Banana Pecan Waffles

Good morning Breakfast Eaters–  We’re still experimenting with our new waffle iron.  There’s been some hits and misses.  But this has been a favorite so far (and I’m pretty sure you may see more waffles float by on these pages in the future!).

The sweetness from the bananas, a little pecan crunchiness and a light texture from beating the egg whites, make it a winner!

BANANA PECAN WAFFLES
2 ripe bananas
3 eggs, divided
1 1/2 stick butter (3/4 cup) melted, cooled for a few minutes
1 1/4 cup milk
1  1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tab. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
garnish: maple syrup & fruit

Smash the bananas to a paste with a fork in a mixing bowl.  Separate the eggs.  Put the whites in a new mixing bowl (set it aside) and the yolks in with the bananas. The mix in the milk and butter with the bananas.

Then add in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt to the banana mixture.  Stir it all together. Fold in the pecans

Next take the egg whites, and beat them with an electric mixer until they are foamy.  Then add in the sugar and continue to beat on high speed until they are glossy and stiff peaks form.  Be patient.  This takes 4 or 5 minutes.  (Best done with the whisk attachment of your mixer).

Then gently fold the egg whites into the banana batter, mixing until there are no white streaks.

Pour about one cup of batter into a hot waffle iron that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook according to the directions on your waffle iron (mine takes 7 or 8 minutes for each waffle and made 6 medium waffles).

Serve them up with syrup and fruit and big mugs of tea.  Delish!

Maple Pecan Baked French Toast

Hi there– Every single Sunday morning while we were growing up, my Dad would take to the kitchen and griddle up piles of French toast while my mom got 4 little kids ready for church. We loved those hot syrupy slices.  I can’t think of French toast without remembering my fun-loving father.

So here’s a new version of that old French toast– with maple in the custard and a maple glaze on top for sweetness, plus pecans for a little crunch.  The nice thing is that you can make it a little ahead in the morning — or put it together the night before and keep it over night in the fridge until your ready to bake it.

MAPLE PECAN BAKED FRENCH TOAST
1 baguette
5 eggs
3 cups milk (or half & half)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pecans

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Slice the baguette into thin slices (about 1/2″ thick).  Arrange them in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish (I used a large round tart dish) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for a minute.  Then whisk in the milk, 1/2 cup maple syrup and salt.

Pour the egg mixture over the slices of bread in the baking dish.  Cover with foil, tenting it up so it doesn’t touch the bread and let it sit for an hour (or overnight) in the fridge.

Bake the covered bread for 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Remove the foil and then sprinkle the pecans over the bread and bake for 20 minutes more.

While that’s baking, mix together the powdered sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup.  Pour it over the hot French Toast as it comes out of the oven– serve it up hot and sweet!!

Blueberry Broccoli Avocado Salad with Poppyseed Ranch Dressing

Hi all– Should I apologize for the extra long title of this salad??– I just wanted you to know the yummy components and plus also the lovely dressing on top!

Took this salad along to my brother’s house for our Easter dinner.  And liked it so much we had it again last night!  It’s bright and fresh and I can say it works well with Easter ham or a slice of mushroom pizza!

BLUEBERRY BROCCOLI AVOCADO  SALAD

Salad:
5 cups of your favorite salad greens
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Poppyseed Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. tarragon vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Layer the salad ingredients in a pretty bowl.

Then stir together the ingredients  for the dressing until they are thoroughly blended.  It makes more dressing than we needed on our salad, so there’s more in the fridge for another day.

Pecan Pie Coffee Cake

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Hello– I love those industrial size bags of pecans from Costco.  A couple years, my mom has given me Costco bags of pecans and walnuts for a birthday gift (she knows what I love!) and it feels luxurious having all those nuts ahead in the cupboard.  Sad to say, making this cake, I poured out at the last dregs of pecans. Time to restock!

And the cake– sweet and rich because you poke holes in the baked cake to let the “pie sauce” seep down inside.  And then there’s all those pecans!!  Perfect for breakfast coffee, or add a scoop of ice cream for a fine dessert.

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PECAN PIE COFFEE CAKE

Cake:
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unflavored yogurt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1  1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk*

Topping:
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 egg
garnish:  powdered sugar

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To make the cake, beat together the 1/4 cup butter, sugar, yogurt, egg and vanilla with an electric mixture until it’s smooth.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder  and salt.  Finally beat in the buttermilk.

Spoon the batter into a 9″ cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put it into a 350 degree  oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it is firm to the touch.

For the topping, mix together the corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, pecans and egg until it’s thoroughly blended.

Poke holes into the cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Then drizzle the pecan topping over the cake, letting the syrupy part fill in the holes.

Pop the cake with the topping back into the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes more. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake sifting through a sieve.   Delicious served warm from the oven!

*If you don’t keep buttermilk (who does?), pour 2 tab. cider vinegar in your measuring cup and add milk to make 3/4 cup.  Let it sit a few minutes to thicken.

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Sour Cream Chocolate Pecan Bread

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Hey there friends– Maybe you know what I mean. Sometimes (think 4:00 in the afternoon) I just need a little taste of chocolate and nuts.  In an emergency there is always a handful of dark chocolate chips and a few pecans from the cupboard to see me through.

But this is really a much better solution– moist and rich and the sweet crunch of pecans.  Add a mug of tea. Perfect.

SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE PECAN BREAD
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 sleeve (1 tsp.) instant coffee*
1/2 cup Hershey’s dark cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk**
3/4 cup sour cream
1  1/2 cup flour
1  1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sal1 cup pecans, chopped
garnish: handful of mini chocolate chips & pecan bits

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In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil.  Then mix in the vanilla, coffee, cocoa, buttermilk and sour cream.  Next stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally mix in the pecans (you can keep a few aside to sprinkle on top of the loaves)

Spoon the batter into a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan*** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and extra pecans on top and then bake it all in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let it sit a few minutes before cutting into slices.

*The coffee doesn’t show up in the flavor, just makes the chocolate taste so much richer.
**Buttermilk substitute– 1 tab. cider vinegar added to milk to make 1/2 cup
***I used two smaller half size loaf pans.

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Caramel Toffee Pecan Cake

 

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Hi all– Thanksgiving gone– was yours a good one?  We had the day with our daughter and all her husband’s dear family up here in San Francisco.  Good times talking around the table, passing babies from lap to lap and sampling Brian’s mom’s incredible pecan pie.  It was a sweet day all around.

And here is another pecan dessert– a little simpler than pie and large enough to feed a crowd.  There’s all those nutty pecans and sweet bits of toffee to give a little texture to this tender cake.  I think it would finish out a Christmas dinner ahead just fine.

CARAMEL TOFFEE PECAN CAKE
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
5 eggs
3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
8 oz. bag toffee bits
1  1/2 cups pecans, chopped (save out a few to top the cake)
1 cup caramel sauce*

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, and eggs with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally use the mixer to blend in the milk and continue to blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Stir in the toffee bits (save out a couple spoonfuls to sprinkle on top the cake) and the chopped pecans (save a few of those for on top too).

Spoon the mixture into a bundt pan or tube pan and bake at 325 degrees for 80 to 90 minutes (long time!)– until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

When you’re ready to serve the cake, drizzle on the caramel sauce and sprinkle toffee bits and pecans on top.

*The recipe I worked from told how to make your own caramel sauce from scratch.  You can mix up your own favorite1 — but I’m happy with store bought caramel- just easier!

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Pumpkin Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze

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Hi all– How many cans of pumpkin puree have you gone through this year already?  I think it’s been a record pumpkin year for us!  Cakes, muffins, pumpkin brownies… Larry made pumpkin apple bread (one of his few, but delicious baking forays) for the Thursday kids who come while I was up in San Francisco!  We are taking full advantage of this fall pumpkin baking season.

So here is our latest.  I think people shy away from making yeast rolls (I’m talking cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, sticky buns!!) because they think it’s difficult.  It’s not.  But it does take some time around the house.  Fifteen minute dough tending with long stretches of dough rising (so you can read a book or fold some laundry).  So if you have a quiet Saturday morning at home, and you want your kitchen to smell scrumptious, I’d recommend a go at these tender, delicious pumpkin pecan rolls.

PUMPKIN PECAN ROLLS WITH MAPLE GLAZE

Dough:
1 pkg. dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
1 cup milk (warmed to 120-130 degrees)*
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
3  1/2 cups flour

Filling:
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pecans, chopped

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tab. pure maple syrup

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Put the yeast in a large heat proof mixing bowl (glass is best).  Stir in the warm milk until the yeast is dissolved.  Then add in the sugar, salt, oil and egg.  Mix together.  Next about 1/2 cup at a time, stir in the flour.  When it’s all mixed, knead the dough just 3 or 4 minutes.  If the dough gets sticky, add a bit more flour.

Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and set it in a warm place to rise and hour & 15 minutes. (I heat the oven to 200 degrees for just 3 minutes and then turn it off while I’m mixing up the dough– then set the bowl in the warmed oven to rise)

While the dough is rising. mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, melted butter, pumpkin pie spice and pecans.  Set them aside.

Take the dough out and punch it down and lift from the bowl to a counter sprinkled with flour.  Roll out the dough with a rolling pin util you have a rectangle about 10″ by 18″.   Then spread the pumpkin mixture over the rolled out dough clear to the edges.

Starting at the long 18″ upper edge, roll the dough toward you until you have a long tube shaped roll.  Then cut the rolls into 1″ slices and put them in a 9″x13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (or–I used 2 10″ tart pans instead.)  Makes about 18 rolls.

If you have a little handful of extra pecans, sprinkle them on top and pop the rolls into the slightly warm oven to rise for 45 minutes more.

At the end of the 2nd rise of 45 minutes, turn up the heat to 375 degrees and make the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes until they are nicely browned.

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While they are baking, whisk together the powdered sugar and 2 or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (depending on how thick you want your glaze to be).  When the rolls come out of the oven, let them cool about 10 minutes and then drizzle the glaze over the rolls.  They taste heavenly, eaten warm from the oven!

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*I put the milk in the microwave for 45 to 60 seconds.  It should feel just warm enough for a baby’s bath.