Chocolate-Chip Banana Muffins

imageThe smells from the oven will have you thinking Fall. These muffins are great if you need to take a treat to a friend, a quick breakfast, or something simple a little outside the box. Our taste buds say, yes please. My lucky friend that needed a treat told me I was her kids new BFF.

1 stick of butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sour cream
2 bananas, mashed well
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (6 oz) pkg. of Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate morsels
paper muffin cups

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners and spray lightly with Pam.

Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. Add eggs and mix well.

Dissolve baking soda in the sour cream. Let it “rise” for a minute, then add it to the butter and egg mixture. Mix well with beater on medium speed. Add bananas and blend in.

Add flour and baking powder together. Mix in thoroughly, but no longer than necessary. Add vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Fill muffins cups 2/3 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes approx. 18 muffins. Cool on cooling rack. These can be frozen in a large Ziploc bag and ready to eat on a busy school morning with a few seconds of defrosting.

Overnight French Toast

I can’t believe this recipe hasn’t been on the blog before now. I’ve made it a zillion times. I found it originally at epicurious.com, and it really saved me Christmas 99 when I was sick and had in-laws in town for 8 days. I made it twice, using different fruit and nuts each time. It is unbelievably easy and perfect for someone who isn’t a morning person. With the fruit and maybe some bacon (which you could cook on a rack in the oven at the same time), you have a complete breakfast.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1-2 T. sugar or cinnamon sugar12 3/4-inch-thick French bread slices
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
2-4 T. Grand Marnier (optional, but add whatever looks right)
Powdered sugar
Maple syrup

Place melted butter in bottom of heavy large baking pan with 1-inch-high sides. Sprinkle sugar or cinnamon sugar over butter (to caramelize). Arrange bread slices in pan. Beat eggs, milk, sugar, syrup, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt to blend in large bowl. Pour mixture over bread. Turn bread slices to coat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Top with fruit and/or nuts if desired (such as dried cranberries, sliced almonds, walnuts, and/or pecans, or you could top with fresh fruit after baking instead). Bake French toast 10-12 minutes, until golden. Turn bread over and continue baking until golden, about 5-10 minutes longer. Transfer cooked toast to plates and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately, passing maple syrup.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

I have something serious to tell you today. I’ve updated my favorite pancake batter. If this doesn’t sound earthshattering, well you don’t know how seriously we take our pancakes. Lately my son has been claiming mac and cheese as his favorite food, but I know that’s just because he’s not thinking about breakfast. Pancakes reign supreme in our household.

These are better than you can get in a restaurant, and you can make them in less time than it takes to get you there. Whip these up for family and friends, and you’ll get rave reviews. Double it if you have more than 3-4 people (or big eaters). And don’t mix the wet with the dry ingredients until you’re ready to cook, for maximum fluff factor. If you never want your guests to leave, serve with Sugared Bacon.

3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted

cooking sprayCombine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray (I wipe it off with a paper towel immediately, so the first batch looks as good as the last). Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I got this recipe off Pinterest, and I decided to make it and a recipe I’d found for the “perfect blueberry muffin” on the same day for a playground date. This one won our taste test hands down! I substituted 1/2 T vinegar with the rest of 1/2 cup milk for butter milk, and it worked great! It’s quicker and easier cleanup than muffins too.

Serves 6-8

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

This one isn’t exactly an old standby, but I’ve made it a couple times lately to rave reviews from my family.
One of my favorite tricks is to cook a bunch of sweet potatoes and then wrap them individually in cling wrap. So that makes this recipe super quick to make by just thawing one out. And I feel like I’m feeding my family so healthily too! This is from the website www.nurturebaby.com, a nice site if you have babies.

2 cups of white whole wheat flour
(or substitute 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 large sweet potato – baked, peeled and pureed
2 cups milk
¼ cup melted butter
2 large eggs
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
In large bowl, combine first five (dry) ingredients together and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine sweet potato, milk, butter, eggs and sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients to mixing bowl; mix until just combined. (A few lumps are OK; over mixing will make the pancakes tough.) Pour ¼ cup portions of batter onto greased skillet. Cook on medium heat and flip pancakes when bubbles form on the surface. Pancakes should be a golden brown color.
Serve immediately, or freeze for later consumption. If freezing, place sheet of parchment paper between each pancake and store in zip-tight freezer bag. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.

The Best Spiced Pumpkin Bread

img_9150

This is my go-to pumpkin bread recipe, from Epicurious – originally appearing in Bon Appetit. It makes two smallish loaves, perfect to freeze one. Or up your organization game by making 4 small loaves. Then you can give the illusion of being a great hostess by popping them out of the freezer anytime! They’re great with coffee and smeared with cream cheese (because life is short). My son gives this one the thumbs up!

pumpkinbread

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

Can’t Resist Coffee Cake

This is an old standby coffee cake recipes that comes from my friend Sandy Parker’s mother’s bridge group. She says they go crazy over this one. If you have a stand mixer, it’s easy to make. Otherwise, I can’t imagine having the patience to mix the batter for 10 minutes.

Serves 12

Batter:
1 package yellow cake mix
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz size)
5 eggs
3/4 cups Canola oil
1 cup water

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
5 t. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Mix batter for 10 minutes. Prepare (mix) the topping (sugar, cinnamon and nuts) in a small bowl. Butter your bundt pan. Pour 1/4 topping into the pan add 1/3 of the batter add 1/2 of the topping-stir with knife to “swirl” rotate with batter and topping. Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes.

Snow Day Monkey Bread

We discovered this recipe during the ice storm of 2011.  Chasidy posted it on Facebook and it grabbed us.  Why is it great for a snow day?  More than likely you have all the ingredients.   Enjoy the simplicity….and who could go wrong with biscuits, butter, and sugar?     My entire family loves this.    Chasidy knows good and simple,  she has 3 children and they are far from monkeys. 

Snow Day Monkey Bread

3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cans (7.5 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits, regular not flaky
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 12 cup Bundt cake pan.
Mix sugar and cinnamon in 1-gallon bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Place in cake pan. Mix butter and brown sugar, pour over biscuit pieces.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Turn upside down, serve warm.

12 servings.