Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

It is dark now when I leave the house and go to work.  Yes, 7:45 a.m. and pitch black dark.  This morning I noticed one of my neighbors had his holiday lights up and on.  What a wonderful sight on a dark commute to work.  I was so thankful, I made some cookies and took some with a thank-you card to his house.  I love bright neighbors.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
from the back of the peanut butter chip bag (I know, really original)

2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. (2 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups. (10 oz. pkg.) Reese's Peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together four, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.  Stir in peanut butter chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Do not over bake, cookies will be soft.  They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.  Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely.  About 4 1/2 dozen cookies.
Frozen cookie dough balls going into a freezer bag for quick easy cookies.

October 31, 2012     Daylight  7 hours, 52 minutes 49 seconds   Temp. 12°F

Monday, October 29, 2012

Caramel Corn for Halloween

When I was little, my Grandma Stejer made caramel corn for us.  It was one of my favorite treats.  I always looked forward the the October visit she would make to us because I knew the snacks would improve greatly (sorry mom).

When I went to college, one of my jobs was working in a record store in a mall.  One of the vendors just a few doors down was a caramel corn seller.  I was a frequent patron, if not once each day I worked, sometimes twice (those shifts were long)!  Needless to say most of my "freshman 15" didn't come from the cafeteria food.

I try not to each as much caramel corn these days.  But something about October and the ever-approaching holiday fest starting with Halloween, makes me crave that sticky, crunchy, sweet, nutty treat.  I use an air-popper to pop my corn, by saving a few calories here, I believe I can justify eating more caramel corn later. I'm making extra for October's Girl's night out dinner and I'll take treat bags to work this year, along with giving some to the boys across the street.  The season of eating has begun.

Caramel Corn
adapted from Picture Perfect Meals cookbook, Christmas Cookies and Confections 

unsalted butter for the pan
12 cups popped popcorn
2 cups mixed salted nuts
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 250º F.  Generously butter a heavy rimmed baking sheet and set aside.  Place the popped corn  in a large bowl.  In a heavy, medium saucepan, combine he sugar, corn syrup, butter and molasses. Whisk over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves and butter melts. Bring to a boil over  medium heat and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, baking soda, and salt.  Pour the sugar mixture over the popcorn, pour the mixed nuts over the sugar syrup and stir to evenly distribute the sugar mixture and nuts.  Spread the mixture onto the prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and break up any large clumps.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

I use my roasting pan for this.  I put the popped popcorn in the buttered pan, add the sugar syrup and nuts, stir in the pan and pop it in the oven.

I added Reeses Pieces after the corn was cool.  It added a nice Halloween touch with the colors.

October 29, 2012     Daylight  8 hours, 6 minutes, 18 seconds     Temp  17º F & snowing!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Monkey Bread and a computer crash.

It was a Friday morning, 8:45.  I had the snack set out, the coffee made and 60 (yes, 60) people sitting waiting for me to start at 9:00.  I had a quick 30 minutes to cover the powerpoint and data discussion I had prepared.  I went to print a sign in sheet and the spinning wheel of death hard drive was dead. (Hmmm, something about computers dying on me is the theme this month)

It was not a pretty moment and to say I freaked out is an understatement!  Our network services department was in the middle of a staff meeting and they ALL heard me.  One of our very patient techs left the meeting and tried to help me.  But when the hard drive is dead, it is dead.  I got a loaner computer, stumbled through part of what I wanted to cover and turned it over to the "real" presenter.

There is a happy ending, like network services retrieved the data from the hard drive from my computer, replaced the hard drive, re-loaded the data and then one of our techs went to the store and got me an external hard drive and set it up with time machine. (I won't mention that 7 or 8 months ago, the said tech told me to do this back then and I never got around to it.  He didn't even rub it in that I didn't do that, he is a nice guy.)  So, after a few days with my fixed computer I really felt I owed them.  I usually make these sticky buns but wanted to do something a little different, but knowing the sticky buns are a favorite I wanted something similar.  I came across some pictures of monkey bread made with store bought bread or biscuits and wanted to do a homemade version.  I came up with this.

The pumpkin bread is wonderful on it's own, or rolled with cinnamon and a little sugar for a great cinnamon bread, but as monkey bread, it is a little taste of heaven.  The pull apart pieces studded with nuts and dripping with the caramel is so wonderful, not to mention the smell of the pumpkin pie spice with the cloves and cinnamon...YUM!

So, while I don't think I've fully recovered, I do feel better knowing time machine is backing up all my precious data every hour on the hour.  And this monkey bread will be in the rotation when the boys come home over the holidays.

Did I tell you the curly haired boy and the baby boy are coming home over the Christmas/New Year Holiday? And they are bringing their chicks? Can you imagine how obnoxious I am about waiting?  Feel very sorry for my husband.

Pumpkin Monkey Bread
adapted from the DAK advertisement book from 1992 (yes, I still have it, but never bought a bread machine)

for the bread
1 pkg. or 1 scant Tbsp. dry yeast
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1 1/3 c. warm water
1/4 c. apple juice
orange zest from one orange
1/2 c. pumpkin

Mix dry ingredients together. Add butter, egg, water apple juice, orange zest, and pumpkin.  Mix well.  Flour a table or board an kneed bread until soft but no longer sticky.  Place in oiled bowl and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

for the caramel topping
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chopped nuts, divided

for rolling the bread dough
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Mix sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice together.  Pour into large ziplock.  Set aside.

Mix melted butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream.   Pour half the mixture in the bottom of a well buttered bundt pan.  Top with 1/2 cup nuts.

After the first rise, pull small balls of dough (I used my smallest scoop to help with this), roll in a ball and toss in cinnamon/sugar mixture in ziplock bag.  Place sugared balls in bundt pan, covering the bottom.  When about 1/2 the dough is used, pour in rest of butter/sugar mixture and top with nuts.  Continue with the dough balls rolled in cinnamon/sugar mixture and place in bundt pan.

Let rise about 1 hour, or until balls have doubled in size.

Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes or until top is very browned and bread is done.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Turn bread out upside down on platter, large enough to hold bread and catch any caramel that drips down side.  Cool about 30 minutes (or risk burning your mouth) and serve.

I'm all about doing the work the night before, so I make this, cover with plastic wrap, sprayed with cooking spray, and put in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, I take the pan out of the fridge, pre-heat the oven for 20 minutes, and bake (you may need to add 5-10 minutes to baking time).

That business about kneeding the dough is a lie, I let my Kitchen Aide do all the work, and I leave it in the bowl for the first rise, I don't even take the dough out to oil the bowl.

October 26, 2012     Daylight  8 hours, 26 minutes, 31 seconds     Temp.  14º F

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cowboy Cookies

I'm kind of on a cookie kick.  I don't know if it is the snow on the ground and the colder temperatures are making me crave cookies, or the fact that the holiday season starts with Halloween and the curly haired boy and the baby boy are both coming up with their chicks during the holiday and I want to have lots of goodies on hand, or that I just love cookies.

Cookies are a little bundle of love.  You can have a cookie everyday and not feel too guilty.  You can send them through the mail to loved ones far away and it is like opening a hug.  You can give them to friends and neighbors for a thank you, get well soon, congrats, or just because.  So I am making lots of cookies.

Like I've posted before, I like to make the cookie dough, scoop it into balls and freeze the dough.  I can pull out 3 cookies, or 2 dozen and bake them as needed.  I really like to have several varieties in the freezer so I can make a plate with an assortment and it is really no trouble at all.

These are really yummy cookies.  You could add/delete any of the add-ins to suit your taste.  I happen to love the coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts.  But have made them with different flavored chips or chocolate chunks, change up the nuts, leave out the coconut, or add dried fruit.  It really depends on what I have in the pantry.

This the the "traditional" version of cowboy cookies, just like my mom used to make.  Enjoy.
Cowboy Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 pkg. (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, stir until a soft dough forms.  Stir in oats, chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut.

Drop by tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350º F for 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

October 24, 2012     Daylight 8 hours, 40 minutes, 0 sec.     Temp. 7º F

Friday, October 19, 2012

Death of a Sewing Machine & Vanilla Chocolate Martini

So maybe it isn't as tragic as the play Death of a Salesman, but it is quite the tragedy to me.  I have had my sewing machine for 22 years.  Zach was 2 and I just started learning how to sew.  I had an old Singer and it worked just fine.  I took a couple of quilting classes and used the instructor's machine once, and had to upgrade.

It was a big purchase for me at the time.  It was a computerized machine and top of the Pfaff line.  I loved that machine.  I made all the kid's Halloween costumes, their quilts and the Power Ranger Costumes Zach had to have when the first Power Ranger movie came out, it got me through sad times and happy times.  Did I mention I loved that machine.

After I cried for a while (Dave never even said I was being unreasonable), Dave said he would go machine shopping with me.  I don't want a new machine, I want my old machine.  I don't want to spend the money to replace it, I don't want to learn how to use a new machine, and I just want my old machine....yes, I'm whining.

I'm going to have to drink a little to get over the loss...So that brings us to Drink of the Week.

When things are this bad, you need a drink that is decadent, a little over the top.  This is the perfect drink to mix up and sip by the fire while you are feeling sorry for yourself because you have to learn how to use a new sewing machine, or someone broke your heart, or the cat barfed on the carpet (I don't have cats, do they do things like that?).

What ever your reason, celebration or pity party, this is one of my favorites.

Vanilla Chocolate Martini
1 oz. Godiva Chocolate liquor
1/2 oz. vanilla vodka

Pour ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake until very cold.  Strain into martini glass and enjoy.  Makes one drink, you can easily double or triple this as the need arises.

October 19, 2012     Daylight  9 hours, 13 minutes, 40 seconds     Temp. 24ºF

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pork and Tomatillo Posole

Dave spent the day winterizing the house.  One of the things he does every year is shrink wrap the windows.  You know, covers the windows with that plastic stuff and then uses a hair dryer to shrink it and get rid of any wrinkles.  It does help with the drafts, and we do live in an old drafty house, but if I think about it too much it makes me a little claustrophobic.  I know I'll be thankful for those extra couple of degrees it keeps the house.

This is the time of year I really start to cook and bake.  I lean toward comfort foods that are warm and filling.  I am always looking for ways to make my favorites a little healthier, but I'm not often successful.  This warm, homey soup is the perfect combination of comfort and healthy choices.

Posole is comfort food at it's finest.  A warm broth based soup filled with pork, warm spices, hominy, onions, and topped with crunchy radishes and creamy avocado.   It is perfect for those cold snowy days when the fire is going and your toes are still a little cold, even with the shrink-wrapped windows.

Pork and Tomatillo Posole
adapted from Ellie Kreiger, Comfort Food Fix

12 oz. fresh tomatillos, papery skins removed, rinsed well an dried
1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 bay leaf
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (15 oz) can white hominy, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 radishes
1 small ripe avocado
1/4 head small cabbage, shredded
1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat the broiler.  Place the tomatillos and jalapeno on a baking sheet and broil, 5-6 inches from the flame, until the tomatillos collapse and the jalapeno is charred, about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor and blend or process until smooth.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the pork and cook until browned but still slightly pink in the center, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the pork, with its juices to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the spices become fragrant, about 1 minute.  Return the pork with its juices to the pot and stir to combine.  Add the pureed tomatillos, chicken broth, hominy, tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, skimming off any initial foam, for 15 minutes.  Add shredded cabbage and simmer 5 minutes more  Remove the bay leaf.  Season with salt.  Serve garnished with radishes, avocado, and cilantro.
Serves 4

October 17, 2012     Daylight 9 hours, 27 minutes, 6 seconds     Temp. 23ºF

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baked Nutella Doughnuts and Less than 10 hours of sunlight

So it has happened.  We are under 10 hours of daylight a day now, and losing about 6 1/2 minutes a day.  It's all downhill from here, the dark, the cold, the flannel pants, the cuddling by the fire...
Luckily, we have the holidays coming up and that keeps us entertained until after the new year.  We also have some fun things coming up, Jerry Seinfeld is coming to Fairbanks soon, we already have our tickets.  UAF hockey season has started, Dave will have snow to shovel, and I'm starting a mosaic of the sun for the back yard.

We really have to keep up our strength during the long, dark winters so I'm bulking up for winter and starting with baked Nutella Doughnuts.  As you know, Nutella makes everything better and everyone feel better.  If I'm not eating it by the spoonful, I'm adding it to anything I can, this is the perfect combination of warm, cakey doughnut and melty, soft Nutella.  My, these are so good, I can eat them all myself.  I got this recipe from the blog Gingerbread Bagels.  It is brilliant.

Baked Nutella Swirl Doughnuts
adapted from Gingerbread Bagels
(makes 12 doughnuts)
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten and at room temperature
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons Nutella

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt into a large bowl. Mix it up.
Add in the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently mix and fold everything together. Be careful to over mix the batter.
Put the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large round decorating tip.
Pipe the batter into a lightly greased doughnut pan.
Put 1/2 Tablespoon of Nutella on each top of each doughnut. (the batter)
Using a knife, swirl the Nutella around.
Bake the doughnuts at 425 degrees F for 9 minutes.
Remove the doughnuts from the pan and enjoy!

October 15, 2012     Daylight 9 hours, 40 minutes, 31 seconds     Temp. 24 ºF

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Who is the Horse Shoe Champion? Gingered Pear and Brandy Drink of the Week

We had our last camping trip last weekend. It only snowed on us a little. We did a little four-wheeling, had a campfire, Dave went fishing while I read a good book, we played horse shoes, and Dave grilled huge steaks for dinner.  I think we did everything on Dave's list for the last camping trip.

So let's get to the horse shoe game.  I have never played horse shoes.  Dave and the kids play a lot, but with 5 kids, I've always been busy with other things.  With just Dave and I camping it was my perfect chance.  Now, I did take 5 steps in front of the horse shoe box so I was not at regulation distance.  We started the first game, the score was 11 to 0 (or something like that), Dave informed me that 13 to 0 was a skunk...I just couldn't have that, so I beat him.  Yes, I came from behind and beat him.  I did feel a little bad, so I told him we could play 2 out of 3.  You need to know that the last person to win the horse shoe game at our camping spot is the horse shoe champion for the winter, a very coveted title (for Dave).

We played the second game, and sure enough, Dave won.  We decided to pull up camp and play the last game after we cleaned up, just before we pulled out of camp. 

We were playing the third game and it was 8 to 0, I finally made a point and we were both confident Dave would win and we could move on.  It was about 34 degrees and my fingers were getting cold.  As we played, I got back into the groove and ended up beating him 21-20.  So, who is the horse shoe champion until next spring?  Yep, that's right, this girl....even though I was 5 steps in front of the box I am holding that title and reminding Dave of it every chance I get...If you know Dave ask him who the champion is.

So to celebrate, we have Drink of the Week.  A wonderful blend of pear juice, gingered simple syrup, and cognac with a twist of lemon.  It is the perfect fall drink, warming and delicious.  It tastes even better when you are the horse shoe champion.

Gingered Pear and Brandy Cocktail
Cooking Light Cooking Through the Seasons

1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 cups pear juice
1 cup cognac
10 lemon rind twists

Combine 1/4 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat.  Add ginger.  Cover and let stand 15 minutes.  Strain sugar mixture through a fine sieve.  Discard solids.  Chill sugar mixture 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Fill a large martini shaker half full with ice.  Add sugar mixture, juice and cognac; shake until chilled.  Strain 1/2 cup mixture into each of 10 martini glasses.  Garnish each serving with 1 lemon twist.

October 11, 2012     Daylight  10 hours,  7 minutes,  18 seconds     Temp. 38ºF

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chocolate Peanut butter Cookies

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
― Linda Grayson
 I have some great friends.  One of my friends was cruising my "Recipes to Try" board on Pinterest and emailed me to ask if I would make these cookies and bring them to class on Thursday.  Well, she is a second grade teacher and cookies any day with a bunch of 7 year-olds would be great, I was game.  Then I checked my calendar and saw that I was training that whole day, school psychs in the morning and classroom teachers in the afternoon.  I had to email back and let her know I wouldn't be able to run the cookies out to her.  She did remind me that she was going to be in my afternoon training session...I had forgotten.  So, I made these cookies for Nicole.  They were wonderful and came from the Pillsbury website.  Nicole is a true friend, she gives me an excuse to bake, and have a post for my blog, and eat cookies!  You don't get better than that.


  • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • OR 1 stick Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 40 to 45 chocolate-covered miniature peanut butter cups


  • 1 teaspoon Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • OR 1 teaspoon Crisco® Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter

Preparation Directions

  • HEAT oven to 375ºF. Coat baking sheets lightly with no-stick cooking spray.
  • COMBINE shortening, brown sugar, granulated sugar and peanut butter in bowl of electric mixer; beat at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Mix into shortening mixture at low speed until just blended. Form rounded teaspoonfuls of dough around each peanut butter cup. Enclose entirely. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  • BAKE 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are just browned. Remove immediately to cooling rack.
  • COMBINE shortening, chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave on MEDIUM (50% power) 1 minute. Stir. Repeat until smooth.
  • DIP cookie tops in chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is set.
I like big cookies, so I only got about 2 1/2 dozen from this (I used a #40 scooper).  Next time, I will use the fun size peanut butter cups that are individually wrapped, not the minis that come unwrapped in the bag.  I think it will be a better candy/cookie ratio.

This is a keeper, they are so good.  I can't wait for my next request for them...anyone?

October 9, 2012     Daylight  10 hours, 20 minutes, 39 seconds     Temp. 38ºF

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Roasted Chicken with Apples and Garlic

Work has been really busy and getting everything buttoned up outside has left the inside of the house a little worse for the wear.  I come home tired and grumpy (so much so that I texted Dave on Friday to warn him), get dinner and head outside to get a few chores done.

We finished up pretty much over the weekend and then I could look around the house and see how much needs to be done, wow.  I threw dinner in the oven and has some time to vacuum the poodles out from under the living room chairs.  Boy, those dogs shed a lot.

Dinner was ready, we had a warm delicious supper and I wasn't quite so grumpy for the rest of the evening.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Apples and Garlic
Cooking Light, October 2002


  • 5 cups chopped peeled Braeburn apple (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned $
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Chopped parsley (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 475°.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Spread apple mixture on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and arrange on top of the apple mixture. Bake at 475° for 25 minutes or until chicken is done and apple is tender. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
  4. Partially mash apple mixture with a potato masher, and serve with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
It's my baby brother's birthday.  A shout out to him!  Happy birthday, brother!

October 4, 2012     Daylight  10 hours, 53 minutes, 57 seconds     Temp. 48º F

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

It snowed.
September 30 and I woke up to snow.  It couldn't wait one day for October, no, it had to snow in September.  Also, it wasn't a pretty snow that makes you cuddle up with hot chocolate and watch the flakes fall.  It was those tiny flakes that looks like the cold is just sucking the moisture out of the air.
I was not happy.

It is a good thing Dave finished up the yard work.  He got the outdoor furniture put away in the greenhouse, the last of the pots pulled and stored and the dried up merrigolds pulled.  The only thing left is for him to put up the winter fence.  I still need to pull the strawberries and the last of the leeks.

The snow really hit me hard.  It's not like it is a surprise winter is coming.  We all know it.  It is dark in the morning when I get up now, I have to wear gloves outside and you can see your breath when you are outside, but September.

So, I did what any self-respecting depressed person would do, I baked.  And boy was it good.  Good enough to lift my depression in the euphoria that only white sugar and white flour can bring.

This banana cake studded with mini chocolate chips and topped with a decadent peanut butter frosting is so good.  If Elvis were still alive (or if he is), this would take the place of his beloved fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  The cake is moist and rich, the chocolate is a perfect addition and the peanut butter frosting takes it over the top.  If I make this every time it snows, I'll be in a wonderful mood all winter.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
Bon Appetit Magazine, October 2012


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 10-oz. bag mini chocolate chips


  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, and chocolate kisses

Special equipment

  • Two 8x8x2-inch cake pans



  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment; coat paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in vanilla.
  • Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Add bananas and sour cream; beat just to blend. Fold in mini chips. Divide batter evenly among pans; smooth tops.
  • Bake cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; peel off parchment and let cool completely.


  • Using an electric mixer, beat first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until a light and fluffy frosting forms, 2–3 minutes.
  • Place 1 cake on a platter. Spread 1 1/4 cups frosting over. Place remaining cake on top. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with chocolate chips and kisses. DO AHEAD Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

October 2, 2012     Daylight  11 hours, 7 minutes, 14 seconds     Temp.  43º F