Pregnancy Craving #2: Banana with Peanut Butter {Peanut Butter Banana Bread}

Ahhh, the oven is fixed!

And I’m back in business.

This week’s recipe is brought to you by my craving for anything that combines the flavors of bananas and peanut butter.  (Best brought to my mouth by simply dipping a banana into, you guessed it, peanut butter – I have my own dedicated tub for just that purpose, by the way.)

Anyhow, when I saw this recipe, I knew I needed to make it.

The Recipe:

Peanut Butter Banana Bread, adapted from Joy the Baker

3 ripe bananas

1/3 c vanilla yogurt

1/3 c crunchy peanut butter

3 T butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 t vanilla

1/2 c granulated sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c whole wheat flour

1 c all-purpose flour

3/4 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1/2 t cinnamon

1/8 t ground allspice

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a mixer, beat bananas until light and creamy.  Add yogurt, peanut butter and melted butter. Blend in eggs, sugars, and vanilla.  Mix until no sugar lumps remain.

Add all dry ingredients, and fold together with a spatula until no more flour bits remain.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before running a butter knife along the edges of the pan and inverting the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.

The Results:

Well, this is certainly great banana bread… but it’s not nearly as peanut buttery as I’d really hoped.  (Hubs didn’t even realize there was peanut butter in it.)

I could taste the peanut butter, myself, but it was a very subtle undertone instead of the salty burst of flavor I was looking for.  Not that this stopped me from eating it at all.  Somehow, I perservered. 😉

Anyways the texture is super moist with an almost barely crunchy crust, which delighted my senses.  And, honestly, you can never go wrong with a good banana bread regardless of what you’re craving.

IMG_1793

So, I still recommend trying this – but if you want the pb and banana combo, I think I’d double the amount of peanut butter.  Or just spread some on top.

Happy Hump Day!

Pregnancy Craving #1: Chocolate {Deep Dark Chocolate/Toffee/Espresso/Brownie Cookies}

Okay, I’m starting a new series here on the blog… devoted entirely to my crazy pregnancy cravings.

So be aware that most of these will probably have absolutely no nutritious value whatsoever.

But man, will they taste good!

And for now, I’m really okay with that.

I had to start with, of course, chocolate.  (I know, big surprise… but seriously, I cr-ave it; breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And dessert.  And snack.  And in the middle of the night when I’m awake with darn insomnia.)

I digress.

Anyways, this was my attempt to fulfill my need for something chocolate plus.

The Recipe:

Deep Dark Chocolate Toffee Espresso Brownie Cookies, adapted from Just a Taste

3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 c bittersweet or dark chocolate chips

8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced

3 large eggs

1 c plus 3 T sugar

1 T instant coffee granules

3/4 c all-purpose flour

1/3 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1 c toffee pieces

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a double boiler (a small pan set within a larger pan of simmering water), combine the unsweetened chocolate, 1 c of chocolate chips, and butter, stirring until melted.  Remove the smaller pan containing the chocolate from the double boiler and set it aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, sugar and instant coffee granules on high-speed until very thick and mixture forms a ribbon when whisk is lifted, about 3 minutes.

Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the bowl, whisking just until combined.

Turn off the stand mixer.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and stir just until combined.  Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips and toffee pieces.

Portion heaping tablespoons of batter about 2 inches apart on parchment paper or Silpat-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are cracked and puffed on top.  Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Additional notes from the original recipe:

The batter will be much looser than your average cookie dough.

When in doubt, underbake the cookies, as they’ll continue firming up as they cool on the cookie sheet.

The Results:

Obviously, I had some serious ideas of what I wanted included in this recipe.

(What the baby wants, the baby gets.)

But I actually started this recipe wanting to lower the amount of coffee flavor in half… instead, I misread it and instead of lowering the instant coffee from 2 t to 1 t, I thought I was lowering 2 T to 1 T (which actually increased the coffee flavor).  But really, it was a happy accident.

And I do have to say all the flavor compliment each other well.

This is not a sweet cookie, so be aware.  (If you want it sweeter, check out the original recipe and use semi sweet chips instead or use semi sweet bakers chocolate.)  It is rich and chocolately – and the texture is just like a brownie.  It’s got a little crisp outside and absolutely full of chewy goodness on the inside.

If I were to make it again, I might actually break up toffee bars instead of using the toffee pieces, so you can really taste them in each bite.  But other than that, I found these excellent.

And very, very satisfying.

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I hope you do, too!

Key Lime Bars

I know, I know, I know.

I’ve disappeared again.

Sorry.  We’ve been dealing with what I like to call, “The Kindergarten Krud.”  It’s been hanging around our house for weeks – including 7 days of fever and no school for my oldest.

Let’s just say it hasn’t been fun.

Anyhow, I needed something bright and happy to make/eat around here, and the moment I saw these Key Lime Bars, I knew they fit the bill.

The Recipe:

Key Lime Bars, from Foodness Gracious

Crust

2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 c sugar

1/4 c brown sugar, packed

2 c all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

1/2 t fresh mint, chopped

Filling

4 eggs

1 1/2 c sugar

6 T flour

1/2 cup fresh key lime juice

2 t lime zest

1 drop of green food coloring

powdered sugar and fresh mint for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, salt and mint.  Beat on low-speed until the mixture just comes together.

Dump the crust mixture into the prepared pan and use your finger tips to spread it out evenly all over the base of the pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until slightly browned on top.

While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl whisk together eggs and sugar until light and pale, about 8 minutes.  Add the flour, lime juice, lime zest and green coloring. Whisk until completely blended.

Remove the baked base from the oven and immediately pour the filling mix over the hot crust.  Return to the oven and bake
for 20-25 minutes, until brown around the edges and set in the middle.

Cool completely in the pan. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar and more chopped mint.  To store lime bars, place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I made this dish for a get-together for my youngest’s toddler group parents.  Not only was I excited to be back in kitchen baking, but I was excited to get out of the house.  Without kids.

(Seriously, I pretty much was stuck in our house for a week.  Stir-crazy can’t even describe how I was feeling.)

It wasn’t a hard recipe – though I have to admit that I got awfully tired of juicing key limes – I must’ve done at least 20.  Oh, and I’d suggest doing that part before you make the crust, because it takes a while.

I promise it’s well worth it.

These tart-sweet treats hit all the right taste buds, if you ask me.  The crust is buttery, chewy, with a little crunch – and the filling is puckery tart (in the best way possible).  With the sprinkle of sweet powdered sugar, it’s a lovely combination.

The other parents seemed to enjoy them, and Hubs said they were even great for breakfast.

And they certainly brightened up a pretty dreary couple of weeks around here.

Can’t ask for more than that.

Triple Chocolate Scones

I have some go-to recipe websites that I love.

(Besides all my inspiring blogger friends.)

You can never go wrong with these websites – epicurious, America’s Test Kitchen, Martha, etc.

Well, I just found another one.

I’m sure I’m probably last on the block to know about it, but I have to admit, I am currently in love with the King Arthur Flour website.  There are so many (well-reviewed) delicious looking recipes there that Hubs and I spent about two hours browsing and pinning the other day.

And this one was way too good-looking to resist.

The Recipe:

Triple Chocolate Scones adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 c all-purpose flour

2/3 c whole wheat flour

1/3 c Dutch-process cocoa

1 t instant coffee powder

1/2 c sugar

1 T baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

3/4 t salt

1/2 c (8 T) cold butter, cut into pats

1 1/2 c bittersweet chocolate chunks

1 t vanilla

1 large egg

3/4 c + 2 T milk

Preheat your oven to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the flours, cocoa,instant coffee, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together thoroughly.  With a pastry blender, pastry fork, a mixer or, most easily, your fingertips, work in the butter until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

In separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, egg, and milk.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until the mixture is evenly moist. You may need to add an additional tablespoon of milk, to make the dough come together.

Divide the dough in half, and place the two pieces onto the baking sheet. Pat them gently into two 6″ circles, each about 3/4″ thick.  Cut each circle into 6 wedge-shaped pieces with a bench knife or bowl scraper (or sharp knife), pressing down firmly without sawing.  Make sure you press it into the dough quickly, without twisting or sawing.  This shears the dough cleanly rather than pressing it together, which allows the scones to rise higher.

Bake the scones for 18 to 23 minutes, until they lose their moist look, and a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean; or with just a smear of chocolate from a melting chip.  Remove the scones from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I’m pretty sure you’ve already gotten the idea that these turned out fantastic… if not, then my writing skills are pretty darn rusty.

Anyways, these were a cinch to make – though I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to cut up the scones into the wedges, divide them, and then cook them… Or if I was to just basically deeply score them and let them bake still in the circle.  And then I remembered the last time (and pretty much only time) I made scones, and left them in the rounds.

When I was scoring each circle into the six wedges, I was feeling pretty good about portion size – they looked fairly small and perfect for a small chocolate treat.  When they baked, though, ummm, they kinda grew giant size.  And at that point, I mean really, what else could I do except serve and eat them as it.

(It was a tough decision, let me tell you. 😉 )

Anyways, be prepared that these scones are not overly sweet.  They have a soft, chewy, perfect scone texture with those delicious chunks of chocolate throughout.  I will suggest waiting until they are completely cooled in order to get the full flavor – for some reason, when warm, some of the chocolate flavor disappears.

They were tasty as a stand-alone treat, but with a cup of coffee – wow, they were amazing.

We had several mornings of delicious chocolateness, starting each day with a smile.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

Lemon Bundt Cake with Raspberry Filling

Sometimes, you just need to say, “Screw the diet.”

(Or maybe that’s just us.)

And if you are going to be bad… might as well be really, really, really bad.

(Yes, three ‘reallys’.)

I mean seriously, if I was going to cheat, I was going to do it right.  I would go the distance and fully commit to the dark side, in order to be completely and utterly satisfied with my bad choice.

And that’s where this cake came in.

The Recipe:

Lemon Bundt Cake with Raspberry Filling (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

Filling (from GroupRecipes.com)

2 – 12 oz packages of frozen raspberries (not packed in syrup)

1 1/3 c water

1 1/2-2 c sugar (to your taste)

2 T of lemon juice

5-6 T of cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 c of water

In a saucepan combine the raspberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice.  Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the raspberries have broken down.  Remove the mixture from the heat and strain with a fine mesh sieve. Return the strained mixture to the heat.

Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water.  Whisk the slurry into the raspberry mixture.  Bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool completely, stirring every once in a while.

It will take awhile to set up. It will thicken like a jelly. May stir it for easier spreading on cake.

Cake

3 lemons, zest grated and saved, then juiced for 3 T juice (save the remaining for glaze)

3 c all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t salt

3/4 c lowfat buttermilk

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

18 T unsalted butter, room temperature

2 c sugar

Take out eggs and butter about an hour before baking, so they can come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray and flour 12 cup Bundt cake pan.

Mince lemon zest into a fine paste (about 2 T).  Combine zest and juice in a bowl; set aside to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bow.  In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice mixture, vanilla, and buttermilk.  In small bowl, gently which eggs and yolk to combine.  In standing mixer fitted with a flat beater, cream butter and sugar at medium high speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Reduce to medium speed and add 1/2 of eggs, mixing until incorporated.  Repeat with remaining eggs and scrape down sides.  Reduce to low speed; add about 1/3 of dry mixture and 1/2 of buttermilk mixture – mixing until just incorporated.  Repeat with another 1/3 of dry and the rest of the wet ingredients.  Scrape bowl and add the final 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.  Remove bowl from mixer and stir a few times to make sure everything is incorporated well.

Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 of batter into Bundt pan.  Use a large spoon to scoop out a well in the middle of the batter.  Fill the well with the raspberry filling – it’s okay to overflow a little.  Add the remaining batter, thoroughly covering the filling.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes back clean except for filling.

Cool cake in pan on wire rack set over baking sheet for 10 minutes.  Invert cake directly onto rack.

Glaze

2-3 T lemon juice

1 T buttermilk

2 c powdered sugar

Whisk 2 T lemon juice and remaining ingredients until smooth, adding more lemon juice until glaze is thick but still pourable.

Pour half of glaze over warm cake and let cool for 1 hour.  Pour remaining glaze evenly over top and continue to cool until room temperature, at least 2 hours.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

So, this was a joint effort – Hubs and me, banding together for the wrongness that was to be.  He was in charge of the filling and glaze, and I took over the cake.

(Yes, I wanted to be in charge of the part that included 18 – yes 18, tablespoons of butter.  Oh, it was so wrong!)

Hubs made the filling several hours beforehand, to make sure it set up pretty firm – and he even chilled it in the fridge for a bit.  When we used it, it was about the consistency of thick jam.

This is only the beginning of the raspberry goodness. I went around one more time with more on top.

It was actually quite fun doing this with Hubs (for the most part).  It could’ve been because we were working well together… or it could’ve been because we were giddy with excitement, thinking of our upcoming treat.

And when it came out of the oven, looking all golden and delicious, smelling like a lemon dream; I’m pretty sure we were drooling.  It was very hard to wait the several hours for it to cool completely.

But when we finally got to eat… holy smokes was it good.

The lemon cake was very light and just full of lemon flavor.  And, as we all know, lemon and raspberry are always a fantastic combination, so the filling was a perfect complimentary taste.  It wasn’t too sweet, which I was worried about.  The tang of the lemon and tart of the raspberry balanced out all that sugar.

Between sharing with the neighbors and serving our boys, we actually kept our cake consumption fairly moderate.

But, boy oh boy, did we enjoy every bite.

(And went right back to our healthy eating plan – no damage done.)

It was so worth it.

Apple Cider Muffins

I was craving a warm, tasty apple muffin.

(Darn Pinterest and all the autumn treats floating around.)

But we didn’t have any apples – and I couldn’t get out of the house because of the napper.

We did have some apple cider and some applesauce, so I decided to see what I could do…

The Recipe:

Apple Cider Muffins, adapted from Lehighvalley.com

1 egg, room temperature

1/4 c applesauce

1 c whole wheat flour

2/3 c all-purpose flour

1 c apple cider

2/3 c sugar

1/2 c butter, room temperature

2 t baking powder

1 t cinnamon

dash of ground nutmeg

dash of ground cloves

1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease or line 12 cupcake wells.  In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add egg and applesauce, beating well after each addition.  Whisk together flours, baking powder, spices, and salt.   Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, then 1/2 of the cider, and repeat, ending with the last of the flour and mixing only until incorporated. Pour into prepared cupcake pan, filling each cup 3/4 way full. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

Well, these certainly hit the spot.

And I think I did a pretty good job of taking a very sweet cupcake recipe and mellowing it out a bit into a muffin, with a couple healthier substitutions (though I did leave the sugar and butter alone).

I especially enjoyed the slightly dense texture that was full of the cider-y spice flavor.

I think if I were to make these again, I would add some apple chunks to give it that little extra ‘something’ to make them even better.  (And it would NOT use the cupcake liners – these babies stuck hard to the liners, so beware.)

Oh, and if you want another take on Apple Muffins, check out Smidge’s Saucy Apple Spice Muffins… hers look divine!  (And proof that great minds think alike.)

Blackberry Mini-Crisps

When I left off posting in the beginning of August, not only did I have writer’s block, but I just plain frustrated.

Tear out my hair a little, frustrated.

The problem was that all my ‘healthy’ desserts tasted ‘healthy.’

(Or maybe it was because we’d been eating so many dessert treats over the last year that I was having sugar withdrawals.)

(I know, not a really horrible problem in the whole scope of things, but it was driving me crazy.)

Anyways, I was tired of having an expectation of a particular taste… and then being disappointed.  So I took a break (completely) from baking.  Hubs and I continued our daily exercise, ate less, and got really amazing results – which is always motivating to keep on track.

And I finally felt like I was ready to try baking – either in moderation or with healthier intentions.

I had remembered this post from Kristy’s blog, Eat, Play, Love, and thought it might be pretty darn amazing with some blackberries instead.  The best part – it was dessert in moderation with some healthier ingredients!

The Recipe:

Blackberry Mini-Crisps, adapted from Eat, Play, Love

2 1/2 c blackberries

1/4 c honey

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 c whole grain oats

1/2 c whole wheat flour

2 T wheat germ

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 t baking powder

1/4 T cinnamon

1/4 c butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 4 to 6 ramekins with cooking spray.  Combine honey, blackberries, and lemon zest.  Stir to barely break apart blackberries.   Evenly spoon the mix into the ramekins.

In another bowl, combine the rest of the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender cut in the butter.  Sprinkle evenly over the blackberries in the ramekins.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

We were blown away.

Seriously.

This did not taste one bit ‘healthy’ and one serving was a perfect amount to hit that sweet craving.

The blackberries were sweet and tart and just bursting with juicy goodness.  And the topping was crispy, slightly carmelized, and the perfect counterpoint to the berries.

This is my only picture… what can I say, I got lazy with my picture-taking, too – just wanted to get to the eating, apparently. 🙂

We’ve made various versions of this since then (with peaches, apples, etc.), and they’ve all been big hits.  I can’t recommend this recipe enough – it’s definitely become a favorite around here.

So try it.  I promise you will not regret it!

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday.

Strawberry Macaroon Shortcake

Hi, my friends!

(Can I just say it’s great to be back?… Though no one told me how hard it was going to be to pull up ‘add new post’ and start writing again.  I think I’ve started this post about five times, already.  But I gotta finish it sometime, right?)

It has been a wonderful month off – with vacation trips, school prep, getting my oldest off to kindergarten (big deal!), and just enjoying my kids to the fullest.

Through this time, I realized how much time I was spending on the computer – and how much my boys appreciate having that time for themselves instead.  So I’m coming back with a new attitude and focus… you may see fewer posts and less commenting, but know I’m still around, reading about your fantastic food and experimenting with my own.

I’ve also decided to stick to what I love to do… bake.  So they’ll be a lot fewer ‘meal’ posts and hopefully more baked goods.

So let’s get back on track with a tasty dessert.

The Recipe:

Strawberry Macaroon Shortcake, adapted from Kraft recipes

1-1/3 c flake coconut

1/2 c slivered almonds, chopped

1/3 c sugar

2 T flour

1/8 t salt

2 egg whites

1/2 t coconut extract

1 c whipped cream

2 c strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Mix coconut, almonds, sugar, flour and salt in large bowl.  Beat egg whites and coconut extract lightly with fork.  Add to coconut mixture; mix well.

Line cookie sheet with foil  Spread coconut mixture evenly onto foil, forming a flat 8 inch circle.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool.  Remove from foil.  Cut into 8 wedges.  Top evenly with the whipped cream and strawberries just before serving.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I made this earlier in the summer to enjoy with our neighbors.  It was a perfect dessert to eat on the back porch while the sun set.

I especially enjoyed the strawberry coconut flavor combination.  And the shortcake tasted just like a regular macaroon; slightly crispy, toasted coconut on the outside – and soft and chewy in the middle.  Hubs contributed with a bourbon-infused whipped cream that was out-of-this-world.

And it was double-y good since it was one of the first ‘real’ desserts we’d had all summer.

(But more on that another time.)

All the bowls came back empty – always a good sign.

Hoping you’ve all had a wonderful month – and looking forward to catching up.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

A month.

(Actually over a month.)

That’s how long it’s been since I baked a loaf bread.

Withdrawals had commenced.  Cravings had been squashed.  Life had seemed to move on…

But then I cracked.

Oh, well… at least I made a somewhat ‘healthy’ bread.

(That’s what I’m telling myself as I enjoy slices slathered with butter for dessert.)

The Recipe:

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread, adapted from White On Rice Couple

1 c water

1 c milk

1 T active dry yeast

1 T honey

2 T unsulphured molasses

3 c whole wheat flour

1/2 c wheat germ

1 c bread flour

1 c rolled oats

4 T butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 T sea salt

On low heat, warm milk and water to about 115 F.  Combine water, milk, yeast, honey, and molasses in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Stir to dissolve yeast.  Add remaining ingredients and use the bread hook to mix for about 6 minutes on medium speed (or knead by hand for about 10 minutes).  Dough should form a ball around the hook – if it’s sticking to the sides, add an additional tablespoon or two+ of flour until it forms a ball.  Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Lightly grease 9x5x3 bread loaf pan.

Punch down dough and knead into loaf shape on a lightly floured surface.  Place in loaf pan, cover, and let rise for an additional hour or until it just begins to puff up over the sides of the loaf pan.  (While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 F.)

Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through.  The loaf is done baking when the crust is dark brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove the loaf from the pan and allow to full cool on a baking rack.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve made bread when I start to question my own gut-knowledge of bread baking and instead rely on parts of a recipe that just don’t sound exactly right…

First off, in the original recipe, they have the dough rise in the mixer bowl, from just where it’d been mixed.  So I did it… and remembered why you move it to a greased bowl: the rising dough gets sticky again and attaches itself to all the sides of the bowl, making it hard to dump out and knead.  (I did change this in the recipe above).

Secondly, it is suggested to add some oats onto the top for decoration.  But they don’t suggest this until after the second rise and right before baking.  So, as I sprinkled my oats on top and gently pressed them into the dough, I collapsed the middle of my bread.  And then they all fell off anyways after baking.  Grrr.  If you’d like to make a pretty topping, I suggest adding the oats right before the second rise, so they can embed themselves in the bread while rising.

I just hate that I knew better in both instances, but I doubted myself since it’d been a while.

Oh, well.

Even with a collapsed center, it still looks pretty good.

The good news is, neither mistake caused any issues with the flavor of the bread at all.

It’s definitely a wheat bread, but its got a sweet undertone from the honey and molasses.  It’s also a little dense, so not as light as most of the white breads I’ve made in the past – but it’s not dense in a bad way.  Overall, it’s so much better than any store-bought bread – plus you get the bonus of the aroma of freshly baking  bread in the house… which is worth it’s weight in gold to me.

My happy place…

And it’s my new favorite treat – with butter, no less.

(Can I just take a minute to share that this is the first time we’ve used butter in this house in a month!  Before that, I was buying a new box of butter at least once a week.  Yikes!  Probably a good thing we’ve cut back.)

Now to plan out my next bread adventure…

(Because I’m not giving bread baking up.  I just can’t do it.)

Have a wonderful end of the week!

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

So, as I’ve mentioned the last couple of weeks, we’re trying to eat better.

And for me, that means lots of cooking experiments.

Sometimes they turn out good… sometimes, not so much.

Now, I’m posting this recipe to see if any of you out there might have a suggestion for making them better…

(Though probably actually following the recipe would’ve helped.)

The Recipe:

Banana Oatmeal Muffins, adapted from Keeping Up with the Joneses

2 & 1/2 c oats (old-fashioned kind, not quick cooking)

3/4 c plain low-fat greek yogurt

1/4 c applesauce

2 eggs

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c vanilla protein powder

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

2 bananas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place all of the ingredients, including banana,s in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth.

Divide batter among tin, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

These weren’t terrible, but they were certainly lacking something.  I had reduced the sugar from 3/4 c to 1/2 c – replacing the last 1/4 c with the protein powder.  Additionally, I didn’t have a full cup of yogurt, so I added the 1/4 c applesauce.  Perhaps it was those substitutions that made them bland.

They also did not turn out looking too pretty.  They actually looked decent coming straight out of the oven, but they soon collapsed, leaving behind a heavy-looking, flat muffin.

If I’d taken a side view, you’d see how truly flat they are.

There’s a definite banana taste, but it’s just kind of dull.  And the texture is really spongy, which is kind of weird in my opinion.

Anyways, they had mixed reviews in the family.  One of my boys liked them, the other did not.  I thought they weren’t too bad, but Hubs was not impressed.

So, now for your help…

What would you do differently or add to make these better?  I’d love any ideas.

Have a wonderful weekend!