Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I heard that yesterday was National Banana Bread Day.  Whether it was or not, I didn’t confirm it, but I did get in the kitchen and make some banana bread.  Don’t really need excuses here, we always have bananas ready to eat, almost always have overripe ones needing to be taken care of and by taken care of I mean turned in to something banana-yummy. 

Four bananas who have been screaming at me for days now, became this banana bread last night.  I’ve actually made it many times, always just a little different, but enough the same that it comes out every time.  I love that I make a gluten free (and refined sugar free!) treat that I can enjoy.  Bananas are one of my favorite fruits.  Probably one of my favorite foods.  They are cheap, readily available, sweet and tasty and can be used in so many things.  What is not to love?  (Don’t answer that, Deborah.) ; )

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup raw honey

1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons almond milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mashed overripe banana (about 4 small bananas)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1  3/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (with xanthan gum)

1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (optional) add nuts instead if you’d like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9x5 inch baking pan with foil.  Brush the foil with coconut oil.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, water, honey and coconut sugar.  Add the almond milk, vanilla, and mashed banana and whisk together until combined.  Next add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour and stir together with a spoon.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let sit on wire rack for 5 minutes then using the foil edges, remove the bread from the pan, peel off the foil and let the bread cool completely on a wire rack. 

Gluten Free Banana Bread

If you don’t want chocolate in your banana bread (crazy!), you can add walnuts or pecans instead or just have it as good ol’ plain banana bread.  I’ve done them all.  This has a great outside crust and is nice and soft and moist inside just the way banana bread should be.  I love having a slice of this with a little peanut butter spread on it.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Marquise au Chocolat—Baking Chez Moi—Tuesdays With Dorie

Marquise au Chocolat--TWD

Marquise au Chocolat (Frozen Chocolate Mousse), Baking Chez Moi, Tuesdays With Dorie

You might not realize what this is (which is why I put it in parenthesis in easy terms) and might not even think it looks too terribly good, but let me tell you, this frozen chocolate mousse is divine!  I even kind of like the lines in it from lining my heart-shaped mold with plastic wrap and it not being perfectly smooth.  It’s rustic and heart-warming and hello, it’s frozen chocolate and it’s definitely smooth going down the hatch.

I’m so glad I buckled down and made this, though it was last minute (the weeks sure fly by, not sure how I used to do TWD way back when, when we posted weekly)!  My seven year old woke up early, early Monday morning (the middle of the night) with the stomach flu and was sick all day yesterday.  I even dragged him to the store so I could get some chocolate and cream, which was in my plans before he was sick.  It worked well for me to tell him we needed to get some Sprite and saltine crackers for his upset tummy.  We got to the store and they were out of the chocolate I needed/wanted.  SIGH. 

Never fear, we went back home and I decided I had enough of everything to quarter the recipe and make a small serving.  Then I decided it would be fun to make it and put it in heart-shaped molds (this was before I even read Dorie’s suggestion to do that if desired).  She and I, we’re so smart.  So while my son lay on the couch trying to rest and not be sick, I got out the things I needed to make the quarter recipe for this chosen delight, Marquise au Chocolate (Frozen Chocolate Mousse), from Baking Chez Moi, pages 357-359.  Don’t let seeing that it’s three pages in her book make you think it’s too much.  A lot of it is all her background about the dessert and a great photo.  This was really so easy to make!  It took a couple steps, um, most recipes do, but if you plan it out and get everything together before starting, it’s pretty simple!

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, they are dairy, nut and soy free and made with evaporated cane juice.  They taste great!  Love the fun-shaped chocolate flower that showed up in the mix here.

The chocolate and butter were melted in a double boiler.  Since I made only one-quarter of the recipe, I beat the egg yolk and sugar with my hand mixer, then added that to the cooled melted chocolate and in another small bowl beat the heavy cream.  That was folded in to the chocolate mixture, then I put it in a small heart-shaped ramekin and a small heart-shaped metal mold that I’d lined with plastic wrap. 

Marquise au Chocolat (2)

 I put the molds in the freezer for only about four hours (recipes says six), but since they were smaller, I thought it would be okay.  Had to taste (and photograph) it right after an early dinner.

Marquise au Chocolate--(Frozen Chocolate Mousse)--TWD

I ate about 2/3 of this little dessert (and gave Kevin the rest), it was rich and delicious and perfectly creamy.  I’m so excited that the bigger heart is still there for me in the very near future.  This was pretty simple to divide (especially with the gram measurements).  I’m sure I’ll make this again, maybe, just maybe I’ll try it with coconut cream and honey for the sweetener.  I’m not afraid. ; )  I would like this with some raspberry coulis or fresh raspberries next time.  If I make it that way, I’ll post it with the recipe for you.  Go get Dorie’s book!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies—World Nutella Day

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies 2-4-15

It’s World Nutella Day today!  You might remember back in August (or you might need this reminder), when I made and posted a bunch of recipes from Shelby’s blog, The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch for The Secret Recipe Club.  Normally, we were just to make one recipe for the blog we were assigned that month, but Shelby and her blog are one of my favorites and we are good friends, so just for fun, I spent that whole month after getting my assignment, making as many recipes from her blog that I could during that time.  Here's that post—look for something with Nutella among all the deliciousness. 

One of the recipes I made from her blog then were my version of her Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies.  After getting things measured and ready to make her brownies, I realized I was out of peanut butter, so I did what any smart person would do—I made the caramel with Nutella instead.  These brownies are so good.  You might be thinking that you thought I don’t eat sugar and gluten anymore.  Well, I don’t, mostly.  These brownies became an occasion where it was necessary (for quality control purpose, you understand) that I taste the caramel AND then ultimately a bite of the brownie that I then topped with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup (next time save some Nutella caramel for the brownie sundae!) and some hazelnuts.  I only took a small bite….see….

Nutella Caramel Brownies 8-18-14

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making caramel, this is so easy, even more so if you measure out the ingredients first and have everything ready.  When I made these brownies last August, I made a full batch, which is a 9x13 inch pan.  For the remaking of them today, I halved the recipe—the ingredients are all perfectly easy to halve, so you decide how much Nutella caramel you want and how many brownies.

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies 

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

Nutella Caramel Sauce:

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup water

½ cup (148 grams) Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread), warmed slightly

1 tablespoon corn syrup

Pinch of salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat cream on low heat in a small saucepan (or in a microwave safe measuring glass) until hot (just barely simmering). In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat over medium-high heat. Do not stir it. Let it cook until amber brown (2-3 minutes). Slowly whisk the hot cream into the sugar until smooth and let it cook for 1 minute. When you stir the cream into the caramelized sugar, it will bubble a lot. Don’t worry, just keep stirring. After 1 minute, remove from the heat and whisk in the warm Nutella (it combines better when it is heated up a bit—just microwave it in a small bowl for 20-30 seconds and stir), corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Stir together until well combined and smooth. Set it aside to cool while you prepare the brownie batter.


1 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining it with tin foil (I prefer nonstick foil). Spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well combined. Add vanilla extract. Set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk together. Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Drop spoonsful of the Nutella caramel in dollops over the brownie batter. Drag a knife through the batter and the caramel to swirl. Don’t do it too much or you’ll lose the swirled effect. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs on it and not wet batter. Cool completely before cutting. Serve individually or as a base for brownie sundaes with ice cream, chocolate syrup (or more of the Nutella caramel if you didn’t use it all) and some toasted hazelnuts.

Nutella Caramel Swirled Brownies

I mean, come on, don’t these look like great brownies?  If you are a Nutella lover, like so many, you will love this caramel and these brownies, they stand alone great, but also make an awesome brownie sundae.

Nutella Caramel Brownies

Thanks to Sara at Ms Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso for their inspiration and the start up of World Nutella Day.  Check it out for hundreds of mouth-watering Nutella recipes!


Check out all the Nutella goodness on my blog!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

King Arthur Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I saw King Arthur Flour post their 2015 Recipe of the Year and that it was cookies—these Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and they looked like the perfect cookie that I needed to make for my family this week.

Kind of bummed, I went to the store to specifically get some King Arthur Flour, but I’ve looked before and was just wishful thinking—the stores near me here in Utah don’t have King Arthur flour available, so I almost hate to use their name for these cookies, but I did stick to their recipes almost exactly, so I do want them to get all the credit for these.  I will tell you, the recipe calls for their unbleached all purpose flour and I do have and use a good name brand unbleached flour for almost all my baking. 

This recipe has a lot of chocolate chips.  It suggested semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I used mostly milk chocolate chips and added some dark chocolate chips.  I wish I would have just stuck with the milk chocolate, as the boys really like the cookies but said there is too much chocolate in them.  Oh well, it’s not stopping them from eating them.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies 2

I wish I would have taken a before picture of these cookies on the baking sheet because I want to let you in on a little secret—when some (most) cookies come out of the oven, they are often not nice and perfectly round (as you see in the photo), but one of my tricks is as soon as I remove a baking sheet from the oven, I immediately take a metal spatula and go around the edges of each cookie, pushing in the areas where they aren’t nicely rounded.  Sometimes I do it when the cookies still have a minute or two in the oven then finish the baking. Once they are done, leave the cookies sitting on the hot baking sheet for a few minutes until they set up a bit more.   These cookies did seem to be the type that spread into other shapes a bit more, I often call those kinds “amoeba” cookies. ;  )  Just do my trick of quickly forming them back in to circles and you’ll be happy.  It has always worked great for me. 

These cookies have perfectly browned and crisp edges but are chewy in the centers.  I can’t believe I haven’t taken a single bite of them, but it’s because I can tell they are the kind of cookie I’d really like and have a hard time not eating more!  I love a good oatmeal cookie.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (220 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups (240 grams) unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup quick cooking oats (or old fashioned)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

12-18 ounces chocolate chips (I used 12 ounces milk chocolate and 6 ounces dark chocolate)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Put the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Scrape sides of bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Add them to the creamed mixture and beat together just until combined.  Scrape sides of bowl and stir in the chocolate chips (In the future I will just use 12 ounces as my family thought 18 was too much.)

Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheets spacing them about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes, cookies will be browned on the edges and still a little doughy on the insides.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using the edges of a metal spatula, form the cookies where needed back into rounds pushing lightly around the edges of each cookie.  Return the cookies to the oven for another 2 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 5 minutes, they will set up and the centers will bake a little more on the hot sheet.  Move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 30 cookies.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Granola Energy Bars—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Granola Energy Bars, gluten free, refined sugar free

It’s Tuesdays With Dorie time.  To start out the new year, we picked the Granola Energy Bars from Dorie’s Baking Chez Moi.  How fun for me to have a recipe that didn’t need altering.  I just used gluten free oats.  We could use any nuts and dried fruits we wanted and the granola bars were easy to make.

Dorie mentioned that these were best with brown rice syrup and I’ve been wanting to get some and try it so I bought some (and yay, it was on sale).  I did exactly as the recipe said, but only baked these for 20 minutes, not 25-30 and they were super crispy/hard. Bummer. So much that we had a hard time cutting them immediately.

Granola Energy Bars

Well, never fear—I decided to make them again.  This time, I changed up the nuts and fruit a bit (I went with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut and peanuts and just raisins.  But I decided to use raw honey and lower the temperature of the oven.  When I make granola, I bake it at 300 degrees F.  It was written in the recipe to bake these at 325 degrees F.  So I went with 300 degrees and I used raw honey instead of the brown rice syrup.  I baked the new batch for only 20 minutes as well.  They seemed a lot softer.  Enough that I was even worried they wouldn’t cut into bars.  But I waited as the recipe said—let them cool for 3 hours and while they hardened up nicely, they were much better, still a little more firm than I like a chewy granola bar to be, but I am going to love having them for snacks for the next week.  I wonder if it’s a high altitude thing?

Granola Energy Bars

I couldn’t help it—with the peanuts and raisins, I kept thinking about those candy bars called Chunky that have peanuts and raisins in them and I decided these granola bars needed to be dipped in chocolate.  LOVE!  I’m so smart. Just kidding.  Dorie mentioned in the recipe that you can add any and all kinds of nuts and fruit and chocolate if you want.  I never think of chocolate………….(right!?)  I used some 70% organic chocolate (3 ounces) melted with about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil. 

Chunky Peanut Raisin Granola Energy Bars

When I didn’t have enough chocolate left to keep dipping the bars, I drizzled the rest over the remaining bars.

Granola Energy Bars--TWD

Never fear—I did not and will not throw out the first bars that are so hard.  This morning, I put them in some almond milk on the stove and waited and watched and broke them up as they softened and turned them in to my morning oatmeal!  Good stuff!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Classic Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Sometimes the thing to do is just go with the gool ol’ classics.  I needed/wanted to make some cookies for a couple people and went with the perfect Classic Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies.  I just finished making them (the recipe makes more than four dozen cookies) and I think I’ll make another batch because I know the boys will love having these on hand. 

Cookie dough is almost always best after it has been chilled.  Many have asked me through the years why their cookies spread so much and are flat and one of the number one reasons I tell them is because they didn’t chill the dough.  When the butter is too soft and you use a cookie dough right after making it, it can make the cookies spread too much when they bake because all the ingredients are already warm.  I made this dough yesterday and it just didn’t work out for me to get them baked until today.  But the dough really only needs a couple hours in the refrigerator.  I haven’t tried it with these, I’m going to—but my favorite thing to do is make cookie dough, form cookie dough balls and freeze them.  I almost always have some kind of cookie dough to grab from the freezer and all I have to do is set them on a baking sheet, preheat the oven and bake them.  When you bake them from frozen, you just add a couple minutes to the baking time.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

This cookie dough is perfect after it has chilled for a couple hours to roll into balls.  These cookies are then rolled in granulated sugar.  Once you place them on a cookie sheet, you can press down on them with a fork in a criss cross pattern.  Another thing I love about these cookies—they are all perfectly round.

Very similar recipes can be found all over the internet for these types of classic peanut butter cookies.  I adapted a recipe I found at Sally's Baking Addiction.

Classic Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chunky peanut butter (you can use smooth, too)

3 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar (for rolling the cookie dough balls)

In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and sugars.  Scrapes the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes.  Scrape sides of bowl again.  Add the peanut butter and beat until well combined.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix on low just until combined.  Scrape the dough into an airtight container and refrigerate for about 2 hours (or longer, the dough is great stored in the refrigerator for a couple days).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (325 degrees F for convection oven-I love baking cookies in a convection oven with 3 baking sheets at a time.)  Form walnut-sized balls of dough and roll them in the sugar.  Place about an inch and a half apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit on the baking sheets for a couple minutes.  Move cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes 54 cookies.

*If you make the cookie dough balls and freeze them, press them down with the criss cross pattern with a fork before freezing,  (store in an airtight container or freezer bag) set them on the baking sheets while the oven is preheating and add 1-2 minutes to the bake time.  Also note—I have since baked these fresh from making the dough (without chilling) and while the dough is soft and harder to form into balls, mine baked the same and look great.  I have even tried forming the dough balls, criss crossing them, then freezing them for 15 minutes and they also baked great for 12 minutes.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Pile the cookies onto plates and give them away (okay, maybe have a few if you must).  Wish I could!  I already know peanut butter cookies are great and there is nothing better than the classics!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gingerbread Buche de Noel—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Gingerbread Buche de Noel

Wait—before the year is over, I must post about this Tuesdays With Dorie recipe we made in the group over Christmas!  I’m a little late on posting it.  The date was for the Tuesday before Christmas, but I wanted to make it for Christmas Eve, so didn’t get it posted—until now—all the sudden it’s New Year’s Eve!  I did make this for Christmas Eve and I must say, though it was a huge labor of love and there were many steps to follow, I have learned that with Dorie’s recipes, if I do just that—follow all directions, the recipes always turn out great.  That said, I followed all the steps perfectly, except I decided to try making it gluten free and used organic cane sugars. 

Gingerbread Buche de Noel, cut off ends

Oh, look, two skinny little ends cut off.  I had to taste them for quality control!

I had high hopes that since the cake only called for 3/4 cup of flour that changing it to a gluten free flour blend would probably be okay.  I was going to retype the recipe as I made it, but I really didn’t change anything except the flour (I happened to have some Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix, so that is what I used) and I used organic cane sugar and organic brown sugar.  All the many involved steps to the recipe were not changed at all.  And though I say it was a labor of love and there were what seemed like many steps involved, it was SO worth it.  I would certainly make this cake again for a special occasion.

The gingerbread flavor was not too strong, so I think this cake could be made year round.  And even if it was a strong ginger flavor, I would not be against making this in the summer if I really felt like it.  ; )

The cake roll worked perfectly—that’s always a worry that it will not roll up nicely.  This rolled perfectly with not even any cracking.  The filling is a nice cream cheese/butter filling that isn’t sweet at all and then the delicious egg white/sugar syrup frosting is a perfectly sweet addition to the cake.  Also loved the pecan praline crunch that was in the filling and on the top of the cake. 

TWD--Gingerbread Buche de NoelThis cake was my big holiday splurge and I won’t tell you how many pieces of it I ate (not all in one sitting).  I took the cake to a family Christmas Eve celebration and it was well liked by everyone who ate some of it.  Nice thing about those big family get-togethers—so many desserts that I was able to bring a little bit of the cake home to enjoy later.

Gingerbread Buche de Noel

I wish you all a wonderful, Happy New year!  Thanks for still sticking around here with me.  It’s almost been seven years since I started my blog and while I’m not in it for the fame and money, I love sharing with my readers the happiness I get from baking and sharing with all those around me.  While how often I blog has changed over the years and even the kinds of things I blog, I’m happy you’re still here.  I wish you all health and happiness in the new year!

You are in luck if you want this recipe, it can be found on the internet from some of the promotions done with Dorie’s new book.  You can find the recipe HERE.  I think you should just get Baking Chez Moi!  My link at the top for Tuesdays With Dorie has everyone else in the groups’ posts for their Buche de Noel cakes.  Check them out!  We’ll be starting the year out more healthy with some granola bars, coming soon!