Streusel Topped Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Streusel Topped Chocolate Chip Banana Bread 3

I would apologize for having been gone so long, but you’ve all heard it before. I’ve become like that straying spouse that says for the 12th time, “I promise; it won’t happen again! Trust me!” and then they step out on you again 😛 I do what I can post wise lately and I know that those of you who have been around for pretty much my full five years (Yes! We passed the five year mark early this month. D’you believe it!?) love me anyway.

Are you all as totally sick as me of all the political crap on facebook anymore? I love my friends, but I swear, I can’t scroll half an inch there without being bombarded with “Democrats are evil; no, Republicans are evil!” posts. It is enough to make one want to go live on a deserted island in the south pacific with only a banana tree for food and a macaw for company.  Wait; I wanted to do that anyway. I mean, really, think about it. Bananas are a perfectly good food to live off of (though if I wanted protein, I imagine my buddy the macaw would start looking tasty hehe) and you can’t beat a nice sunny tropical island. Just send me with a few crates of books and a way to play music and it’s all good.

This wasn’t originally going to be a post, but it was too tasty to keep to myself. It’s nothing earth shaking. I was making my original banana bread and I noticed that I had a partial bag of chocolate chips I needed to use up. Then, when I glanced in the freezer for something else, I saw my stored bag of streusel. The two brain cells I have left decided to use both of these things in the bread. I have to say, it’s really quite good. I added a layer of streusel to the middle of each loaf along with a small handful of chocolate chips, then topped each loaf with more of the same. Simple, yet delicious. I sent some in with Joshie for his teacher today and she texted me saying it was fantastic. I soooo love when people enjoy what I’ve made. 🙂

This is a perfect after school snack, great with coffee for a quick and somewhat decadent breakfast (but it has bananas! It must be good for you, right?!), a nice late night treat; just an all around nice baked good to have around. And, as as in the case for most quick breads, this is easy to throw together and get in the oven.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Streusel Topped Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup solid shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups of mashed bananas (this is about 5 to 6 medium bananas)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon banana flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring (optional, but it adds a nice flavor)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (toast in a single layer in a 350 oven until they are a light golden brown)
  • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • Streusel-
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (optional; with me, nuts in streusel depends on my mood)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Grease 6 mini disposable foil loaf pans and set aside. Alternately, you can do this in a 9 inch loaf pan, but you’ll have extra that you’ll need to make muffins with.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, on low speed, cream together the shortening and the sugar until well combined. Add in the mashed bananas, vanilla, banana and butter flavorings and eggs. Beat well.
  4. Dump in the flour mixture and using a large spoon or rubber spatula, combine JUST until mixed. It’s fine if there are a few lumps or white streaks. I have said before and will say again, you do NOT want to over beat quick breads and/or muffins. You end up with tough rubbery final products doing that. Resist that urge.
  5. Fold in the toasted walnuts. Again; don’t over mix.
  6. Fill each mini loaf pan about half full. Sprinkle with about 2 heaping tablespoons of the streusel and then about a tablespoon of the chocolate chips. Divide the rest of the batter evenly over each loaf, carefully smoothing the top to get it over the streusel. Top each loaf with another 2 tablespoons of streusel and some chocolate chips. If you have streusel left over, it freezes wonderfully.
  7. Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean  If this starts to brown too much, just lay a piece of foil over the top as it bakes.
  8. Let it sit in the pan for ten minutes, then gently squeeze the bottom of the pan to loosen the loaf and turn it out carefully to a rack to finish cooling.

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Streusel Topped Chocolate Chip Banana Bread 5

 

My favorite Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies & A Hamilton Beach Giveaway!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

It’s time for me to get to enjoy being a Hamilton Beach Ambassador one more time! I always love when I get the chance to share my thoughts on one of their products with you, and I especially love getting to give away whatever that product is to one of you! So, what do we have to talk about today? The most recent thing the lovely people at Hamilton Beach sent to me is their Easy Reach 4 Slice Toaster Oven .

4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door

4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door

This toaster oven is so darn cute! Yes, I just called a toaster oven cute. But really, it is.31334 Other women will understand it, while men will just shake their heads and assume I’m insane; rather like my husband does when I say that those teeny tiny mini sized bottles of ketchup are cute. Inside, this oven is only a wee bit smaller seeming than the typical toaster oven. What makes it seems tinier is it’s lack of bulk. You have a glass door on the front that rolls up rather than opens downward. This has a pro and a con. It makes it easier to get into the oven without worrying about the door getting in your way as you pull things out. BUT… and this is again something most women will “get”; it also means that you can’t set any sort of knick knacks or decorations on top of this oven. On my old one, I kept the cup that held all the keys, my ceramic cow named Herman (don’t ask) and a knick knack that once belonged to my mother in law. With this one, I can’t do that due to the roll top door.
But it makes up for it in other ways. The Hamilton Beach 4 Slice goes from 200 degrees all the way up to 450 degrees. Beyond toasting, you have the already mentioned bake function, plus a broil one. I can see THAT one working great for melting the cheese on top of something or crisping up a food; making burgers.

Did I mention that the door was removable? Can we say “easy cleanup”?! Unlike ones where you end up with a door so splattered and icky that you can’t see through it, with this one, after each use, just take the door off, wash it up, dry it and put it back on. No mess! 31334-04 This comes with a removable rack that can be used in two different positions and a crumb tray that isn’t attached inside, so you can pull it out easily and clean it off.
My old toaster oven? I was afraid to actually COOK anything in it. I used it for toast and frozen pizzas and that was about it. But I knew if I was going to be able to accurately review this for you, I needed to branch out a little. I thought about homemade pizza, then realized that was still hedging my bets; pizza is pizza when it comes to baking. So I finally decided to make one of my family’s favorite cookies; my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies. This cookie isn’t cheap to make generally, so I was counting on this oven to do it correctly and not end up burning the tops or the bottoms like other ones have done. So I took a deep breath and dived in.
IT WORKED!! The cookies came out looking just like they should, though they seemed to finish baking about a minute and a half quicker. Obviously, you can’t fit a full sized tray of cookies in there, but the oven comes with a tray and that tray fits four cookies just fine. If made smaller, you could fit six, but I like generously sized cookies 😀 My sons got a hold of the cookies (I only got ONE cookie! Darn kids!) before I got a photo (I had only made a half batch) so the photo I am using here is my old one, but trust me, there was no difference in the cookies.
As for the cookies themselves, if you haven’t tried these before, now’s your chance! These cookies are awesome, if I do say so myself, hehe. They are ooey gooey, with a slight nutty flavor from the browned butter, but no actual pesky nuts. They have that wonderful soft middle with the crispy edge. You could make a half batch like I did and have enough for the here and now, or make the full batch of dough, freeze half in cookie sized balls, then bake in the toaster oven anytime you get a craving. You can bake straight from frozen; just add a couple of minutes time on.

                         Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned to a golden brown color & cooled
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag Heath Bar toffee chips (or 4 Heath bars, crushed)

 

  1. To brown the butter, in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Let cook,stirring frequently, until it turns a golden brown color. This can take anywhere from five to ten minutes. It will sputter, spit and foam a lot at first then that will stop. Do NOT walk away from this as it can go from yellowish butter to burnt garbage very quickly.
  2. Pour the browned butter into a large bowl, leaving behind all the solid bits at the bottom of the pot (though if you get some in there it’s no big deal. Don’t worry about it.). Let cool.
  3. When cool, pour both kinds of sugar into the bowl with the butter. Beat until well mixed.
  4. Add in the egg and egg yolk, then pour in the vanilla and the cream. Beat on low speed until well mixed.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and at slow speed (unless you want to be covered in flying flour), mix until you have a cohesive cookie dough.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips and the toffee bits.
  8. Now you can chill for about an hour if you want. The original recipe says to but I didn’t bother and they were fine.
  9. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. If you don’t have a silicone mat, please go buy one. They aren’t cheap but oh my, they’re worth it. Trust me on this. The first time you use it, you’ll totally understand. Spray the cookie sheet with baking spray.
  10. Scoop the cookies up and place about 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheet.
  11. Bake at 350 until golden brown on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do NOT over bake or they will lose that delicious softness and gooeyness (yes, that is now a word). They should be firm on top if you press one lightly but not hard.
  12. Let cool for a minute on the sheet then transfer over to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Now for the fun part; the giveaway! Enter below for your chance (chances) to win one of these Hamilton Beach 4 Slice Toaster Ovens for yourself!

[promosimple id=”95f8″]

Disclosure-The lovely people at Hamilton Beach provided me with a 4 Slice Easy Reach Toaster Oven With Roll Top Door to review, but all opinions are 100% my own and completely honest.

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

I have a writing pad that I write recipe ideas in. It’s totally not pretty; just a typical notepad. Half the things in it are so scribbled that I’m the only one that can read them. My writing is atrocious at the best of times (leftie here!), but when I get an idea for something at 3am (yes, this is a curse of food blogging), it is even worse. When I finally try to create what my mind thought up in the throes of sleep, it gets crossed off of the list. The list, however, is NEVER going to get finished, because I keep adding to it. One of the things that was in there for ages was to try to recreate one of my favorite dishes, which is chicken cordon bleu, as a pasta dish. I love it the regular way, but it’s such a pain in the tush to make; pound the chicken down, roll it up with the ham and cheese, get it breaded, fry it, and then do the clean up. Ugh.

So, while I realize it’s not new; you can find 50,000 versions of this online, this is MY version of a chicken cordon bleu pasta. My family really enjoyed this one. It made a pretty full pan of pasta, but other than a little bit my husband took to lunch the next day, it ALL got eaten. Of course, I live with all males, two of whom are 19 and 21, but still…

This turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. Tender pasta filled with chunks of ham, slices of chicken (I cheated and use the packaged slices; SO much easier!), all in an ultra creamy Swiss and Gruyere cheese sauce with a little bit of peas mixed in for color and to convince myself that this is chock full of nutrition instead of fat and calories. 😀  So, so delicious!

You know the drill… 🙂

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

  • 10 ounces of your favorite pasta (I used fusilli just cause they are a fun shape), cooked and drained (reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water just in case you need to thin the sauce) and poured into a large bowl or pot
  • 16 ounces cooked, cubed ham
  • 12 ounces cooked, sliced chicken breast (I cheated and used the prepackaged slices in the lunch meat/deli area of the grocery store)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (leave them sit out for ten minutes… they’ll be thawed enough)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 3/4 cup milk (I used whole. I don’t suggest trying this with skim or 1%)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded and combined with
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded, and
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (the REAL stuff, not the cheap canned type)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (taste the sauce before adding salt. Some Parmesan can be pretty salty and you may not need as much or even any at all)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an oven safe pan or medium sized dutch oven. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepot, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Slowly whisk in the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. When you have all the milk in, switch over to a spoon or rubber spatula and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, JUST until the mixture comes to a light boil.
  3. Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the milk mixture into the beaten eggs. You’re trying to temper the eggs (heat them up slowly) so that they don’t scramble when added back into the rest of the milk. Once the full cup of milk has been whisked into the eggs, slowly pour the eggs back into the milk mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for about a minute.
  4. Pull out 1/2 cup of the mixed cheeses and reserve to top the pasta with. Dump the rest of the combined cheese into the milk and stir constantly, until melted. Take the pot off of the heat and stir in the dill weed, Dijon mustard and black pepper. Taste for saltiness and then add the salt if needed.
  5. Dump the ham, chicken and peas over the reserved pasta and stir. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture and stir to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it down.
  6. Spoon the pasta into the prepared pan or dutch oven and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Sprinkle with a little extra dill weed, if desired.
  7. Bake at 350 just until heated through and slightly bubbly around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

 

 

 

Herbed Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

I have whined more than once about how much I dislike carrots. But it bears saying again. I don’t like carrots. Though for a woman who doesn’t like carrots, I have a fair amount of recipes that incorporate them, don’t I? If this doesn’t show my love for you carrot loving weirdos, I don’t know what does. But did I ever mention that I’m not a huge potato fan, either? I like french fries, and I love roasted potatoes, but I’m not much on mashed or baked. In other words, if it has been made crispy, I’m cool with it. Crispy for the win! *does a cheer, breaks hip*

That said, I have a major thing for roasted veggies. Roasting even makes carrots taste good. 😛 Seriously though, if you have anyone in your family who isn’t fond of veggies, try this recipe. With roasting, you get crispiness and the roasting process makes them sweeter and takes away any bitter edge some vegetables can have. The following is my family’s absolute favorite way of making them. You have the main part, which is the potatoes and carrots, all flavored with onions, shallots, garlic, salt and herbs. So, so good. This is perfect with a roast, with baked chicken, heck, with pretty much anything. Plus, it works for a special dinner too, not just a family one. The combo of vegetables and herbs never fails to get gobbled up.  And this recipe is totally variable in amounts or type of veggie, too. Feeding more people? Double up into two pans with extra vegetables. Feeding less? Same thing. Like turnips or rutabagas? Cut some up and toss them in there.

You know the drill… get to cooking! 🙂

Herb Roasted Potatoes And Root Vegetables

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 lbs baby potatoes, washed, dried and cut in half
  • 1 lb carrots, cut into chunks (you can also just use baby carrots)
  • 1 large onion, chunked
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 4 cloves minced garlic ( I have also been known to keep the garlic whole (peeled), and roast it that way. It get caramelized and soft and oh so good)
  • 1 tablespoon Herbes De Provence (easily found in the spice aisle of any decent grocery store)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or amount desired
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper)
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Combine the potatoes, carrots, onion, shallots and garlic in a large bowl. Drizzle the oil over it all and use your hands to give it all a good stir, making sure to get everything coated in oil. Dump in the pan and turn all the potatoes so that the cut edge is on bottom (gets them crisper that way) Sprinkle everything with the salt, pepper and Herbes De Provence.
  3. Roast at 425 for between 30 to 40 minutes, or until everything is tender and the potatoes have nicely browned on bottom. Taste for salt and serve.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.