Sticky Banana Toffee Pudding

Happy Mardi Gras! I am making our traditional King Cake today, but I thought that this dessert could also be an appropriate celebratory option. It reminded me of a New Orleans bread pudding with some of the flavors of Bananas Foster, another famous New Orleans dessert.

The recipe was part of a Food and Wine magazine article, contributed by Laura Rege, titled “Ugly Delicious!” The author makes the point that a lot of delicious food isn’t Instagram drool-worthy. I didn’t really think that this dessert was that ugly, but it was delicious! 🙂

Yield: Serves 9

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided, plus more for greasing
 (I used cooking oil spray for greasing)
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 6 ounces pitted dates, chopped (1 cup)
 (I used Medjool dates)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 medium-size overripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • unsweetened whipped cream, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350°, preferably on convection. Grease a 9-inch square metal cake pan with butter or cooking oil spray.
  2. In a small heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over the dates; stir in the baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat 1/4 cup of the butter with 3/4 cup of the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  6. At low-speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined.
  7. Add the date mixture and bananas, and beat at low-speed until just combined.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, the remaining 1/4 cup of butter, and the remaining 1 cup of brown sugar. Bring to a gentle boil over moderate heat, and cook until slightly thickened and deep golden, about 3 minutes. Keep warm.
  10. Transfer the pan to a wire rack. Using a skewer or toothpick, poke holes all over the cake.
  11. Pour half of the warm sauce over the cake, and let stand until absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  12. Serve warm with the remaining sauce and the whipped cream.

One Year Ago: Pear & Cranberry Pie

Two Years Ago: My Mother-in-Law’s Napoleon Torte

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Banana Oat Muffins with Maple Syrup Drizzle

I have had this recipe from nancycreative.com bookmarked to try for a long time. I am always looking for new and tasty ways to enjoy my super-ripe bananas and the maple syrup drizzle in this recipe sounded absolutely delicious.

Ironically, when I assembled the muffins, I decided to top them with turbinado sugar prior to baking instead of using maple syrup. “What!?!?” you say? Well, you are not alone. It was a mistake… My entire family revolted. 😉 We enjoyed them immensely with both the turbinado sugar and the maple syrup!

As well as the additional sugar topping, I also adapted the original recipe to incorporate whole wheat flour and rolled oats. Great.

Yield: Makes 10 muffins

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 3 T canola oil (or light olive oil)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • turbinado sugar, optional, for topping
  • pure Maple Syrup, optional, for drizzling over muffins (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per muffin)
  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F, preferably on convection. Line a muffin pan with 10 (parchment) paper liners; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. In medium bowl, mix mashed bananas, oil, egg, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract, blending well.
  4. Add banana mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with turbinado sugar, if desired.
  5. Bake at 375˚F for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack or serve warm.
  6. Right before serving, lightly drizzle some maple syrup on top, if desired.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Forget banana bread, this ice cream is the perfect use for super ripe bananas on the counter! 😉

I know that the trend is to make healthy banana ice cream, but this one is the real deal. It has puréed bananas in the custard base instead of milk. I added vanilla extract and chocolate chips to make it even more special. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. SO so SO creamy!!

Yield: About 1 1/2 pints

For the Fruit:

  • 4 very ripe medium bananas
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • Âœ cup buttermilk

For the Base:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To Prepare the Fruit:

  1. In a blender, purée bananas, sugar, lemon juice and salt until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)

To Make the Base:

  1. In a small pot, simmer heavy cream, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.
  3. Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  5. Stir buttermilk and the fruit purée into base. Add the vanilla extract. Cool mixture to room temperature. (I place the bowl into an ice bath.)
  6. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. (I place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the base before placing in it into the refrigerator.)
  7. Churn the base in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. At the end of processing, add the chocolate chips; continue processing until evenly incorporated.
  8. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve, or store in freezer until needed. If storing in the freezer, directly cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap before covering with the lid in order to prevent icing.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread

This delicious breakfast bread is loaded with blueberries. It really is a fabulous blend of banana bread and blueberry muffins- two of our favorite special breakfasts! The cinnamon sugar was an extra treat. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Crazy for Crust. I decreased the sugar and modified the recipe to include whole wheat flour and bake in a convection oven. I also used a Vitamix to blend the liquid ingredients. Nice!

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (on convection, if possible). Grease a 9x5x3” loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar with a hand or stand mixer. Set aside.
  3. Add bananas, eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, and baking soda to a blender jar and blend until smooth. (I used a Vitamix)
  4. Pour half the banana mixture into the butter mixture with 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Mix until just incorporated, then add the remaining banana mixture and the all-purpose flour. Mix until just incorporated.
  5. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour into prepared pan.
  6. Combine 2 T sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
  7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes on convection or up to 60 minutes in a standard oven, or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. The edges will be a dark brown.
  8. Cool completely before removing loaf from pan, but you can cut slices from the pan after it’s cooled for about 15-20 minutes.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

and… I have to share some friends who came to visit. 🙂 A Great Egret and a Night Heron!

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The Night Heron actually came and sat at the edge of our diving board… he didn’t go for a swim. 🙂 Great.

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Whole Wheat Banana Flaxseed Muffins

For a while there, I was really into making healthy baked goods for breakfast, but somehow I have gone off track lately. :/ These moist and tasty muffins have put me back on the right path!

I modified this Martha Stewart Living recipe to make muffins instead of a loaf (shorter baking size and bonus portion control), use more bananas (more moist), omit the walnuts (my daughter doesn’t like nuts in her muffins…), and to bake in a convection oven.

The best combination… they taste indulgent but are actually healthy. We enjoyed them warm from the oven with fresh fruit. Another great use for overripe bananas!! 🙂

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened, for pan
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed (from about 2 tablespoons whole)
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • about 3/4 cup mashed very ripe bananas (3 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (about 1 3/4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter, or spray with cooking spray, a standard muffin tin or a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flours, flaxseed, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Put egg and egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium-low speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and bananas, and mix until combined.
  5. Add the reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until well incorporated, about 10 seconds. Stir in walnuts, if using.
  6. Pour batter into buttered pan. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 16 minutes- on convection (for muffins), or up to 35 minutes in a standard oven for a loaf. Let cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Invert to unmold; reinvert, and let cool completely on rack.

Two Years Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Green Smoothies!

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My sweet husband gave me a Vitamix blender for Christmas even though he was a little bit scared about being served green shakes for breakfast (& possibly even lunch too!). These smoothies are “green” but contain tons of fruit so they are sweet enough to transition even the skeptics out there. A great way to start a healthy 2015!! 🙂

My preference is for room temperature concoctions- the flavors really shine. The Orange Smoothie (above) is my favorite. It is unbelievably creamy with just a hint of cinnamon. The recipe is from celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson, via popsugar.com. Green and yummy!!

Orange Smoothie

Yield: 1 large or 2 small smoothies

  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 3 oranges, peeled
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency. (I used the Smoothies setting on the Vitamix.) Enjoy immediately.

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This super creamy, fluffy, and silky smooth smoothie is my husband’s absolute favorite. It is delicious and filling. This recipe was adapted from Food 52, contributed by Gena Hamshaw.

Avocado Smoothie

Yield: 1 large or 2 small smoothies (4 smoothies of the size pictured above)

  • 1 banana, peeled, room temperature or frozen
  • 1/2 cup mango, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 small or medium avocado
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (almond, soy, oat, rice, or cow milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place all smoothie ingredients in your blender and blend till very smooth and creamy. Add a little more milk as needed, or a few ice cubes if you want it to be frostier. (I used the Smoothies setting on the Vitamix.) Enjoy immediately.

IMG_1923

In the cold weather, this pear smoothie was perfect made with a room temperature banana; I may prefer it with a frozen banana in warmer weather though. Perfect this time of year when delicious apples and pears are so readily available. So tasty! This recipe was adapted from LoveandLentils.com.

Pear-Spinach Smoothie

Yield: 1 large (giant!) or 2 small/medium smoothies

  • 1 cup milk (almond, soy, oat, rice, or cow milk)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 forelle pear (or any small pear will do) (I used half of a large d’Anjou pear)
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen but preferably frozen
  • 1/2 a small apple (I used a pink lady)
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  1. Add all of the ingredients into your blender and blend at high speed until smooth. (I used the Smoothies setting on the Vitamix.) Enjoy immediately.

IMG_1914

This smoothie is tangy and loaded with raspberries. My son even approved! It is less creamy than the others but very fresh and frosty. This recipe is from Vitamix.

Ruby Emerald Smoothie

Yield: 1 large or 2 small smoothies

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 cup (150 g) red grapes
  • 1 medium apple (5 1/2 oz/156 g), quartered, seeded
  • 1 cup (65 g) coarsely chopped fresh kale, spine and stem removed
  • 1 cup (140 g) frozen unsweetened raspberries
  1. Place all ingredients into the blender (or Vitamix) in the order listed. Process on high speed or on the Smoothies setting. Enjoy immediately.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Skinny Whole Wheat Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

IMG_1045

Thanksgiving is so indulgent, I wanted to have a lighter treat to offer for breakfast. These moist muffins have NO oil or butter and are whole wheat. Nice!

This recipe was adapted from Friday Cake Night. I substituted whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour, substituted a spice blend for pumpkin pie spice, and added mini chocolate chips. I also made mini muffins instead of a loaf. They were a bit sticky and worked better with cooking spray on the pan instead of paper muffin cup liners.

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees on convection. Lightly coat a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed banana, brown sugar, apple sauce, pumpkin, and eggs until smooth.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients (except chocolate chips) to the bowl with the banana and pumpkin mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (I used a cookie scoop) and bake for 12 minutes.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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