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Brown Butter Banana Blondies

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

If anybody ever wants to watch me go from being in a great mood to suuuuuuper grouchy in 2.3 seconds, just be here when my power goes out.  Because you know what? Three kids 5 and under and no power = no bueno.  Lots and lots of Candy Land, people.  Way more Candy Land than any person on earth should ever have to play.  Ever.

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

We had quite a windstorm this weekend.  It’s still going on, really.  Our power was out for one day/night, but lots of my neighbors still don’t have power.  And the wind is howling dangerously outside, so ours could go out again any time.

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

Take a look at the trees down at the Trader Joe’s by my house:

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

Honestly, I shouldn’t be complaining about power outages.  One of my friends posted a picture with a tree, literally through her house.  The house was completely cut in half.  Luckily, even though her entire family was inside, they were all safe.  Guardian angels.  Anyway, this wind storm really has nothing to do with these blondies, except that I happened to make them when my power came back on.

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

Brown Butter Banana Blondies

Anyway, my power came back on, and I made these banana blondies.  They are AMAZING.  Dense, fudgy, banana, brown butter goodness.  Possibly my new very favorite thing to make with overripe bananas.  If you are a baker, you likely have all the ingredients already.

Recipe from Cookies and Cups

Ingredients:
1/2 cup ripe, mashed bananas (about one large banana)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup of butter, melted and browned

Icing:
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease an 8×8 inch pan and line with parchment paper.

Place your blondie butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and melt it until it is golden brown.  Don’t burn it.  You want a nice, light golden color.

Mix together your browned butter and the brown sugar until combined.  Add the egg, vanilla, and banana and mix well.  Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined.  Spread into the bottom of your prepared pan and place into the oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and make your frosting.

Put the butter into a saucepan and melt.  Add the milk and the brown sugar and mix well until mixture is just starting to bubble.  Remove from heat and add the powdered sugar.  Pour over the still warm blondies and spread evenly.

Cool to room temp before cutting.  I thought these were way better after a few hours in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

Oh my gosh you guys. I am obsessed with this cake.  Obsessed.

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

My sweet neighbor, Amanda, brought me over a giant bag of plums this week.  Giant.  This sweet, delicious fruit is amazing to just eat fresh, but she brought me so many, I thought “I better find something to bake with these!

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

I found a recipe for an upside down cake using plums.  I wanted to make mine a bit thinner, because rather than have this be a full on dessert, I thought it would be perfect to have a slice with a cup of afternoon tea.

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

I decided to bake it in a tart pan, so I modified the recipe just a bit by cutting the ingredients for the cake part in half.  If you’d like a thicker cake, the recipe is over on Bakingdom.

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

The best part of this cake is the brown sugar/butter/preserves caramel that the plums are laid out on before they are baked.  That stuff is amazing eaten with a spoon, and even better after it caramelizes in the pan.

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

Got plums?  Whip this baby up in 10 minutes.  It’s not only delicious, it’s beautiful and very impressive looking.

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

Enjoy!

Recipe modified from Bakingdom

Ingredients:

For the topping:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cups packed brown sugar
4 teaspoons of seedless jam.  (I used blackberry- apricot, strawberry, grape- whatever you have will work just fine)
6 Italian plums, pitted, and sliced into 8ths.

For the cake:
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk (the higher the fat, the better)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350°.  Grease and flour a 9-10 inch pie pan, cake pan, tart pan, or spring form pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, and jam together.  Heat on low for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.  Pour into the cake pan and set aside to cool.

Arrange your sliced plums (very prettily) along the bottom of your pan.  This is where the artist inside gets to come out.

Make your cake batter.  Cream together the butter, sugar, and egg until mixed well.  Add the milk and vanilla and mix well.  Then add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Spread over the top of your plums.

Bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes, and then flip over onto a plate or platter.  Serve warm with ice cream, or cool and serve with powdered sugar and whipped cream.  Enjoy!

 

 

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini.  So yummy.

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini. So yummy.

Confession: I am so hard off the Whole30 it isn’t even funny.  Like, the Whole30 is here: x and then there are infinity spaces, and then I am here: x.

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini.  So yummy.

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini. So yummy.

This weekend I ate my weight in zucchini brownies.

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini.  So yummy.

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini. So yummy.

I threw them together on Friday night.  I just had a craving for chocolate and these totally fit the bill.  They weren’t quite as unhealthy as a traditional brownie, which was nice, although with the amount of sugar in them, I’m going to stop short of calling them “healthy.”

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini.  So yummy.

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini. So yummy.

I added some mini chocolate chips to mine because I was feeling extra bad.

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini.  So yummy.

Zucchini Brownies- no oil, just bananas, applesauce, and zucchini. So yummy.

The zucchini and banana resulted in a delicious, moist, and fudgy brownie.  These were really good.

Recipe adapted from Spark Recipes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup applesauce
2 small/medium bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely shredded zucchini (I just use a cheese grater)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup of walnuts or mini chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Add the applesauce, bananas, and sugar, and vanilla to a bowl and mix together well.  Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and flour, and mix until just combined.  Fold in the zucchini and the chocolate chips until combined.

Spread into your baking sheet (sprinkle chocolate chips on the top if desired) and bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted the center springs back when lightly touched.

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Anybody who know me will attest- I am not what you would call outdoorsy.  In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite.  I don’t go camping where they don’t have toilets, hiking is my idea of hell, and I do not enjoy being sticky, dirty, and sweaty, I do not like bugs.  Hanging out on a beach somewhere with a cocktail or cutting down a Christmas tree at a tree farm is about as outdoorsy as I get.

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

And so, there is only one thing in the entire world that will get me out in the hot sun, sweaty and sticky, up to my waist in sticker bushes, getting scratched up, getting bugs in my hair, swatting away bees, and wading through spiders- fresh (free) blackberries.

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

It used to blow my mind that blackberries were considered a weed.  I mean, they are so delicious.  When I see a tiny little container of them in the grocery store for $4.99, I laugh.  They are everywhere in the summer.  The only guess I have as to why is that they are harder to pick than other berries. (See paragraph above)

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Anyway, when we moved to our home a few years ago, I was thrilled to see that there were blackberry bushes everywhere.  My thrill was short lived, for I realized early on that many of the people who live within a one mile radius of me were equally enthusiastic about the fresh (free) blackberries, and they were just out there picking all day- I never got enough for a pie.

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

God bless my sister in law, who invited me over this year (after hearing me complain) to pick some blackberries at her house.  Boy is she lucky- she has her own little private stash right across the street from her house.  What would I give for that.

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

This pie is so simple, so wholesome, so delicious.  Just three ingredients in the filling and a pie crust.  I love to use the recipe for Crisco Deep Dish Pie crust.  I think doing a lattice crust is so pretty (see directions here– it’s so much easier than you’d think!) or you can also do a traditional, simple top crust.  I ended up getting so many berries, I made one of each, plus an apple pie for a neighbor to boot while I was in pie making mode.  Serve this pie up with some vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy!

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Easy Homemade Blackberry Pie- the best way to use those blackberries!

Ingredients:
6 cups of fresh (or frozen thawed) blackberries
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

One Crisco Deep Dish Pie Crust (or your favorite pie crust, even refrigerated will work)

Directions:
Place your berries into a bowl (after rinsing thoroughly)  I soaked mine in salt water for two hours beforehand- this gets rid of any bugs that might be in your berries- they will float right to the top.

Mix together the sugar and cornstarch, and then pour over the berries and stir.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375° and make your pie crust.  Pour the berry mixture into the bottom crust and then top with your top crust.  Brush with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 3T of water) for extra sheen and sprinkle a bit more sugar on the top if you’d like.

Bake for 45-60 minutes until the top is golden brown.  (This will be a messy, bubbly pie, so I always like to place the pie pan on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven.  At the very least make sure the bottom of your oven is rimmed with foil.

Firecrackerz (Baked spicy ranch Cheez-its) for FOOTBALL SEASON!

Firecrackerz (Baked spicy ranch Cheez-its) for FOOTBALL SEASON!

Well everyone, it’s officially football season, and I am looking forward to cheering my Seahawks on to another Superbowl this year.  I’m also looking forward to watching my boyfriend, Pete Carroll on television for 3 hours every Sunday. (It’s okay to have a big crush on the coach as long as that isn’t the reason you watch the team. – although if it is, I will not judge because look how cute he is.)  He is a silver fox.  Anyway, I digress.

Firecrackerz (Baked spicy ranch Cheez-its) for FOOTBALL SEASON!

Firecrackerz (Baked spicy ranch Cheez-its) for FOOTBALL SEASON!

Now, onto these crackers.  My friend Leina makes something similar with oyster crackers, and we love them, but I would have never thought to do it with Cheez-its until I saw this awesome recipe on Plain Chicken.

Firecrackerz (Baked spicy ranch Cheez-its) for FOOTBALL SEASON!

Firecrackerz (Baked spicy ranch Cheez-its) for FOOTBALL SEASON!

The beauty of this recipe is that it takes two minutes to throw together and people will rave about them.  Rave.  It is a cheap, delicious snack with an awesome bite, and it is perfect for a poker game or a party or a football get together.  The cheesy crackers baked crispy with ranch and red pepper flakes simply can’t be beat.  Move over pub mix!

Recipe from Plain Chicken

Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 – 1oz package of dry ranch dressing (I like Uncle Dan’s)
3-5 tsp of red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like them
1 -13.7oz box of Cheez-its.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Store in an airtight container after cooled.

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

My husband has started a new thing where he hosts a poker night over at our house each month.  This is great for me because it gives me a chance to try out new goodies and appetizers and things for him to serve to his poker buddies.  This morning, I tried my hand and these amazing peanut butter cup blondies.

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Because who doesn’t like peanut butter cups? Am I right, or am I right?

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Also, I don’t know what it is about guys, but they seem to be particularly fond of them.  Anyway.

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

The other reason these beauties were absolutely perfect was that they took me 5 minutes to pop into the oven, most of which was spent unwrapping peanut butter cups, so it almost doesn’t even count.

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

I just whipped up the batter, plopped in some peanut butter cups,

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Covered them up with more batter,

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

And then “wham bam thank you ma’am.  Beautiful, delicious, dense, fudgy, blondie perfection.

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Enjoy.

Recipe very slightly adapted from Skip to my Lou

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (next time I make these, I will add less- probably just a cup)
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (the big sized ones, not the minis)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Line an 8×8 baking dish with a foil sling and spray with non-stick spray. In a mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined.

Place half the batter in the bottom of the pan and spread evenly.  You may have to use your clean, damp hands as it will be sticky.  Place the peanut butter cups in 4 rows across, and top with the remaining batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (do not overbake) until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.  Enjoy!

Maple and Salted Almond Ice Cream

Maple and Salted Almond Ice Cream

A few years ago, I just had to have an ice cream maker.  Had to.  I had memories of the homemade strawberry ice cream my parents used to make (in the old time ice cream makers with the rock salt) and pictured myself lazing away the summer months with my kids making hundreds of different flavors of homemade ice cream.  My husband said “You’ll never use it. It will be one of those appliances that you get sick of after two uses.”  (I admit I am guilty of this with our bread maker, our fondue pot, and our food mill.)  “But I will use it, I will use it all the time!”  I insisted.

Maple and Salted Almond Ice Cream

Maple and Salted Almond Ice Cream

I have used it exactly thrice.

Maple and Salted Almond Ice Cream

Maple and Salted Almond Ice Cream

Oh well, no bother, because I did make this amazing maple nut ice cream with it.  And when I say amazing, I mean amazing.  The ice cream itself has the flavor of a maple bar donut (one of my favorite flavors of all time) and the salty crunch of the almonds just tops the whole thing off into dessert/ice cream perfection.  I use my favorite super easy custard base, added some mapleine (simple maple extract from the grocery store) a little maple syrup, and some nuts.

So good.

Enjoy!

Recipe:

Ingredients:
3 cups of whole milk (or better yet, cream)
3 egg yolks
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon mapeline (maple extract)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 cup of whole, salted almonds, crushed.

Directions:
In a large saucepan, removed from the heat, whisk together the whole milk, eggs, sugar, and salt.  Place over medium high heat and whisk constantly, 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens into a custard.

Remove from the heat and place into a heat-proof bowl.  Add the mapeline, vanilla, and syrup and mix well.  Cool to room temperature, and then cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, place the mixture into your ice cream maker as directed.  When it’s about 15 minutes from being done, add most of the almonds (reserving some to sprinkle on the top.)  When the ice cream maker is complete, pour mixture into a bread pan, sprinkle with the additional almonds, and freeze until set.  Enjoy!

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