Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Toasted Coconut Banana Bread

I'm a pathological banana over-buyer. Yep, every week I can't resist getting a big yellow bunch, thinking that this will be the week when I devour them before they get soft and sweet. Alas, this never happens, so I've come to the conclusion that, subconsciously, I want this to happen. Because then I can make this.

{Toasted Coconut Banana Bread}

makes one [9x5) loaf 
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/8 cup milk
1 cup toasted coconut

Toast coconut: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread shredded coconut onto an ungreased baking sheet. Toast, stirring every few minutes, until coconut is browned — about 7 minutes. Watch carefully, it burns quickly.

 For bread: Grease a loaf pan with non-stick spray or butter. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar, then add vanilla, bananas, milk and butter. Add coconut. Pour into pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.

The coconut adds an extra sweetness to the already delicious bread. Add a slab of butter and a bit more coconut for pure happiness. Bring on the bananas.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Almond Butter Cookies

Like almonds? Like cookies? Make these.

{Almond Butter Cookies}
1/2 cup crisco
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup flour

To roll
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped almonds

In a small bowl, mix together a cup of sugar and chopped almonds. In a large bowl, mix together crisco, egg, sugars, almond butter and vanilla. Stir in baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then stir in flour. Chill for at least and hour, then roll into roughly 1-inch balls.

Roll in sugar and almond mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place evenly spaced on baking sheet. Using a fork, pess down on cookie dough balls in a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 6-8 minutes.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Squares

Some mornings, you need something quick, filling and packed full of good things. Like oats and bananas and peanut butter and cinnamon. Especially on mornings like tomorrow, when a half marathon is in the plans, and at 7 a.m. too. So I made these bars, a grab-and-go kind of meal, full of race-fueling goodness. 

{Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Squares}

1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large mashed banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Mix together oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add in the vanilla, milk and egg. Then add the banana and peanut butter. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool, then cut into squares.

This is a great race-morning breakfast, or for any morning. For me, breakfast has always been difficult to stomach when running is involved. But these... these. These are delicious, filling and perfect for a pre-run fix. Enjoy with extra peanut butter and coffee!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cookie Dough Ice Cream

It's Wednesday, so why not make cookie dough ice cream? My usual complaint about so-so cookie dough ice cream is where the heck is the cookie dough? For yours, add cookie dough to your heart's desire.

I've tweaked my first cookie dough ice cream recipe, using a different batter, smaller chocolate chips, lightly simmering the ice cream batter and making a chocolate chip ice cream (because there is no such think as too many chips).

It all starts with the cookie dough.. if your cookie dough is average, you cookie dough ice cream will be lackluster. Make your favorite, or use my recipe.

{Cookie Dough Ice Cream}

For the ice cream:
2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
3 eggs or egg beaters
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cups mini chocolate chips 

In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, salt and sugars. Combine. In a large saucepan, simmer the mixture until it begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Do not allow it to boil. Remove from heat and cool in an ice bath or in the fridge. When completely cool, make according to ice cream freezer instructions, adding the chips near the end.

For the Cookie Dough:
1 egg (I use egg beaters)
1/4 cup crisco or butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup mini-chocolate chips

Stir together egg, butter and sugars. Add in salt, baking soda and vanilla. Stir. Then mix in flour, then chocolate chips. Prepare a small cookie sheet with parchment paper. Press cookie dough onto surface, cover with another piece of parchment paper and stick in the freezer. 

Just before the ice cream comes out of the ice cream freezer, remove cookie sheet. Place dough on a cutting board and cut into smallish squares, the size is your preference. As you pour ice cream into an airtight container, layer cookie dough throughout. 

My boyfriend calls this my best ice cream recipe. I credit the cookie dough.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Swirl

Mint. It's the newest member of my apartment window herb garden. Sounds like an excellent excuse for making an intense mint ice cream. With dark chocolate chips, of course.

{Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Swirl}
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Roughly 2 handfuls of fresh mint
3 eggs or eggbeater
3 teaspoons vanilla
5 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1 cup mini chocolate chips (for chocolate lovers)

Simmer milk, cream and sugar over medium heat, stirring to melt sugar. Stir in mint, then remove from heat and allow mint to steep in milk mixture for an hour, at least. After an hour, pour mixture through a strainer, pressing on the mint with a wooden spoon to release as much of the oils as possible. 
Discard remaining mint.

Reheat mint mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla, then whisk in about a cup of the mint mixture. Add egg mixture to mint mixture on the stovetop and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 170 degrees or when the mixture coats a spatula.
Cool mixture, either in an ice bath or the fridge.

When totally cool, make according to ice cream freezer instructions. While it's doing it's thing in the freezer, heat chocolate in a small double boiler over the stove until liquid and shiny. Set aside.

When ice cream is almost done, slowly pour chocolate into the ice cream. The chocolate will harden when it hits the cold ice cream, creating a swirl of chocolate flecks throughout.

Store in an airtight container, placing a layer of wax paper on top of ice cream to avoid freezer burn. Serve with my bitter chocolate sauce.

This isn't your average mint ice cream. First off, notice the non-neon green color. This is all natural. But although it's not green, the mintiness hits you full force before it's cut with the bitter chocolate. Refreshing and delicious.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cranberry Walnut Granola

{Cranberry Walnut Granola}
Makes 8 cups
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 oat bran
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Whisk together wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. I put the dry ingredients in a food processor for a few minutes, too. Add wet to dry and mix until mixture is covered. Spread mixture onto a large, greased baking sheet and bake for an hour, stirring halfway through. For chunkier granola, press mixture onto baking sheet.

This granola is sweet and crunchy with a hint of maple flavor. This is no-nonsense, stick-to-your-bones breakfast cereal. Get local dried cranberries for the most pop factor.