Posts Tagged ‘cinnamon’

There is no better fall smell than filling your home with the comforting scent of spicy pumpkin, especially when the cozy aroma wafts from your oven, not a candle or an outlet. Before your house smells like turkey and scorched potatoes, start your Thanksgiving festivities with pumpkin streusel coffee cake.

A few years ago I baked this cake to celebrate a coworker’s birthday. After I got strange looks from people that morning, I found out I was supposed to have brought treats the day before; but once we sliced into the soft, warm-in-the-middle cake, they quickly forgave me. See, look at those beautiful, forgiving smiles.

The recipe is from VeryBestBaking.com., a website on which I have a recipe box overflowing with homestyle goodness. But here’s what sends it over the top — instead of using plain nuts in the streusel, I tossed in Praline Pumpkin Seed Crunch from King Arthur Flour. I don’t think they sell it anymore, but you could use any praline nuts like pecans or cashews and crush them up.

Cozy cake wishes,

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Not everyone cooks for a family of four. Or five. When it’s just you on a cozy Saturday morning and you crave the nostalgic waft of cinnamon drifting from the kitchen, a small batch of monkey bread with warm caramel seeping down the sides will appease.

Monkey bread when flying solo

One tube of biscuit dough and a few sweet ingredients and you can’t even take a shower in the time it takes to bake them.

monkey bread cinnamon sugar

Bake in mini pie tins, 4″ springform pans, mini loaf pans, one loaf pan, cookie sheet, mini muffin tin, or any other small oven-proof pan.

mini monkey bread before baking

I used mini pie tins – three of them – and I’m glad I baked them on a cookie sheet because the caramel oozed over the top. Next time I’ll still only make three, but I’ll drizzle some of the caramel in between layers instead of dumping it all on top. You might like it better in four.

half gone monkey bread

I confess, two of us ate this batch. Now go take your shower.

Sweet Saturday wishes,

Flying Solo Monkey Bread 

Serves 1 or 2 people depending on how much you want to share

5 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (7.5 ounce) package refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough

  1. Grease 3 mini pie tins or whatever smaller pan you choose to use.
  2. Melt butter and brown sugar together. Stir until brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  3. Stir together white sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Cut each piece of biscuit dough into four chunks and drop into the cinnamon and sugar. Lightly toss around until each is completely coated.
  5. Toss dough into pans, using equal amounts in each pan if using more than one. Pour some of the melted butter mixture over the biscuits before all of it is in the pan.
  6. Once all the biscuits are in the pan(s), drizzle the remaining caramel over the biscuits. Place pan(s) on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350° until top of biscuits are slightly crispy. For mini pie tins, that’s approximately 12-14 minutes. Do not over bake. For one loaf pan, it may take approximately 20-22 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and turn pan(s) upside down onto plate, remove pan, scrape the excess caramel onto the monkey bread.

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There’s been a lot of chocolate around the house lately so it was good timing for something different. Lucky for me, I had bananas that were the perfect ripeness for baking moist, cake-like bars.

Even if you don’t have ripe bananas at the moment, you most likely know that you can freeze extra ripe bananas and thaw them when you are ready to bake. My preferred method is to peel them, smash them, and put the banana mush into freezer bags labeled with the number of bananas I used.  Most recipes call for approximately one to one and a half cups of banana, which you can usually get out of 3-4 medium-sized bananas. It works best to freeze them in that portion size.

{Cinnamon Banana Bars with Vanilla Cream Frosting}


2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2-1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1-1/2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup butter softened (1  1/2 sticks)

1-1/2 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs

1-1/2 cups mashed, ripe bananas

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

 6 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract (I like using Vanilla Bean Crush which adds the tiny flecks of vanilla.)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 15×10-inch jelly roll/bar pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In large bowl beat brown sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes of until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan. 

For Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar in a small mixer until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spread on completely cooled bars. Store in the refrigerator and serve at room temperature.

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I hope you are enjoying your winter so far! I’m on a week-long holiday, the kitchen is overflowing with homemade sweets, and after years and years of trying to like wine, I’ve finally found two that I love. All is merry and bright!

My Christmas baking this year included Noir bars. It’s the first time I’ve made them. It won’t be the last. I can’t open the refrigerator this week without eating one.

If you aren’t a coffee or espresso drinker, don’t shy away from this recipe — the espresso simply intensifies the chocolate flavors. The filling includes a frothy, creamy combination of cream cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon and chocolate.

The recipe is from one of my Betty Crocker® magazines. Click here to view the Noir Bar recipe.

What new recipe(s) did you try this holiday season?

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