Some (most??) people absolutey love going out for breafast of brunch.  I am not one of those people.  I would way rather dine out for lunch or dinner because i’m just not that in to breakfast.  I know “most important meal of the day” and all that and yes, I always eat something in the morning, but it certainly does not get me out of bed running to the kitchen with excitement.  However, that all changes if I know I’ve got something extra special to go with my daily latte.  Knowing that this Pumpkin Vanilla Banana Bread was on my counter just waiting for me to lightly toast and slather with butter was definitely more motivating for me to get moving in the morning.

Pumpkin Vanilla Banana Bread {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I have never come across a recipe with more moistening ingredients combined into one baked good.  By themselves, pumpkin, coconut milk, butter and mashed bananas will each lead to a soft, moist bread, but combined, oh my this bread is unreal.  And I haven’t even told you about the flavor!  Although you may worry that all of those ingredients may result in an odd flavor combination, fear not!  The shining flavor profiles in the is Pumpkin Vanilla Banana Bread are really the bananas, vanilla and cinnamon which is not that surprising because coconut milk and pumpkin are not as strong of flavor contenders.  I would also love this Pumpkin Vanilla Banana Bread with walnuts or chocolate chips (or even both) mixed in.

Pumpkin Vanilla Banana Bread {satisfymysweettooth.com}

This bread is just one of the many irresistible recipes in Jessica Merchant’s premier cookbook Seriously Delish.  Jessica’s blog How Sweet It Is is one that I diligently read line-by-line because she is such a hilarious, honest and witty writer.  Whether she’s sharing a recipe or her latest beaut favorites, I just can’t get enough of her clever prose.

Seriously Delish is filled with plenty of Jessica’s charm and humor as each recipe has a lovely introduction from her.  We get to learn about how Jessica gets her inspiration for the recipes she creates and about her very realistic and I think, healthy relationship with food.  Even her chapter headings are fun and draw you in:

 

From enticing snacks to drool-worthy dinners, Jessica’s photos in Seriously Delish will have you wanting to reach into the page to grab the taco, burger or dessert right off the page.  Each photo accompanying a recipe is so colorful and filled with texture that you really feel like you can almost taste the runny egg or juicy fruit.  I look forward to baking and cooking my way through this cookbook.

Pumpkin Vanilla Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 1 9X5" loaf (about 12 servings)

Pumpkin Vanilla Banana Bread: The very moistest, flavorful quick bread that will comfort you on these cool fall days

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X5-inch loaf pan liberally with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, mix together eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, bananas, coconut milk, melted butter, molasses and vanilla bean paste (or extract) until thoroughly combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure thorough mixing.
  3. Mix in both flours, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake for 85-95 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean or with only a few crumbs on it.
  6. Cool the bread in the pan placed onto a wire rack. Gently run a knife around the edges and remove from the pan.
  7. Cut and serve.
  8. Recipe adapted from Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant
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*Houghton Mifflin Harcourt provided me with a review copy of this book, but all opinions are, as always, my own.

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This fall has been the busiest fall that I can ever remember.  The busyness started immediately after Labor Day when my husband and took the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand and Bora Bora.  We road-tripped from Queenstown through the South Island and saw the most breathtaking, awe-inspiring scenery that made me feel so very small and grateful.

 

NZ2

NZ1

Then we sat on the beach for a week reading books, chasing tiny sand crabs and dipping into the bathtub-like perfectly warm and calm water of the lagoon as needed to cool off.

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Returning from almost three full weeks of vacation, I felt refreshed and excited to get back to work and back into the kitchen!

I have been squeezing in as much kitchen time as possible since my return and I couldn’t wait to share these Brookies (aka brownie cookies) with you.  I bet if you took a poll of Americans’ favorite sweet treats, more than 75% percent of Americans would answer either “chocolate chip cookie” or “brownie”.  My answer is always chocolate chip cookie.

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With these Brookies, you get a brownie on the bottom and chocolate chip cookie on top, so you don’t have to choose between your two favorites, you get both!  It’s sort of like the mullet of desserts.  I mean that in the best way possible (you know, business in the front, party in the back : brownie on the bottom, cookie on top?).  What could be better??

Brookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

I made these Brookies in a muffin pan and I loved the size and consistency that they turned out to be.  I mean you are eating two desserts at once, so they don’t need to be ginormous and I love that the muffin pan helps you make perfectly equally-sized Brookies.  Both the cookie and brownie components stay so soft and chewy which is exactly the way that I want my cookies and/or brownies to be.  And although the chocolate chip cookie is melded right on top of the brownie, you can still fully appreciate the individual flavor of both dessets.  Brookies are the perfect lunchbox, game day or after-school treat because no one has two choose only one of their two favorite desserts!

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Brookies (aka brownie cookies)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 48 minutes

Yield: 15 brookies

Why settle for one or the other when you can have both a brownie and chocolate chip cookie in one dessert?!

Ingredients

    Brownie layer
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Chocolate chip cookie layer
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

    Brownie layer
  1. Liberally spray a regular-sized muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place chocolate chips and butter into a medium, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir with a spatula to combine.
  3. Stir in both sugars until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix to combine.
  4. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix until just combined.
  5. Using a cookie scoop or large spoon fill each cavity of the prepared muffin pan 1/3 full of brownie batter. Place the pan into the refrigerator while you mix the cookie dough.
  6. Chocolate chip cookie layer
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. In another medium bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla until well combined.
  9. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until well blended.
  10. Mix in chocolate chips.
  11. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, scoop a heaping Tbsp-sized ball of cookie dough out, roll it into a ball, flatten the ball slightly and place one cookie dough ball onto each cavity that is filled with brownie batter.
  12. Bake 16-18 minutes or until the cookie is lightly browned.
  13. Recipe adapted from Baked
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fill muffin pan 1/3 full with brownie batter

Brookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

shape cookie dough into flattened balls and top each cavity that has been filled with brownie batter with the flattened ball of cookie dough and bake

Brookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Brookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Brookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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We all need a little pick-me-up after school or work and these Soft Puffy Sugar Cookies are just the cheerful treat to give you a boost around 3:00pm.

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A good sugar cookie ranks right up there for me as one of my absolute favorite treats.  I love that sugar cookies are so customizable with different frostings and sprinkles and honestly, doesn’t a colorfully sprinkled cookie just make you smile inside?  These Soft Puffy Sugar Cookies are just that:  light and pillowy little delights that are not overly sweet.  I added both almond extract and some vanilla bean seeds to my cookies, but you could easily add lemon or any other flavoring that you enjoy.

Soft Puffy Sugar Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Without a doubt, the very best part of these Soft Puffy Sugar Cookies is that this blog post is part of a partnership with OXO to support pediatric cancer research.  For each #OXOGoodCookies post, OXO is donating $100 to Kids’ Cancer research!  And not only that, but you have the chance to do your part too!  Look for specially marked OXO products that have this sticker on them

CFKC Sticker

and OXO will donate 25¢ for each product sold!  OXO is committed to donating up to $100,000 to pediatric cancer research just by us making cookies!  Now that is a cookie you can feel good about!

#OXOGoodCookies

For your convenience, here’s a list of all of the OXO products that you can purchase that will contribute to this great cause and also a link so that you can find the retailers who are carrying these products.  I love working with companies that support such worthy causes!

So pick up a specially marked OXO product, make these Soft Puffy Sugar Cookies and feel good about supporting a great cause while enjoying a delicious treat!

Soft Puffy Sugar Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Soft Puffy Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 50 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup grape seed oil (or canola or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean seeds (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, eggs, oil, extract and water. Mix together using an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Add baking soda, cream of tartar and salt and mix until well blended. With mixer on medium speed, add flour 1 cup at a time and mix well.
  4. Roll dough into golfball-sized balls and place onto cookie sheets leaving 2 inches in between the dough balls.
  5. Use a small juice glass to gently flatten the balls of dough until they are about 1/4" thick. Place sprinkles on top and press them into the tops of the cookies gently.
  6. Bake 10-11 minutes or until tops of cookies feel set.
  7. Recipe adapted from Creme de la Crumb
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*For every stickered item sold, OXO will donate 25 cents in support of pediatric cancer research as part of its $100,000* pledge to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Look for specially marked OXO products at participating retailers in September.
* In 2014, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer through specially marked baking tools, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.
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I first got excited about making ice cream this summer when I made the No-churn Sweet Corn Ice Cream that I shared with you about a month ago.  My enthusiasm continued when I shared Easy Watermelon Granita last week.  Much of my enthusiasm for making ice cream this summer and my inspiration for that granita came from Ruby Violet’s Ice Cream Dreams.  I was sent this book to review and I loved the story behind the author and the recipes that she offered.

Julie Fisher’s inspiration for this ice cream book came from her grandmother who enjoyed ice cream and shared her favorite treats with Julie and her sister.  Any recipe inspiration that is rooted in nostalgic memories of family traditions is very familiar to me as that is where I find much of my inspiration for new recipes.

Julie began making ice cream at her home and eventually, after testing recipes on her willing neighbors, she opened a stall at a local market.  She sold tubs of ice cream that featured currently fresh ingredients to market-goers.

Julie later moved her business to a permanent location where she still makes small batch ice cream that features the freshest seasonal ingredients and no artificial flavorings.  The book starts out with the “basics” which are base recipes for different types of ice creams and sorbets.  Julie then goes on to offer many different flavors of ice cream as well as recipes for desserts to feature your homemade recipes in, like an affogato which is simply a fresh shot of espresso poured over your choice of ice cream.  The book is beautiful and offers almost a photo per recipe.  Most of the recipe ingredients are listed in volumetric measurements, so you’ll want to have a scale on hand for accuracy.  I was instantly drawn to this book because of the story behind the author, but the quality of recipes and gorgeous photography will make it one of my go-to references when it comes to ice cream.

Hardie Grant Publishing provided me with a copy of this book for review, but all opinions are, as always, my own.

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As long as it is summer, each week I buy a watermelon, chop it up and snack on it morning, noon and night.  I just can’t get enough.  Inevitably I can’t get through the entire melon myself, so I turn it into other delights like the Strawberry Watermelon Cooler that I shared with you a couple of weeks ago.  My latest obsession is this Easy Watermelon Granita.

Easy Watermelon Granita {satisfymysweettooth.com}

A granita is essentially a grown-up version of a snow cone that it is so refreshing and cooling on these hot summer days.  Not only do I love the flavor of this Easy Watermelon Granita, but that color, that perfectly pink watermelon color, is just so perfect.

Easy Watermelon Granita {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Now when I say “easy” I am not exaggerating.  To make this granita, you simply puree chunks of watermelon and strain the juice, mix in a couple more ingredients, pop it into your freezer and in a few short hours, you will be spooning icy chilled Easy Watermelon Granita into your mouth.  I added a very small amount of tequila to my granita and I’ll tell you why:  alcohol inhibits the liquid from fully freezing so that no matter how long you have left your granita in the freezer, it won’t freeze into a solid block, but will remain nice shards of frozen goodness.  You could use any alcohol you prefer (vodka, gin, rum, etc.) or omit it completely, but if you omit it just make sure that you do an effective job of scraping the entire mixture into fine bits during the freezing process so that you don’t get large ice pieces.

Easy Watermelon Granita {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Easy Watermelon Granita

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups granita

Cool and refreshing shaved watermelon granita will be the perfect refreshment for the remaining days of summer

Ingredients

    For the simple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • For the granita
  • 2 1/4 cups watermelon juice (from about 5 cups chopped watermelon)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • the simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tequila (or vodka)

Instructions

    For the simple syrup
  1. Place the water into a small microwave-safe mug and microwave for 45-60 seconds (until almost boiling).
  2. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved completely.
  3. Place into the refrigerator to cool completely.
  4. For the granita
  5. Use a blender or food processor to process the watermelon until you have 2 1/4 cups of juice.
  6. Strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove any pulp.
  7. Pour the juice into an 8X8-inch baking dish.
  8. Add lemon juice, simple syrup and tequila to the watermelon juice and mix gently until the mixture is well combined.
  9. Place the dish into the freezer. Every 2 hours until the mixture is completely frozen, remove the mixture from the freezer and gently scrape the surface with a fork so that the frozen bits become fine shavings.
  10. Serve directly from the freezer.
  11. Can be kept in a well-sealed container in the freezer for one month.
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