Banana + Strawberry Bread

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“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.

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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

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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!

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Strawberry Meringue Cake

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“Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.”

Yes! And this Strawberry Meringue Cake is the perfect addition to any summer soiree. Also, strawberry curd. It’s in this cake, but it should also be on top of your bagels, in your pastries, and just on a spoon headed into your mouth – because it is sooo tasty! Try not to eat all of it before you finish making the cake 😉

Strawberry Cake

10 large strawberries, pureed in blender, put through strainer

2 sticks (1 cup) butter

2 cups sugar

1 package strawberry gelatin

3 cups flour

pinch of salt

2 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla (clear)

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Prepare cake pans with non-stick spray. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in large bowl and set aside.

Beat butter in stand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and strawberry gelatin to combine. In a separate bowl mix together milk, buttermilk, vanilla, strawberry puree, and eggs. Add this mixture to the stand mixer and combine. In 3 parts add in the dry ingredients from separate bowl. Mix well.

Place batter into cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes. Check if it is done with a toothpick in the center of the cake that comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

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Blackberry Cream Cheese frosting

1 box pureed and strained blackberries

1/2 cup butter

8 oz cream cheese

1 tsp clear vanilla extract

4.5 cups powdered sugar

After pureeing the blackberries in the food processor, strain the puree so you don’t have any seeds. Beat butter and cream cheese together in stand mixer. Add powdered sugar in 1/2 cups and mix. Add Blackberry puree 1 tbsp at a time until desired color and consistency. (Remember you don’t want it too liquid-y because you will be piping the cream cheese frosting)

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Strawberry Curd

1 box strawberries, pureed in blender and strained

½ cup sugar

1 tbsp corn starch

3 eggs yolks

Juice of 1 lemon

½ cup butter, cut into cubes

Add first 5 ingredients to a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until thickened. Turn off the stove and add butter 1 cube at a time to further thicken. Continue mixing until melted. Let cool to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap (so that the plastic wrap touches the curd), and place in refrigerator for 1-4 hours. The more time, the thicker it will get – but if you’re in a rush like I was, and making this a couple hours before you are supposed to bring it to a party (oops!) – 1 hour will do!

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Meringue frosting

4 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract (clear)

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.

Assembly

On your first layer of cake, spread a thin amount of blackberry cream cheese frosting, layer this with fresh strawberries that have been thinly sliced. Next, pipe a thick circle of the frosting around the top of the cake in a circle to create a border for the strawberry curd. Now using a spoon, fill the center of the cake with desired amount of curd. Place next cake layer on top and repeat the process one more time. Place last cake layer on top. Next crumb coat the cake with the meringue in a thin layer (it spreads very smoothly). Place this in the fridge for 15 minutes. Remove from the fridge and using a closed star tip, pipe roses around the cake (starting at the bottom), with the meringue. Once you’ve completed piping the roses, use your kitchen torch to toast the meringue. This helps stabilize the frosting as well. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then enjoy!

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Loquat, Strawberry, and Mascarpone mini Galettes

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“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like” -Mark Twain

Well that sure is some pleasant advice! What if I like eating pie? Can I eat all the pie?? The perfect solution – bake mini galettes, throw in some fruit, and it’s kinda healthy too, right? 🙂

What is a galette? This is a French term for, usually, a flat, round, flaky pastry, often made of pie crust, but baked without a pie pan. It can be savory or sweet – and this one is definitely sweet! This galette recipe includes loquats, which are a Chinese fruit, orange in color, and sweet when ripe. I also added in some strawberries because the flavors tend to complement each other. Mascarpone brings the whole galette up a notch! Hope you enjoy it!

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Crust

1 1/4 cup flour

2 tsp sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into cubes

4 tbsp ice water

In a food processor, mix first 3 ingredients until combined. Next, add the small cubes of butter and pulse in processor until you get course crumbs. Now add the water, 1 tbsp at a time until the dough comes together. You may have to add 1 or 2 more or less tbsp than I did to get that nice dough consistency. Take the dough out of the processor, shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

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Filling and Assembly

Dough

1 box strawberries, chopped

10-15 loquats, peeled and chopped

1 8 oz box mascarpone cheese

1 egg (beat, to use as eggwash)

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Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out the chilled dough and use a round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut dough into mini circles, about 4 inches in diameter. Spread the mascarpone in the center of each circle (as you see in the photos), leaving a border without any mascarpone to fold. Place 4-5 cubes of each fruit into the center of each galette. Next fold the edges towards the center, overlapping, until all folded in, with the center left exposed. Cover the dough with the eggwash. Place the galettes in the oven for about 12 minutes or golden in color. Remove, let cool, and enjoy!

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Flourless Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Dome Cakes

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“A balanced life is chocolate in both hands.”

This is why I made brownies and chocolate cakes for breakfast. Sounds about right.

But really though – I recently learned to make mousse and it is amaaazing. Mousse is so light and fluffy and it almost makes you feel like you didn’t just eat a whole cake. For the record – these are mini dome cakes, so it’s all good!

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Flourless Chocolate Brownies

(This makes the base of the cakes and the extras make for ooey gooey brownie goodness just on their own)

4 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar (separated into two halves)

1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup cornstarch

Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl in 15 second increments, mixing in between until melted. Melt butter in microwave in separate bowl in 20 second intervals. (Butter will melt quickly!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk egg whites in stand mixer with 1/2 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk yolks with 1/2 cup sugar.

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Mix together chocolate, butter, and cornstarch in a bowl, and then mix in the egg yolk/sugar. Fold in the egg white/sugar into this mixture. Pour into baking pan prepared with non stick spray or parchment paper.

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Bake for 15-18 minutes. It’s ok if the brownie is cracked when you take it out – it will be very soft because there is no flour. Let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Remove from refrigerator and cut out rounds to match the size of your dome bases. (I used something like this mold for the cakes).

The leftover brownies can be cut into squares and refrigerated for eating later 🙂

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Strawberry Mousse

1 box of fresh strawberries ( to make about a cup of strawberry puree)

2 tbsp. cold water

2 tbsp. unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

Blend strawberries into puree in food processor. Boil with sugar in saucepan on medium heat while stirring. Remove strawberries and allow to cool completely. Place gelatin into water in small bowl and allow to bloom about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile whisk heavy cream in stand mixer to soft peaks.

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Strain strawberry juice from puree into large bowl. Place gelatin mixture into strawberry juice and stir until thickens. Next fold cream into strawberry gelatin until well combined.

Spoon the mousse into the domes and cover with brownie bases. Place into freezer and freeze well!

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Remove cakes from molds and prepare chocolate. Normally you might pour a chocolate ganache over the cakes, but I wanted some crunch to complement the softness of the mousse; so I used dark chocolate candy melts. Melt those in the microwave – allow the chocolate to cool just a bit, then spoon over cakes. I placed a strawberry on top, and then refrigerated overnight.

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 These seriously taste so light and flavorful – I hope you enjoy them!

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