Brown Butter Cinnamon Banana Bread with Brown Butter Honey Drizzle

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I love banana bread a lot of ways–nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter, spices, fruit, plain? SURE! But, my favorite banana bread iteration probably involves streusel because I cannot resist a crumbly, sugary, buttery topping. I just can’t.

This version involves lots of cinnamon and everyone’s favorite darling–brown butter. It’s sweetly spiced with a crumbly topping and toffee-like notes from the browned butter. And, I went even further, I gilded the banana (that’s the saying, right?) and added a super simple brown butter + honey drizzle. It takes this bread over the top and makes it something extra special…I mean, what’s more special than a triple-brown-butter (streusel! batter! drizzle!) situation?

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Brown Butter Cinnamon Banana Bread with Brown Butter Honey Drizzle

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes 1 loaf

Topping:

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

dash of salt

2 tablespoons browned butter

Batter:

3 very ripe bananas

6 tablespoons browned butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Brown the butter for the topping and batter in a skillet by melting 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons) over medium heat until the butter foams. As the foam subsides, continue heating, stirring occasionally until the milk solids become deep brown and the butter smells like toffee. Remove from the heat and scrape into a heatproof dish to cool.

In a small bowl stir together the topping ingredients, including 2 tablespoons of the browned butter.

In a bowl, mash the bananas and whisk in the remaining 6 tablespoons browned butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, greek yogurt, and milk. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and fold until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the topping mixture. Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Brown Butter Honey Drizzle

This drizzle is totally optional, but pushes this bread over the top.

Brown 2 tablespoons of brown butter in a skillet (go ahead and brown 2 additional tablespoons with the 8 mentioned above, 10 tablespoons total). Stir the 2 tablespoons of brown butter with 4 tablespoons of honey, warm in a skillet if it doesn’t seem to be coming together. Drizzle over the whole loaf of bread or on each slice as you serve it.

Ham and Chive Mini Biscuit Muffins

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Guys, tomorrow we are taking Casper on his first plane trip and I am just a leeeetle bit nervous (aka, a LOT nervous). Mostly about the germs and the diseases I’m convinced are lurking everywhere and since everything Casper can get his paws on goes into his mouth, I’m just freaking out a bit. On the inside. On the outside I only look mildly freaked out. I may or may not be the weirdo in seat 20b shrouding myself and my baby with a muslin blanket while Sean tries to not roll his eyes too hard. Thankfully, the flight is a short one (1.5 hours) and we’ll be landing in Reno to a happy reception of friends and family. Casper is meeting my BFF and her family for the first time! I’m so excited! She and her sister, also my good friend, have daughters a few months older than Casper, so it’s going to be a baby party! I can’t wait to see how they all interact. I’m sure it will be hilarious.

Anyway, crazy-mom-talk aside, let’s talk about carb-babies.

It’s a biscuit in a mini muffin. Revolutionary, nope. Delicious, yup.These guys are the dressed-up version of a drop biscuit, no patting out dough, flouring surfaces, or cutting, just scooping and baking, but a little cleaned up. Even though they’re small, these two-bite babes are packed with a ton of flavor–salty & savory ham, onion-y chives, and cheese (of course!) folded into tender and buttery biscuit dough. The recipe makes about 3 dozen minis, which is a lot, but they are perfect for freezing and just take a quick 15 second whirl in the microwave to reheat. They’re great as a carb-y, cheesy side for soup, chili, or stew, but would be crazy-adorbs topped with teeny little quail eggs.

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Ham and Chive Mini Biscuit Muffins

Adapted from this recipe

Makes about 36 mini biscuits

I used cake flour for these biscuits to mimic the much coveted White Lily Flour, which I can’t find out west. I have also used all-purpose flour for these with fine results. I would reduce the amount to 2 cups if using all-purpose.

2 1/4 cups cake flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 scant teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/4 cup finely diced ham

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

3 tablespoons finely minced chives

1 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line 1 1/2 mini muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Add in the cold butter and toss to coat the cubes. Using either a pastry blender, or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until you get coarse crumbs–some sandy bits and some pieces of butter still in small chunks (about pea sized). Add in the ham, cheese, and chives and fold gently to combine. Finally, fold in the milk until just combined being careful to not over mix the dough. Using a mini cookie scoop, or a tablespoon, scoop the dough into the mini muffin cups and bake in the center of the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until puffed and just golden.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting & Cherry Jam Middles

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Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day! Do you have any traditions surrounding this much divided holiday? I realize a lot of people throw old St. Valentine a lot of shade, but I’m not one of those. Back in my single-lady-daze I would make all of my girlfriends snarky Valentine’s and we’d do dinner or something else fun. These days, we NEVER go out on the actual day. We celebrate our anniversary of dating (TEN years this year, ya’ll!) this Valentine’s day because I invited Sean to my lady-date thing (why?! so dumb) which was at a Mexican restaurant (Bertha Miranda’s in Reno, to be exact) and I remember asking a girl in the hall of my dorm if my outfit was cute ’cause I was nervous even though there was like a whole girl gang and lone old Sean. I mean I really like-liked him! Anyway, we haven’t actually gone out since then because we are total hermits and love to either get take-out (Chinese! eaten from the carton) or make something at home and eat it on the couch and watch something we’ve DVR’d…which I realize is super romantic, I know…but, makes Valentine’s Day this year as parents SUPER easy and exactly no different than years before. We’ll save the going out for, like, a weekday in March or something.

Anyway, CUPCAKES! I made these cupcakes after failing that cake I mentioned last week–which was pink velvet and totally delish for the record, but a disaster and just didn’t feel like me…whatever that means. So, I re-worked it into something, I think, is truly magical. There are 3 parts to this cupcake dream.

First, the chocolate cake base. Dudes, these cupcakes are my favorite ever. They make exactly 12 cupcakes and come together with just one bowl and a measuring glass. I came up with this recipe a few years ago (for these PB+chocolate guys) and it’s my perfect cupcake. Tender and moist with a fine crumb and perfectly domed tops. Second, there’s a goat cheese frosting! Think classic cream cheese frosting with the tang of goat cheese. It’s our new household favorite and I imagine it would be amazing on carrot cake. Third, the filling is a mix of the frosting with some cherry jam. I realize I’m missing a photo of the jammy middles, but there’s evidence of them on my Instagram…pinky swear. I mixed the jam with some of the frosting because I really dislike what happens when jam meets cake and then just sits there bleeding into one another. Some people are into it, I’m not. I imagine you could just spoon some jam in there and call it a day and they’d still be super delicious. All of the flavors together works super well–rich chocolate, fruity cherry, and tangy goat cheese. These are definitely cupcakes worth sharing with people you not only like, but you like-like.

 

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting & Cherry Jam Middles

Cupcakes:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Goat Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces (1/2 cup) softened, unsalted butter

4 ounces softened cream cheese

4 ounces softened goat cheese

4 cups confectioners sugar

Cherry Filling:

3 tablespoons cherry jam

1/4 cup goat cheese frosting

Preheat the oven to 350ºF land line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients for the cupcakes. Whisk measure out the oil and buttermilk in a large measuring cup and whisk together along with the eggs and vanilla. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry mixture in the mixing bowl and fold until combined. Divide the batter between the lined muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the tops of the cakes spring back to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. The cupcakes can be made 1 day ahead and stored, cooled, in an airtight container at room temperature.

Before frosting, scoop out small wells in the centers of the cupcakes, I used a melon baller for this task, leaving about a 1/2 inch rim around all sides of the cupcake. You can use a pairing knife for this, as well.

For the frosting, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and goat cheese until combined. Gradually add in the confectioners sugar until combined well. The frosting should be soft, but hold it’s shape enough to pipe. If it’s too loose, add more confectioners sugar (1/4 cup at a time) until desired consistency is reached. Scoop 1/4 cup of the frosting into a small bowl and stir together with the cherry jam. Fill the wells you made in the cupcakes with the cherry jam and frosting mixture. Either pipe or, carefully spread, the remaining frosting onto the cupcakes, making sure to conceal the filling. Decorate with sugar decorations or sprinkles, if you want.