Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blogiversary Banoffee Pie!

Wow. I actually did it. I made it to my one year blogiversary! Yay me!

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I would. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm a fad chaser. My husband often calls me 'Faddington Bear' whenever I embark on the newest fad quest. While I do enjoy a new, shiny toy every now and again, I get bored very quickly with it and my fad becomes a fade.

Since I love celebrations of every sort, I decided to throw one for myself. I settled on the delightful British favorite, Banoffee Pie. I personally never make it, but figured now's a good a time as any. Whenever we visit the UK, every home has it prepared for our arrival...well, that or Sticky Toffee Pudding, along with one of my most favorite British confections, Dolly Mixtures. It always makes me feel SUPER special!

All in all, this pie is so worth the effort. 

Channeling my inner Mary Katherine Gallagher, "My feelings for this pie would best be expressed in the musical style of Gwen Stefani....

"This sh*% is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!"

Really. It is. 

BANOFFEE (or Banoffi) PIE
Recipe adapted from my UK 'Mama', Angela

1 can sweetened condensed milk, caramelized* OR 1 jar Dulce de Leche
8 ounces (1 cup) digestive biscuits - if you can't find them, use shortbread or Rich Tea cookies. You can use graham crackers, but I think it loses its British authenticity if you do.  
4 ounces (½ cup) butter, melted 
4 large bananas - perfectly ripe, but just slightly green work best here!

Coffee Whipped Cream:
2½ cups heavy cream (35% fat)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (dissolved in 1 cup heavy cream before whipping)

Chocolate shavings - To make pretty chocolate curls, chill chocolate and use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate.

*To properly caramelize sweetened condensed milk, open can and pour into oven safe bowl. Tightly cover with foil and bake at 425ºF for 1 hour. 

However, because I am not a safe Sally, I use the stove top method *gasp*. If you choose to use the stove top method, please read carefully:  

Remove label and set sweetened condensed milk can in a saucepan. BE SURE THE CAN IS COMPLETELY SUBMERGED UNDERWATER! I cannot, cannot, cannot stress this enough! I don't want to scare you, but it's easily done where it can be forgotten and the water will evaporate from the pan. As long as you keep the can submerged, you shouldn't have any problems!

Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, adding water as needed, about 3 hours. Remove can from pan; let cool completely. If you open can too soon, you can get badly burned, not to mention the mess! Think of a soda can under pressure once vigorously shaken! 

This is what you will get once cooked and cooled:

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Pulverize biscuits in food processor. Toss them into a bowl and add melted butter. Mix until incorporated.

Place crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate or fluted tart pan (which I used) and spread evenly over bottom. Use a flat-bottomed cup to press crumbs evenly over bottom of pan and up the sides.

Bake until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Using mixer or whisk, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy and thick.

To assemble pie, spread cooled sweetened condensed milk or dulce de leche over pie bottom, top with bananas, and finish with whipped cream.

Sprinkle with chocolate curls and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made several hours before serving. 

This pie is like revenge - Best served cold. Not that I condone revenge.

Yields: One awesome pie. 

Happy Baking!

share this on »

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake Cups with Peanut Butter Frosting - Part II

Tonight is Beth's party. It's a karaoke party.

I love karaoke. I can't hold a tune to save my life, but I love it. I am one of those people that can get up to sing, completely sober, without a care in the world. Isn't that what it's about? I'm not a big fan of those that sing really well. I mean, how do you follow a Celine wannabe? We went to karaoke one night where the girl actually brought her OWN material. What the.....seriously? I might spring to sing Eric Carmen's, 'All by Myself' tonight. Or maybe butcher some Mariah Carey. I'll see what the atmosphere pulls out of me.

For tonight's edible portion of the show, I'm making some cupcakes. Brownie bottom cheesecake cups with a ridiculous amount of peanut butter goodness on top. Beth loves cheesecake. I thought I would pimp them up a bit more. 

After all, what's a party without cake?

Or a pimp. 



1 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips)
4 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350º. Line muffin tins with FOIL cupcake liners. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and turn off heat. Combine butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over pan of hot water. Stir occasionally until melted.

Whisk eggs together in a large bowl, then whisk in salt, both sugars, and vanilla. 

Stir in chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in flour. 

Fill cups about a third into liners. This recipe will make 24 cupcakes plus an 8x8 pan of brownies. Bake for 5-7 minutes to help set up the brownies. Remove from oven and set aside.

2 packages of cream cheese
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons buttermilk or sour cream

Combine ingredients and mix until well blended. Pour into cups over the brownie mixture and fill, leaving about a half inch at the top. The cheesecake will settle once removed from oven, so don't be alarmed if it seems full.

Bake for 20 minutes. Don't worry if you see cracks. They will be covered with frosting. 

Let set for a minute or two and carefully remove from pan.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
(You can also completely omit frosting and opt for cherry pie topping!)

½ cup butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
⅓ cup cream

Combine ingredients into a bowl, slowly adding powdered sugar. Otherwise, you'll end up with a cloud of sugar smoke.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, place frosting in a piping bag with your tip of choice and apply. Add sprinkles or drizzle with caramel. I opted for peanut butter cups and dulce de leche.

share this on »

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday BFF - Part I

It's my BFF's birthday today! Happy Birthday Bitches!

She is such a wonderful friend.

I first met Beth in February 2004. My husband and I were in a small bible study group of about 10 people. It was based around the book, The Purpose Driven Life. (If you haven't read it, I implore you do. It's amazing!) Beth's parents were in the group as well.

I get little panic attacks when I'm in a group of people - mainly when it's people I don't know. I don't know why this happens, but it's been something I've been dealing with for years. I learned to suck it up and hide it very well and often use humor to deflect my uncomfortableness. Beth's Mama, Bonnie, would laugh at the things I said. On several occasions, she mentioned, "You have to meet our Beth! You'd get on so well with her!"

The Dubya's** invited us to their home for lunch on Sunday afternoon to meet the rest of their family. About 10 minutes after meeting her, I was like, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?"

Beth: Wanna go shopping?
Me: Always!
Beth: Wanna go now?
Me: Hell Yeah.
Beth: So, you like Value Village?
Me: Yeah I do!
Beth: Okay, let's go! 

Bonding over thrift items, I couldn't be happier.

You're an amazing girl Bethaniel. I'm so blessed you're in my life. I hope you have the best day ever. xoox

** last name kinda sorta changed to protect the innocent.

share this on »
Add a comment »

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

You know the statement, "You learn something new everyday"? Here is a little fact that I learned today. Disney Fairies (as in Tinkerbell and friends) apparently smell like cinnamon. Not like flowers, not like pine trees, or a sunny Spring morning, but cinnamon. Hmm.

I am a cinnamon LOVAH. It's one of my most favorite smells. Except for cinnamon candles. They smell like a bad mix of artificial spices and old ladies. Not a pleasant aroma to the nose.

I really love cinnamon rolls/buns, especially Cinnabon. Some of my favorite memories of dating my husband was introducing him to new foods. I remember this one particular time I made the six hour drive to see him and we went to the mall. (Later learning that he is SO NOT a mall kind of person, but I am appreciative he did those things to make me happy - and still does!) I introduced him to his first warm and gooey Cinnabon along with an ice cold pint of milk. I don't think I've ever seen a man so happy. 

As much as I love them, I find them tedious to make and can't be bothered, unless it's a special occasion or holiday. Until I found this number. It's got the star quality of a cinnamon roll/bun, but simplicity written all over it. 

Kind of like me. Gooeyness included.

Cinnamon Roll Cake
Recipe adapted and slightly modified from the Picky Palate

3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1½ cups milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup butter, melted

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
⅔ cups nuts, optional

2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In an electric or stand mixer mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs and vanilla. Once combined well, slowly stir in melted butter. Be warned: Once the butter is added, the batter will creep up the beaters! Have a spatula/scraper on hand.

Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. 

In a large bowl, mix softened butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nuts (if using) until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center. (My cake took the full 30 minutes).

Don't be alarmed if there is some movement when time is up. The first time I made it, I panicked as it was super buttery and looked a mess. This is why I changed the butter portion for the topping from 1 cup to ½ cup butter and that did the trick! As long as the cake portion is baked and the toothpick is clean, it's fine. As the cake cools, the topping WILL solidify.

To make icing, combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yields: 12-16 servings.

Happy Baking!

share this on »

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

It's been a wonderful holiday from beginning to end. Start to finish. I can't believe how blessed I am! I have a beautiful family who are happy and healthy, a lovely home in a lovely part of the world, incredible and amazing friends....I can't ask for more than that, but the Good Lord continues to bless me.

Of course with the holidays comes oodles and oodles of chocolate. I curse myself every New Year. I buy way too much and end up with even more. It's a illness I tell you. However, I would be lying if I said I don't get excited with the prospect of creating some new recipes or taking some I've had my eye on for a spin. 

However, this year I decided to bag up every last piece of chocolate and sent it with hubby to work. It's too tempting for me and figured it's better on their bums than mine.

Of course, asking me to abstain from sugar is like asking a fish to ride a bike. As amusing it would be to watch, it won't have a good outcome. 

So enjoy these mini pineapple upside down cakes. Sugar goodness. Chocolate-free.

But keep a chocolate stash close by. You don't want to hurt its feelings.


¾ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 can sliced pineapple rings
6 maraschino cherries

For the cake portion, I used a box yellow cake mix. Easy peasy. Just follow instructions on the back of the box. I substituted applesauce for the oil and added a few tablespoons of the pineapple juice.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray your muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.  I used a mini bundt pan, but if you don't have one, you can use a jumbo muffin pan or even a regular size pan.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar. Stir on low heat for one minute.

Place a pineapple ring in the bottom of each muffin tin. Add a cherry in the middle of each pineapple. If you use a regular tin, you will need to cut the pineapple to fit.

Spoon over a layer of the warm brown sugar mixture. Pour cake mixture over to fill muffin tin ¾ of the way full. 

Bake for 20 -25 minutes, depending on pan size you will be using. Let cakes cool in pan for 3 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake to help loosen in case it sticks a little. Place a wire cooling rack on top, and quickly flip over. 

Yields: 6 jumbo or 12 regular size cakes.

Happy Baking!

share this on »

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Eggnog Pound Cake

Christmas was awesome. Simply awesome. The big, jolly man made the trek to our house and came down the chimney - actually, this year, he came through the front door. My ever growing clever daughter asked, "How will Santa get through the glass on the fireplace, Mommy?" Sigh. 

I had to be one step ahead of clever clogs and pull out the big guns. A very special magic key, exclusively for Santa. Universal for any door. Thankfully, I picked one up several years ago on sale at the Hallmark Shop. Once I explained to her the procedure, she seemed content and asked no more questions.

After Santa delivered on the goods, he and I kicked back and noshed on some eggnog pound cake and tea while watching classic Christmas movies; stealing kisses here and there. Brings a whole new perspective to the classic Christmas song, "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus", except my kids were sound asleep and that song is utterly ridiculous. I mean, OUR Santa wears flannel pajama bottoms and a well loved and worn Scott Dixon Indycar racing t-shirt. If he actually dressed up as Santa and delivered presents like that, I may laugh at him for all eternity.

But for the record, Santa's an awesome kisser.


1 box yellow cake mix - I used Duncan Hines. You can also use a pound cake mix.
1 box instant vanilla pudding
1½ cups eggnog
4 eggs
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Eggnog Glaze: (optional, but AMAZING with this cake!)

1½ cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat all ingredients together at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

Pour into two lightly greased 9x5-inch loaf pans. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2012! Happy New Year and Happy Baking! 

share this on »

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Homemade Turtles

Wanna make the easiest treat on the planet? Then child, do I have the treat for you! The secret? It's only 3 ingredients. Yes, that's right my pretty. Three.

Now there is no excuse to show up to a Christmas party empty-handed. Unless of course you lose all control and eat them en route.

Which is a totally understandable.


1 bag waffle-style pretzels
Rolos - Here is a little tip I learned. When purchasing Rolos, buy the ones you find in a roll, not individually wrapped. Otherwise, you'll be peeling foil off for hours.
Halved pecans

Preheat oven to 300F. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, arrange pretzels and place Rolo on top.

Bake in the oven for 3-4 minutes - just until the chocolate is soft. Take tray out of the oven and immediately place a pecan on top, applying gentle pressure. Be sure not to smush too hard or you'll end up with a mess.

Allow to fully cool at room temperature before enjoying or packaging.

Happy Baking!

share this on »