Banana Peanut Butter Blondies

Banana Peanut Butter Blondies

This post is the result of a large response. After posting a picture of the freshly baked blondies online, I received more requests for the recipe than any I have shared before. I will admit that I have been taking this strange time for complete recharge from work. This includes posting recipes as well. So please forgive me for my delay, and I hope that this new recipe makes up for lost time.

How to you make a warm gooey blondie better? Simple, sticky sweet bananas and velvety peanut butter.

The flavors can be described as a mixture of banana bread, a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and a brown sugar blondie. Browning the butter and using brown sugar adds nutty, caramel notes to the blondies. Overly ripe, super soft bananas are mixed into the batter. Bananas make the already extremely moist batter much more lush. I topped the batter off with a swirl of creamy peanut butter, which really set things off from there.

I knew the combination would be good, but I never expected the results I obtained. These blondies are quick and easy, yet the payoff is astronomical.

These are a home run for anyone, kids, friends, party-guests, husband, long lost friends–or for another week alone social distancing with a pint of ice cream and Netflix.

For another great recipe click here.

Oatmeal Date Cookies

Oatmeal Date Cookies

I do not like raisins. They are one of the foods that sit pretty high on my short list of dislikes. This means I never eat oatmeal raisin cookies. I consider it a loss to have to cut out an entire type of cookie from my diet. An oatmeal cookie has so many desireable qualities. Deep carmelized sugar and chewy baked oats make for a delicious combination.

With a large container of fresh dates and lack of ideas to use them for, along came these cookies. I chopped up the dates to resemble a raisin, then replaced the raisins in my cookie batter. Let’s just say I made up for the many years of missed cookies by almost eating the entire batch alone.

Despite my disfavor to the original dried fruit, I can confidently say that this version of an oatmeal cookie is superior. The fresh dates add even more deep dark caramel flavor to the already oey gooey cookie. Please let me know what you think of this much needed upgrade.

Cranberry Brownies

Cranberry Brownies

I am the first to admit that I prefer boxed brownies to homemade. It is so difficult to achieve a gooey fudgy brownie when making it from scratch. Something about the boxed version provides consistent results.

My joy partially results from the deep nostalgia that occurs when I smell a bit of betty crocker wafting from the oven. A quick and easy box brownie was a go to treat from my childhood.

Today I am offering up a fudgy homemade brownie recipe that works. The partial reason this recipe works is because of the addition of fresh cranberries. The moisture in the fruit keeps everything from drying out.

Who knew that the simple toss in of fresh cranberry could take a brownie over the edge. It is the perfect counterpoint to the dark decadent chocolate. With each bite you get a pop of tart fruit.

I present the adult brownie. Still soft like classic but made from scratch instead of poured from a cardboard box. The cranberry doesnt hurt.

If you want a darker brownie use dutch process cocoa and/or dark chocolate chips.

Share these brownies with a loved one, co-worker, friend…or just enjoy them all yourself. They are the perfect quick and easy treat for the holidays.

Cheesecake Stuffed Panettone

Cheesecake Stuffed Panettone

With Christmas only two weeks away I am in full holiday mode. For me that means baking as many seasonal treats as possible. Since Thanksgiving I have managed to cover almost every holiday staple in the kitchen.

I cannot think of a more Christmas dessert than Panettone – a strange Italian sweet bread version of fruit cake, yet it is nothing like fruit cake. It is airy and buttery with a light peppering of dried fruits. I am not going to pretend like I have ever attempted to bake one. You see bread is kinda my kryptonite. But making a solid dessert doesn’t always require making it fully yourself.

This recipe cuts down some of the effort by using a premade panettone. Like puff pastry, there are just some ingredients that are worth buying premade. It also ensures consistency.

This time of year you can find the bread almost anywhere. You can even find them with variations like pistachio and chocolate

The idea is to gently remove the inside of the panettone, laquer it with egg wash, bake it, then stuff it with cheesecake. Simple right? It really is.

The finished cake is a show stopping and unique dessert. It has a fluffy creamy vanilla inside with a golden brown and carmalized chewy shell. Every few bites you will get a pop of tart dry fruit.

 

For another great holiday dessert click Here

 

Butternut, Burrata, and Rye Pie

Butternut, Burrata, and Rye Pie

For the past week I have been posting unique recipes to wow your guests this holiday season. I like the idea of taking a classic recipe and imparting a slight twist–just enough to make the consumers say, “What is that?”

What better way to end the week leading up to Thanksgiving than with my favorite pie of the series. This recipe, a Butternut Squash and Burrata swirled pie on a Rye crust, takes a classic pie recipe and transforms it into something completely new.  I often find butternut squash and pumpkin pies way too sweet. Besides cutting back on the sugar, the best way to combat their sweeties is to add some savory ingredients.

The recipe for the butternut filling stands up on its own, so if you are not that adventurous you can always leave out the burrata. You will be left with a pie that is an upgraded version of the classic.

The crust is a classic pie crust recipe with a bit of rye flour substituted for the all purpose flour. Burrata is an ultra creamy mozzarella cheese with a very mild flavor. It makes for the perfect addition to swirl into the silky sweet butternut custard. This is a pie for those who don’t eat desserts because they find them too sickly-sweet.

Make this recipe for your thanksgiving feast and you will surely inspire your family.

For another cool burrata baked good, click here.

Honey Carrot Cake

Honey Carrot Cake

If I were to name one cake that epitomizes southern desserts my pick would be carrot cake. Chess pie could be said to hold the spot for the pie category, and peach cobbler for something in between the two.

You may consider a different cake to fit the textbook definition of southern, but for me carrot cake was always a family favorite. Throughout my life (and throughout most celebratory tables) a carrot cake was alway present.

Such an old recipe has a debatable origin. It is not debated that it origins began it another country and eventually grew and changed in the States. Traditionally the sponge includes shredded carrots and nuts and smeared with a creamed cheese icing.

With such a traditional cake, it is hard to find a unique or delicious variation on the classic version. I find keeping the modification simple will result in the best results. An easy variation on the tradition is the use of honey to sweeten the cake. Of course, I prefer local honey since Savannah has such good procurers like Capital Bee Company.

To push the variation a bit more, I added orange zest and a bit of orange juice to the cream cheese icing. The citrus brightens up the soulful cake.

Burrata Cheesecake

Burrata Cheesecake

Fall has finally hit Savannah. As of this week are away from our 90 degree days and our on with the coats and boots.

With cooler days I find myself at home more, baking. Especially considering thanksgiving is creeping up swiftly. As a steady at-home baker, it is often hard to come up with new and exciting recipes. But for this one, I think I really discovered something – Burrata Cheesecake.

Burrata is a form of mozzarella cheese. It is ultra creamy and mildly flavored.  You will still taste the tangy notes of the cream cheese, but the burrata lends a more complex and interesting flavor.By replacing one half of the cream cheese in a cheesecake recipe, the result is a cheesecake that balanced and not as sweet.

I portioned down the size of the cheesecake to the size of a tart. After you try out this super easy recipe, I promise you will never go back.

You can top it with whatever fruit you like, peaches, candied oranges, plums, or anything fresh.

a slice of cake

Fig Jam Two Ways

Fig Jam Two Ways

Before moving to Savannah, I had never eaten a fig. I had never even had access to a fig. That all changed with my husband’s family.

My husband grew up with a fig tree in his grandmother’s yard. And to say the least, his family adores figs. Despite the family access, I personally have found it difficult to locate fresh figs when they are in season each year. I look and look, hoping to score a container of the soft sweet fruit to bake with.

As you can imagine, anytime I actually spot them in the store…I go a bit crazy. This year when I purchased more fresh figs than I knew what to do with. I ended up with more than I could reasonably cook with.

What does any true southerner do with an excess of fresh summer produce? Jam it or can it. That ways in the depths of a cold grey winter (which does not happen in the low country) you can whip out a jar of preserved summer stock to warm your bones.

There were so many fresh figs in my kitchen, I was able to make two batches of fig jam. One traditional, but with brown sugar instead of white, and one a little jazzed up with a hint of chai tea. The subtle warm flavors of chai is the perfect accompaniment to the fresh sweet fruit.

Making jam is easy. You combine everything into a pot and let it simmer away until ooey gooey and cooked down. If you do not feel like taking on the heavy burden of canning the jam, you can always freeze it for up to six months.

For another fig recipe click: here.

Lemon & Pineapple Sage Chess Pie

Lemon & Pineapple Sage Chess Pie

The history of the chess pie is debatable. Many contribute its origin to England, but those who have lived in the south their entire lives know it is as southern as peach pie.

To describe the many variations of chess pie that I have tasted, I would sum up the experience as a pecan pie without the pecans, and in their place, a little bit of cream. Just like a pecan pie, chess pie is one of the easiest pies you can make. Almost impossible to muck up.

A flaky tender crust sits at the base of the custard-like filling. And because the filling is so neutral, you can flavor the pie with almost anything.

Chess pie is sometimes referred to as buttermilk pie or vinegar pie.

For my summer version, I went with lemons and fresh pineapple sage from the garden. The custard is made using fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. I add in pineapple sage by seeping cream with it and using it throughout the recipe.

This recipe comes from my mom’s favorite community cookbook and gets an update. Here is another recipe that I did the same thing with.

I always make my own pie crust because the taste is so much better than store-bought. A ratio of half butter and half lard is my preference for fat. You are your own baker, so use any recipe for a crust that you like or even use a premade one!

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Key Lime Pie Poke Cake

Key Lime Pie Poke Cake

As you probably guessed, Key Lime Pie (and key limes) come from the Keys. Many southerners consider the Florida line to be the official end of the south, but it is south of the Mason-Dixon so it counts.

When key lime pie is done right (i.e. made with key limes) it can be magical. Refreshing yet sweet, and creamy and cool.

All of the traditional Savannah restaurants offer some version of key lime pie on their dessert menu. When I speak of traditional Savannah restaurants I am referring to the ones that have been around forever, like the Olde Pink House or Garibaldi’s.

Since summer has officially begun in Savannah, it felt natural to make a southern dessert that is inspired by the season. Note: it is not officially summer, but when you live this deep in the south, the heat makes it feel like summer arrives early.

And to be completely honest, I did not feel like making a pie crust so baking a version of the dessert without a pie crust was my approach for this one. What is just as good a pie crust? Cake!

The base flavors/components for key lime pie recipes are always the same, key limes, graham cracker, and meringue. This recipe includes all of the essential components. A graham cracker cake, key lime pudding, toasted meringue, and a graham cracker crumb.

As for a poke cake, the concept is simple. Bake a one-layer cake in a cake pan and once it is cool poke holes into and pour something delicious over the cake. I finish my version off with a slathering of meringue and a blow torch.