Thursday, April 28, 2011

Banana Nut Bread

♥ Beginner
I don't have any emotional attachment to Banana Nut Bread like I do so many of my other treats, but it's still worth sharing because it's easy to make comfort food.  It's great because you don't have to be a superstar in the kitchen to make it either! 

You can see that I burnt the edges a smidgen, but it worked out perfectly because that was my husbands favorite part.  I had this goal of getting a picture of it after I sliced a few pieces, but my daughter and husband got a hold of it before I could. 

Before I get to it, I would just like to thank my friends H. Johnson & C. Heugell Futrell for providing me with such a great recipe (incidentally, they sent me the same one!), that I am now sharing with you.  They deserve all the props on this one, it was so simple and tasty I didn't change a thing! 

What you'll need: 
1 C Sugar (I added an extra 1/2 C. because that's how I roll)
1/2 C Butter or Margarine
2 Eggs
1-1/2 cups Mashed Bananas
1/3 C Water

1-2/3 C All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 C Walnuts (optional)

How it's done: 

1. Preheat your oven to 350*F, and grease one large bread pan, or several small bread pans. 

2. Combine all of the wet ingredients and sugar in a large mixing bowl. (Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Bananas, and water) Don't mix too long or you'll overbeat the eggs and it won't rise properly. You'll see that I didn't pre-mash my bananas and that's because my husband likes chunks of bananas, generally yours will looks smooth if you pre-mash.

3. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. (Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, Baking Powder, and Walnuts) 

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients folding in or mixing on slow speed. Once they are combined, pour into your greased bread pan. 

5. Bake for 60 minutes (or until top turns brown).  I checked mine at 45 minutes, but it needed just a few minutes over an hour to completely cook through.  All cook times will vary.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cookie Pop Treats

♥ Beginner
This week I was wanting to do something special for my nursery kids, but wanted to come up with something a little more creative than just the usual treats.  Since it's easter time, I decided on a special little cookie on a stick for them to enjoy. (And LOTS of frosting!) Somehow I think the parents might enjoy these more than the kids.

I love Easter time, especially all of the joyful colors and beautiful blooms of spring. I've combined them both and made a really great flower cookie that is SUPER EASY to make!!!

What you'll need: 

  • Flower Pan (or any shape you desire!) Mine was an actual cookie pop pan which allowed room for the stick. 
  • Cookie Dough (Box mix is fine - I used Krusteaz Sugar Cookie mix)
  • Sticks 
  • Frosting & Sugars
  • If you're planning on gifting them, you'll need pop bags. 
How it's done: 

1.  It's so easy, you'll be shocked at it's simplicity.  Preheat your oven to the desired temp on your cookie dough mix. Grease cookie pop pan. 

2.  Mix up your cookie dough, and pat it into the pan, leave 1/8 inch above the dough for rising.  Push your stick into the dough and cover it up. 

3.  Bake for amount of time listed on box mix.  I added a few minutes so that the centers were sure to be cooked through. 

4. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before removing. Once cooled, remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. 

5. DECORATE!!! (That's the best part!) and cover with bags. 

Isn't that shockingly simple??? I'll post pictures of McKinley eating hers in nursery on Easter. I wish I could make enough to share with ALL of you!!!! 


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Souffle

♥ Beginner
Sadly, they're called souffle because they didn't cut it as cupcakes. They're still good, and definitely edible, I just should have made them in a souffle dish. That's the great part about failure, you usually still don't fail because something amazing comes out instead. And here you have it, my first blog "flop".

What you'll need: 

  • White cake mix
  • Eggs, Oil, Water (as suggested on mix)
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Box Cheesecake Pudding
For the Creamy Center: 
  • One 8oz package of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • Half a carton of Strawberries, to taste. 
  • 1/4 C. Heavy Cream

How it's done:

Start by preheating your oven at 350*F. Line your cupcake pans (or souffle dishes!).

Mix in large mixing bowl the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, sour cream, and packet of cheesecake pudding mix.  Only mix until well blended, over mixing will make your cupcakes go flat (as if it matters on this one, ha!).  Set aside.

In another large mixing bowl (or food processor) blend cream cheese, whole strawberries (minus the leaves!), sugar, and cream to desired consistency.  Mine was a little runnier than I would like it, it should be thick enough that you have to scrape it off your spoon.  Use cream to thin as needed.

Layer batter, strawberry cream cheese, and another layer of batter in your cupcake pan.

Bake for 18 minutes (or longer) until the tops are brown, and a toothpick comes out relatively clean. FYI, if your cupcakes explode as mine did, you may want to line your bottom rack in the oven to catch any spills or drips.  (I'll be cleaning my oven tomorrow!).

When they come out, let them cool in the pans before moving.  They will be fragile, but still so yummy!!!

Don't forget to frost before you enjoy them... of course, they are great without frosting too!!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes!

♥ Beginner

Who doesn't love strawberry cheesecake? They're crazy... or allergic to strawberries... if they do.

It's one of my favorite desserts, and mostly because of the creamy texture and sweet taste of the cream cheese, but I couldn't help wondering if it would be as good in cupcake form.

IT IS!!!  You HAVE to try this recipe if you're a fan of strawberry cheesecake.

What you'll need:
For the cupcakes -
  • 1 White Cake Mix
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Oil
  • 1 Container of strawberries (apx. 3 cups pureed)
  • 1 (3oz) Strawberry Jello-O packet
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
My awesome friends from church raise
chickens, and they gave me these to try.
They are awesome!!
For the Cream Cheese center -
  • 2 (8oz) containers of Cream Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
How it's done:

We'll take it easy - in two parts. First, preheat your oven to 350*.

1. Begin by cutting the ends off of the strawberries, and cut them each in half.  If you have a food processor, get it out and ready to puree the strawberries.

2. Mix all of the other ingredients of the cupcakes until well blended.  The batter should be thick, if it's not, you can add more flour. Only mix until blended, if you over blend the eggs your cakes won't rise.

3. Once the batter is mixed, put your strawberries through the food processor and puree. The strawberries should be smooth without any large chunks. (I may be obsessed with my food processor, it's my favorite kitchen tool.)

4. Now add the strawberry puree to your batter, and your batter should be red like the picture above. Set aside.

5. Next we have to make the cupcake filling. Mix all of the ingredients listed above for the Cream Cheese center. It's as easy as just blending!! I did this in my food processor as well. It was pretty simple.

6. Line your muffin pans, and fill 1/3 of the way with the strawberry batter. Top with 1/3 cream cheese mixture, and then top with more batter.

7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

8. Top with your favorite frosting... I prefer the Cream Cheese Frosting - tinted with a little pink food coloring! You could even topped with a strawberry.
McKinley Approves!