Thursday, May 26, 2016

Flour's Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

We eat a lot of bananas and typically run out before the week's end.  Even when I try to buy extra to have for baking purposes we normally end up eating them all.  This week however we ended up with a few spares.  I am a big fan of banana bread and due to the banana issue banana bread because a few and far between treat. 

When I asked Mr. J on Sunday if he wanted some banana bread he enthusiastically said yes.  Miss O cooperated by taking a long nap allowing me to jump into the kitchen and bake some up.

I have posted several different banana bread recipes in the past.  There is the classic, with blueberries, with cinnamon, with chocolate chips, made with butter, made with oil.  I could go on and on. This one is a variation on the famous Flour's bakery recipe.  We didn't have a ton of butter on hand so I opted for this oil based recipe.  I left out the walnuts and added chocolate chips. 

This makes one dense banana bread loaf.  It is pretty darn tasty without the chocolate chips but that addition made this loaf a truly special treat.  We managed to do quite a bit of damage in the first 24 hours.  Miss O was in heaven when I gave her 1/2 slice for dessert the first night.  She was quickly frustrated that she ate those pieces so fast and didn't get more. 

Flour's Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Ingredients (1 loaf)
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 bananas, very ripe, mashed
  • 2 sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a stand mixer beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium high. Turn to low and drizzle in oil slowly.

Add mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and chocolate chips.

Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool on rack for about 5 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before slicing.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

This weekend was so good. Nothing special but it was full of much needed time with the family doing normal and relaxing activities together. Walking and cooking were highlights.  We spent some time planting gardens.  Surprisingly there were some herb plants from last year that survived. The parsley plant was booming with growth.  We left a majority but some of the offsprouts were removed for more room.  All of this parsley left of thinking of how we could use it in our 

We routinely use parsley in many of our potato recipes but this was a lot of parsley.  Cups and cups of parsley. Mr. J immediately wanted to make chimichurri sauce. We don't ever make this at home (probably due to the amount of parsley needed) but he likes to order it when we are out at restaurants. His favorite dishes at some of our brunch favorites are with chimichurri sauce. 

So on Sunday we set out on an epic culinary experience.  As I was meal prepping for the week Mr. J tackled this steak marinade dish and chimichurri sauce. It kind of felt like we were in the kitchen all day long. Not a bad thing in our book.  We laughed, Miss O pointed and talked, we drank wine.  For real though, the prep was done early in the day and come dinner time there was very little effort. 

The meal came together so easily in the end.  A good thing because I was already in the go, go, go mode to get all of the little things done for the week that somehow slip through the cracks on Saturday and Sunday during the day. Mr. J manned the grill. I tended the broccoli and potatoes in the kitchen.  In about 20 minutes we came back together and had a wonderful meal.  

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: grill entree sauce summer
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
    For the steak:
    • 2 skirt steaks (about 2 pounds total)
    • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
    • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    • 2/3 cup olive oil
    For the Chimichurri Sauce:
    • 2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
    • 3 green onions
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • kosher salt
    Place the meat in a resealable plastic bag and add the garlic, salt, oregano, vinegar, and olive oil. Seal the bag and mix well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

    To make the chimichurri sauce:
    Finely mince the parsley, oregano, green onions, and garlic. Combine them in a medium bowl with the red pepper flakes, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly and season with salt. This can made up to a day ahead of time.

    Preheat the grill to high. Pull the steaks from the marinade and place them on the grill. 
    Grill the steaks for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for 10 minutes.

    Slice the steak across the grain. Serve with a generous amount of chimichurri sauce.
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    Saturday, May 21, 2016

    Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chips

    Just like going through vacation withdraw this past week I dealt with a bit of sugar withdraw.  When we were at Disney we were on the meal plan.  The meal plan comes with dessert for lunch and dinner.  A sugar lovers dream.  It was a lot but I quickly got accustomed to sweet treats twice a day.  Sometimes even more because it was hot.  And the best way to deal with the heat is ice cream.  Miss O approved.

    We got back and all of a sudden there were limited sweet treat options. After each meal I found myself seeking out any thing that would satisfy my craving.  Finally I broke down and FOUND time to make cookies.  

    I opted for peanut butter because... 

    I wanted peanut butter cookies. 

    Peanut butter and chocolate is the best combination ever.

    Peanut butter is protein and thus a step in the right healthy direction transition.

    These cookies have no flour and are technically gluten free. My husband's comment is "these are the best gluten free cookies ever."  They are easy to put together but do require a bit a chill time so they don't spread everywhere.  Plan ahead.  They cook really quickly, no more than 10 minutes and remain gooey in the middle. Almost fudge like.  A good thing in my book.

    A cookie a day is a motto I think will be helpful after each vacation and heck really just every day :)

    Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chips

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Keywords: bake dessert chocolate peanut butter cookie
    Ingredients (16 cookies)
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 6 oz chocolate chips
    • 6 oz peanut butter chips
    To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, salt and baking soda. Beat on medium-high speed until well-combined.

    Add the chocolate and peanut butter chips and beat to just incorporated.

    Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form two-tablespoon mounds. If chocolate is falling out of dough since there is an abundance, roll ball between palms to encourage it to stay in the dough. Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

    Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are set and tops are barely set, even if slightly underbaked in the center.

    Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

    Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
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    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    Vacation to Disney

    I haven't posted in forever because we have been busy on vacation. First it was prepping for vacation then it was the vacation and finally it was catching up from vacation. Seriously I need a week before and after just to get it all straight again. 

    It was well worth the effort though. The fam and I went to Disney. This was a our first real on our own vacation with Miss O. I had some serious anxiety leading up to our departure but in the end it all worked out wonderfully. 

    Although I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I wanted to, here are a few of the highlights.

    We might have had just as much fun in the hotel as in the parks. 

    Thursday, May 5, 2016

    Chocolate Pudding Cake

    With my mom in town last weekend we took advantage of being together with celebrating Mother's Day.  My mom loves chocolate and we decided the best way to celebrating would be to bake a chocolate cake together.  Not only did we enjoy spending time in the kitchen "working" but we got to have some marvelous cake too.  

    This was quite possibly the world's ugliest chocolate cake however it is also super rich and gooey. It was nice to have an extra set of hands to get all of the separate steps complete. This cake is like none I have ever made.  In the end I was horrified to see that we were suppose to top the batter with brown sugar and cocoa and then boiling water.  It is cringe worthy as you pour the water over the cake.  However this is the good part - the ooey, gooey chocolate sauce that remains when the cake comes out of the oven.

    We put the cake in right as we sat down for dinner. The timing was perfect as it was done and still warm as we finished.  Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it was the best gift for Mother's Day.

    Chocolate Pudding Cake

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Keywords: bake dessert chocolate cake
    Ingredients (serves 12)
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar, divided
    • 3 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    • 2 cups buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set aside.
    In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, 1 cup of the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well combined. If there are lumps of brown sugar, use your hands to break them up. Stir in chocolate chips and set aside.

    In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate together over medium-low heat.
    In a separate small saucepan, heat buttermilk over low heat until barely warmed. You don't want it to bubble or boil. Remove from heat.

    Remove chocolate and butter mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour mixture over dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and stir until combined. Spread into the prepared pan.

    Combine the remaining 1 1/4 cups brown sugar with the cocoa in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth, using your hands to break up any brown sugar clumps. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the chocolate cake batter.

    Pour the boiling water evenly over the cake.

    Carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is firm to the touch, but still jiggly.

    Remove cake from oven and cool on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
    To serve, invert each serving on a plate so that the fudge sauce on the bottom becomes a topping. Spoon any extra sauce in the pan over the top. You can serve the cake at room temperature or warm. Top with ice cream.
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    Monday, May 2, 2016

    Brioche #secretrecipeclub

    Oh my why do weekends have to go by so fast?  We had a lovely visit from my parents this weekend.  They did some expert babysitting while we got some things done around the house. We also explored the park and of course ate quite well. 

    I cannot believe that it is already May.  I am not really sure where April went.  But I will take May and hopefully the warmer temperatures.  Every warm day we go outside and have such a fun time with Miss Olivia.

    Last week I posted for the last time for the Secret Recipe Club under group D.  The member list for group D had dwindled down and we ended having each other as partners over and over again.  Not a bad thing as there were always tasty recipes to be found but it was decided that we would divide up into some of the other groups.  I am now in group A posting at the beginning of the month. Thus this back to back Secret Recipe Club posts.

    If my pick for group A shows what is to coming I will be having many more months of good finds.  Rachel of Pizza Rossa is from Australia but currently lives in Geneva.  She has many vegetarian dishes as her and her family eat without meat. However what really drew me in was her bread recipes.  There are a ton.  There were several that caught my eye like the Vanilla Ricotta Bread and the sticky Caramel Swirl Bread.  Can you blame me?  I am actually impressed now that I bypassed these the first time around. 

    I ended up making the Brioche.  Brioche has been on my baking bucket list for years. I love sandwiches with brioche buns.  I opted to follow the recipe this first time around and made a loaf but I will be attempting again for rolls.  Like many breads this took some planning as it had a few rise times. However, the wait was well worth it.  


    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 10 minutes plus rise time
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Keywords: bake bread
    Ingredients (1 loaf)
    • 7 tsp tepid milk
    • 1 tsp dry active yeast
    • 2 2/5 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 rounded Tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp fine salt
    • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
    • 1 egg yolk beaten with Tbsp milk, for egg wash
    Heat the milk in a small bowl, add the yeast and stir to dissolve.

    Put the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and pour in the milk and beaten eggs. Mix on low speed for five minutes, until completely combined.

    Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula, then mix at medium speed for about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth.

    Switch to a dough hook, and, with the mixer running at low speed, add the butter a teaspoon at a time. It will look very buttery at first, and will take about ten minutes for the butter to be completely incorporated.

    When the butter is all incorporated, increase the speed and mix for about ten minutes, until the dough is very smooth and comes away from the bowl.

    Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about two hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

    Knock the dough back by folding it over two or three times with a bowl scraper. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least six hours (overnight works well).
    Remove dough from fridge and bring to room temperature for about 2 hours.

    Heavily butter a 9 inch loaf pan.

    Scrape dough out onto work surface and knead gently into a ball, then stretch and roll into a log. Place dough in loaf tin and brush lightly with egg wash.

    Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in sized.
    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    Brush the brioche lightly again with egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for a further 30 minutes.

    Let the brioche cool in the tin for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.

    Keeps for 2 – 3 days wrapped well in aluminium foil in the pantry.
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