Recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Popsicles

Earlier this week I heard—for the first time this year—the sweet sounds of spring. It wasn't birds chirping or kids playing outside that made me stop in my tracks and whirl around, it was the familiar jingle of the ice cream truck. 

Now, I don't know where you live or where you grew up, but my whole life I have heard the jingle of the ice cream truck. It reminds me of being a child, taking my parent's dollar and running out front of my childhood home. It reminds me of living in the city, where our street is so tiny and the truck has to drive so slowly that the jingle can be heard right outside my house for about 15 minutes most summer days. It's the sound of taking it easy, of splurging on a treat, and of summer sun.

Today we are skipping the ice cream truck and making a slightly healthier popsicle you can quickly and easily throw together at home. And who can beat the flavor combo of peanut butter, banana, and chocolate? Seriously now...

Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Popsicles

Makes 8 popsicles

4 bananas
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or agave (to taste)
1/2 cup peanut butter

Topping:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil
handful of chopped peanuts or cashews

In a blender, add peeled bananas, greek yogurt, and peanut butter and blend until smooth. Depending on how sweet your bananas are, add honey or more peanut butter based on your personal preference. Fill your popsicle molds (I have this one) 3/4 full, insert sticks, and freeze for 4–6 hours or until completely frozen.

When ready to serve, heat chocolate chips and coconut oil over a double boiler on the stove, whisking until melted. Drizzle melted chocolate over each popsicle and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Enjoy immediately or store on a wrapped plate in the freezer until ready to eat. 

Recipe: Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies

The season of jellybeans and Cadbury creme eggs is here! And though I can get down with some Starburst jellybeans, I'm really here for the Reese's peanut butter eggs. I know Reese's makes pumpkins and Christmas trees these days, but the egg shape is definitely my favorite. Why? I have no idea. It's literally just an oval of peanut butter draped in chocolate, but they're hands down my favorite ones.

So in the spirit of Reese's peanut butter eggs and indulging in all the chocolate and candy that's hanging around this time of year, I'm bringing you Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies. We aren't messing around with the frosting either. I want my brownies to be piled high with frosting so these are quite a rich treat. You could easily cut these all in half and feed 18 people and everyone would definitely be a happy camper. Or eat the whole pan yourself. I won't blame you!

Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies

Yields 9 large brownies

For brownies:
1 stick butter
4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For peanut butter frosting:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
2 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 inch baking pan with butter and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Grease the top of the parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa until combined.

In a small heatproof bowl, heat butter and chopped baking chocolate in the microwave until melted. Add into a large mixing bowl, whisking in sugar, then eggs one at a time. Once combined, switch to a rubber spatula and add in flour mixture until batter is comes together but be care not to over mix. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with only few crumbs. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.

While brownies are cooling, mix butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until combined and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar. Add in vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of milk. If frosting is still too thick, slowly add in an additional 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Frost cooled brownies and serve.

Recipe: Double Chocolate Crumb Sour Cream Cake

It's Tuesday and I've brought you chocolate. 

Now, I'm not an all-the-chocolate-all-the-time-give-me-that-lava-cake kinda girl. I like chocolate, but not in large amounts. I want my dessert to be a little more balanced. Give me a vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream or a fudgy brownie with vanilla frosting and I'm good to go.  

But this cake gives you that multi-layers of chocolate feel, without being overwhelming. Moist sour cream cake with chocolate chips throughout? Check. Chocolate Crumb? Check. Extra chocolate chips added to the crumb for good measure? Double Check. Your chocolate addicted friends will be impressed and you get to use up some of those bags of chocolate chips you have lying around! Which is always a win for me. Let's get to it.

Double Chocolate Crumb Sour Cream Cake

Yields one loaf cake

For cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

For topping:
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf by buttering the bottom and walls. Line with a piece of parchment paper that's long enough to hang over on both of the long sides of the pan. Press parchment paper against butter so it sticks.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt until combined. In a separate bowl, toss chocolate chips with a tablespoon of flour and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla until thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in half of the dry ingredients. Add sour cream and combine. Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold in floured chocolate chips until they are evenly throughout the batter and scrape into the prepared loaf pan.

To make your topping, mix together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Add in cubed butter and using a pastry blender or your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and small pieces of butter are throughout. Stir in chocolate chips. Evenly distribute crumb topping over the cake batter.

Bake cake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean of batter. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then use the parchment paper to remove from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

I took a little time off from making, baking, and photographing to have a low-key weekend before I head to Chicago this week. Work has been intense lately. I'm adjusting to wanting to spend a lot of my time off with someone else. The weather has been starting to perk up. All in all I just needed a weekend to relax and not worry about baking. Getting back into the swing of things this weekend, I wanted to make something that used up things in my fridge/pantry. It's been a little while since I've baked cupcakes and I had a few oranges and blood oranges lingering in my fridge and these cupcakes were born. A standard cupcake with a few twists: orange zest, dark cocoa, and a tangy frosting.  

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes 

Yields 36 cupcakes

1 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed or Special Dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
zest of one orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place liners in a cupcake pan.

Cream together butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add zest of one orange and vanilla and mix together.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Add a third of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, add half the buttermilk, another third of dry, the other half of the buttermilk, and the last third of dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Spoon batter into the cupcake pan, filling each liner until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and then cool completely before frosting.

ChocolateOrangeCupcakes-4.jpg

Orange Buttercream

1 stick butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 orange, zest and juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with confectioner's sugar, adding one cup at a time. Add vanilla and the zest of an orange. Juice the orange, strain it, and then add to the frosting one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistence. (I used 3-4 tablespoons) Beat on medium high for 3-4 minutes until frosting is light and airy.

Add to a pastry bag with a star tip and frost each cupcake in a circular motion. Top with an orange slice if desired. Serve immediately or store in an airtight cake carrier.

Recipe: Chocolate & Confetti Rice Krispie Treats

Most of the time, I want to impress people with the sweet treats I make. I have a tick deep down inside of me that just wants people to appreciate and be impressed by me. I want them to look at a plate of cupcakes or cookies I've made and think to themselves "dammmnnn...those are fancy! That girl is impressive!" It's a feeling I try and shove deep down inside myself because it's a little embarrassing and frankly, I don't want to seem that completely self centered. But sometimes, you just need to make a classic and let it speak for itself. Throw in some sprinkles and guess what? Everyone is wowed. Sprinkles wow everyone. It's just a fact.

Okay, enough about my life. More about marshmallows and chocolate. Let's get down to business.

Chocolate & Confetti Rice Krispie Treats

Makes 12 treats

  • 10 oz of marshmallows (1 bag)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • nonstick cooking spray

Spray a 9x9 inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. You can use any size pan, but the 9x9 makes taller treats.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter until it's light brown and bubbly over medium heat. I like to brown the butter when I make these, so let it crackle and bubble for a few minutes, stirring often so it doesn't burn. Add the marshmallows and reduce heat. Add salt (to cut through the sweetness) and stir in marshmallows until they are melted.

Add cereal to a large mixing bowl and add in marshmallow/butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon sprayed lightly with cooking spray, mix everything together, adding sprinkles in as you stir. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking sheet, pressing down with the wooden spoon. Use a piece of parchment paper to press the cereal into the pan. Allow treats to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so they are easy to cut.

In a double boiler over medium heat, add chocolate chips and coconut oil and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove treats from the fridge and cut into 12 pieces. Dip each treat halfway into the chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sprinkles and let chocolate cool completely. 

Simple, and yet very impressive. I've never met a person who didn't like rice krispie treats. And if I ever did, I wouldn't trust them.