A Vacation In a Loaf Pan

It’s cold and snowing here today. Really more snaining, which is worse than if it was just snowing. The kids have found all the toys that make the most noise and seem to be playing with them simultaneously. I need a vacation to some place warm and by an ocean as of yesterday but it’s not going to happen. This bread is about as good as I can do today. I may or may not be inhaling the bottle of coconut extract and sucking on limes as I type this.

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Disclaimer: This bread is NOT healthy. It has sugar and butter. Lots of it. And eggs. It is not gluten free, it doesn’t even have whole wheat flour. I suppose you could use half whole wheat flour and throw in some flaxseed or something, but for your mental health, please don’t. Enjoy with a drink that is heavy on the rum and pineapple while listening to Jimmy Buffett. Or this right here.

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Coconut Banana Bread

2 1/2 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 c white sugar

1/3 c brown sugar

1 stick of butter, softened or melted

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp coconut extract

3 ripe bananas, mashed. About 1 c.

1 c coconut milk

1/2 c (4oz) cream of coconut

1 c sweetened flake coconut

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray your loaf pan with cooking spray.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together butter and sugars with a wooden spoon. Beat in eggs. Stir in vanilla and coconut extracts and cream of coconut. Mix in mashed banana and coconut milk.

Alternate mixing wet and dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in flaked coconut and pour into pan. Bake until done in the center. Let cool slightly and glaze.

 

Lime Glaze

1/2 c powdered sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice

zest of lime

 

 

 

 

Chewy Granola Bars

Do you go through boxes of granola bars at your house? We do. Our supply has been out for a few days. Evelyn keeps asking for one but I have to tell her we don’t have any. When you tell her we are out of something she cocks her head to one side and gently nods, squidges up her nose and eyes and, in a voice with the sadness and concern one might use to tell a car accident victim that they survived the crash but their passenger did not, says “Yeah. we need to get some at the store.” You think she is on the verge of tears but then she starts scrounging around for some lipgloss to wear for the outing to get the needed provisions.

Anyway. I decided to make my own granola bars yesterday. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. They are awesome and easy. Yes, there is quite a bit of sugar and butter in them but at least I know what’s in them. I put in wheat germ and flax seed (I add this to almost everything I cook, I love it so!), but you can skip these if you’d like. You could get all fancy with them by adding nuts or dried fruits, but I chose to do chocolate chips on top because that is what my kids demand. I might try some cinnamon raisin bars next time. Which could be tomorrow.

Chewy Granola Bars

Makes about 18 3-inch bars

Ingredients

  • 4 cups quick cook oats
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed meal
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Prepare a jelly roll pan by lightly coating with non-stick spray.

Mix together oats, cereal, flax seed, and wheat germ in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan melt down the butter, brown sugar, and honey over medium heat until it begins to get bubbly. Cook over low for two additional minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla (watch this step, as it can foam up- hence the bigger pan).

Immediately pour the mixture over the dry oats and cereal mixture. Mix until all ingredients are coated and everything is sticky. Dump this out onto the jelly roll pan. Pack the mixture tightly with your hands (this can be a little warm, so move quickly) until the bars are about an inch thick. This probably means that your bars will only cover half your pan, but you want to pack everything really tightly. This is when I sprinkled some mini chocolate chips on top and lightly pressed them in.

Allow to cool at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator. Cut into bars, wrap with plastic wrap, and store in an airtight container.

 

Macarons!

 

Look at what I made!  I know these little French beauties have been the obsession on blogs for a while now, but I didn’t have the courage to try making them.  So I sat and admired everyone else’s macarons.  The beautiful colors and the tempting fillings became too much.  I got tired of admiring and wanted to eat so in December I poured over recipes and found my courage by reading Tartlette’s instructions.  My macarons turned out perfectly.  The stack pictured are clementine with chocolate ganache filling.  I also made chocolate with salted butter caramel filling but those didn’t stick around long enough for pictures.

I must admit, macarons are a little fussy but if you stay calm they are very simple to make.  One of the things I would like to do this year is to try cooking or baking at least two new things a month.  Having accomplished making the fragile macaron has definitely set me off on the right foot.

Good Weekend

Such a nice holiday.  Very busy.  Olive and I drove out to the Sauey House on Thursday and had turkey lunch.  (Scott had to work and couldn’t join us until Saturday.)

Gretchen, Momma, and I spent most of the afternoon decorating cookies for my baby shower.

 

Squirrels and baby shoes of course.  The shower was on Saturday and it was so wonderful to see everyone.  Thank you for sharing a part of your weekend with me and for all the adorable gifts!  I can’t wait for this little girl to meet you all.  Thanks especially to Momma for having The shower at your house- it meant a lot to me.

Now it is December 1st and with it has come a layer of snow and quiet excitement.  I am in full nesting mode and I want to get all those little sweaters and booties knitted up.  The paint is here, the crib should be coming shortly, and I have lots of cute clothes to wash and put away.  It feels like it won’t be long now.

Cookie Dough Bars

My cousin Clarissa had made these one year for her little boy’s birthday party and they were so good.  I made them last week to take to work and they were all gone by the end of night.  The recipe is from Taste of Home’s Dessert Lovers Cookbook but I’ll share it with you because a good bar recipe shouldn’t be kept secret.

Cookie Dough Fudge Brownies

Brownie Layer: 

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. 

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Cool slightly.  In another bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Stir in melted chocolate.  Combine flour and baking soda then add to batter.  Stir in walnuts.

Spread the batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool.

Cookie Dough Layer:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbls milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together butter and both sugars.  Mix in vanilla and milk.  Gradually add in flour then stir in chocolate chips.  Drop spoonfuls of dough onto cooled brownie layer then spread evenly.  Cut into squares and eat.

These need to be stored in the refrigerator.  You might want to explain to your husband that the dough stays soft on the top and does not become a brownie/cookie super duo, so when you offer him a bite of the finished product he doesn’t look at it and ask “Are you sure you cooked it long enough?  it’s still doughy.”

Enjoy!