDMA'S CHOCOLATE CHIP DATE CAKE


This is a dessert I have fond memories of from my childhood. My sweet grandma Vellys would make it ALL the time! My grandparents were a huge part of my childhood, and every time we'd go on a road trip, we could count on this cake being a snack along the way.

 When my grandma passed away, I was given her collection of recipes. It has been fun to thumb through them and see all the tattered hand-written recipes jotted down on anything from a napkin to an envelope. I also came to realize she loved anything with dates, nuts, coconut and chocolate chips, since the majority of her recipes had one or more of these ingredients in them!

As long as it doesn't get overbaked, this cake is super moist and the sugared top gives it a slight crunch when you bite into it. Speaking of the sugared top, now that I am more "sugar-conscious", I realize how much sugar my grandma must have put on top to give it a thick crusty crunch. To make myself less guilty, I scaled it back a bit and it was still good. If you don't use dates or aren't sure if you'll like them in a dessert, trust me, you will. They give the cake sweetness and add moisture without adding too much distinctive flavor. 

CHOCOLATE CHIP DATE CAKE

1 1/2 C. dates, pitted and chopped (best if you use the ones not dusted in flour)
1 1/2 C. boiling water
1 tsp. baking soda

Place above ingredients in a blender. Cover with a towel and hold lid down. Puree until smooth. Let cool.

3/4 C. + 2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 C. butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Topping:
1/2 C. brown sugar or white sugar (I usually use white and do slightly less)
1 pkg. chocolate chips (I usually use milk chocolate and use all but about 1/8 C. of the chips)
1/2 C. chopped nuts, optional

In large bowl, cream sugar, butter and vanilla, then add the eggs. In small bowl, sift together dry ingredients. To sugar mixture, add flour mixture and date mixture alternately until well incorporated. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with the toppings. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool and serve with whip cream.