Archive for September, 2008

Banana Bread

Our family dog Shadow recently passed away. He was 13 years old and lived a great life. However, that doesn’t make it any easier. We all loved him and he was a member of our family. So I decided to make a Banana Bread for my parents and mail it up to them. However, my first attempt failed miserably. I used a recipe from Joy of Cooking and it came out terribly. Maybe it was because I used frozen bananas? Either way, my second attempt: I went to my tried and true Martha Stewart for a recipe. This one came out great!

Comforting Banana Bread
from Martha Stewart Living

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts, and pour into prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.


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Peanut Butter Blondies

Happy Birthday Regina!

Since I couldn’t make it up to NYC for her actual birthday, I decided to send up some baked goods in my place! And what better choice than a dessert from the famous NYC Magnolia Bakery?! I got this recipe from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, who adapted it from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I made some further adaptations and the result was quite tasty! (I haaaad to sample one 🙂

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (omitted)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate (omitted)

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and lightly flour and 8 inch square baking pan.In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the peanut butter and the sugars until smooth about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in chocolate chips (reserve 2 tbs). Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the reserved chips evenly over the top and, using a spatula, gently press into the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake! Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

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Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars

We are back from an amazing vacation in Italy where we trekked around Rome and ate and drank our way through Tuscany! There will be a lot more about the trip to come…

For now, I was in need of a quick and easy (but tasty!) dessert for Family Dinner so I decided to make these Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars. I was in the mood for a cookie/bar type dessert- something everyone could eat out of their hands while we gathered around the TV to look at pictures from our trip! Plus, the marshmallow/chocolate combination made me think of s’mores and therefore an appropriate homage to the final days of summer. I found this recipe on one of my new favorite food blogs Culinary Concoctions by Peabody . I adapted her recipe by using boxed brownie mix (gasp!) since I was in a pinch for time. I couldn’t taste the difference!

Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars

Brownie Ingredients:

(I used Betty Crocker Triple Fudge Brownie Mix) OR

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2/3 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces mini marshmallows
  • 1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Jif peanut butter
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups Rice Krispies


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (I used a 9X9 inch pan). Make brownies according to directions on the box… OR…..

In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate, butter, and ¾ cup of the semisweet chocolate chips on medium heat. Stir occasionally while melting. Set aside and cool for 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, place the eggs and whisk thoroughly. Add in the sugar and vanilla. Stir the melted ingredients into the egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in the dry sifted ingredients and mix well. Fold in the remaining ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and even with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the corner of the pan comes out with moist crumbs.

Remove the brownies from the oven, and immediately sprinkle the marshmallows over them. Return the pan to the oven for 3 more minutes. While the brownies are baking, place the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat, add the cereal, and mix well. Allow this to cool for 3 minutes. Spread the mixture evenly over the marshmallow layer. Refrigerate until chilled before cutting. Makes 12 3×3-inch bars or 9 large bars!

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