Studying all day can get a little old – so I really needed a change in my routine. I figured something new for breakfast would be a start. I secretly bought more bananas then we could eat, hoping some would end up “banana bread worthy” by the end of the week. And after avoiding the bananas all week, there were 4 bananas left on their last leg by Friday. Since I plan on eating this bread for breakfast, I figured what would be better than adding a little peanut butter to boost the protein, and the flavor. I found this recipe on Joy’s blog, which also happened to call for ground flax seed – more protein, more fiber – good stuff. After finishing off the raspberry bars in a ridiculously short time, I decided I needed to make a snack with a little more sustenance.
Then of course I had to go and ruin a perfectly healthy morning breakfast by adding chocolate chips to the batter. They were calling my name from the pantry, and I just couldn’t resist. I didn’t add too many. Promise. But really you could eat it for dessert if you so desire. You could also try adding butterscotch chips, or peanuts, or walnuts – or whatever happens to be calling your name from your pantry. I think next time I’m going to put both chocolate chips AND chopped peanuts – because I really love that peanut flavor. That’s one of the reasons this recipe calls for natural peanut butter – it has a much stronger peanut flavor than Jif.
This is a quick bread, and rightly named. It doesn’t take much time to make, and you don’t even need to get the mixer out. It’s pretty much just through all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and bake. It’s moist and flavorful enough to eat just plain, but of course John likes to add butter to his.
Peanut Butter Banana Bread (with Chocolate Chips)
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4)
- 1/3 cup plain or vanilla fat free yogurt
- 1/3 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup all purpose)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 scant teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of allspice
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, or chopped peanuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine all the wet ingredients – bananans, yogurt, peanut butter, melted butter, and eggs. Mix with a wisk. Then add the brown and granulated sugar and stir.
Then add the flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice to the wet ingredients. (You could also mix the dry ingredients separately in another bowl to start, but I don’t think it’s necessary).
Mix until no lumps remain and then stir in chocolate chips, or your mix-in of choice.
Bake at 350° for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan, and then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Removing the bread from the pan lets the air circulate, so moisture doesn’t condense in the crust – which can make the bread tough.
Check out those chocolate chips – yummmm.
The last few days have made me realize something – it’s probably a good thing I normally have to study all day. In the last 4 days, which I self proclaimed my vacation before I start studying for the boards, I think I have gone to the grocery store 6 times, Bed, Bath and Beyond twice, and the mall once. Despite the fact that I meant for this to be a relaxing break, I created numerous little projects for myself, and then convinced myself that they absolutely HAD to be done. Things like making this blackberry lemon tart, from scratch. (One of the trips to bed bath and beyond was to buy a tart pan, which I clearly HAD to have to make this). But I’m not complaining, because it was all a lot of fun.
For the last day before we lock ourselves away to start seriously studying, our friends had a little dinner party. At first I really wanted to make cupcakes to bring, but when I saw blackberries at the store, I changed my game plan, and searched for the perfect spring time dessert that would use blackberries. Like I’ve said before, normally I’m a sucker for a chocolate dessert. I still can never see myself ordering strawberry ice cream when there’s a chocolate chip on the menu – but making a super chocholately dessert didn’t really seem to go with the nice weather, and I know a lot of our friends actually like fruit-filled desserts. I also happen to be a sucker for marscapone cheese, so I knew I would like this. If you’re worried about making your own tart crust – don’t be! It was a lot easier than I thought, and as much as I try to convince myself that store bought crust is just as good, this recipe proved me wrong. This is a great spring time dessert, and it actually quite easy to put together. The only part that requires baking is the crust, which can be made ahead of time. Just assemble right before serving so that the blueberries don’t bleed onto the filling.
Blackberry Lemon Tart
For the Crust:
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 T. ice cold water
- 1 t. vanilla or almond extract
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 stick (8 T.) butter, very cold and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, vanilla extract and ice cold water. Keep cold.
Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a large bowl and pastry cutter, or 2 knives for the next steps)
Add the butter to the food processor and pulse until a fine meal is formed. Then add the egg mixture, and pulse until dough just begins to come together. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into circular-like shape, a little larger than your tarte pan, and between 1/8-1/4 inch thick. To pick the dough up, roll it around your rolling pin, and then roll it back out onto the tarte pan. Press into the edges of the pan, and pinch off excess around the edges. To help reinforce the edges, you can fold the excess tarte dough back onto itself, and then trim any excess still left. Then chill tart for another 20 minutes (or until ready to bake)
When ready to bake, place foil on top of the dough, and fill with pie weights (which can be beans, peas, rice, etc.). NOTE: I used parchment paper on top of my dough, but did not bring the paper up around the tart edges. This causes the edges to fall slightly when baking so next time I will use foil, and cover the entire surface, so that the pie weights reach all the way around to the edges of the tarte, helping to support the structure.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until just golden. Remove pie weights and cool.
For the Filling
- 1 (8 oz) container marscapone cheese
- 3/4 cup light sour cream
- 4 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Blackberries for topping
In a small bowl combine all ingredients except blackberries, and stir vigorously, or blend with a mixer. Spread mixture into cooled tart and top with blackberries immediately before serving.
Adapted from The London Times