Friday, May 24, 2013

Monkey Bars with Browned Butter Icing

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a recipe using aged bananas. I always have ripening bananas and am tired of making banana bread, so I thought, this recipe sounds pretty good, lets give it a shot. And to my coworkers approval, they turned out incredible.

Monkey Bars with Browned Butter Icing
For the bars:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 & 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
3/4 cups chopped pecans, toasted
For the icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk*
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the bars:
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 10"x 15" sheet pan and dust with flour.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Mix in sour cream and bananas.
Gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir in pecans.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Place pan on wire rack to cool slightly while you prepare the icing.
To make the icing:
Place butter in a medium saucepan. Melt butter over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter foams and brown specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan.
Remove from heat. Add about 1 cup of confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and about 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir into butter. Add remaining sugar and milk in 2-3 more portions, working quickly to mix well.
Quickly spread icing evenly over warm bars. Allow bars and icing to cool before cutting into bars.
*The amount of milk you'll need may vary. Use as much as you need to make the icing spreadable. It shouldn't be as thick as frosting, but thicker than a glaze.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Trader Joe's

How can you say you don't like Trader Joe's? I love the place, but don't shop there near as much as I would like to! Mainly I shop there to get ideas for dinner or a special menu. It's difficult, because if you really like one of their items, you can't just run in anywhere and pick it up, or when they have an incredible seasonal item, that you crave off season! Ugh.

Anyhow, today was one of those days I needed inspiration for dinner. I knew what my main course was going to be (potato crusted cod), but no idea on the sides. When I went in I perused the store looking for ideas ....a different kind of fish...... maybe nuts for crusting the cod..... oh! Harvest Blend Couscous they have harissa spice ......yummy BRUSSELS SPROUTS!!.... oh wait shredded Brussels sprouts-same price an size as non shredded (score) .....mmmm Fresh English peas ......oh look, haricot verts (tiny French green beans) ......and Pita Chips for Craigy, his favorite! Next thing I know I have a $30 bag of snacks/veggies and side dishes or the rest if the week!

Maybe this is why I don't shop there more......