Too much Banana Bread? Make Stuffed French Toast!

I had a half of a loaf of Banana Bread left over from last week that I wanted to use up.  My brother-in-law, Stephen, makes egg-less French Toast by making a very thin pancake batter and dipping bread into it before frying.  I figured that would be good but why not stuff the Banana Bread with some cream cheese and jam before battering?  It was super simple since the Banana Bread was already made.  This is not so much a recipe as a suggestion.

Stuffed Banana Bread French Toast

Stuffed Banana Bread French Toast

1/2 loaf Banana Bread

Cream Cheese

Jam (I used my mom’s homemade Peach Jam)

Small batch of your favorite pancake batter 

Butter

Cinnamon, Maple Syrup and Bananas for serving

Cut thin slices of Banana Bread and spread half with cream cheese and jam, top with the plain pieces to make little sandwiches.  Dip each sandwich in the pancake batter and fry in a hot pan with butter.  Top with cinnamon, maple syrup and sliced banana.  Serves 2-3.

Cannoli Ice Cream

Cannoli Ice Cream ConeI have been talking about making ice cream all summer but since I don’t own an ice cream maker it seemed like an impossible dream.  Then I discovered that my aunt has a fancy electric ice cream maker and was willing to share.  So I made plans, grand plans, full of big ideas and fancy add-ins.  Then I saw this recipe at One Ordinary Day and knew that it was the perfect way to begin my ice cream adventure.  This a ricotta ice cream with pistachios and mini chocolate chips and it taste just like a frozen cannoli!  And I should know since I lived in the North End of Boston for a year, which is as close as I will ever be to being Italian.  I simplified the recipe a little bit, took out the Grand Marnier and the lemon zest and used Vanilla Bean Paste  instead of extract.  I think this is my new favorite ice cream and I might try some different add-ins next time.  Hmmmm, maybe strawberries, or cannoli shell pieces….

Cannoli Ice Cream

Adapted from One Ordinary Day’s recipe

1 3/4 c. whole milk ricotta cheese

2/3 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

2/3 c. heavy cream

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 c. chopped pistachios, optional

1/4 c. mini chocolate chips, optional

In a food processor, combine the ricotta, lemon zest, sugar, vanilla bean paste, heavy cream and salt until well blended.  Pour into a container and cover.  Set in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.

Churn in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions, adding the chips and nuts during the last few minutes.  Place in a container in freezer until firm.  Makes one quart.

Banana Bread with a secret ingredient…you’ll never guess!

Bananas

I love Banana Bread but hardly ever have the over ripe banana to make it.  Last night I was looking in the Moosewood cookbook and came across their recipe and was intrigued.  They made it using coffee!  I have never heard of such a thing but having five over ripe bananas I decided to try it.  I made some changes because the original recipe called for four eggs and used three sticks of butter, neither of which I wanted to use.  So I replaced a cup of butter with a cup of applesauce and used Ener-G egg replacer and flax seed meal instead of eggs.  The bread came out great, very moist and flavorful.  I would never guess that the bread contained coffee but there was a depth of flavor that I don’t think I have found in Banana Bread before.  I would use this recipe again in a heartbeat!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

(inspired by The Moosewood Cookbook)

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup applesauce

1 cup brown sugar (I used dark)

1/2 cup honey

2 Tbsp. Ener-G egg replacer

2 Tbsp. ground flax seed

2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups white flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. nutmeg

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup strong coffee (I used 1 Tbsp. instant coffee in 1 cup hot water)

2 cups mashed ripe bananas

Pre-heat oven to 350*F.  Butter two loaf pans and set aside.  Mix the butter, applesauce, brown sugar, honey, egg replacer, flax seed, vanilla and almond extracts in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl sift together both the flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon.  In a third bowl mash the banana and mix in the cooled coffee.  Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and then add half the bananas.  Mix gently and then add the rest of the dry ingredients and the rest of the bananas.  Mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated, do not over mix.  Pour into the loaf pans and set in the oven.  Bake for 60-75 minutes.  They will be done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes then invert on to cooling racks to finish cooling.  Make two loaves.

Too hot to bake!

Well, it has been too hot to bake this week.  Maisie and I have been trying to stay cool by going swimming or taking rides in the air conditioned car.  Dinners have been mostly Milk Crackers with blueberries or BLT sandwiches.  One night I felt a little adventurous though and made this simple salad.

Zucchini Sald

Zucchini Salad

1 medium zucchini

2 carrots

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

salt to taste

Using a vegetable peeler slice the zucchini and carrot into long strips.  Mix the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, thyme and salt in jar, shake well.  Pour dressing over vegatables and let sit for 10 minutes, serve cold.  Serves 4.

Best vegan brownies EVER!

When my husband and I started dating I had to learn how to bake without eggs because he doesn’t eat them.  It was fine for cookies and cakes but I could never get brownies to work.  They would come out as a mass of goo and not edible at all.  I have tried a number of different recipes and it wasn’t until I tried this recipe earlier this summer that I found one that worked.  This is the best vegan brownie recipe out there, chewy, chocolaty and easy to add to.  Make sure to coat the pan with a lot of oil or they will stick.

Vegan Brownies

Vegan Brownies

(Adapted from Vegweb

2 cup sugar

2 cup white flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp ground flax seed

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup canola or veg. oil

1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350*F and generously oil and 9×13″ pan.  Mix flax seed with water and set aside.  Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Add the oil, water with flax seed and vanilla.  Mix just until incorporated.  Spread in oiled pan and bake for 25-28 minutes.  The edges will look dry. 

If you want to add 1 cup of chocolate chips or nuts, go ahead!

Oatmeal Cookies with Butterscotch Chips and Toasted Hazelnuts

We are leaving for vacation tomorrow and I wanted to make some cookies to take with us.  I love oatmeal cookies and have had a bag of Butterscotch Chips that I wanted to use up so I thought I would combind them.  The toasted hazelnuts were a last minute addition but added some great crunch.  These cookies came out great, chewy just the way I like them. 

Look out Maine, here we come!

Oatmeal cookies on pan

Oatmeal Cookies with Butterscotch Chips and Toasted Hazelnuts

1 cup white flour

1 cup wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup butter softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs or 2 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer + 1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp. vanilla

3 cups oats

1 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts *

Heat oven to 350*F.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Cream butter and sugar, add honey, vanilla and eggs.  (If using egg replacer, add powder to dry ingredients and water to wet ingredients.)  Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir together.  Add oats, chips and nuts, mixing fully.  Drop by tablespoons on to greased cookie sheets and cook for 10 minutes.  Cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.  Makes 3 dozen.

Oatmeal cookies on plate

*To toast hazelnuts, place on cookies sheet in 350*F oven for 5-8 minutes.  Cool.

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

I can’t stop thinking about these bars that I have made a few times recently.  If I make them I have to eat them and they are deadly!  If you like Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups you will love these, but I warn you that they will not last more than 24 hours!

I found then recipe here.

Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Recipe from Michelle at One Ordinary Day

1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

(Line a 8×8, 9×9, or 7×11 pan with foil for easy removal of bars later.)

Melt 1/2 c. butter of low heat. Remove from heat and stir in confectioner’s sugar. Add peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs, stirring until creamy. Spread mixture into pan, patting down evenly.

In same pot, on low heat, melt butter. Add chocolate chips and stir until chips are nearly melted and very soft. Remove from heat and continue stirring until chocolate is smooth and shiny. Spread over peanut butter layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into bars.

Store peanut butter cup bars in refrigerator.

Yield:  16 or more bars (depending upon how big you cut them)