Posts tagged ‘baking’

{Healthy} Banana Oatmeal Bread

What do you do when you have multiple bananas that look like this?

How about call a friend with it?

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, bananaphone!

Ya, maybe not. It kept dropping my calls…

Okay, next idea… Make banana bread with those “ugly,” brown bananas!

And not just any banana bread. Make my healthified healthy banana bread. Yes, it’s two times the healthy! I healthified (yes, it’s a word…) a recipe for healthy Banana-Oatmeal Bread from Cooking Light.

I took the original recipe, cut the sugar in half (1 cup became 1/2 cup) and replaced the 7 tbsp of oil with a pureed apple. You could also use 7 tbsp apple sauce. The rest of the recipe and instructions stayed the same, except I did bake the bread for not as long as original recipe called for (55mins instead of 70min). It was sort of an experiment and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the bread came out great!

The result was a slightly sweet, moist bread that was dense but not oily and had a nice bite to it, thanks to the oatmeal. I’m not a fan of super sweet or oily sweet-breads, so this bread is great for me. It doesn’t taste overly healthy either. My family loved it, too!

Need serving suggestions? For breakfast, schmear it with peanut butter and top with banana slices. Stick it in the toaster (oven) for a crispy, gooey treat. Follow my lead, and top it with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips for a simple but special dessert. Microwave it for maybe half a minute to up the amazingness… or just snag a piece straight out of the oven. I won’t tell.

I believe this recipe would make wonderful muffins.

The yellow banana below dreams of the day it’s mature and ripe enough to be made into banana bread.

But for now, that banana is “enjoying” its life as my bright yellow bananaphone…

I know, you’re jealous. πŸ˜‰

Question: What is your favorite type of bread?

My favorite sweet bread is banana with chocolate chips and peanut butter, either inside or on top. My favorite “regular” breads are grainy breads and wheat baguette with dried fruit and nuts in it.


Sorry this is such last minute notice, but I wanted to let you know that due to summer plans, my posting will be very infrequent and irregular up through August. I am leaving today to work as a camp counselor at an overnight summer camp, where internet and phone service will be very limited. I’ll be sure to take lots of photos (especially of food, since food at camp rocks!) and I’ll try to post when I can. I’ll be back to my regular, weekly posts at the end of August. Thanks for baring (is that the correct spelling for the use? haha) with me, and I hope you’ll continue reading my blog!! I’ll miss stalking reading all of your lovely blogs, too.


May 30, 2011 at 9:00 am 4 comments

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

One of the many reasons I love baking is being able to share my creations with those I love, my friends and family, and spread the love. So, when my bestie, Eliza (who is still in school – poor her!), invited me to celebrate her birthday with her at college, I jumped at the chance to bake her a cake.

Eliza and I have a lot in common. For one, we both love peanut butter and chocolate, especially in the form of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! That’s why her cake of choice was a Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake.

Since I also made a second cheesecake (White Chocolate Raspberry – recipe to come!), I wanted an easy recipe that didn’t require too many ingredients. After some research, I compiled this recipe from a few difference sources (listed below). What I created was a rich, flavorful cheesecake filled with yummy peanut butter cream cheese filling and topped with chocolate ganache and peanut butter frosting. It’s like a Reese’s cup in cheesecake form!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, Confections of a Foodie Bride and Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life



  • Homemade or store-bought graham or Oreo crust (9 inch) – I used Ready Crust Reduced Fat Graham crust because I couldn’t find an Oreo crust and buying a crust saved me time.

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temp – I used 4 oz Neufchatel (1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese) and 8 oz nonfat cream cheese.
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Chocolate Topping

  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped – I used chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1/6 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cup milk (plus more to achieve desired consistency)

Any additional decorations – I used semisweet chocolate chips and a Reese’s cup


Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

For the peanut butter cheesecake filling

Beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together on medium speed until smooth.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.

Reduce the speed to low and add eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.

Pour filling over crust.

Bake until the sides of the cheesecake are set and the middle just slightly jiggles, about 35-40 minutes.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature (at least 1 hour).

The edges of mine browned a bit because my oven doesn’t bake very evenly (and I forgot to turn the cake half-way through baking). Yours don’t need to be browned like mine.

While cooling, the raised, “puffy” cheesecake filling sunk in a bit. This is normal. After cooling, it looked like this:

For the chocolate topping

Put chocolate, butter and cream into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts until hot, stirring (or whisking) in between each burst until smooth.

Pour the chocolate evenly over the tart. Do so slowly, so the chocolate doesn’t pour over the sides.

Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the peanut butter frosting

Using the amounts outlined in the ingredients, follow the instructions for the frosting from my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes w/Peanut Butter Frosting recipe.

Decorate as you wish. Be creative! I used the frosting, semisweet chocolate chips, and a Reese’s Cup.

I made this cake two days in advance, and it travels really well (especially thanks to the plastic crust “saver” that came with the store-bought crust).

This slice is 1/16 of the cake.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you! If you try this recipe, tell me how it goes.

Question: What is your favorite type and flavor of cake?

My favorite “traditional” cake is probably moist chocolate cake with raspberry filling and lots of chocolate frosting. I am also a huge believe in the power of sprinkles. Sprinkles make anything better! My favorite flavor of cheesecake is, you guessed it, peanut butter and chocolate!

May 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm 10 comments

Chocolate PB Cup Cupakes w/PB Frosting

I’m in love… with a cupcake!

Who needs men when I have chocolate and peanut butter, my two of my favorite things? As soon as I found this recipe on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, I knew I had to make these cupcakes asap. Once you finish reading this (and drooling a lot), I know you will want to make them, too!

These are absolutely one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had or made. Chocolate cupcake + hidden Reese’s surprise + PB frosting + more Reese’s = foodgasm x 100!

So, without further ado, the recipe…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes w/Peanut Butter Frosting

Adapted from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Makes 24 cupcakes



  • 1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1-1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or oil)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small bag small Reese’s peanut butter cups, unwrapped


  • 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk (plus more to achieve desired consistency)


  • If you are allergic to peanuts (or don’t like them), feel free to sub in another nut butter or sunflower seed butter.
  • If needed, you can sub in another candy, like Hersey’s Kisses or another candy cup, for the Reese’s.
  • Using apple sauce instead of the oil called for by the baking mix is a great way to cut extra fat. In this case, it worked super well and the cupcake was still moist. Score!
  • To “healthify” the cupcakes even more, smear on some pure (pea)nut butter instead of the frosting.


Mix the cake mix, water, apple sauce, and eggs. This should take about 2 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer.

Put liners into a muffin/cupcake pans and fill 2/3 the way full with batter.

Bake according to directions on package. My box says 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. It took me about 16-18 minutes since I used apple sauce. Remember: if the baking time is for a full cake, the actual time for these cupcakes will be shorter since they are smaller, so keep an eye on them.

Let cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes. While you wait, take 24 of these lovely bits and unwrap them.

Gently press an upside down Reese’s cup (fattest part on top) into the center of the cupcakes. Make sure the cupcakes are still slightly warm, so this can be done easily, but not too warm, so the Reese’s cups don’t melt completely.

Now comes the hard part, letting the cupcakes cool. I know it’s hard to resist a warm cupcake, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. Among other reasons, it’s easier to ice the cupcakes when the chocolate isn’t melty.

But I won’t blame you if you sneak a warm cupcake. πŸ˜‰

Once the cupcakes have cooled, it’s time to make the peanut butter icing, aka icing of the PB gods.

Frosting: Blend the PB, powdered sugar, and vanilla (in the amounts from the frosting ingredient list). Add the milk and mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy. If needed, add a bit more milk at a time to reach the desired consistency.

This is a great frosting that can be used for all sorts of recipes!

If you like to keep things simple, use a knife to frost the cupcakes. If you like to be fancy, you can use a pastry bag. If you are somewhere in between and like easy clean up (like me), put all the frosting in a medium-sized plastic bag and cut a small piece off of one the bottom corners. Squeeze out the contents slowly as you make whatever frosting form or design you desire.

Now, frost to your heart’s content!! Be creative with it!

Little swirls of heaven!

If you so desire (and why wouldn’t you?), use remaining/extra Reese’s cups as extra toppings. Cut one in half, and top each cupcake with either one or two halves.

That looks absolutely divine!

Since I made these cupcakes for a potluck I attended, I transferred the cupcakes to baking pans for easy transportation!

And there you have it: chocolate PB cup cupcakes with PB frosting!

You’re welcome. πŸ˜‰

Now go out and make them. I demand you!

… And feel free to ship me some (since I’m back at school with no oven). πŸ˜‰

Question: What is your favorite kind of cupcake or cake?

March 29, 2011 at 8:56 am 14 comments

Holy Cookie Dough Balls

One of my favorite parts of baking cookies is devouring testing the raw dough before baking. Don’t try to deny it, you do it, too. I sometimes reckon that cookies taste better before they are baked.Β  Who else is with me?

The one thing between me and eating all my cookies in raw form is eggs. Who wants to get sick from raw eggs? I sure don’t.

With the creation of vegan cookies (i.e. cookies with no eggs or other animal products), we all have the freedom to eat cookie dough raw whenever we want and how ever much we want. But alas, part of me still misses the texture and fresh-out-of-the-oven flavor of fresh baked cookies.

So, how can I get the flavors and textures of both raw and baked cookies, and make them right in the comfort of my own home? Well, I couldn’t… until now.


Inspired by Annie the Baker’s Cookie Dough Balls, Mama Pea over at Peas and Thank You came up with her at-home variety, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls. Mama Pea’s cookie dough balls don’t contain eggs (and the original recipe is even vegan), so you can’t get sick from “under baking” them. In addition, by refridgerating, not flattening, and under baking the cookies, what results is perfection in so many ways. A slightly hard exterior and a doughy interior leads to a cookie that will melt in your mouth and lead to, dare I say it, a foodgasm. Trust me, after reading this, you will want to try baking them for yourself.

For the original recipe, check out Peas and Thank you. Here, you will find the original recipe plus the changes I made. I promise you though, which ever way you decide to make them, these cookies will be absolutely delicious. At the end, I will share how these cookies are healthier than your average cookie. Don’t get me wrong though, these cookies definitely aren’t diet food.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Makes 12-18 cookies: I made 26 because my balls were smaller


  • 1/2 c. non-dairy margarine (i.e. Earth Balance) – I used regular butter since I didn’t have non-dairy margarine.
  • 3/4 c. natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. organic brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. organic powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c. unbleached organic flour
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter chips – I didn’t have PB chips and couldn’t buy any because my family was kinda snowed in since we were still in Tahoe City at this point. So, I just used 1/2 c. more of the chocolate chips.
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy chocolate chips – I used semi-sweet chocolate chips.


Step 1: In a medium bowl, mix butter/margarine, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla until thoroughly combined. The original instructions suggest using a stand mixer. However, since I was at a rented cabin and didn’t have access to one, I used my sweat and blood a wooden spoon to mix everything. It took a bit longer, but the results were the same. A hand mixer would work, too.

Using a wooden spoon or a mixer, you too can turn this…

… into this!

Tip: Room temperature butter/margarine is easier to mix with the other ingredients than when it’s fresh-out-of-the-fridge. You can let the butter/margarine sit outside until it reaches the right point, or you can be lazy and microwave the butter until it reaches the right softness (but not much more). I nuked my butter for 20 seconds, but you may need to do it less or more depending on your elevation (I was at somewhere around 6200 feet) and microwave. Also, save the wrapper to butter the baking pan later if you don’t have parchment paper, like me.

Step 2: In a small bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda salt and flours.

Step 3: Now, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time and mix until you end up with something like this (aka until a dough forms):

Tip: If using a stand/hand mixer, make sure to start off at a slower fastness unless you enjoy looking like a ghost.

Step 4: Add your PB and/or chocolate chips and combine. I agree with Mama Pea when she adds that exact measurements aren’t needed… if you know what I mean. 10 cups of chocolate chips, please.

The Chips get their close-up.

In they go!

Time to stir things up.

Try a bite… you know, for quality assurance purposes. πŸ˜‰

Step 5: Cover in plastic wrap (or something else) and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. See the original recipe for notes on how to fix dough that is too dry.

Step 6: While you wait, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 7: Using a mini ice cream scoop or your fingers, form dough into balls…

…and place onto a oiled, buttered or parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

Note: Since I don’t have my cookie scoop with me, I used my fingers. I formed twenty-six 1.5-2 inch balls. My recipe yielded more cookies than the original recipe, which was probably due to a smaller cookie size. The cookies still came out amazing, but remember that the smaller size may cause a need for a shorter baking time.

Step 8: Bake for 10-12 minutes. I baked mine for 9 minutes, due to higher elevation and smaller cookie size. They will look similar to their pre-baked selves. They will be soft and a tiny bit brown underneath, but will harden slightly after they cool. Do not over bake.

Step 9: Let the cookies cool on the pan for a minute, since they are pretty delecate at this point. Then, transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Tip: Feel free to eat one or a few or all fresh out of the oven, but wait a minute or two so you don’t burn yourself. They are gooey, warm and delicious.

Step 10: Eat and enjoy!!

The end result is a cookie that is slightly hard and baked on the outside…

… and has a soft, dough-like texture on the inside.


But don’t just take my word for it, try them for yourselves. You can thank me (and Mama Pea and Annie the Baker) later. πŸ™‚

The Down-Low:

These cookies definitely aren’t diet food, but in ways, they do pack more nutritional value than your average cook, or maybe I should say, at least they aren’t as bad as normal cookies.

  • Many cookie recipes often use ~ 3/4 c. to 1c. of margarine/butter. This recipe only hasΒ  1/2 c.
  • Instead of using a full 3/2 c. of all purpose flour, 1 c. of it is whole wheat flour. Yay for whole wheat! It’s less processed and less nutrition then regular flour.
  • Peanut butter may be filled with calories, but it’s also very nutritious. It has fiber, protein (8g per 2tbsp service), low in sugar, and packed with minerals and vitamins (iron, potassium, iron, calcium, Vitamin E). Also, although fat makes up for 71% of the calories in PB, the fat is healthy fat. More info below.
  • Also, the more organic ingredients, the better for you and for the planet. Yeeha!

Healthy Fat in PB has this to say about the fat in PB:

“Most of the fats contained are however monounsaturated, and have been shown to improve the cholesterol profile by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol. This effect is compounded by peanut butter containing polyunsaturated fats, which in turn help raising the “good” HDL cholesterol; the synergistic effect makes this spread a very good cholesterol regulator.”

Many of us think all fat is bad fat. But, when you eat healthy, it’s important to incorporate (heatlthy) fat into your diet. It’s good to know that some fats are healthy and that you should be eating it! Pass the PB here.

Question: What is your favorite type of cookie??

January 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

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