Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brown Sugar Banana Cupcakes

The only thing that ever comes to mind when I have overly ripe bananas sitting in our kitchen is....banana bread! But I thought...there's got to be something other than banana bread that I could make every time I have ripe bananas.  
When I'm in a stump as to what to make with a specific ingredient I head over to How Sweet It Is.  She has the most wonderful recipes and some are so unique and exotic. But, they always look so darn delicious...and I've made several things from her blog and can honestly say every thing IS so darn delicious.  
So I searched around her blog for some banana inspiration and came across her Brown Sugar Banana Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream.  I thought I'd hold off on the avocado frosting for now :-/ maybe next time!  Instead, I just used some Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Frosting to top them off.  
These cupcakes are heavenly! You can taste the banana pieces in each bite, they are oh-so-moist, and the added cinnamon and nutmeg really spice up the flavor a bit.  I think these might be some of the best cupcakes I've ever made.  And to be honest, without the frosting they are fabulous as well.  They'd make a great morning muffin! 
Of course, I thought I'd package them up as little gifts.  My friend gave me these gift boxes which are perfect for cookies or cupcakes as they have cupcake holder cardboard on the inside.  Not too sure where she got them but maybe Sur La Table?  And thanks to my mom for the cute cupcake ribbon! 

Now, I have two recipes that will come to mind when those bananas aren't so yellow anymore ;-) 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

I've been wanting to try one of these Salted Caramel Hot Chocolates at Starbucks, but I always seem to go back to my usual every time I'm there...a Chai Latte! And, for 4+ bucks for something you may not enjoy....I'd rather try making it myself for a fraction of the cost.  
I was super cold today as it was a frigid 50 something degrees...yes, that's frigid! I no longer live in the Indiana below zero temp winters, so I'm allowed to be cold at 50 something degrees.  So I wanted a nice and warm drink to heat me up.  I thought it would be the perfect time to try out that hot chocolate. 

A Beautiful Mess seemed to have just the right recipe I was going for.  Something very rich and more dessert-like than your normal hot chocolate.  And I wanted to make my own caramel drizzle, so I used this recipe by Ina Garten on  

Once I had the hot chocolate and caramel sauce going on the stove I realized....
You can't have hot chocolate without gluttonous amounts of whipped cream! And my fridge didn't have any in sight.  SO, I made my own whipped cream following this recipe here from  

I'm telling ya...if you want an arm workout, make your own whipped cream using a whisk!  Both arms will be tired out, and you will feel like you deserved every sip of that decadent hot chocolate.  

I topped my hot chocolate with a bunch of marshmallows as well...not homemade ;-) Maybe that'll be my next blog post.  
 It was so rich, I could only finish half! But it was one of the best hot chocolates I've had! 
Maybe, I'll go back to Starbucks and try their's out now ;-) 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Roll

Before making the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll...I'd never really made rolled up cakes before.  But I LOVE the look of them and the idea that you can not only garnish the inside with a fantastic frosting/filling...the outside is fair game as well.  

I've since re-made the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll...sans-food coloring.  And it was a hit for a birthday bash! So, making another rolled up cake seemed like a great idea for Mike's Holiday Party for work.  

I found this Chocolate Peppermint Bark Roll recipe on Baker's Royale.

What You'll Need...
For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Follow the recipe here to make the cake.

For the Peppermint Buttercream Frosting:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
5 tablespoons of heavy cream
2 cups confectioner sugar
½ cup chopped Peppermint Andes (I wish I could've found these but I didn' I used Dove Peppermint Bark squares instead)

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth.

For the Chocolate Sauce:
2/3 cups dark chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
4-5 tablespoons water, warm (I only needed to use 2 tablespoons till I obtained pouring consistency)
Place the chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water.  It says to wait 2-3 minutes for the chocolate to melt before stirring but I found the chocolate burns at the bottom of the bowl, so stir away.  Then add the powdered sugar and stir to mix.  Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you've obtained pouring consistency.  (I only needed 2 tablespoons).  Set sauce aside until cool.  
Unroll the chocolate cake and spread the buttercream frosting 1/4 inch thick all over.  Then, roll the cake long ways.  I then rolled the cake in aluminum foil and chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Once you are ready to consume the cake....pour the chocolate sauce on top and sprinkle with peppermint bark shavings. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pizza Rolls

I have an upcoming Christmas get together that I'm hosting and I wanted to have Costco's pepperoni pizza rolls on hand because they were hoovered up right quick at a past Christmas party and a huge favorite of mine.  On a recent trip to Costco I was saddened by missing pizza rolls.  Couldn't find them to save my life!

Since my Mini Apple Pies were such a hit and I had a box of leftover pie crust...I thought I'd figure out a way to make my own pizza roll.  You can add to this recipe as much as your creativity lets you and substitutions will work as well.

I used a half box of pie crust to make 8 pizza rolls.

What You'll Need:
Cookie Sheet
A sprinkle of flour
1/2 package of pie crust (I'm pretty sure Pillsbury Crescent Rolls would work just as well or even better!)
4 tbsp of melted butter
8 heaping spoonfulls of tomato sauce of choice (I used a sausage/garlic combo)
Your choice of cheese (I used provolone bc that's what I had on hand and it was bomb diggigity!)
Tooth picks

Preheat the oven to 350!  Flour the cookie sheet so the pie crust won't stick.  Unroll the pie crust on the cookie sheet.
Use a brush to cover the pie crust in melted butter, but save at least half of the butter for later. 
Cut the pie crust into 8 wedges.  
Place a heaping spoonful of tomato sauce onto each wedge and place cheese on top with a sprinkle of oregano.  As you can see from my pictures, I added the cheese first and then the better the other way around though.  You get less sauce spilling out the sides.
Roll each wedge starting with wide end and place a toothpick in each so they don't unroll. 
Brush the remaining butter on top of each roll and bake for 15-20 minutes.  

I prefer a chewy rather than a crunchy crust so I took mine out at around 15 minutes.  

Again, add meats, cheeses, garlic, veggies, fruits...whatever your heart desires! These are super simple to put together and sooo yummy!