Thursday, May 27, 2010

Honey Pecan Banana Bread

When my husband and I first married I could make one thing...banana bread.  No joke, my tuna was horrible, hot dogs were deadly and remind me to tell you about the time I accidentally par-cooked a frozen steak with the pilot light.  It is safe to say that cooking was not the reason Hubby married me.  Banana bread though I could rock!  I have played around with different types since I started making it and this is by far my favorite one.  I love the addition of honey and the delicate crunch of pecans.  This is amazing sliced up or heavenly as french toast.  *groan*  No matter how you eat it you will love it.

Start with a stick of room temperature butter (unsalted) and mix it with 2/3 cup of sugar.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon ginger.  Once this is mixed well add 1 egg and 2-3 tablespoons honey.  I add more because I love honey, if you don't care for it you could omit it but try it once with honey because it adds a wonderful subtle flavor.  Next add 2 medium bananas that are mashed up (I use a potato masher).  *Note, if you bananas are not ripe enough mash them and leave them on the counter for 20 minutes, they will turn mushier.  To all this add 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 cups of flour.  Fold in 1 cup of roughly chopped pecans.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes  Just start checking after 45, mine usually takes about 54 minutes to cook but if it is more humid it may take a tad longer. 

Try to let this cool before slicing and if you are able to wait please email me and tell me how you did it because I am never able to wait.  As soon as my fingers can handle the heat I cut me off a hunk and slather it with honey butter.  The butter and honey melt and make this a true finger lickin' treat!

Honey Pecan Banana Bread

1/4c (1 stick) room temp. butter (unsalted)
2/3c sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2tbsp honey
2 medium bananas (mashed)
1 tsp. baking soda
2c flour
1c chopped pecans.

Cream butter and sugar.  Add cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla.  Add egg and honey.  Mix well.  Mash and mix in bananas.  Add baking soda and flour.  Fold in pecans.  Bake in 1 large or 3 small loaf pans in a 350 oven for 45-60 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!

Honey Butter

1/2 stick room temp butter (salted)
2 tbsp honey

Mix and slather on Honey Pecan Banana Bread.
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Cookies

My grandmother makes these for everything...I mean everything.  My brothers request these for their Christmas gift from her.  Now because I can't leave good enough alone I had to tweak the recipe some.  I love the additions I have made. 

Start with 3 cups of old fashioned oatmeal.  You can use the quick oats but to me they are a little more mushy, the old fashioned seem to hold shape better.  6 tablespoons of cocoa, yes I know it is a lot but trust me this is what makes it Good with a capital G.  1 cup coconut, you can use unsweetened or sweetened, whatever floats your boat.  1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon almond extract, 1 cup slivered almonds, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Mix all of this is a large bowl and set aside.  In a saucepan mix 2 cups sugar, 1/2 c shortening and 1/2 cup milk.  Mix and bring this to a rolling boil.  Then CAREFULLY pour the boiling mixture over the dry ingredients and stir.  Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto wax paper.  Let these sit 2-3 hours, then place in an airtight container.  I can not tell you how long these will keep because they never make it more than a few days in our house.  But this recipe makes a ton of them, I make sure to give at least half of them away.  If not then my husband would eat all of them...and I mean all. 

If you want a more chocolaty cookie you can add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the dry mixture.  If you are not a fan of almonds you can either substitute them or remove them all together.  No matter how you mix it up, this is a good, easy cookie.

Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Cookies

3c old fashioned oatmeal
6tb cocoa
1c coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
1c slivered almonds

Mix and set aside.

2c sugar
1/2c shortening
1/2c milk

Bring to a boil and pour over dry ingredients.  Drop by spoonful onto wax paper and let harden for a few hours.  Eat, sigh, enjoy, repeat.

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