Chocolate Chip Banana Coffee Cake

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Sometimes life is interesting. Sometimes life is really boring, sometimes I really crave boring. Over the holidays between work, family, and attempting to maintain full social order things can get crazy. I love spending time with everyone but I do look forward to the time when everything calms down and you can subtly day-dream about lazy sunday morning with a good book, a mug of tea, and some coffee cake without worrying about having to be anywhere.

I know it’s Monday, but I encourage you to carve out some time this week to try out this recipe, your lazy weekend morning will thank you later. Continue reading

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Fall Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Fall is hands down my favorite season. The leaves changing colors, falling off the trees and coating the ground in an almost dance like fashion. The weather getting cooler making it nice to be outside with a trendy sweater on. Then of course there’s Thanksgiving and all the tasty memories of both food and family that  it conjures.  Just the thought makes me warm and cozy.

One of the signature foods of fall is pumpkin. You can practically set your season watch by when it hits the shelves. (That is, if there were such a thing as a season watch.) Last week, LA got a little sprinkle of rain that made me yearn for the midwestern thunderstorms where you cozy up on the couch with a good book and a big gooey cookie. Or maybe that’s just me.

Either way, since LA doesn’t really have quite the fall I’m used to I needed to give myself a little push to believe that fall was actually upon us Angelenos and out came these tasty treats.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Adapted from: Pixelated Crumb

For cookies:
2 sticks of butter
2 cups of brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
1 lg egg
1 vanilla bean (scrapped)
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda

For coating:

1 cup sugar
2 tbps cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger

1. First cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add the egg, vanilla bean, and pumpkin. This takes about 5 minutes.

2. Whisk the dry ingredients together and then mix with the wet ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, overnight is better. If you’re in a hurry, pop them in the freezer but make sure they’re covered tight!

3. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Create round balls of dough (I use a scoop) and then roll them in our spice coating. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Cook until golden brown about 12 minutes. (I like a bigger cookie. Using a 24 scoop they take about 20 mintues) Cool and eat!

P.S. Reuse that parchment paper!

Enjoy!

My Cooking Adventures with The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories

A lot of people, in my opinion anyway, are afraid of cooking or baking because it seems hard. It has a lot of points where you can go wrong and sometimes it is time consuming;  god forbid you put all that time in and your cookies more closely resemble hockey pucks than the mouth-watering picture on the box.

I know, I’ve been that person. I don’t like being bad at things, at least things I’m passionate about. I grew up  surrounded by sweets; I feel like there was always a baked good in the house. I remember when I first started trying to replicate the stuff I saw my mom making. It was a not pretty. My mom said I was the only person she ever met that made a cake fall, that came from a mix.

In addition to being a bit of a dork, I’m also stubborn. If people tell me that I cannot do something that I want to do, I see that as a challenge. I wanted to be able to make sweets and desserts that were not just edible, but were “oh my goodness” delicious. So after failing a bunch on my own with scattered successes I started to look into cooking classes and schools.

To my surprise culinary school was EXPENSIVE. So I sort of just kept up my trial and error method and would peruse yelp every now and again but never really committed to anything. It wasn’t until I moved out to LA that I found the came across The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories. They had great reviews on yelp, short drive away, not to outrageously priced. Sold.

Since embarking on that journey almost a year ago, I feel like I’ve gotten more confident. One thing the teacher, Clemence, would say during class is that the ingredients can smell your fear. I think she was right. I also think, that having someone there to guide you is super helpful.

So if you’re in the LA area I highly recommend looking them up and popping in for a class. You won’t regret it.

They have some delicious recipes you can check out here. Hope you’re grilling up a storm and making the most of your Labor Day.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Pancakes

This Sunday was spent how they should, sleeping in and a lazy brunch. I was feeling a bit adventurous plus I had some apples I felt like using and thus my tasty brunch was born. I wasn’t sure how they were going to come out as I was just throwing things together, but it was amazing. Especially when you would get a bite of the streusel, yum! I also want to take a minute to say that I really want to encourage you to ween yourself off pancake mixes, if you still use them. Fresh homemade pancakes are just all around better. If you’re worried about not having time, you can make your own in advance, seal them in a freezer bag and use a toaster to heat them or an over set at 200 degrees F.


Cinnamon Apple Streusel Pancakes

[Adapted from: Sweet Girl Confections]
This recipe yields about 20 4-inch pancakes.

Pancakes:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 apple (shredded — squeeze the juice out and put some lemon on to keep it from browning)
2 large eggs
2 cups of buttermilk
2 tbsp butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Streusel:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp cold butter (cubed)

1. Make the streusel first so that it chills while you’re making the pancake batter. Combine the  flour, brown sugar, tsp cinnamon, and tbsp butter in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a whisk to combine the ingredients until they’re mixed and crumbly. If you’re using a whisk make more of a stabbing motion versus stirring. Put int eh fridge so the butter stays cold.

2. Combine the dry ingredients for the pancakes (flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon), whisk together. Add in the the shredded apple to coat so that it doesn’t sink in the batter.

3. Combine the wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk, butter, vanilla) together and then pour into the dry ingredients. Mix until combined and theirs now while streaks.

4. Heat a non-stick skillet and crumble a bit of the streusel onto the pan, pour 1/4 cup of batter over the top of the streusel bits, add a few more crumbles to the top. Flip.

5. Drizzle with some maple syrup.

Variations: If you’re looking for a super apple flavor use 2 apples. Also feel free to add another 1 tsp of cinnamon to bring out that flavor.

Enjoy.