Sunday, August 23, 2009

Caramelized Banana Crisp with Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream

Yes!  This is as good as it sounds especially if you are a fan of bananas and we are!  My three loved it!


I saw the crisp on Teanna’s blog, Spork or Foon and took Jaime of Good Eats ‘n Sweet Treats’ advice and made Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream.  The ice cream was made in the beginning of July by the baking group Sweet Melissa Sundays.  Only the weekly hostess posts the recipe.  Everyone else links back to her.  I’m following their tradition and just giving you the link to the recipe.  I will though provide you with Teanna’s Caramelized Banana Crisp recipe. ‘Cause I’m nice like that. Other than doubling the recipe I didn’t change anything.  Teanna  topped hers with ice cream and Hot Buttered Rum Sauce. I forgot about the sauce and by the time I remembered we had already scrapped our “bowls” clean!  :) 


Caramelized Banana Crisp

For the Bananas:

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 medium bananas

Melt butter in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and lower heat to a simmer.  Let simmer for 2 min. Slice bananas in a diagonal into 1/3" inch slices. Arrange in a single layer in sauce pan, turning after 2 minutes, until golden brown on each side.

For the Crisp:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter or spray two individual ramekins.Combine bananas, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a ramekin.Mix sugar, flour, oats and salt. Cut in butter until it forms crumbs. Scatter mixture over batter and bake 40 minutes or until browned.

DSC02030 Okay, so you checked out the recipe?  Would I make this again?  Yes!  BUT here’s what I would do differently……skip caramelizing the banana.  It’s unnecessary.  With the crisp baked for 40 minutes the bananas will caramelize inside the oven. I followed the recipe and mine were actually past caramelized and extremely mushy.  Instead place the banana slices in the ramekins and top with the brown sugar and butter.  While I baked my crisps for the 40 minutes and I think I should have checked and pulled them earlier.  Maybe 5 minutes earlier.  Watch yours.  Last change, I’d add some nuts to the crisp.  

I did make some changes to the ice cream recipe. I didn’t have any vanilla beans so I used some vanilla bean paste instead.  I also didn’t have any dry skim milk and just omitted it.


DSC02103In an earlier post I mentioned being busy with football and cheerleading practices after work everyday. Devon, one of the twins is playing football again and  Babygirl is now a cheerleader. She’ll be cheering for his team!  She’s very excited, especially with her uniform and all the other girlie accessories that go along with it.  Here’s a photo of her.  (Monica, think Ingrid with glasses and curly, darker hair, LOL!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blackberry Polenta Loaf

DSC02004 This is gonna be quick!  We’re in the midst of football and cheerleading practices everyday, and it doesn’t leave much time for me and the 3B’s.  

With the last of my blackberries in mind,  I took inspiration from The Kitchen Sink Recipes and decided to make her Tart Cherry-Cornmeal Quick Bread.  What sold me on that recipe was the use of cornmeal.  I love the crunch and sweetness it brings to whatever it’s added to.  I did have one little problem.


Whole grain cornmeal is not a high demand item.  As a matter of fact  I don’t think it’s in demand at all as none of my local Publix Grocery Stores carried it.  I even checked my local health store.  I eventually found some organic polenta that I thought might work.  I’m not certain what the difference is between polenta and and cornmeal, but by now I WANTED that quick bread. Again I’m not certain how much the polenta changed the taste and texture of my quick bread, but I was pleased with it.  Just as I knew I would I loved the crunch  it added to my quick bread, it was reminiscent of corn bread but better.  My daughter loved this.  I caught her cutting herself a slice after I had already given her one.DSC02009

This wasn’t a hit with the Twins.  They took one bite and handed Babygirl and me their slices.  I don’t think this recipe is for everyone.  Those of you who don’t like cornmeal or cornbread will probably not care for this recipe; but those of you that do, I would definitely recommend it.


See that photo above.  Notice anything?  Yup, once again my blackberries sunk.  I followed your (and the recipe’s) advice and floured the blackberries before adding them.  I also took it a step further and instead of folding them into my batter, I gently placed them on top of the batter once it was in the pan.  No luck!  :( They still sunk.


Tart Cherry-Cornmeal Quick Bread AKA Blackberry Polenta Loaf

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cornmeal (polenta)*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup tart cherries, stems and pits removed (blackberries)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a loaf pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg whites, buttermilk, sour cream and extract; mix until combined.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda, and salt.  Add all but a tablespoon or so of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, with the mixer running at low speed; mix until just combined.

Toss the cherries in the reserved dry ingredients.  Gently fold the cherries into the batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.  Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the loaf to a rack and cool completely.

*Check out this guest post on HoneyB’s blog, The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s HoneyBunch.  Her guest blogger Haley made and blogged about making Blackberry Polenta Muffins (YUM!). In her post she advises soaking the polenta overnight in whatever liquid your recipe calls for.   For more info check out the post.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cooking with Alicia & Annie: Marshmallow Brownies


Yup, I just entered another blogging event!  Getting crazy, I tell ya. 

Amanda from Amanda’s Cooking mentioned to me a few months ago (yeah, I know) in an email  that I might like to check out a blogging event called Cooking with Alicia & Annie.  I panicked at first but after looking at the blog page for it and checking out some of the recipes I realized that I could do this.  For those of you that haven’t participated you should check it DSC02081out. I don’t think there’s an “easier” blogging event out there. They have something for everyone with a TON of recipes to chose from, both savory and sweet.  I, of course, went for the sweet.  :)  Oh, before I forget…you can win prizes!  Pretty cool! You pick  a recipe from Alicia’s or Annie’s site, make it,  blog about it, and then you get a chance to win a prize. Easy, right?!

DSC02079I’m laughing right now….you know why?  Because those of you who have been reading my blog for a while are, I’m sure, NOT surprised by my choice in recipes. Bars and blondies, no big surprise there, right?  :) Don’t be fooled by that title while Alicia calls these Marshmallow Brownies they are NOT brownies.  I’m unofficially renaming them Marshmallow Goldies.


The recipe called for chocolate chips which might have helped the brownie cause but I left ‘em out.  Besides leaving out the chocolate chips I also tossed out the nuts and used coarse sea salt. (‘member this post?)  Thinking back I should have upped the salt and sprinkled some on top.  While these won’t usurp snickerdoodle blondies from their prime spot at the top they are worth giving a try!


Marshmallow Brownies/Goldies

1/2 cup butterscotch pieces

1/4 cup butter or margarine (go w/butter)

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt (coarse sea salt)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup chocolate chips (I omitted)

1/4 cup chopped nuts (I omitted)


Grease bottom and sides of 9-inch square baking pan. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt butterscotch chips and butter, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool to lukewarm. Add flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla and egg; mix well. Fold in miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips and nuts just until combined, about 5 strokes. Spread in prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Do not overbake! Center will be jiggly but becomes firm upon cooling.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blackberry Cobbler

DSC01902 I made this cobbler the day Joe, Babygirl, and Jalen came home from vacation.  I had just finished cleaning up the kitchen from dinner and sat down to browse through some of my fave blogs when I spotted this yummy on Abby’s blog, Confabulation in the Kitchen.  Having just received three baggies filled with blackberries  it didn’t take but a glance at her photos of Old Fashion Blackberry Cobbler before I hopped up and got to it.  I’d never made a cobbler before… it’s so easy and so good!  How come you guys never told me?  Needless to say I see more of them in my future!


Old Fashion Blackberry Cobbler

2 C fresh blackberries
1 C sugar, divided into two 1/2 cups *
3/4 C AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 C milk
1/2 C butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine fruit and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the flour, baking powder and milk.
4. Pour melted butter into a 1.5 quart casserole dish. Pour in milk mixture but do not stir. Add fruit, but do not stir. Bake 1 hour.  Abby suggests topping your serving with ice cream, something about gilding the lily.  I concur! :)


*The only thing I might change is to cut back on the sugar.  My berries were quite sweet and didn’t need 1/2 cup of sugar.  Before adding sugar to your berries I suggest you taste them first and use your best judgment. 


My other thoughts on Abby’s recipe?  She says she normally makes a peach and blackberry cobbler which leads me to believe you could get crazy with what fruits you use.


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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Black Forest Cupcakes

DSC02076 Monica and I are at it again and have baked up another “cupcake” from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake cookbook.  Our first cupcake though in Martha’s cookbook was one we found off on Bake or Break and baked together.  For Monica’s birthday I sent her Martha’s cupcake cookbook and hinted that perhaps we could bake some of the cupcakes from it together.  These black forest cupcakes are our first official ones and my choice.


I’d like to tell you that I loved these cupcakes but the truth is they’re chocolate and as you know I’m not a fan.  With that said though Miss Karolyn, our “resident” chocolate lover loved them and thought they DSC02062-1were perfect!  Truthfully except for the chocolate the cupcake itself  was perfect.  It was moist and not too dense. Tender but not crumbly.  They stayed fresh for a few days. I baked them on Friday night and I just put together another one for us to share. The cupcake tasted just like it did the first night.  While the cupcake part was stellar the pastry cream was so-so and the ganache was well, ganache, only as good as the chocolate you use. The one thing I did like about the ganache was the addition of corn syrup which kept it from hardening.


Some of you who know me may be wondering why in the world I chose these cupcakes (I wondered that myself a few times) but cherry filled desserts are making the rounds with cherry and chocolate seeming  to be the favorite.  I’d never tried the two together and thought to give it a try.  I also wanted to try making pastry cream.  With this cupcake I’d get to kill two birds with one stone so to speak.  Funny enough but neither one of those things stood out in this recipe.


I only made a third of the cupcake batter and baked mine in a bigger version of this mini cheesecake pan. Monica graciously cut the recipes into thirds for us so we wouldn’t have 30 cupcakes hanging around.  I made six king size ones.  If any of you are interested in the 1/2 and 1/3 recipes of ganache and pastry cream I’d be happy to forward them to you.

Okay, if you haven’t already go check out Monica’s Black Forest Cupcakes as her photos are sure to be even better than mine.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blackberry Lemon Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Updated:  Please, note the amount of flour has been corrected!  Thanks, Monica!

This cake is actually an adaptation of Coleen’s Blueberry Sour Cream Bundt Cake.   I baked it for the Twins’ birthday along with  cookies and cream ice cream brownie bites


In an earlier post I mentioned that Jalen and Babygirl brought me baggies filled with freshly picked, ripe blackberries from their PopPop’s garden in NC.  While Devon actually asked for a cookie cake for his birthday I had all those blackberries and two meyer lemons that needed to be used so he got this bundt cake instead. And let me tell you he wasn’t disappointed!  He (we) loved it and not once asked about “his” cookie cake. You wanna know how good it was? My honey, Joe, who generally eats whatever I make with out any fuss actually told me that it was really good after the first bite!  I baked this after breakfast on Sunday and it was gone by evening!  This was one of the best cakes I’ve baked in awhile.  It was so moist and flavorful with its burst of sweet berries and lemony undertones! I wish I could describe it better.  Sunny is the word that comes to mind. Does that makes sense? 


Normally I would post the recipe just as Coleen posted it on her blog with my changes noted but because I made several significant changes I’m posting my version instead.  Please be sure to check out Coleen’s bundt cake as it inspired mine!


Blackberry Lemon Sour Cream Bundt Cake

1 CUP SOUR CREAM at room temperature
2 EGGS at room temperature
The zest of two lemons
1 & 3/4 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR (see note)
1 CUP FRESH OR FROZEN Blackberries

Measure your sugar into a medium size bowl.  Set aside.  Zest both of your lemons taking care not to remove any of the pith.  (I zested my lemons over the bowl containing the sugar. ) Once both of your lemons are completed zested add the lemon zest into the sugar.  Mix well. (I rubbed the zest into the sugar by hand.  The smell of the lemon sugar is intoxicating!) Set aside. (I let my lemon sugar sit while I was setting everything up.)

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour a 9" bundt pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs one at a time; stir in sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir it into the butter mixture until well blended; gently fold in your “floured” blackberries.  Carefully pour or spoon the batter into your prepared bundt pan.

Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes in a preheated oven. (I checked mine at 50 minutes and noticed it looked done.  A cake pick inserted into the center came out clean but I think it might have benefited from a few more minutes though I would have needed to cover it with aluminum foil.)  Cool cake (in the pan) on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake plate.  (Normally I would turn mine out onto a wire rack to finish cooling but I followed the recipe’s direction and  flipped it out onto the cake plate.)

Note:  Remove 1 TBS of the flour and sprinkle it over your blackberries to help them stay afloat in your batter.  I’ll be DSC01930honest,  I didn’t do this as you can see from my photos.  It wasn’t suggested in the original recipe and Coleen doesn’t mention having any problems with her blueberries sinking so who knows for sure.  I do know that because most of my blackberries sunk they wound up sticking to the pan.


I hope the recipe made sense.  As I typed this out I kept thinking of little things I could/should have done differently.  If you noticed anything off or have any questions please let me know.  (Sorry about that Monica! I stink! :)) I wasn’t always one for playing around with recipes (scaredy cat baker!) but as I’ve grown more confident I have come to realize that most recipes can be altered, easily and successfully to suit my taste.  So, please alter away to suit yours.

Speaking of Monica I neglected to mention in my last post that the skull and bones cupcake liners everyone admired were won from her blog, Lick the Bowl Good.  I actually won several different and very pretty liners that I am savoring saving for a special occasion. (Thanks, Monica!)


Okay, my last bit of business. I mentioned in this post that I  topped my chocolate chip cinnamon bars with a Roasted Banana Buttermilk Ice Cream. I don’t have a specific recipe to give you at this time.  I took my inspiration from several blogs and came up with a recipe.  Not 100% happy with it I tweaked a different recipe to come up with a similar but even tastier ice cream.  Before I give you a recipe(s) I think I should make it a couple more times.  I’d hate for you to follow my directions only to have it not be what you or I hoped for.  I say this because I can’t recall when I made them which means it likely that I don’t remember all my changes. Wanna know how long ago it was?  Late May/very early June! 

Thanks for taking the time to leave me such thoughtful (& funny) comments!  They (YOU) make my day!  :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

I Know What You’re Thinking…..


You’re thinking these look familiar but they’re not the mini cheesecakes I blogged about recently. These are the Twins’ birthday request.  Last Saturday was their 13th birthday. A few days prior I asked them if there was anything special they’d like me to bake for them.  Jalen quickly responded with a request for a cookies and cream ice cream cake.  Devon’s request was for a cookie cake.   After much deliberation they decided on the cookies and cream ice cream cake.   Though the request was made for a cake I decided to go with a brownie base as they love to top their brownies with ice cream and generally take a pass on chocolate cake.  It only took me a minute longer to remember seeing these two posts on Annie’s Eats


Here’s Annie’s post for the brownies and directions which I used as my guideline.  While I used Annie’s brownie recipe  I’m pretty certain you can use whichever one floats your boat.  You could even use your fave boxed brownie mix.  My biggest change was to use my mini cheesecake pan (Love it!) and to top my brownies with a different flavor ice cream.  I also made standard size ice cream brownies cupcakes as I had plenty of batter left over.  Besides being super cool looking and tasting great the stand out part of this dessert was the cookies and cream ice cream


My only bit of advice is to let your ice cream brownie cupcakes sit out for several minutes before peeling off the cupcake liner but not too long.  It becomes mess once the ice cream truly starts to melt.  Even after peeling the liner off you’ll need to let it sit for several more minutes as the brownie will be difficult to cut into with your spoon otherwise.   It’s a pain but wait as it doesn’t taste as good when the brownie is hard as a rock.


Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
15-20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat.  Heat until bubbles form around the edges.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth and well combined.  Slowly add the warm milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.   Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 5-8 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon (about 175 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).  Pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled.

Once the mixture is well chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Once the mixture is softly frozen, transfer half of it to a storage container.  Add half of the chopped Oreo pieces and fold in gently with a rubber spatula.  Add the remaining ice cream and Oreo pieces to the container, and fold once more until the mixture is evenly combined.  Freeze until completely hardened.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bars


These chocolate chip cinnamon bars were good and I loved the texture of them but they didn’t become something special until I nuked them in the microwave and topped them with my Roasted Banana Buttermilk Ice Cream. (I hope to post that soon). 

Oh, yeah, now we’re talking!  On their own the bars and especially the ice cream were good but they didn’t have me looking  for an excuse to make them again.  Together? It’s a whole other story!  I ate one and seriously contemplated a second but knew if I did I would be struggling to fit into my clothes the next day.  :(


Each of my three and their friend ate two the night I made them and finished up the pan the following afternoon.  So maybe you shouldn’t take my opinion serious AND they ate theirs plain. 


I saw these on Smitten Sugar’s and she got them from Julia’s blog, Dozen Flours.

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