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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Monthly Archives: March 2011

I don’t know about you, readers of BHTB, but when I think of banana bread, all I think about it is my grandma’s “famous” banana bread, and how wholly “un-hip” it was.  Usually nesting atop a lace doily or two, shaped by a bundt pan that she probably received decades ago as a wedding gift, the cake was undoubtedly tasty, but seriously lacked the modern flair for which I was searching.  So, readers, look no further;  both vegan and refined-sugar-free, this banana bread is just as delicious as the traditional favorite that you grew up eating, but can be consumed with a clear conscience — totally hip if you ask me.  I found this recipe on Alicia Silverstone’s blog, The Kind Life (new favorite!), and am so glad Silverstone recommended it!

MAPLE SYRUP BANANA BREAD – Katie B, via The Kind Life

1 cup 100% pure Maple syrup
1/2 cup Earth Balance butter spread
Egg substitute for 2 eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax seed and 6 tablespoons of water, mixed)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 very ripe bananas, smashed
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Chopped nuts (as many as you like)
Raisins (as many as you like) – I omitted both!

Mix ingredients in a bowl in the order given.
Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes. (Watch carefully!  Mine didn’t need the whole time.)


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… that the worst work is done. – Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Wilde really knew what he was talking about…I intended for this recipe to be “kind of a big deal,” to steal a line from Anchorman. I thought it was going to be a showstopper, leaving everyone in awe.  Unfortunately, it did not entirely live up to my expectations; the chips were not quite hard enough, and the cookies themselves were overly dense, and a little too sweet. I will definitely come back to it in the future, however, as it has SO much potential.  Whose mouth doesn’t water at the thought of homemade NUTELLA CHIP cookies?!   I followed the advice of the recipe to chill the dough for 36 hours, but I think if I were making this again I would not chill the dough, because I like a slightly thinner cookie (chilling helps it to spread less).  Also, I might put a little less sugar in the dough just because I like a slightly less-sweet cookie.

In the meantime:

Homemade Nutella Chips –
Makes about 2 cups

Using the added milk chocolate chips gives the chips more structure and creaminess but it also mutes the hazelnut flavor. If you don’t mind a subtler Nutella flavor or if you will boost the flavor of the cookies with added toasted hazelnuts or ground hazelnuts, feel free to replace the butter with even more milk chocolate chips.

6.5 oz. Nutella
2 oz. butter
3 oz. milk chocolate chips (optional)

In a double boiler or a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering hot water, melt all the ingredients until you have a smooth, glossy chocolate mixture, about 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Take the mixture off heat.

To make chunks, spread in a 1/8-inch thick layer on Silpat or foil and freeze for at least 2 hours. When frozen solid, break into chunks with a knife (try not to handle the chocolate too much or the heat of your hands will start to melt it). Store in the freezer until ready to use.

To make chocolate chips or discs, put the melted chocolate inside a pastry bag or resealable bag with a corner snipped off. Pipe out the discs or chips onto a baking sheet lined with Silpat or a sheet of foil. When done, put the sheet in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours. When frozen solid, loosen the chocolate chips and store in a bag or airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.


Nutella Chip Cookies with Homemade Nutella Chips –, adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 sticks butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups homemade Nutella chips
3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted (optional)
Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.

Melt 1 1/4 sticks butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Keep swirling until butter has a dark golden brown color and a nutty aroma, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and mix in the remaining butter until melted.

Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla to the butter and mix well. Add the egg and the extra yolk; whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Let it rest for 3 minutes, then whisk again for about 30 seconds, before letting it rest again. You’ll want to whisk this about 4 times, until you have a thick, glossy, and smooth mixture.

Gently stir in the flour and baking soda just until combined. Make sure dough is cool before stirring in the Nutella chips and nuts, if using.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Form dough balls about 3 tablespoons in size (I use an ice cream scoop) and place them on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 14–16 minutes (mine took 15 minutes), then put the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool on the sheets.

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A little birdie told me that Bringing Home the Bakin’ just joined the twitter community… happy tweeting!


follow me!!!/BHTBakin

Both my mom and my grandma called me last week to rave about a lemon ricotta cookie they had shared at Nordstrom.  I didn’t try the Nordstrom cookie, but from what they described, it sounded like something I wanted to make, especially to redeem myself in the lemon dessert category (think back to my first flop).  I found Giada’s recipe online and decided I would try it out.  Both generations agreed that this recipe was different, but like mother, like daughter (and granddaughter!), they also agreed that these cookies were every bit as delicious.  These would be great with coffee or  tea, as they have a scone-like texture.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze – Giada De Laurentiis



  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.


In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.


Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative contain

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Sitting in my kitchen last night, seeking inspiration for my latest post, I leafed through my mom’s stack of this month’s magazines: Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Saveur, the list goes on.  While doing so, I watched my younger sisters pack their lunches, each complaining that we didn’t have “good food” at our house.  I don’t know about you, but when I was in school, daily lunches meant rubbery hot dogs and mystery meat loaf; the school cafeteria was a stranger to all things organic and local.  Today, sushi lunch is expected, and vitamin waters have replaced juicy juice.  In a world where nutterbutters just don’t cut it anymore, I bring you Bon Appetit’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.  These will surely please even the most P.B. and Jaded of taste testers.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars – Bon Appetit, March 2011


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup grape jelly or other jelly or jam
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving 2-inch overhang around edges and pressing firmly into corners and up sides of pan. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter in large bowl until smooth. Add egg and vanilla; beat on low speed until smooth. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Transfer half of dough to prepared pan (about scant 1 1/2 cups). Place remaining dough in freezer for 10 minutes. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto bottom of pan. Spread jelly over in even layer. Remove dough from freezer; using fingertips, break into grape-size pieces and scatter over jelly layer. Sprinkle chopped nuts over.
  • Bake bars until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool bars completely in pan on rack.
  • Using foil overhang as aid, lift bars from pan. Gently peel foil from edges. Cut into 16 squares. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

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