Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins

cinnamon-swirl-banana-muffins

It is no secret that I enjoy cooking and all things that come with it.  Well, except for maybe the cleaning up.  I read cookbooks for pleasure and even watch a few cooking shows.  I also love a day off.  I’m up for a good restaurant any day with someone else doing all of the work.

 Savannah decided to come home over the weekend since the college campus was closed due to Hurricane Matthew.  Having her home was great, and I usually make a few of her favorite dishes while she is home.  This time, she cooked breakfast for us one morning.  She baked these fabulous Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins.  The cinnamon swirl was a great addition to banana muffins.
This recipe can also be used to make a loaf of banana bread.  Savannah said that the bread is better the day after it bakes.  We wouldn’t know because the muffins did not last long enough to find out.

 

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • ⅓ c. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners or spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Mix mashed bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and gently mix into the banana mixture. Do not overmix!
  3. Fill the paper liners half-way with batter. Then evenly distribute half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Add remaining batter to the top of each. Using a butter knife, swirl the batter. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Notes
To make a loaf, pour half of batter the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Pour remaining batter on top and swirl with a butter knife. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

 

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Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

chewy-oatmeal-cookies

 

When life gets hectic, I turn to baking. Baking calms my mind and soothes my soul.

Big changes for the Melton household are underway! My head is spinning with all of the adjustments that we are experiencing. After 33 years with different jobs in the same department, Greg has taken a new job. Same company but new department and new responsibilities.  He’s excited about the challenges and looks forward to doing something new. I suppose I always fear the unknown.

 Our oldest child, Wes, has a job that he starts this week! A real, full-time, paying job! He worked a lot during college. Sometimes for no pay, but always with a goal in mind. A paying job is wonderful news, especially for our bank account.

Then there’s Savannah, our baby; she will begin her junior year of college in a few weeks. She is moving out again in just two weeks. She has been busy painting furniture, making Pinterest projects, and shopping for things she’ll need out on her own.

So, with all of that being said, I recently baked. I have been cooking low-carb for several weeks now, so baking these ooey, gooey, chewy oatmeal cookies was a treat! I love a good oatmeal cookie, and these are the best. Baked in a convection oven they bake in about 5 to 7 minutes. These cookies will spread while cooking to a thin, flat cookie.  Lightly brown the edges of the cookies, leaving the middle soft. They should look slightly undercooked in the center when you remove them from the oven. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet and they will firm up as they cool.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: about 36 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 lg. egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk
  • ½ c. dried cherries
  • ½ c. chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing until well combined. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda, and salt until well blended. Stir in milk, dried cherries, and chocolate chips.
  3. Place 1 tablespoon (slightly rounded, not flat, not heaping) mounds of dough 2-inches apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets. These cookies do spread while baking, so do not place too close together on your baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes (or 5 to 7 in convection oven), or until cooked have browned lighted on the edges but are still soft in the middle.
  5. Let the cookies cool completely at room temperature on the pan.
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Chocolate Nutella Lava Mug Cake

mug cake

It seems that microwave mug cakes have been around forever. At least as long as microwaves have been in homes. They are extremely popular; there are entire cookbooks on the market filled with only mug cake recipes. I think I have tried all of them! Every recipe from a tablespoon or two of this and that to a couple of tablespoons of different cake mixes and water. Some of them have been okay, but I’ve never made one particular recipe more than a couple of times. However, there is something very alluring about making the perfect size cake in a matter of minutes.
 

Savannah recently made this fantastic mug cake that she found on Pinterest.  I have already made this particular recipe more than a couple of times!  The warm, melty center will stop any chocolate craving you may have! It is a large mug cake. In fact, big enough to share with a friend. She made the cake in a jumbo 20-oz. coffee cup, but you could also use a small bowl. Top the cake with your favorite ice cream and serve with two spoons for an incredible treat.

 

 

 

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Chocolate Nutella Lava Mug Cake
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 lg. egg
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 3 tbsp. Nutella
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large mug mix flour, sugar, cocoa, and baking powder. Add egg and mix with a fork. Add milk, Nutella, and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  2. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Cake will be set on the outside and melty on the inside. Serve with your favorite ice cream and two spoons.

 

 

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Zucchini Fritters

zucchini fritters

 

 

To end FRIENDS week on NJSD I have an excellent recipe from Cindy for zucchini fritters. You’ll have the kids eating their vegetables without a fuss with these babies!

Cindy and I go way back. So far back, that I think we were destined to be friends before we were even born. Before I was born, Mama carried two babies (two different pregnancies) to around seven months when she lost them. Around the same time, her mother was having difficulty getting pregnant. They were friends and were there to support each other during those sad days.

Cindy and I grew up in the same small North Georgia town. Our friendship is one of the most genuine and unpretentious friendships that I have. Maybe that comes from being friends so long. We learned to drive together, had long talks about boys (which brings to mind some hilarious times), we’ve been there for weddings and births and have supported each other in hard times too. She is an only child, but I spent so much time at her house growing up that I’m sure her parents often felt that they had another child. Our friendship is priceless, and I cherish it more than Cindy will ever know.

She gave me this scrumptious recipe a while back. It comes together so fast, and these fritters taste great. Here are a few tips for flying fritters:

1. Do not overcrowd the pan when frying the fritters. If you drop too many into the pan at one time, you’ll cool the oil, and the fritters will not cook through.

2. Fry fritters at 350°F, they’ll cook fast enough not to absorb the oil and get soggy, but slowly enough not to burn before they have cooked completely.

3. They are best eaten right away. The longer they sit, the heavier and less crispy they’ll get. Sprinkle with salt and parmesan immediately so they’ll melt into the hot fritters, and then serve as soon as possible.

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Zucchini Fritters
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 3 medium zucchini, grated
  • ½ c. onion, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ c. plain cornmeal
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Grate zucchini into a medium size bowl. Toss with a pinch of salt and place in a mesh strainer. Place the strainer over the bowl and let stand for about 15 minutes. Remove strainer and reserve the water in bowl. Place zucchini in a mixing bowl and add the grated onion. Add egg, salt and pepper and mix. Sprinkle the flour and cornmeal over the zucchini and mix together. Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, heat canola oil over medium-high heat to 350°F.
  3. Stir zucchini mixture, the consistency should be a little thicker than pancake batter. If it seems too thick you can add a little bit of the reserved water.
  4. Drop by heaping spoonfuls into the hot oil cooking 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side until golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Immediately sprinkle with salt and grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

 

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Blueberry Scones

 

 

blueberry scones 3

 

I have tried my hand at sweet scones for years. Through the years, I have never produced a scone this tender and delicious. I’m so excited that I finally have a recipe that I want to keep forever! I already have a list of different flavors that I’m dying to try.
I found this recipe on babble.com. The first time I followed the recipe to a tee. Although it was good, it still wasn’t what I wanted. So I made a few changes and came up with the most delicious, tender scone I’ve ever had. I love the fold method they used and will use it from now on when making scones.  Be sure to comment if you decide to try this recipe with anything other than blueberries!

Blueberry Scones
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 lg. egg
  • ½ c. whipping cream + extra to brush on top of scones
  • 1½ c. blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. Demerara Washed Raw Cane Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. If you are using fresh berries place them in the freezer for a little while.
  4. Place the butter in the freezer for about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from freezer and shred, using a cheese grater. Return the shredded butter to the freezer until you are ready to use.
  5. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest, set aside.
  6. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, whipping cream, and vanilla extract, refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Add the frozen shredded butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers to coat with flour.
  8. Stir in the cream mixture just to combine. Transfer dough to a well-floured board and dust top with additional flour. Working quickly, knead the dough a few times. Flatten, using your fingers and knead a few times. Flatten the dough into a 12" x 12" square. Sprinkle with blueberries and lightly press them into the dough.
  9. Fold ⅓ of the dough over, then the other ⅓ over the top of that piece (fold like you would a letter). Press the ends together and shape, if needed into, a 12" x 4" rectangle.
  10. Cut crosswise in the middle, then again in the middle of each piece. You should have four even squares. Cut each square diagonally into two triangles. Place on prepared pan. Brush tops with whipping cream and sprinkle generously with Demerara sugar.
  11. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks for about 10 minutes.
Notes
These are best the day they are baked. If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container. To reheat, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place scone on prepared pan and heat in a 250°F oven until heated through.

 

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