Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Banana Bread Bars with Browned Butter Icing

My husband and daughter love bananas.
Although I don't hate them, they're definitely not my fruit of choice...I would go for watermelon or mango over banana any day!
But I do love me a good banana bread...Sometimes, though, you need something different to do with all your almost rotten bananas.
Try these bars. I LOVED them! The browned butter frosting and heath chips kick it up a notch....and they're not too sweet, either, for those of you that have something against sweet things.

Banana Bread Bars
3/4 cup sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 large very ripe bananas
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup heath milk chocolate bits (In the baking aisle)

Grease a 9x13" pan and pre-heat your oven to 375.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together first four ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Add in bananas and vanilla, mixing for 1 minute on medium- high.
All at once add flour, baking soda,  salt and heath bits, and mix on medium- high for another minute.
Spread into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Cool slightly for a few minutes and make your browned butter frosting.

Browned Butter Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2-3 Tbsp. cream

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over low-medium heat until it is boiling and a delicate brown color.
Remove from the heat and immedeately add the rest of the ingredients.
Mix very well. You want it to be thicker than a glaze, but thinner than a frosting. Add more cream if needed.
Pour over bars and spread so it's smooth.

Enjoy warm, cold or room temperature- you can't go wrong!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fudge Round Trifle

I am not a creative person by any means, but sometimes, I do things that are just genius.
I can't even tell you how divine this dessert is; there are no words to describe what I feel for it...So I will let the food speak for itself and I highly suggest you get your little hiney to the store to make it. Unless of course you already have 16 little debbie fudge rounds lying around your house. If that's the case, you're ready to go...it's so easy to throw together. Perfect for a last minute dessert that will blow everyone away.

Fudge Round Trifle
16 Fudge Rounds, broken up
1, 16 oz. container Cool Whip
For the Mousse:
1/2 Cup butter, softened
3 Cups confectioners sugar
1/2 Cup Hershey's dark cocoa
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. milk if needed to thin
1 Cup whipping cream or heavy cream

To make the mousse:
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and 1 cup of confectioners sugar together til smooth.
Add in 1/2 cup cocoa and vanilla and on low mix togther until it all comes together in a smooth paste.
Add in remaining 2 cups confectioners sugar with mixer on low until completely incorporated then turn up to high. If needed add in milk to thin the batter.
Transfer batter to another bowl and wash out mixing bowl.
Pour in cream, and with a whisk attachment, on high mix until whipped cream is made.
Gently fold whipped cream into chocolate frosting/batter with a spatula until completely combined.

In a trifle dish, lay 8 broken up fudge rounds on the bottom, over that spread half the chocolate mousse, then half the cool whip.

The end.

*It is at it's maximum greatness if you let it sit a few hours before eating. I ate some right away, and also waited the few hours. No matter what, you really can't go wrong!

Also, here's a tip for you:
Fudge Round ice cream sandwiches!!!

Do it!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gooey Chips Ahoy Chocolate Cookie Bars

One of my best friends in the land got married this past weekend.

It was a really great weekend. Busy, very busy, but very fun. Wedding stuff is always fun, I think.
I know it's cheesy, but it always makes me remember mine, and how young and in love we were, and after you see two people profess their love for each other all romantically I just want to go home and watch my wedding video and cry. A good kind of cry- don't worry, I'm still happy to be married.

But one thing that really makes me mad is Pinterest.

My friend had the cutest little ideas for her wedding decorations, adorable things they did for the ceremony, little touches with the flowers and just everything was so darn cute!

Leading up to the day she had about 6 thousand things pinned on pinterest, and she actually did a lot of them. I'm more the type that pins things, then forgets about it and never does it.

When I got married (a whole 3 years ago!) we didn't have cool things like Pinterest to get great ideas from. I had to use imaginaton.

Imagination stinks.

Do you ever wish you could get married again?? I would do so many things different. Plus, weddings are a great excuse for a great party and lots of presents.
It doesn't help that for my wedding we only had 5 weeks to plan the whole thing....but that's another story for another time. In the meantime, I'm going to pin more ideas that I'll never do and continue inventing yummy ways to consume sugar. Like these bars.

Good thing I made them after the wedding. Whenever I'm in a wedding I get all panicky about fitting in my dress. My weight never really flucuates more than the normal 5 pounds thing so why I suddenly think I am going to gain 20 pounds is beyond me.

In me and my husbands opinion, a good desserts needs a chewy layer, a smooth layer and most importantly, a crunchy layer to add some excitment. The chips ahoy in these bars really makes them perfect! We loved them. And they're actually quite incredible heated up with a huge scoop of ice cream! Try it!

Gooey Chips Ahoy Chocolate Cookie Bars
-1 Package of chocolate chocolate chip cookie mix
-Ingredients called for on the back of package
-1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
-12 Chips Ahoy cookies, crumbled
-1 can sweetened condensed milk
-2 Tbsp. butter
-1 Cup peanut butter

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Mix cookies mix and ingredients together, and press into the bottom of a 9 x 13" pan.
Bake for 20 -25 minutes.
Right away when it is done baking, sprinkle chocolate chips all over, allow to sit for a minute and spread carefully so you have a nice layer of melty chocolate.
With your hands, crumble the chips ahoy all over your chocolate layer. Get some good chunks in there!
Place pan in freezer while you prepare your gooey PB layer.
In a medium pan on the stove top, pour in sweetened condensed milk, add peanut butter and butter, and stir over medium heat until smooth.
Remove bars from freezer and pour PB mixture all over.
Allow bars to cool COMPLETELY before cutting.
I kept mine in the freezer until I was ready to cut them...remember, they will be messy and gooey but oh-SO-amazing!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Pistachio Cookie Sandwiches with White Chocolate Buttercream

I'm a big sweet and salty fan. If you are, these cookies are SO for you.
The savory peanut butter, salty pistachio, and sweet white chocolate buttercream combo is TO-DIE-FOR!

P.S: you can totally use whatever your favorite PB cookie recipe is. I was just feeling lazy and didn't want to pull out the flour, baking soda, etc...

Peanut Butter Pistachio Cookie Sandwiches
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. honey
1 egg
1/2 cup shelled, salted pistachios

Mix all ingredients together except for pistachios on medium high.
Add in pistachios, and mix in on low.
Put dough in the fridge an pre-heat your oven to 375.
When oven is pre-heated, remove dough, and shape into tablespoon-ish sized balls.
Place on a greased baking sheet 1 inch apart, and flatten each dough ball with a fork in a  criss-cross pattern.
Bake for 7-9 minutes, until edges are lightly browned.

White Chocolate Buttercream
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Rinse out your mixing bowl, and mix butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar together o medium low until they come together.
While that is mixing, melt your white chocolate chips at 20 second intervals with the butter. This should only take 2 times.
When Butter and powdered sugar are mixed together, slowly add in the melted white chocolate.
Turn mixer up to high for 30 seconds before adding in the last cup of powdered sugar and tablespoon of vanilla.
Mix for 30 more seconds and refrigerate until you're ready to make your sandwiches!
Scoop out Tablespoon sized scoops of your frosting and roll into balls. Sandwich between cooled cookie halves!

*If you want to halve the buttercream frosting im sure that would be fine, cause It made more than enough! Extra frosting is never an issue around here though, and I would encourage loading the cookies up with it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reeses Rolo Cake

I was going to be sharing more donuts with you, but I misplaced the recipe....so until then, I am sharing some other yummy things i've been baking up. Like, cake!

My daughter's first EVER birthday was this past sunday. I always always swore I wouldn't have a party and make a big deal out of my kids' first birthday's  cause they don't even know what's going on or care.

Yeah, well, we had a big party. Granted, it was just family, but we were those parents I swore we never would be. We had a big cookout with waaay too much food ( I always over plan these things), went all out on ice cream sundaes for dessert and did all that birthday party stuff with presents and all that. She liked her toys a lot and got a bunch of SUPER cute clothes, but her favorite thing was a big bag one of her gifts came in.

And THAT is why we don't do big parties and presents for babies.

We did get some really cute pictures though that will be really fun to look back on, and it was hilarious to watch her eat a slice of chocolate cake by herself for the first time, which surprisingly she did rather neatly!  She doesn't like to get dirty- just like her mama.

The other good thing about the big party is that we had so much left over food! Including a lot of stuff I had gotten for the make-your-own-sundae station....M&M's, Reeses, Rolos, Almond Joys- good stuff.

Now that most of the leftovers are gone, and I'm finally un-full ( did I mention how much food we had?!) I had the desire to bake with all the leftover candy...and this cake is what I came up with!

It came out just as I was hoping it would and was so good my husband demanded we share a couple slices with our wonderful neighbor in return for all the fresh produce she has given us from her garden this summer.

It's a pretty rich cake, but the cake part isn't too sweet, so the frosting balances it out well cause it's very sweet and just plain old ridiculously amazing. Actually some of the best frosting i've made and had!

I hope you like it as much as I did!

Reeses Rolo Cake
Pre-heat oven to 350

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high for 1 minutes.
Add peanut butter and beat for an additional minute or two scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add in egg and vanilla and beat well for another minute.
All at once add in flour, soda, powder and salt, and half the milk.
Mix just until everything is barely incorporated, and add in the other half of the milk and mix well on medium high.

Pour evenly between 2 greased and floured 9 inch round pans.
Make your caramel swirl.

For the Caramel Swirl:
1 cup brown sugar, packed
4 Tbsp  butter
1/2 cup half and half
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small saucepan, mix butter, brown sugar, half and half  over medium heat stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes until thickened. Add in salt and vanilla and cook for another minute to thicken further.

Swirl 1/2 of the caramel mixture evenly between each cake by pouring over the batter, and using a butter knife to swirl it. Reserve the other half of the caramel sauce for the frosting.

Bake cakes for 28-32 minutes.

Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before dumping out onto a cooling rack and allowing to cool completely before frosting.

(ugh, don't mind the finger)

For the frosting:
1 bag milk chocolate chips
4 Tbsp. butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Other half of caramel mixture

In the microwave, melt butter and chocolate chips for 20 second intervals until smooth.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, slowly add powdered sugar to melted chocolate.
Whip together on high for 30 seconds.
Add in vanilla and remaining caramel sauce, continuing to beat on medium high for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

I like to stick my cakes in the freezer for 10 minutes before frosting them cause it makes it much easier to frost.

After frosting your cake, drizzle with caramel sauce if you have any leftover and garnish with lots of Rolos and Reeses!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lemon Glazed Pound Cake Donuts

I'm on a donut kick, so be prepared for lots of donuts. They are all going to be yummy, un-fried, and they won't taste like the usual dry, cake-y regular baked donuts. Those are gross.
These donuts I will be sharing with you are moist, full of flavor and are as close as you can get to a fried donut say from dunkin donuts or your local bakery without frying!

You're welcome!

Lemon Glazed Pound Cake Donuts
Yield:16 Donuts (You can easily halve this recipe, too)
Pre-heat oven to 300

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1, 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups AP flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and sugar together on medium high for a couple minutes until very light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each one.
Shut off mixer, and add in flour, salt and vanilla all at once.
Mix on low just until combined.

Fill a ziploc bag with donut batter and snip off about a half inch corner.

In a greased and floured donut pan, squeeze batter so each donut compartment (?) is filled to the top, but not over the top!

Bake for 25-30 minutes, til a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before dumping out onto a cooling rack.

Allow to cool for another 10 minutes before dunking in glaze.

Lemon Glaze:
2 Cups powdered Sugar,
1/4-1/2 Cup lemon juice

Add lemon lemon juice to confectioners sugar until you have a good dipping consistency.
Dunk donuts in glaze, flipping around several times with a fork before removing back to cooking rack.

Allow glaze to harden. If desired, add more confectioners sugar to your extra glaze, and add a decorative drizzle over each of your donuts.

Enjoy- these are so so so so good and actually yummier the next day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No-Bake Golden Cookie Bars

These bars are so easy, and nothing short of amazing!

I ate so many of them I couldn't eat lunch and wasn't hungry for dinner. But that didn't stop me from eating 2 lobsters I got at the farmers market for only $4 a pound!! I love lobster. And farmers markets. It's going to be really sad when summer is over and farmers markets are over... 

I spied these over at Cookies and Cups last week and have been dying to try them...do you ever see a recipe, and you just feel in your heart you need to make them? That's what I felt with these bars and they did NOT disappoint! They're a cross between a  bar and fudge...you need them, I tell you!

Golden Cookie Bars
Adapted from Cookies and Cups

2 1/2 cups (or 30 cookies) golden oreos or other vanilla sandwich cookie
1, 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
10 oz (a tad more than 1 1/2 cups) white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips for garnish (optional, but strongly suggested)

In a Ziploc bag, crush cookies with rolling pin until in crumbs and small chunks.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate. Stir frequently until smooth.
In a large bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and white chocolate mixture.
Let cool for 5ish minutes before mixing in chocolate chips.
Press into prepared pan, and press the other 1/2 cup of chocolate chips on top into cookie mixture. (If you want)
Chill in freezer for about 30 minutes before cutting and enjoy this amazingness!

White Chocolate Filled Kahlua Cupcakes

My daughter wakes up for the day anywhere between 4:30-5:30 these days. And that's after she has woken up anywhere from 4-10 times during the night. I'm beginning to think there is a problem. The only thing that has gotten me through is knowing she wont be like this forever! Most people with sleepless babies have said there kids usually grow out of it in between 12-18 months. So I'm keeping those fingers crossed!

It is okay, I suppose...I get to see my husband before he leaves for work which is nice. But it also makes for reeeeaaally long days. For example, yesterday when it was only noon, I could have sworn it was at least 3/3:30.

So I'm trying to make the best of it, and get more stuff done with my extra hours...But I'm pretty sure I would be more efficient with maybe a couple hours of more sleep. But I could be totally wrong. It truly is amazing how your body changes and learns to function on only 3-4 hours of solid sleep a night and the fact that I haven't killed anyone yet is nothing short of miraculous. 

One thing I have found that really really helps on those mornings my daughter wakes me up to watch the sunrise (which is a plus), is knowing I have a yummy breakfast awaiting me. Like cupcakes.

Kahlua is coffee- right?!?!

But really, these have a slight hint of the kahlua coffee taste without being all boozy tasting. 
I like a lot of frosting, so I piled mine up so it was almost as much frosting as there was cupcake, but for the normal person, I don't think they would like that. So it's your call with how much frosting goes on....

For some reason, when I set out to make kahlua cupcakes, I had it in my head that they had to be chocolate cupcakes with that coffee/kahlua depth, but I actually found a great white cupcake I used instead and I'm really glad cause they came out perfect and were WAY better than I had imagined they would be!

White Chocolate Filled Kahlua Cupcakes
Pre-heat oven to 325.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Kahlua (I used French Vanilla)
12 unwrapped white chocolate Lindt Balls

Freeze Lindt balls for no less than 30 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Scrape down sides of the bowl, and beat in eggs 1 at a time.
After everything is well mixed, add in flour, baking powder, salt and Kahlua all at once.
Mix until everything is well combined.
Divide batter evenly between 12-16 cupcake liners.
Push a Lindt ball down into the center of each one.

Bake for 22-24 minutes until lightly golden brown on top.

After a few minutes, remove liners from tin, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Kahlua Frosting
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (or Crisco- GROSS!)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup Kahlua

For White Chocolate Drizzle:
1 Cup White chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. Shortening

Beat all ingredients on medium high until light and fluffy and perfect for frosting.
Pour frosting ingredients in a ziploc bag lined bowl, snip off a corner and frost your cupcakes.
Put cupcakes in the freezer for 20-30 minutes so when you drizzle the white chocolate it hardens quicker.

Melt white chocolate and shortening in microwave at 20 second intervals til smooth, and drizzle oven frosted cupcakes. 

Return to freezer for a few minutes to harden chocolate completely.


Thursday, August 2, 2012


Can we talk about something?

I would like to tell you about how awesome these zebra cakes are.

They are so awesome, that my husband, the king of fast food and convenience foods said that these tasted identical to the zebra cakes in the store- except they were better cause they had a fresh taste... not a plastic wrapper, sitting on the shelf for years taste.

And then he proceeded to moan and groan and sing my praises about how good they were. Does it get any better?

No. No, it does not.

Fresh Zebra Cakes

For the cake:
Pre-heat oven to 350.

Grease and flour a 9x13" pan.

Cake ingredients:
-1 box vanilla cake mix
-oil, water and egg called for on box, except cut out one egg.
-1 Tbsp. vanilla extract.

Filling ingredients:

-1 cup fluff
-1/2 cup shortening
-2 Cups confectioners sugar
-1 tsp. vanilla
-a tiny dash of salt
-Milk (for desired consistency)

To make the cake:
Beat all ingredients very well for 2 minutes.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Let cool COMPLETELY, and flip out onto a clean, smooth surface.
With a biscuit cutter, glass, or even knife, cut out circles about 2" in diameter.
Cut each circle in half so you have two, shorter round layers to sandwich your filling with.

For the filling:
In an electric mixer, beat fluff and shortening on medium-high until fluffy.
Turn off mixer, and add in vanilla and confectioners sugar.
Mix on low until combined, then turn up to medium-high until smooth and fluffy.
Adjust ingredients to taste. Some people like more fluff, others like more confectioners sugar...it's up to you!

Put your filling in a ziplock bag and snip off a small corner.
Squeeze a good amount of filling on one half of your small circles and press the matching half on top.
Repeat until all the filling and/or cake halves are gone.

Freeze for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

White chocolate glaze ingredients:
1 bag white chocolate chips
1/2 Cup shortening

Chocolate Drizzle:
3/4 Cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. shortening

Melt chocolates (separately) at 20 second intervals mixing very well each time.
When white chocolate is smooth, dip the edges of your cake-filled circles in the chocolate, rotating to get the sides covered well.
Place on a plate and pour a little white chocolate over the top to cover it.

Melt the chocolate and drizzle over to make stripes.

I know you are probably thinking, okay, I don't believe you that these taste that good.
But you really really need to trust me on this and just make them.
Report back to me and let me know how they were!