Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banana bread, one recipe, altered for three different flavors.


I love banana bread.  Love love love love love it.  I could eat this every day.  I could make bread pudding with it, french toast, panini’s, everything and anything. 

Base Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse (optional)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
4 very ripe bananas, mashed well
1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, fat free
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350°F degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with Pam.

2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts together in a large bowl; set aside.

4. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

5. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)



For a slightly healthier version, substitute the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour.  You can also use a white whole wheat flour.   It is a 100% whole wheat flour that’s lighter colored, milder tasting, and a somewhat finer grind than standard red whole wheat flour.

White whole wheat (milled from white, rather than red wheat berries) is WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, not a white flour, but it has all the fiber and nutrition of traditional whole wheat, but acts much more like white flour in baking. You just have to remember with whole wheat flours, there is a higher liquid to flour ratio.  If you are using a whole wheat flour, you will need to increase the liquid. 

I say slightly healthier b/c in all honesty, I wouldn’t substitute the butter for canola oil.  The butter adds a beautifully delicious depth to the flavor.  The richness of the butter is not something you want to leave out of this one. 

You can do it though.  You can also substitute the sugar for honey.  I did that for one of the breads I made.  I called that one Elvis bread.  ;)

For the Elvis bread, I used whole wheat flour instead of white flour.  I added a 1/2 cup peanut butter, which isn’t exactly an additional liquid, but it was an addition that helped the moisture in the end result.  I also used a full stick melted butter and substituted honey for the sugar .  I used the same amount of honey as the sugar, 3/4 cup. 

Elvis bread:

2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup organic honey

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 large very ripe mashed bananas

1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 large eggs, beaten lightly

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 stick melted butter, cooled

1 tsp vanilla extract

Sad, but I forgot to take pictures of this bread before it was devoured.  I actually wish I added more honey, or maybe even used a honey roasted peanut butter., like Skippy’s honey roasted, Jason’s all natural honey peanut butter or Peanut Butter & Co. Bee’s Knees peanut butter.  Any of the above would have been a good addition. 

This bread is especially good for a peanut butter and honey panini… 

The final bread I made this night is was a peanut butter and chocolate chip bread.  For this recipe, I used the above, but instead of honey, I used light brown sugar and added a 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.  That was yummy bread.  But then, isn’t anything with chocolate yummy??



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cinnamon Cheesecake


I’ve disappeared from the blogging world for some time, I know.  I can’t even guarantee that I’ll be more consistent from here on out.  But I’m still here, cooking and baking b/w everything else, including working, working out, remodeling a house, trying to plan and open a bakery, spending time with my love, my family and friends.  I don’t juggle it all well, so I am hoping that I’ll learn soon.  But one of the reasons why I’ve disappeared is b/c I’ve been having a hard time juggling everyone and everything. 

Anyone with any advice would be super! 

On to more important things…


Cinnamon Cheesecake


1 box of carrot cake or spice cake box mix

1/2-3/4 stick of butter, melted

1 tsp cinnamon extract

4 (8 oz) pkgs of cream cheese, softened to room temp

1 1/3 cups organic white sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon extract

4 large eggs, at room temp

1 1/3 cups naturally flavored vanilla Greek yogurt


Spray a 9 inch spring form pan w/ non-stick cooking spray. Wrap the bottom of the pan w/ 2-3 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Set aside.
Mix 1/2 stick of melted butter and cinnamon extract with the cake mix.  Mix together until the batter becomes a thick, not crumbly "dough".  If it is too dry w/ only the 1/2 stick melted butter, add in another 1/4 stick of melted butter.  Try not to use too much more than this, or else it will be too greasy.

Press the "dough" into the greased pan.  Press it into an even layer on the bottom circle, but also press some up the sides, at least an inch up, or all the way up the sides. 

Beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft, about 4 minutes. While the mixer is running, add the sugar and ground cinnamon and continue to beat about another 4 mins, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla and cinnamon extracts. Add the eggs one by one, beating a full minute after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the Greek yogurt.

Pour all of the cheesecake batter into the pan over the crust.  Place the pan inside of a large roasting pan that is on a rack in the oven, like a bain marie.  Pour hot water in the roasting pan so the springform pan is surrounded by hot water.  You can boil some water in a pot or, if you have a good hot water heater in your house, you can use hot water straight from the sink. 

Slowly and carefully push the rack into the oven and bake the cheesecake for 1 1/2 hours.

After the cheesecake has finished backing, turn off the oven and prop open the oven, just enough to let the air escape.

Take the cheesecake out of the roasting pan and allow it to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Once it has reached room temp, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but overnight is preferred. 


This is my favorite cheesecake recipe.  I love using the base recipe and changing it to make different flavor combinations.  However, this is a cheesecake that is NOT fun to make the day of.  My best recommendation is to make it the night before.  If you need it for the same day, start first thing in the morning.  It takes a while to come to room temp on the counter and then completely cool in the refrigerator. 


Yum. There is some creamy dreamy deliciousness right there.  Mmmmm….