Banana Cinnamon-Swirl Crumb Muffins


The more ripe the bananas, the better. If you don’t have any overripe bananas, you can roast them in a 350ºF oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the skin is dark brown. This will help bring out the intense and sweet banana flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light brown packed sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon swirl: mix 1/3 cup sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Streusel topping: mix 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter + 3/4 cup granulated sugar + 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to combine eggs, brown sugar, butter, bananas, and vanilla. Mix for about 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together.

2. Add batter to greased (12 large) muffin pan, but only fill about 1/3 way up. Distribute cinnamon swirl mixture over muffin batter in pan.Fill the muffin pan with the remaining batter.

3. Sprinkle crumbly streusel mixture over the top of each muffin. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350ºF.

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Sesame and Wasabi Brownies

 

Toasted Sesame + Wasabi Brownies

I came up with the idea of baking sesame and wasabi brownies after eating Vosges Black Pearl flavor chocolate, which has ginger, wasabi, and black sesame inside. Although I used 3 tbsp of wasabi powder, these brownies did not turn out spicy at all! Otherwise, they were nutty, chocolatey, and fudgy. I think that next time I make these, I’ll try using wasabi paste instead of powder.

Adapted from Karen DeMasco’s “The Craft of Baking”

Ingredients:

  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 3 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp wasabi powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven 375ºF.  Grease a square baking dish.

2. Mix butter and unsweetened chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan with 2-inches of simmering water. Stir frequently until melted. Turn off heat, but keep mixture warm by leaving bowl in saucepan.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla. In another bowl, sift flour, wasabi powder, and salt together. Pour warm chocolate into egg mixture and mix together. Pour flour mixture into wet ingredients and stir together until combined. Fold in chocolate chips and sesame seeds.

4. Pour into baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

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Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

Did you know there is no yeast in soda bread? Without any rising time, this Irish recipe is a quick and simple treat for St. Paddy’s Day! Slather with butter and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Stir together sifted flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Using your hands, mix butter into flour mixture until mixture is crumbly. Add raisins. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg together. Add baking soda to buttermilk mixture. Mix buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until well combined. Form dough into a ball and place in a greased baking dish. Using a greased knife, make a large cross about 1/2 -inch deep on top of dough. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown.

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Lamb & Chicken Stew Over Couscous

This recipe makes an enormous quantity, so you may want to cut it in half. It takes a while to make, so I like to cook enough stew to last a few days. The dish is adapted from my step-grandmother’s recipe, the flavors of which come from her years living in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup, plus another 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 green zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow zucchini, chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, cubed
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, sliced thickly
  • 2 rutabagas, peeled, chopped
  • 2 turnips, peeled, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 quart beef broth
  • 1 chicken, cut up
  • 3 lbs lamb shoulder or shank, cubed
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed, strained
  • 1/2 tsp, plus 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1/2 tsp, plus 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp, plus 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups couscous
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute onion, tomato, zucchinis, carrots, butternut squash, cabbage, rutabagas, and turnips in olive oil and 1/4 cup butter for about 10 minutes. Vegetables should be roughly chopped, about 1-inch square.

2. Add broth, meat, chickpeas, 1/2 tsp saffron, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp black pepper, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves and cook with cover over medium-low heat for about 1 and 1/2 hours, or until meat and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves, any large bones, and extra skin from chicken.

3. Cook couscous according to package instructions, but add remaining herbs and salt to the water. When couscous is finished cooking, add 1/4 cup butter and fluff with a fork.

4. To serve, ladle stew over couscous in large serving platter or in individual bowls.

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Carrot Salad

Carrot Salad with Harrisa, Mint, and Feta

This carrot salad is awesome – the spicy harissa, cool mint, acidic lemon, and creamy feta all balance each other well. I didn’t think of it when I made this salad, but I plan on adding some golden raisins next time I prepare this because the sweetness should be a great addition!

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium sized carrots, peeled and grated
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 tbsp mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook garlic, caraway, cumin, paprika, harissa, honey, lemon juice, and salt in the olive oil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add mixture to grated carrots.

2. Add herbs and stir until combined.

3. Top with crumbled feta.

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Mini Chocolate-Pecan Biscotti

I bought Karen DeMasco’s “The Craft of Baking” shortly after tasting her sweet corn budino at the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne event last summer. Her recipes are delicious and foolproof. Her biscotti, or twice-baked cookies, are even great before the second round of baking; if you want a softer cookie, try baking them for only 15-20 minutes.

Adapted from Karen DeMasco’s “The Craft of Baking”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease baking sheet.

2. Spread out pecans on another baking sheet and toast for 4 minutes. Remove from oven.

3. Combine flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Use an electric mixer on low speed to mix for 3 minutes.

4. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add this to flour mixture and beat until combined. Add nuts and chocolate chips and stir until combined.

5. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 16 x 2-inch log on a floured surface. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, a few inches apart. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250º F.

6. Transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs on a bias into 1/3-inch thick slices. Place slices on the baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for 1 hour.

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Pistachio & Currant Nougat

with pistachios, almonds, and currants

 

Making nougat requires a ton of steps, but it definitely is worth all the work. I had nougat for the first time when visiting my big sister, Aly,  in Paris during her semester abroad– the confection was swirled into vanilla ice cream!  Don’t skimp on the cornstarch + sugar powder mix as I did, because otherwise your nougat will stick to the pan and be difficult to remove…

Adapted from Karen DeMasco’s “The Craft of Baking”

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup salted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350º F.

2. Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in mixing bowl. Dust mixture over a 12 x 17-in baking sheet using a sifter. Set remaining cornstarch mixture aside.

3. Spread nuts out on another baking sheet and toast in oven for 4 minutes. Turn oven off, but leave nuts inside to stay warm. Place honey in heat-resistant bowl and put inside warm oven.

4. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites on medium speed. Add remaining 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar to egg whites. Leave mixer running while you complete step 5.

5.  Put 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp corn syrup and 1/2 cup granulated sugar into small saucepan. Put remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp corn syrup and 3/4 cup sugar into another small saucepan. Stir both saucepans until all sugar is wet. Set both saucepans on high heat. When sugar in first saucepan comes to 250º F (use a candy thermometer), remove pan from heat and add mixture to whipping egg whites. When second saucepan reaches 293º F, pour that sugar mixture into whipping egg whites too. Increase electric mixer speed to high and mix for another 4 minutes.

6. Reduce to low speed, and add the warm honey, salt, warm nuts, and currants. Mix until evenly distributed.

7. Scrape nougat into prepared baking sheet. Sift cornstarch mixture over entire nougat surface. Using a rolling pin, roll nougat until 3/4 inch thick. Set on wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

8. Place cooled nougat on cutting board. Use a knife coated in non-stick cooking spray to slice nougat.


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Rugelach

Raspberry, Currant, Pecan Rugelach

Rugelach should not be eaten only on Hanukkah. I was a bit impatient when making these little cookies, so I put the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes instead of letting it sit in the fridge for the prescribed amount of time. Try to be more patient than me because waiting will make the dough a lot easier to roll out. Either way, the end result will be delicious!

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces cold cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp  water
  • 2 tbsp course sugar

1. For the dough, combine cream cheese, butter, flour, and salt in food processor. Pulse until large crumbles form, just before  dough sticks together into one ball. Remove dough from processor and form into two balls. Flatten each ball into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day.

2. For the filling, heat jam in saucepan until it becomes a thin liquid. Mix cinnamon and sugar.

3. Roll one disk out on floured surface until it is an 11-inch circle. With a pastry wheel or knife, cut the dough into 16 equal wedges. Brush a thin layer of jam on top of dough. Sprinkle dough with half the cinnamon sugar, half the pecans, and half the currants. Starting at the base, roll up each wedge. Place cookies on baking sheet, with tips facing down. Repeat process with second disk of dough. Refrigerate cookies for 30 minutes.

5. To glaze, whisk egg and water together. Brush over cookies and sprinkle with course sugar.

6. Bake for 25 minutes at 350º F.

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Tomato, Basil, Goat Cheese Tart

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe

A slice of this pie makes a delicious lunch when served with a side salad. The dough for this tart is one of the best I’ve ever made- perfectly flaky and buttery. The original recipe recommends drizzling a little honey on top, which I didn’t have on hand, but would be a tasty addition!

Tart Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp cold water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 pints grape tomatoes, seeded and sliced in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 4 ounces fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper

1. Combine flour, salt, butter in cuisinart and pulse until crumbly consistency. Add egg and water and blend until dough forms a ball. Remove from cuisinart and form dough into a ball. Roll out onto floured surface until it is large enough to cover tart pan. Roll dough onto rolling pin so that you can easily unroll it onto your 10-inch tart pan. Press dough into sides of tart pan.

2. Preheat oven to 425° F.

3. Spread mustard on bottom of tart dough. Evenly add tomatoes, garlic, and basil on top of mustard, followed by goat cheese slices. Drizzle balsamic and olive oil over top. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

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Satis House

"It's a great cake. A bride-cake. Mine!"

[http://www.victorianweb.org/art/illustration/mclenan/13.html]

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