Chocolate Banana Coconut Bread (Cake)

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We are selling our home and I needed to take better pictures of my kitchen. And what says “live here” better than something chocolate sitting on the counter? Sure, it could have been a cup of cocoa, but I had overripe bananas begging to be used for a higher purpose. And I had been drooling over a blog post about chocolate for breakfast. So before I could take beautiful pictures of our kitchen, I had to mash and fold and bake…chocolate banana coconut bread. But this is really a cake in disguise. Rich, dark, sweet cake.
cake on counter Doesn’t that just say, “Live here!”

Let me confess right away that I stole the idea for this recipe from a very gifted blogger called Chocolate Covered Katie.

    http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/ I wish Katie and I were neighbors because I imagine we would be running back and forth sharing samples of the fun experiments we dream up. She is a dedicated blogger who has her own cookbook now.

    But we have a few differences. Katie likes to bake without eggs. I think eggs are a perfect food. Katie loves to use “milk variations” while I just use milk. And she loves to use applesauce instead of fats, while I don’t. But we do have things in common…well one thing really…we both love chocolate.
    While I have a dozen brownie recipes, Katie has several dozen. Unbaked, baked and dough-like. This girls draws chocolate lovers of all varieties.
    cutting in
    So I love to play with her recipes…adding back the eggs and the fat and using big dark chocolate chips instead of the minis she uses. So when she declares a food a “healthy breakfast” food, I use it for a dessert. Perfect. Kinda healthy. Still delicious and usually…chocolate. You knew that, right?

    Yesterday I modified her Gooey Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread. It is beyond wonderful – but for me, it’s a rich dessert.
    Here’s the link to Katie’s version: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/?s=chocolate+coconut+banana+bread
    biting in
    These are the ingredients I used:
    Note, this recipe easily filled an 8″x8″ pan, rather than a loaf pan. I typically do this with all quick breads. They bake more evenly and more quickly without having a gooey middle and dry edges.
    Ingredients for Nana Clare’s Chocolate Banana Coconut Bread (Cake)

    1 2/3 cups overripe mashed bananas (4-5)
    1 TBS pure vanilla
    1 TBS white vinegar
    3/4 cup skim milk
    2/3 cup honey
    1 3/4 cup AP flour
    1/2 cup coconut
    1 tsp baking soda
    3/4 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup dark chocolate chips – fold in last
    second bite
    Directions for Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Grease an 8″ x 8″ pan
    Measure the banana after mashing it.
    Measure the dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisk and set aside.
    Measure the wet ingredients and whisk well, including the banana.
    Now pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or small hand mixer.
    I left chunks of banana, but if you prefer a more even crumb, use an electric mixer for 30 sec to 1 min only.
    Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into the pan.
    Bake about 45 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave in the oven for another 10 minutes. This is Katie’s idea and it’s a great one!
    After 10 min, take out of the oven and let the aroma fill the house. Then take pictures and see if this will help sell the house.

    done
    Thanks Katie, I love your blog!

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Rum Cake with Pecans

nuts on topCake and rum… a happy pairing. We brought this to a dinner party last night and it was a big hit. Perfect summer dessert.
Although this recipe does use rum, the alcohol is cooked out of the cake and the glaze that covers it. So the entire family may enjoy this. And I do mean enjoy. This is an easy cake to put together. Then after it cools, you make a simple glaze and gently start pouring it over the cake. Several times until it soaks into the cake for a very moist dessert.

rum cakeIngredients for Rum Cake
1 package yellow, white or vanilla cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil
1/2 cup dark rum – 80 proof
1 cup chopped pecans or nut of choice

Directions for Rum Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Spray or grease the bottom of a bundt cake pan
Chop nuts and sprinkle in the bottom of the cake pan.
Mix the rest of the cake ingredients together and beat on medium for two minutes.
Pour over the nuts into the pan.

Bake 45 – 50 minutes. Let cool
glaze
When the cake has cooled – 10 – 15 minutes, tip it over onto a serving plate so that the nuts are on the top.
Use a sharp toothpick or fork and poke holes all over the top and sides of the cake.
Make the glaze and pour slowly over the cake. Let it sit and then spoon more glaze onto the cake. Repeat until it is all absorbed.
spoon glaze
Ingredients for rum glaze
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup rum.
Heat in a pan on the stove and boil for a minute or two to thicken the glaze. Begin to spoon onto the cake right away. If you like, save a little glaze to drizzle over the cake before serving.
soaking
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. garnish

Lemon Slice Cookies

lemon slices3Crave lemon? This cookie would be perfect any time of the year, but I made them with the appropriate Christmas colors just for you. They are basically a shortbread cookie – rolled in colored sugar, frozen, sliced, baked, then frosted with more lemon icing.
Delicate, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

I got the basic recipe from the November 2015 Taste of Home, but their recipe didn’t work out. The shortbread never got beyond crumbles. So I tweaked the ingredients and then moved ahead. They are delicious. Cannot wait to have them on my tray of Christmas goodies.
They only make about 18 cookies, so you might want to double the recipe, which I did. The basic measurements below are for the single batch. But when you discount the ones you eat raw, and then freshly baked and then the ones you have to taste to see if the icing is right… make a double batch.
lemon slices2
Lemon Slices
1 cup butter (no margarine)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 TBS lemon peel
1 1/4 all purpose flour
1 egg
Colored sugars or sprinkles

Icing
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 TBS lemon juice
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Directions for Lemon Slices
Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. Add the other ingredients, except for the colored sugars.

Roll out a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap.
Dump the dough on the sheet of paper and then form the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inched in diameter.
Once formed into a log, sprinkle the sugar over the dough and cover all sides.
Freeze the dough an hour or longer.

To bake – preheat oven to 375 degrees
Slice the dough into 1/4 inch slices and set on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 10 – 12 minutes until brown around the edges.
For icing, mix with a fork in a small bowl. Spread onto the warm cookies and sprinkle with more sugars.

Cool and share with friends.

Gingered Up Gingerbread Muffins

ginger muffins with ginger

Weekends are the time to bake, right? A dessert or a breakfast treat to enjoy as a family. When my kids were little, I made a gingerbread dessert that was delightful on it’s own. Sort of a sweet, chewy cake like creation. When we added ice cream or a little cream cheese-orange frosting it became more amazing and more dessert-like.

I started getting serious about ginger a few years ago and found that cardamom was a delightful pairing. And to complete the dance, I added candied ginger. You can find this treat in the health food section of the grocery store. I like to munch on a piece or two just to clear my head. But you can add it to muffins and these amazing cookies (previous blog post)for a chewy surprise. You know how chocolate chips really make those cookies? Adding candied ginger is that added embellishment that makes you search for that extra pop of flavor. They are usually dipped in sugar which keeps them from sticking together in a pile of ginger gooeyness.
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If you cannot find candied ginger, these will still be far better than any other gingerbread muffin you have tried. The ramped up spices ensure that you will know this isn’t some whimpy tasteless ball of dough. Don’t you hate it when something looks so tempting at the store and in a weak moment you buy it and then when you get it home you realize it’s horrible. Tasteless. I rarely buy bakery items because of this. No worries, that won’t happen with these gingerbread muffins.
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Gingered Up Gingerbread Muffins Ingredients
Makes 12 – 14
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour (a mix of AP and WW pastry works well.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TBS ginger (Yes! a tablespoon)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBS cardamom
1/2 cup candied ginger, diced into small pieces

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease 12 muffin cups or use paper wrappers.
Sift the spices and dry ingredients together. (Really, do sift the spices to get the lumps out.)
Pour boiling water over the butter and mix gently.
Add brown sugar, molasses and egg. Whisk gently or it will splash all over you.
Add the dry ingredients. Mix by hand or with a mixer until blended.
Add the candied ginger last and blend by hand.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. The batter will be thin, but don’t add more flour or you will ruin the texture.
Bake about 12 – 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

I keep some on the freezer for holiday visits from my grandkids and they are a favorite.
bite 1
If you want to call them cupcakes, you will need to add a bit of frosting. Check this recipe for Orange cream cheese frosting.

Share with friends, or freeze a few for another time. This is a perfect weekend treat.