Tag Archives: recipe

I Bake: Banana Chocolate Chip Espresso Muffins

Well, that’s probably the longest title for a muffin recipes ever.  This is a recipe from one of my VERY few cookbooks.  I’m not big into buying cookbooks because it’s just so much more convenient to find  a perfect recipe online. But Baked is an exception. I may have mentioned the book before, but my favorite things about it are: the design (check out the preview of the book on Amazon), it’s full of deer motifs, every recipe has a giant picture, and there are TONS of tips of the trade inside.

So I totally failed at taking photos of the actual muffins I baked, but they pretty much look like the photo below.  (And the only reason I failed is because one of our sneaky dogs grabbed 7 of them off of the cooling rack while I ran an errand.  Oh and the other 5 were devoured a little too quickly by actual human beings). But yeah, these are so so good and the espresso powder adds that little extra flavor burst.

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Baked
Yields 12 muffins

4 medium over-ripe bananas (1 1/2 cups), mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2  cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups flour  (I used half wheat and half all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder **
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a mixer, combine mashed bananas, sugar, and butter. Mix until well blended. Add milk and egg. Slowly add the flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt and mix until smooth. Add in the chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

**Espresso grounds are not that same as instant espresso, pleassssee don’t substitute – you won’t get the same flavor!


Crockpot Love: Short Ribs n Beer

I’m not sure if there is a breathing being on earth who doesn’t love a Crock Pot. So easy, so delicious.  Throw a bunch of crap in the pot, doesn’t really matter what.  I am pretty positive that nothing less than mouth-watering could come out of one.  Especially when it involves BEER. Can I get an amen?

So yeah, that’s kind of what I did here.

Crock-Pot Short Ribs w/Beer

1 – 1.5 lbs of short ribs
A few shallots, sliced
A few stalks of celery, cut up into 2-3-inch pieces
3 cloves of garlic
Large bottle of a brown ale (I used Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale) *
Chicken stock – about a cup
A sprinkling of salt & pepper

Throw everything in the crock pot! (Don’t you love that?).  Only add enough water to barely cover the meat.  I actually used no water, just added some extra chicken stock.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Come home from work, make sure you have a towel nearby to wipe up the drool.  These guys are SO good, totally soaked in the beer and it tastes amazing.

*Note:  If you can’t find a large bottle, use a few small bottles. Remember, the better the beer, the better these will taste – so don’t skimp! 🙂

If you want to make a  side, make these yummy Sweet Potato Latkes.

The latkes were good, but a little too greasy for me. Heck, they’d probably be too greasy for anyone. But they tasted DELICIOUS.  Next time I will try and bake them.


I spent a little too much time yesterday pinning recipes on Pinterest that included beer as an ingredient. All that led me to make this SUPER delicious German-style meal tonight.

German potato salad, beer Brats & Kolsch-Braised Red Cabbage.

A little bit of love (time) was put into the makings, but it was all so worth it. Nom Nom.  I think my favorite part actually may be the potato salad.  It’s actually not so bad for you, since the only fats added are BACON pieces. Yep, I had you at bacon, didn’t I?  The recipe for the beer Brats didn’t included the sauerkraut on top, it actually showed the potato salad on top, but I felt this presentation looked & tasted better 🙂  Here’s the recipe links:

Kolsch-Braised Red Cabbage

Grilled Beer Brats & German Potato Salad

I Bake: Lemon Lime Bars

These bars are SO yummy! If you are fan of lemon bars (as I know a lot of people who are) you will definitely love these. Even better (to me at least) is that the graham cracker crust has coconut in it…YUM! I love anything with coconut.

Lemon Lime Bars
Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Yield: 24 bars

Graham-Coconut Crust
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15-17 crackers)
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Lemon Lime Filling
11 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons grated lime zest
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1″ pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream

Make the Graham-Coconut Crust:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking pan or spray it with nonstick spray.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out the coconut. Put the baking sheet in the oven and toast the coconut until it starts to turn golden brown, 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss the coconut, and return it to the oven for 3 more minutes.

Put the graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl, add the toasted coconut and the brown sugar, and toss with your hands until combined. Add the melted butter. Use your hands to combine the mixture, then turn it out into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the crust into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to create a perfectly even crust.

Put the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the crust cool before adding the filling.

Make the Lemon Lime Filling:
Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Put the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon, and lime juices, and lemon and lime zests in a large, clean metal pot. Whisk until combined. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 180 degrees F. on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and cream. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve directly into the cooled rust. Use a rubber spatula to press the curd through the sieve.

Make sure the curd is evenly distributed. Tap the pan gently against the counter to make a level layer.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the filling is just set. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Wrap the pan in plastic (do not let the plastic touch the filling) and put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Store bars tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Look at those layers! YUM!!!

I Bake: S’more Brownies

I made these brownies for my nieces birthday party. They didn’t turn out nearly as “pretty” as I hoped, but they still tasted really good!!!

Anyways, my only gripe about this particular recipe was that the graham cracker crust on the bottom was a little too crumbly (I even added a little extra butter, based on the reviews). Otherwise, they tasted amazing and that alone makes up for the messiness 🙂 So here’s the recipes with a few tweaks from me.

S’more Brownies
Recipe adapted from Food Network

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips

4 cups large marshmallows

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8″x8″ square baking pain with foil so it hangs of the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: lightly coat the foil with some of the melted butter. Sitr the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan and bake until golden brown, about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, bake the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave save bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75% power for 2 minutes. Sitr, and microwave again until completely melted, about another 2 minutes. Stir both sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the crust. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick comes out mostly clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6-inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer the marshmallows across the top and toast under the boiler until golden (this will happen fairly quick so keep an eye on them). If you have a creme brulee torch, I recommend to use that instead to get a nice even, light brown toast.  Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into squares.

I Bake: Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

I’ve been a baking machine this week! I’ve make 4 different kinds of cupcakes and something else I will also share later, in the span of 3 days.  Needless to say, my feet hurt & my kitchen is still a bit of a mess. Ok, that’s a lie. It’s a horrendous mess that I am putting off to clean again 🙂

My niece’s 2nd birthday was yesterday and I had a couple of different cupcakes in mind, but decide to go with just one kind to save my sanity a little bit.  These Peanut Butter & Jelly cupcakes are SO good and so fun – and they really do taste like the sammich, well, just a little bit sweeter (but not much!).  I used a different frosting recipe than what was called for (I already have a PB frosting recipe that I love), so maybe I will try the frosting from the original recipe next time.

My nieces’ birthday was at the local zoo, so I went with a little bit of a outdoorsy/woodland them. A good excuse for me to use the adorable deer toppers 🙂

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes
Original recipe from carrotsnchocolate 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup milk
fruit jelly (I used grape, of course)

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pans with liners.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, peanut butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder.  In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined.

Fill each liner about 2/3 full and make a tiny “well” in the center of each. Add a teaspoon of jelly to the middle of each one and put a dallop of batter to cover (doesn’t need to fully cover the jelly).

Bake for about 20 minutes.  When done, let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on wire racks to cool completely.  Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3-1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cool whip

On medium speed, blend cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth and blended.  Reduce to low speed and slowly add in the powdered sugar.  Add the cool whip and beat until smooth and creamy.

Top cooled cupcakes with frosting and devour with a big glass of milk. So good.

I Bake: The Best Lemon Cupcakes Ever

On the norm, I’m not a boxed cake mix kind of girl; HOWEVER, these cupcakes are the exception.  My aunt made these cupcakes as one of our wedding cupcakes, and ever since then they have been known to all tasters as The Best Lemon Cupcakes Ever.   I even pondered the notion of creating a “from scratch” recipe, but it’s so not even worth it when they are basically perfection.  They are like eating a lemon old fashioned donut, but with a dollop of lemon buttercream. Yum.

If you love lemon, these will save your soul.  Just sayin’.

The Best Lemon Cupcakes, Ever
Recipe adapted from here and here

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 box of yellow cake mix (18.5 oz)
1 box of instant lemon pudding mix (3.4 oz)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Cupcake Glaze:
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons water
Zest of 1 lemon

Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
3-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest of
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray 2 muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, and oil with an electric mixer until smooth – about 1 to 2 minutes.  Fill each muffin tin half way (no more than that, trust me) with batter.  Bake for 18-22 minutes and turn on to tea towel.

To make the glaze, sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium sized bowl.  Whisk in lemon juice and zest, vegetable oil, and water. Stir until smooth.

While the cupcakes are still a bit warm, use your fingers and dip each one into the glaze and cover fully.  Place on wire racks with wax paper underneath to catch the excess glaze drips.  Let dry on racks for about an hour.

While the cupcakes are drying, make the frosting.  In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar and salt and beat until combined.  Add the the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla and beat on med-high speed until creamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Frost the cupcakes with just a small amount of the buttercream (as shown in the photo) and store in an airtight container.