Rosemary’s Banana Bread

I saw a meme on Facebook joking about how everyone is baking banana bread during Quarantine.  But you know what? It’s no joking matter… banana bread is a DELICIOUS way to start the day and a VERY practical way to use up those three sad-looking bananas that have been sitting on the counter all week!

(I really thought I was going to eat a banana as a snack but it turns out I prefer oreos.)

This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Rosemary, who gave us a cute little box filled with copies of her favorite recipes several years ago. This box is also the source of Aunt Eileen’s Curry and many other delicious breads, sides and desserts that haven’t made their way onto the blog yet.

Rosemary’s Banana Bread comes together in about 10 minutes.  I’ll stop typing this intro now before it takes more time to read the recipe than it does to make it!

Rosemary’s Banana Bread

You will need…
3 overripe Bananas
2 Eggs
2 cups (240g) All-Purpose Flour
¾ cup (149g) Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoons Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the eggs and beat. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine until a thick batter forms. Transfer batter to a greased loaf pan and bake for 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of loaf comes out clean.

Cool the bread in the pan on a rack until cool enough to handle, then remove from pan and allow the bread to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Enjoy banana bread for breakfast or in place of an oreo when you’re looking for a mid-afternoon snack.  😊

Whoopie Pies!

We’re home from Las Vegas so it’s time for more holiday recipe catch-up.  Next up on the list: homemade whoopie pies!

Whoopie Pies

We spent the last hours of 2012 at a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza and Celebrity-Themed Potluck hosted by Kristen from Swig O Sunshine.  The rules of the potluck were simple: bring a dish with a celebrity-named twist.  Matt and I were determined to come up with a fun contribution and, after weeks of bouncing around ideas we chose Whoopi Goldberg Pies with Leonardo diCappucino Filling.  (We previously wanted to make Twice-Baked Channing Taters but the logistics of keeping cheesy ‘taters warm until midnight ultimately pushed us in the dessert direction instead!)  Other cleverly-named treats at the party included Guacy Balboa guacamole, Honey Brie-Brie baked brie, Brad Pittzelle cookies (with and without Jennifer Anise-ton!), Bernie Mac and Cheese, and several Kevin Bacon-themed goodies.

This was our first attempt at making whoopie pies but, thanks to the classic recipes in this whoopie-filled cookbook they turned out great!  We followed the recipe exactly (right down to using vegetable shortening instead of butter in the filling) and then we added the necessary diCappucino flair with some powered instant cappucino.  The instant cappucino didn’t have a super strong flavor so if we were going to make the coffee-flavored filling again we might try instant espresso instead for a little more kick.

I made this sign to go along with our 'whoopi' pies at the potluck dinner.

I used cartoon faces and photoshop to make a sign that illustrated the celebrities that inspired this dessert at the potluck dinner.

Whoopi Goldberg Pies with Leonardo diCappucino Filling (from Whoopie Pies)

Ingredients for the Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie…
1 2/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
1 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar (we used Dark Muscovado Sugar)
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Milk

Ingredients for the Classic Marshmallow Filling…
1 1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening
1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract (to turn this into “diCappuncino” filling, substitute in 1 tablespoon Instant Espresso that’s been dissolved into 1 tablespoon warm water instead of the vanilla)

To make the pies, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  In a stand mixer, combine the butter, shortening, and brown sugar on low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.

Slowly add the flour mixture and the milk and and mix on low to thoroughly combine.  Scrap a spatula down the sides of the bowl to loosen any dry ingredients and then beat until completely combined.  Use a spoon to drop batter in 1 or 2 tablespoon increments 2 or 3 inches apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  (We used 2-tbsp scoops which resulted in about 26 3.5″ pie halves; go smaller for more but just be consistent since they’ll need to fit together later!)  Bake the pies on the center rack of a preheated 375° oven for about 10 minutes for 1 tbsp pies or 12-13 minutes for 2 tbsp pies.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to racks to cool.

Whoopie Pies ready for filling

To make the filling, beat together the marshmallow fluff and vegetable shortening for approximately 3 minutes.  Start on low speed and increase to medium until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla (or espresso!) and mix until incorporated.  Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is fluffy.

Once the pies are completely cooled arrange them in pairs with one flat side facing up as shown in the above photo.  Place a generous amount of filling to the flat side of the pie by either spooning the filling on or using a pastry bag for a more polished look.  Top the filled pies with the other pie halves and enjoy!

Whoopie Pies 2

Rainy Day Cupcakes

It has been raining all day (2.12″ worth of rain so far!) so I haven’t been able to do much in the yard besides watch the grass seed we planted last weekend wash away.  Oh well!  I decided to make the most of being stuck inside by tackling a cupcake recipe.

Baking is not my strong point and we’ve had more than one frosting recipe go awry, so I was delighted when these cupcakes turned out exactly right!  The frosting is light and fluffy and the cakes puffed up nicely in the oven.

As you’ll notice, most of my photos are rather dark.  Believe it or not, I was actually taking the photos by a big window at 4:00 in the afternoon but it’s so dark out that these look like night shots.  I think the dark shadows convey the mood of the day pretty well.  Oh, and I also listened to Johnny Cash the entire time I made these so he added a bit of moodiness as well.  🙂

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting  (from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)

You will need:
For the cupcakes…
1 1/2 cups Self-Rising Flour
1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2 cups Sugar
4 Eggs, at room temperature
1 cup 2% Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For the frosting…
3 sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons 2% Milk
9 ounces Semisweet Chocolate
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar

Combine the two flours in a small bowl and combine the milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup.  Set both mixtures aside.

In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth.  Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture in three parts, alternating between flour and milk and beating  between each flour-milk addition.  Do not overbeat.  Use a silicone spatula to scrape the batter off of the sides of the bowl and make sure that all of the ingredients are well mixed.

Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins and fill each cupcake liner approximately 3/4 full.  In my case, this yielded 20 cupcakes.  I only have one muffin pan so I did a batch of 12 first and then a batch of 8.  Place the muffin pan on the center rack of a preheated 350° oven and cook for approximately 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool the cupcakes completely before icing.

For the frosting, start by melting the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.  When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to lukewarm before adding it to your frosting mixture.

I finally got to use the double boiler that my brother got me for Christmas!

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, approximately 3 minutes.  Add the milk and beat until smooth (watch out, it splatters!!).  Add the melted chocolate and beat for approximately 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla and beat for another 3 minutes.  Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.

My first successful frosting! (There have been many failures before this..!)

To frost my cupcakes, I transferred the frosting into a large resealable gallon bag and snipped about 3/4″ off of one of the corners.  I squeezed the frosting out onto each cupcake and then used a knife to spread the frosting evenly over the cake.

What do you do on a rainy Sunday when you can’t go outside?  Please share!  🙂