Monday, March 26, 2012

Buttermilk Brownies

As you know, I am a complete choco-holic, as they say.  I love anything chocolate and enjoy making all different kinds of recipes using chocolate.   I remember coming home from school as a kid, and being so excited when I smelled cookies or brownies as I walked thru the back door.  This meant my  awesome mom had done some baking for our after school snack.  I love to surprise my kids with a special something after school, to me it shows them that I have been thinking of them during the day. It allows us time to sit at the kitchen island, talk about their day and laugh together.
Homemade brownies are so always have the basic ingredients on hand!   These brownies are their favorite!  They are easy to mix up, and they knock those brownie mixes out of the park!  Moist, cake like and melt in your mouth....these are the best.

Start by mixing your dry ingredients together....flour, sugar and salt. 

Then combine water, oil and butter in a small saucepan...bring to a boil.  Let cool just a bit and then add to the flour mixture.

Mix well.  Now add the next three ingredients.....eggs, cocoa and vanilla.

Mix well.   Add buttermilk and soda....mix thoroughly.  I love this step as the batter looks swirly...
The buttermilk makes these brownies oh so moist and rich.
Pour your batter into a jelly roll pan, which is a large cookie sheet with sides.

Bake for 20 minutes or so at 350 degrees.  I like to rotate my pan half way through the baking time, just to ensure even baking.
This recipe comes with an incredible icing to add over the top, right as the brownies come out of the oven.  Sometimes I ice them, sometimes I just sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.  This cuts a bunch of calories and is a bit quicker.  Today, I just sprinkled with powdered sugar.
oh man, are these good!  And speaking of husband just stopped home to grab some tax info and inhaled this one I had cut for the photo~!  And, a careful when you eat them, if you choose the powdered sugar route.  My dad always joked and called these suicide brownies....just don't INHALE when you go to take a bit or you choke to death!  :-)

2 c flour
2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
Whisk together.
1 c water
1/3 cup oil
1 stick butter
Bring to a boil and add to dry ingredients.  Stir well. 
Add 2 eggs
3 heaping Tablespoons cocoa
1 t vanilla
Mix well.  Add 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1 t soda.
Stir until thoroughly combined.  Bake 20 minutes at 350 or until set.  Do not overbake.  Frost immediately out of the oven with this icing.
Bring 1 stick butter, 3 T milk and 2 T cocoa to a boil.  Remove from heat and add 1 t vanilla and 2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar.  Whisk well.
Pour over brownies and cool completely.

Seriously, these are the best brownies I've ever made and they make a huge pan...Great way to make a treat for your family, and then take some to a neighbor or new mom.  Boot the box and go for scratch...your family will thank you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Best Banana Bread Ever!

We eat a lot of fruit at our house.  I feel like I am constantly buying bananas because we go through them so fast, especially when we choose to eat them in malts, cereal or peanut butter and banana wraps (a kid fave!).  So, the other day, I mentioned to Wyatt that he should take a banana in his lunch. He slyly told said "you know what happens if I don't and you have a bunch of bananas that need used...."  I guess I'll have to make banana bread.  "Sweet"!  was his reply!  He is my banana bread expert.  I have tried several kinds over the years, just to mix it up and I keep coming back to this one.  You can tell a good recipe by how the card looks.....
The ink is smeared, who knows what has been dripped on it, it looks a wreck....the sign of a well used recipe I'd say!  This recipe came from my mother in law's collection and was written out by my husband to add to our recipe box when we got married.  You may notice he spelled 'banana' wrong.....he will be the first to tell you spelling isn't his thing.  Ahem....yes.
Its a really simple recipe with a special addition by the Erickson family.
The key to great banana bread is the ripeness of your bananas.  The uglier the better.  If you think you should throw them out, they are perfect for bread!
Here's mine:
All you do is mix everything together in the order listed.  You can bake it in one large loaf pan, but I always have a hard time getting the very center done without the edges being really dark.  So I prefer and would recommend mini loaf pans.  The recipe makes 4.  If they aren't all eaten the first day, which I have NO experience with in this house!----they are great to freeze and pull out to serve with a meal or give as a gift.  So....mix it all up, and I sprinkle in a little cinnamon into the batter too, just because I love the flavor it gives the bread.  Pour it into your muffin pans...
Now, for the secret ingredient. I'm not sure how this came about but I started sprinkling cinnamon and sugar over the top!  The family went bezerk....they loved the crunchy sweet top crust.  Simple...but adds a lot!
It makes an amazing crust on the top!
The texture of this bread is very light and moist, with great banana flavor.  Eat it with a big glass of milk, serve with breakfast, or schmear it with peanut butter for a good combo.  You will never have to try anything new, this will be your go to recipe for banana bread as well! 
And of course, here is the Budster hoping he can get a taste.....but he knows he won't, he has only had dog food his whole 6 years (or 42 years, depending on how you look at it) of life!  You think he would know that by now!

Banana Bread
1 cup sugar
1/2 c softened butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour milk (1/2 cup of milk with 2 t. vinegar added.  Let it sit 5 minutes before adding)
1 t. soda
2 cups flour
3 mashed bananas
3/4 t. salt
Mix in order and bake at 350. 

Let me know how you like it!