Banana Blondies

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As most of my friends know, I am a banana hoarder. I buy bananas every week at the grocery store but frequently forget to eat them. This “problem” has been somewhat solved since the boyfriend and I moved in together because he’ll eat the yellow bananas that I won’t touch. (Like my grandfather, I need some green on my bananas!) But even he has limits…

I hate throwing away perfectly good food, so I keep bananas around long past their prime. I hide them above the fridge until the brown spots take over and stash them in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to turn them in to, usually, Banana Bread. But, this time, I wanted to do something different!

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So I tweaked a normal Blondie recipe to include a hearty amount of banana! I replaced the normal chocolate chips with white chocolate and added some toasted macadamia nuts. And the result is absolutely magical!

I’ve made this recipe twice now, and my Banana Blondies have been devoured both times. Even the boyfriend loves them, and he doesn’t even like white chocolate!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂 Continue reading

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Nanaimo Bars

When I was a kid, there was always a very specific list of Christmas treats that my mom would bake up for the three of us to enjoy (my mom, my sister, and me). Usually, my mom hid the Tupperwares full of cookies and other desserts in the basement, so that the baking would last as long as possible. Our family sweet tooth is pretty strong, so sweets never lasted too long in our house…

My mom’s list primarily included traditional family recipes that had been passed down from my grandmothers and great grandmothers. We’d have shortbread cookies, gingerbread mans, mincemeat and marsipan tarts, and Nanaimo bars. This holiday, I decided to share my family’s recipe for Nanaimo bars with my readers!

Nanaimo bars are a traditional no-bake bar cookie that originated in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Many slight variations of the recipe exist, but the ingredients are primarily the same for all of them. The bars start out with a crust made from chocolate, graham crackers, coconut, and nuts. Then the crust is topped with a custard-flavored butter icing and covered with a layer of chocolate.

An important part of the butter icing is custard powder, which is not so easily acquired in the States. Traditionally, my mom always used Bird’s Custard Powder because it is the most popular brand. In the States, it can sometimes be found in specialty grocery stores in the International Foods section (usually the British-made version) or at international stores like World Market. If you can’t find custard powder, you can substitute it with an equal amount of instant vanilla pudding.

One quick warning, these Nanaimo bars are SWEET and heavy. Traditionally, my family usually cuts them in to 16 servings, but the recipe can easily be cut in to 25 servings if your sweet tooth is not as dominant as mine… 😉

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked for a recommendation for a pumpkin-based recipe, with the specific request that it also include chocolate. Well, I hadn’t spent much time looking at pumpkin recipes or making them either, so I unfortunately didn’t have a quick answer for her. But I added to my list of “things to make”, and came up with a pretty stellar recipe while on my pumpkin kick!

Thankfully, I had some time to catch up on baking this weekend. I got an unexpected two days off work due to Frankenstorm Sandy, and I a lot of time to bake in between packing up my apartment for the move-in with the boyfriend coming in a few days! (By the way, all is well in DC after Sandy. A lot of branches and leaves came down, but we maintained power and stayed safe through the storm. My heart goes out to everyone in states much worse off than us, including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.)

These pumpkin chocolate chip bars are a like a cake’y Blondie, with chocolate chips and a strong pumpkin flavor. They are super-easy to mix and bake, which I was thankful for since my apartment is a bit crowded with boxes… I decided to bake them up in 2 8″ brownie pans, but you can also use a 9×13″ cake pan if you wish. (You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly though to make sure they are completely cooked in the center.)

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Salted Caramel Rice Krispies

Rice Krispie Treats are by far one of my most favorite desserts. There’s something about Rice Krispie Treats that evokes a child-like enjoyment in me. I love making them. I love eating them. I love every ooey-gooey, crispy, sticky bite. I also love experimenting with different types of “treats”. Changing the type of cereal, mixing in candies, etc. can elevate the treat in to more of a grown-up dessert with layers of flavor or different flavor profiles…

Last Thanksgiving, I celebrated my birthday with my boyfriend’s family out in San Francisco. His brother made me some really, really tasty Rice Krispie Treats with salt and brown butter. And I’ve been thinking about them ever since… But because I don’t like just replicating recipes, I’ve been thinking about a way to make them even better. So I added salted caramel.

Salted caramel is like a gift from the heavens. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty and can either be mixed in or added on top of almost anything. I found this really amazing Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce recipe from Brown Eyed Baker that I just had to try, and I swear, it’s addictive… I made a batch of the sauce ahead of time, so check out the post on her site!

Click below for the recipe!

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Mmm, Baby Ruth Brownies

So, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I really enjoy celebrating unusual “holidays” with baked goods. Well, last Friday was Babe Ruth Day! Babe Ruth Day falls every year on April 27th and was created to honor one of Baseball’s greatest players ever. While the origin of the name of the Baby Ruth Bar is disputed (was it named after Babe Ruth or after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth?), this occasion felt like the perfect opportunity to turn one of my favorite candy bars into some delicious brownies!!

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