No Ordinary Banana Bread

Fast, Easy And Most Of All, Delicious!

It just seems that every week we have some bananas that just get too ripe for my taste. Harry doesn’t mind if they get those “Age Spots” on them but I just can’t eat them when they’ve gone that far.  So, very often a moist flavorful Banana Bread appears.

Banana Bread.jpg

What we love about this recipe other than saving  the life of a couple of bananas, is that this cake stays fresh for days or freezes really well. You can slice it before freezing and then just take out a few slices at a time.

Lets get started resuscitating those over the hill bananas!

Two Food Nuts Banana Bread:

For the batter you will need:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of raisins (you can also add 1 cup chopped pecans if you like)

For the glaze  you will need:

The juice of one lemon and enough icing sugar to make a stiff, but pourable icing.

banana loaf.jpg

We use a stand mixer but if you have a hand mixer you can do this in a large bowl. Cream the butter and sugar together until the sugar is well incorporated. Add the bananas and mix just to break them up. Add the eggs and mix for 15 seconds. Pour in the milk and lemon juice. Mix for 10 seconds and now add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda). Mix just to create the batter. Now switch to a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir in the raisins and nuts if using them.

Prepare a loaf pan by greasing with either butter or baking spray such as Pam and flour the pan. You can also spray the pan and line it with a sheet of parchment paper to be sure the cake released.

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Bake in the middle of the oven at 350 F degrees for at least 1 hour. Check at that point with a wooden skewer. If the cake is still wet, reduce the oven to 300F degrees and bake for another 15-20 minutes. If your cake is getting too dark but still not baked, lay a piece of foil over it.

Banana Bread.jpg

When the cake is done, I remove it from the pan by lifting it on the parchment and cool it on a baking rack. Once the cake is cool, pour the glaze down the middle and help it run down the sides with a spatula. Thanks for saving the life of a doomed Banana!

We look forward to your comments on this recipe. Happy baking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

In German We Say “Kaffe and Kuchen”!

Coffee and cake, they’re just made for one another.  We’d like to share this recipe that has become a true favorite of ours.  It’s not too sweet but its rich in flavor and texture.  The pecan streusel filling is a perfect accent to the tender simple cake.

Pecan coffee cake

You will need a Bundt Pan for this recipe.

TwoFoodNuts Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake:

For the Pecan Streusel Filling:

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter cut into small chunks and chilled
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Place everything into a large bowl and with your fingers crush the chunks of butter into the flour and sugar until you have a crumbly mixture. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F

For the Cake:

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1  and 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1  cup apple sauce

Place dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well and add all the wet ingredients, stir to incorporate everything without mixing too much.  Spray a Bundt pan with a baking spray and add half the batter. this batter is quite stiff so you may need to smooth it by using the back of a spoon that is dipped in cold water. Now add the pecan streusel filling. Top with the remaining batter then finish with the pecan streusel.

cinnamon pecan coffee cake

This cake bakes for about one hour depending on your oven. Use a wooden skewer to test at the one hour mark. If the cake is very brown but still a bit wet inside you can turn off the oven and leave the cake in it to cool for another half hour. This will keep it from over browning.

sour cream coffee cake

Light Icing:

  • 2 Tbsp soft butter
  • 1/and 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm water

Blend everything in a small bowl using the back of a spoon. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Put the coffee on!

Pecan coffee cake

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Tomato Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato Appetizer or Lunch!

If you have company coming and you need a light and savory dish, you’ll have to give this a try.  You can make it in advance so there’s no stress at party time.  You can also make this as a light lunch. We enjoyed it on our recent picnic with a side salad of Arugula and grapes.

Tomato tartOur TwoFoodNuts Tomato Tart:

Serves two for lunch or 4-6 as an appetizer.

  • Oneready made sheet of puff pastry
  • 3/4 cup plain goat cheese
  • 2 med tomatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp Herb de Provence
  • 1 small garlic clove grated finely
  • 1/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 springs of fresh Thyme, leaves picked and sprinkled on tart
  • 2 tsp olive
  • Salt and pepper

tomatoe and goat cheese tartHeat oven to 450F.  Spread out the sheet of Puff Pastry.  Using a fork, prick the pastry all over but not within 1/2 inch of the edge.  In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese, grated garlic, and Herbs de Provence.  Crumble the goat cheese over the tart.  Distribute the sun-dried tomatoes over the cheese.  Lay the tomato slices on top.  Pluck the leaves from the thyme and sprinkle over the tart.  Salt and pepper the tart.  Using a spoon, lightly drizzle the olive oil over everything and bake on the middle shelf of the oven. It’s ready in under 20 minutes.

If making for a party, assemble the tart early in the day and cover with cling film to refrigerate until you are ready to bake it.

Tomatoe Goat Cheese TartThe result is a light tart with rich goat cheese underlying the juicy tomatoes and herbs. Whether served as an appetizer or a light lunch this is a tomato and cheese lovers treat!

 

Black Forest CupCakes

Chocolate and Cherries Topped with Whipped Cream. Sensational!

We love making these cupcakes for special occasions. A cupcake is the perfect dessert for a crowd since they come in their own little containers.  Just pop them on a pretty plate and you are the baking hero of the day.

Elfie is of German heritage so its little wonder that this recipe ended up on the blog. Cherries just happen to be one of her all-time favorite fruits.  And chocolate, what can I say? You never go wrong using chocolate in a dessert.   Just try to keep these treats away from her. I dare you!

We like to use real whipped cream in our recipes. It is not a lot of extra effort to use fresh ingredients and the end result, from our experience is just “Better”.

Black Forest cupcakesWhat you’ll need.

  • 1 package Devil’s Food Chocolate cake mix
  • 1 can of cherry Pie filling
  • 1 pint 8 oz of real whipping cream. (35% cream)
  • 2 tbsp sugar to sweeten the whipped cream
  • 1 package gelatin (this is in the baking section of the grocery store)
  • 2 Tbsp real chocolate chips melted to drizzle over whipping cream.

This recipe is made using a chocolate cake mix. The reason is that the texture of the cupcake is so light.  It’s hard to achieve that when baking from scratch. We’ve tried it but the truth is Duncan Hines has perfected the lightest chocolate cake you can produce and it makes the cupcakes perfect. One package of Devil’s Food cake mix is enough for 12 cupcakes. Bake using the directions provided.

While the cupcakes are baking:

Whip the cream  in a cold bowl using a hand or stand mixer.   Beat it just until the beater leave swirls in the cream. DO NOT OVER WHIP.

whipped creamIn a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup cool water over the gelatin powder and allow it to soften. After a few minutes add the 1/4 cup hot water to the gelatin and stir it well.

Knox gelatinMeasure half of the gelatin (1/4 cup)  to use in the whipped cream. DO NOT USE IT ALL.  With the mixer on the lowest setting gently pour the gelatin into the whipped cream and mix just to incorporate.

blending gelatinPlace it into a piping bag with a large star tip and chill for 1 hour.

piping bagCook’s Tip: Gelatin is simple to use and can help stabilize any liquid when making dessert.  It’s easy enough for a novice to use and adds no taste to what you are making.

Once the cupcakes are cool, use a melon-baller  or small ice cream scoop to remove the center of the cupcake.  Fill just to the top of the cupcake with the Cherry Pie filling.  Now pipe the chilled whipped cream over the cup cakes.

scooping out cupcakeFinally, place the chocolate chips into a sandwich bag and microwave for 30 seconds on half power just to melt the chocolate. ( you may need to do this a couple of times) Take care not to melt the bag. Cut the smallest tip off the sandwich bag and lightly drizzle the chocolate over the whipped cream. You’re all done!

Black Forest cupcakesLook how great these individual Black Forest Cupcakes turn out!  Your friends won’t believe you made them.  And just wait till they get a mouthful of the luscious whipped cream mixed into the tart cherries and enveloped in the lighter-than-air cake. Heaven.

We hope you give this recipe a try.  A beginner can produce these results just by following the directions!

 

Caesar Salad Dressing

Hail Caesar!  No! Wait a minute! Hail Harry!

When Harry first began his culinary adventures he asked me to show him how to make my Caesar Salad.  I gave him the recipe that I had used for decades and he makes it better than I ever did!  I haven’t made it since.

Party Caesar SaladWe use the dressing to create two different serving styles. One is for regular dinners and the other for parties.  The ingredients are classic but I think that Harry really takes his time when he assembles the ingredients, making the dressing a soft thick mousse that clings to the lettuce.  All our friends swoon over it.  Hold your applause please.

Caesar dressingWhen we do parties, Harry places the Caesar dressing into the bottom of a Champagne glass.  He makes crouton sticks from puff pasty, and to make it extra special he adds long strips of crisp bacon. The result is beautiful and the taste…. Let’s just say is memorable.  Guests dip the trio of lettuce, crouton and bacon into the dressing and you will hear nothing but the inevitable Mmmmmm sounds.

Party Caesar SaladParty or dinner the great taste is worth the extra effort.

Caesar SaladWhen Harry serves the salad for lunch or dinner, he splits the head of Romaine into long pieces by cutting it from the top of the leaf to the stem.  One head of Romaine should yield at least 4 servings, more if it is extra large. Then he lays it on the serving plate, drizzles the dressing over it, shaves some quality Parmesan on top and finishes with our homemade croutons.

By serving the salad with the dressing drizzled on top rather than mixed into small pieces of lettuce you assure that the salad stays crisp to the last bite!

Two Food Nuts Caesar Salad Dressing:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard  (please do not use yellow mustard in this recipe)
  • 2 Anchovy fillets or 1 tsp Anchovy paste
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed or grated
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 cup canola or sunflower oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a small deep mixing bowl (about 6 inches in diameter) add all the ingredients except the oil, lemon and Parmesan cheese.  Whisk  together to incorporate well. Pour the oil into a 1 cup measure with a spout.  Drizzle the oil almost drop by drop while whisking it into the eggs. The slow incorporation of the oil at the beginning insures emulsification (thickening) of the sauce. Once you have about 1/3 of the oil blended into the egg mixture, you can add a few tablespoons of oil at a time and whisk briskly after each addition.

Once all the oil is incorporated, add the lemon, Parmesan and salt and pepper. This dressing lasts in the fridge for a full week if covered.  The recipe serves 8.

The more time you spend whisking the oil into the eggs the thicker and richer the final result will be.  You are trying to get a sauce that will mound on a spoon.

Caesar dressingCook’s Tip: Place a damp towel on the counter. This helps steady the mixing bowl while you stir in the oil.

cook's tipSo there you are,  our Caesar Salad dressing!

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