May 29, 2012

Chocolate Eclair Dessert

I love eclairs but haven't ever wanted to devote the time and effort required to make them. I'd rather pay someone else for that. But this dessert has the flavor of eclairs without all the fuss. This recipe comes from my friend Angie.

1 (1 lb.) box graham crackers
2 small packages French Vanilla Instant pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (9 oz.) container Cool Whip

6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons Karo syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk

Butter the bottom of a 9x13 pan, line with graham crackers. Mix pudding with the milk and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Blend in Cool Whip. Spread half the mixture over the graham crackers and then place a second layer of graham crackers over pudding. Pour remaining pudding over and cover with more crackers. Refrigerate for 2 hours then frost. Refrigerate for 24 hours after frosting.

May 27, 2012

Nutella Banana Bread

I found this recipe on Pinterest and couldn't wait to try it. Banana bread and Nutella combined in a single recipe. Yum! And it turned out to be as good as advertised. I will absolutely be making this again. This recipe comes from Chef in Training, by the way. However, I found a recipe called Marbled Nutella Banana Bread on another site that is slightly different but looks more visually appealing. I intend to try that one in the very near future.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe banana
1/3 cup skim milk (I used 1% because that's all I had)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 heaping cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, milk, and vanilla. Beat until blended. Add flour mixture, beat at low speed just until flour is incorporated (don’t over mix). Spoon Nutella into a small dish and soften in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Add 1 cup of the banana bread batter to the Nutella and stir until blended well. Spoon Nutella batter alternately with plain banana bread batter into the prepared pan. Swirl batters together with a knife. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, it will seem a tiny bit undercooked but that’s what makes it good. Cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

May 26, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts often get a bad rap, and I think I've generally avoided them as a result. Yes, I may have tried them once a decade or so when I went out to eat, but I've never cooked them myself. So I decided to be brave and give them a whirl. I found this delicious recipe from a site called Once Upon a Chef. If you don't think you like brussels sprouts, or if you already do, give this a try.

1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved (stem and ragged outer leaves removed)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a bowl, toss brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Transfer the brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning, until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Place brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey, and toss to coat evenly. Adjust seasoning as needed, then serve. Note: Brussels sprouts should all be cut to about the same size to ensure even cooking.