Friday, January 18, 2013

Toasted Coconut Banana Bread

I've been trying to find the perfect, classic banana bread recipe, and I have not had any luck with that yet, however....during my search, I found this delicious alternative.  Coconut and banana are just so amazing together, am I right?  The combo reminds me of summer: drinking pina-coladas....just so refreshing!  This bread is also not too sweet, and has just the right amount of banana flavor.  In this recipe, your classic banana bread jumps up to a whole new level. Finely shredded coconut adds a sweet crunch to this moist, flavorful treat.  I recommend it plain, but I highly recommend it with these loaded up variations: served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream/whipped cream and/or chocolate chips, with coffee for breakfast, chilled in the refrigerator, or toasted with cream cheese frosting and/or nutella and/or peanut butter.

Yield: 1 loaf (about 10-12 servings)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs, at room temperature
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (2 large or 3 medium bananas)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups flaked coconut, toasted


Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center. In a medium mixing bowl combine beaten eggs, mashed bananas, oil, milk, and vanilla; mix well. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir just till combined. (The batter should be lumpy.) Fold in toasted coconut.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  Serve warm, at room temperature, and/or chilled.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Oh yeah.  This is definitely worthy of the ALL CAPS TITLE.

I've been trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for seriously like....well....FOREVER.  I can't even tell you how many different recipes I've tried. My mom always insisted that the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag of chocolate chips were the best, since she made those as a kid, but they really aren't.  For me at least, the Toll House cookies made from scratch always turn out too flat.  The cookie dough was awesome, don't get me wrong (I could eat cookie dough all day), and the cookies tasted fantastic just out of the oven, but they got crunchy overnight.  I have been looking for that perfect, go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe that's bursting with flavor, loaded with chocolate chips, and is thick and fluffy and not flat as a pancake.  I also hate when you pick up a warm chocolate chip cookie and it flops over like a soggy piece of pizza.  I wanted a fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie that would be perfectly soft, yet not flop over.  All of my attempted chocolate chip cookie recipes have been too flat, not rich enough, not vanilla-y enough, or too crunchy....all of them were good, just not knock-my-socks off good.  That is...until I found this glorious recipe.  Once I made my first batch of these bad boys, I was literally singing "Hallelujah" around the kitchen because I was so happy to have FINALLY found the most PERFECT recipe. These cookies are fluffy (if you follow the recipe EXACTLY), they do not flop over (see in the first picture how the middle is very soft, yet the bottom is firm?  Yes...perfection right there), yet are still incredibly moist, they're full of buttery-brown-sugary-vanilla flavor, keep a soft, yet slightly crunchy-just-around-the-edges texture, and my favorite part - they are lightly swirled with flecks of sea salt.  The sea salt is what truly sets them apart from other chocolate chip cookie recipes.  Anybody who cooks/bakes knows that salt is the key ingredient to any good recipe, since it brings out all the other ingredient flavors.  The sea salt in these cookies form a sort of salted-caramel like flavor mixed with the brown sugar.  Which brings me to another reason why I'm in love with this recipe...the majority of the sugar is brown sugar, as opposed to half white half brown, which gives the cookies their perfectly soft texture (brown sugar tends to yield a more chewy cookie because of the molasses). I told me dad, "In the future, when I own my own bakery, these cookies will be there."  He said he would never let me forget that.

You can find this blissful recipe here.

Classic Monkey Bread

Hmmmm.....sticky....gooey....sweet....oozing with caramel and cinnamon....the amazing, classic monkey bread.  If you've never tasted it, mannnnn are you missing out because it's unforgettable.  I don't know if you have tried my fluffernutter monkey bread, but this classic recipe is, in my opinion, even better.  I guess I can't really compare the two recipes because the fluffernutter one is bursting with my favorite combo: peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.  However, this recipe is a CLASSIC, and it's just so darn good.  Also, the leftovers store wonderfully in a resealable container; just reheat them and they will taste almost as good as they do straight from the oven(:  I wouldn't change anything about this recipe except to make MORE of it because it goes so quickly.  Once you start eating it, you just can't stop!  You just keep popping the bite-size pieces of heaven into your mouth! It's truly irresistible.

Yield: about 12 servings


cup granulated sugar
teaspoon cinnamon
cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
cup chopped walnuts, if desired
cup raisins, if desired
cup firmly packed light brown sugar
cup butter, melted

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large -storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  • Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces.
  • In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
  • Bake 26 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.