Irish Soda Bread

This is a quick bread that does not require any yeast. Instead, all of its leavening comes from baking soda and buttermilk. It is dense, yet soft and has the most incredible crusty exterior, plus it is really easy and quick to make.

Ingredients
1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk*
1 large egg (optional, see note)
4 and 1/4 cups (515g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for your hands and counter
3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed*
optional: 1 cup (150g) raisins

Directions
Preheat oven & pan options: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). There are options for the baking pan. Use a regular baking sheet and line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (bread spreads a bit more on a baking sheet), or use a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, or grease a 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish. You can also use a 5 quart (or higher) dutch oven. Grease or line with parchment paper. If using a dutch oven, bake the bread with the lid off.
Whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Set aside. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers. Mixture is very heavy on the flour, but do your best to cut in the butter until the butter is pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the raisins. Pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture. Gently fold the dough together until dough it is too stiff to stir. Pour crumbly dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can, then knead for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet/pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top. I usually place foil on top halfway through bake time.
Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted with desired toppings/spreads.
Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. We usually wrap it tightly in aluminum foil for storing.
Notes
Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled bread freezes well up to 3 months. Freeze the whole loaf or individual slices. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired.
Baking Pan: There are options for the baking pan. You can use a lined large baking sheet (with or without a rim), a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, or a greased or lined 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish. I don’t recommend a loaf pan because the loaf may not bake evenly inside. This dough is best as a flatter loaf.
Buttermilk: Using cold buttermilk is best. Buttermilk is key to the bread’s flavor, texture, and rise. The bread will not rise without it. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make a homemade “DIY” version. Whole milk or 2% milk is best, though lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. Add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough cold milk to make 1 and 3/4 cups. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
Egg: 1 egg adds richness and density. Feel free to skip it to make a slightly lighter loaf. No other changes necessary, simply leave out the egg.
Cold Butter: The colder the butter, the less sticky the dough will be. Make sure it’s very cold, even frozen cubed butter is great.

Irish Beef Stew

Ingredients
2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then very chunkily sliced
5 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs, 1 whole and 1 leaves picked
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cubes, crumbled
850g stewing beef (featherblade or brisket works nicely), cut into nice large chunks

Directions

STEP 1
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and put the kettle on.

STEP 2
Put 2 thickly sliced celery sticks, 1 chopped onion, 2 chunkily sliced carrots, 5 bay leaves and 1 whole thyme sprig in a flameproof casserole dish with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp butter.

STEP 3
Soften for 10 mins, then stir in 2 tbsp plain flour until it doesn’t look dusty anymore, followed by 2 tbsp tomato purée, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 crumbled beef stock cubes.

STEP 4
Gradually stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in 850g stewing beef and bring to a gentle simmer.

STEP 5
Cover and put in the oven for 2hrs 30 mins, then uncover and cook for 30mins – 1hr more until the meat is really tender and the sauce is thickened.

STEP 6
Garnish with the picked leaves of the remaining thyme sprig.

Deliciously Moist Banana Bread Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 medium bananas (mashed)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Once fully combined, pour into the butter mixture. Mix until smooth.
  • Mash the bananas with a fork or a potato masher. Fold in the sour cream, walnuts and mashed bananas. Spread the mixture evenly into the greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf).
  • Remove from oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

How to Make Moist Banana Bread

Here are some tips & tricks for making the best banana bread.

  • The bananas have to be over-ripe. When it comes to banana bread, the blacker the peel, the better. These mushy bananas give off a much sweeter flavor, making them perfect for baking banana bread. Previously frozen ripe bananas work great as well!
  • Mash the bananas thoroughly. To do so, you can use a fork, a potato masher or hand mixer. This is particularly important for those who do not like munching on slimy and mushy banana bits. 
  • When combining dry and wet ingredients, fold them very gently with a spatula. This will result in extra tender bread.
  • I know this recipe calls for 60 minutes of cook time, but check it as early as 55 minutes in. You’ll know it’s done when you see some moist bread sticking to your tester toothpick. Remove from the oven right away!
  • Pecans are great, but walnuts also go really well with banana bread. The hint of bitterness in these nuts gives a nice balance to the sweetness of the banana.
  • Make sure to take the banana bread out of the loaf pan as soon as possible, about 10 minutes after it’s out of the oven. Don’t leave it in there for too long – doing so will result in a soggy bottom.

How to Store Banana Bread

Even when you follow all the recipe tips mentioned above, banana bread tends to dry out when storing it overnight.

Here are some storage tips to keep your banana bread moist and delicious:

  • Allow your bread to cool on a wire rack or a plate before refrigerating it.
  • Slice your bread in thick and even slices. Eat to your heart’s content. 
  • In the unlikely event of leftovers, pack the remaining slices in plastic wrap while it’s still a little warm. This will prevent it from going dry. Tin foils and airtight containers also work well at preserving the quality of the bread. Make sure that it is wrapped nice and tightly.
  • Place the wrapped slices inside a freezer bag. Press the bag to get rid of excess air, and gently close the seal completely.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Chops

Lamp Chops

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 lamb loin chops (about 1-3/4 pounds)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

 

Directions

  • Place onion in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Combine the oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; rub over the lamb chops. Place chops over onion. Top with garlic. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the meat is tender.

 

Skinny Banana Bread

This Skinny Banana Bread recipe has no oil, is low sugar, and just over 100 calories/slice! I found it years ago and it is the best banana bread recipe and low in calories.  I like to add walnuts but it will increase the calorie count.

 

Skinny-Banana-Bread-3

 

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas, about 1 1/3 cups, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (white or white-whole wheat)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  • Grease a standard 9×5” loaf pan (I also like to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to make sure the loaf doesn’t stick).
  • Mash bananas in a mixing bowl. Add egg, vanilla, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon and stir well to combine.
  • In a separate small bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir to combine.
  • Gently stir in melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow cooling in the pan for 5-10 a few minutes before inverting onto a wire cooling rack.

Notes

You can also make muffins, it makes 12 muffins and you bake the 18-25 units

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 208mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 3.4mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROSTED BANANA COOKIES

If you need a quick and simple snack or dessert recipe, these are perfect. These Frosted Banana Cookies have become my new favorite way to put my soft brown bananas to use. They are so easy to make and taste absolutely amazing.

INGREDIENTS

Cookies
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3 bananas (ripened and mashed)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 1/4 cups flour
Frosting
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 2 bananas (ripened and mashed)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on the consistency that you like)
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

Cookies
    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Cream sugar, butter, shortening, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
    3. Add bananas and then mix in the eggs.
    4. Blend in buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over-beat. It will be a sticky batter. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet.
    5. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until slightly golden.
    6. Cool completely.
Frosting
  1. Mix all ingredients together and spread over cooled cookies.

 

 

GO WITHOUT THE ICING AND REPLACE IT WITH SOMETHING SWEET:

For this recipe, the icing is really my favorite. It is so yummy and so simple to just whip up. It’s full of flavor and pairs perfectly with these banana cookies.

If you don’t have enough bananas for the icing or time, substitute any of the many toppings such as cream cheese swirls, nutella, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips …..

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STORE THESE COOKIES?

If you do have some leftover, the best way to store them is putting them in the fridge.

Place them in an airtight storage container, and putting them in the fridge.

If you aren’t going to eat them for more than a week, I recommend freezing them, by placing them in an airtight storage container and putting them in the freezer.

They will last nicely in the freezer for about 2 weeks, and in the fridge, about 3-5 days.

To thaw them, place them in the fridge overnight and serve them the next day. Don’t microwaving them, because the frosting will melt and lose its amazing texture. I think these are delicious when they are partially frozen and cold.

 

Rhabarberkuchen mit Vanillecreme und Streusel

Rhabarberkuchen-mit-vanillecreme-und-streusel

 

Für den Teig:
100 g Butter
80 g Zucker
1 Pkt. Vanillezucker
2 Ei(er)
75 g Schmand
180 g Mehl
1 TL Backpulver, gehäuft
Für die Creme:
1 Pkt. Puddingpulver, Vanille
40 g Zucker
375 ml Milch
125 g Schmand
Für den Belag:
800 g Rhabarber, geschält gewogen
Für die Streusel:
200 g Mehl
100 g Zucker
1 Pkt. Vanillezucker
150 g Butter, kalte
Zimt, nach Geschmack
Puderzucker, zum Besträuen

Zubereitung

Arbeitszeit: ca. 20 Min. / Schwierigkeitsgrad: normal / Kalorien p. P.: keine Angabe

Den Rhabarber schälen, in kleine Stücke schneiden und zuckern. Etwa eine halbe Stunde ziehen lassen. Danach in einem Sieb gut abtropfen lassen.
In der Zwischenzeit aus den Zutaten für den Teig einen Rührteig herstellen und in eine gefettete Springform (28 cm Durchmesser) füllen. Bei 180° im vorgeheizten Backofen ca. 15 Minuten vorbacken.
Für die Streusel Mehl, Zucker, Vanillezucker und Zimt mit der Butter zu einer krümeligen Masse verkneten.
Den Pudding mit dem Zucker und der Milch kochen und unter ständigem Rühren etwas abkühlen lassen. Den Schmand unterrühren und auf dem Kuchenboden verteilen. Darüber die Rhabarberstücke verteilen und die Streusel darüber streuen. Den Kuchen bei 180° ca. 30 – 35 Minuten fertig backen lassen.
In der Form auskühlen lassen und mit Puderzucker bestreuen.

Diamant Sablé

Dug up a recipe from my days in Finishing School.  The cookies are named diamond because when rolled in coarse sugar they appear as they were rolled in diamonds.

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled
2 ¼ cups flour
½ egg (try to get both the white and some yolk)
¾ cup powdered sugar
Dash of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Coarse decorating sugar (white or desired color)
1 egg white for brushing on the dough

Directions

On your work surface, cut the butter into the flour. Mixture should be the size of peas.

Form the mixture into a circle, and make a well in the center. Add egg, sugar, salt and vanilla to the center and mix together with your fingertips. Cut mixture into the flour and butter.

Line the dough in front of you. Using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you to shear the dough against the countertop to combine. Gather the dough together and repeat. The dough should be combined after two to three passes. Work quickly so you don’t heat and soften the butter.

Roll the dough into 2 logs, each about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap each log in parchment or plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Turn the logs every 15 minutes so the bottom does not get flat. If you have a rounded loaf pan, you can rest the dough on the pan so it will stay in a round shape. Or, place inside a paper towel roll.

When the dough is well chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough.

Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface, or use a large plate. Make a line of sugar the length of the dough, about ¼ to ½ inch deep and 2 to 3 inches wide. Brush the log with a thin layer of egg white, then roll in the sugar, pressing to adhere the sugar to the logs. Repeat with second log. If the dough feels soft, place in refrigerator 5 minutes.

Slice dough into ½- to ¾-inch slices and place about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reshape as necessary so the cookies are round.

Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool. Store in an air tight container up to 1 week, or freeze. 

Fairy Dust Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 cup of sugar
1 cup of butter, softened
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
sprinkles

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then start combining your butter and sugar until mixed well and light and fluffy.
2. Add in your teaspoon of vanilla and continue mixing.
3. Add flour, one cup at a time until combined.

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4. Refrigerate for about an hour.
5. Roll them into one inch balls then roll into multi-colored sprinkles. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 13 minutes until lightly brown on edges.

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Black Midnight Cake

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INGREDIENTS
For the Cake:
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder (we used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder to get that deep dark color)
1 cup hot strong brewed coffee
1 pinch cayenne
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Butter for greasing the pans
Two parchment circles, cut the size of the bottom of your cake pans
Cocoa for dusting the pans

For the Frosting:
1 cup dark cocoa (we used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa to get that deep dark color)
4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ sticks butter, softened
½ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
To Prepare the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, dissolve cocoa powder and cayenne with hot brewed coffee and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream oil and sugar until well combined.
Add eggs and beat until light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. This process beats air into the mixture. Scrape paddle and bowl and beat once.
Slowly add in the coffee/cocoa mixture, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat until batter is smooth. Scrape paddle and bowl and beat once.

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In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet and beat on low speed to incorporate. Scrape down the bowl and mix just until all ingredients are combined, do not over mix once the flour is in.
Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch cake pans and place around parchment circle in each. Butter the top of the parchment then sprinkle the whole inside of the parchment and pan with cocoa powder, shaking out excess. Pour batter evenly between two pans and place in the center of oven. (note, aluminum baking pans are by far, the best for baking cakes. Non-stick and dark colored pans can change the cake by browning it more than it needs to)
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Depending on your oven, you may need to rotate cake pans halfway through. During our baking, one cake was done in 30 minutes and the second in 32 minutes. Do not over bake.
Cool pans on wire racks for ten minutes then carefully invert out of the pan onto a rack to cool further.

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To Prepare the Frosting;
Sift cocoa powder with confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and cocoa powder mixture along with buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Add additional buttermilk or whole milk if frosting is too thick.
Place a small dollop of frosting on a cake dish to hold the cake from sliding and place one cake on the frosting. Frost the top of that layer. Place the second cake on the first and frost the entire cake, top and sides.

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