This moist, flavorful cake topped with crunchy pecan streusel is ready for a hot cup of joe. Four bananas per loaf make for a fairly nutritious slice, as cakes go, and a good excuse for seconds!
If you read about our banana mochi bread, you’ll know we are experimenting with the bounty of black bananas recently bestowed upon us! After sampling the banana mochi bread, Jack “requested” the next creation contain nuts. (He made me strike the phrase “petulantly demanded.” Editors… sigh.) To satisfy his request, this recipe for banana coffee cake included pecans in the batter and also as part of the topping. Jack said, “Mmmmm.” Guess that was the best compliment he could muster with his mouth full. One loaf went in the freezer, and one remains out for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Banana Coffee Cake
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 bananas, mashed
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup soy milk (regular milk would work, too)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- generous tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together until well blended.
- Using a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until combined.
- Add eggs and vanilla, beat until combined.
- Add bananas and milk, beat until combined.
- Add flour mixture to banana mixture and mix until just combined.
- Pour half the batter in each loaf pan.
- In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients.
- Crumble half of topping mixture on top of batter in each loaf pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Let cool on wire racks.
- Enjoy while still warm with a fresh cup of joe.
A delicious way to use the unusable, banana mochi bread has the moistness and flavor of banana and the dense, rich texture of mochi cake. Slathered with cream cheese this is a delicious afternoon snack.
Guided by a philosophy of not wanting to waste anything, we are sometimes the recipients of fruit past its prime. This week boxes of bananas arrived for snacks for our students at Tikigaq School in Point Hope, Alaska. Unfortunately, many had frozen on the plane on the way up. Most people will not eat thawed-out, blackened bananas. And then there are people like us.
The obvious response to these bananas was banana bread. I have a tried and true fruit bread recipe which I’ve used for bananas, blueberries, cloudberries, and pears. But this is the time of year to be a bit more creative in order to use up pantry items. With this in mind, I give you mochi banana bread. Mochi is a Japanese creation which uses sweet rice flour to make a dense, rich, but not-too-sweet dessert. With previous success baking a chocolate mochi cake, I wanted to give bananas a try.
The results of this experiment were a sugary-crisp crust enclosing the nicely dense banana bread I was going for. Blog worth! (Of course, we only publish the good stuff!)
Banana Mochi Bread
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups smashed overripe bananas (about 6)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (substituting applesauce will lighten the bread)
- 1 tsp Penzeys double strength vanilla extract (or 2 tsp regular vanilla extract)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix dry ingredients.
- In bowl of stand mixer, mix together all wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
- Stir dry ingredients into wet. Mix until just incorporated.
- Pour batter into loaf pan.
- Bake for 55 – 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
- Cool loaf pan on wire rack until it can be handled. Then remove loaf from pan and continue cooling on wire rack.
Speckled with red bell pepper and corn kernels, these corn muffins are waiting for a bowl of chili to happen.
With our time left in Point Hope numbered in weeks, we are going through the annual process of creating recipes based on what remains in our pantry. The last of the tri-tip roasts in our freezer inspired Jack to recreate his “Chili Done Large.” We’ll be closing out our lunches in style.
To accompany his chili, I brought out an almost-finished bag of corn meal. Usually the time-tested recipes on product packaging are pretty good, but this time relying on the maker’s recipe was a mistake. The corn muffins came out dry and bland. Time to create my own moist and flavorful version that would stand up to the merits of Jack’s flavor-packed chili con carne!
I wanted my muffins to have a rustic texture and also be moist. Coarse ground cornmeal and sour cream would be the key ingredients. The addition of whole sweet corn kernels added texture and complexity. Minced dried onions helped add another layer of flavor. And finally, I added dried bell peppers as “confetti” to give some color and zest to the muffins. A little butter smeared on to the muffins along with a drizzle of honey make these a satisfying balance to a bowl of spicy, smoky chili.
Sour Cream Double Corn Muffins
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- generous pinch salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tbsp applesauce
- 1 tsp dried minced onion
- 2 tbsp dried red bell peppers
- 1 cup thawed frozen corn
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 12 cup muffin tin. Set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together wet ingredients except for corn.
- Pour dry ingredients into wet and stir until just mixed.
- Fold in corn.
- Pour batter into muffin tin.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Muffins should be just browning on the outside. A toothpick inserted in center of muffin should come out clean to indicate doneness.
This sugary, buttery, cinnamon-laced, melt-in-your-mouth braided cinnamon loaf is centerpiece-worthy at the breakfast or bunch table.
In a quest for a visually unique loaf of bread, I came across a recipe for a Nutella twist which looked gorgeous. Reading through the instructions, I was surprised at how simple an intricate looking braid could be created. With plenty of cinnamon on hand, I decided to give this loaf a go sans Nutella. The result of my experiment is captured in the photo above and was a delicious compliment to plates of sunny-side-up friend eggs and mugs of French roast coffee.
However, upon further investigation, it turned out my “original” recipe idea had already been conceived and executed on the site Home Cooking Adventure. Nonetheless, here is my version of Estonian Kringle adapted for my dough machine.
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 5 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place bread ingredients in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
- Set cycle to “dough” and start machine.
- Make cinnamon filling while waiting for dough by combining filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mixing thoroughly.
- Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle, approximately 18″ x 12″.
- Spread cinnamon filling over dough evenly. Leave about 1/2″ border.
- Roll up dough jelly-roll style to form a long log.
- Cut log down the middle, the long way.
- Braid by wrapping the two cut pieces around each other, always leaving the cut sides up.
- Pinch ends of dough so that they will bake together.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Stuffed with cheddar cheese and warm out of the oven, these rolls are just the thing to go with a bowl of hot tomato soup on a chilly winter afternoon.
Cheddar knot rolls are fun to make, and just about everyone loves baked goods stuffed with tasty ingredients. Investing a little extra effort in roasting the onions for the top and cutting strips of cheese for the inside of the ropes results in a perfect accompaniment to soup as well as a savory take-along snack for a winter’s day walk or hike.
If you and your family and friends like these, try our Arctic Anpan 2 Ways for additional creative recipes for sweet and savory stuffed rolls.
Roasted Onion Cheddar Knots
- 1 cup water
- 5 tbsp powdered milk
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 oz. cheddar cheese cut into matchstick strips
- 3 thin slices (discs) of onion
- olive oil, smoked sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- Place first 7 ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
- Turn machine on, dough cycle.
- When cycle is finished, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.
- Cut dough into 6 equal pieces.
- Roll and stretch each piece into ropes approximately 12 inches long.
- Flatten each rope. Place about four matchstick-shaped pieces of cheese down the middle of the flattened rope.
- Pinch dough closed around the cheese pieces so that you still have about a 12 inch rope with cheese enveloped in the center. Make sure you’ve really pinched these shut so they don’t pop open during baking.
- Tie the rope into a knot shape. Repeat with all the ropes.
- Let knots rest covered on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 45 minutes in a warm place. Knots should almost double in size.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss onions with olive oil, smoked salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Onion rings should be separated and all should be well coated.
- Roast onions on baking sheet for about 10 minutes. They should be translucent and just starting to brown.
- Remove onions from oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
- Brush knots with beaten egg. Place roasted onions atop egg-washed knots.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Finished rolls should be golden brown.
Three types of chocolate plus melted toffee bits on the top nestled in a chewy cookie will satisfy even the strongest chocolate craving.
When traveling from the tiny bush village of Point Hope to the big city of Anchorage, it is customary to bring home produce or other items that are difficult to find in the village.
Standing in the produce section of our favorite Anchorage grocer surrounded by a bounty of colorful, crisp, juicy offerings such as asparagus, leeks, zucchini, avocados, and mangoes, I call Jack to see if there is anything special he wants me to bring back. “Bring Some Chocolate Home,” he requests (demands). Knowing I still have ten pounds of chocolate chips to use up in the next two-and-a-half months, I respond as my students do to me in their cute, slightly cheeky way: “Nope.” Poor guy was suffering not only from a lack of chocolate, but from a lack of freshly baked goods as well due to my absence of several days.
So, this delicious, chocolate-stuffed, brownie-like cookie is dedicated to Jack. When I asked him what he thought of this recipe, he merely pointed to his empty plate indicating a request for another. That’s my Jack.
Triple Chocolate Toffee Almond Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup dutch pressed cocoa
- dash salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tbsp Penzeys double vanilla extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup crushed toffee bits
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa. Set aside.
- In bowl of stand mixer, blend together butter, sugars, and vanilla.
- Gradually stir in flour mixture into butter mixture.
- Stir in chocolate chips, toffee bits and almonds.
- Drop dough by tablespoons onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
- Baked for 10 minutes.
- Cool on wire rack.
- Store in airtight container.
Fudgy meringues with a crispy, melt in your mouth shell will have you attending “Meringues Anonymous” if you’re not careful!
How can four little ingredients be so good together? The combination of the crispy exterior and the moist chocolate middle sans flour resulted in an entire batch of fifteen cookies disappearing in just over 24 hours. I wish I could tell you we had guests…
Although airy and relatively low on calories compared to most confections, these meringues did not come about due to New Year’s self-promises centered around slimmer waistlines. The ignoble truth is that after creating crème brûlée, another custard dish and any number of ice creams, we had on hand countless extra egg whites and, according to Jack, “egg whites, fish and beer are three items that can be consumed without fear of weight gain.”
These meringues are quick and easy to make but do require an overnight stay in the oven to finish drying in order to create that crispy exterior.
Fudgy Chocolate Meringues
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp dutch processed cocoa
- 1/2 cup smashed chocolate chips (Place chips in a Ziploc bag and smash with a meat tenderizer)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Place bowl on top of pot of simmering water, for a double boiler effect.
- Whisk eggs and sugar for a couple of minutes until sugar is just dissolved.
- Place bowl back on stand mixer. Mix on high speed until eggs are thick and glossy and hold soft peaks.
- Sift cocoa onto egg mixture.
- Mix on high speed until cocoa is just incorporated.
- Fold smashed chocolate chips into egg whites.
- Use a cookie scoop to drop batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Cookies should puff up and may crack.
- Remove cookies and leave oven door open to cool down.
- Place cookies back in oven, close oven door and let cookies sit overnight.
- The next day, cookies will be cooled completely and can be easily removed from parchment paper. Store in airtight container.
Chewy and deliciously salty, these pretzel rolls are ready for turkey sandwiches, complete with deli mustard and homemade ginger-pear cranberry sauce.
While most people roast a turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas, Jack and I decided to make a turkey for going back to work after our winter break. We have plenty of recipes stockpiled for tasty meals featuring leftover roasted turkey. These pretzel rolls make lunchtime sandwiches something to look forward to.
Bread Machine Pretzel Rolls
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- coarse sea salt
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 16 cups water
- Place first 5 ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into the oven chamber. Select dough cycle.
- Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface.
- Divide dough into 8 pieces.
- Roll dough in to balls. Flatten slightly and let rest while you prepare pretzel bath.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large pot, boil 16 cups water and salt.
- When water is boiling, stir in baking soda.
- Place 4 dough balls in boiling water for 30 seconds. Flip dough balls and continue to boil for 30 more seconds. Remove from water with slotted spoon and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining 4 dough balls.
- Sprinkle each roll with coarse salt.
- Slice two slashes into each roll with a very sharp knife.
- Bake rolls for 20 minutes. Pretzels are finished when they are a rich dark brown.
- Let cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheet. Finish cooling on wire rack.
The sweet secret to this gallette is a generous layer of homemade cloudberry jam beneath the pears No cloudberries? Try raspberry, blackberry or apricot jam.
A gallette is a beautiful dessert that can whipped up on short notice – a perfect answer to a seasonal abundance of fresh fruit. During the summer, we made a delicious strawberry-port gallette with sliced almonds in the galley of our sailboat. Since it is wintertime, we decided to make the gallette a bit more full-bodied by adding wheat flour and some cornmeal to the crust. We happened to have pears on hand, but many other fruits readily lend themselves to this recipe. Enjoy a slice of pear gallette with a side salad, a favorite cheese and a freshly brewed cup of tea for a satisfying lunch in any season.
Rustic Pear Gallette
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup buttermilk (we made this from powdered)
- 2 tablespoons cloudberry jam, or jam of your choice
- 2 D’Anjou pears, thinly sliced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar mixed with a pinch of ground cinnamon
- Mix together flours, sugar, cornmeal and salt in a medium bowl.
- Using a pastry blender, mix in cold butter. Continue mixing until cold butter is the size of peas.
- Slowly mix in buttermilk. Stir with rubber spatula until dough forms into a ball.
- Wrap dough in plastic and chill for about 30-45 minutes in refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the size of a baking sheet.
- Place chilled dough on center of parchment paper.
- Roll dough to about a 15-inch circle. This is a rustic dessert, so no need to be a perfectionist here.
- Brush the entire rolled dough with jam.
- Arrange pear slices atop dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
- Fold border over pears, pressing down any folds of dough.
- Brush dough with egg.
- Sprinkle dough and pears with sugar and cinnamon mixture.
- Bake gallette 40 – 45 minutes, until dough is golden brown and pears are soft.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Extra rich vanilla ice cream is a delicious accompaniment for these elegant, lacy almond ice cream cups.
Every fall we enjoy making homemade ice cream in a variety of interesting and delicious flavors. And thinking as photographers, we wanted to show off one of this year’s star creations with something less ordinary than a store-bought cone. So, continuing with the almond theme we seem to be on recently, we created a sweet, candy-like bowl featuring the flavor and crunchy texture of this very versatile nut.
The finished ice cream cups came out a beautiful golden brown, supremely crunchy and sturdy enough to handle multiple scoops of ice cream or mounds of fresh fruit and whipped cream. We already have plans to heap them with three flavors of ice cream, sliced bananas and toppings for tomorrow’s dinner – banana splits!
This almond lace cup is in the final stages of cooling on an upside-down ramekin.
Almond Lace Ice Cream Cups
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- a few drops of almond extract
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 6 tbsp all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have 6 teacups or small ramekins ready.
- Melt butter in a medium pan over low heat.
- Mix in corn syrup and brown sugar. Mix well.
- Turn heat off and stir in almond extract, sliced almonds, and flour.
- Pour batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread evenly.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. The finished product should be golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for about 45 seconds.
- Cut the large cookie into 6 even rectangles (one slice lengthwise down the middle to create two long pieces. Cut the long pieces into thirds.
- Lift each cookie off with an offset spatula (or other long, thin spatula) and drape the cookie on an overturned ramekin or teacup to cool and set in the shape of a bowl.
- If the cookies are too firm to shape, you can return the cookies to the oven briefly while they are on the overturned cups in order to let them melt to the right shape. Make sure you watch them, because they will begin to melt quickly.