Let me warn you right up front that for the next week or so, you’ll be hearing a whole lot about my best friend Bethany. You may remember her from these Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes I made to say goodbye when she (sob) left me to move to Maui. Obviously there are benefits to her living there. Namely, we have a place to stay for the very reasonable price of free. Actually, Bethany does requires one thing…that you allow her to Martha Stewart you while visiting. She’s a meet you at the airport with a lei, basket of chocolates and lotions on your bed, act as your chauffeur/chef/activity coordinator, wash and fold your clothes, play with your children, pack a cooler and a bag of goodies for the beach, provide you with rockin’ sunblock, and set up an umbrella so your pale freckly skin is protected kind of friend. Being with Bethany is, in a word, ah-mazing. Bonus, we have equally out of control hair and manic smiles when being blown off the edge of the world on top of Haleakala. It’s always a good thing to have friends who are equals on the crazy train of life.
Someday I will learn how to manage a bunch of bananas. Meaning, I’ll buy just the right amount that are exactly the correct ripeness so as not to have two or three that go brown on me before they’re eaten. Until that day comes, I have to figure out new and exciting things to do with the abandoned-too-ripe-to-be-consumed-any-way-but-as-banana-mush bananas. Since my children have teeth, it seems cruel to feed them anything the texture of baby food. This recipe screamed out to be made for two reasons.
#1: I love banana bread.
#2: I love scones.
Combining the two into one amazing breakfast food? Genius!
37° and raining. That’s the forecast for the next week or so here in Seattle. Yuck. If it’s going to be that cold, it needs to be snowing. Huge pillowy flakes dumping from the sky. Fluffy mounds of white happiness. That’s what I’d like. Come on! The current weather conditions called for drastic measures in my kitchen. You know what I’m talking about…chili. Is there anything better on a winter day with a damp chill in the air? More on that tomorrow. First, the delicious beer bread I made to go with the chili. It’s full of sharp cheddar and totally non-hot green chili peppers. A perfect companion to a hearty bowl of warmth.
New Year’s resolution #1 is to get back to blogging. The whole, two kids in school at different times/becoming nothing more than a chauffeur thing has really thrown me off my game. Nevertheless, there were many brilliant recipes this year and so I bring you Bakerlady’s Top Ten of 2012. By popularity (that means you wonderful readers picked these), here they are:
Honorable Mention – Nanny’s Banana Pudding – I just can leave her off the list. It was so close to cracking the top 10. Probably my favorite dessert making memory of the year at her cabin with my sisters.
#10 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Parfait — A dessert I made for a dinner party with friends that turned out to be absolutely gloriously delicious. And beautiful. Very impressive.
#9 Disneyland’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie — My favorite snack in the park and apparently a cookie that many people want to replicate at home. I got to share one at Disneyland this fall with my kids. They love it as much as I do!
#8 Cinnamon Roll Pancakes — A quick way to fancy-pants up your kids breakfast. Ah-mazing!
#7 Rolo Cake Bars — I made these for the guys who painted my house this summer. Quick, easy and absolutely scrumptious!
#6 Greatest Chicken Salad Ever — This wasn’t a new recipe since last January, I’ve been making it a long time. Thanks to the power of Pinterest however, many new folks discovered it this year.
#5 M&M’s Rolo Pretzel Bites — Possibly the most evil (in the best way possible) thing I’ve ever discovered. You’ll find yourself eating them like popcorn…until you remember halfway thru the batch that you really really really shouldn’t do that because you just consumed a half bag of Rolos without realizing it.
#4 Snickerdoodle Bread – Like your favorite cookie in bread form. Soft and delicious with a ribbon of cinnamon butter thru the middle and a crusty cinnamon sugar topper. Yum yum yum!
#3 Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars — These were a spin-off another popular recipe. The addition of the pretzels to smooth peanut butter and chocolate was awesome in my book, and yours too!
#2 Lemon Monkey Bread — My personal favorite discovery of this year. No boring caramel monkey bread for my readers. This stuff is warm and soft with a hit of sweet and great tang from all the lemons. Dee-licious!
And the number one recipe this year coming in with more hits this year than my entire site had in the history of Bakerlady (aka: a whole lot!)…
Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars!! I love how many of you found Bakerlady thru this recipe (thanks Pinterest). I enjoy all the stories I get to hear about making this dessert with your mothers, grandmothers and enjoying them in your school cafeterias growing up. I’m still pretty peeved that my school never had these things…but happy for those of you who did. Sort of happy anyway.
Thank you all for coming back to Bakerlady all year for more deliciousness. Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration and I’ll see you all in 2013!!
I was given a big bag of pears from my mom last week from the bounty of her orchard. Ok, it’s not a real orchard, just a few trees in her yard. But my mom’s green thumb is absurd. She’s like the plant whisperer. There’s so much fruit on her trees, you’d think she had fruit fairies painting them on at night. What? Fruit fairies are totally a thing. When I returned home that day, I had more pears from my neighbor on my front step. She’s also a crazy awesome fruit and veggie magician. See? I don’t need to learn to garden…people just give me produce. It’s luxurious. None of the work and all the rewards! Since I kill every growing thing I touch, I need people like this in my life.
Monkey bread is the devil. I cannot resist it. I especially enjoy a new spin on it, like adding some kind of new flavor to the delicious combo of cinnamon sugar and buttery goodness. I can more readily call it breakfast if it includes fruit which makes this blueberry filled bread perfect for supporting my delusion. So, breakfast it is. That’s when I served it to my family anyway. But, I also ate it for lunch and dessert so it’s really all-encompassing food. The oatmeal practically makes it a health food…so I figured it was ok to have it for more than one meal.
I started thinking about blueberries after my 6th friend posted on Facebook that they were blueberry picking. No joke. Who knew that all the cool kids go blueberry picking in August? Actually, come to think of it, a few weeks ago when my sister watched my munchkins, she took them out to harvest some blueberries from a local farm. I totally should have though of doing that! Man! When did I become such an un-fun mom? Gotta work on that! It seems to me that with all this berry picking going on, folks might appreciate a recipe (or seven) to use up some of that abundant fruit. So here’s the great big Bakerlady’s Best of Blueberries post!
This recipe comes to you courtesy of Crisco. Funny story. Last week I was enjoying the cooling evening breeze wafting thru my open window with a beverage in my hand and my love by my side when I heard frantic calls of “Tonya! Tonya!” coming from over the fence. My adorable neighbor (and her daughter) were beckoning me to come over. “Quick! Baking emergency! Come over!” they hollered and then disappeared back into their house. So, off I darted to the house next door to see what was up. I’m embarrassed to say that I brought my drink with me. It was hot out, the drink was fresh and far be it from me to let a perfectly cold cocktail go to waste. “Baking emergency” could mean anything from a massive grease fire in the oven, to salt being used liberally as a seasoning in a batch of cookies. I had no idea what I was walking in to…but, with my beverage in hand I was ready for anything.
I’m not sure if this is really a secret or not. Let me pretend that I’m the first person to ever tell you this anyway. You can make breadsticks that taste just like your favorite unlimited basket at the Olive Garden. It’s true. And, it is not hard. Really, it is too easy. Cause, I love love love the Olive Garden’s breadsticks. And now I can make them at home. Which I’ve done three times in the past week. Bad. Very bad.
I simply adore the bright fresh flavor of lemon. It just makes for happy food. I’m not really sure what the right label for this treat is. It’s too sweet to be a bread, too light to be a true pound cake and too bread-like to be a cake. It’s fabulous, whatever it is. Filled with cheery tart lemon and sweet succulent blueberries, this pseudo-pound cake is a taste explosion. It’s double glazed and is absolutely delicious.
I pulled portions from several different recipes to create a version of pound cake that was flavorful without the traditional heaps of butter in it. This version gets its dense richness from non-fat greek yogurt and a little bit of oil. It is perfectly balanced between sweet/tart and rich/light.
You will love it. Eat it for breakfast, a snack or for dessert. Or, all three! Yum!
Double Glazed Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
- 1 cup fresh or *frozen blueberries
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon peelLemon Sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, beat the oil, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with greek yogurt, beating well after each addition. Toss the blueberries with the 1 tablespoon of flour and fold the blueberries and lemon peel into the batter.
- Transfer to a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan lined at the bottom with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
- While bread is cooling (in the pan), combine lemon sugar ingredients in a saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved. Cook 2 minutes longer. After removing from pan, poke holes in warm bread and brush lemon sugar on tops and sides. Allow to sink in, then brush again.
- Combine ingredients for lemon glaze; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely. Brush with glaze again after cool. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).
* If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.