Tag Archives: baking

Banana Coconut Scones

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In my newbie travels as a blogger, I’ve come across some really amazing blogs (and some not so amazing, but I digress…).  Edibles & Travels is one of my new faves (I envy the peaks on her muffins 😉 ), and she recently posted a recipe for Banana Coconut Muffins.  Had a nice Caribbean-sounding vibe, brought be back to my honeymoon…you get my drift.  So I thought, hey, I have coconut.  I have a borderline overly ripe banana that’s looking lonely!  And thus, these Banana Coconut Scones were born.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be sipping a Rum Punch, my toes in the sand, enjoying a scone – well maybe not really, but a girl can dream, right?!? 🙂

Banana Coconut Scones

The Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cold

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup sweetened coconut (plus additional for garnish)

1 ripe banana, mashed

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2.  Place the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Work the butter into the flour with your hands until the butter disappears into the flour and it yellows a bit.

4.  Add the honey, milk, and egg to the flour mixture and stir until mixed well.  Add the coconut and mashed banana and mix again until all incorporated.

5.  Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet about an inch apart.  Sprinkle with a little additional coconut, if desired.

6.  Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are slightly golden on top.

7.  Remove the scones and place them on a cooling rack.  They are best when served warm and drizzled with a little honey.  Yum, yum 🙂

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Honey Lemon Bars

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Honey Lemon Bars

I’m a huge fan of anything lemon when it comes to baking.  These are amazing, and super simple to put together.  The honey adds just the right amount of sweetness without being overpowering.  A perfectly light, warm-weather dessert 🙂

honey lemon bars

 

The Recipe:

Dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold

Filling:

2 large eggs

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest (my addition, but a little more lemon flavor never hurts in my opinion!!)

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

The Process:

1.  Heat oven to 350 F (325 F if using glass or dark metal pans)

2.  To make the dough, place the flour and the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the cold butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture.  Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until all the butter disappears and the dough starts to hold together a bit.

4.  Place the dough in an 8″x8″ baking pan and press into the bottom in an even layer.

5.  Place in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes to bake.

6.  While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.  Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the honey and lemon juice.  Whisk together until completely blended.  Add the flour and baking powder and whisk again until smooth.

7.  Remove crust from the oven and pour the lemon filling into the pan.

8.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The filling should not move when you slightly shake the pan.  If it does, place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

9.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow 10 minutes for cooling before cutting into squares.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy the lemony goodness!

Apple Almond Tea Cake

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Apple Almond Tea Cake

I couldn’t wait to get cracking in the kitchen after receiving the new book (My First Baking Book).  So here’s the first round…Apple Almond Tea Cake.  Super good.  Nice dense cake with just a touch of sweetness.  Love the flavor (and slight crunch) from the sliced almonds in the cake, and the apples on top pair perfectly of course.  Top it all off with an apricot glaze, and you have the perfect brunch (or breakfast…or dessert…) snack!

apple almond tea cake

The Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature (plus extra for buttering the pan)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup sliced almonds

2 medium apples

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze:

3 tablespoons apricot jam

1 tablespoon water

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F (325 F if using a glass or dark pan).

2.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan.

3.  Put the flour, baking powder and nutmeg in a bowl and stir to combine.

4.  Place the 1/2 cup of butter and the granulated sugar in the mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy (around 4 minutes).

5.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat again until blended.

6.  Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until smooth.

7.  Pour in the milk and mix again.

8.  Stir the sliced almonds into the batter until combined.

9.  Pour the batter into the greased 9×13 baking pan and spread evenly.

10.  Peel and core the apples.  Cut in half and then cut the halves into thin, even slices.

11.  Here’s where I took a detour from the original recipe…I placed the apple slices in a bowl and tossed them with a squeeze of lemon, the brown sugar and cinnamon.  The original recipe has you place the apples on top of the batter and then sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over.  I wanted a more “even” coating, but you can choose your method 🙂

12.  Place the apple slices in 3 long lines, overlapping, on top of the batter down the length of the pan (makes for easier cutting this way).

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13.  Place in oven and bake until the cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes (Again, with my oven it was close to 35 minutes, so I would check yours frequently after 35).

14.  Remove from oven and while cake is cooling prepare the apricot glaze.

15.  Place the jam in a saucepan and add the water, stir over medium heat until the jam melts and begins to bubble.

16.  Using a pastry brush (or spoon), spread the glaze over the top of the cake.  Cut into squares and marvel in the apple-y goodness!

I’m so excited…

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And I just can’t hide it…Ok, enough of that.  I am pretty excited today though – look what came in the mail!

My first baking book

I was doing some digging on the interwebs to see if the author of the My First Cookbook was still writing.  And although she’s not (or that I could find anyway), I did discover that she made a second book called My First Baking Book a few years later.  I skimmed through the recipes and they sound just as amazing (if not more!)  So now my quest carries on!  I don’t know if I can wait till the end of the year to finish the other one and then start on this one, so there might be a smattering of both all year 🙂  Can you sense my excitement?!?

Cheers everyone!

(Not quite) Teddy Bear Chocolate Chip Cookies

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(Not quite) Teddy Bear Chocolate Chip Cookies

I take pride in my chocolate chip cookies.  I have a tried and true recipe I’ve been using for years and have “perfected”.  But, I’m allowing this blogging experience to take me out of my culinary box, so I gave this recipe a go.  Plus, I thought my kid would get a kick out of teddy bear shaped cookies, and I figured, how hard could that be?  Man was I wrong… the day will go down in history as the “Amorphous Blob Cookie Disaster of 2013”.  I dried my chocolate stained tears and sheepishly reached for my cookie dough scoop.

The flavor of the cookie is actually really good.  Definitely a more crisp, versus chewy cookie.  Worth a try in my opinion – and maybe you’ll have better luck with attempting a shape (and if you do have success and would like to rub salt into my wound and post it here, I’ll understand…)  Good news is, a chocolate chip cookie is never a bad thing to have around, no matter what it looks like!

chocolate chip cookie

The Recipe:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

The Process:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Place the flour and baking soda in a bowl and mix.

3.  Place the butter, shortening, and sugars in a separate mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes until combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to mix for another 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

4.  Break the egg into the bowl and add the vanilla.  Mix at medium speed for about 1 minute.

5.  Add about half the flour mixture and blend at low speed until incorporated.  Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well blended.

6.  Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix at lowest speed until evenly distributed in the batter.

7.  Attempt to make teddy bear shapes… or give up and spoon tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet.

8.  Bake at 350 F for about 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown.

9.  Remove and let cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.

Banana (Chocolate) Walnut Bread

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I think everyone should bake a loaf of this bread right now, just so your house smells as good as mine! 🙂 Great texture and flavor – I have to say, I’m really sorry I’ve never tried all these yummy recipes before!  So far, they have all been amazingly good.  I did add some chocolate chips to my version, because, why not?!?

na Chocolate Walnut Bread

The Recipe (makes 1 loaf):

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3 very ripe bananas

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese for serving (recipe follows)

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 4×8 loaf pan with butter.

3.  Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

4.  Place the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl and beat with mixer until light and fluffy.

5.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat until completely blended with butter mixture.

6.  Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.

7.  Peel the bananas and break into small chunks.  Add the bananas, sour cream, walnuts, and chocolate chips.  Blend at low speed until combined.

8.  Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.

9.  Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes (I found this was spot on).

10.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes (yeah right).  Turn the pan upside down to allow the loaf to fall out.  Place loaf right side up and let cool another 15 minutes (sure…) before slicing.

This bread was great on its own, but even better with some Cinnamon Cream Cheese.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese

I package softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

2-3 teaspoons brown sugar