May 29, 2015

Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake


Do you need a tasty little cake to make for your family and/or friends?   This is a fabulous recipe to  make.  It is decadent, gooey, banana goodness, and will make quite an impression. 


 It tastes a lot like Banana Nut Bread and is especially good if served warm.  I think it would be great served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  But, trust me, it is great just like it is!!

The best part of this sweet little cake is the topping.  I have to admit I licked what was left behind in the bottom of the skillet right off a spoon!


Excuse me now while I get on the treadmill.

Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened and divided
2 Tbsp. bourbon
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 large ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.  Stir in two tablespoons of bourbon.  Sprinkle brown sugar over butter and bourbon mixture.  Remove from heat.  Slice bananas and arrange in the butter mixture.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup walnuts on top.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.   Set aside.

Place 1/2 cup butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl;  beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.  Beat it vanilla.

At low speed, beat in flour mixture, in three parts, alternating with 1/2 cup sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Spread over bananas in skillet.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in skillet on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Invert cake onto a serving plate.

Serve to family and friends!!   



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May 20, 2015

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies




I recently visited Whisk, a bakery located in St. Louis, Missouri.  It is a sustainable bakery that was recently voted the number one bakery in St. Louis by Go! St.
Louis.  I love to check out bakeries wherever I go.  I had their Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookie.

This was Mother's Day weekend.  My hubbie, son, daughter-in-law, grandson and myself walked in a one-mile/three-mile walk for the American Heart Association which was sponsored by companies located in St. Louis.  We started at Busch Stadium, walked the one-mile route in downtown St. Louis, and then back to Busch Stadium, where we ended up walking on the "warning track" of the baseball field.  Very cool!  It was a great way to spend our Saturday morning.  Afterwards, we went to Rooster for brunch.  If you're ever in St. Louis, it is worth a visit, but I would definitely recommend call-ahead seating.

My son and I know one of the owners of Whisk, and since we were in the area, we decided to stop in for our first visit.  


If you like chocolate, and if you like hazelnuts (think Nutella), you need to try this recipe!
I don't usually use nuts in my baking, but I made an exception here.  I do think that if I make them again, I would toast the hazelnuts to take a little bit of the "raw" taste away.


Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup butter-flavored Crisco
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces  (1/2 of 12-ounce package)  of Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
5 ounces (1/2 of 10-ounce package) of Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels
3 ounces Chopped Hazelnuts

Sift flour and baking soda together in a small bowl.
Cream butter and butter-flavored Crisco until it lightens in color.
Add sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until creamy.  Add in eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Gradually add in flour and baking soda mixture.  Continue to mix until just incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips, chocolate morsels, and chopped hazelnuts.

Cover cookie dough with a paper towel or waxed paper and refrigerate for a few hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes.

Serve to family and friends.



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May 14, 2015

How to Make Cake Mix Cupcakes Taste Like They're Made from Scratch


Cudjoe wanted cupcakes this afternoon, and so I made cupcakes.  These are vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

I used a Pillsbury Moist Supreme Cake Mix but made some simple changes to make them taste like they were made from scratch.

This recipe made the fluffiest cake batter it has ever been my pleasure to make!  After they came out of the oven, they were sheer perfection.


So if there's no time in your hectic schedule for from scratch baking, these simple changes will certainly impress.
  


Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting:

1 box white cake mix
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
3 whole eggs (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Combine cake mix, milk, butter, and eggs in a mixing bowl.  

Mix on low speed until blended.  Beat on medium speed for two minutes.

Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners and spray with a baking spray.

Using an ice-cream scoop, place one scoop of cake batter into each cupcake liner.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting:

2/3 stick of butter, softened
1/3 cup of Crisco shortening
4 cups of Confectioner's Powdered Sugar
4 heaping tablespoons of Hershey's Cocoa
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 Tablespoons of Milk

Cream butter and shortening together.  Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time.  Add vanilla and milk and whip.  (This recipe frosted 12 cupcakes).

Frost cupcakes, as desired.

Serve to family and friends!

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May 11, 2015

Cherry Delight


Do you need a yummy yet simple dessert to take for a Memorial Day Party or any get together this summer?  This one will definitely be a crowd pleaser.  This recipe has been around for many years.  It just happens to be one of my daddy's favorites.


It is yummy and even better the next day!  


And doesn't it look pretty on my grandmother's Dessert Rose plate?

Cherry Delight

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup Confectioner's powdered sugar
1 8-ounce carton of Cool Whip
1 28-ounce can cherry pie filling

Directions:

In a 9 x 9 inch baking pan mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar.  Spread on bottom of pan packing down to form a crust.

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, add powdered sugar and Cool Whip
to the cream cheese and mix until well blended.

Spread on top of the graham cracker crust.

Spread the cherry pie filling on top.

Chill in refrigerator for three hours.  (It is even better to chill overnight).

Serve to family and friends!





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May 5, 2015

Grilled Romaine Lettuce


Do you ever get tired of the same old ways to eat lettuce?  Well, this is a great little twist to fixing and eating Romaine Lettuce to change things up every once in awhile.  

I was on the treadmill at Fitness Plus and was watching the food segment of the Today Show, and watched Chef Marc Murphy grill Romaine Lettuce.  So that evening for supper, I made it for us.

It is simple, simple, and really quite good, not to mention HEALTHY.  

Grilled Romaine Lettuce:

Heat a grill pan on top of stove to medium heat.
(I buy Romaine Lettuce Hearts in a bag from Kroger or Sam's Club)
Cut one Romaine Lettuce Heart in half.
Drizzle each half with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place lettuce cut-side down on a grill pan and cook for a few minutes.  
Place on a plate and squeeze fresh lemon juice on the grilled Romaine.  
You can serve as is or cut into pieces.
Fielder's choice.
(I've been watching too much baseball)!

Serve to family and friends!  
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May 2, 2015

Kentucky Hot Brown


Today is the Kentucky Derby.  We always watch the Derby, and oftentimes celebrate the occasion with food and some years Mint Juleps.  This year I decided to celebrate with Kentucky Hot Browns.


The first time I had a Kentucky Hot Brown was many years ago when I was in a Playgroup with young mothers and our children in my hometown.

One Satuday, the mothers went to Patti's Restaurant at Kentucky Lake, and I had the Kentucky Hot Brown.  It was made with homemade white bread, ham, cheese sauce and homemade potato chips.  I think the potato chips are yummy dipped in the cheese sauce.

The original Hot Brown is made with turkey.  So I combined the two:  sliced turkey and sliced ham on French Bread with a Mornay sauce and topped with one slice of tomato.


This is what you will need:

French Bread
Turkey and Ham from the Deli, sliced thin
 tomato

For the Mornay Sauce:

2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Cup of Milk
1 Cup of shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste


How to Make a Kentucky Hot Brown:

To Make the Mornay Sauce:

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan, whisk in two tablespoons of flour.  Add 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly until thickened.  Remove from heat and add 1 cup of Parmasean cheese.  Salt and Pepper to Taste.

(I thinned the Mornay Sauce a bit with a little extra milk.)

Cut the French Bread in half and then cut the halves in half on a diagonal.  Drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the bread and toast it in the oven on the broiler setting.

Pile sliced turkey and sliced ham on the toasted bread.  Spoon the Mornay Sauce over the meat and place a slice of tomato on top.   Salt and pepper the tomato.  Place the Kentucky Hot Brown back into the oven on the broiler setting and let it heat through, keeping a close eye on so it does not burn.

Serve with Potato Chips to family and friends!
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