Banana Fluffernutter Bundt

IMG_3729This past weekend was SPX, the Small Press Expo, outside DC, which brings together, among other folk, lots of web comic artists I like. The last time I went, in 2011, I brought cookies to the artists that I liked. This year, with my current kitchen situation, a bundt made the most sense. I asked around a tiny bit, and peanut butter/banana was a combo people like, so I went with it, and this cake seemed to go over well with everyone I gave a slice to! This was also probably the first time I ever opened a container of fluff without ending up with fluff in my hair, so really, success all around!

The single photograph I took at SPX this year was of the food map, because it was awesome.

The single photograph I took at SPX this year was of the food map, because it was awesome.

Ingredients:

Batter:

  • 3 cups mashed bananas
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peanut butter chips

Fluff Center:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces marshmallow fluff
  • 2 egg
  • 6 tablespoons flour

Peanut Butter Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Banana-y!

Banana-y!

First prepare the fluff center. Beat together the cream cheese and fluff until well mixed. I eventually decided that that meant 8 ounces by weight, not volume, which is the larger amount. (Side note, a block of cream cheese and a 16 ounce container of fluff mixed together is a fantastic fruit dip!) Beat in the eggs, then the flour, beating until smooth. Set aside.

Oh hey that spatula thing is from Mary Kate!

Oh hey that spatula thing is from Mary Kate!

Grease a bundt pan and set aside. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas and the sugar and mix together for about three minutes on medium-high speed.

Not attractive.

Not attractive.

Beat in the oil until well mixed, then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in the vanilla.

Still not so hot.

Still not so hot.

Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir together on low, or by hand, until the ingredients just begin to come together. Add the peanut butter chips, and continue to stir just until everything is well incorporated.

IMG_3719 Pour half of the batter into the prepared bundt pan.

IMG_3720Top with the fluff mixture, spreading evenly around the pan.

IMG_3721Cover with the remaining banana batter.

IMG_3722I was not positive this was all going to fit in the pan, but it just did. Because it was so full, I put it on a baking sheet to catch any overflow, and, while I was impressed how little overflow there was… still better to have the pan.

Bake for 70-90 minutes. Check at 70 minutes – it is hard to be sure that the batter is cooked/dry, because melted peanut butter chips may stick to the toothpick or knife you use to check with, but make your best guess.

No drips around the edges...

No drips around the edges…

This blob was inside the center cutout of the pan, though.

This blob was inside the center cutout of the pan, though.

Cool in the pan until no longer hot to the touch, several hours, before turning out.

IMG_3727Prepare the glaze by whisking together the peanut butter and milk, then adding the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Drizzle over the top of the cake, then let set up about an hour before serving.

IMG_3730 IMG_3731I sliced and wrapped mine for traveling, and it held up quite well. It’s quite peanut butter-y and banana-y, as you’d hope, and any leftovers stay moist for days. And if you don’t want to take my word for it that this was good, for once you don’t have to!

cake tweet

Banana Fluffernutter Bundt

Doubled from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

Batter:

  • 3 cups mashed bananas
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peanut butter chips

Fluff Center:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces marshmallow fluff
  • 2 egg
  • 6 tablespoons flour

Peanut Butter Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

To prepare the fluff center: Beat together the cream cheese and fluff until well mixed.  Beat in the eggs, then the flour, beating until smooth. Set aside.

Grease a bundt pan and set aside. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas and the sugar and mix together for three minutes on medium-high speed. Beat in the oil until well mixed, then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir together on low, or by hand, until the ingredients just begin to come together. Add the peanut butter chips, and continue to stir just until everything is well incorporated.  Pour half of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Top with the fluff mixture, spreading evenly around the pan. Cover with the remaining banana batter. Place on the baking sheet to catch any overflow.

Bake for 70-90 minutes, until cooked through. Cool in the pan until no longer hot to the touch, several hours, before turning out.

Prepare the glaze by whisking together the peanut butter and milk, then adding the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Drizzle over the top of the cake, then let set up about an hour before serving.

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dutch Oven Apple Fluff

IMG_3710Why hello there, blog friends! It’s been a while, again, because I have moved, again. It just keeps happening! This time I’m in DC. My kitchen is pretty tiny, has terrible lighting for photos, and has a really weird set of tools right now – I have a bundt, an immersion blender, and a flour sifter, but not a single bowl of any size or shape. Going to be a tricky one until I get a more permanent situation sorted, but I’ve finally baked something beyond granola bars, and it was delicious! I have never actually eaten Bickfords’ Big Apple Pancake, but I sort of picture it tasting something like this? The name remains unclear even halfway through baking, but by the time this is cooked through, it has poofed up impressively.

Some serious poof.

Some serious poof.

I got this recipe from a website that’s all dutch oven recipes and tips, intended mostly for using with your big black cast iron dutch ovens over/in campfires. Luckily, this recipe translated well to my enameled dutch oven and indoor cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 apples (the website used granny smith, I got golden delicious because they were on sale…)
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • syrup, jelly, or powdered sugar for topping (optional)

Put the butter in a dutch oven and place on the stove over low heat until melted. When melted, swirl the dutch oven around to coat well with the butter. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

I guess you probably could have pictured this one without the photo...

I guess you probably could have pictured this one without the photo…

Beat the eggs together in a large bowl, then stir in the milk, flour, and salt. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a ziplock bag and shake to mix.

Cut the apples into slices. A few at a time, put the apple slices in the ziplock and shake to coat well with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Use the apple slices to coat the bottom of your dutch oven.

IMG_3699Pour the egg mixture over the apples.

IMG_3700Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top of the mixture.

IMG_3701Place the lid on the dutch oven, and bake for at least 20 minutes. Cut with a knife to determine if the batter is cooked all the way through. Mine took closer to 35 minutes, which reminds me I should actually put the oven thermometer I have (But no bowls? I really brought the weirdest combo of things.) in there and see how it’s working!

This was halfway through, and probably it's most visually attractive state, but the batter was still uncooked.

This was at 20 minutes, and probably it’s most visually attractive state, but the batter was still uncooked.

As the dough cooks it will get huge, but then deflate once it's out of the oven.

As the dough cooks it will get huge, but then deflate once it’s out of the oven.

Top with syrup, powdered sugar, jam, or other topping. Where it has pretty similar ingredients to a pancake, I’ve voted for syrup, and it’s delicious!

IMG_3707 IMG_3709

Dutch Oven Apple Fluff

Lightly adapted from The Dutch Oven Dude.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 apples
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • syrup, jelly, or powdered sugar for topping (optional)

Put the butter in a dutch oven and place on the stove over low heat until melted. When melted, swirl the dutch oven around to coat well with the butter. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Beat the eggs together in a large bowl, then stir in the milk, flour, and salt. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a ziplock bag and shake to mix.

Cut the apples into slices. A few at a time, put the apple slices in the ziplock and shake to coat well with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Use the apple slices to coat the bottom of your dutch oven, then pour the egg mixture over the apples. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top of the mixture.

Place the lid on the dutch oven, and bake for at least 20 minutes. Cut with a knife to determine if the batter is cooked all the way through. Top slices with syrup, powdered sugar, jam, or other topping.

Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mini Polenta Pizzas

This is slightly more of a suggestion than an exact recipe, it’s an easy way to make some cute, tasty little pizzas without having to mess with kneading dough or rising times. The polenta also happens to be gluten-free, without requiring you to buy any (other) gluten-free specialty ingredients.

IMG_3511You can top however you like, though I’ll be describing the spinach pizzas I made.

Ingredients:

  • 1 18 ounce tube polenta
  • tomato sauce
  • shredded cheese (I used parmesan and cheddar)
  • 1 bag baby spinach (or other toppings)
  • olive oil

Cook the spinach with a drizzle of olive oil, covered, over medium low heat until wilted. The volume of spinach will decrease significantly.

That was a whole bag of spinach.

That was a whole bag of spinach.

Drizzle some olive oil in a cast iron pan and heat over medium high heat. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with greased foil.

Remove the polenta from the packaging, draining off any liquid, and slice into 1/4″ slices. Cook the polenta on both sides until lightly browned.

They turn a more bold yellow, like those two at the bottom right, before starting to brown. (I flipped those back to cook further.)

They turn a more bold yellow, like those two at the bottom right, before starting to brown. (I flipped those back to cook further.)

IMG_3505Remove each cooked slice of polenta to the prepared baking sheet as they finish browning.

IMG_3506Spoon tomato sauce onto each slice of polenta.

IMG_3507Cover with cheese, then spinach (or other toppings as desired).

IMG_3508Bake for 15 minutes.

IMG_3509IMG_3510Serve using a spatula. You can eat these by hand, but it’s a bit easier/less messy to use a fork.

This was a good number for 3 people, and pretty quick to throw together. This was not actually the first time I’ve made these mini pizzas, and I don’t expect it will be the last!

Mini Polenta Pizzas

  • 1 18 ounce tube polenta
  • tomato sauce
  • shredded cheese
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • olive oil

Cook the spinach with a drizzle of olive oil, covered, over medium low heat until wilted. The volume of spinach will decrease significantly.

Drizzle some olive oil in a cast iron pan and heat over medium high heat. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with greased foil.

Remove the polenta from the packaging, draining off any liquid, and slice into 1/4″ slices. Cook the polenta on both sides until lightly browned. Remove cooked polenta to the prepared baking sheet.

Spoon tomato sauce onto each slice of polenta, then cover with cheese and toppings. Bake for 15 minutes, and serve using a spatula.

Posted in Dinner | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Bacon Brown Sugar Green Beans

My mom gets pretty into farmers’ market food in the summer, and somehow this resulted in her buying green beans the other day. She asked me to do something with them, and I was able to turn up a recipe everyone liked!

IMG_3550Ingredients:

  • 50-60 fresh green beans
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Put a medium pot of water on the stove to boil over high heat. While it reaches a boil, rinse and de-string the green beans. Boil the beans for 5 minutes, then drain the boiling water and place the beans in a bowl of ice water and set aside.

IMG_3542Cut the slices of bacon in half, lay them on a paper towel-lined plate, and microwave for 90 seconds, rotating twice if your microwave doesn’t spin.

combineGrease a 9X13″ pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Taking the green beans in bunches of five, wrap a slice of the partially cooked bacon around each bundle and place, seam-side down, in the greased pan. Repeat until the beans are all used up.

IMG_3544Stir together the butter and brown sugar and drizzle over the bean bundles.

IMG_3545Sprinkle with salt and minced garlic.

IMG_3548Wrap with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Take the foil off, turn the oven to the broiler setting, and cook a further five minutes to crisp up the bacon, then serve.

IMG_3549It’s hard to go wrong with brown sugar and butter, and adding bacon never hurts, so this recipe was always going to be a winner. The beans and the bacon both come out the right amount of cooked and with a nice brown sugar flavor, and you’ve got a leftover half a pack of bacon to eat for breakfast the next day!

IMG_3551

Bacon Brown Sugar Green Beans

Adapted from AllRecipes.

  • 50-60 fresh green beans
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Put a medium pot of water on the stove to boil over high heat. While it reaches a boil, rinse and de-string the green beans. Boil the beans for 5 minutes, then drain the boiling water and place the beans in a bowl of ice water and set aside.

Cut the slices of bacon in half, lay them on a paper towel-lined plate, and microwave for 90 seconds.

Grease a 9X13″ pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Taking the green beans in bunches of five, wrap a slice of the partially cooked bacon around each bundle and place, seam-side down, in the greased pan. Repeat until the beans are all used up.

Stir together the butter and brown sugar and drizzle over the bean bundles. Sprinkle with salt and minced garlic. Wrap with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Take the foil off, turn the oven to the broiler setting, and cook a further five minutes to crisp up the bacon, then serve.

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Nut Pie Cookies

Last week my friend Danielle and I made some cookies for our mutual friend Jen’s wedding. The wedding had pies, not cake, so we made some cookies to match. This is a recipe Danielle and her mother make every year at Christmas, and apparently tastes just like mini pecan pies, despite using walnuts. I didn’t taste them (as I haven’t started liking nuts since last week) but apparently they’re a hit every Christmas, and all Danielle’s family’s other Christmas cookies that I’ve tried have been great, so I’m willing to trust them!

IMG_3538Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon melted vanilla
  • 1 egg

Stir together the crust ingredients by hand until mixed, kneading a bit if necessary. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

IMG_3531 IMG_3532Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Separate the dough into 24 equal portions, roll each into a ball, and place into the wells of a mini cupcake pan.

IMG_3534Press the dough into the pan until it evenly covers each cup, coming up to the top of each.

IMG_3535Stir together the filling ingredients with a fork, then spoon 1 teaspoon of the mixture into each of the dough-lined cups, sharing any extra filling mixture evenly between them all.

IMG_3536Bake 20 minutes, until browned and risen. Let cool in the pan.

IMG_3537These came out cute, and apparently are like a delicious bite sized pecan pie! Just the start of a sweet married life for my friend! (Ew, that was maybe the worst thing I’ve ever typed!) Congrats, Jen!

IMG_3539

Nut Pie Cookies

From my friend Danielle’s kitchen.

Crust:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon melted vanilla
  • 1 egg

Stir together the crust ingredients by hand until mixed, kneading a bit if necessary. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Separate the dough into 24 equal portions, roll each into a ball, and place into the wells of a mini cupcake pan. Press the dough into the pan until it evenly covers each cup, coming up to the top of each.

Stir together the filling ingredients with a fork, then spoon 1 teaspoon of the mixture into each of the dough-lined cups, spreading any extra filling mixture evenly. Bake 20 minutes, until browned and risen. Let cool in the pan.

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Sticky Bun Dip

Another recipe from last weekend’s brunch, this one’s super easy and quick to throw together. It’s from Karo, and in my experience recipes directly from food companies are usually pretty foolproof, because they want you to have a good experience with their product. I’ve got a whole book of recipes from the back of packages, that a friend gave me years ago, that I should really dig out one of these days, but for now this one’s from Karo’s website.

IMG_3526Ingredients:

  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Karo® Dark Corn Syrup OR Karo® Light Corn Syrup (I used mostly light, as the bottle of dark was about empty)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I left these out. I will always leave nuts out.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla until smooth and creamy. Spread in an 8X8″ baking dish and set aside.

IMG_3521Combine the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.

IMG_3522Boil for 1 minute, the remove from the heat and stir in the pecans. (Or don’t.) Pour the brown sugar mixture over the cream cheese mixture.

IMG_3523Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly, then remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes.

IMG_3524Serve with cookies, graham crackers, and/or apple or pear slices for dipping.

IMG_3529

Not the most appealing colors, admittedly, but it tastes good!

It is, as you might expect, sweet, and pretty delicious!

Sticky Bun Dip

From Karo Syrup.

  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Karo® Dark Corn Syrup OR Karo® Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla until smooth and creamy. Spread in an 8X8″ baking dish and set aside.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, the remove from the heat and stir in the pecans. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly, then remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes.

Serve with cookies, graham crackers, and/or apple or pear slices for dipping.

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Chickpea Chicken Soup

I had a few friends over yesterday for brunch, and everything turned out really quite delicious. This soup, for instance, has a great flavor from the bacon, but also some sweetness, I think probably from the onions. It’s also, not surprisingly, much more filling than a thinner soup, with all the vegetables and chickpeas in there, although you don’t even really notice the chickpeas that much, especially not flavor-wise. It’s really a fantastic soup!

IMG_3518Ingredients:

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • parmesan cheese for garnish, if desired

By the time we get to adding the chicken to the recipe, we’ll want it to be cooked and chopped. You can cook it on the stove or bake it while the other ingredients cook in the first few steps, or use leftover shredded chicken from an earlier meal, it doesn’t really matter as long as it is no longer raw by the time we get to it.

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat. Once brown and crispy, remove the bacon, leaving the grease behind.

IMG_3513Still over medium heat, cook the onions, mushrooms, and peppers in the bacon grease.

Steaming up the camera lens!

Steaming up the camera lens!

Cook until soft, 5-8 minutes, then add the garlic, spinach, paprika, and cumin, and stir together for 1 minute.

Getting nicely colorful.

Getting nicely colorful.

Reduce the heat to low and add the chickpeas, celery, carrots, chicken, and seasoned salt. Pour in the chicken stock, stir together, and simmer 30 minutes.

IMG_3519Add the bacon back right before serving, then garnish each bowl with parmesan cheese, if desired.

IMG_3527I made mine Saturday, stored the soup and bacon separately, then reheated and served it Sunday, and it was excellent. Much as I am lazy about chopping vegetables, I will definitely be making this again in the future!

IMG_3520

Chickpea Chicken Soup

Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is.

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 25-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • parmesan cheese for garnish, if desired

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat. Once brown and crispy, remove the bacon, leaving the grease behind.

Still over medium heat, cook the onions, mushrooms, and peppers in the bacon grease. Cook until soft, 5-8 minutes, then add the garlic, spinach, paprika, and cumin, and stir together for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the chickpeas, celery, carrots, chicken, and seasoned salt. Pour in the chicken stock, stir together, and simmer 30 minutes.

Add the bacon back right before serving, then garnish each bowl with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Posted in Brunch, Dinner | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments