Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Frosting

This semester has been so much better for baking and blogging.  I'm glad that I get to share all of my delicious creations with you and I'm glad that I get to eat them all.

The other night I was bored and really wanted to bake.  I didn't have too many ingredients on my counter, but I did have three very, very ripe bananas.  I'm talkin' almost no yellow left on them.  If I didn't use them soon, then they would definitely start to turn into something inedible.  Since I just made those banana espresso chocolate chip muffins, I wanted to do something a little different.  I searched banana cupcakes and, voila!, Martha Stewart provided this delicious sounding banana delight.

The frosting has a pinkish hue in this picture, but is really a lovely tan color from the honey and cinnamon.

Banana Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting

Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into flour well.  Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. (Check at about 20 minutes, mine finished quickly) Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Spread tops with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake, if desired.
Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (don't microwave, but make sure it is very soft)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I added more, just taste and see if you would like more or not)

  1. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, honey, and ground cinnamon until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes (your frosting may look chunky at first, but give it time).
  2. Frost cupcakes.  
  3. Don't refrigerate frosting until after you frost, but I would recommend putting the frosted cupcakes in the fridge, since the frosting is pure butter.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

In the last month, we have had five days off from school because of snow and now it is seventy five degrees and sunny.  That is one thing I like about Oklahoma: if its cold, you know it will be warmer soon.  Even though its warming up, I am still in the mood for warm, comforting food. 

 One comfort food for me is definitely Indian food, with its rich flavors and tantalizing scents.  I found this recipe for chicken tikka masala while browsing tastespotting a while ago and finally got around to make it.  The version in the link is far too salty.  I made this version and had to add more cream in order to de-saltify it.  I am going to give you a version with far less salt and slightly less fat and you can then at more salt if you want.  This dish is very good over jasmine rice.  A little flatbread or naan wouldn't hurt either!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Prep:
1 cup plain fat free yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Preheat a grill for high heat. You can use a griddle if you have one.

3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.

Sauce Prep:
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup fat free half and half
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in tomato sauce and half and half. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

2. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.  Serve over rice.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Wow that is a mouthful!  A mouthful of deliciousness!  Okay, corny, I know.  Anyway, after my sixth snow day this year, I had to bake more delicious things.  This whole snow thing is really killing my diet, but it is leading to some delicious desserts.

I had no motivation to make dinner last night, but really wanted to bake something.  So we ended up with Hamburger Helper and these muffins.  I had about four bananas in the freezer (they turned brown, so I peeled them and froze them) and  I also got some amazing silicone muffin holders (usually I would call them tins, but doesn't that require them to be, well, tin?) that are the size of a muffin you would buy at the store.  Sure that means more calories, but it always means that this muffin is more of a meal.  The recipe I'm putting below is for 12 muffins, but I only made six giant muffins.  You'll need to bake them longer if you want a meal-sized muffin.  Make these please, you will not regret it.

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
from: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1-1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (*not the same as ground espresso that you would brew and optional but recommended*)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg. 
  2. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. 
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. 
  5. Move the muffin pan to a cooling rack, and let cool  for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
*Note: you will see that there are large sugar crystals on top of my muffins.  I added a sprinkle of muffin sugar (for lack of a more accurate name) like you would find in a store to add that muffin-top crunch.

Yield: 12 muffins
Why yes, that is an OU snuggie in the background!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

After the 6 day vacation I got (but didn't necessarily want) I managed to bake quite a bit.  I made brownies, pita, and this amazing Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie.

Brittani had a Super Bowl party yesterday and I volunteered to bring the dessert.  I had this pie bookmarked on my tastespotting favorites forever and finally decided it was time to try it (the 8lbs of chocolate my dad sent me also influenced my decision!).  The ingredient list is short and simple, but I had to go to 2 stores to get everything because all the supermarkets around here were out of everything (eggs, milk, cream cheese, butter)!!  This pie is indulgent, rich, and tastes like a giant peanut butter cup!  Enjoy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie
adapted from: The Nesting Project

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup for whipping cream
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extracted
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips (or 1/2 a cup for drizzling which is what I did)
1 chocolate cracker (or graham cracker) crust

  1. Combine the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and cream cheese until smooth and combined.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and then with a clean beater - whip up heavy cream and the rest of the sugar. *Hint: use a really cold bowl and it will whip up faster.
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture and add into the pie shell.
  4. Melt the choc chips in the microwave for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (You may want to do this in 20 second intervals so you don't over microwave it) and either drizzle on top or cover the entire top.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

I made this slow cooker spicy buffalo chicken recently and people seemed really interested in the recipe, so I thought I would share.  I've been stuck in the house quite a bit lately because of all of this snow, so I've been cooking and baking more than usual.  This is a fairly healthy recipe and it is pretty fast for a slow cooker recipe.  It cooks on high for 4 hours in your crock-pot.  Also, I made a few changes.  I used all white meat chicken breasts and I used about a 1/2 cup of Frank's Hot Sauce instead of just 1/4 cup.  Either way, it will be yummy :)

Slow Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken
from What's for Dinner


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 and 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 and 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup hot-pepper sauce, such as Frank's
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
  • 8 hamburger buns

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until meat is golden brown, 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a slow cooker, leaving as much oil behind as possible. Repeat with chicken breasts.
  2. To skillet, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to slow cooker.
  3. To slow cooker, add crushed tomatoes, hot-pepper sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, and molasses; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high until chicken is very tender, 4 hours.
  4. Shred chicken (Use a potato masher) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on buns (preferably whole wheat)