Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread

Seriously – this is the BEST banana bread I have EVER had! My Grandma Barbra LOVED it – as did some of my local taste testers. I wanted to develop a recipe that takes your typical old-fashioned banana bread and have it be transformed into something almost magical! The cinnamon really balances well with the bananas and the toffee is just enough to take it over the top! The special mixing combination of the butter and bananas is one of the secrets to this recipe. Magical – flavorful – fabulous!

Cinnamon Toffee Banana Bread

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, soft
2 large bananas, peeled
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 bag toffee bits
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a regular size loaf / bread pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the bananas. Mash the bananas with the butter and mix well.

Add in the white granulated sugar and light brown sugar and cream well before beating in the 2 large eggs. 

Stir in the sour cream. 

Next stir in the pure vanilla extract, baking soda and salt. Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. Fold in 3/4 of the bag of toffee bits. 

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle evenly on top the remaining 1/4 bag of toffee bits. Sprinkle on the Turbinado sugar evenly. 

Place in preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once baked remove and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the loaf / bread pan. Cut with sharp knife and serve. 

Enjoy!

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My favorite toffee bits –

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Chew This! Banana Brownies with Caramel Frosting

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest recipe is a recipe that I am in love with! Banana brownies with caramel frosting! How fabulous does that sound!? I am currently really involved with developing recipes for brownies that are not chocolate. I have made strawberry brownies, lemon brownies, orange brownies, these banana brownies and yesterday I started developing a recipe for pumpkin brownies. In the future I am thinking about blueberry brownies and pineapple brownies. My recipe today is so quick, so easy and beyond flavorful! The caramel frosting that goes on top really transforms these into that “much buzzed about” dessert that your friends and family will be talking about well after the dessert course is served. Highly recommend that you try these! 

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature answers the question on how I transform my chocolate chips cookies into something “special” once in awhile – with that sweet and salty touch. 

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Banana Brownies with Caramel Frosting

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_81e9fff1-9bc3-5891-ab3f-0f61f72c50a2.html

Enjoy!

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Sour Cream – Banana Cake

This is the best banana cake I have ever had! The bananas – the sour cream – the cinnamon – the frosting! Delicious!

Sour Cream – Banana Cake

For the cake…
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
4 large bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups white all-purpose flour

For the frosting…
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F and spraying a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. 

In a large bowl mix together the white granulated sugar, softened unsalted butter and sour cream until light and fluffy. 

Beat in the two large eggs. 

Mix in the mashed bananas, pure vanilla extract, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. 

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour. The batter may still have white steaks throughout – this is desirable. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread out the top to ensure the cake is even. 

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. 

To make the frosting, combine the melted unsalted butter and confectioners’ sugar. Halfway through the mixing add in the whole milk and pure vanilla extract. 

Once cake is baked, remove and cool completely before frosting. 

Cut and enjoy! 

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Banana Cream Pie in a Glass

Who does not love banana cream pie? I was experimenting with pies a few weeks ago and the crust did not work out, so I made the crust into one of the layers in a parfait! My taste testers LOVED the idea and thought the taste and texture was almost better than the original pie! Flip around this recipe to make whatever flavors you desire! So fun and so elegant. Plus – a portable pie!? Score!


Banana Cream Pie in a Glass 

1 box instant banana pudding mix
3 cups whole milk
4 large bananas, sliced thin
1 cup crumbled graham crackers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups whipped cream, homemade or bought

In a large bowl combine the instant banana pudding mix with the whole milk. Whisk together and let stand for about 3 minutes.

In a large bowl combine the crumbled graham crackers, melted unsalted butter and ground cinnamon until sand-like in looks and texture.

Start putting together the dessert by sprinkling a layer of crushed graham crackers into the bottom of the desired number and size of glasses. 

Next layer in the banana pudding, sliced bananas and whipped cream. Keep layering until the mixtures run out and you are left with a layer of whipped cream on the top. 

Sprinkle some crushed graham crackers on top of each right before serving. 

Enjoy! 

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Banana Walnut Bread with a Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Swirl

I made this a few days ago for a friend and she flipped out over it! She said she had never had banana bread that was so tender, moist, flavorful and “hit the spot” like this one did!

I love banana bread too and usually fold in semi-sweet chocolate chunks, but this time I really decided to give it everything I had and add cream cheese, walnuts, cinnamon and Turbinado sugar.

It is everything you might have hoped for!

blaise-the-baker-banana-bread

Banana Walnut Bread with a Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Swirl

For the bread…
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, about 4 bananas
1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped, plus 1/2 cup aside

For the filling (swirl)…
1 large egg
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
3 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9×5-inch bread pan with non-stick spray with flour.

In a large bowl combine the large egg, light brown sugar, white granulated sugar, vegetable oil, sour cream, pure vanilla extract and mashed bananas. Stir until well combined.

Stir in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chopped walnuts.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Make the filling by combining the large egg, cream cheese, white granulated sugar, white all-purpose flour, pure vanilla extract and ground cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Spread this mixture evenly over the banana bread batter. Swirl gently with a knife.

Place the other half of the banana bread batter over the top and spread evenly.

Sprinkle on the reserved 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and sprinkle with a layer of Turbinado Sugar.

Place in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil about 40 minutes through the baking time if you are worried the edges may burn.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing and slicing.

Enjoy!

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Leftover 411

I titled this post “Leftover 411” because I have this saying – whenever I do not know something I will say “What’s the 411!?” Example – I hear someone talking about the new peanut butter, cream cheese toaster pastries – and I will say “Really? What’s the 411!?” Ha! I know – I am a nerd. Anyways…this post is all about some leftover ideas.

Let us say you have a couple of overly ripe bananas, or maybe a couple of potatoes leftover, or maybe some leftover spaghetti and sauce from the night before. What do you do with them!? Throw them away!? No!

Use these “leftover” recipes – and expand and go with what you’ve got. Experiment and HAVE FUN in the kitchen! You will never know what you will come up with…

Leftovers Blaise the Baker Blog Post

Quick Spaghetti Bread

1 – 2 cups leftover spaghetti and sauce
1 package frozen pizza dough, thawed
1 egg white, beaten
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F and spray a regular size loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Knead the leftover spaghetti and sauce into the pizza dough. Trust me – this will work – just keep kneading and folding – eventually it will all come together.

Place the bread into the prepared loaf pan – make a loaf shape if it does not form one by itself. 

Brush the top of the loaf with the beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly on top the Parmesan cheese.

Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes exactly. Remove and allow to cool slightly before removing and slicing. This is AMAZING with melted butter on each slice.

Leftovers can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.

Enjoy!

Quick Banana Bread

3-4 bananas, peeled
1 box of yellow cake mix
2 eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
(the cinnamon and nutmeg are optional – also optional would be 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans or even 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a regular size loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. (I use a potato masher to do this…)

Add the eggs, ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until fully incorporated.

Add whatever else you desire – (see note above)

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, even out the top and place in preheated oven for 40 minutes exactly.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly before removing from the pan.

Slice and serve slathered with butter.

Enjoy!

Roasted Loaded Sliced Potatoes

2 – 3 potatoes, unpeeled, cleaned and scrubbed
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Desired toppings

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spray the aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Slice the potatoes into slices – about 1/2 inch thick – and place them on the aluminum foil.

Drizzle olive oil all over the potato slices, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Turn the potato slices over, and repeat with the other side. Olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes (or until golden brown).

Remove and add shredded cheese (if using) and return to oven to melted cheese for another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from oven and add desired toppings. I like sour cream and chives. Feel free to add bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, etc.

Enjoy!

What new and usual ways do YOU use leftovers!? Shoot me an email (blaisethebaker@gmail.com) and let me know!

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Lightning Fast Desserts

There is nothing I love more than making desserts from scratch…expect maybe aside from eating them! 😉

I love taking the time to ensure that everything is done correctly and I love seeing (and tasting) the final outcome! In making desserts from scratch YOU control the quality of the ingredients – which I love.

BUT – I know that everyone does not have the time to make homemade desserts from scratch, so I am going to share FIVE of my favorite “lightning fast desserts”! TWO of these desserts have already been featured on my blog and they are the recipes for my “Any Flavor Chip Fudge” (which has just been updated) and my “Turbinado Peanut Butter Cookies”. You can find them here…

Fast blog

Lightning Fast Fudge recipe https://blaisethebaker.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/fudge-favorite-chocolate-fudge-and-favorite-peanut-butter-fudge/

Lightning Fast Cookie recipe https://blaisethebaker.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/peanut-butter-cookies-with-turbinado-sugar/

The other three recipes I am going to share are super simple and super delicious! I have made them a LOT over the years, and I hope that you will to. They are…

Lightning Fast Biscuits and Jam

1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine and turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead the dough lightly for about a minute.

Roll the dough to 3/4 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. My biscuit cutter is approximately 2 inches.

Bake at 425 degrees on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 14 minutes exactly.

Top with your favorite jam and serve!

Makes about 6 large biscuits.

Enjoy!

Lightning Fast Banana Bread Cookies

2 overripe bananas
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Mash the 2 bananas in a bowl with a fork or potato masher.

Add the oats and walnuts and stir to combine.

Drop tablespoons of batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Makes about 12 cookies.

Enjoy!

Lightning Fast Cupcakes

1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 can room temperature soda

Any flavor of cake mix and any flavor of soda will work! Experiment! Try them all! My favorite though is chocolate cake mix and “Coca-Cola” – so delicious!)

Combine cake mix and soda and whisk together until smooth.

Pour the batter into a cupcake paper lined tin and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes exactly.

Let them cool completely and then frost as desired! I really like “frosting” them with whipped cream!

This makes 12 regular size cupcakes.

Enjoy!

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Banana Pudding Crunch Cake

Tomorrow (Feb 24th) is my Grandma Deloris’ Birthday and she requested only one thing – my banana pudding crunch cake. Hearing her say that just melted my heart. She has so many health problems and is not in the best of health…but she said it would “make” her birthday if I would make that cake for her. How could I say no? I love her so much and can not wait to deliver it to her…

I have made this cake several times based off of a Facebook “Banana Pudding Poke Cake” recipe, but have put my own spin on it. I find that if you make the cake a couple of days in advance the flavors really “marry” together and you have not only a more moist cake, but a more flavorful one. I also recommend using “Cool-Whip” brand and NOT “Reddi-Wip” brand because “Cool-Whip” stands up better. I prefer using the REAL whipped cream (“Reddi-Wip”) on just about everything else…but if you use that here, it will become a puddle of cream on top – not good! Another thing I prefer is to wait and sprinkle the crushed vanilla wafers on top just right before eating…that way they will still have “CRUNCH” when eating the cake. And personally…I do not like a soggy cookie.

Here is the recipe, and it could not be anymore simple…

Banana Crunch Cake Blog

Banana Pudding Crunch Cake

1 box yellow cake mix and the ingredients to make the cake (eggs, oil and water)
2 (3.4 oz) banana cream INSTANT pudding mix
4 cups whole milk
1 (8 oz) tub of “Cool-Whip” brand whipped topping
3-5 bananas (depending on their size)
5 cups vanilla wafers, crushed

Start off by making the yellow cake exactly as the package instructions tell you to. Make sure and use a pan that is 9X13 and do not forget to grease and flour the pan.

One the cake is out of the oven let it cool for about 2 minutes.

Once cooled a couple of minutes poke holes all over the top of the warm cake. For this, I use the handle end of a wooden spoon. The holes need to be large and all over the cake. Do not completely tear up the top of the cake…do it in a row or pattern – just make sure and cover the top with holes approximately the size of the end of a large wooden spoon. Poking holes in the cake with just a FORK will not work here…

Once the holes are poked, make the pudding by combining the two packets of INSTANT banana cream pudding into the 4 cups of whole milk. Whisk out any lumps and whisk until well incorporated. Let the pudding sit for about 2 minutes or until it begins to thicken up.

Once the pudding has thickened up, pour the pudding over the hole punched cake. Make sure and fill every hole and cover the entire cake – using ALL of the banana pudding. It will look like it is about to overflow. It will not, I promise…just keep pouring and covering the entire top of the cake.

After this has been completed, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. You can actually do this part up to 48 hours in advance…the longer it sits the better it will taste when eaten.

When you are ready for the next step, take the cake from the refrigerator and “frost” the top with “Cool-Whip”. Use the WHOLE tub and make sure and even it out. It will appear thick and this is exactly what you want.

Peel and slice your bananas. You are wanting to cover the entire top layer with banana slices, so slice as many as that takes. I usually find anywhere between 3 and 5 bananas will do the trick…

Arrange them neatly on the top of the cake. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Crush the vanilla wafers and keep them in a large plastic bag. Crush them but do not crush them so fine you turn them into powder. You want large chunks of cookie as well.

Once ready to eat, cut and plate desired number of pieces. Right before serving, sprinkle the crushed vanilla wafers over each piece of cake. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Note: To keep the bananas from turning brown, soak slightly in lemon juice – or lime juice – or simply place the bananas on top of the cake right before serving.