Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pumpkin Banana Oat Bread

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I did it again. I bought more bananas than I could possibly eat before they turned all spotty and mushy. And since my mom isn't here to eat my brown bananas (I promise I don't force them on her, she actually enjoys them!), I did the only logical thing: feed my banana bread addiction with another sweet variety!

I know it's not technically pumpkin season, but that lonely can of pumpkin puree in my pantry has been staring me down for months. Plus, it's stinkin cold outside and I had to scrape frost off my windshield this morning and I worked out for nearly a full hour this afternoon and all I want is something warm and cozy to stuff in my mouth. There. Now I feel justified.

Pumpkin Banana Oat Bread (no butter or oil added!) [click to print]
Makes one loaf
  • 1-1/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 c. old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 medium, very ripe banana, mashed (about 1/3 c.)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 9x4 loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing at least 2" overhang on each side of pan, or generously coat with nonstick cooking spray. 

2) In bowl of stand mixer, whisk together all dry ingredients, including sugar, spices and oats. Beat in remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. 

3) Pour batter into pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Allow to cool in pan about 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. To serve, dust with powdered sugar. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cherry Vanilla Love Monsters (aka Whoopie Pies)

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Let me just tell you one more time. I love holidays! Seriously, there might not be anything better than cutesy themed dessert and containers filled with festive sprinkles and sharing some goodies with friends! These Love Monsters don't take too long to bake or assemble and they're just so cute, who wouldn't wanna get bitten by the love bug today? Happy Valentine's Day!

Cherry Vanilla Love Monsters [click to print]
Makes about 36 whoopie pies

For the cake
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 c. flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 pkg. candy eyes (I used Wilton Candy Eyes)
  • Sprinkles
For the filling
  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 jar (7.5oz) marshmallow fluff
  • 1 c. cherry vanilla compote (or pie filling)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 

2) In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating well between each addition. Beat in milk and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, powder, salt and soda; gradually add to batter in about three additions. Beat until just combined. 

3) Scoop heaping teaspoons of batter onto prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Add candy eyes to half of the cookies, placing eyes about 1/3 of the way towards the center of the cookie (otherwise the eyes melt when they bake). Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for about 10 minutes or until edges are just barely golden. Allow to cool on baking sheet about 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. 

4) For the filling, beat butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add fluff, vanilla and salt. Stir in pie filling, mixing until just combined. Spread filling on half the cookies and sandwich with the eyeball cookie halves. Fill small dish with sprinkles and roll edge of assembled whoopie pies in sprinkles to coat. 

Source: Adapted from Just Baked

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Snake Butter Cookies

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It's that wonderful time of year again...time to huddle under piles of cozy blankets with the frigid wind whirling outside, to make chili and, perhaps most importantly, time to watch some Kung Fu Panda and eat snake cookies. It's most definitely time to celebrate The Year of the Snake! Happy Chinese New Year!

These are a classic butter cookie and have such a rich flavor and make me go weak at the knees when you snap off a bite. Also, these are great make-ahead cookies. So whip up a batch and freeze the already-baked cookies in a zip bag for about 1 month!

Snake Butter Cookies [click to print]
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 c. flour
  • red nonpareils
  • green sanding sugar (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

2) In mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth and gradually add sugar. Slowly add egg and vanilla, continuing to beat mixture until well combined. Add a small scoop of flour and stir until mixture just starts pulling together. Add remaining flour all at once and mix until just combined. 

3) Scoop dough into large pastry bag fitted with #3 star tip. If the dough is too firm and you can't pipe it, return dough to mixer and, in separate bowl, beat another egg. Add a tiny tiny bit of egg (about 1/2 tsp. at a time), mixing completely between each addition, until the dough is soft enough to squeeze through the piping tip. Once you have the right consistency, pipe dough directly on parchment in an S-shape about 2-3 inches long, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Gently press two red nonpareils in place for eyes. Sprinkle with colored sugar as desired.

4) Refrigerate cookies about 5 minutes to firm. Bake 8-11 minutes or until edges are just golden. Allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet.

Source: Adapted from L'Academie de Cuisine
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