Posts Tagged: baking

Make This Tonight: Joy the Baker’s Coconut Pineapple Banana Bread

winter2013 001
Banana bread isn’t always the most interesting baked good. People tend to make it only when they have rotting bananas they don’t want to waste, which isn’t exactly an auspicious beginning. But adding something else to banana bread makes it a little more exciting. Kind of like when a romantic comedy heroine looks frumpy, but then she removes her glasses and lets her hair down and all of a sudden dudes can’t resist her.

So I’ve been thinking a little too much about banana bread. You got me. But, as usual, Joy the Baker managed to make a pretty perfect recipe that’s unusual without being complicated. Adding pineapple and coconut to banana bread gives it a little something extra. Maybe it’s even sexy? Okay, so that might be taking the romantic comedy analogy a little too far. Banana bread is never capable of being sexy. But it is delicious, and vegan, which is great if you realize all the eggs in your fridge expired weeks ago. Not that I would know from experience.

Coconut Pineapple Vegan Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker

makes one 9×5-inch loaf

2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas really well. Add the sugar, pineapple, and oil and whisk briskly to incorporate.

Sift in the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. Fold in the coconut.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle with extra sugar if you’d like. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (I did 45 minutes but it was still a little too soft in the middle). The top should be lightly browned and a knife inserted through the center should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before transferring out of a pan and onto a wire rack to cool completely. Ta-da! Delicious!

Make This Tonight: Double Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

coconut oil trader joes
I have some advice for those of you who might be planning weddings: elope.

Okay, so I’m kind of kidding. But also? I’m kind of not. Most people who give me wedding advice say some variation of “Girl, do you!” And I’m trying. But it’s proving a little harder than I suspected, and even though I vowed not to let planning a party stress me out so much, here I go, getting stressed out.

Enter stress-baking.

Sometimes, when you’re annoyed and exhausted, the best thing to do is bake something delicious. You may have noticed that this is my solution to most problems, but you know what? It works.

This week, I whipped up a batch of double coconut chocolate chip cookies. The coconut double shot consists of toasted coconut AND coconut oil. I was late to the coconut oil party, I’ll admit, but now I’m into it. I saw it all over the internet and I ignored it. Then Jordan suggested I try it and I was like, “Maybe!” And finally, Mama W. and I were at Trader Joe’s and she was like, “Look, there’s coconut oil. Didn’t you want to try it?” and I was all, “How did she KNOW?” because I always forget that she regularly reads my blog and then makes no mention of it as if I’m not going to know (Hi Mom).

Long story even longer, I bought that coconut oil and I’ve been using for every. damn. thing. in the kitchen. Sauteeing? Don’t mind if I do! Smoothies? Why not? Opening the jar and just smelling it every once in awhile? Sadly, yes.

And now baking!

The internet tells me that coconut oil can be subbed for butter in most recipes, so I decided to use it in chocolate chip cookies. The best part is that you can totally pretend these are good for you because, you know, healthy fats. Just ignore all the sugar and focus on the healthy fats.

These were awesome, and I made some without chocolate chips for H. so they’d be 100% dairy-free. And then I ate all the extra chocolate chips on my own. Don’t judge me. Also, please don’t judge this terrible picture. It’s winter and there’s no light around here.
double coconut chocolate chip cookies

Double Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

about 1/3 cup shredded sweetened (or unsweetened, whatever) coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspon baking soda
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toast the coconut by stirring it around in a hot skillet until it turns brown. But be careful, because it burns easily! Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together coconut oil, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla until very well mixed. Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour, mixing together until all are incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips and toasted coconut. Roll into golf-ball sized balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or just until the outside of the cookies have browned ever so slightly around the edges. Cool them on a cooling rack (or wherever, if you don’t have a cooling rack) and then make your fiance take them to his friends’ place so you can get them out of the house.

Coconut oil image via The Kitchn

The Joy (the Baker) of Comfort Baking

The months of January through March are always tough for me. It’s cold, it’s dark, and everyone’s taken down their twinkle lights. There are no holidays to look forward to, it seems like winter will never end, and I hate leaving the house. Basically, it’s time for comfort baking.

You all know how much I love Joy the Baker’s cookbook, right? The woman makes a mean apple crisp. It turns out that everything in her cookbook is amazing. These are the perfect recipes to make when you’re snowed in and grumpy, which is a situation I often find myself in.

It’s hard to feel bad when your house smells like cinnamon and there’s something warm to stuff your face with. I mean, that’s just a fact. I’d advise making anything from Joy the Baker’s cookbook or website, but especially her Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies and Baked Coffee Cake French Toast.

Alex and I made the Baked Coffee Cake French Toast one weekend when I was home a few months ago. It wasn’t really in Winter, but whatever…sometimes you need comfort baking even when it isn’t cold outside! It was insanely good, and the recipe isn’t on her website, but you can find it here.

But the real winner is her Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies. There are few foods I love more than sweet potatoes, and I’ll add them to everything that I can. So of course these cookies were one of the first recipes I made from the book. They’re pillowy-soft and perfectly spiced. Adding to the comfort baking factor, they also taste almost exactly like the chocolate chip cookies my grandma used to make when I was a kid. She didn’t add any vegetables to hers, but she did add spices. It was such a wonderful tastebud flashback.

The recipe for these isn’t on the website, but you can find the very similar pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

If you haven’t purchase Joy the Baker’s cookbook, then seriously, what are you waiting for? It’s January! You have comfort baking to do!

Wednesday Links (on a Thursday)!

-Do you guys read Rookie? I hope so, but if not, you should certainly start. I loved this post on faking it till you make it, they have FANTASTIC playlists that usually end up being my writing soundtracks, and obviously Ask a Grown Man is great (everybody knows about the Jon Hamm one, but they’re all wonderful. Um, Hannibal Buress?!). In case you wondered, why yes, I do want to write for Rookie so badly that it physically hurts sometimes.

-This post by the great Kate Spencer is about sexual harassment, unwanted touching, and just the shit that we all have to deal with when people do not respect that our bodies are our own property. “When I’ve explained sexual harassment to men in the past I’ve been struck at their confusion over why it is a big deal. How is someone whistling at you threatening, they ask? Here is what they don’t understand. Those moments, which may seem insignificant and small, create an unsafe environment in which women are forced to live. Last month, after I yelled at some men in a car who made kissing noises at me, I was terrified to then walk down a quiet downtown street out of fear that they’d circle around in their car and hurt me. These moments force us to operate in a state of fear. They define who is in control and who can have their control taken away.”

-Did you know that Modcloth has an online literary journal?

-You Made it Weird is not strictly a Lady Podcast, as it is hosted by a dude, but Pete Holmes often interviews delightful, hilarious ladies. Like Shelby Fero! She is only 18 and she has the work ethic of…someone not 18. When I was 18, I was pretty busy bitching about things, whining, and ignoring my own mortality.

-I really enjoyed this post on The Conversation.

-My parents bought me The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook for my birthday, and I’m in love with it! It’s adorable.

-Some delicious recipes I want to try: Nutella Donut Muffins and Citrus Bars (lemon, lime, or grapefruit)!

Key Lime Pie: Dairy-Free and Easy-Peasy

For as long as I’ve known my boyfriend, he’s been lactose intolerant. To be honest, I hadn’t known all that many lactose intolerant people before I met him. Yes, there was that one friend’s mom who always ordered her pizzas without cheese, and I thought that was unspeakably weird. But for the most part, my family members have stomachs of steel and don’t deal with food allergies (aside from Chase’s instant gag reflex if he ever so much as looks at a hot dog).

Back when I met H. those 6 years ago, he could eat what he described as “a little cheese.” And then he would just get “a little sick.” For years, I encouraged him to try Lactaid, a pill that helps your body digest lactose (I swear this isn’t an ad for Lactaid). He resisted, because (begin stereotype) men don’t like to admit when women are right (end stereotype).

As soon as he finally tried Lactaid, I’m telling you, he was a new man. All of a sudden it was pizza this and cheeseburgers that and once he even got ice cream at Jeni’s. But soon his Lactaid use started to worry me, and not just because the Lactaid packets look like little, tiny condoms and that’s a weird thing to whip out at the dinner table. I worried because he would take 3, 4, 5 or more Lactaid tablets with one meal. This seemed bad, perhaps even unhealthy. It also seemed like he was spending a lot of money on Lactaid.

So when he recently told me he was swearing off dairy, I was happy. I made the mistake of referring to this as a “dairy-free phase.”

“This isn’t a phase,” he corrected me. “This is a lifestyle.”

Okay, then! If you’re livin’ that dairy-free lifestyle, here’s a key lime pie for you and yours. Does it taste exactly like a “regular” key lime pie? No. It tastes like a pudding in a pie shell, because that’s exactly what it is. Also, I think you should know that as soon as I typed the words “pudding in a pie shell,” I sang “Turtle Power!” in my head. But anyway, pudding is never a bad thing!

You might be thinking to yourself, “Those look like regular limes, not key limes.” Well, you know what? Stop being so nitpicky.

Key Lime Pie
adapted from here

For the filling:

1/4 c. key lime juice
2 1/2 c. soy milk
1 c. sugar
5 Tbs. cornstarch
2 tsp. lime zest

adapted from Southern Food
6 tbsp butter, melted
24 graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt 6 tablespoons of butter.
Place about 24 graham crackers in a plastic bag. Roll with a rolling pin until finely crushed. Or use a food processor.
Measure 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs into a bowl.
Add 1/4 cup of sugar, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg to the graham crackers.
Add the melted butter.
Stir or blend together with your hands.
Press into the pie plate or other pan.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven. Under no circumstances should you spill pie crust crumbs all over your kitchen floor. That is NOT a step. I certainly didn’t do it.

Whisk lime juice, sugar, soymilk, lime zest, and cornstarch together in a saucepan, then turn on medium heat and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thick and creamy. Allow to cool slightly then pour into the pie crust and chill until firm.

Notes: This was really sweet, which maybe you will like. But it was too sweet for me, so I will probably cut down on the sugar next time.