Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

These banana bars are so simple, so moist and with a little effort (not much) they transform into beautiful, elegant treats. I love how a little swirl of frosting here, a carefully placed walnut there and ... tada... the humble banana bar is transformed!

I like this recipe because it only uses 2 bananas so it is perfect for those times when you only have a couple overripe bananas which isn't quite enough for a loaf of banana bread. The crunchy walnut, smooth cream cheese frosting and moist bar are an amazing combination. In my opinion, a splash of maple flavoring to the frosting truly elevates the taste by adding another dimension of flavor. Yum!

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
9 x 13 pan | adapted from Betty Crocker

1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 medium)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 brick cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp maple flavoring (or vanilla)
1 cup powdered sugar (may need more to achieve desired consistency)
walnuts, for decoration

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of rectangular pan, 9 x 13 pan with shortening. In large bowl, mix granulated sugar, bananas, oil and eggs with spoon. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Spread in pan.
2. Bake bars 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, with a hand mixer, mix cream cheese, butter and maple flavoring (or vanilla) on medium speed until blended. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, scraping bowl occasionally, until smooth and spreadable.
4. Cut cooled bars before frosting them. Put frosting in a piping bag and pipe a robust cream cheese frosting rosette on each bar. There is a fair bit of frosting, so you can be generous. Top with a walnut and serve.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Rocky Road Fudge Brownies

I can hardly believe it has been over a year since I last posted. Each month has gone by so quickly, it's hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner. I haven't been baking as much as I would like, but I hope to change that next year! So anyways, on to these bars!
These rocky road brownies are fudgy, dense, moist and packed with chocolate flavor. The peanuts added a delicious crunch and that hint of salt that pairs and contrasts so perfectly with chocolate. I was really skeptical about their consistency even after taking them out of the oven. It seemed like they were severely underbaked and I doubted that they would even hold together as squares but once they cooled fully, overnight, they were amazing! If you make this recipe, bake it with faith that they will set up in the end :)

Rocky Road Fudge Brownies
9 x 13" pan | adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Compation

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened at room temp
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup salted peanuts
1 - 2 cups miniature marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9×13 inch pan (or line with parchment).
2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream butter and both sugars until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, 2 cups chocolate chips and peanuts.
3. Pat the dough into your prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are set but still soft in the center. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup chocolate chips and then marshmallows. Bake about 5-10 minutes more. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting. This is very important as they will be too gooey to cut if not cooled completely first. Ovenight is best I have found.