Roasted Banana Biscotti

Hi Friends! It’s been awhile. I’d been feeling a little zapped creatively and I just didn’t have it in me to update this site anymore. I know. I’m a bad blogger. I was putting far too much energy into a dead end job and some freelancing projects that were a real time suck. I’ve decided to simplify my life a bit and focus on the things that are actually important. Like this site and all of my lovely readers. I made the decision to go in a new direction with this blog. It will still be very recipe heavy, but will also include makeup reviews, simple DIYs, renter-friendly decor tips, and maybe a little gardening. I realized there are so many other things I’m passionate about and I wanted to share those with you. But for now, I have a killer roasted banana biscotti recipe for you, just in time for your Sunday morning coffee.

Roasted Banana Biscotti

Roasted Banana Biscotti

roasted bananas

Perfectly Roasted Bananas

Biscotti Log After Baking

Biscotti Log after baking, ready to be sliced.

Sliced Biscotti

Sliced Biscotti eagerly awaiting a ganache jacuzzi.

Roasted Banana Biscotti

Adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson

  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar (divided)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place whole, unpeeled banana on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast the banana for 15-20 minutes, or until the peel turns completely black. Allow the banana to cool until it can be easily handled. Once the banana is cooled, cut the stem off and and then split it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the fruit and mash. Set aside.
  2. Lower the heat to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Add flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, baking powder, and salt to a medium. bowl. Whisk thoroughly.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the roasted banana and one of the eggs.  Beat in the vanilla and molasses. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low, until a semi-stiff dough is formed.
  4. Shape the dough into a log that reaches the length of the pan and is about 2 inches wide. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon together. Brush the egg wash onto the biscotti log and dust with the cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake in the middle rack for 25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until the biscotti is golden brown and firm to the touch.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven, but keep it on if you prefer crisp biscotti. Allow the biscotti to cool until it can be handled easily. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 1/2 inch wide slices. Optional, but totally worth it: Put the biscotti cut side down onto a cookie sheet and bake for 7 more minutes for a firmer bite.
  7. Bring a medium pot filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. Put chocolate and butter into a heat proof bowl and place over the simmering water. Stir the chocolate as it melts. Once it is completely melted, whisk in heavy cream. Dip about half of the biscotti into the chocolate ganache.  Shake off excess chocolate and place onto a piece of parchment. Continue until all of the biscotti has been dipped. Allow the biscotti to cool completely at room temperature.
  8. Serve alongside a cup of coffee and good company. It will last for one week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Roasted Banana Biscotti

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Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

When I was 16, I asked for an ice cream maker for Christmas. My mother did not understand my crazy food obsession and told me that I wouldn’t be receiving one because it was “stupid and impractical”. Well last week, I bit the bullet and finally bought the ice cream maker of my dreams. To my surprise, my mom was thrilled about my newest purchase. I was bombarded with questions like, “What kind of ice cream are you making? When will it be ready? Can you put coconut in it?”. I obviously took every opportunity I could to remind her about the time she didn’t get me an ice cream maker for Christmas.

strawberries

Considering the fact that this was my first foray into homemade ice cream, I think it went pretty well. I did a fair amount of research beforehand and I gathered a few valuable tips.

  1. Always freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker for at least 24 hours beforehand.
  2. Use a strainer to remove any cooked egg bits from the ice cream base.
  3. Add a small amount of alcohol to the ice cream base before churning to improve scoopability.
  4. Use the freshest and highest quality ingredients you can find.
  5. Freeze the ice cream for a few hours after churning.

I was raised on Sherman’s ice cream from Michigan which is in my opinion, the best ice cream on the planet. I love creamy hard packed ice cream that you can only get at old fashioned ice cream shops, and that’s what you’ll get from this recipe. I love the perfect blend of luxurious vanilla flavor and bright strawberry freshness. I highly recommend buying strawberries from your local farmer’s market. You want the freshest berries you can get your hands on. The chocolate chips aren’t totally necessary, but they are a fun touch. Make this recipe for the Fourth and impress your friends and family.

ingredients best

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Adapted From The Pioneer Woman
Serves 16


Ingredients

  • 3 cups Half-and-half
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 whole Vanilla Bean (or 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract)
  • 9 whole Large Egg Yolks
  • 3 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 pound Strawberries, Hulled
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 T vodka
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips

1. Stir together the half-and-half and 2 cups sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the beans, and add it to the mixture (or add the vanilla extract.) Heat the mixture until it’s hot but not simmering or boiling. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks vigorously with a whisk until they start to lighten in color, about 2 minutes.

2. Next, grab a ladle of the hot half-and-half mixture and very slowly drizzle it into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. (The purpose of this is to temper the egg yolks and bring them to a good temperature before adding them to the pan.) Repeat with a second ladle of hot half-and-half mixture, making sure to whisk the whole time.Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan with the rest of the half and half mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon for 2 to 4 minutes, cooking it slowly until it’s thick enough to coat the spoon. Pour the thick liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean bowl. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate this mixture for 2 hours, or until chilled.

3. Combine the strawberries, 3 tablespoons of vodka, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a blender. Puree until smooth (or you can stop just short of smooth if you want a little texture.) Pour the pureed strawberries into the chilled custard mixture and stir.

4. Now pour this mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze it according to its directions (You may have to do it in two batches depending on its size). Add the chocolate chips, of using, 5 minutes before the mixture is finished churning. After it freezes, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for at least 4 hours, or until frozen firm.

5. Serve with strawberry garnish!

finished ice cream close up

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

If you’re not familiar with the delicious, yet terribly dangerous, concoction that is the Irish Car Bomb, I’m not sure if you should get acquainted. A traditional Irish Car Bomb consists of a shot glass filled with Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson that is then dropped in a nearly full glass of Guinness. The recipient must then chug the whole thing before it curdles. This usually results in a big foamy mess, but that’s part of the fun. If it wasn’t obvious yet, these drinks will really mess you up. My boyfriend has a lovely story about too many Car Bombs on his twenty-second birthday that I’m sure he would love to share with you all (sorry babe, I had to). They taste like the best mocha milkshake you’ve ever had, which makes them all the more dangerous. Luckily for you, I managed to put all of the booze, and none of the pain, in a heavenly cupcake just in time for St.Patty’s day.

ingredients 1

I should warn you, this recipe calls for a lot of alcohol that isn’t exactly cheap. However, don’t be intimidated! When I went to my local grocery store, I was able to buy a single can of Guinness and knock off Bailey’s. Since whiskey isn’t my libation of choice, I went to the liquor store and bought a mini whiskey and saved a lot of money. But if you have a bar fully stocked with all of the necessary alcohols, then you have no excuse not to make them!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

  •  1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting

  • 3 to 4 cups confections sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (you can also use Irish cream flavored coffee creamer)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer (I used the round end of a large piping tip) and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

cut out

That’s what I used to core the cupcakes for the ganache.

IMG_3687

filling

Enjoy these festive treats! I hope you have a fun, and safe, St. Patty’s Day!

American Hustle Themed Oscar Party

I’ve always said that if I didn’t pursue a career in hospitality, then I would work in the entertainment industry. I absolutely love TV and movies, almost as much as I love food. I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that I’m completely obsessed with The Academy Awards. I follow the oscar race the same way that most people follow football. Oscar night is the equivalent of The Superbowl to me.

This year’s Best Picture race is one of the best I’ve seen in years. I’ve seen every single nominated film and they are all so good. This post is inspired by the pivotal dinner scene in American Hustle when Carmine talks about the “Chicken picatta from heaven”.

 When I worked for a catering company, the chicken picatta was one of our top sellers. This is the same recipe we used and it really is “chicken picatta from heaven”. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy name and impressive looks, this recipe is terribly easy and comes together surprisingly quick. You’ll have it hot and ready by the time the red carpet pre-show is over.

ingredients

Chicken Picatta from Heaven with Old-School Garlic Bread

Serves 4

Old-School Garlic Bread

Ingredients

1 Small Loaf of Fresh French Bread

1/4 c Fresh Parsley

1 c Freshly Grated Parmesan

1 tsp Garlic, Minced

2 Tbs Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Slice bread in half lengthwise. Mix the olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. Pour over each half evenly. Sprinkle parmesan and parsley over each half.

2. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

garlic bread

Chicken Picatta

Ingredients

6 Chicken Breasts, Pounded Thin

*Look for thinly sliced chicken breasts or ask your butcher to prepare them for                   you.

4 Tbs Vegetable Oil

2 Tbs Olive Oil

4 Tbs Flour

1/2 c Dry White Wine

2 tsp Garlic, Minced

1 c Low-Sodium Chicken Broth

2 Lemons, 1 Juiced, 1 Sliced

2 Tbs Capers, Drained

2 Tbs Unsalted Butter

1 lb Linguini

Fresh Parsley, for Garnish

1. Boil water for pasta. Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dust with flour. Add vegetable oil to pan.

2. Saute cutlet 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer cutlets to a clean plate.

3. Deglaze pan by adding white wine and scraping up any browned bits and fat, then add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly gone, about 2 minutes. Drop pasta in boiling water if you haven’t already.

4. Add broth, half of the lemon juice, and capers. Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute. Transfer cutlets to plate.

5. Drain pasta, then return to pot. Toss with olive oil and the remaining lemon juice. Transfer to serving platter and top with chicken cutlets.

6. Finish sauce with butter and lemon slices. Once butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets and pasta.

7. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and parmesan, then serve.

plated

Which film do you think should win the top prize Sunday night? Are you rooting for the debauchery-filled Wolf of Wall Street like me? Or were you moved by Chiwetel Ejiofor’s harrowing performance in 12 Years A Slave? Tell me in the comments below!