Banana Nut Crunch Muffins

Banana Nut Crunch Muffin and Butter

 

I know there are many holidays right around the corner that I should be blogging about…St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day….on and on and on.  But yesterday I had an INSANE craving for banana muffins so I went with it!  And I’m SO glad I did.  These banana muffins are to. die. for.   Seriously some of the most moist, flavorful, yummy banana muffins I have ever had.  The original recipe is by Ina Garten so you know you’re off to a good start when you begin with one of her fabulous recipes.  I made some minor changes and was so pleased with the results!  Treat yourself to these for breakfast tomorrow morning…but make them tonight!  They are even better the next day!

Banana Nut Crunch Muffin

Banana Nut Crunch Muffins

Enjoy!

Banana Nut Crunch Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c. Whole Milk
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Mashed Ripe Bananas (I used 5 medium bananas)
  • 1 c. Toasted, Chopped Pecans
  • 1½ c. Granola
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffins cups with liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, beat in the melted butter. Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla and bananas and add to the flour-butter mixture. Mix until everything is just combined--do NOT overmix.
  3. Scoop ⅓ cup batter into each muffin cup.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together pecans, granola and melted butter. Spoon a couple of tablespoons over each filled muffin cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine were done at 23) until the tops are brown and a tester inserted comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and then remove from the pan and cool completely.
Notes
Makes 24 muffins.

 

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Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies

Cake mix cookies…or as some call them, CRACK cookies.  And I will not lie, they are good.  But Sarah, they use a cake mix!  Yes, I know.  And I’ve discovered that very good things can come from cake mixes…such as Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Strawberries & Cream Cake, Strawberry Cakies and even Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes!  And while I much prefer a made-from-scratch-cake over a box mix any day, sometimes when you’re in a pinch and need something quick, a cake mix can be your best friend.  Which is totally the case for these cookies.  I needed something super quick for a meeting I was going to and recalled having these cookies for the first time at my friend Joelle‘s house.  I honestly didn’t believe her when she told me how good they were but once I tasted one, I knew I was in trouble and could probably never trust myself with a batch of them in my house.  They turn out super soft in the middle and slightly crispy on the outside.  I added semi-sweet and white chocolate chips along with toasted pecans but you really could add in whatever you like and even use whatever cake mix you prefer…spice cake with cinnamon chips, orange cake mix with dark chocolate chips,  chocolate cake mix with peanut butter chips…you get the idea!

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookie

Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 18.25 oz. White Cake Mix
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cake mix, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth and blended. Stir in white and semi-sweet chocolate chips and toasted pecans. Using a large spoon (or use a small spoon if you want smaller cookies..mine spread and turned out quite large), drop onto pan, two inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes (8 minutes if you want them slightly underdone), rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 20, 3-inch cookies.

 

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Hummingbird Cake

My resolution to bake classic cakes has so far been a success, starting with this Coconut Cake and now the Hummingbird Cake.  If you’ve never heard of the Hummingbird Cake before, it goes all the way back to, well, it’s hard to tell where or when exactly it came on the scene.  The first published recipe for the cake showed up in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living magazine and was submitted by a woman named Mrs. L.H. Wiggins but it’s roots trace from the deep south aaaaaallll the way to Jamaica!  How crazy is that?  You can read more of the history and details here.

I used a recipe from myrecipes.com that was a little of a modernized version of the cake with the addition of white chocolate to the cake and the frosting and a touch of almond extract.  I was tempted at first to leave the white chocolate out of the cake but I’m so glad I didn’t–I LOVED getting little bits of white chocolate in every other bite.  This cake is very, VERY dense, almost like banana bread and the flavors of the almond extract, cinnamon and banana are incredibly delicious.  I can’t believe I waited so long to make this cake!

Hummingbird Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Large Eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t. Almond Extract
  • 1, 8 oz. Can Crushed Pineapple, undrained
  • 1 c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans, divided
  • 2 c. Chopped Bananas (about 3 medium-large bananas)
  • 4 oz. White Chocolate, finely chopped
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1½ c. White Chocolate Chips, melted and cooled
  • 1½ (8 oz.) Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 6 T. Butter, softened
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
  • ½ c. Chopped Toasted Pecans (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3, 9-inch round pans and then line with parchment paper (optional).
For the Cake
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened (do not overbeat). Stir in vanilla and almond extract, pineapple, pecans, bananas and white chocolate.
  2. Divide batter evenly among the three pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
For the White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla, beating well. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at medium speed until mixture reaches desired spreading consistency (do not overbeat).
To Assemble the Cake
  1. Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle ½ cup of chopped pecans on top. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Notes
Serves 16.

 

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Orange Slice Cake

I just had to get in one last recipe before Christmas is over and this cake was the perfect one to share.  This is a cake that my Grandma used to make and I first had it a couple of years ago when my Aunt Tammy made it for a family get-together.  Can I just say, this cake totally blew my mind?  I kid you not.  It was so incredibly moist and bursting at the seams with all kinds of good stuff…dates, coconut, orange slice candy and pecans.  It had an orange glaze all over it that had soaked into the cake and made it out-of-this-world amazing.  AMAZING.

I started craving it a couple of days ago.  At first I tried to ignore the craving, telling myself I already had enough to make and bake, but it just got more and more persistent.  So I thought ok, I’ll see if I can find the recipe, but no such luck. Not meant to be.  And then my mom emailed me a recipe for Orange Slice Loaf.  Hmmm, that might work.  But before I settled on that one I hopped onto allrecipes.com and sure enough, found a recipe for an Orange Slice Cake. I figured between the two recipes, I could probably come up with something VERY similar to my grandmother’s.  So I finally gave in, went and bought everything and made the dang cake!  How did it turn out?  Umm, awesome.  If I do say so myself.  Just like Grandma’s!

Now the good thing about this cake is that it gets better with time as it sits in the fridge and soaks up all the orange glaze goodness, so if you make it now, by the time Sunday rolls around it will be complete and total perfection!  Give it a try, I think you’ll love it!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Slice Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 4 c. All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. Buttermilk
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 2 T. Orange Zest
  • 1 lb. Orange Slice Candy, chopped (I used my kitchen scissors to cut each piece into 4 small pieces)
  • 1 lb. (2 c.) Dates, finely chopped
  • 2 c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 1½ c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 c. Orange Juice
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in the buttermilk and set aside. Whisk together 3½ cups of the flour and the salt. Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the orange slice candy, coconut and dates. Toss with ½ cup of the flour. Add to the batter and thoroughly combine. Fold in chopped pecans.
  4. Pour the batter into the tube pan. Bake for 3 hours. Whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar. Heat the juice mixture for 30 seconds in the microwave just before applying to the cake. As soon as the cake comes from the oven, poke a few holes in it with a chopstick or other pointy object and begin spooning the orange juice mixture over the cake. It will take several times of spooning it over the cake for it to soak in. Just apply some of the juice, let it soak for a few minutes and then do more. Let the cake cool completely and then put in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
Serves 18

 

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Savannah Chocolate Chewies

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Savannah Chocolate Chewies.  I didn’t know about them either until a few years ago and discovered them in one of my favorite cookie books, The All-American Cookie Book.  I’ve never had a recipe in this book let me down and this one is no exception!  I actually forgot about this recipe until recently and I am so glad I have rediscovered it!  What I didn’t know a few years back is that this cookie is reminiscent of one of my favorite kinds of cookies today… the French macaron.  These Savannah Chocolate Chewies are made primarily with egg whites and powdered sugar and end up forming a shiny “crust” as they bake, but the inside remains chewy and delicious.  They are perfect for any holiday party you have ever the next few weeks and very simple to make, although beware of the baking time—16 minutes!  But so worth the wait.

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Savannah Chocolate Chewies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • 2¼ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ c. plus 2 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 T. All-Purpose White Flour
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 oz. Bittersweet (not unsweetened) or Semi-Sweet Chocolate, grated (I just finely chopped 2 T. chocolate chips since I didn't have any bars)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt. On low speed, beat the egg whites, one at a time, into the powdered sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and beat for 1½ minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides several times. Fold in the pecans and chocolate until evenly incorporated.
  3. Scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet by heaping spoonfuls, spacing about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes (mine took 16), or until dry on the surface but soft in the center when pressed. Reverse the sheet from front to back halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Let cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 24 cookies.

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Pecan Pie Trifle

Ok, I’ve got one more last, LAST minute Thanksgiving day dessert!  It’s a Pecan Pie Trifle–layers of chunked pecan pie, whipping cream/cream cheese mixture, fudge, caramel and toasted pecans.  Doesn’t that sound like pure evil?!  Well, it is!  Very rich, delicious evil.

You can make the cream cheese mixture or go really simple and do just homemade (or even store bought…I suppose) whipped cream, which I think I might do next time to cut back on the richness of it.  And I also did a ganache and homemade salted caramel sauce which I highly suggest doing but when your short on time a store bought, high-quality hot fudge sauce and caramel sauce will work just fine!

Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Trifle
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla
  • 2, 8 oz. Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 1, 2-lb. Frozen Pecan Pie, thawed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ c. Chocolate Fudge Sauce (or ganache)
  • ½ c. Caramel Sauce
  • ½ c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
Instructions
For the Whipped Cream:
  1. In a very cold mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream at high speed until it becomes thick and stiff. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
For the Cream Cheese Mixture
  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in ¾ of the homemade whipped cream.
To Assemble:
  1. Place ⅓ of the pie cubes in the bottom of a large trifle dish or clear, tall glass bowl. Spread half the cream cheese mixture over the pie cubes, drizzle with ⅓ of both sauces and sprinkle with pecans. Repeat two more times, leaving a couple of tablespoons of both sauces and pecans to use for decoration. Spread the remaining whipped cream evenly over the top and drizzle with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the remaining pecans on top.

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St. Louis and Cheesecake

This weekend I went to the Joyce Meyer conference in St. Louis with a few other lovely ladies.  I’ve been several times before and it’s always a wonderful time of awesome music and challenging teaching.  It’s also a great time to sneak in some shopping and splurge on some good eating out!   On Friday, our sessions were at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. so during that gap me, my sister Hannah and friend Nicole high-tailed it to the Galleria for a marathon shopping session.

One of our stops was Urban Outfitters where I found these Kitty Cat Measuring Cups.  I am a HUGE cat person, so I pretty much died when I saw them.  I still regret not getting them.

I also came across this toothpaste at Urban Outfitters.  As much as I love cupcakes, I’m not sure I want to brush my teeth with them.  That just seems…wrong.

After the last session on Saturday, we went back to the Galleria for the Cheesecake Factory.  I know, I know it’s a chain and all but I’m sorry, I love the place.  We had some awesome salads and then left.

Just kidding!  Well, we did have salads but we most certainly ordered cheesecake too!  And no, we didn’t share a piece, we each got our own piece.  That’s right.  Total gluttony.  And it was sooooo worth it.  Here is a picture of all three of them taken with my crappy cell phone.

And here are some beautiful stock photos of what we got.  Much better.

My sister Hannah got Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake.  It. Is. So. Good.  Layers of carrot cake, vanilla cheesecake, cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans.  Amazing.

I got the Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake which consisted of Raspberry-Vanilla Cake, Creamy Lemon Cheesecake, Raspberry Lady Fingers and Lemon Mousse.  It didn’t have the lady fingers and didn’t quite look like this photo and wasn’t really my favorite, BUT it was good.  Just not my favorite.

What was my favorite?  My friend Nicole’s choice, the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake.  OMG.  I know that phrase is overused but seriously, OMG.  It was so, so, so good…a yummy brownie crust with a hint of coffee in the uber-creamy cheesecake filling and some seriously rich chocolate mousse and ganache on top.  I was *this close* to choosing the Kahlua cheesecake and I was KICKING myself for changing my mind at the last minute.  However, Nicole couldn’t quite finish all of her piece so like the good friend I am, I volunteered to help her out.

I had such a great weekend and was so sad to see it end but I’m thankful for the girl time and most importantly, God time.  And now, I’m gonna shut down my computer on this dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon and hold my husband’s hand as he rides the emotional rollercoaster that is fantasy football.  Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday evening.

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Cherry Crumble Cake

Every time I walk into the grocery store lately, the piles upon piles of dark red, sweet Bing cherries call my name. And I ignore them. Not that I don’t like them. Oh, I love them. But they are too dang expensive! Until a couple of days ago that is. I walked in and behold, they were half the normal cost! Hello! I immediately bagged some up and high-tailed it home to bake. Naturally.

I already had a recipe in mind:  Cherry Crumble Cake.  Does that not sound divine?  Sweet, juicy cherries mixed into a moist cake, topped with a brown sugar and butter crumb topping…mmmm mmm mmm!  And it was very, very good.  There were cherries in every bite and their flavor really came through the mild and not overly-sweet cake.  Reminded me of my mom’s apple cake that I absolutely love.  One thing I didn’t care for was how crumbly the crumble topping was.  It just kind of fell off the cake whenever it was cut so next time I think I’ll do a whole stick of butter instead of a half and that should take care of it.  I also whipped up some almond whipped cream to go with it, but some good quality vanilla ice cream would be just as good.

If you’ve been wanting to bake with some of those beautiful cherries but not sure what to do, give this recipe a try.  Delicious!

(See original recipe here.)

Cherry Crumble Cake
Dessert
12-15
 
Ingredients
  • Crumble Topping
  • 1 c. AP Flour
  • 2 T. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 c. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • Cake
  • 1 c. AP Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • ½ c. Sour Cream, room temperature
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t. Almond Extract
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 T. Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, room termperature
  • 1¼ lb. Whole Bing Cherries, stemmed, pitted and quartered
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9-inch round, springform pan (or 9-inch square).
  3. For the crumble topping, in a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. With a pastry blender or fork (or your fingers--that's what I find easiest), blend in butter until it has the consistency of crumbs. Set aside.
  4. For the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  5. In another small bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla extract and almond extract. Set aside.
  6. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat just until combined.
  7. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  8. Gently fold cherries into the batter.
  9. Spoon batter into the pan and smooth the top. Spread half of the crumble topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Stir pecans into remaining crumble topping and spread over the cake. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes more.
  11. Allow to cool 20-30 minutes and serve.

 

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