Grapefruit & Sage Bees Knees

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Last week I brought you a decadent, rum-laced, coffee drink–perfect for dessert or an indulgent, fancy-ass brunch. But, this drink is something else. It’s refreshing and herbal, bright with a floral sweetness. Something you might sip on a hot day on the patio…which is exactly what we did. We, FINALLY, finished up our patio project (do you guys wanna see it?! I took pictures of the process) and celebrated with these cocktails. I used some of the sage from my new herb garden–fingers crossed I don’t murder it all–and made a syrup with it using equal parts honey and water. It’s easy and refreshing and will maybe make a repeat appearance in the coming days because my pal, Megan (aka Take a Megabite!), is visiting! She lands tomorrow night and I am pretty sure there will be some cocktails, in addition to pink wine, donuts, froyo, and she’ll be meeting Casper for the first time! We’re attending the Indulge conference this Saturday, so on the chance that you’ll be there…say “hello!!” CHEERS!

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Grapefruit & Sage Bees Knees

Okay, I know this isn’t a true Bees Knees–besides the addition of sage, there’s grapefruit in place of lemon and I’ve topped this off with tonic and ice. But, I promise, this drink lives up to it’s namesake–it really is the bees knees!

for the syrup:

1-2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup water

for the cocktail (makes 1):

1 ounce grapefruit juice

1 ounce honey-sage syrup

2 ounces gin

a dash or two of bitters, if you have them

tonic

ice

To make the syrup, add the sage leaves, honey, and water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, boil 1 minute, and remove from the heat. Pour into a heatproof jar and cool. Strain out the a sage before using.

For the cocktail, shake or stir the juice, syrup, and gin together with a few dashes of bitters (if using). Pour it into a glass over ice, and top with tonic.

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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.

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Pumpkin, Leek, & Pecan Cornbread with Spicy Honey

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Guys, this is the prettiest cornbread I’ve ever made. I first saw it on Megan’s blog and thought it was such a stunnner back then, and I finally got around to making it. I’m so glad I did!

I decided to adapt this recipe to be baked in a cast iron skillet because the fine people of Finex (forged right here in Portland!) gifted me with one of their gorgeous skillets. I mean, look at that iron-beauty down there! I especially love that the cooking surface of the pan is smooth, instead of rough like most cast iron skillets, and the octagonal sides make for easy pouring. Anyway, it’s perfect for this recipe because we start  by browning butter–always a good idea–and the butter that coats the pan after pouring it out for the batter acts to make the surface even more non-stick. Plus, the pan stays hot, since we all know cast iron holds heat like a dream, creating a little sizzle when the batter hits the pan making for a nice golden-brown crust on this cornbread. Obviously, you can use any trusty cast iron skillet you have for this recipe and it will be just as delicious.

The pumpkin in the cornbread makes it so moist, with extra tenderness from the addition of buttermilk. In addition to the brown butter flavor punch, we have lots of leeks, sliced super thinly, throughout the batter and on top. Along with pecans for a sweet and nutty bite. The leeks on top get crisp and sweet and so perfect. I’m sort of obsessed with them (I’ve been using them as a pizza topping lately, too…so killer!). But, the thing that really makes this cornbread sing is the spicy honey drizzle. It’s a sweetly spiced, sticky counterpart to the earthy-sweet and savory cornbread…and it’s SO simple!! It’s just honey and tabasco. Done.

Anyway, I urge you to make this cornbread sooner than later. Don’t wait a whole dang year like I did. And, I have to say it, it’d be a great addition to a Thanksgiving spread. Hint, hint.

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Pumpkin, Leek, & Pecan Cornbread with Spicy Honey 

Makes 8-12 servings

Adapted from Take A Megabite

Leeks can be super gritty, so I like to clean them by slicing them and swishing around in a large bowl of cold water. Then I scoop them out and pat them dry on a clean tea towel.

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup (4 ounces) brown butter

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1 large leek, sliced thinly into rounds and rinsed well

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Spicy Honey:

1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet until it gets foamy, once it begins to foam, continue to cook the butter, stirring until the solid bits in the butter turn deep brown and smell fragrant like toffee (if you aren’t using a cast iron skillet, refer to Megan’s recipe for alternate instructions). Pour the butter into a dish and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and cooled brown butter. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold until just combined, then fold in half of the leeks. Scrape the batter into the cast iron pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining leeks, as well as the pecans. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool at least 10 minutes before serving with the spicy honey.

To make the spicy honey, stir together both of the ingredients until combine.

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Full disclosure, Finex sent me one of their skillet to use. I was not compensated for this post, I just really like this skillet! As always, all opinions and words are my own.