Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oatmeal Banana Bread

Is there anything better than using up food otherwise destined for the trash? Yes, there is. When it's used to make a healthy, dressed up banana bread with an oatmeal brown sugar struesel topping. Yum.

{Oatmeal Banana Bread}
Adapted from Greatest

2 whole, ripe bananas
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon butter, melted

For the Topping: 
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup oats, 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon melted butter; set aside.

For the Bread:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas in a medium bowl, then stir in egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, 1 cup oats, ½ cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan and sprinkle with topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

{Chocolate Almond Ice Cream}
Ice Cream
3 eggs or egg beaters
2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 (heaping) cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream

3 ounces good dark chocolate, melted
1/2 cup or more almonds
butter for browning

This ice cream is pure milk chocolate. It's so soft, it's almost custard. Add in the flecks of chocolate and the toasty almond crunch and you're done. Just give in. Trust me.

Beat together eggs, sugars and vanilla. Add cocoa powder, then milk and cream. Stir. 
Meanwhile— Heat dark chocolate  over a double boiler or in the microwave until melted.
Pour mixture into a four-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes at a rolling simmer. Do not let boil. Pour over half the melted dark chocolate— reserve the rest of the chocolate for chocolate freckles.
Let cool completely, then make according to ice cream maker instructions.
While freezing ice cream, brown almonds in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Place on a paper towel-covered plate to absorb excess butter.

When ice cream is nearly done, pour the still-viscous chocolate into the mixture. It will break up into threads of crunchy dark chocolate. When done, store in airtight container, layering the almonds in among the ice cream.

What's better than a spring day? A spring day with ice cream. And what's better than chocolate ice cream? Chocolate ice cream with toasted almonds and dark chocolate freckles. Yes please.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Date Pudding Cups

{Individual Date Pudding}
In a saucepan, combine and boil for three minutes:
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup water

In a bowl, stir together. Batter will be lumpy:
1 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In individual ramekins or bowls, pour a layer of the brown sugar sauce, about 1/4-1/2 inch deep. Gently drop dollops of batter into the sauce. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Makes 8.

{Whipped Cream}
Beat together:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The dates and brown sugar combine to make this an incredibly sweet dessert. The individual cups keep portions in check... in theory.