Banana Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Glaze

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I adapted this recipe from one found on Veronica’s Cornucopia for Wacky Pumpkin Spice Cake.   Without eggs or milk, this makes a wonderfully moist, soft cake and the light glaze makes a cupcake that’s not too sweet or rich.

BANANA PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH MAPLE GLAZE

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½  tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup banana puree
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
¾ cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil (Canola)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tsp. banana extract
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 12 cupcake sections or insert 12 paper or silicone cups.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the banana, pumpkin, water, oil, vinegar, and banana extract.

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Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chopped nuts.  Pour into the prepared cupcake pan …
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…and bake for approximately 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to stay in the pan for five minutes. After five minutes, remove the cupcakes from the silicone liners and allow to cool completely on a rack.
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Maple Glaze
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 Tblsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. oil (Canola)

Mix the sugar, syrup and oil with a spoon until smooth.

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While the cupcakes are still warm, place about ½ tsp. of Maple Glaze on top of the cakes and swirl around with the back of a spoon.
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Yield:  12 cupcakes

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Banana Rum Fluff

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At the end of each week, I always seem to have a banana or two that should be used that day.  I have containers of banana puree in the freezer, I’ve made every kind of cake, muffin, pudding, cookie and bread.  I was looking for something different to use up some bananas and put together this chilled dessert which is very good with a strong banana flavor and a little kick of rum.  Easy and quick to make.

BANANA RUM FLUFF

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tblsp. dark rum
  • 2 ripe bananas, pureed
  • 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)
  • 4 vanilla wafers
  • 4 tsp. dark rum
  • 1 banana for slicing

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and 1 Tblsp. of rum until smooth.  Add pureed bananas ….
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… and stir in the thawed whipped topping..

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In each of four small dessert dishes, place a vanilla wafer and sprinkle each with 1 tsp. dark rum.
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Spoon the banana mixture on top of the wafers and freeze for one hour or refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
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4 servings.  Just before serving, add a few slices of banana to the top of the fluff.

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Banana Apricot Muffins

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I wanted to use up some ripe bananas as well as some apricots I had bought for another recipe.  I went back to a recipe for Banana Nut Bread that I thought was good enough for the Ohio State Fair in 1987.  It didn’t win a ribbon, but it’s a great quick bread (not every entry in a fair wins a prize) and I adapted the recipe to add apricots and make 24 delicious muffins.

BANANA APRICOT MUFFINS

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups ripe bananas, pureed (3-4 medium bananas)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots*

*I bought some wonderful, moist apricots which did not have to be soaked.  If you have the very dry kind, rehydrate by pour scalding water over the fruit and let set covered for 20 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with a paper towel before using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Have two 12-cup muffin tins lined with Silicone or paper liners, or grease and flour cups.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add pureed bananas, oil, sugars and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, soda, baking powder and salt.  Add to banana mixture, stirring just until all of the flour is absorbed.  Stir in chopped nuts and apricots.

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Divide batter between the 24 muffin cups (about ¼ cup per section – an ice cream scoop works well for this).

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Bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes until muffins are golden brown on top and a tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins rest in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove muffins to cool on wire racks. 

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Yield:  24 muffins.  These muffins freeze very well.  Let thaw overnight, pop them in a cold oven, turn on oven and heat to 350 degrees F.  At that point, turn off the oven and remove the muffins to a rack.  They will taste as if they were freshly baked that morning.

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Banana Peach Bars

I first made this bar cookie in 1996,  adapted from a recipe in a Pillsbury Classic cookbook.  It’s very good, not too rich and stays moist for several days.

BANANA PEACH BARS

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peach preserves (I used my homemade preserves)*
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (one medium)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×9 pan.

No electric mixer needed – in a medium bowl whisk the egg, then stir in  brown sugar, peach preserves, mashed banana, melted margarine and vanilla.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir into the banana mixture just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Stir in chopped nuts.

Pour into a greased 9×9 pan.  Bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes until cake tests done when a tester is inserted in the center.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Cut into 8 bars. 

*Missouri Peach Preserves

Brickle Cream Dessert

This is a quick, easy dessert – made with ingredients I happened to have on hand.  Allow an hour for it to chill.

BRICKLE CREAM DESSERT

  • 1 cup Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • 3/4 cup Greek honey yogurt (or flavor of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup brickle bits
  • Large banana, sliced
  • 4 maraschino cherries, blotted dry with a paper towel

In a medium bowl, combine the whipped topping and honey yogurt.  Stir in the brickle bits and banana slices.  Divide among 4 dessert dishes and top with a maraschino cherry.  Chill for an hour.

4 servings 

Enjoy a cheery, delicious dessert.

Mother’s Butterscotch Pudding

When I was a child in the 1930s-1940s, my mother always served a light dessert with supper.  It might be as simple as a can of fruit cocktail, carefully portioned into four dishes so that each person got a piece of a cherry or a package of My-T-Fine pudding cooked with diluted canned milk (my favorite was chocolate which had the tiniest bits of nuts in it).  Sometimes she made a steamed chocolate pudding which my father loved and I ate only because of the nutmeg hard sauce on top of it.  Many times, she whipped up her own delicious pudding such as her Butterscotch Pudding.  Mother never considered herself a good cook but her puddings were perfect – sweet, smooth and comforting.  I especially liked butterscotch which she also made into a pie sometimes on Sundays, with a thin one-egg meringue.  This cooked pudding is so much better than the packaged kind and easily reaches smooth perfection  if the cook is willing and able to stand at the stove and whisk until the pudding is done.

MOTHER'S BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING

  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup hot milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tblsp. butter

In a medium saucepan, place the egg, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Whisk together until smooth.  Gradually add one cup of cold milk, whisking to blend.  Add one cup of hot milk, blending well.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture begins to bubble.  Continue to whisk for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.

Pour into serving dishes and cover until ready to serve.  I like this pudding best at room temperature but it’s also delicious chilled and leftovers should be refrigerated.

Yield:  4 servings

I’ve posted previously about Mother’s pudding – her banana pudding….

and her rice pudding….

….all of them nice desserts for family supper.

Waikiki Banana Bars–Reduced Fat

I’ve been baking these chewy bar cookies for 20+ years – a good recipe when you have one banana getting too ripe.  They’re good for a low fat/cholesterol diet because there are no eggs and a small amount of butter – most of the fat comes from good-for-you walnuts.

WAIKIKI BANANA BARS

  • 2 Tblsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. banana extract
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (one medium)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a medium bowl combine butter, brown sugar, vanilla, banana extract and mashed banana.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to banana mixture.  Stir in chopped walnuts.

Spread batter in a buttered 8″ pan.  Dampening your finger tips with water and pressing will help even out the batter.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes.  Place pan on wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.

While still warm, cut into 8 bars and remove from pan.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon and gently roll the warm bars in the mix.

Makes 8 bars 

In my recipe binder, I have a note: “From a library county fair cookbook – recipe from Smartville, CA.  First made 10/29/86 – excellent”.

Chicken & Fruit Orzo Salad

For about 10 years, this has been one of our favorite summertime salads.  Full of chicken, orzo pasta, fruit and topped with toasted almonds – what’s not to like?

CHICKEN & FRUIT ORZO SALAD

  • Servings: 6 one-cup servings
  • Print

  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta

Fruit:

  • 3/4 cup pineapple tidbits in juice, drained
  • 3/4 cup green grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2-1/2 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 2 medium bananas, sliced (reserved)

2 chicken breast halves, cooked and cubed (about 2 cups)

Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. curry powder
  • Sprinkling of salt and a couple gratings of black pepper

1/4 cup slivered toasted almonds

Cook orzo pasta in boiling salted water for approximately 7 minutes.  Rinse with cold water and drain well.

Place orzo in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, grapes, raisins and lemon juice.

Place fruit mixture in bowl with orzo.

Add cubed chicken breast to bowl with orzo.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, curry and salt/pepper.

Add to dressing to orzo/chicken bowl, mixing well to blend.  Place salad in a covered container and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

When ready to serve, mix in reserved banana slices and sprinkle slivered almonds on top of each serving.

Yield:  Approximately 6 cups of salad. 

Tropical Pork Chops

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This recipe is adapted from one by Robyne on mycookingblog.com.  The dish is really good, flavorful, filling and just fun to eat.  The grilled bananas are wonderful.

TROPICAL PORK CHOPS

  • 2 firm bananas
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 lean pork loin chops (1/2″ thick)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 tsp honey mustard (Woeber’s Reserve)
  • 1 cup water

Cut bananas in half crosswise, then lengthwise.  Cook bananas in 2 tsp. olive oil in non-stick skillet.  If necessary, add 1/2 tsp. additional oil to keep bananas from sticking.  Remove browned bananas to a warm plate and place in a 170 degree F oven to keep warm.

Rub the pork chops with garlic, sprinkle with ginger.

Add remaining olive oil to skillet.  Brown chops on both sides, remove chops to warm platter.

Melt honey in skillet; add mustard and water, stirring to blend.

Return chops to skillet; spoon sauce over them.  Cover, simmer about 10 minutes or until chops are thoroughly cooked.

Remove chops to dinner plates; top with bananas.  Spoon remaining sauce from skillet over chops.

Yield:  4 servings

I served the chops with rice plus steamed broccoli.  Asparagus would also go nicely with this dish.

For dessert, we had a favorite – chocolate pudding (a low fat version that is delicious).

This made a very nice Sunday dinner.

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Grandma Martha’s Banana Pudding

When I was growing up in the 1930s and 40s, we always had a light dessert for weekday suppers.  Sometimes it was fruit cocktail with careful portioning by Mother so everybody would get one of the maraschino cherries or coconut cream pudding made from a box of My-T-Fine mix or Mother’s own homemade banana pudding – easily our favorite.

GRANDMA MARTHA'S BANANA PUDDING


¾ cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup cornstarch

1 egg

2 cups milk

1 tsp banana extract

2 Tblsp butter

2 bananas

10-12 vanilla wafers

In medium saucepan stir together the sugar, salt and cornstarch.  Whisk in the egg and then the milk, a little at a time.  Stir over medium heat until pudding thickens and begins to bubble.  Continue stirring and cook for one more minute.  A whisk will help to smooth out any lumps.

Remove from heat, stir in banana extract and butter.  When ready to serve, stir in sliced bananas and crumbled vanilla wafers.

Yield:  4 servings