Banana Crunch Cake

Banana Crunch Cake

Banana Crunch Cake

Once Monday rolls around I try to undo the damage(s) I’ve done to my cholesterol, my liver, my saddlebags or my psyche over the weekend.  Mondays’s are for getting back to the fitness program, taking a walk, getting back in the saddle, or whatever it is you do to stay fit and trim(?).  They are for eating kale salads, roast beets and veggies, drinking healthy smoothies and going to bed early.   They are definitely not for banana cake!!  But those bananas on my counter,  being eyed by the fruit flies, are not going to eat themselves.  So it all brought me to this…..

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Banana Crunch Cake, crunchy on top, moist and tender underneath.  This wholesome treat gets some extra punch from the whole grain combination of wheat and oat flours.  The bananas keep it moist and tender, while the crunch topping provides a nice textural change from the cake.  So maybe I can’t exactly undo the damage caused by the weekend’s splurge, but what I can do is incorporate healthy ingredients into my banana cake.  This makes a great lunchbox treat or a take-along if you’re traveling. Wrap it well and take it for a ride.

This recipe can be doubled easily to make a 13 x 9-inch cake if you’re feeding a large group,  or bake the recipe as given here for an 8-inch square cake.  You can get 16  (2-inch square) servings.

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BANANA CRUNCH CAKE

Yield:  16  (2-inch) servings

For the Cake:

Makes a whole that's better than the sum of its parts.

Makes a whole that’s better than the sum of its parts.

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large, or 3 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt ( I used non-fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup chocolate or toffee chips (optional)  I used toffee chips.

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For the Crunch Topping:

Measure and have ready your topping ingredients.

Measure and have ready your topping ingredients.

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions:

1.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.

2.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

3.  In a large beater bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions.

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Mix in half the dry ingredients, stirring until moistened, and then mix in the bananas, vanilla, and yogurt.  Scrape the bowl down, and then add the remaining dry ingredients, the nuts, and the chips.

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Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

4.  In a small bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar until well blended.  Stir in the melted butter until the mixture forms large crumbs, stir in the chopped nuts.

Mixing up the topping.

Mixing up the topping.

Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.

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5.  Bake the cake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the edges pull away from the pan and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Place cake on a rack to cool before serving warm, or cool completely to serve later.

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Oh my, this cake is delicious.  It has a dense crumb with just the right amount of banana flavor.  The cinnamon in the crumb topping is a perfect accompaniment to the other flavors.  Serve it warm to get its full impact.

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SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet from King Arthur Flour

OOPS, I Goofed!

Cranberry Coconut Quick Bread

Cranberry Coconut Quick Bread

Sweet breads– those simple sweet treats that come together in just about ten minutes, are taking the place of dessert for me.  I place them in the same category as pudding, meaning that they satisfy that longing for something sweet, yet are not overly rich, and with quick breads you can use ingredients that are good for you, like whole wheat flour, and additives such as fruits and nuts.  This recipe takes  tart little cranberries to new heights by pairing them with coconut – and chocolate chips, too. (Another flavor combination I’m stuck on.)  They do a nice job of off-setting the tartness of the cranberries.

So where does the OOPS come in?  It’s coming, read on….

I love cranberries,  and I think most of us associate them with Thanksgiving, and the Christmas holidays; but cranberries are good any time of year.  The problem is that the growing season is pretty short,  so what I like to do is grab a few extra bags when they’re available and stash them in the freezer for use at a later time.   Some recipes are so routine/ordinary that I don’t want to use one of my precious bags of cranberries to make them,  so I’m quite selective about what I will use a bag for.  This recipe is definitely “bag-worthy”.    I also feel that if a recipe is “bag-worthy”, then it must certainly be “blog-worthy”, so I’m sharing it with you.

Still waiting for OOPS?  Hang in there!

One of my precious bags of cranberries went into this recipe.

One of my precious bags of cranberries went into this recipe.

There is not a whole lot of liquid in this recipe; only what is offered by the butter and 3 eggs, so the resulting batter is quite thick–a lot like cookie dough.  I needed to put it into the pan in small amounts, making sure to tap out any air pockets.  The pan was almost full.  Edit note added after baking:  The recipe does not direct you to chop the cranberries, so I used them whole, and mine were frozen.  I baked the bread for the full 70 minutes and a toothpick inserted into three places all came out clean.  When the bread was taken from the oven, it was a light golden brown with bright spots of cranberries,  looking so pretty.  Within a few minutes the center of the bread began to sink, developing that tell-tale sign of being undercooked.  I was so disappointed.  (and mad!)

Undercooked bread.   BOO_HOO!

Yup,  HERE IT IS!!    Undercooked bread. BOO_HOO!

The flavor is wonderful, (please do add the almond flavoring, its what makes this bread so good )and we really liked the parts of it that we could salvage.**   I am not giving up on this bread.  Next time I will use cranberries that are not frozen, and perhaps I’ll chop them up before adding to the batter. No, on second thought, I like the whole cranberry, so I’ll try cooking it longer.  I think they were probably the cause of the problem.   I hope my experience will not deter you from trying this bread, but instead alert you to possible problems that you could solve in advance.

CRANBERRY AND COCONUT BREAD

Yield:  1  9×5 inch loaf

Ingredients:IMG_6279

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract, optional, but good
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2  1/2 cups cranberries, (12-oz. bag)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease and flour a 9″ x 5 ” loaf pan.

2.  Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until mixture is pale yellow, and doubles in volume, about 5-6 minutes.

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3.  Add in butter, vanilla and almond extract (if using), until incorporated; about 2 minutes.  Then using using a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon,  fold in the flour salt, and baking powder.  Do not over mix.  Next fold in the cranberries, coconut and chips.  Batter will be thick.  Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Thick batter.   Nice colors.

Thick batter. Nice colors.

4.  Bake for 60 – 70 minutes.   Start checking at 60 minutes.  Bread is done when cake tester or toothpick removed from the center shows only moist crumbs. ( should not be wet and doughy)

** I took all the under cooked section of the loaf, put it into a smaller loaf pan, and rebaked it.  Not quite the same with a second baking, but at least it became dry and firm, so we could eat it anyway.

The slices at each end were cooked well.

The slices at each end were sufficiently cooked that we could experience what the whole loaf should have been like.

Note to self:  If at first you don’t succeed, try gain.  I am going to get this right because it’s so worth it.

SOURCE:  Baker’s Royale

Pizzazzy Sausage Crescent Sandwich

Pizzazzy  Sausage Crescent Sandwich

Pizzazzy Sausage Crescent Sandwich

This sandwich is part pizza, and part sandwich, thus the name.  It contains a sausage filling nestled inside a crescent dough pocket.

I came across the recipe in a book that is published by Pillsbury called Pillsbury Christmas 2011.  I think they put out an edition every year for the Holidays.  All the recipes contained in it use a Pillsbury product in some way.  Crescent roll dough is extremely popular as a basis for what seemed like “hundreds” of recipes.  This is just one of them that I thought sounded good and looked like it would be easy to make.   I was correct on one count;  they are very tasty and can be eaten with the hands or a knife and fork.  While they are not difficult to make, working with perforated crescent dough, that needs to be pinched together can be a bit fiddly.  I never seem to be successful at keeping it all together.  Even though mine did not turn out looking as perfect as the picture in the book, we enjoyed them non-the-less with a bowl of soup on a very cold evening.

Pizzazzy Crescent Sandwich with hot soup.

Pizzazzy Crescent Sandwich with hot soup.

PIZZAZZY SAUSAGE CRESCENT SANDWICH

Yield:   Make 8

Crescent Rolls provide the dough for this filled sandwich.

Crescent Rolls provide the dough for this filled sandwich.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • 2 cans refrigerated Crescent Rolls
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, each halved crosswise

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  In a skillet, cook the sausage, chopped pepper and onion until the pork is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender.  Drain.  Stir in 3 Tablespoons pizza sauce.  Allow to cool slightly.

2.  Unroll crescent dough.  Make 8 rectangles, pinching seams together to seal.

3.  Put about 2 – 3 tablespoons of sausage mixture at one end of each rectangle.

Place filling on one end of dough.

Place filling on one end of dough.

Take each 1/2 slice of cheese and fold it in half again.  Place it on top of the sausage mixture.

Top with a square of mozzarella cheese.

Top with a square of mozzarella cheese.

Fold the dough over the filling, and press the edges with a fork to seal.

Fold dough over filling and press edges to seal.

Fold dough over filling and press edges to seal.

4.  Place the sandwiches on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 15 – 18 minutes till golden brown.  Serve with additional warmed  pizza sauce on the side.

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SOURCE:  Pillsbury Christmas 2011

Oatmeal Ginger Cream Cookies

Oatmeal Ginger Cream Cookies

Oatmeal Ginger Cream Cookies

These large sandwich cookies made their way onto my cookies-to-give list.  The moist filling and the soft oatmeal cookie are both delicious separately, but when you put them together they become sublime.  I chose to include them in my cookie collection this year because they are BIG, not some little dainty cookie that’s gone in two bites.  (Although I love those, too!)  I think guys will really like them because they’re “manly”.

These are generously sized cookies, with a cream cheese filling that has bits of crystalized ginger in it.  (Did you notice what happened there?  I found another way to sneak in some ginger. :P)  The cookie part is a nice soft, oatmeal that’s got lots of spices in it.  The oats are toasted in the oven before incorporating them into the batter, making them crispier and toasting the oats also brings out their nutty flavor.  When two oatmeal cookies are sandwiched together with the ginger cream filling the flavors fuse and compliment each other so well.  Mr. D. described them as YUMMO!!IMG_5676

The recipe expects you to get 12 cookies, but I must have made mine a little smaller, because I got 15 sandwich cookies, and they were plenty big for my taste.  They are not low in calories, but I tried to reduce the fat and calories somewhat by using low-fat cream cheese.  These are definitely cookies that guys will like.

Without the filling these are still very good oatmeal cookies, and I think the addition of raisins in that case would really enhance them.

OATMEAL GINGER CREAM COOKIES

Yield:  Makes 12-15 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups rolled oats

    These cookies are nicely spiced.

    These cookies are nicely spiced.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Ginger Cream  (recipe follows)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Position racks in the top and bottom levels of the oven.  On a baking sheet, bake oats on the top rack, shaking the pan intermittently to prevent burning, until lightly browned, 10 minutes.  Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool, leaving oven on.

Begin by toasting the oats on a baking sheet.

Begin by toasting the oats on a baking sheet.

2.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy….

Cream butter, sugars and egg.

Cream butter, sugars and egg.

Beat in the egg.  Add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.  Stir in the toasted oats.

This is a thick dough.

This is a thick dough.

3.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll dough ( about 2 tablespoons/cookie), into balls, or use a #30 (1-ounce) ice cream scoop.  For each baking sheet, drop 12 balls 2 inches apart.  With dampened hands, flatten each ball to 1/2-inch thickness.

Flatten dough balls prior to baking.

Flatten dough balls prior to baking.

Using the bottom and top racks, bake until cookies are lightly browned around the edges and set, 12 minutes, switching the baking sheets from top to bottom and rotating them from front to back halfway through baking.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

After baking, browned but not crispy.

After baking, browned but not crispy.

4.  Frost the bottoms of 12 cookies with Ginger Cream, then top with the remaining 12 cookies.

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For Ginger Cream:IMG_5670

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (low-fat cream cheese is OK)
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the ginger.

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SOURCE:  The Beekman Boys via Country Living Magazine

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Happy Halloween, everyone.  There are no tricks today, just treats!!

Every fall–it never fails, when the leaves start to fall and the weather gets crisp, I start thinking about these cookies–it’s crazy.  Usually I like my cookies to be crisp or chewy, but these are the exception.  They have a cake-like consistency which seems perfect and they taste like a combination of pumpkin pie and chocolate.  After they have cooled I like to drizzle some vanilla glaze over the tops to dress them up a little.   Honestly, they are the best pumpkin cookies I’ve ever tried!

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CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN COOKIES

Yield:  about 2 dozen cookies, depending on size

Ingredients:

Pumpkin,  spices and chocolate chips = Yummy

Pumpkin + spices + chocolate chips = Yummy

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree ( canned or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil ( can use applesauce instead)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 drops red or orange food coloring (optional)**
  • 2 cups flour ( white, whole wheat, or a combination)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (we love dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 *F.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugars, oil and egg.  Add food coloring, if using.

3.  In another bowl, Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt.

4.  Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and set aside.

5.  Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir together.  Stir in the baking soda/milk mixture and mix well.  Stir in vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.

6.  Drop by tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheet (s) and bake at 350* for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.    I like to roll the dough into a ball and then flatten a little with a fork for a uniform look.  It makes the tops smoother if you plan to drizzle with icing.  An orange butter cream icing on top is wonderful also.

A little frosting drizzled on top fancies them up.

A little frosting drizzled on top fancies them up.

** These cookies will not be orange, therefore by adding the red or orange food coloring, you bring out the orange color of pumpkin.  Somehow when they look like pumpkin, the flavor of pumpkin seems to be more pronounced.  No kidding!

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SOURCE:   ALL RECIPES.COM

Apple Spice Snickerdoodles

Apples and cookies just seem to go together in the fall, don’t they?  And along about now bake sales start happening again.  I was involved in baking for a sale this past weekend, and these are the cookies I contributed.

Apple Spice Snickerdoodles

Apple Spice Snickerdoodles

At most bake sales that I’ve been to the cookies that are the standard favorites  seem to be chocolate chip, sugar and peanut butter.  But I really like snickerdoodles.  Buttery, light, and slightly  crunchy with that crusty coating of sugar that makes it impossible to stop at just one.  Although  this cookie is a classic, it seems to get forgotten, so I decided to give it a slight makeover by incorporating apple into the cookie dough through the use of apple cider (or apple juice), and adding apple pie spice mix to the sugar coating.  As I said apples and cookies just seem to go together and these give you a fresh apple flavor that’s hard to resist.

Buttery, light and crunchy with a sugar-spice coating.

Buttery, light and crunchy with a sugar-spice coating.

I was told that the sale of these cookies was brisk, so I was happy that folks were adventurous in sampling a new twist on an old favorite.  You may want to try them too.

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Yield:  about 40 – 48 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup shortening, butter flavored preferred
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1  1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup apple cider, or apple juice
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For coating:

  • 2 tsp. apple pie spice
  • 1/2 cup sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 400 *F.  Lightly grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a medium bowl, beat together the shortening, butter, and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg, again beating until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Beat in the cider, baking powder and salt, then add the flour, mixing slowly until combined.

3.  In a separate shallow small bowl, mix together the apple pie spice with the 1/2 cup sugar.

4.  Drop the soft dough by the tablespoonful into the sugar mixture.  Gently roll the dough balls in the sugar until evenly coated.  Place them on prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ between them.  Gently flatten each cookie until it’s about 1/2″ thick.

Roll each ball of dough in the sugar mixture, then flatten.

Roll each ball of dough in the sugar mixture, then flatten.

5.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Remove from the oven and let them cool on a rack.    Store at room temperature in a covered container.

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SOURCE:   Slightly modified from The Taste of Home Baking Book

Harvest Pumpkin Scones

Harvest Pumpkin Scones

Harvest Pumpkin Scones

I do love pumpkin!!!  So I’m wondering why it is that I seem to bake with it only in the fall.  I know fall, October and pumpkins just go together, but pumpkin is available- the canned variety–all year long.  Are you like that, too? I think it might be that pumpkin’s bright splash of color matches the vivid colors of autumn around the country.  And as the landscape turns drab, pumpkin is still there giving us a lift.

Right now I have about six recipes lined up that include pumpkin,  so if they turn out well, I think you’ll be seeing the results of my baking in the coming weeks.

This recipe is one of the first I tried.  Mainly for two reasons:  1) I haven’t made scones in quite a while and these sounded really good to me, and 2) the recipe needs only part of a can of pumpkin, so I can make something else with the remainder.  A sort of two-for-one deal.  I try to match up recipes that each use only part of a can, so no pumpkin goes to waste.  Otherwise I freeze the part I didn’t use for a later date.

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This recipe did not let me down in the least.  I knew that my expectations were met when they came out of the oven, a deep-gold color and with an aroma of all the spices they contain.  Besides the cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg, I included some crystallized ginger and cinnamon chips to take their flavor over the top.   These are way-good.  :D.  Make them soon and see if you don’t agree.

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HARVEST PUMPKIN SCONES

Yield:   12 scones

Ingredients:

Whole allspice

Whole allspice

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice**
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 to 2 cups minced crystallized ginger, cinnamon chips, or chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs

    Ground fresh allspice

    Ground fresh allspice

  • coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping

**  I use whole allspice and grind it fresh as needed.  The flavor is so much stronger and better than when you purchase the already ground variety.

Directions:

1.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.

Mix together all the dry ingredients.

Mix together all the dry ingredients.

2.  Work in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers, just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly;  it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

Some larger pieces of butter are ok.

Some larger pieces of butter are ok.

3.  Stir in the ginger and/or chips, if you’re using them.

Mix in crystallized ginger and cinnamon chips.

Mix in crystallized ginger and cinnamon chips.

4.  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

Mix together the eggs and pumpkin.

Mix together the eggs and pumpkin.

5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment;  or, if no parchment paper on hand, use the baking sheet without greasing it.  Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.

6.  Scrape the cough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half.  Round each half into a 5 – 6 inch circle, about 3/4’s-inch thick.

Divide dough into two 6-inch circles.

Divide dough into two 6-inch circles.

7.  Brush each circle with a little milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Brush with a little milk or cream.

Brush with a little milk or cream.

Coarse sugar (left), cinnamon sugar (right).

Coarse sugar (left), cinnamon sugar (right).

8.  Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.

Cut each circle into 6 wedges.

Cut each circle into 6 wedges.

9.  Carefully separate the wedges from each other just a little, with about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.

10.  For best texture and highest rise place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.  While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425*F

11.  Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

Isn't that a beautiful rise?

Isn’t that a beautiful rise?

12.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.  Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature.  Reheat briefly in the microwave, if desired.

A pretty golden color.

A beautiful golden color.

P. S.  If you’re making your own pumpkin puree from a fresh roasted pumpkin be aware that fresh pumpkin has a lot more liquid in it than canned, and should be drained throughly.  You may use a colander, lined with coffee filters, or several layers of cheesecloth.

SOURCE:   King Arthur Flour

Peaches and Cream Popsicles

Peaches and cream popsicles

Peaches and cream popsicles

Aren’t sweet, juicy, ripe peaches wonderful?  They smell like summer to me.  I think fresh peaches are my favorite fruit.  So today I thought I would make popsicles featuring peaches combined with yogurt, almond milk and almond extract to make a frosty cool treat.

As we head toward the last official weekend of summer you might be wondering why I’m still making popsicles. In my opinion you can never have too many recipes for peaches, so this is one more little way of enjoying them while they are still plentiful juicy and sweet.  I have a feeling there may be a few more peach recipes popping up here before peach season is over, because I’m not done with them yet.   Just like I’m not done with summer yet, either.  There’s plenty of time before we get swept away by all the apples and squash starting to appear at the Farmer’s Market—-much too soon for me.

In the fruit bowl in my kitchen are some peaches bought recently at the market.    They are ripening quickly, so I decided to experiment with another flavor of popsicle.  That’s how I came up with this combination that features peaches mixed with almond milk, a little sugar, yogurt , and almond flavoring.  Not too sweet, I let the tanginess of the yogurt assert itself.  We found them to be very light and refreshing.

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Just a side note here:  I noticed just recently that a variety of popsicle molds are being put on clearance in some stores, now that the end of summer is near, so this is a good time to get one if you been thinking along those lines, but have hesitated, wondering how much you will really use it.  If you would like to try these, but don’t have a popsicle mold you might try pouring the mixture into paper cups.  Put them on a tray or in a small baking pan and freeze them.  When they are partially frozen, insert the sticks, and continue with freezing until firm.  To eat, just peel away the paper cup, or run the cup under hot water briefly until it slips off.

PEACHES AND CREAM POPSICLES

Yield:   depends on size of molds.  I got 8 with mine.IMG_4600

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium, ripe peaches
  • 1/2 cup 2 % Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sugar, or your favorite sweetener
  • 1/3 cup  vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp, almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt.

Directions:

1.  Halve and pit the peaches.  Cut  into rough chunks and place in the blender container.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.

3,  Divide the mixture evenly into the popsicle molds, or disposable paper or plastic cups.  Insert the sticks and freeze until solid, at least 5 to 6 hours.

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SOURCE:  a  Carolyn Original

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Here it is Theme Thursday, and I have another recipe for you that makes use of zucchini, this time in a slightly different way.  These little bites of zucchini with  pizza toppings  treat the zucchini like the crust of your favorite pizza so there are fewer calories because you’ve eliminated the carbs!   Small enough for just a bite or two they could be appetizers, snacks, something to go with soup or a salad, just about any way you want to use them.  They are gluten-free , low cal, and perfect for a meatless meal.

So cute, and you can enjoy them guilt-free.

So cute, and you can enjoy them guilt-free.

If you have a big zucchini to use, slice it straight across and get fairly large rounds,  if you have a smaller zucchini, cut it on the diagonal for large ovals.  Top them with some sauce, any kind of topping,  basil and melted cheese, or whatever you like on your pizza.  These are a must to try while zucchini is in season and plentiful.

ZUCCHINI PIZZA BITES

Yield:   Quantities listed are for 1 serving.  Increase as desired to make more.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices large zucchini, 1/4-inch thick ( or 1 medium zucchini, cut on the diagonal)
  • olive oil, or olive oil spray
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup crumbled, cooked sausage, or other toppings
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions:

1.  Cut zucchini about 1/4-inch thick.  Brush or spray both sides lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cut zucchini into circles or ovals about 1/4-inch thick.

Cut zucchini into circles or ovals about 1/4-inch thick.

2.  Broil or grill the zucchini for about 2 minutes on each side.  Top with sauce, topping of choice and cheese and broil for an additional minute or two.  Be careful not to burn the cheese.

The ones that are pictured here are topped with fried peppers and onions and some have crumbles of sausage on them.  I’ve also made them with a slice of pepperoni.  All equally good.  You can’t go wrong with these.

So cute, and you can enjoy them guilt-free.

So cute, and you can enjoy them guilt-free.

SOURCE:   slightly adapted from Skinny Taste

Biscoff Swirl Brownies

Biscoff-swirl Brownies

Biscoff-swirl Brownies

I try not to have an open jar of Biscoff in my cupboard, because it takes all the willpower I can muster not to sneak a little spoonful every time I pass by.  And knowing me one small taste is usually not enough,  so I absolutely had to use up that open jar in some way.   That’s how this recipe for Biscoff swirled into fudge brownies happened.

These are not going to last long!

These are not going to last long!

Not familiar with this yummy treat?   This spread, besides being totally delicious, is vegan, nut-free, produced in a nut-free facility and has no cholesterol or trans-fats in it.  It’s great on toast,  or in a sandwich, in place of peanut-butter.  I use it to jazz up lots of things, but when I decided to swirl some into my favorite brownie recipe, I’m not kidding when I say it took them over the top.  They taste as amazing as they look.

Fudgy, chewy, a little decadent!

Fudgy, chewy, a little decadent!

While I prefer to serve them while they are still slightly warm, so the cookie butter will still be warm and gooey, they’re still every bit as mouth-watering when they’re completely cooled.  But don’t take my word for it, you must try them for yourself.

BISCOFF SWIRL BROWNIES

Yield:   Makes about 16 squaresIMG_4776

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff Spread, melted

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a square 8×8, or 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray with a good coating of pan spray.

2.  Melt the butter on the stove top or microwave .  Whisk in sugar, salt and cocoa powder, and then stir in the vanilla extract.

3.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs well, and then whisk in the chocolate mixture until well combined.

4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder until well combined.  Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until just combined.

5.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Melt the Bixcoff Spread in the microwave and  drizzle over the top of the brownie batter.  Use a clean knife to swirl the Biscoff into the batter.

Pour biscoff on top and swirl into brownie batter with a knife.

Pour Biscoff on top and swirl into brownie batter with a knife.

6.  Bake at 350*F for 30 -35 minutes.  Cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

You know you want one ( or two)!!!

You know you want one ( or two)!!!

SOURCE:    Carolyn’s Originals