Banana + Strawberry Bread

bananabread.JPG

“As long as you know how to bake…life is sure to be sweet!”

Here’s a little bit of a twist on classic banana nut bread. It’s summer so we’re lucky to have lots of strawberries! Why not add them to the banana bread and make your sweet treat a little sweeter?! This banana strawberry bread is super moist and the perfect breakfast treat or easy dessert.

bananabread2.JPG

Banana + Strawberry bread

4 bananas

5 large strawberries

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

bananabread3

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mash the bananas in a bowl and set aside. Dice up the strawberries into little squares.  Melt the butter in the microwave. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Combine the bananas, melted butter, whisked egg, and vanilla – mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined, then mix in the strawberries.

Butter your loaf pan and pour the batter in. Slice the last banana lengthwise and lay both sides on top of the batter. Sprinkle the banana with a little extra sugar. Place in the oven for 60-70 minutes.

Enjoy!

bananabread4

 

Individual Key Lime Tarts

lime4

“Keep calm…it’s almost summer.”

Yes! What kind of desserts make you think of summer? I’ll tell ya one of mine is definitely Key Lime Pie. So Key Lime Pie originates from none other than Key West, Florida. It’s a bit embarrassing but I had never actually tried the pie until I went to Key West and ordered it…and let me tell you, though nothing compares to the original, this recipe comes preeeetty close! It got rave reviews from family and friends – so I hope you like it!

Since I like to make mini things, and hadn’t used my tart pans for a long time, I decided it was time to break those babies out and put ’em to work! This recipe makes 6 individual sized Key Lime tarts. I topped these with meringue – Key Lime pie can also be topped with whipped cream, but since the recipe for the filling calls for egg yolks, I prefer to use the whites for the topping so as not to be wasteful 🙂

lime3

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

Chop graham crackers in food processor until you get smooth crumbs. Add the brown sugar and continue to process for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth. Pour this mix into a large bowl and add melted butter and mix. Use a spoon to press these into the tart pans (with removable bottoms – makes everything that much easier).

Bake this crust in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

lime7

Key Lime Filling

1 tbsp. Key lime zest

1/2 cup Key lime juice

3 large egg yolks

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

Zest limes and then squeeze zested limes to collect juice into a separate bowl. This will take anywhere from 6-12 limes depending on the size of your Key Limes. Set aside. Beat egg yolks in your stand mixer until the yolks become thickened and pale. Mix zest in, then add in the condensed milk and beat for a couple minutes. Now mix in the juice for another minute.

Pour filling into the crusts that have been cooling. Bake tarts in preheated 350F oven again, for 12-15 minutes – but do not let the tops brown! Turn off oven and remove tarts. Let cool completely to room temperature and remove from tart pans before topping with meringue.

lime6

Meringue topping

3 egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place a large metal bowl over a saucepan of just boiling water. In the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Transfer this to your stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment to firm peaks. Add vanilla and beat to stiff peaks. Pipe the meringue onto your cooled Key Lime tarts in whatever fashion you prefer. I used the closed star tip and did three different styles. I did the rose design (pipe from inside out), a cupcake style swirl (from outside in), and little star dollops (squeeze piping  bag at 90 degrees to get a star shape, then stop squeezing, and quickly release and lift). Then use a kitchen torch to brown the tips a bit. Make sure to always hold the torch at a safe distance and turn it off when you’re all done. (Follow the directions that come with your torch.) Top your finished tarts with some lime zest and dig in!

lime5

Summertime Strawberry upside-down cake

upd2

“Happiness is…Strawberries”

Yum…who doesn’t love a great strawberry?! Makes it feel like summer already! This strawberry upside-down cake is everything you want it to be – moist, rich, and strawberry flavored. Enjoy!

Upside down cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 box of fresh strawberries

a handful of fresh blueberries

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup of sour cream

1/4 cup lemon juice

upd

Spray 9.5 inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cut the strawberries length wise and place them in a circular pattern in the pan from inside out.

Take the 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar and stir in a saucepan until melted. Stir until well combined and beginning to bubble. Take glaze off heat and let cool 1-2 minutes. Pour glaze over the strawberries.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a large bowl.

In a stand mixer, mix together butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and mix again. Add sour cream and lemon juice until combined.

Add dry ingredients in three parts. Once mixed in, fold in floured chunks of strawberries and fresh, as well as floured blueberries. Pour mixture into pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 10-11 minutes. Remove sides of springform pan, and then turn the cake upside down. You can garnish with fresh strawberries, and serve!

upd1

Puppy and Kitten Love: Mini Cupcakes

puppycatcakes9

“A true friend leaves paw prints on your heart.”

puppycatcakes1

Aww..so true! Gotta love puppies and kittens. What better way to honor them than cutie mini cupcakes? Here’s a how-to:

puppycatcakes8

Puppies:

Your favorite mini cupcake recipe (You can try a chocolate one, or even a gluten-free option.)

Wilton candy eyeballs – small

Wilton candy eyeballs – large

Airheads- cherry flavor

Black edible ink pen

Wilton black candy drops

White sparkling sugar

Cream cheese frosting -white

puppycatcakes5

Kittens:

White chocolate chips

Pink candy sprinkle hearts

White and pink jimmies (sprinkles)

Black wilton rainbow chip crunch sprinkles or mini dark choco chips

White sparkling sugar

Cream cheese frosting –white

puppycatcakes3

Directions

Place a handful amount of the white sparkling sugar in a shallow bowl. For both cupcakes, once cooled to room temperature, use your round piping tip, I used 1a – to pipe little round blobs of frosting onto the cupcakes. It’s ok if it’s not too neat. Then go ahead and dip them into the sugar and push down lightly so that they are evenly covered. Next, we decorate!

puppycatcakes4

The puppies: Take the mini eyeball candies and use your edible ink marker to make the black spots larger so you get big puppy dog eyes. Dab some frosting with a toothpick on the backs, and place these on the cupcakes. Next take one big eyeball, place some frosting on the back, and place it in the middle so that it is the snout. Place frosting on the back of two black candy drops and attach them to the sides for floppy looking ears. (By the way, if you can’t get these candies, you can also use little cylindrical black licorice pieces that you can get at a candy store in a licorice assortment.) Next you’ll take a tiny bit of airhead in your hand and shape it into a little tongue, rounded on one side. Dab some frosting on the non-rounded side and place it under the large eyeball (snout), to the side. Now you have a puppy!

puppycatcakes6

The kittens:  Place some frosting on the back of the black rainbow chip crunch (or mini dark choco chips, tips facing down) and attach to the cupcake as eyes. Dab frosting on one side of the white choc chips and place on the cupcakes as ears, with pointy side facing up as you see here in the photos. Grab the pink sprinkle hearts, dab some frosting on, and place them under the eyes for the little pink nose. Use three white jimmies on either side of the nose as the whiskers. Use three pink jimmies to create the mouth – one coming down from the nose, and two making a little smile as seen here. You have kittens!

 puppycatcakes7

That’s it! Now if you have an animal themed party to go to, you can make these 🙂