Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sour Cream Banana Bread

Sometimes that going back to the basics is just what I need. There's something amazingly comforting to me about a slice of good old banana bread, plain and unadulterated. My mom used to make it all the time growing up, and it was always a favorite. She never seemed to stick to the recipe and ended up adding way more bananas then it called for. This meant she always had to bake it for way longer than the recipe said, and even then it didn't seem to quite cook through. But that was okay with everyone, we all love the slightly gooey top part of undercooked banana bread, yum!

I had a little bit of sour cream left over a little while back and was looking around for some way to use it up. I can never let things like this go bad, it seems like such a waste, and it gives me an excuse to bake. What a problem, I HAD TO bake something! I found this banana bread and it was the perfect way to use up the little bit of sour cream I had left - only 1/4 cup needed. Other than this, the recipe is pretty basic; butter, flour, sugar, eggs. It turned out a simple, yet wonderful bread that used up my sour cream, as well as some of my super ripe bananas. Broiled in the oven until the edges are just crispy and then smeared with a little peanut butter, topped with some cinnamon sugar, breakfast is served, and it is oh so delicious. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Salted Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies, always a winner and my go-to dessert when I'm stuck in a rut and can't decide what to make. Even though I think I have dozens of chocolate chip cookie recipes, and I think they are all delicious, it's always fun to try something new. When I saw these cookies they just called to me. The addition of a hint of espresso as well as some whole wheat flour sounded like the perfect combination of bitterness and nuttiness to help these cookies stand out. And I was right, another winner for my chocolate chip cookie collection. They turned out slightly soft and gooey in the center with a touch of crunch around the edge. I love the combination of espresso and chocolate that brings a bit of sophistication and complexity to a simple cookie. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Simple Mocha Snack Cake

I'm of the opinion that simple is almost always best. This is true in every aspect of my life, but where it especially rings true is with food. I don't need fancy meals or outrageous desserts, all I ever want is  high quality ingredients put together in such a way as truly make something magical. It's amazing what you can do with only a few things, as long as these ingredients are high in flavor and pair well together. 

This chocolate cake is an example of such simple pleasures. The recipe may not look like anything special, but it's put together perfectly to result in a simple yet satisfying chocolate cake. It's a very light cake, but full of flavor and the perfect afternoon snack or simple dessert, exactly what I love. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

I am a complete morning person. I love waking up early and getting my workout out of the way first thing in the morning. Then it's time for breakfast, one of my favorite parts of the day. Relaxing over a mug of coffee and some sort of baked good along with some fruit or a fruit smoothy. It doesn't get much better than that. I hate having to rush around in the morning shoving some breakfast down as I walk out the door, it just doesn't cut it for me. This means I always have something in my freezer, most often muffins or slices of a quickbread, ready and waiting for me. All I have to do is pull one out the night before and I'm done, ready for the next day. 

Last week the freezer was running a little low on baked goods so I decided it was time for some pumpkin muffins. Sometimes I go all out and bake something rich and decadent, but this time I decided to go with something on the healthier side and I baked up these spiced pumpkin muffins with oats. I really liked how they turned out, moist and full of spicy fall flavors. They are hearty and dense, most definitely not decadent, but a wonderful way to start a cold fall morning off right. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Maple Muffins

Growing up in my house, pancakes and waffles were served with a side of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, and I loved the stuff. Super thick and ubberly sweet, I loved dousing my fluffy stack of pancakes with this delicious liquid sugar. In later years my mom started making her own syrup with a bunch of corn syrup, plenty of butter, and some maple flavoring and I liked this concoction even better; thick, sweet and buttery. However, as time went on, my palate improved and my love of real foods and simple ingredients became a passion, and I knew it was time for a change. 

Then, a few years ago I went to a sugar bush in the early spring and saw the whole process of maple syrup processing, from tapping the trees to getting the sap to the sugar house to boiling the sap down into syrup, I was in love. I found the whole process completely fascinating. It is amazing how a benign looking watery liquid that drips out of a tree can be transformed into liquid sugar with some time and some heat. From that day forward, I decided to only use real maple syrup, I'm never going back. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Snack Cake

Last week Sunday, Lara and I were invited over to our friends' apartment for coffee after church. Wayne and Suzanne have had us over multiple times and it is always a wonderfully pleasant and relaxing way to spend a late Sunday morning. They serve us steaming hot, delicious coffee, and I usually offer to bring over some kind of cake, because really, what is coffee without cake? This past weekend I was ready to break out the pumpkin, so I came up with this simple pumpkin cake to snack on as we all enjoyed our mugs of coffee. It was the perfect addition to our Sunday, the ideal complement to a morning full of good conversation and hot drinks. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Blueberry Cobbler Bars

October is here, fall has officially begun, the weather is getting colder by the day, the trees are finally changing color, and I even pulled out my winter jacket to go to the farmers market yesterday morning! Fall recipes are everywhere, and pumpkin is the main topic on seemingly every food blog. Before I jump on the band wagon with some more fall-ish recipes, I have one more more summery bar that I just had to share. I saw these blueberry cobbler bars a few months ago, and knew I had to get them made while blueberries were still around. A sweet, buttery crust covered in a sour cream custard and tons of fresh blueberries, finished off with more buttery crumbles. It's a quick and easy recipe, full of freshness and reminiscent of summer. If you have any summer blueberries floating around your freezer that just want to be used, this is the perfect opportunity.