Banana Chocolate Chip Waffles

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This recipe has been printed and sitting on top of my binder for weeks now and all I needed was an excuse to make these.

Left over bananas from the Cocoa-Nana bread: check.
Bro and sis coming over for brunch: check.
New, unused waffle iron: check.

I wanted something a bit healthier so I used whole wheat flour, but you could easily substitute all purpose flour for all or half of it.

The flavor is really delicious (if you like bananas, that is) and the texture is a bit denser than waffles made with AP flour but if you don’t over-cook the waffles they are still a fantastic texture: soft and springy with warm melty chocolate chips in each bite. Yum-o.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Waffles

This recipe yields about 8 rectangle waffles but can easily be doubled to make plenty for that breakfast army :)

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour (AP will work too)
2 TBSP granulated sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP cinnamon
2 large eggs
1-2/3 cups milk (whole milk and 2% work)
6 TBSP oil (I used olive oil)
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

Directions:

Preheat your waffle maker and spritz it with a bit of cooking oil if necessary.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together. Then add in the bananas, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and mix it until it is combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour about 2/3 cup of batter (amount will vary by waffle maker) onto the waffle maker, even out the batter and cook it for about 2 minutes or until it starts turning slightly brown. Waffles should be soft to the touch and very aromatic. Dust with powdered sugar or top with fresh fruit.

Note: you can make the batter earlier in the morning and just cover the bowl until ready to use. Make and freeze them for a quick morning breakfast, just pop in the toaster to warm up.

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TWD – Cocoa Nana Bread

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Some people think that the combination of chocolate and banana is anything but a harmonious marriage of flavors. Me, on the other hand, I completely disagree.

Chocolate and banana can be just as much a match made in heaven as peanut butter and jelly, given the right recipe. And this one was a good one! The chocolate flavor was really pronounced and the banana flavor was a welcomed afterthought. The texture and tight crumb was more reminiscent of a moist cake than a bread, but you won’t hear any complaints from me.

Unlike Dorie, I don’t need to have chocolate be socially accepted as a breakfast food. I accept it, as do all of my taste-testers ;)

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I followed the recipe only changing one thing: I subbed 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder for King Arthur Flour’s Black Cocoa. The black cocoa adds an entirely different depth of flavor to your chocolate goods and gives it a deep, dark, delicious chocolate color. OH and I baked it in a bundt pan instead of a loaf pan.

If you are finicky about banana in your chocolate, I bet that you could swap unsweetened applesauce or any mashed fruit, shredded zucchini, greek yogurt or sour cream for the bananas.

The only things I would do differently next time is to REMEBER TO DUST IT WITH POWDERED SUGAR (I always seem to forget, dangit.) And… mash the bananas right before they have to go into the batter. Have you ever looked at mashed bananas that have been sitting out on the counter for 15 minutes? Ick.

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A big thank you to Steph, my fellow Twi-Hard, of Obsessed With Baking for choosing this recipe! Head on over to her beautiful and rather helpful blog for the recipe and be sure to check out the other bakers’ reviews of this recipe.

SMS – Black Bottom Brownies

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Cheesecake? Brownies?

To most people, that is pretty much THE match made in heaven. Me, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, the combination can be life altering but I just don’t think I’ve found THE recipe yet.

I don’t know if it was user error (read: my fault) or what but my cheesecake portion was ruuuuuunny (prior to baking) and it yielded quite a soft cheesecake layer, so soft that it didn’t hold up the chocolate chips scattered on top (they instead, sunk down on top of the brownie layer). The brownie portion had this odd spongey texture. Again, could be totally my fault, but something was just too off and I can’t quite put my finger on it. BUT that didn’t stop my co-workers from nom-ing on them all day long.

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I reduced the sugar in the brownies (2 cups, really?) to 1-1/2 cups since I used semi-sweet chocolate instead. I ALMOST reduced the amount of eggs in the cheesecake (6 eggs, REALLY?!) but decided not to mess with it. Baked for an hour (my oven is hotter than it reads) but the rest I followed to a ‘T’

I guess I’ll just keep searching for that recipe that blows my socks off. Feel free to leave me links or recipes for your tried and true cheesecake brownies.

Hopefully the other SMS bakers had better experiences with this than I did. Head on over to Cynthia’s blog, Bakingtherapist for the recipe.

TWD – Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy-Bars

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*CAUTION: If you are on a diet of any kind and you value the size of your waist… look away! For the love of all things holy LOOK AWAY!!!

Now that I have added my disclaimer, please proceed :)

These devilish little buggers are squares of delight! Oatmeal, chocolate, raisins, nuts… yum-o.

Changes I made: I halved the recipe and yielded 36 – 1 inch squares baked in a 9 x 9 pan. Although I halved it, I had a temporary lapse in brain function so when it came time to add the salt and baking powder, I accidentally added the full amount. Oops. I left out the nuts because I didn’t have ANY on hand (I guess that extra kick of salt came in handy after all) and I upped the cinnamon to a heaping tsp full.
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And they came out lovely! Perfectly delicious, decadent, addictive little bites of pure awesome! Everyone here at the office liked them and the fiancee has just informed me that they are a big hit at his office too! He even used an exclamation mark, which he rarely does ;)

A big thank you to Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm for hosting and allowing her two loved ones to choose this great recipe! Head on over for the recipe. Don’t forget to check out the other TWD bakers as well!

Oh, and next time, there will be nuts!!! Oh, stop being so juvenile. *giggles*


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*Jeannette or any pictures/descriptions of The Whimsical Cupcake are not responsible for spikes in weight gain and/or obsession with these bars. That is all.

SMS – Lemon (Walnut) Sour Cream Pound Cake

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Have you ever had that Zen moment in your kitchen when you just read the recipe once, grab your ingredients and everything comes together like magic? You quickly and effortlessly whip up something delightful like a true baking diva? Then you take that first bite of your baked good and it just confirms (if not deepens) your zenned out state?

That is this pound cake. It is pure Zen.

It came together in a flash, baked up in an hour and tasted nothing short of divine.

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The only ingredient that irked me (and a lot of other bakers) was the shortening/lard in the recipe. Many subbed it for butter (you’d need to use 1 cup (8 oz) + 1 T of butter to equal 1 cup of shortening, thanks Hanaa!) but I decided that since this was my first time baking this recipe that I would just follow it and give the pound cake away. I will try it with full butter next time though, as I’m sure the results were great without the shortening. I also omitted the walnuts (I was in Zen mode, chopping nuts would have disturbed that!) but it turns out that one of the recipients is allergic, so it was fate.

I didn’t measure the zest (I just zested 2 lemons and it looked like plenty, plus a little extra kick is much invited!) but next time I think I’d up the zest as it didn’t have as much lemon flavor as I’d hoped. But it was still great! The texture was perfectly reminiscent of what a pound cake is supposed to be. And the glaze, oh the glaze. Mmmm. I ended up eating two slices and hurried to get the rest out of the house.

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Caution: this is diet dangerous!! But well worth those 5 extra minutes on the tread mill ;)

A big thank you to Raeann of Basically, Baby Boots for choosing this delightful treat that everyone loved!! You can find the recipe on her blog.

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Don’t forget to check out how the other bakers fared with this!

SANTA IS REAL!!!

AND I HAVE PROOF!!

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You see, this was my Christmas gift from the fiancee!! An empire red KitchenAid Pro 600 series stand mixer!!!!!!! Complete with the 6 qt. stainless steel bowl and splatter cover, three stainless steel attachments, and a nifty little cookbook. Be still my heart!!

He made sure to buy it at the last moment so I wouldn’t accidentally(?) come across it at home. I came down the stairs to a HUGE box with a pretty bow attached. I knelt in front of it (skeptically, don’t ask me why. I honestly have no idea) and slooowly ripped the paper away.

Only to reveal the word ‘Kitchen’ and then I abruptly, and without warning, tore the package apart! I was so happy that I swear I almost cried!!

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This was the ONLY thing I really wished for all year long, practically lusting after it, and I got it!

I’ll quickly mention that it took me an entire week to actually put it to use because I didn’t want to disturb its pristeen beauty with small, menial jobs such as mixing some egg into flour. But I broke this baby in with my last few baked goods and I LOVE it.

But then again, I knew I would. And so did Santa! And by Santa, I mean the fiancee ;)

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Special note to my babe: I love you so much, and you know that I’m not a materialistic person, but this means the world to me!! You are a Greek God in my book. I don’t think I can ever thank you enough!!

<333

Notice the poll on the top right, place your vote to help me choose my KitchenAid’s name :) Thanks!!

MSC – Coconut Cupcakes… OMG yum.

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Let’s start this post off by noting that I was never a fan of coconut. Unless of course it was in the shape of an Almond Joy. But coconut cookies, cakes, anything sprinkled with the waxy, oddly textured stuff was shunned by me. I quickly turned my nose up in disgust and pranced away to play with barbies.

I am reformed! Can I get a hallelujah? I’d like to think that my adult taste buds are finally coming in and I am starting to branch out into different tastes and textures.

These cupcakes have opened up my mind. I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to try one but I sighed in that beautiful aroma and ogled the light, springy cupcake and I could no longer resist. Coconut or not, I was eating one! (After all, I had to even out the batch. Odd numbers bother me. I’m quirky, alright?)

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And it was indeed perfect. Soft and springy and fluffy. Warm and delicious. Hints of coconut flavor, but not over-powering. Oh the joy. And that was without the frosting.

Now, the frosting, I wasn’t too crazy about. It had a great texture, but even when I added vanilla extract, it tasted like it was still missing something. It’s a great simply-throw-together type recipe but it needs to be tweaked, flavor wise.

I halved the recipe and yielded 9 cupcakes and halved the frosting as well and had wayyy too much left over. I am no cupcake artist, but I am rather proud of the way these turned out! PRAISE ME!! *imitates Invader Zim*

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Now when I am offered a coconut treat, I’ll politely take one with an open mind. And then prance off to play with my barbies :)

A great big thank you goes out to Jennifer of Cinema Cupcakes for opening my coco-nutty world :D

TWD – Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben

For some reason, wordpress won’t pull up on my computer right now. SOO I have decided to attemp using my blackberry to at least SAY that I did make the scherven.

If my computer is cooperative *crosses fingers* I will post pics tomorrow.
And an explanation. I hope you all understand.
Also, when writing this, the words are invisible on my screen so I hope there aren’t too many spelling errors :)

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**Alrighty, time to update now that WordPress isn’t shunning my computer (well, totally at least).

I am a southern girl and I have never deep fried anything before. Yes, I live in Texas. Yes, I love it here (aside from the painful summer humidity). Yes, I indulge in some fried foods. No, I have not fried any myself.

Must be some stigma against setting my APARTMENT ON FIRE! Ha. All joking aside, I don’t much care for the smell or the process. I somehow manage to burn myself frying eggs, I could just imagine the worst case scenario with a whole ton of hot oil. Oy.

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But, I braved the circumstances. Sadly, mine didn’t turn out too well. The only thing I didn’t follow was that I used veggie oil (it was either that or olive oil) and I only used about 2 inches (twas all I had left). They browned VERY quickly and didn’t crumple and twist and distort in my pan the way they appear in the picture. Without the powdered sugar, they are a bland but with it, they are better. My mom LOVED them though!! She said they reminded her of something my Oma used to make for her: they are soft in texture but the same idea. So I’m hoping she can show me how to make her version so I can share it with ya’ll!

Thanks to Teanna of Spork or Foon? for choosing this recipe and helping me over come my fear of setting a grease fire ;) Go to her blog to get the recipe and check out her other goodies, I promise you’ll find something to suit your tastebuds!!

TWD – 2 Year Anniversary Tarte Tatin

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Happy 2nd Anniversary TWD-ers!! *throws confetti*

I’ve only been with the group for a short while but this is such a great, hilarious, caring, giving, and FUN bunch of bakers!!! I have played nice, made some friends, and baked so much more than I ever would have on my own. I’ve also gained more weight than I would have on my own, but that’s a rant for another day ;)

Anywho, onto the main event!! For our anniversary we got to choose from TWO desserts. A Tarte Tatin or a Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake. Or, if you’re a glutton (for punishment, ha!) you could make both. Me, well… I saw ‘Tarte Tatin’ and I swooned. I promised myself that I wouldn’t put too much on my plate (figuratively speaking. This tarte does not apply!) so I chose just one and got to work.
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In the recipe it says to use 8 apples. I would add at least 4 more apples to that (I used a mix of Gala and Fuji). My apples shrunk WAY down (and we ALL know how much I LOVE cooked apples) and I just think this would have been a bit prettier if it had extra height to it. Also, my apples took more than DOUBLE the time suggested to caramelize. It said ‘deep caramel color’ so I just waited and waited until it reached something close to that. Aaaaaaaand I sprinkled cinnamon on top of half of the tarte. I’m bad. I know ;)

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You wanna know a secret? I have never made a Tarte Tatin because I always viewed it as this fancy-shmancy French dessert that would probably be way too hard for an amateur like me to reproduce. N’est pas!! It was simple! Literally, the hardest part was peeling the apples. Cut em, throw em into some melted butter and sugar, cook em, throw pastry dough on top, and then throw em in the oven. That’s it! IIII know!! AND it’s all made in ONE oven safe skillet. I’ll be making this again, experimenting with pears or even peaches (ooh and bourbon!).

Now, usually there is an exchanging of gifts for an anniversary. But don’t worry Dorie, MY TARTE LOOKS LIKE THE PICTURE IN THE BOOK!! That’s gift enough for me. It means a lot, really ;)

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Head on over to Laurie’s blog, Slush for the recipes for BOTH of the yummy goodies I mentioned and stop on in at the TWD bakers and see aaaalllll of the deliciousness that are their goodies!

Love you all!

Ps. Please forgive the pictures. I had ZERO daylight left last night and I had to photograph the rest at work under fluorescent lights with my camera phone.

SMS – Chocolate Cream Caramels

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Howdy ya’ll, I’m Jeannette and I’m super excited to be your hostess tonight. And no, I’m not Texan ;)

Thinking back, I don’t think I was ever put into a position where my “job” as hostess inspired such anxiety within my soul. I am constantly fidgeting and moving in my seat as I type this. So if this post seems out of sorts or scattered (well, more so than it usually is) shush it. I’m nervous and I tend to ramble. :D

Most hostesses try to please everyone with their recipe choice: ease of instructions, ingredients on hand, time to make it, dishes dirtied, etc etc etc. Me, not so much. It basically boiled down to one thing, WWTFE: What Would The Fiance Eat? He’s picky and for once I wanted to make something he’d try without me having to bribe him with a new video game. Men. ;) But to my surprise, the steps are fairly simple and straight forward, the ingredients list is minimal, its all done in ONE saucepan, and WHOOO doesn’t like caramel?! So I think I did pretty well. Don’t you? Please say you agree. I’ll buy you a video game…….?

Moving on, caramel has never been my friend, when it comes to making it anyhow. The first few times I can blame it on the fact that I used a meat thermometer in place of a candy thermometer. (If there’s no difference between the two, I’m still blaming the thermometer). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But I love caramels and I had a vision of salted caramels dancing in my head and I was determined. Thinking nothing could go wrong, I decided to make BOTH flavors of caramel. I grabbed my handy thermometer, with bloated self-esteem in tow and got to work.

Only to botch the first attempt (the Honey Cream Caramels).

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It isn’t scorched, it isn’t inedible. It’s just hard. But the taste… oh my… it defines description. Deeeeelish. I assessed the situation and the problem and went on to try batch two (Chocolate Cream Caramels) and whatever I did, I did right!! I can finally add ‘candy making’ to the short list of things I have successfully accomplished in the kitchen! Hoorah!

Soft enough to chew, firm enough to get nice clean edges, tasty enough to eat an entire batch by myself. I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. And if you didn’t master these, please try them again. They are worth it. Pinky swear!

I changed some things (due to forgetfulness and lack of ingredients, which I will note in red. Just in case anyone cares ;D)

Chocolate Cream Caramels

From the Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Recipe yields 2-1/2 pounds caramel (sixteen 2-inch squares or sixty-four 1-inch squares)

Ingredients:

1 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup clover honey

2-1/3 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups heavy cream (I used 1-2/3 because I was short a tad)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I omitted simply because I forgot, oops)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 ounces of best quality unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghittard)

Instructions:

BEFORE YOU START: Lightly butter (I used Pam) an 8 x 8 x 2 -inch square pan.

1. In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, honey, sugar, salt, havey cream, and butter. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 248°F (I pulled it off the stove once it reached roughly 242°F) on a candy thermometer (firm-ball stage). Remove from the heat.

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2. Stir in the vanilla and 4 ounces of best quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped to the hot caramel mixture. Stir until smooth.

3. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Set aside, uncovered, in a cool place to firm up. (This is where I sprinkled on a bit of sea salt, if you like it.)

4. When firm, loosen the edges of the pan with a buttered knife. Turn out onto a clean work surface and, using a lightly buttered chef’s knife, cut into squares.

Wrap each square in wax paper. The caramels keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place for 2 weeks.

Well that’s my time folks. Head on over to the SMS board to learn any tips and/or tricks that were useful to the other bakers and make sure to check out the very talented assortment of SMS bakers on the SMS blogroll.

Good night everybody!
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