Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Caramelized Banana Muffins

So it feels like it has been snowing forever. I cant remember the last time that I didn't wake up and shovel my drive way. Okay okay that might be overly dramatic but if you live in New England you know what I mean! It has been insane. Snowmagedon times a million.

when I wanted to bake something that would both be delicious, relatively healthy (I mean as close to healthy as I can go with baked goods), and comforting. I was online and reading about ways to bump up your banana bread. They recommended that you roast your banana's. it is a great trick to soften bananas that may not be quite ripe enough! I decided to roast mine with honey and brown sugar, next time I want to do it with rum and do like a banana's foster bread (oh my god my mouth is watering at the thought...). My mom always makes me banana bread, in college she used to bake two loaves for my squash team and then another that was just for me. Lets just say that I am not always the best sharer, especially when it comes to food.

Anyway caramelized chocolate chip banana bread solved all of my problems. I also browned the butter (you guys know how much  I love that) so it had an amazing warm and comforting flavor.

You will not be disappointed.

Enjoy!

xx

L

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Caramelized Banana Muffins

  • 3 ripe bananas 
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, browned 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/4 c milk (I used almond but regular works too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c flour (G-Free or G-Full depending on how you roll)
  • 3 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. In an oven safe dish toss the bananas, brown sugar, and honey. Roast for 25 minutes. 

Meanwhile cream the browned butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until combined. Add milk and vanilla. Once cooled slightly mash in your bananas and all of the caramelized sugar and honey from the baking dish. I used the end of a whisk in order to have a few banana chunks in my bread. Add in the flour, baking soda, chia seeds, and salt. Stir until the ingredients are barely combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

For muffins: bake for 25 minutes

For bread: Line a loaf pan with parchment, letting the excess hang over the sides. spray with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. or until a tooth pick comes clean out of the center. 

Please Forgive Me... I Made Creme Brulee!

HAPPY 2015! I feel so horrible for neglecting you guys, I spent my holidays catching up with family and friends and neglecting my poor readers! I promise promise that I will be better for the rest of the year. I have been asked a bunch at work what my New Years resolution is, and to be honest I really didn't have one. But turns out my New Years resolution is going to be making sure not to leave you all without recipes for such a long time again!

But anyway back to the reason that you read this blog, the food! I. LOVE. CREME. BRULE. I am obsessed with it. First of all I love how they are individual, anything that is just mine where I don't have to share is always a plus. Secondly I love cracking the top with the spoon, it is very satisfying and also fun. Third, they are just damn good. 

Creme brulee is also incredibly easy to make, I think some people get intimidated about making custards, I know I used to. But this recipe is totally fool proof, and I promise that you will be impressing all your friends.

xx

L

PS I make my creme brulee in miniature mason jars, they are oven safe, and it is easier to cool them in the fridge because you can easily cover them with their lids. Also they are adorable for presentation. 

Le Cirque's Creme Brulee

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean split 
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c plus 2 tbs granulated sugar 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat the cream, vanilla bean, and salt until the top begins to shimmer. In a large bowl combine the yolks and sugar. Whisk until well combined. Slowly stream in the hot cream mixture, while whisking the egg and sugar mixture. Line a mesh strainer with cheese cloth and strain into a 4 cup measuring cup. 

Arrange between 8 and 10 shallow baking dishes on a roasting pan Fill each of the ramekins up 3/4 of the way. Carry the tray to the oven, and place on the shelf, then pour in water to fill 3/4 of the way up the ramekins. Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour or until the custard is set (it should not be wobbly). 

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven (there might still be water in the pan so be careful not to slosh). Then cover and chill the custards for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. 

Sprinkle with sugar, if you have a hand torch caramelize the sugar on top until dark. If you do not have a hand torch, preheat the broiler put the ramekins as close to the top as possible, broil for about 30 seconds. Serve and enjoy!

Brown Butter Gingerbread Muffins

I officially have a new motto: why use butter when you can use BROWNED butter. Browned butter is just so freaking good! I love the richness and nuttiness it brings to things, without needing to included nuts! I have a fear of using nuts in baking and accidentally having someone have an allergic reaction. So now I use browned butter and get the same subtle flavors without the fear. Whenever I am baking and the recipe calls for butter, I almost always use browned butter instead. I suggest you do as well.

I made these muffins for my coworkers today, they gobbled them up pretty quickly. I made them for a breakfast meeting so you had all of the holiday cheer and flavors of gingerbread, in a muffin which feels way more acceptable to be eating at 8 am than cookies. Not that there is anything wrong with cookies for breakfast, I do that all the time, but for normal people it might seem a little strange.

Anyway bake these delicious muffins, you wont regret it.

xx

L

Brown Butter Gingerbread Muffins

  • 2 c flour (gluten free or full depending on how you roll)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c mollasses 
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup browned butter 
  • 2/3 cup milk 
  • sugar topping (2 tbs sugar, dash of ginger, dash of cinnamon - mix together)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan melt butter and whisk over medium heat until the milk solids begin to brown and the butter begins to get a nutty aroma. Remove from heat and set aside once it is a light golden brown. In a large bowl combine flour, ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together until well combined. 

In another large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together brown sugar and the egg. Add in the molasses and maple sugar. Once well combined whisk in the melted browned butter. Add the flour mixture in two parts. Before the second part is fully incorporated add the milk and stir until combined (DO NOT OVER MIX, or you will have tough muffins). 

Put muffin liners in your muffin pan, fill them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Sprinkle with sugar toping and enjoy!

Pie Baking Tips & Apple Pie

So.... Its pretty clear that I waited till after Thanksgiving to bake an apple pie. Which is pretty strange, given that Thanksgiving and fall are PRIME apple pie baking times. But in my defense, I didn't have time to go apple picking this fall and I was in florida for Thanksgiving where we went out to dinner.

But lucky for you I am bring apple pie into the winter season, I think that apple pie is delicious warm and gooey apples with a crisp and buttery crust. Yum! With a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (maybe even boozy whipped cream), I die. 

I know a lot of gluten free bakers who are freaked out by making a gluten free pie crust, given that gluten is one of the things that helps keep your dough together. Well don't you fear I have a few pie baking tips for you:

1. make sure you butter is COLD COLD COLD: after cubing your butter but it back in the freezer while you get the rest of your ingredients ready

2. use a pastry cutter (if you don't have one two paring knives or two forks will work): don't use a food processor! The warmth of the motor actually heats up your butter. 

3. do not try to roll out the dough on a floured surface: it will not work it will fall apart and you will want to cry. This is a tip my best friend S taught me, roll your dough out between two pieces of saran wrap! It is super easy and makes for a smoother trip to the pie pan. 

4. Taste your fruit: every pie is going to be different, some fruits will be sweater than others. I always adjust the amount of sugar I use based on the sweetness or tartness of the fruit. 

5. RELAX: if you roll out the top of your pie and it is a hot mess (trust me it has happened to me before) take a deep breath and top your pie with an easy crumble (1 stick of butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon -- cube the butter and make almost a sand like mixture) sprinkle it on top and it will act as a topping for your pie. Feel free to add oats or chopped up almonds for more texture. 

6. Acid: make sure you add some sort of acid to cut through the sweetness of not only the fruit and sugar but all dat butta. My go to is lemon juice and zest, it adds a brightness that is absolutely necessary. 

7. Make a collar with aluminum foil: make a collar with aluminum foil and wrap it around the outside edges of your pie, this is where the crust is thinest, you don't want this part to burn! Cook your pie for 3/4 of the time with it on, take it off for the last 10 minutes or so for an evenly browned crust. 

Alright team, now that you are all pie pros, you'll find my apple pie recipe.

Enjoy!

xx

L

Apple Pie

  • All Butter Double Pie Crust (I use this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, just substitute GF flour) 
    • 2 1/2 cups GF flour
    • 1 tbs sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 sticks butter
    • 1 cup of cold water (add some ice cubes)
    • 5 apples pealed, cored, and sliced (I used Gala)
    • 1/2 - 3/4 a cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tbs lemon juice
    • zest of 1 lemon

For Your Crust (from Smitten Kitchen):

Dice your butter into cubes, place in the freezer. In a medium sized bowl (its best if your hands fit in) combine, salt sugar, and flour. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour mixture. Begin working the butter in with a pastry blender. Use your pastry blender to scoop and redistribute the mixture evenly. Stop when you have a mixture the size of small peas. To make the mix sprinkle with water, start with 1/2 cup. Use a silicon spatula to bring the mix together. Add an additional 1/4 cup of water, use your hands to gently kneed the dough together. Gather the dough into one mound. Divide the dough in half, and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. 

For Your Pie:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and core your apples. Quarter them and slice them thinly, about 1/4 of an inch. After tasting your apples decide how much sugar you will need (if they are sweet, use 1/2 a cup, if they are tart use 3/4 a cup). Toss the apples with lemon juice, zest, sugar, and cinnamon. 

Roll out your bottom crust between two pieces of saran wrap. You should be able to see pieces of the butter in the crust, thats a good thing, makes for a flakey crust. Gently place your dough in your pie pan. Make sure the dough is tight to the corners. Pour the apples into the crust and make an even layer on the top. Roll out your other dough, once it is large enough, gently lay the crust on the top of the pie. Using your thumb and pointer finger pinch the top and bottom crusts together along the edge to make it look pretty. OR you can use a fork along the edges to bind them together. (You may have to cut some excess dough off the sides. Using a paring knife make a few slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. 

Make a collar with aluminum foil and wrap around the edges. Bake for 30 minutes with the collar on, take the collar off for the last 10 minutes of baking. 

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. (also delicious the next morning for breakfast)

Going Rogue on Thanksgiving, a Birthday Tribute & Chocolate Mousse

I am going to apologize in advance for the fact that I am going to suck at posting this week. I am on vacation with my family in Florida and honestly am not planning on doing too much cooking. My plans currently revolve around spending time with family, sleeping, doing a little work, and hopefully catching a few rays.

We have been coming here for the past two years, and instead of making Thanksgiving dinner, we go out to this absolutely fantastic Inn. This is actually the first year that I miss cooking Thanksgiving dinner, partially because I wont be able to share it with all of you! But at least my mom and I always do it on another day (ie Turkey, stuffing etc.) so that we can have leftovers for sandwiches. Next year I am putting my foot down and we are doing a traditional Thanksgiving and I am going ALL OUT.

In other news today is my best friend in the entire worlds birthday. "S" is the best and most awesome person I know. We have been through so much together from pushing me off the chairlift (I deserved it), to bowl cuts, to girl talk man drinks, to dixie chick sing alongs, to heartbreaks, to triumphs, and to every ridiculous shenanigan in between. She inspires me to be better every day. Thank you for being my best friend, partner in crime, voice of reason, and the bear to my goose!

Okay enough touchy feely stuff... This chocolate mousse recipe that I am about to share with you is probably our favorite thing ever. It is so light and airy but also rich and indulgent at the same time. It was my birthday "cake" this year and I gave her sister and law the recipe so it can be her this year. This is also a recipe that "S" knows even better than I do, so I am going to have to give her props on this one. 

This mousse although a possibly unconventional Thanksgiving desert, it is great because you can make it so far in advance. And I promise it will be the highlight of whatever meal you choose to serve it with, especially if that meal is occasionally breakfast. 

Anyway I hope you all have amazing Thanksgivings filled with food, wine, family, and love. This year I am most thankful for: my family, friends, dogs, and you all! I have really enjoyed writing this blog and sharing my food with you all, so thank you for listening to my ramblings and hopefully (fingers crossed) liking my food.

What are you thankful for?

xx

L

The Best Most Amazing Chocolate Mousse Ever. 

Adapted from "S" & The Fundamental Techniques of Italian Cuisine

  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate 
  • 1 3/4 heavy cream
  • 3 large egg whites (at room temp)
  • 3 tbs granulated sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (be careful that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water, you want the steam to do the work). Stir the chocolate gently as it melts. In another bowl (preferably attached to a stand mixer) beat the whipped cream until it forms soft peaks, set aside. In another bowl (again attached to a stand mixer) whip the egg whites, when you have soft peaks, add the salt and sugar, whip to firm peaks. You want them to be smooth and shiny (do not over whip them). Then using a whisk fold the chocolate into the egg whites. When the whites are almost completely incorporated fold in the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.

PRO TIP: make boozy whipped cream to go along with the mousse, take 2 cup heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbs granulated sugar, and 1 tsp booze ( My go to's are dark rum or bourbon). Whip together on medium speed (cover mixer with a hand towel to keep the cream from splattering all over you) and whip to soft peaks. Serve with the mousse OR in your coffee