I posted a peanut butter and banana cupcake recipe in January, and since then my love for the combination of ingredients has only grown. I have a peanut butter and banana sandwich multiple times per week and the days I don't have one it's only because I don't have bananas. I've long since blocked out of my mind peanut butter's nutritional information. On the bright side, I incorporate a healthy food into the sandwich so I'm getting my serving of fruit there. See how good I am at justifying things? I went back and read my review of the cupcakes I made and it seemed that I thought they were great. But, I'm going to have to try them out again because as of now there's a new favorite in town.

I loved this recipe.

In general, I go crazy for things with cream cheese, bananas or peanut butter. All together? Yes please. There were two icing choices on Sugar Cooking, so if you're not feeling the peanut butter cream cheese icing you can hop on over there to check out the other cream cheese recipe. For the tops of these, I also wanted to try caramelizing the tops of bananas slices. I saw this on a blog a while back, but unfortunately don't remember where now. Good and bad news about the caramelization process-- the caramelized bananas were delicious, but my torch ran out of fuel after a mediocre attempt at one slice. So, let me reword, the caramelized banana slice was delicious! I put all of the left over sugar coated slices on the tops anyways since otherwise I know for sure I would've been sitting in front of the plate eating them one by one.  These bars are like little squares (depending on how you cut them) of heaven. Imagine taking a really light and moist banana bread and covering it with peanut butter and cream cheese. Things this good should never get into my hands.
So set those bananas out to ripen right now! You'll be glad you did.

Frosted Banana Bars
Recipe from Sugar Cooking
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar (increase to 1/2 cup if you like it sweeter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2-3 bananas)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan (or 9x13, or two 8x8's).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (Enough for an 8 x 8 pan, double for 9 x 13
Recipe from Sugar Cooking
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 - 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)
  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes
  2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
Caramelized Banana Slices
Ripe bananas (each banana makes 10 or so slices)
1/4 cup sugar

Pour sugar onto surface. Slice bananas in 1/4 inch pieces. One at a time, take each piece and set one side in sugar before setting banana back onto heat-proof surface. With butane torch, caramelize tops of bananas until golden brown. Serve over ice cream, cake, pudding, etc.

I'm sure no one is shocked that I've got another blueberry recipe to put up here. This time it's ice cream. There are so many delicious ice cream flavors out there. What's best about making it is that you can take all of your favorite things and throw them into plain ice cream and it is taken to an entirely different level. If you've seen me in any ice cream shop you know this, but I am like a kid in a candy shop (I'm like a kid in a candy shop in a candy shop as well, but that's beside the point). I love trying out new flavors and getting multiple samples. I've been told I'm probably a scooper's worst nightmare with all of the conversation I try to initiate about ice cream in general, ice cream flavors, sampling, etc. It's one of those times when my enthusiasm for food isn't a good thing.

Back to the point, this recipe is what drove me to buy my new ice cream maker. I love graham crackers and I love blueberries...and who wouldn't love blueberry pie...so this recipe just screamed delicious. It was great except for a few minor things which I think could be adjusted. First, when the blueberry sauce froze it became a little too icy for my liking. The flavor was nice, but the blueberry didn't come across well when up against the creamy ice cream base. The second thing was the blueberries that did not cook down in the sauce froze and were also icy bites that weren't great texture-wise. My mom actually liked them, so maybe this wasn't as big of a problem as I thought. The best part of the ice cream was the graham cracker crumbs in the vanilla.

All-in-all, I really liked this ice cream. I paired it with pound cake which was a good combo. It could very well have been my fault that not everything turned out perfectly. After all, I am new to this whole ice cream making thing.  We had lots of family in town this weekend so I made two batches to make sure I had enough. The second batch was better than the first, so, third time's the charm, I think I'll just have to try it again.

Blueberry Pie Ice Cream
Recipe from Grin and Bake it

Ice Cream:

1 cup whole milk
¼ cup plus ¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. lemon zest
Pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
¾ tsp. vanilla.
Dash of cinnamon
Graham crackers, chopped into small pieces (about ¾ cup)

Blueberry Filling:
2 – 2 ½  cups blueberries, cleaned
¼  cup powdered sugar
¼ water

To make the ice cream combine the milk, ¼ cup sugar, lemon zest and salt in a medium saucepan. Scald the milk mixture over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 5 minutes*.
While milk is scalding, whisk egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and whisk until light and fluffy. Whisking constantly, add a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Gradually whisk in the remaining hot milk.

Return the custard mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often. The custard needs to get thick enough to cover the back of a spoon (approx. 5 minutes). Remove pan from heat and place into a glass bowl of ice. Let the custard cool, stirring often for five minutes
While the custard is cooling, combine the cream and vanilla in a separate bowl. Stir into the custard mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until completely chilled (minimum 4 hours, overnight works too). The custard can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To make the blueberry sauce, combine blueberries, powdered sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stirring occasionally. mixture should begin to thicken between 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Ues right away or refrigerate.
Freeze the chilled custard in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add the graham cracker pieces during the last minute of churning, until just mixed. Transfer to an airtight container by layering, the vanilla ice cream and the blueberry sauce. Scoop a layer of ice cream into the bottom of the container. Use a spatula to spread out evenly. Add a scoop of blueberry sauce on top and spread evenly. Add spoonfuls of vanilla on top and spread. It’s a little tricky to spread the vanilla on top of the sauce mixture. Clean fingers worked best for me. Freeze for a few hours to firm it up before you serve it.

Blueberry Pie

Being that I am a chocoholic like no other, I have tried a ton of brownie recipes. In my opinion, there are few things better than a warm brownie right out of the oven. I've written before how I love Ghirardelli brownies, so it makes it hard to want to spend extra time on homemade when they aren't going to taste as good as boxed. Well, the Baked brownies are the best brownies I have ever had. Move over Ghirardelli.
I've read rave reviews but also those that say the brownies aren't all they are cracked up to be.  Sorry, but if you didn't like these you're crazy! Even fully cooked, when you take a bite the brownie melts in your mouth and almost returns to batter form. They also don't fall apart when cutting. I can't figure out how the Baked people managed this combo, but I'm perfectly ok with it. I'm getting hungry just thinking about them. These take a little more work than a lot of other brownie recipes, but I swear it is worth it. Enjoy!

The Baked Brownie
Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13 Pyrex baking pan
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa
- Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally utnil the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth
- Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. Allow mixture to come to room temperature
- Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined.
- Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top
- Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until toothpick inserted comes out clean
- Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares

I am an absolute ice cream fanatic. When I was younger and unknowingly had the metabolism of sprinter (although I most definitely was not one), I used to eat a pint without thinking twice. This was especially easy because the summer after 10th grade I worked at Ben and Jerry's and was determined to get the most out of my 50% discount. I worked there with another friend of mine and we would try to see how many flavors we could pack into one pint. I thought before working there that it would be the perfect job for me--ice cream all day, tie dye tee shirts, coming home smelling like waffle cones..that's my kind of life. Turns out, the job was actually really hard. I even developed minor carpal tunnel in my wrist from the combination of scooping ice cream and playing tennis all the time. That's something that would only happen to me. Ah, the struggles of working at an ice cream shop! After that summer, we both stopped working there but I continue to love ice cream and love Ben and Jerry's. People always said I would get burnt out after consuming so much every day...pshhh. I still firmly believe that a milkshake a week keeps me sane.

So, a few weeks ago when I decided to buy the KitchenAid ice cream attachment you can only imagine how excited I was. And....
There is no telling how much ice cream I will consume now that I have this thing. It is AMAZING! I have never quite been able to decide my favorite flavor of ice cream, but there's this great ice cream place called Kilwins that has a delicious cinnamon crumble. Thinking about this flavor I decided that for my first try at ice cream making I would make a rich cinnamon ice cream. Oh if only I could consume a guilt-free pint of this stuff. This is a must-try recipe if you have an ice cream maker.  Yum. Many more ice cream recipes ahead! I'm hooked.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from Susi's Kochen (which was originally adapted from The Perfect Scoop)


Ice Cream:
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the ice cream, warm the milk, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk the cream, brown sugar, and cinnamon together into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as your stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

For my first breakfast post, it seems appropriate that I've incorporated a non-breakfast ingredient: peanut butter. For those of you readers who don't like peanut butter, I apologize. I use more peanut butter in a month than anyone should, and lucky for those of you who do like it I have the recipes to prove it. I always use Jif, but if you don't you can feel free to use whatever peanut butter you're used to. I won't hold it against you. I saw these pancakes and bookmarked them instantly. The only problem is, I cannot make pancakes to save my life. I've tried countless times, but the flipping always gets me. Sure, they always taste great, but I'm not lying when I say they look awful. This little fact made trying this recipe a daunting task. Lucky for me, there was enough batter that even though I managed to completely ruin half of the pancakes, I still had enough decent ones for some pictures (and for me to eat!)
I made these on a morning when no one else was around to see what I assumed would turn out to be another pancake catastrophe. This also meant I could eat all of the good ones if there were any. Sneaky me. These turned out quite delicious. I think I would've died and gone to heaven if I had added some bananas to the batter as well. I might try that next time, and I'll update the post if I do.
Since I know the majority of people do not have some odd issue with making pancakes, I strongly suggest making these. Peanut butter+pancakes+warm syrup...need I say more?

Peanut Butter Pancakes
Recipe from The Crepes of Wrath
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed to thin
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted peanut butter, and vegetable oil. Add a little extra milk if batter feels too thick (I added another tablespoon or two).
2. Heat your griddle over medium-low heat and melt a tablespoon of butter in it, then using a paper towel, rub the butter around the griddle to make a very thin layer (you don’t want your pancakes cooking in a pool of butter). Sprinkle some water over the pan and see what it does. It should dance around but it should NOT sizzle or spurt.
3. When the pan is ready, pour about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake (I made my pancakes a bit on the smaller side because the batter is kind of thick and I wanted them to cook through). Don’t overcrowd the pancakes because they will spread a bit as they cook. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes per side, until golden. They won’t bubble like normal pancakes because of the thickness of the peanut butter. Makes 10-12 pancakes.

As I sit here waiting to leave for my 6:45 cycling class, for some reason there's nothing I want to do other than bake. I think it may be that cycling continuously kills me (I'm convinced it never gets easy) and baking is just about as far in the other direction as it gets. Maybe I'm just trying to make the excuse, "Well I can't leave while it's in the oven." So, to avoid all of this I figured I should catch up posting some recipes I've made over the past week. I'll start with a delicious strawberry buttermilk cake. This cake is way too easy to be as good as it is. That's not a bad thing, though. I think anyone could make it, and the whipped cream definitely takes it to a whole new level. Truth be told, I was just experimenting around with the whipped cream and don't remember the exact measurements for how I made it, but it was amazing. I think maybe I'll just make lemon-blueberry whipped cream from now on and put it on everything. YUM. When looking at that recipe, if you make it and it doesn't taste quite sweet enough (or doesn't have enough lemon or blueberry flavoring) add to it! I got the idea from Eats Well With Others, where she made blueberry buttermilk cake with strawberry whipped cream. The same strawberry buttermilk cake has been surfacing all over the food blog world recently, but the idea of fruit flavored whipped cream sounded too good to pass up. I know local strawberry season has sadly just about ended, but they're still pretty cheap at the grocery store (or Costco/Sam's Club if you want them in bulk). Enjoy this recipe, it won't last long once you make it!

Easy Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
Recipe from Food and Fun Cafe
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
** Use 1/2 cup buttermilk instead of the egg as an alternative
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh strawberries (about 5 oz)

Preheat oven to 400°F, placing the rack in the middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan and keep ready.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy; this should take about 3 minutes, then beat in the vanilla. Finally add the egg and beat well for another 2 minutes.

Switch the mixer setting to low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Remember, do NOT overbeat.

Fold in half of the strawberries into the batter. Spoon the prepared batter into the cake pan, smoothing it on the top. Scatter the remaining strawberries evenly over the top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, roughly about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Invert it onto a serving plate.

Using a knife warmed by placing under hot running water, slice the cake into wedges and serve. You can also make it fancier by topping it with a dollop of whipped cream, or dusting with some more Confectioner's sugar.

Blueberry Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4 cup blueberries
Zest of 1/2 lemon

In a blender or food processor, puree the blueberries and lemon zest. If you desire a sharper lemon flavor, lemon juice can be added to this as well. Next, beat the cream until barely thickened. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold in puree and beat slightly more until whipped cream reaches desired consistency.

*Everyone makes whipped cream a different way. Some people use powdered sugar, some regular sugar, some add vanilla.. that's not really what matters here. Make the whipped cream as normal, but add the zest and blueberry mixture to the almost finished product.

We bought another giant carton of blueberries from Costco last week which instantly meant it was time to do some baking. The only problem with blueberries is that I've found so many blueberry recipes I really love that I usually just stick to those. When it comes to food blogging, the tendency to do this is bad because it means no new posts. My two favorite blueberry recipes are a blueberry pie and Dorie Greenspan's blueberry coffee cake. The coffee cake is on the blog, but I haven't made the pie since I started blogging so I promise that will make it on here in the future.  I had never tried these muffins before, but the recipe is super easy and has all of my favorite ingredients which is enough for me to give it a shot. The crumb topping honestly makes it like a muffin coffee cake. I was determined to use as much of the crumb topping on each muffin as possible, but that just ended up in a thick sugar crust that broke off really easily. Next time I think I'll try to fight the urge just a little more (or maybe do the same thing but just make sure to press the crumb into the muffin batter more). I thought these were great though.  These mainly fall in the breakfast category but depending on how much crumb topping you use, it also works as dessert. Shoot, I'd even pair one of these with ice cream they're so sweet. But, then again, I'd pair basically anything with ice cream so that's not saying much. One last note, I baked these for 20 minutes, which is the minimum time, and they were perfect. A minute more might have ruined them, so keep a close eye on them while baking so they don't get burnt.

Blueberry muffins
Recipe from Vanilla & Lace
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the streusal topping:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup earth balance (or butter), cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
3. To Make Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup earth balance, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking. (You may not use all the topping)
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

The recipe below for chocolate chunk cookies just got better! I decided that this cookie recipe was such a winner that I should start experimenting with it a little. There are tons of different things I thought about adding, but ended up choosing M&M's. And...wow. I honestly don't want to go back to regular chocolate chip cookies again! Make these for any occasion and any crowd. Click on the link above, or if you are at the main page check out the recipe below. I just substituted one bag of M&M's for the chocolate chunks.