Call it the dining hall blues, but every time I return to school after a trip home, I wish for a kitchen in which I can whip up my own meals. I’m grateful, of course, for the convenience and variety of my meal plan selections, but after a long day of classes and activities, my heart sometimes longs for a serving of homemade mac-and-cheese or a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven. I suppose my cravings speak to the power of comfort food and its ability to transport and soothe simultaneously.
For a prime example of such dishes, one can do no better than a loaf of banana bread — except, perhaps, by adding a bit of chocolate! When I saw this rich rendition of the household favorite, I knew instantly that I’d need to make it for myself. The recipe delivered: the bread is decadent, fudgy, and flavorful. It’s, in short, comfort food at its finest, a recipe that could easily make a sweet surprise for a friend. With all this said, it’s no wonder that today, as my sister recently informed me, is National Banana Bread Day. A dessert this beloved deserves a holiday to itself.
As always, some kitchen notes to keep in mind. First, you can keep this in the fridge (my family simply heats up slices in the microwave), but I find it best enjoyed the day it’s made. Second, you’re free to skip the sliced banana on top if you fear too sunken of a bread, but I love the look – and taste! – of it. And finally, I haven’t tried this with chocolate chips, but I imagine it would be an utter delight. If you’re feeling adventurous and try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes.
Fudgy Banana Bread Adapted from Alison Roman’s Dining In (via A Cup of Jo)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, separated
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (alternatively, use 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 5 ripe bananas, four mashed and one sliced in half lengthwise
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray or grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, then sprinkle the pan with 1/4 cup granulated sugar so it is coated. Tap out excess sugar.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla for 3-5 minutes. Mixture will be light.
- Add the egg, and beat two minutes more.
- Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the mashed bananas and sour cream by hand.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Place the banana halves, cut side up, on top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on top.
- Bake for 90-100 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (save for a few moist crumbs).
- Let cool before slicing, and enjoy!
Have a lovely Friday!
When I was little, the end of December marked the end of winter magic. Christmas decorations stored away and holiday break only a memory, all that was left to January and February was school and snow. Now, however, I revel in the coziness and quietness of the winter months. If the change is a result of growing older, I’m not sure, but it’s nevertheless the time of year where I crave chances to write and bake (you can only imagine how I’ve spent these past few weeks at home).
It was on a recent chilly evening that I whipped up a batch of Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. I shared a different recipe for these a while back, but ever since I saw a salt-sprinkled and chocolate-heavy version in a recent issue of Bon Appétit, I’ve been meaning to revisit it. Whether you have a case of the winter blues or you look forward to January as much as I do, let this be a reminder that sometimes, it’s just cookies, in all their brown butter and chocolate toffee bit goodness, that you need.
Two kitchen notes, before we begin. First, you may be tempted to rush the chilling of these cookies – I don’t blame you – but this dough requires thirty minutes to an hour in the fridge for best results. Second, you can, of course, skip the toffee bits and simply use whatever leftover Christmas chocolate you have on hand. The cookies will still be delicious (I promise!). With that said, if you have the ability to splurge on ingredients, this is an instance where it’s entirely worth it.
Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies Loosely adapted from Bon Appétit
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (alternatively, use 1 cup light brown sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses – works like a charm!)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 chocolate toffee bars (such as Skor or Heath), chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
- Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently, until it foams, browns, and smells somewhat nutty, five to seven minutes. Pour into a separate bowl and let cool slightly.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until combined. Scrape down the bowl, then mix in eggs and vanilla.
- Reduce speed to add flours, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the toffee pieces and chocolate chips by hand.
- Let dough chill for thirty minutes to an hour. (I haven’t tried it overnight, but I’m sure results will be similar!).
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough into small 1-inch balls and place in rows. Sprinkle each cookie with salt.
- Bake cookies for nine to eleven minutes, or until golden brown and firm at the edges. Let cool before transferring to a baking sheet, and enjoy!
Have a lovely Wednesday!
Psst. If you’re asking, “Bella, is that a bandana with cookies on it?!,” you’d be correct. It’s from the wonderful Madewell x Milk line, and it’s my current go-to accessory when styling my tote! If you’d like it for yourself, you can find it HERE.
I had a friend recently ask what I will do next year when I no longer have a kitchen open to my baking whims. It hadn’t hit me until she mentioned it — and I still don’t have an answer — but it did fuel my desire to bake more frequently before I head off to college. After a hectic senior year schedule, I’m bummed, but not surprised, that it has been over a year since I last posted a recipe.
With a desire to bake, however, comes a desire for new recipes, which brought me to today’s dessert: malted chocolate chip and reverse white chocolate chip cookies from Irvin Lin’s Marbled, Swirled, and Layered. The cookies first caught my eye because of how they looked — baking can be just as much about the visual as it is the taste — but only a batch later, and I think it’s safe to say that both my family and my friends have all found a new favorite. With a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a bakery style size, these cookies can only be improved with a glass of milk on the side. Worth turning on the oven in this summer heat? I sure think so.
Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies and Reverse White Chocolate Chip Cookies Loosely adapted from Marbled, Swirled, and Layered by Irvin Lin
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup and two tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
for the chocolate chip cookies
- 1/2 cup malted milk powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
for the reverse white chocolate chip cookies
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Add the eggs and egg yolk, beating well after each addition.
- Mix in the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, until well-incorporated and the dough remains a little sticky.
- Divide the dough in half, and set aside one halve for later use. In the same bowl of the electric mixer, stir in the malted milk powder and flour to the remaining dough. Mix in the chocolate by hand. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
- Place the reserved dough back in the bowl of the electric mixer, and incorporate the cocoa powder until fully mixed. Add the white chocolate by hand. As done previously, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
- Once the dough has been refrigerated, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease two baking sheets and set aside.
- For each cookie, scoop a chunk of malted dough and roll into a ball. Do the same with the white chocolate chip dough. Stick the two together and roll them together so they form one big ball. Press down on a hard surface, such as a plate or cutting board, to form a disk roughly 2.5 inches wide. Cut the dough in half, perpendicular to the dough dividing line. Flip one half over and then press together, as if to form a checkerboard pattern.
- Place cookies on baking sheets in rows two inches apart.
- Bake cookies for fourteen to fifteen minutes; they will spread and be golden brown along the edges.
- Let the cookies cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Have a wonderful Tuesday!