Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread

 

So I decided to try a Pinterest recipe that links to a cooking blog called Kitchen Meets Girl.   However once I started putting everything together I realized that I didn’t have all the ingredients listed, so I sort of made things up as I went, and used random replacers that I had at the time.

bread

This bread is amazingly moist and filling (due to the peanut butter protein).  It makes a great breakfast bread, or desert with ice cream on top.  It’s by far the best breakfast type bread I’ve tried in a long time.

 

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons coco powder
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • single serving of Greek yogurt, I used a coconut flavor
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the over to 350
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter, coco powder, and 1 teaspoon of the oil.  Microwave on high until melted (about 30 seconds) and stir.  Combine 3 tablespoons oil, butter, sugar, molasses (the original used a 1/2 of brown sugar rather than sugar and molasses), and banana in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until well combined.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. With the mixer running at a low speed, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, yogurt and *peanut butter mix* to the banana mixture.  Adding the peanut butter mix at this point is optional.  Instead you can add it in step 4 to make the bread look more attractive by having a peanut butter swirl within the bread.  Mix until combined.  I’m not patient enough to put all these things in separate bowls and do alternated mixing.  I just put everything together and hope it works out, and usually it does.  (Original: Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.  With the mixer running a low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to banana mixture, beginning and ended with the flour mixture.  Mix until just combined.)
  4. Pour the bread mix into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.  The pretty option here is to add half the bread mix (without the peanut butter melt), top with peanut butter mix, add the remaining bread mix over that, and then gently swirl the batter using a knife or wooden pick.  Now sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
  5. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan.  Remove the bread from the pan, then allow to cool completely on the rack.

Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough

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For my anniversary I decided to make my husband’s favorite dessert (chocolate covered cookie dough).  He used to purchase chocolate covered cookie dough from candy stores all the time, but in more recent years we haven’t been able to find it anywhere.  Because my husband has missed this candy so much, I figured he would be happily surprised with this homemade treat.

One problem that is faced when trying to make this little treat is the raw egg factor.  Most every cookie recipe includes raw egg, but I’ve found that a hardboiled egg as a replacement for the raw one works great.  Not only is the flavor still fantastic, you also don’t have to worry so much about keeping your cookie dough refrigerated.  If you decide for some reason to bake come of this dough into cookies you’ll discover that this dough with hardboiled eggs makes super fluffy, moist, and beautiful cookies as well.  I would actually suggest baking a couple dozen cookies because this recipe makes a ton of little cookie dough balls.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cut into small chunksDolci-Frutta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (if you plan on baking some of the dough)
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, peeled
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 containers of Dolci Frutta (chocolate for the shell in the baking isle)

 

Directions

  1. (if baking cookies) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour and butter in a food processor and process until mixture is the texture of small crumbs.
  3. UnmixedAdd the salt and process until just combined.  If you are baking some cookies you should also add the baking soda in this step
  4. Add sugars, vanilla, and boiled eggs. Pulse again until mixture comes together.  The mixture will look dry and crumbled, but rolls into balls just fine.  It’s like making a flakey pie crust.
  5. Add chocolate chips and combine by hand using a wooden spoon or clean hands. Egg whites may still be visible in the dough but if you bake cookies they will disappear as the cookies bake.
  6. For chocolate covered cookie dough balls
    1. Make small marble sized balls of cookie dough and set them to the side.  I prefer to chill the dough balls in the refrigerator for a couple hours so they keep shape better while covering them with chocolate.  Also the chocolate cools to a hard shell faster if the dough balls are chilled.20131119_131813
    2. Follow the directions on the Dolci Frutta to melt the chocolate.
    3. Put the cookie dough balls into the container of liquid chocolate one at a time, so as not to cool the chocolate too fast causing it to harden.
    4. Use toothpicks or butter knives to pull the cookie dough balls out of the chocolate and set them on wax paper until the chocolate has had time to harden into a shell.
    5. (if baking cookies)
      1. Make golf ball sized balls of cookie dough and place them on parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten balls of dough slightly with your hand.
      2. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned.
      3. Remove cookies from oven and let them sit on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
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Molded Marzipan Cookies

Today is father’s day, so I decided to make my dad some cookies.  His favorite dessert / candy has always been marzipan, and I’ve made him marzipan almost every year for Christmas.  Well this year for Father’s Day I decided to try making marzipan cookies instead of the usual chocolate covered marzipan I usually give him.  His take on the cookie I’ll have to find out tonight when I give them over, but so far I love him and decided I should share.

Molded Marzipan Cookies

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbls all purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 8 ounces almond paste, broken into small pieces
  • 1 tsp water (or flavored water)
  • 1 egg white, gently beaten
  1. Combine flour and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add almond paste. Using your fingertips, work almond paste into flour and sugar until it resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle in water and egg white. Knead until it forms a firm, smooth dough, 2-4 minutes. Gather into a flattened round, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate 10 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Generously dust a large, clean work space with confectioners’ sugar. Divide dough into two sections. Working on section at a time, roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness.
  3. Cut cookies into whatever shape you like (I used a shamrock cookie cutter because it’s the only one I have at the moment).  You can also use molds and create fun molded cookies.
  4. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then set baking sheets aside, uncovered, and let cookies dry (or “cure”) at least 3 hours.
  5. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place baking sheet in center rack of oven and bake until edges have begun to color slightly, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies cool and firm up for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cookies have cooled the are ready.
  6. (optional) Because my father loves chocolate covered marzipan I coated the bottom of the cookies in chocolate as an extra step.  If you choose to cover your cookies in chocolate you will need to place them on wax paper and let the chocolate cool and harden before serving.

Happy Father’s Day daddy!

Ginger Chai Cupcakes

Well I had another girls “soup” night this week.  I was in charge of dessert, and once again I tried a recipe from Vegetarian Times.  If you are a vegetarian, vegan, or just feel like eating a bit healthier, I highly recommend this website and/or magazine.  I’ve only create 2 dishes from their magazine so far, but both of them have been fantastic.  http://www.vegetariantimes.com/

If you like chai tea you will love these cupcakes.  I myself love chai tea and I happen to love pretty much any type of ginger candy, so the ginger kick in this cake was heavenly.  Everyone who tried this batch of cupcakes loved them and I’ve gotten several recipe requests.  For those of you who asked, I hope you try it with success.

Cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 vegan margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp. egg replacer, such as Ener-G
  • 1/2 cup packed minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs. ginger juice  (I used chai tea here instead)
  • 3/4 cup plain soymilk (I used vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Chai Frosting

  • 1 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup vegan margarine
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cooled unsweetened chai tea
  • 6 Tbs. diced candied ginger for garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pans with 18 paper liners.
  2. To make cupcakes: Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into bowl. Cream sugar and margarine with electric mixer 5 minutes, or until fluffy.
  3. Stir egg replacer into 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. water in bowl. Beat into sugar mixture until combined. Beat in ginger and ginger juice. Combine soymilk and vanilla in bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low, and alternate adding flour mixture and soymilk mixture. Fill cupcake liners three-quarters full, and bake 16 to 19 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes.
  4. To make Frosting: Beat together shortening and margarine with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon. Add chai, then beat 2 minutes, or until fluffy. Frost each cupcake, and top with 1 tsp. candied ginger, if using.

Creamy Tomato Basil Agave Soup

I’d like to start out by saying that until recently I haven’t really been much of a soup person.  My version of soup was something out of a can, or simply chicken noodle soup, which in my case was a bit more like a stew anyway.  Most of all, I have never liked tomato soup.  It’s one of those foods I try every couple of years just so see if I’ve changed my mind, and somehow I never like it.

Well… apparently that is no longer the case.  Every other week or so some of my girl friends and I get together for soup and cheese sandwiches.  This week it was my turn to cook the soup, and I decided to try and make a tomato soup recipe that looked like it might be good.  Not only did I like this tomato soup, I loved it!  I liked this soup so much that I figured I should share.  It’s also a great recipe if you are really busy.  I’ve been so busy with school, clinic, and fund raisers that it was 5pm before I started cooking, and I was done by 5:30pm.  I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a soup this fast before that wasn’t canned.

Creamy Tomato Basil Agave Soup

  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup button, cubed and divided
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz) can vegetable broth  (I used homemade)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 (8 oz) package low fat cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp Light Agave Nectar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

In food processor, add celery, onion and garlic, pulse on high 10-15 seconds until pureed. Pour puree into large saucepan. Do not rinse food processor. Add half the button to vegetables. Saute over medium heat, about 10 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomatoes, broth and half the chopped basil, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover pot; reduce heat to medium/low; allow to simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cut cream cheese into 1/2″ cubes and place in food processor along with 1 cup of the hot soup. Process on high until cream cheese is dissolved, about 1 minute.  Add cream cheese mixture, Agave Nectar and remaining basil and button to the hot soup; stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.  Makes 8 cups.