B is for Banana Bread

This recipe came out of a children’s alphabet cookbook, sponsored by Gold Medal flour, I think. I wish I had the original book to show you the lovely illustration of monkeys eating bananas while dangling off the letter B that accompanied this recipe, but I do not.

I learned to make this recipe with my mom when I was little. It’s incredibly easy and always delightful.

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1.5 cup mashed bananas (3 large)

3/4 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce)

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped nuts (or chocolate chips)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Grease a loaf pan, either 9x5x3 or 8.5×4.5×2.5.

3. Mix sugar, bananas, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into pan.

4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then loosen sides of loaf from pan and remove from pan. Let cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.

What did I tell you? Super easy, super delicious!

 

You know you love baking TOO much when…

This conversation happens on Facebook chat:

Friend: just pulled oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from the oven 🙂
Me: whaaaaaaat
are they coming to work? damn you! I’m making muffins for the client meeting!
you can’t upstage my muffins!
 
Yes, I was genuinely concerned that he was going to “upstage my muffins.”
 
What does that even mean? Who worries about their baked goods being upstaged???
 
I hope someone else reading this does…
 
 

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I’ve been busy making messes in my kitchen and I’m ready to show you the fruits of my labor! (‘Fruits of my labor’ pun intended, as all the following recipes involve lemons.)

Last weekend I decided I wanted to try out lemon bar cupcakes. In my head, this seemed like a good idea and I found several blogs where other people had tried it. The recipe I followed is from BakeBakeBake.

Here’s  a shot of the mini cupcakes I made (before I frosted them). You can kind of see the layer of lemon in between the shortbread and cupcake.

Verdict? The combination of flavors was great, but I wished I had made the lemon bar filling layer thicker with less cupcake on top. I think that would have made the flavors pop more.

Oh, and never make mini cupcakes. You can’t stop popping those little bite size morsels into your mouth!

I also tried my hand at lemon pudding filled cupcakes that weekend, too. I liked the idea, but did not like the boxed lemon pudding that I used to fill them.

Which leads me to the big kahuna of this post…Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.

My colleague had asked me to help her out with her daughter’s graduation party. I instantly offered to make cupcakes. I’m on a total cupcake kick. She wanted something lemon to represent the high school’s colors of blue and gold, and something with purple frosting to represent her daughter’s college’s colors of purple and white.

For the cupcakes, I followed this fabulous recipe from Bakerita.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Stir together buttermilk and lemon juice. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.

Love me some KitchenAid action…

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. Let cool for about 3-5 minutes in the pan and then move the cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

It was fate when I found these adorable blue cupcake liners at Hobby Lobby.

So perfect for the blue and gold theme of the cupcakes!

For the Lemon Curd

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

1. Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes (mine ended up taking about 12 minutes), or until it registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

2. Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

To Prepare the Cupcakes

To finish, make a hole in the center of the cupcake with either a cupcake corer or a knife (here is a tutorial). Spoon lemon curd into the center of each cupcake. Frost & decorate as you wish.

Hello, adorable little army of cupcakes. I also found gold cupcakes liners, so I did half and half and made little cupcake toppers!

If you click on over to her blog you’ll find instructions for a whipped meringue frosting. I didn’t make it – I don’t have a “small kitchen blowtorch” and it said to serve immediately after torching the frosting and I was making these hours in advance. I made a lemon buttercream frosting instead (Food.com is great because it calculates how much frosting you need to make to frost x amount of cupcakes – you type in the amount and it adjusts the recipe!).

I snapped this shot with my phone of the cupcakes on the table on the party. People loved them. Some crotchety older woman even said they were better than the store bought cake. WIN.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chocolate Cupcakes

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This can only turn out amazing, right?
RIGHT.
Chocolate cupcakes with cookie dough centers. Amazing.
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The frosting is even cookie dough flavored.
LOVE.
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Hello beautiful.
The recipe is from Recipe Girl. Click on over and check it out.
My suggestions: Make the cookie dough (it’s egg-less, ps) the night before and freeze overnight. It eliminates one step the next night (and these are labor-intensive!) and ensures your cookie dough center will not bake and turn into a cookie center. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but I was going for a cookie dough feeling.
I think this idea would lend itself to several variations: Peanut butter cookie dough in the middle (which my friend Erin tried out), White cake with chocolate chip cookie dough centers, White cake with snickerdoodle centers, etc.
Happy baking!