Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

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Let’s ease into fall-baking, okay? I mean, I’ve been ready since September 1st to bring on the pumpkin and spice…but I know not everyone is quite as enthusiastic as I am for the best-season-of-all-the-seasons, AUTUMN! Basically, this is my transition from fall to summer and as soon as that equinox arrives, you better believe I’ll be smashing open a can of pumpkin.

So, let’s ease into it with nutty brown butter, a little spice, wholesome bananas, and a little chocolate for good measure. These muffins are moist and tender, rich with brown butter and banana, and indulgent thanks to the chocolate. Banana is basically an all-season fruit to me, but paired with chocolate and browned butter, it speaks of early fall and the much-anticipated baking season. So, pull on a sweater, grab a cuppa something warm, and get to baking!

Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

I used a bar of chocolate provided to me by Kallari, an Ecuadorian farmer-owned, organic chocolate company. Kallari was kind enough to send me a sample to try out and I used it in these muffins. Their chocolate is rich, smooth, and comes with an amazing mission. They grow and own the cacao and make it into chocolate, and pay a living wage while striving to conserve both their culture and land.* Feel free to use whatever chocolate you like. 

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt

3 tablespoons milk

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

5 tablespoons butter, browned

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease well.

Brown your butter in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids in the butter turn deep golden brown and smell nutty and fragrant. Pour into a small dish, making sure to scrape out all of the browned bits, and set aside to cool.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the yogurt, milk, banana, eggs, the cooled brown butter, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Fold until just combined, don’t over mix! Some small lumps are okay. Fold in the chopped chocolate.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups and bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Can be stored, covered well in the refrigerator, for 4 days.

*Kallari provided me with chocolate to sample. I was not paid for this post, as usual all opinions are my own.

 

Irish Coffee Milkshake with Whiskey Caramel

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Yes, it’s another ice-cream-drink…and yeah, maybe it was lunch yesterday. I hope you don’t mind, I’m just in the mood for stripey straws and swift-sweet-tooth-satisfaction…plus, this one is different because of the BOOZE factor.

It’s no secret that this weekend is a BFD for lovers of all things green, and pinching, and Ireland, and Guinness,  and corned beef, and whiskey, and drunk-stumbling camaraderie. As a certifiable hermit, I’m not one for crazy, raucous partying, but I do like to get down with a festive, boozey, treat to share with my favorites (you all included!). Enter this milkshake. It’s dead-simple, I mean…I know we can all handle making a milkshake, so think of this as more of a suggestive guide, rather than a recipe.

We’re blending together store-bought coffee ice cream, a little milk mixed with a little espresso powder, some whiskey (if I had any shame, I’d be real and use certifiable Irish whiskey…but I didn’t), and a boozed-up homemade caramel sauce. This shake has some of my favorite flavors ever–I mean, whiskey and caramel should just be BFF’s, right? plus, coffee? Get out. This shake is a quick indulgence for one, but can be easily adapted to make a batch of impressive, crowd-pleasing treats. Pop in a straw and knock one back!

Irish Coffee Milkshake

Makes 1 milkshake. 

I’m sure you guys know what a milkshake is all about and exactly how you like them, so ratios below are just a suggestion. Shake it up, add mix-ins, do yo’ thing. 

2 hefty scoops of your favorite coffee ice cream

2-4 tablespoons of milk

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 ounce (or as much as you want) whiskey

whiskey caramel sauce (recipe below)

whipped cream to garnish

Begin by dissolving the espresso powder in the milk, add to a blender canister along with the ice cream, whiskey, and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce. Blend it up! Drizzle the inside of your glass with more caramel, pour in the shake, top with whipped cream and more caramel if desired. Cheers!

Whiskey Caramel Sauce:

adapted from THIS recipe.

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 Tablespoon golden syrup (or corn syrup)

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 ounce whiskey

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, water, and golden syrup, gently combine. Heat over medium-high until the mixture becomes a syrup and comes to a boil. Continue to boil until the syrup becomes a deep golden, brown caramel color–as dark as you dare before it burns. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the butter, cream, and salt, until smooth. Return to heat if needed to create a smooth sauce. Whisk in the whiskey to combine. Pour into a heatproof jar and cool. Can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for a week.

 

Pumpkin Bread with Bourbon Icing

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It’s just a few days before Eat-Fest-USA, aka Thanksgiving, aka only one of the best holidays ever.

It’s just Sean and I this year, as we are staying put, and I’ve had the menu planned for a few weeks now. I’ve ordered our turkey and picked it up, planned the sides, shopped the pantry goods, written my produce list, and picked out the wines. I was going to bake up another batch of this pumpkin bread for Thursday morning, but I’m thinking we’ll go the fruit and cheese route for breakfast and snacking.

Not that this pumpkin bread wouldn’t make a lovely, easy breakfast to share with your fam and friends this thankful holiday. It would be perfect sliced and set-up next to plenty of coffee and/or tea to begin Thanksgiving day and kick-off the feast prep. This bread is super moist–and, I know we don’t all love that word–but it is what it is. And, I channel my inner Jesse Pinkman as I type this…

This bread be moist, yo.

The moisture comes from pumpkin puree, olive oil, and greek yogurt, there’s a bit of whole wheat flour for wholesome goodness, just a little spice, and a buttery layer of bourbon icing just for kicks. I also added some candied ginger to the top, for good measure. Maybe the icing and ginger are a little much but, they fancy-up this super easy quick-bread, making it holiday breakfast AND dessert appropriate.

Pumpkin Bread with Bourbon Icing

Makes 1, 9×5 inch loaf

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Since this is a quick bread, it comes together very quickly with few dishes. The bread also tastes great, maybe even better, the next day. This recipe makes 1 standard loaf of pumpkin bread–however, I baked this batch up in a 6inch round pan and a mini-loaf pan. Either way, this bread is delicious. Feel free to make this bread sans icing for an every-day breakfast bread sitch. I use half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour in this recipe, you could us less whole wheat or go with just all-purpose with great results. I would be wary of making the entire recipe out of whole wheat as it may result in a very dense and even gummy bread. 

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

1/2 cup olive oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons melted butter

2-4 teaspoons bourbon

milk to thin

Preheat oven to 350*F and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, or other baking dish, well. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices.

In another bowl, mix together the pumpkin, olive, oil, beaten eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Mix well to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and fold to incorporate until just combined and there are no longer any dry flour streaks. Be careful to fold the batter and not overmix it. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes (about 45 for the round pan) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

For the icing, whisk together the melted butter, bourbon, and powdered sugar. Add milk to thin to desired consistency. Spread icing over cooled bread. Sprinkle with chopped, candied ginger if desired.

Will keep for 2-3 days wrapped well at room temperature.