Chocolate Chip Cranberry Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip & Cranberry Banana Bread

Banana bread bursting with dried cranberries and mini chocolate chips. The tart berries paired with the sweet chocolate and subtle hint of banana is a particularly delicious combination, not to mention, befitting of the season.

This is a bread that only gets better as it ages. The banana flavor becomes more pronounced after a day or two and the chewy cranberries really pop. It has a soft, fluffy crumb and surprisingly isn’t as sweet as some banana breads.

There’s no butter involved, just a small amount of oil and buttermilk that you can swap out for sour cream or yogurt. I always have a canister – or three – of buttermilk powder on hand for baking. I love it because you can mix it up as needed and it has the same properties as fresh. Cup for cup I find it’s cheaper too and it’s not as wasteful. You can find it in the baking section of your market or buy it on-line.

This is a perfect bread to serve at a holiday brunch or to have on hand for impromptu guests that might drop in before Christmas. You know, to spread holiday cheer or drop off gifts or brighten your day with caroling.

It’s nice to be prepared with a little snack. Payback.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Banana Bread

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1 loaf

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Banana Bread

Banana bread bursting with dried cranberries and mini chocolate chips.

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup very ripe mashed banana ( 2 to 3 small - medium)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk, sour cream or plain yogurt (I used buttermilk)
1 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup dried cranberries, rough chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a standard-size loaf pan.
  2. Beat the eggs, sugar, and oil together on low speed until blended. Beat in the banana and vanilla.
  3. In a separate, medium bowl whisk together the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and flour. Add to the egg mixture and mix on low until just combined then pour in the buttermilk and mix again until just combined.
  4. Mix in the chocolate chips and cranberries. Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle a handful of chips over the top.
  5. Bake about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool on a wire rack 30 minute then carefully turn out to cool completely.

Notes:

Adapted from King Arthur's Baking Companion

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/chocolate-chip-cranberry-banana-bread/

White Chocolate, Blueberry & Toasted Coconut Truffles

White Chocolate, Blueberry and Coconut Truffles

Blueberries, toasted coconut flakes, white chocolate, crystallized ginger and macadamia nuts come together in these delectable truffles. My entry in the “Blueberries Meet Their Match” blogger recipe contest being held by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

The challenge was to use blueberries with coconut, balsamic vinegar, rosemary or bananas. Being I had six bags of shredded coconut (stocking up for Christmas baking) on hand it was an easy choice.

How I came up with this combination of flavors and the idea to make them into truffles is a complete and utter mystery. Sometimes the ideas come to me out of the blue, exactly like a lightning bolt from the sky. Sometimes they’re bad ideas and I dismiss them immediately, other times I take notes. This was an “other” time.

Truffles weren’t my first choice. I confess. There may have been a batch of blueberry bars using these very same flavors that didn’t make the cut. Everyone loved them but I just didn’t think they were good enough. . .

The thing I love most about these is how all the many flavors come together to make one delicious bite but at the same time there will be a solitary standout. You may taste the zinginess of the ginger in one bite while the next one is all about the macadamia nuts. One thing I do know is the subtle hint of blueberry permeates them through and through and the toasted coconut is a stand out.

Wish me luck.

Blueberry Coconut Truffles

White Chocolate, Blueberry & Toasted Coconut Truffles

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Yield: about 34 truffles

 White Chocolate, Blueberry & Toasted Coconut Truffles

Blueberries, toasted coconut flakes, white chocolate, crystallized ginger and macadamia nuts come together in these delectable truffles.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded organic coconut (I like Woodstock Farms )
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/4 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
a pinch or two of salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
16 ounces white chocolate from a block or bars, chopped (I like *Callebaut )
2 tablespoons heavy cream, half & half or whole milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus a little more if needed, to roll the truffles in

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a medium skillet set over medium heat toast the coconut until golden, stirring often. Remove from heat.
  2. In a medium sauce pan set over medium heat cook the blueberries with the brown sugar and a pinch or two of salt until they release their juices and start to soften, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to cool until lukewarm. Use a hand blender to puree them right in the pan or add them to a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.
  3. Meanwhile, put the macadamia nuts in a ziploc bag, place them on a cutting board and cover them with a kitchen towel. Pound them into fine crumbs using a meat mallet or small frying pan. Alternately you can use your food processor but I found this works better for such a small amount.
  4. Before you start the next step be sure you have everything lined up and ready to mix in because once you melt the chocolate you have to move quickly before it sets up.
  5. Pour the blueberries back in the pan over medium heat, once it starts to boil stir in the cornstarch. Continue cooking about 3 more minutes, stirring often until the blueberries thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the ground ginger and crystallized ginger. Cover with a lid to keep warm.
  6. Meanwhile, set aside 1/3 cup of the chocolate and melt the rest with the milk over a double boiler or in a large microwave safe bowl using the chocolate setting. If microwaving check every 20 seconds - white chocolate can easily scorch - and stir it. Once it's melted stir in the 1/3 cup of chocolate you set aside along with the coconut oil until it's smooth and creamy.
  7. Immediately mix in the blueberry mixture - the chocolate may start to thicken fast - add the coconut flakes and macadamia nuts. Combine well using a metal spoon to work it into the chocolate - it should be very thick at this point but still pretty soft.
  8. Once everything is combined allow to cool off for 10 minutes on the counter then refrigerate 15 minutes - no longer or it will harden too much.
  9. Scoop up slightly rounded tablespoons and pat into a rough-shaped ball (about 1-inch in size), using your fingers to pack it together and shape it. Set on a wire rack and repeat until all the mixture is used.
  10. Roll them in confectioners' sugar. Store tightly covered up to one week - these do not do well in the refrigerator because they harden up. For longer storage you can freeze them. If they do get too hard to eat you can microwave them for 5 seconds before eating.

Notes:

*I use Callebaut White Chocolate Blocks. Look for it by the deli or near the artisan cheese section.

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/blueberry-and-toasted-coconut-truffles/

Vanilla Pecan Pie

This is a sponsored post for McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Vanilla Pecan Pie

Pecan pie gets an exciting new twist! This double-decker pie features a layer of cream cheese topped with sticky pecans. It’s like two desserts in one. Pie meets cheesecake. The best of both worlds.

It may look complicated to make but in reality it’s ridiculously simple to put together. You can use a premade crust to save time – I’ve included a pie crust recipe if you prefer homemade or if you have a favorite you can use that.

The cheesecake layer comes together easily by beating cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla together then spreading it over the bottom of the crust. It’s baked for 15 minutes giving you time to make the pecan topping. The sticky sweet glue that holds the nuts together comes together just as easily as the first layer by combining eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter and more of that lovely vanilla extract. The flavor of the day.

The pecans are piled on top of the cream cheese and the buttery syrup is poured over it. Another, longer trip to the oven and out comes one of the most delicious pies of the season.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Pecan Pie

It’s the perfect holiday pie with vanilla infusing both layers and that nutty, crunchy topping balanced by the rich creaminess of the cheesecake. Vanilla is one of the most sought after flavors of the season along with pumpkin spice, ginger, peppermint, sage, cinnamon and nutmeg. Here are some of my favorite McCormick recipes for bringing more of those flavors into your life:

Vanilla Cheesecake Pecan Pie

Vanilla Pecan Pie

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie

Vanilla Pecan Pie

Pecan pie gets an exciting new twist! This double-decker pie features a layer of cream cheese topped with sticky pecans. It's like two desserts in one. Pie meets cheesecake. The best of both worlds.

INGREDIENTS:

Crust: (or use 1 refrigerated pie crust)
1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons shortening
3 - 5 tablespoons ice water
Filling:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract, divided
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan pieces, toasted
For serving:
whip cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

    If using premade crust skip steps 1 and 2.
  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour and salt together. Use a pastry blender or two forks used scissor fashion to cut the butter into the flour until you get coarse crumbs. Repeat with the shortening. Drizzle with ice water 1 tablespoon at a time (you may not need it all) and toss to combine with a fork, once it starts sticking together use your hands to form it into a ball. Press it into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1/2 hour.
  2. Dust a flat surface with flour and roll the dough out to an 11-inch circle. Press it into the pan and flute the edges or use a fork to make a design.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Skip this next step if you made your own crust - Prepare crust as directed on package for one-crust pie using 9-inch deep dish pie plate.
  4. Beat cream cheese, 1 of the eggs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth.
  5. Spread evenly on bottom of crust. Bake 15 minutes.
  6. Beat remaining 2 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Add corn syrup, butter, remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla and salt; stir until well blended.
  7. Sprinkle pecans evenly over baked cream cheese layer. Slowly pour corn syrup mixture over nuts.
  8. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until just set in center. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.

Notes:

Adapted from McCormick

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/vanilla-pecan-pie/

This is a sponsored post for McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Connect with McCormick on Facebook and Pinterest for more recipes.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Little pumpkin cakes sandwiched with marshmallow fluff buttercream. Why they’re called “pies” I’ll never know because whoopie “cakes” is more fitting. To their credit whoopie “pies” is cuter.

The word on the street is that pumpkin is out of season already. I refuse to believe it. It’s just a rumor pumpkin haters would have you believe. A big mistake. They can’t be out of season if Thanksgiving is still ahead of us. Thanksgiving was made for pumpkin pie eating. And in case you forgot pumpkin comes in a can! Helloooo. . .That means it is never out of season in my heart of hearts.

So these whoopie pies are like one of the best little treats for making people happy. Tuck them into lunches, backpacks and share them with your best friend, coworkers and whoever else you want to see smile.

Everywhere whoopie pies go happiness follows. That’s just how they roll.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: about 22 whoopie pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Little pumpkin cakes sandwiched with marshmallow fluff buttercream.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce can) pumpkin puree
3 1/4 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur)
Filling:
2 sticks butter, slightly softened but not too soft (I left it on the counter about 20 minutes)
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups marshmallow fluff

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a whoopie pie pan or two baking sheets - or line them with silpats or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or in a stand mixer beat the butter, oil, sugar, molasses, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Scrape down the the bowl and then beat in the eggs one at a time, until fluffy and well-combined.
  4. Beat in the pumpkin on low speed.
  5. Add the flour in two additions mixing well on low speed after each addition. The batter will be thick.
  6. Use a small ice cream scoop (2 tablespoon size) to drop the batter onto the baking sheets about 2" apart or fill the whoopie pie pan 1/2 to 2/3 full.
  7. Bake about 10 - 12 minutes until the cookies are firm on top and lightly brown around the edges.
  8. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then move to wire racks to cool completely.
  9. To make the filling beat the butter on medium speed 2 minutes. Add all the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla. Beat on medium 5 minutes. It should be thick and fluffy.
  10. Scrape down the bowl and add the marshmallow fluff. Beat on low just unti combined no more than 1 minute.
  11. You can scoop the filling into a large piping bag fitted with a big, plain tip to fill or just dollop big spoonfuls onto the middle of the flat side, top with another and press together.
  12. Store in one layer in a tightly covered container up to 5 days or wrap each one with plastic wrap.

Notes:

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/pumpkin-whoopie-pies/

I’m linking this to the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash hosted by Joanne of Eats Well With Others and Heather of Girlichef! If you make a recipe this week using squash please link it below.

Cheesecake Filled Apple Cake

Cheesecake Filled Apple Cake

A delectable cake with apples and nuts folded into the batter, a tunnel of cheesecake filling and a nutty brown sugar frosting with caramel notes to it. Two desserts in one, this is a cake with a lot going on.

Although it may look complicated to make with that ribbon of cream cheese running through it – it’s not at all. Two-thirds of the batter goes into the bundt pan followed by the cream cheese filling followed by the remaining batter. When you turn the cake out of the pan the cream cheese filling ends up near the bottom. Or on the bottom, if like me, you overestimate the 2/3 part of the equation.

Thank the cake gods it didn’t matter and turned out great despite my minor mistake. I’m here to tell you not to fret if you do the same. As long as you have enough batter left to completely cover the cream cheese it will turn out OK in the end.

The cake overflows with apples, cinnamon and nuts, it’s moist and dense and completely capable of standing on its own without the cream cheese. The cream cheese is a bonus, an unexpected surprise not often found in a world of floury cakes. It’s like a soft cheesecake, lightly sweet and slightly tangy. To top it all off there’s a super sweet, easy-to-make frosting made in a saucepan and topped with crunchy nuts.

Cake meets cheesecake meets my face and lives happily ever after.

Apple Cream Cheese Cake

Cheesecake Filled Apple Cake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 bundt cake

Cheesecake Filled Apple Cake

A delectable cake with apples and nuts folded into the batter, a tunnel of cheesecake filling and a nutty brown sugar frosting with caramel notes to it. It's like getting two desserts in one.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:
1 (8 ounce) package regular or light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped apples (about 1 + 1/2 pounds) (I used Fuji)
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Frosting:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
walnut/pecan halves, optional for decorating the top

INSTRUCTIONS:

    Make the filling:
  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth. Beat in egg, flour, and vanilla just until combined.
  2. Make the cake:
  3. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour a 14-cup Bundt pan.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour, both sugars, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice together. Stir in the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla until completely combined. Stir in the apples and pecans.
  5. Spoon about two-thirds of the apple batter into the pan. Spoon the cream cheese over top of that, don't go all the way to the edge of the pan - leave a 1-inch border. Spoon the remaining cake batter over top and smooth out. Gently tap the pan on the counter a few times to get out air bubbles.
  6. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 - 20 minutes then remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely.
  7. Make the frosting:
  8. To a small saucepan over medium heat add the brown sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a boil whisking almost constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, whisk in the confectioners' until smooth and then stir 2 - 3 minutes until it thickens and cools off a little. Spoon over top of the cake nudging it gently so it drips down the sides. Garnish with walnuts or pecans if desired.
  9. Keep leftovers refrigerated and bring to room temperature for serving.

Notes:

Adapted from My Recipes

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/cream-cheese-apple-cake/

Cheesecake Filled Apple Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

If you’ve ever daydreamed of a cinnamon roll in cake form complete with all that lovely buttery cinnamon filling cinnamon rolls are named for topped with a white icing glaze then I am about to make your dream come true. If you haven’t had that same daydream then you will now.

If you’re one of those people who finds working with yeast dough intimidating or time-consuming or just don’t have the motivation to make cinnamon rolls from scratch you can get your cinnamon roll ‘fix’ a lot easier with this cake!  Or maybe none of that is true and you just have a serious adoration for all things cinnamon the way I do. Or maybe you just love cake. None of that matters. You don’t really need a reason to make this cake.

The batter comes together easily in one bowl – you literally mix everything together at once and then drizzle in melted butter to bring it together. The cinnamon topping is dolloped over top, swirled in and after a half hour trip to the oven not only will your house be perfumed like a cinnamon factory but you will have made the next best thing on earth to cinnamon rolls.

Or maybe, just maybe, this will impress you even more than cinnamon rolls. If that’s possible.

You’re welcome.

Cinnamon Bun Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 32 minutes

Yield: 1 (9x13) cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

A cinnamon roll in cake form complete with a buttery cinnamon filling and white icing glaze. Easier than making cinnamon rolls from scratch - this is the next best thing!

INGREDIENTS:

Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoon baking powder
1 + 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted
Topping:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Butter and flour a 9x13 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To a large bowl add all the cake ingredients except the butter. Mix until just combined - the mixture will be thick. Slowly stir in the butter until just combined - don't overmix or it will be rubbery.
  3. Pour or spoon into the prepared pan.
  4. To make the topping mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop spoonfuls evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife.
  5. Bake 28-32 minutes. While cake is warm whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the cake. To serve cut into squares.

Notes:

Adapted from My Recipes

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/cinnamon-roll-cake/

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

This is a sponsored post for McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Chocolate whoopie pies sandwiched with a sweet marshmallow filling. They’re like little hand-held cakes. Soft and moist, they have just the right amount of chocolate flavor with fluffy, sticky-sweet centers holding them together.

With a little help from McCormick food colors these everyday treats are all gussied up for Halloween…. 

Read More »

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Old-fashioned pumpkin pie gets a new lease on life with the help of cheesecake. Traditional pumpkin pie and cheesecake fillings are layered atop a flaky pie crust. You’ll never look at pumpkin pie the same way again. And that’s a good thing.

All by itself pumpkin pie is kind of, sort of, a yawn fest. It’s not that I hate it. Not at all. Let’s just say it’s near the bottom of my favorite pie list. I eat it mostly because I can’t resist buttery pie crust in any shape or form. … 

Read More »