Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate waffles hot from the iron with a fluffy cloud of whipped cream make for a perfect dessert.  Or — if it’s just one of those mornings — a rare breakfast treat.

Chocolate Waffle with whipped cream

Chocolate Waffle with whipped cream

Cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate add to balanced rich chocolate flavor, with mild sweetness to let ice cream or whipped cream add to the taste.  Feel free to add chopped bananas, ice cream, or chocolate sauce on top of these delicious lovelies.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Waffles

1 cup (5 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup (3/12 oz) sugar
1/2 cup (2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (6 oz) buttermilk (more, if needed)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

Mix together all dry ingredients until combined.  Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and butter.  Gently combine until almost mixed.  Stir in melted chocolate and mix gently until combined.  This will be a thick batter, but feel free to add a bit more buttermilk if batter is too thick.  Bake on a hot waffle iron and enjoy!

Banana Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

Here’s a homespun cake for the banana fan.

Banana Cake slice

Banana Cake slice

This buttermilk moistened banana cake is tender and sweet with warm notes from fragrant cinnamon and topped with crunchy toasted pecans.

Banana Cake batter

Banana Cake batter

The batter for this cake is thick and fluffy, and bakes into either one nine-inch or two eight-inch layers.  This cake stores well in the fridge or freezer for future sweet treats.  Enjoy!

Banana Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

for the Banana Cake
2 cups (10 oz) flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 stick (6 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
10 oz granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mashed very ripe banana
1 cup buttermilk

for the Cinnamon Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 TB half-n-half

1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)

Prepare one 2-inch high 9-inch round or 2 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray with flour.

For the batter, begin by sifting the flour, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt.  Set aside.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Scrape down bowl and add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and fluffy.  Add the mashed banana, buttermilk, and sifted flour mixture.  Mix on low until batter just comes together.  Give the thick batter a couple turns with the spatula as you scrape the bowl one more time.

Spread the batter in to your prepared pan(s).

For a 9-inch payer, heat oven to 325.  Bake for 50 minutes, then test for doneness using a toothpick.  If it comes out clean from the center, the cake is done.  If not, allow to bake for another 5 – 10 minutes and test again.

For two 8-inch layers, heat oven to 350.  Bake for 35 minutes, then test for doneness using a toothpick.  If it comes out clean from the center, the cake is done.  If not, allow to bake for another 5 – 10 minutes and test again.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then cool on rack until room temp.

For the Cinnamon Frosting, cream butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy.  Scrape bowl and add cinnamon and half-n-half.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Spread on cake.  Top with chopped toasted pecans, if desired.

Sunshine Hash

This delicious entree pairs butternut squash and potatoes with warm spices and fresh orange — for a smile of the sun even if the weather is gloomy outside.

Sunshine Hash

Sunshine Hash

Beautiful oranges are in season right now, and their gentle sweetness combines nicely with the smoked paprika, cinnamon and cumin to coax a smile from most anyone in the kitchen.  This dish easily pairs with either chicken breast or tofu to satisfy all eaters.  Added bonus — fabulous leftovers for a quick, warm lunch.  Enjoy!

Sunshine Hash

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR 12 oz extra firm tofu, cut into chunks
6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
one large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of two oranges
sea salt
1 TB smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (optional – if you like spice)

If you are using chicken breast in this recipe, start by sautéing the chicken chunks until almost cooked through with a TB of oil in a large covered frying pan.  Remove chicken to a plate, and set aside.

To the pan in which you just cooked the chicken, add 3 TB oil and onions.  Sauté for 3 minutes, then add the potato and squash chunks.  Sauté for a couple minutes then add the orange juice, 1 tsp. sea salt and spices.  Cover and simmer for several minutes.  Stir and check every few minutes, making sure to avoid burning the potatoes and squash.

When the potatoes and squash are almost tender, add the chicken chunks or tofu.   Sauté for several more minutes uncovered, or until all the various pieces of potatoes, squash and chicken/tofu are cooked through and there isn’t too much moisture from the oranges in the pan.  At any time in the cooking you can always add a bit of water if it’s getting too dry and beginning to burn.

When cooked through, adjust seasoning and serve.