Maple Walnut Banana Bread

Hello Bakers–  I’ve been making my Grandma Rose’s banana bread for as long a I can remember,  It’s the favorite in kitchens all over our family.  But when I saw this version sweetened by maple syrup, I had to give it a try.  I can just say it smells heavenly coming out of the oven!!

MAPLE WALNUT BANANA BREAD
2 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

topping:
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Prepare the topping first.  Chop the nuts, mix in 2 tab. brown sugar and set aside.

Mash those bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Then stir in the oil, syrup, egg and vanilla.  Next mix in the flour, brown sugar, baking powder an salt.

Spoon the batter in to a standard 9″x5″ loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees from 35 to 40 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.  (I used two smaller pans to make one loaf to keep, one to take to my father-in-law Stu). Enjoy!!

Caramel Pear Cake

 

Hello there– It’s that time of year when dinner can shift from leaning in around the family room table, to catching cool evening breezes under the maple trees in the back yard.   So last week friends came over the share an outdoor “pot luck salad supper” — perfect summer kick off!

And for dessert we had Miriam’s tart, Glenda’s legendary lemon bars, Joanne’s super strawberry cake and this caramel pear cake.  Sweet ending to time around the table with friends.

P.S. The best thing about this cake is that there is more pears, nuts mixed in than batter– so it’s fruity sweet crunchy sweet.

CARAMEL PEAR CAKE
2 large pears, peeled, seeded & cut in bits
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1  1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
garnish:  powdered sugar,  1/4 cup salted caramel*

Prepare the pears and walnuts.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the egg, oil and vanilla (batter will be very stiff!)  Fold in the pears and walnuts until it’s thoroughly combined.

Spoon the batter into a 8″ or 9″ cake pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for an hour or so.  Then dust on a little powdered sugar through a sieve.  Drizzle the salted caramel over the top.

If you serve it with ice cream, be sure to have a little pitcher of warm caramel to top it all!

*You can make your own caramel– I used Smuckers salted caramel from a jar!
**I like a springform pan because it’s easier to extract the cake and set it on a pretty plate.

White Texas Sheet Cake

Hello ya’ll–  We lived in Texas for a few years when we were first married and the chocolate version of this sweet cake was a staple of friends there.  And it made it’s way into our own cake rotation.

So when I ran across this white reiteration of the old favorite, I wanted to give it a try.  Swap out cinnamon and pecans for almond flavoring and walnuts– and of course, hold the chocolate!  Love the simple, homey little cake.  Just right for a weeknight meal or a picnic with friends.

WHITE TEXAS SHEET CAKE
Cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp. almond extract or amaretto*

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract or amaretto
1 cup walnuts, chopped (or more if you love nuts like I do!!)

In a mixing bowl, stir up the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a saucepan, bring the 1 cup butter and water to  simmer (be sure all the butter is melted).  Them stir it completely into the flour mixture.

In a mug, whisk together the eggs, sour cram and 1 tsp. amaretto with a fork.  Then blend it into the batter.

Spoon the batter into a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking sheet** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 375 degrees of 18 to 20 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch.

While that’s baking make the frosting.  Bring the 1/2 cup butter and milk to a simmer in a saucepan.  Take it off the heat and then stir in the powered sugar, amaretto and walnuts.  Smooth it over the cake– delicious warm or cooled!

*I use Amaretto in place of almond extract because it it so much less expensive!  And a big bottle will last forever…
**In place of the large baking sheet, I used two 10″ inch tart pans– prettier to serve from.

Maple Walnut Banana Bread

 

Hello there– We have a treasure sitting in our fridge– it’s a huge jug of real maple syrup fresh from upstate New York!  Our daughter-in-law’s Dad, Alfie is a warm and wonderful guy.  Every year he taps trees around his town and in the spring is joined by family a friends at in the maple sugar shack to boil down gallons of maple syrup.  Then being the generous guys that he is, he mails big jugs to people far and wide (including lucky us!!).

So this little recipe uses a precious half cup of that lovely syrup and which accounts for it’s rich and wonderful flavor.  Plus while it’s baking in the oven, for kitchen smells like that New York maple sugar shack– maple luscious!

MAPLE WALNUT BANANA BREAD
2 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. maple extract (optional)*
3 tab. milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4  cup walnuts, chopped and divided
3 tab. brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl, smash the bananas to a creamy substance.  Then mix in the maple syrup, oil, egg, maple extract and milk until all blended.  Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and stir it all together.  Finally mix 3/4 cup of the walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into a 5″ by 9″ loaf pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Mix together the brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts and sprinkle them over the loaf of banana bread.

Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 50 -55 minutes until it’s browned and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.  Delicious warm from the oven– or toasted the next day for breakfast  with a smear of butter!!

*maple extract is optional– it just adds a little more maple flavoring.
** I used 2 half size loaf pans and cooked it about 5 minutes less.

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake

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Hello all– Spent last weekend up in the mountains at Big Bear, 18 of us from the young adult group (We’re the old folks involved!), –for a couple days of talking, laughing, planning and praying.  The weather was glorious, snowy and crisp and the cabin was cozy.  A few of us were the cooks, mixing salads and turning breakfast bacon for a crowd.   And this was dessert on Saturday night…

CARAMEL APPLE BUNDT CAKE
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped to small bits
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts chopped
garnish: caramel sauce* & chopped walnuts

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Prepare the apples bits and set aside.

With an electric mixer beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs for 2 or 3 minutes until they are creamy and fluffy.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

With a spoon mix in the chopped apple and cup of walnuts.  The batter will be stiff so mix them in well.

Spoon the batter into a bundt pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set it into a 350 degree oven for 75 to 80 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan and then remove it to a platter.  When you are ready to eat it, drizzle on the caramel and then sprinkle on the chopped pecans or walnuts.  Pretty and ready to serve!

*You can make your own caramel sauce, but I just picked up Smuckers salted caramel sauce at the market with the ice cream toppings.

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Down on Boulder Bay by the lake–sunshine and snow…

 

Yogurt Banana Muffins

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Good morning!  I’m still here in San Francisco with Baby Lois and her dear parents, Ani & Brian.  This morning I grabbed her early and she laid in her rocker in the kitchen and “helped” me make banana muffins for breakfast.  The sun was shining in the windows and she just squirmed and made her little “turkey sounds” while I mixed and stirred.  It was a fine time in the kitchen!

5175kwhmhl-_sy346_These muffins are from one of my very very favorite bloggers– Shannan Martin Writes.  She’s funny and fresh and has so much to say about family and faith and seeing the beautiful in every places.  She occasionally puts a recipe out there–  AND she recently published her first book– well worth reading, Falling Free, Rescued from the Life I’d Always Wanted .

The muffins (back to the real subject here) are tender and spongy and pretty on your plate–with a sweet crunchy coating on top.   A great start to your morning.

YOGURT BANANA MUFFINS
2 smashed bananas
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup unflavored yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (or a bit more if you love nuts like I do!)

topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Smash the banana with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the sugar, yogurt, egg and oil.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nuts just until it’s all blended.

Spoon the thick batter into a muffin tin lined with paper liners.  Makes 12 pretty muffins.  Mix together the 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon and then sprinkle it over the unbaked muffins.

Pop them into the oven and bake them at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until they are nicely browned and springy to the touch.  Best warm with mugs of tea and sunshine coming in the windows!

And I just can’t resist putting up a photo of my baking buddy– Baby Lois!  (I’ll really try not to over do it on baby pictures!!)
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Here she is sleeping– it’s what she does best!

Roast Sweet Potatoes with Feta, Cilantro & Walnuts

 

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Hello there– Is there anything homier than a piping hot sweet potato?  One winter when we were visiting our son in China, there was a man on the street roasting hot fragrant sweet potatoes– the perfect street food to counter the winter chill.

So this is my not so Chinese version of a hot from the oven sweet potato–salty feta, flavorful cilantro and a little walnut crunch against the sweet flesh of the potato– pretty perfect.  We had them them for dinner with just a salad, but they’d be a nice side dish with ham or even chicken.  Good fall/winter food.

ROAST SWEET POTATOES WITH FETA, CILANTRO & WALNUTS
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup cup feta, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
drizzle of olive oil

Cut the sweet potatoes horizontally and brush the cut sides and the skin sides all with olive oil.  Set them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Pop them into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes (until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork).

Take the sweet potatoes from the oven and turn them over, cut side up. Scrape the flesh with a fork to expose the interior of the potato.  Salt & pepper the potato.  Top them with the garbanzos, feta & walnuts and return them to the oven for 10 minutes.

Take them out of the oven and transfer the sweet potatoes to a pretty serving dish.  Drizzle with old oil and garnish with the cilantro.  Eat them piping hot from the oven.  Enjoy!!

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