Overripe Bananas? Make Banana Bread
Got overripe bananas sitting on your countertop? The ones you meant to eat a week ago or maybe longer. Yes, those. While you maybe tempted to put them in the compost or trash bins, do not. Do not waste them, but instead make banana bread. It is a simple quick bread.
Typically, your pantry has all the ingredients for this recipe: butter, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, vanilla, eggs, and yogurt. I usually use whatever yogurt I have on hand in the fridge. Vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry yogurt works nicely with this recipe.
Banana Bread Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 2-3 bananas)
- 4 oz container low-fat yogurt (vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry works nicely)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- Cooking spray
- Heat oven to 350°.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a fork or whisk.
- Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended.
- Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.
- Spoon batter into loaf pan coated with cooking spray, butter, or oil.
- Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan.
- Try to cool completely on wire rack.
Making of the Lux French Macarons
I seem to be on the French cooking spurt with the baguettes and now macarons. Perhaps that’s telling me I need to plan a trip to France. Who wants to send me there for a month or so? For Well Worn Apron of course! For the art of food, so I can write about the food experience.
Back to macarons. They are like this mythical treat. Epic with their own cult following. I have to admit I have never had a French macaron until I made these ones. Crazy, I know, but true. I am now a fan.
They are beautiful… crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The flavors and fillings can be anything. I made two types: coffee with Nutella filling and lemon with lemon buttercream. I am going to share the coffee recipe since it was the easiest and quickest to make. If you want me to post on the lemon ones, let me know in the comments or on Facebook. Best to make them 24-48 hours before you plan on sharing them. Allows them to develop their flavor and texture. Fair warning macaron making is an afternoon baking session so unlike cookies you cannot just whip these up last minute.
If you have noticed, recently I have been using weight measurements for baking. I am finding I am getting better end results. Baking is more science than art. Worth investing in a scale.
Coffee Nutella Filled French Macarons
- 120 grams almond flour
- 200 grams powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules
- 100 grams egg whites or whites for 3 eggs, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- Nutella spread
- Measure the almond flour, powdered sugar, and espresso powder into the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse the mixture to a fine powder, and sift.
- Whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on medium speed until frothy.
- Slowly add the granulated sugar (about a teaspoon at a time), while continuing to whip. Once all the sugar has been incorporated, turn the speed up to high and whip until the meringue looks glossy and holds stiff peaks.
- Dump all the almond flour mixture into the meringue at once.
- Fold together until the batter falls from the spoon.
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, and pipe rounds about 1 inch in diameter onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Slam the baking sheet on the counter to force out any large air bubbles allowing to dry for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Bake for 15-16 minutes.
- Cool completely on the baking sheet
- Sandwich with Nutella.
Mary Berry’s Christmas Pavlova
Mary Berry’s Christmas Pavlova is truly a holiday show stopper. While I am not a huge watcher of cooking shows, I enjoy watching The Great British Bake Off. It is a friendly and fun competition. Not like the cooking competition shows in the US where they are cut-throat with yelling and meanness rule. That is not my thing. I like niceness and kindness. Any way back to the pavlova, I saw this on the Master Class program where Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood create desserts by showing you how to make them. The Christmas program was my favorite. A couple recipes I want to try and this was one of them.
I was intimidated by this recipe at first. I have never made a pavlova; however, in Ireland they are a very common dessert. My Auntie Carmel is known to make a pretty amazing one. The recipe is using British ingredients with American English equivalents and measurements. I purchased vanilla bean paste and caster sugar through Amazon. I only converted the oven temps from celsius to fahrenheit. When baking, I am finding it is better to weigh your ingredients than using cups. Baking is more science than art. It is worth investing in scale that does grams and ounces.
Mary Berry’s Christmas Pavlova
- For the pavlova
- - 6 large egg whites
- - 350g/12oz caster sugar or super fine sugar
- - 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- - 1 tsp cornflour (corn starch)
- For the filling
- - 600ml/20fl oz double cream or whipping cream
- - 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- - 50g/1¾oz icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
- - 200g/7oz strawberries, hulled and quartered
- - 300g/10½oz raspberries
- - 200g/7oz blueberries
- - a few mint leaves, to decorate (optional)
- - icing sugar or powdered sugar, for dusting
- - Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3 or 285F.
- - Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and draw a 30cm/12in circle in the middle of the paper.
- - Put the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.
- - Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, whisking on maximum speed until they are stiff and glossy.
- - Mix the vinegar and cornflour in a cup until smooth, then stir into the egg whites.
- - Spoon the meringue onto the ring drawn on the baking parchment.
- - Using a large spoon make a shallow trench in the meringue for the cream and fruit to sit in.
- - Transfer to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 140C/120C Fan/Gas 1 or 250F. - --- Bake for 1 hour–1 hour 15 minutes, until the outside is hard but still white.
- - Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova inside for an hour or overnight to cool and dry.
- - To assemble, whip the cream, vanilla paste and icing sugar until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
- - Spoon the cream into the trench in the meringue.
- - Arrange the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate on top and decorate with a few mint leaves, if using.
- - To serve, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.
A Dutch Treat of Speculaas Cookies for Sinter Klaas
While you can buy Speculaas cookies at many grocery stores in the US now, there is something about making them at home. It makes it special. Speculaas are Dutch spice cookies that are flavorful, but not overly sweet. They are served at coffee time, but work anytime of day with any warm beverage.
The cookies are known by their unique sizes and patterns. The traditional way is using wooden molds. We have ours from The Netherlands. Different patterns and sizes.
We have jar full of Speculaas spice from The Netherlands. The spice mix is usually cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, white pepper, aniseed powder, and cardamom ground. Over the years we have made speculaas once. This year decided that I would try to make them. For those who know me, I am not a cookie baker. I try, but cookies never seem to work out for me. The recipe is from King Arthur Flour. I was able to de-mold the cookie dough after a few tries; however, it didn’t keep the pattern on the cookie. Bummer. It tasted great, but didn’t look like a speculaas cookie.
Dutch Speculaas Cookies Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons speculaas spice; or 3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon clove, 1/8 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, 1/8 teaspoon aniseed powder, and 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- In a small bowl, combine the flours and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla, spice, and salt. Add the egg and mix until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture.
- Form the dough into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
- Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
- Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.
- To cut out cookies: Use any shape cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
- Flour wooden molds and press dough in molds trimming extra.
- Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets and freeze for at least 30 minutes; this helps the cookies retain their shape while baking.
- Fifteen minutes before baking the cookies, preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Bake the cookies for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re light gold around the edges. Remove them from the oven, and cool them right on the pan.
The Ugliest Black Forrest Roll Cake Ever
Yes, this is the ugliest Black Forrest Roll Cake ever. In my defense, it was my first time making a jelly roll cake. The whole roll party is what did me in. Let’s just say I won’t winning any bake-off. Mary and Paul would have plenty to say about my roll, but they would like the taste of it. It looks heavy, but the cake and filling is quite light and tender.
Black Forrest Roll Cake Recipe
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon water
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 can cherry pie filling
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips chopped finely
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray jelly roll pan then line with parchment paper. Spray the top of the parchment.
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs at high speed until very light in color.
- Gradually add sugar, beating until thick.
- In another small bowl, combine the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil; adding a second with the goal of consistency of melted chocolate.
- Blend in cocoa mixture and water until combined well.
- Add cocoa mixture to sugar and egg mixture.
- Then add dry ingredients beating until combined.
- Spread in prepared jelly roll pan and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Loosen edges and turn cake out immediately onto a large tea towel, generously dusted with confectioners sugar.
- Remove wax paper and trim any crisp edges.
- Beginning with the narrow end, roll up cake, with towel loosely.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat to stiff peaks.
- Evenly separate whipped cream into two bowls.
- In one bowl, fold in the cherry pie filling to the whipped cream.
- Carefully re roll the cake, placing seam side down on a serving platter.
- Frost with remaining whipped cream
- Sprinkle evenly with shaved chocolate.
- Refrigerate 1-2 hrs before serving. Keep refrigerated.
The Decadent Croissant Chocolate Bread Pudding
If you are on a diet then look away now. This croissant chocolate bread pudding will ruin all of your good intentions in one fork full of its richness. The one saving grace is it is so rich that you can not eat more than a small square.
Bread pudding is a comfort dessert. Bread puddings are be simple and humble or over the top decadent like this recipe using chocolate and croissants. The origins of bread pudding I can imagine was out of being frugal and not wanting to waste stale bread using ingredients on hand to make a sweet and satisfying warm treat on a cold winter’s day.
This recipe is luxurious, yet the ingredient list is simple. It is the combination that makes so rich. Nine ingredients is all you need to make this bread pudding such as milk, cream, eggs, croissants, sugar, and chocolate chips. Do not cut corners on this recipe by using low fat options. Just embrace it and enjoy it. It is not like you will make and eat this bread pudding every day or every week.
It is perfect for dessert after a roast, stew, or soup. Or it can be the sweet dish to compliment a savory brunch egg dish like sausage egg cheese casserole.
What is your favorite bread pudding?
Croissant Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 croissants, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 375° F.
- Butter or spray a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
- Add the croissants and chocolate and mix to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and bake until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean in 40 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.