Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread

My family loves bananas.  The unfortunate thing with bananas, is that no matter how fast we eat them, we always end up with a couple overripe ones.  Luckily, we love banana bread.  So much so, that we make it about once a week.  We have a go to recipe, but it did not have the depth of flavor that I want.  So I decided to come up with a new recipe.  This one uses dark brown sugar, lots of bananas and a handful of walnuts to give the perfect texture.  Nothing beats dark brown sugar banana bread.

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Grease a 9×5 pan with vegetable spray.  Also preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream together the dark brown sugar and butter

In the bowl of your mixer cream together the butter and dark brown sugar.

Sift the flour

While the butter is creaming sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  I like to sift the ingredients onto a piece of parchment or foil.  That way you can easily funnel the ingredients into the mixing bowl.  Once you have the dry ingredients sifted, mash the four bananas into a small bowl.

Once the butter and dark brown sugar are creamed together, turn the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time.  Make sure to fully incorporate the first egg before adding the second.

Add the naners

Then add the bananas to the mixture.

Add the flour slowly

Once the bananas are fully incorporated, slowly add the dry ingredients.  If you sift the ingredients onto a piece of parchment or foil your job will be a lot easier.

Place in the oven

Once everything is incorporated, remove the mixing paddle and add the walnuts.  Mix them in by hand.  Once incorporated, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Fully Cooked

Place the loaf pan in the center of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, or until fully cooked.  To check for doneness, insert a skewer into the center of the bread.  When the skewer comes out cleanly, the loaf is fully cooked.

Let cool

Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes.  After the bread has slightly cooled, remove it from the pan and let it fully cool on a wire rack.

Awesome Banana Bread

Slice and enjoy!

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread - As good as it gets!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 super ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup walnuts (rough chop)
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9x5 pan with vegetable spray. Also preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer cream together the butter and dark brown sugar.
  3. While the butter is creaming sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. I like to sift the ingredients onto a piece of parchment or foil. That way you can easily funnel the ingredients into the mixing bowl. Once you have the dry ingredients sifted, mash the four bananas into a small bowl.
  4. Once the butter and dark brown sugar are creamed together, turn the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time. Make sure to fully incorporate the first egg before adding the second.
  5. Then add the bananas to the mixture.
  6. Once the bananas are fully incorporated, slowly add the dry ingredients. If you sift the ingredients onto a piece of parchment or foil your job will be a lot easier.
  7. Once everything is incorporated, remove the mixing paddle and add the walnuts. Mix them in by hand. Once incorporated, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  8. Place the loaf pan in the center of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, or until fully cooked. To check for doneness, insert a skewer into the center of the bread. When the skewer comes out cleanly, the loaf is fully cooked.
  9. Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes. After the bread has slightly cooled, remove it from the pan and let it fully cool on a wire rack.

This bread was perfect.  Not too sweet, not too salty and just the right amount of banana goodness.  A must try.

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Beer Bread

Beer Bread

Beer Bread

While in the Midwest visiting family, Dana and I were introduced to beer bread.  The bread comes in a mix and all you have to do is add beer.  It was great, but the mix costs an arm and a leg.  Highway robbery if you ask me.  So I decided to try to make my own that was comparable.  I tried and threw away a bunch of beer bread over the last week.  I could not get it perfect.  I tried self-rising flour but it was too salty.  I tried all-purpose flour and bread flour and it was missing the perfect texture.  I tried sugar, agave, and honey in various amounts.  Then last night I finally came up with the perfect recipe.  It was moist, delicious and had the perfect texture.  Another tip – You need to use aluminum free baking powder.  You can use regular, but depending on the beer it can have a slightly metallic/tinny back end flavor.

Beer Bread

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.  Melt the butter and set aside.  Allow it to cool why you assemble the remaining ingredients.

Sift the ingredients

Sift together the bread flour, cake flour, sugar and baking powder. The key to this recipe is sifting all of the ingredients.

Add the beer and stir

Add the honey and beer.  Stir for about 30 seconds.  There will be lumps, but it is fine.  You don’t want to over mix this dough.

Scoop into a loaf pan

Scoop the dough into the loaf pan.  Then brush with the butter.

Brush with butter

Bake at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes or until the top and sides are browned and a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.

Beer Bread

Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan for 5 minutes.  Then remove the bread from the pan onto a cooling rack.  Let cool completely before eating.

Beer Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
The best beer bread around!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2½ tbs honey
  • 2½ tbs granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces favorite beer
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a loaf pan with butter or cooking spray. Melt the butter and set aside. Allow it to cool why you assemble the remaining ingredients.
  2. Sift together the bread flour, cake flour, sugar and baking powder. The key to this recipe is sifting all of the ingredients.
  3. Add the honey and beer. Stir for about 30 seconds. There will be lumps, but it is fine. You don't want to over mix this dough.
  4. Scoop the dough into the loaf pan. Then brush with the butter.
  5. Bake at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 40-50 minutes or until the top and sides are browned and a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.
  6. Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before eating.
Notes
Don't forget to sift the flour. It is important in order for the bread to have the proper texture.

 

This bread is awesome!  It also toasts very well.

 

Not so Epic Fail – Cheese Strip Danish

Not so Epic Fail – Cheese Strip Danish

Cheese Strip Danish

Dana and I love Entenmann’s Cheese Strip Danish.  So I decided to try to recreate it.  Well I was partially there, but it was a fail.  I failed to let the danish proof so the final product was a little dense. Further, I am pretty sure that the instant yeast that I purchased did not activate.  So these two issues combined to leave me a doughy mess that did not come out right.  However, my flavors were pretty spot on.  So I am pretty sure that I will be able to figure it out the next go around.  When I get it right, I will definitely post the recipe for all to see.  However, I have listed my errors and ways to fix them, so you can try it out for yourself.  It is a pretty easy recipe.  Let me know what you think.

Cheese Strip Danish

The basis for this dough is a buttery yeast dough that uses milk as the base.  So I took a standard milk dough and added cold butter like a pie.  It was pretty spot on.

The Dough

Warm up the milk on the stove or in the microwave.  You want to heat it till it is about 105 degrees.  Basically you can put your finger in it and it is slightly warm.  Next add the yeast to the milk.  Let the yeast get all bubbly and delicious.  Roughly 10 minutes.

Yeast Mixture

Error #1 – Make sure that your yeast is good!

In a large bowl add the flour, sugar and salt.  Then using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the dough like you would for a pie crust.  You want the butter pieces to be about the size of a pea.  Once the butter is cut into the flour you have two options.  Continue by hand in a mixing bowl, or transfer to the bowl of stand mixer and proceed.

Cut in the butter

Using either method, add the bubbly milk mixture and mix.  Then add the two egg yolks and stir.

Mix in the egg

If you are mixing in a bowl, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead.  This will be tough at first as the dough is sticky but after a bit it will become nice and smooth.  You may need to add a little more flour to get the dough perfect.  Make sure not to add too much flour.

The Dough Ball

If you are using a mixer, use the dough hook and slowly add flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides.  Remove from the mixer and place on a floured surface to form into a ball.

Error #2 – At this point is where I screwed up.  I should have placed the dough in the fridge to rest for at least an hour so that the butter stayed cold.  Next time I will wrap in plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge.

Creating the perfect size pan.

I don’t know about you, but I could not find a pan that was perfect for the Danish. So using a 9×13 pan, some foil and parchment I made the perfect MacGuyver Style pan.

Make the pan

Roll two pieces of foil into long tubes.  Then place them along the long edges of the 9×13 pan.  Then line the pan with parchment, rolling the edges around the two long tubes of foil.

MacGuyver Danish Pan

The Danish

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into three equal pieces.  Roll the pieces into 13 inch long snakes.

Roll into snakes

Lay them into the MacGuyver Pan that you created and press the edges together to form channels.

Form into the danish pan

Error #3 – Allow the dough to rest in a warm place for 30-60 minutes.  I did not allow the dough to proof so I was left with a dense doughy danish.  Eww.

The Cheese Filling

Using a mixer beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and salt together.

Mix the cheese

Then spoon the filling into the channels.

Fill the channels

Error #4 – I used way too much filling.  My filling recipe is enough for two danishes.

Finally place the pan in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

Bake

Error#5 – I cooked mine way too long.  I was watching a rerun of Gold Rush and left the danish in the oven for 30 minutes.  The bottom got a little crispy.

Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.

While the danish cools mix up the icing.

Icing

In a large mixing bowl, combine your powdered sugar and salt. Add in your vanilla extract and milk. Pour over your warm danish. You may use extra milk to for a thinner glaze.

Drizzle

Drizzle over the danish and enjoy!

Not so Epic Fail - Cheese Strip Danish
 
The basis for this dough is a buttery yeast dough that uses milk as the base. So I took a standard milk dough and added cold butter like a pie. It was pretty spot on.
Ingredients
Danish
  • ¾ cup: warm milk
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter, cold
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ tsp salt
Cheese Filling
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
Vanilla Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
The Dough
  1. Warm up the milk on the stove or in the microwave. You want to heat it till it is about 105 degrees. Basically you can put your finger in it and it is slightly warm. Next add the yeast to the milk. Let the yeast get all bubbly and delicious. Roughly 8 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl add the flour, sugar and salt. Then using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the dough like you would for a pie crust. You want the butter pieces to be about the size of a pea. Once the butter is cut into the flour you have two options. Continue by hand in a mixing bowl, or transfer to the bowl of stand mixer and proceed.
  3. Using either method, add the bubbly milk mixture and mix. Then add the two egg yolks and stir.
  4. If you are mixing in a bowl, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead. This will be tough at first as the dough is sticky but after a bit it will become nice and smooth. You may need to add a little more flour to get the dough perfect. Make sure not to add too much flour.
  5. If you are using a mixer, use the dough hook and slowly add flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides. Remove from the mixer and place on a floured surface to form into a ball.
  6. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Creating the perfect size pan.
  1. I don't know about you, but I could not find a pan that was perfect for the Danish. So using a 9x13 pan, some foil and parchment I made the perfect MacGuyver Style pan.
  2. Roll two pieces of foil into long tubes. Then place them along the long edges of the 9x13 pan. Then line the pan with parchment, rolling the edges around the two long tubes of foil.
The Danish
  1. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into three equal pieces. Roll the pieces into 13 inch long snakes.
  2. Lay them into the MacGuyver Pan that you created and press the edges together to form channels.
  3. Allow the dough to rest in a warm place for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Then spoon the filling into the channels. The filling recipe makes enough for two.
  5. Finally place the pan in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
  7. While the danish cools mix up the icing.
  8. In a bowl mix the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and salt.
  9. Drizzle over the danish and enjoy!

This was a pretty spot on recipe minus the various little errors that I had. I am pretty certain that it would come out perfect with the few little changes listed above.

Glazed Pumpkin Loaf

Glazed Pumpkin Loaf

Glazed Pumpkin Loaf

During this time of year I always like to make a few pumpkin inspired dishes.  This one is quite possibly my favorite.  It is delicious and the glaze adds a nice sweetness that keeps you coming back for more.

Glazed Pumpkin Loaf

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.

In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the dry ingredients.  This includes the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.

The Dry Ingredients

In the bowl of your mixer, whisk together the wet ingredients.  This includes the brown sugar, white sugar, pumpkin, melted butter, and eggs.

The wet ingredients

Once the wet ingredients are fully mixed, slowly add flour mixture, and stir until just combined.

Just combined

Divide batter between the two prepared pans.

Divide up the batter

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean.

Perfect loaf

Let cool 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chillin out

Once the loaves are fully cooled, its time to glaze.

Use parchment to catch the glaze

Place a piece of parchment or foil under the wire rack.

Then combine the powdered sugar, water and vanilla.  Make sure to slowly add the water. If the glaze is too thin, it will just pour off the loaf.  You want it to be pretty thick.

Glazed

Pour the glaze over the loaf and wait at least 10 minutes before serving.

Perfectly cooked glazed pumpkin loaf

After about 10 minutes the glaze will harden and you will have a great fall treat.

Glazed Pumpkin Loaf
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A perfect fall dessert that will keep you coming back for more.
Ingredients
Pumpkin Loaf - 2 Loaves
  • 12 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15oz)
  • 3 large eggs
Glaze - Enough for 2 loaves
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2.5-4 tbs water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the dry ingredients. This includes the flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, whisk together the wet ingredients. This includes the brown sugar, white sugar, pumpkin, melted butter, and eggs.
  4. Once the wet ingredients are fully mixed, slowly add flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
  5. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean.
  7. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once the loafs are fully cooled, its time to glaze.
  9. Place a piece of parchment or foil under the wire rack.
  10. Then combine the powdered sugar, water and vanilla. Make sure to slowly add the water. If the glaze is too thin, it will just pour off the loaf. You want it to be pretty thick. Start with 2.5 tbs of water and slowly add more. It probably won't take all 4 tbs in the recipe.
  11. Pour the glaze over the loaf and wait at least 10 minutes before serving. After about 10 minutes the glaze will harden and you will have a great fall treat.

This is my favorite fall treat.  Dana and I really only need one loaf at a time so we always freeze one of the loaves so that we can thaw it and have a nice treat.  When freezing the loaf, make sure to do it before you glaze it.  Then thaw at room temperature for 4 hours and then glaze.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Bread

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Bread

Ever since I was a kid, the holidays meant it was time for hors d’ouerves / appetizers.  Since everyone is coming and going, my Mom would always have a table full of them.  For this reason, I am always on the lookout for new and interesting ideas.  I stumbled upon a single picture that excited my taste buds.  It was a picture of a round of sourdough bread that was sliced to resemble a porcupine and then covered with bacon and cheese.  To my surprise, the bread was also drenched in ranch flavored butter.  So I made it for Dana and it was a hit.  I can see why it is nicknamed “Crack Bread”.

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Homemade Stove Top Stuffing

Homemade Stove Top Stuffing

I love stove top stuffing.  There is something about the easy directions and great flavor that keeps me going back for more.  I love it! However, when you have a food blog, everyone wants you to make everything from scratch.  Who knew that it was a faux pas to serve boxed stuffing to your friends and family when you write about food. Well, you don’t need to tell me again.  I make my stuffing from scratch from now on.  Even though I base my flavors on boxed stuffing, haha.

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Garlic Knots

Garlic Knots

Since moving to Richmond Dana and I have been trying out all of the pizza places.  We have been trying to see which one was the best.  We are still testing them out but the one thing that they all have in common is garlic knots.  Basically a knot of pizza dough baked, and then covered in a garlic olive oil mixture.  Delicious by anyones standard.

Garlic Knots

  • 1 pizza dough– (recipe for Basic Pizza Dough)
  • Kosher Salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pizza Sauce or Marinara for Dipping

The first step is to make the pizza dough and let it rise till it doubles.  Here is a simple and easy pizza dough. If you are running short on time, almost all grocery stores have pre-made pizza dough in the deli section.  Or, you can always stop by a local pizzaria and purchase the pre-made dough.

The Dough

Divide the dough into 8-16 equal pieces, depending on the size of the knots that you like.

Divide and Conquer

Next Roll each piece out like a snake.  Then make a knot in the center.

Make a knot

Fold the leg of the knot that comes over the top, under and through the knot.

Fold the leg under

Then fold the leg of the knot that is under the knot, over and connect it to the other leg that you just pushed through the knot.

Fold the leg over and through

Repeat this for all of the dough pieces.  Place the knots on a greased cookie sheet or parchment lined sheet. Lightly salt the knots with kosher salt.  Cover the knots loosely with a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Let the knots rise till doubled.

Allow to rise

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the risen knots into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are nice and brown.

Nice and Browned

While the knots are cooking, mix the olive oil, garlic and Parmesan in a bowl.  Set aside.

Garlic Oil

Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.  Then brush the garlic mixture over the knots.

The Garlic Knot

Serve hot immediately with a side of marinara.

These can be served at room temperature too.  It is up to you.  I like them hot.  They are super easy to reheat too. Place them in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

I purchased a bunch of bananas last week. That was before I realized how long I was going to be gone for Memphis. I ended up being in Memphis for 5+ days. So when I came back, I had a bunch of extremely ripe bananas. So I decided to make some banana bread. I love banana bread. I really enjoy it with fresh butter spread on it. Maybe it is me, but Dana was not having it. She said I was crazy for adding butter. I made her take a bite and I am proud to say that she is a convert. Am I weird for liking butter on banana bread?  Let me know what you guys think.  Before judging, make sure to try it out first.
Banana Bread

Banana Bread fresh out of the oven topped with a light spread of butter.

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Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread

Earlier this week I made a loaf of No-Knead Bread.  It was awesome.  The crust was crunchy and delicious.  So I decided to try a different type of bread.  Whole Wheat.  Granted it is not that different but the whole wheat flour made the bread react differently.  Granted the loaf looks delicious, it needed a few more hours of rising time.

Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread

Once again the loaf came out amazing looking.  The crust was dark and crunchy.

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No Knead Bread

My friend Nick over at Macheesmo is always raving about No Knead Bread.  So I decided to look it up.  It is a simple recipe with just four ingredients.  Flour, salt, water and yeast.  No Knead Bread was devised by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. He devised a method that takes little effort and produces a superior product.  I have been unable to partake as it requires a Cast Iron Dutch Oven to make perfectly.  Luckily my Mother and Father love me and bought me an enameled cast iron pan for Christmas.  So I decided to make a loaf of No Knead Bread.

The rustic loaf
The rustic loaf

The bread came out crusty and delicious.  I still can’t believe the flavor.

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English Muffin Bread

Earlier this week Nick over at Macheesmo made english muffins.  This reminded me of the english muffin bread that my mom buys from the local Amish Community.  The bread is light and airy and toasts beautifully.  I wanted to recreate that bread.  Here is my shot at it.

Perfect with homemade strawberry jam
Perfect with homemade strawberry jam

Unlike most bread dough’s you do not knead this one.  It is a wetter batter than most bread doughs.  Since it is a wet dough make sure to immediately wash all utensils and bowls that had the dough in it.  If you don’t it will be really hard to clean as the wet dough dries into cement.

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