Friday, August 14, 2009

Chocolate-Chip Banana Bread

I am notorious for purchasing bananas at the grocery store and then forgetting to eat them. Alas, I often end up with brown bananas on the verge of total repulsiveness. As luck would have it, these uglies are perfect for making banana bread. The few times that I've had a craving for banana bread with only yellow bananas in sight, the resulting banana bread has been sub-par. So don't throw those guys away! Unless they're molding, and in which case, do not feel guilty tossing them. No mold = perfect candidates for banana bread.

I found an extremely easy, very basic banana bread recipe over at Elise's Simply Recipes (which has great recipes, by the way!), and doctored it up a bit with some chocolate chips. Because, really, is there a recipe that isn't made just a bit better with chocolate in it? No, of course not.

3 ripe bananas (or 4 if they're small)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup chocolate chips, plus some extra to sprinkle on top
In a large bowl, mash the bananas (a potato masher works well here). Stir in the melted butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla (in that order, with a spoon). Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture, and then stir in the flour and chocolate chips until just combined. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray, and pour the batter into it. Sprinkled the remaining handful of chocolate chips on top to make it pretty. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about an hour, or until it's golden around the edges. To test, stick a toothpick into the center and check to see that there's no gooey batter on it when you pull it out (but don't overcook it...better to be slightly under done than dry).

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Crock Pot Cheesy Macaroni and Corn

This is another one of the wonderful recipes included in the recipe booklet that my cousin Candy put together for the family reunion (thanks again, Candy!). This recipe comes courtesy of my cousin Pam and her daughter, Mandy. Pam mentioned to me at the family reunion that it was super simple, and she was definitely right. You can't get much easier than dumping a bunch of stuff in a crock pot and turning it on. Since I have a slight obsessive compulsive lean, I had to check on it every 30 minutes or so and give it a good stir. It would still have turned out awesome without my OCD tendencies, though!

2 sticks butter or margarine
2 cans whole kernel corn, undrained
2 cans cream-style corn
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 jar of Cheez Whiz

Unwrap sticks of margarine and toss in Crock Pot. Open cans of corn and jar of Cheez Whiz and add to Pot. Open box of macaroni, measure out 2 cups, and add to Pot. Stir it all together. Turn on Crock Pot to high and wait 3 to 4 hours. Stir every once in awhile, if you're around the Pot. Done! So easy a caveman could do it, if he had electricity...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Black Magic Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

The Turner-Gallaher Family Reunion occurs every summer on the last Saturday in July. This past weekend, I made my annual pilgrimage to Pennsylvania to spend some time with my beloved relatives (you know who you are!). My wonderful cousin, Candy, was sweet enough to put together a collection of old family recipes submitted by my relatives. These recipes included lots of recipes for dishes I've enjoyed at our reunions every year.

After browsing through the collection, I found two recipes that piqued my interest for "black magic cake" and "peanut butter frosting." Although they were listed under my cousin Laura's name, I was wondering if it was a recipe possibly passed down to her from her mom or grandmother (my lovely cousin Cherry and my adorably sweet Aunt Ivy). I remembered an awesome sheet cake covered in a light and fluffy peanut butter frosting at the family reunions of my childhood, and thought maybe this recipe was it. Since I couldn't stop thinking about it all week, I figured I might as well take an evening and make some chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. I wasn't disappointed, but I'll have to leave it to my cousins and aunt to confirm my suspicion on the recipe.

Black Magic Cake


1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa (use half dark chocolate cocoa, if desired)
2 eggs
1 cup coffee
1 cup sour milk (use 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice or white vinegar to sour it, unless you recently came across a half gallon that you've forgotten about at the back of your refrigerator)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt

Mix the dry ingredients together, and then blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Beat on medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes (mixture will be slightly runnier than your traditional boxed cake mix). Line muffin tins with papers and fill each approximately 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting


1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar (not powdered, just the regular kind)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp. flour
3 heaping Tbsp. peanut butter

Cream together the shortening and the sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla, milk and the flour (the mixture will be really liquidey at this point...not to worry, it will all come together). Add the peanut butter, and beat on medium high until it's smooth and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

makes approximately 24 cupcakes