TWD Rewind: Black and White Banana Loaf

This week, TWD is attacking a chocolate-chocolate cupcake. I wrinkled my nose at this because 1) this sounded a little too chocolate-y for me, and 2) I’m cleaning out the fridge before vacation next week, so I set the Way-Back Machine for August and made Dorie’s marbled chocolate and banana pound cake.  Yum.


This loaf cake was wonderful: The opposite of dry. In fact, it leaves an oily spot on a paper napkin if you put it down to chew.  It’s dense. It’s Sweetly and subtly banana flavored with real live fruit rather than some artificial flavoring agent. Not too chocolate-y. But I think it could be better.

My batter was a little runny, and so the swirls of yellow and chocolate cake were not quite swirls as much as they were globs or even one giant trough of chocolate with yellow lining the bottom and sides. It did not get better when the cake rose in the oven.

Dorie’s recipe also called for a bit of rum in the batter, which upon tasting the cake I found no need for (keep in mind that I added bourbon to my pumpkin muffins. I’m surprised at my reaction to the rum, too). The rum really didn’t add anything to the already nice combination of chocolate and banana. I think I’ll leave it out next time, thus simplifying the taste and making my batter slightly less runny.  I have high hopes.

But let me point out that some of my TWD colleagues had great success with their cakes: The Repressed Pastry Chef made darling square cupcakes, which she always photographs beautifully; Engineer Baker made similarly small, similarly darling cakes; Bungalow Barbara has picture-perfect marbling; and  Confectiona’s Realm served hers with chocolate sauce for a extra oompf.

You can find this recipe at A Year in the Kitchen.

To see how Dorie’s other bakers did with the chocolate-chocolate cupcakes, visit some of the bakers’ sites.

Spaghetti is a not a weapon

As the Dallas Morning News reports, someone is vandalizing local homes with jarred sauce.

Frisco police are investigating at least eight incidents in which jars of spaghetti sauce have been thrown at cars and homes, causing several hundred dollars worth of damage. In one incident, a jar of Great Value brand onions was thrown, along with a jar of garlic spaghetti sauce. “Maybe they were trying to make a good sauce,” Sgt. Meadors said.

Specifically, jars of spaghetti sauce – various flavors and brands, according to the police report – are breaking windows and landing on vehicles, costing owners $4,600 in damages and generally making a mess.


One poor guy has been hit twice:

 Mr. Anglin said the first time, he came out to his porch and found a huge mess.

 “The very next Saturday, I came outside and I looked up and noticed the sauce, and then I looked down and that’s when my child said, ‘Dad, we were hit again,'” he told KTVT-TV. 

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

Many, MANY thanks to Kelly for choosing this week’s recipe, pumpkin muffins (you can find the recipe at Kelly’s blog).  They have been delicious from the time I liked the bowl to the ones I defrosted for breakfast this morning.  I feel a little like Dr. Seuss: delicious fresh from the oven; or toasted with butter, I was lovin’. The batter was lovely, silky and light. And with a shot of bourbon, dy-no-mite.

(Yes, I added bourbon to Dorie’s recipe. More on that later.)

The other eater in my household liked them, too: “These are nice.”

Tom, watching

So, yes, I made a couple of changes to the recipe. First, I took some of the other bakers’ suggestion and substituted whole wheat flour for some of the white flour.  While this did little to change the batter (as best I can tell), it enables me to eat them for breakfast with less guilt, which is always good.

Then, there was the bourbon.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was! It’s not a heavy flavor, but it mellows the pumpkin a little, which I enjoyed.  I’d recommend it. What’s not made better by bourbon?

Finally, I divided the batter in half. Golden raisins on one side, white chocolate chips and walnuts in the other.  Both are excellent! The former is nice for breakfast, split in half, toasted and spritzed with butter for god measure.  The latter is nice as is in the middle of a fall afternoon.  I got a few more than 12 out of my batch (they rise in the oven but don’t really change shape or smooth out, which gives them a pretty rustic look on the table), so I froze a few.  The ones I thawed last night were still perfect this morning!

I am absolutely making these again. With the bourbon.

Admirable, but still gross

Some guy is going to spend eight days inside of a giant pumpkin, floating down a river.  Sure, it’s for a good cause, but still.  After 8 days, the wet, hollowed gourd has got to smell, donchathink?

The Telegraph reports on it here: JR Hildebrandt has enough space in the 760-pound gourd for a chair, small propane heater and himself. A board running along the bottom will hopefully keep him stable.


Guiltless Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding is one of those things I occasionally crave – usually on cold, damp night, but especially during the winter holidays, which I have begun to associate with an eggnog panettone bread pudding recipe that I just love! The combination of the cranberries in the Panettone with the sweet bread and the egg-y cream is just heaven.

But in October, when Panettone is harder to find, Hungry Girl’s peanut butter chocolate bread pudding seemed like a viable alternative.  Also, since it was more healthful that my holiday favorite, it seemed like a good non-holiday season choice.

good for now

I’ve gotta say, it was just ok.  I think a big part of my problem was that I used the bread I always have in the house: whole wheat.  It’s a smooth wheat, sure, but it’s still not white bread. And since the recipe calls for only three slices of bread, I couldn’t justify buying a whole loaf of bread that I don’t otherwise like for toast or sandwiches.

So, I went with the wheat-bread-soy-milk-reduced-fat-peanut-butter (which I love, even in it’s purest form: on apple slices)-brown-sugar mix. I put it in ramekins to make portion control easier, anticipating greatness. I sprinkled chocolate chips on top. I baked. I tasted.  It was fine. I added Cool Whip, and it was finer – bread pudding is a good vehicle for the chemically-derived whipped topping. I would probably swap out the chocolate chips for chocolate syrup, and add peanut butter chips to up the ante just a bit.

Would I make it again? With certain conditions: If I were really craving peanut butter AND had Cool Whip on hand and  REALLY needed a comfort food to eat in my pajamas in front of the TV on a cold night.

TWD: the best biscotti ever

This week’s selection of the Lenox Almond Biscotti came from Canela & Comino, which means that this blogger is the only TWD participant who will post the entire recipe (that’s the rule that we all agreed to when we signed on for this wild ride). I highly recommend that you run there and print it now because I may never order hermetically sealed biscotti at a coffee shop ever again. These are that good.

Tasty little soldiers

I prepared the dough as Dorie suggested in the recipe and then formed it into two logs on my cookie sheet. They seemed really skinny for biscotti, but I went along with it.  The dough was quite sticky, as the other bloggers had suggested earlier in the weekend, so I chilled the logs before I baked them. Nevertheless, the dough spread like hot gossip on Monday morning, and nearly filled the whole baking sheet.  I added 10 minutes to the cooking time before I took them out to cool, slice and line up like soldiers for the second bake (biscotti means “twice baked”, you know).

like hot gossip

The best part about this was that the book says to cut off the ends of the loaves, so I ate them before the inside pieces took their second trip to the oven, and they were delicious!  I can’t wait to eat the rest tomorrow.  I’m thinking a nice cinnamon tea with honey would be the perfect pairing. Or maybe a tall glass of cold milk with a little Starbucks liquor. For dunking.

Others have recommended that these would be nice dipped in chocolate.  I honestly don’t think they need it, but it would make for a nice holiday presentation.  Maybe add mini chocolate chips to complement the almond flavor. But seriously, it doesn’t need it.

Good job, Dorie!

I’m making my shopping list right now, I swear

It’s no secret that I hate grocery shopping, and based on the breakfast served in my household this morning, it’s obvious that it’s been too long since my list trip to the store: I enjoyed a 100 Calories pack of Doritos, while the Other Eater in my Household went for a handful of jellybeans.

I’m thinking about topping off my Doritos with a tasty Halloween find from my last trip to Target, Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses. They are SO much better than I expected.

Pumpkin Kisses

The Kiss itself is orange on the outside, and if you have the patience to bite one in half (but I understand that normal people pop the whole thing all at once, if not a few at a time) you’ll find white chocolate on the inside.  That’s the part that is spiced with all the good fall flavors, like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Prediction: the bag will not last the week at my house.

I’m not the only one who likes them!  Check out this blog to see what all is happening in Hershey.

Southern Hospitality, sort of

 Southern Italy, that is.

Today’s Washington Post brings us a story of a man who drank too much, and then did the responsible thing and took the bus home.  To bad it was the wrong bus, it wasn’t his home, and police had to come wake the guy up when the actual homeowners found him asleep in their bed:

Bob Breiner walked upstairs to the master bedroom and flipped on a lamp. Less than two feet away: a man he’d never seen, wrapped in blankets, sound asleep. On the floor were shoes, socks and pants. Earlier, the man had apparently helped himself to a crab cake from the refrigerator.

“The man had been drinking,” said Montgomery police spokeswoman Lucille Baur, “and returned to what he thought was his home and climbed into bed and went to sleep.”

He had missed by eight miles, apparently getting off at the wrong bus stop on his way home to Damascus. Gingerly, he made his way down the Breiners’ stairs, holding the banister in one hand and his shoes and socks in the other.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” the Breiners recalled him saying. “By the way, you have a very comfortable bed.”

When the homeowners found out the intruder had no police records and had recently lost his job, they declined to press charges. (The front door was unlocked when he entered, so crab cake theft was really his only crime)

But here comes my favorite part:


 Joanne Breiner, who teaches English as a second language at Roberto Clemente Middle School, headed into her kitchen. Into a plastic grocery bag she packed a container of homemade chicken soup, homemade cookies and some spare ribs, giving the food to officers and telling them to pass it on to the man.

“I think her mom would have been disappointed if we didn’t feed the intruder,” said Bob Breiner, noting the manners of his Sicilian-born wife and mother-in-law.

 Things could have ended up differently, had the intruder stumbled in a few hours later. Bob Breiner, a podiatrist, practices krav maga, a form of martial arts taught by theIsraeli army. “We use a lot of elbows to the head, knees to the stomach and kicks to the groin,” he said.

TWD: Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake

I’m torn this week, for a variety of reasons.  First, the idea that it took me three days to create this beautiful dessert put a bad taste in my mouth.  I just don’t bake that way. It’s not fun. And if I don’t have fun baking then the guilt of eating the finished product is just too great to justify putting away half a cake at one sitting.

But I persevered. I shopped Sunday, baked the cake Monday, and finished the topping Tuesday afternoon after the world’s best handyman finished repairing my kitchen light. And I gotta be honest, my tiny little cakes are just not as perfect as the photo and title of the dessert suggest it should taste.

the look good, but

I took the advice of my fellow bakers at TWD and halved the recipe, and then baked it in ramekins to avoid the treacherous grease-the-pan-then-line-the-bottom-with-a-circular-piece-of-parchment-paper-process. The cake is delicious. It’s light, the perfect balance of cake and chocolate.  I’d make them again in a heartbeat, and probably eat one still warm from the oven with melty whip cream on top.

Today I tackled the topping: a caramel made from cooked sugar and mixed with salted peanuts.The smell reminded me of Frau Mueller’s Level 1 chemistry lab in High School – not something anyone who survived wants to relive. It was torture. Her tie-dyed lab coat didn’t soften the blow. But I digress…

My topping’s not good.  See, the tops of my cakes caved in in the center, so when I put the topping on it pooled in the center of my ramekins and hardened like a hockey puck. The other eater in my household looked like he would break a tooth digging into my latest baking effort (just as the presidential candidates were debating the future of health care, might I add), so I quickly made the executive decision to microwave the cakes in order to soften the topping.  It helped, but not as much as three days of work warranted.

Another bust, as far as I’m concerned. Sorry, Dorie fans.  I’ll make the cake again, but I need to find a better topping.