Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This banana bread has been a go to recipe of mine for years. I used to make it frequently with a marscapone icing (that I will post another day if anyone is interested), but now I tend to make it in either muffin, or loaf format.  What makes this recipe so versatile is that it’s decadent enough to serve as a tasty dessert (I especially like serving it at lunch or brunch), but also healthy enough that you don’t feel too guilty about having a slice for breakfast on occasion.  The secret is extremely ripe bananas: I wait until they are too ripe for my family (ie, they are developing brown spots), then I let them sit out until they are almost completely brown and kind of squishy.  Because they are so overripe, these bananas are sweeter (and easier to mash).  I find that the best way to ensure that you always have these overripe, extra sweet bananas, is to peel them and pop them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer: this way they won’t go bad before you get a chance to use them, and you will have enough on hand when you randomly decide that you just have to have banana bread.  You can definitely freeze them unpeeled, but it is much more of a headache when you try and use them.  Bonus, this bread will freeze well in any format!


3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Cup Brown Sugar (I buy dark brown)
1 Cups Chocolate Chips (I strongly recommend using semi sweet for this recipe: I like Bakers and Ghiradelli)
1 Cup Canola Oil (you can also use vegetable if you’d prefer) plus a bit extra to coat your dish if you are baking as a loaf
3 Large Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
5 Ripe Bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed (I find it cathartic to use my hands for this)


Muffin tray or baking dish (I like using my Le Creuset stoneware)
Muffin papers
Stand mixer (I am OBSESSED with my Kitchenaid Professional Mixer)
Extra bowl


Pre heat your oven to 325 F.  It will take quite a while to bake a large banana loaf, but do NOT turn up the heat to speed up the process: you’ll end up with a burnt bottom, and underdone center.

First, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Next, beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl in your stand mixer.



Once the mixture is creamy and smooth, add in your banana.


Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  


Some people would stop here, and you can, but I like to add chocolate chips to make it even more delicious.  Depending on your stand mixer, you may find it easier to fold in the chips by hand.  I have no issue with my Professional Series, but my Artisan used to shake a bit.


Make sure to scrape the sides of your bowl with a spatula.  The last thing you want when you pour the batter into muffin papers or a baking pan, is to find unmixed dry ingredients: it will affect the taste and consistency of your final product.

Bake your muffins for approximately 20 min; your loaf will take anywhere from 40 min to an hour, depending on it’s thickness.  Your banana bread is done when the top is slightly browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Underdone banana bread is extremely unappetizing: you’d rather a bit overdone than under, trust me.


As always, I suggest eating chocolate desserts with a large glass of milk (but a coffee or tea is just as good!).



Banana, blueberry and apple oat muffins

After such a long hiatus since my last post, it seems only fitting that this is a recipe my almost 18 month old son loves as well. I’ve recently allowed him to try some of my baked goods and he loves them. I wanted to create a ‘healthier’ (ie, less sugar, more fruit and fiber) version of my banana muffins; a recipe I will eventually blog someday. I decided that adding oats, halving the sugar, and including two other fruits were the key. You could just as easily add in another berry/fruit to the mix, just keep your proportion of wet to dry in mind: no one likes a soggy muffin!  I also plan on taking these to work as an on the go breakfast for myself; what better way to start off your day than a delicious, and healthy, muffin?


3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
6 Ripe Bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed (you can freeze over ripe bananas, then use them later)
1/2 Pint Blueberries
3 Royal Gala Apples, diced


Muffin tray
Muffin papers
Extra bowl


Pre heat your oven to 325 F.

Beat your sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend.


Next, add your pre mashed banana.  Dice your apples, peel on, nice and small then add them to your other ingredients.


Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend, then add your dry ingredients to your wet.  Finally, stir in your blueberries carefully to avoid mashing them.

IMG_7022-3Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake your muffins on the middle rack at 325 until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached; about 25 minutes for medium and 30 for large muffins.



Fluffy mixed berry pancakes

Whenever I order a ‘special occasion’ breakfast I always want pancakes.  Something about their fluffy goodness just seems so decadent when generously drizzled with maple syrup.  Put down the Bisquick and step away from the pancake powder in a box!  With this recipe there is no need to cut corners and use pre fabricated pancake recipes.  These delicious, fluffy pancakes take mere minutes to prepare and can be left to rise for anywhere from 1 hour to overnight in your fridge.  You’ll be surprised how low calorie these delicious pancakes are with minimal sugar and butter, just enough for taste.  You could always substitute chocolate chips or some other tasty treat but we like our fresh berries in the morning.

1 1/4 cups flour (I use white but you could always substitute whole wheat, just keep in mind it will change the consistency somewhat)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup fresh berries (I used 1/2 blueberries and 1/2 raspberries: our favourites)
Frying pan (preferably non stick)
Canola oil
Maple syrup (please do not substitute table syrup, it doesn’t taste good and is made of high fructose corn syrup and chemicals)

In a large bowl, sift together your flour, salt, baking powder and sugar.


In a separate bowl, beat together your egg, milk and vanilla. Stir your milk mixture into your dry ingredients.


Finally, mix in the butter and carefully fold in your berries.  Looking at your batter, you’ll notice it’s already risen slightly because of the baking powder: this contributes to their light, fluffy consistency.


Set your batter aside for 1 hour (up to 24 hours).  When you’re ready to cook your pancakes, heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat.  Pour your batter on the hot pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Lightly brown your pancakes on both sides.  If you need to keep your first batch warm while you finish cooking, simply put them in the oven at 250 F.


Enjoy warm with maple syrup!


Apple cinnamon crumble

This crumble is one of the recipes my mother has made since I was a child.  It is simple, quick, and fun to prepare (you get to use your hands!).  My mother’s secret ingredient has always been Harvest Crunch cereal.  This adds some extra crunch and sweetness, plus the added flavour of the sliced almonds in the cereal.  Although this may not be a traditional oats-only crumble, I think you’ll agree that it’s crunch and flavour are superior to the original.

2 cups Harvest Crunch cereal
2 cups rolled oats (make sure you buy regular oats, not quick cook)
2 cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 1/2 cups butter (room temperature)
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl then cut in your butter.  You could use a spoon but it is far easier to mix if you simply get a little dirty and use your hands.  Set your crumble aside while preparing your apple filling.


1 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 granny smith apples

Pre heat your oven to 350 F. Peel & thinly slice your apples and place them in a bowl.  Toss them with the flour and cinnamon until coated.  This step will both flavour your apples and absorb any excess juices, ensuring your crumble won’t be soggy.


Place your apples in your baking pan and cover them evenly with your crisp mixture.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the crisp is browned and the filling is bubbling a bit.  Make sure to let your crumble cool before serving!


Serve with a large scoop of ice cream (I like Hagen Daas Vanilla Bean) and enjoy warm 🙂


Ooey gooey cinnamon buns

When I was a child my mother would make these cinnamon buns for special occasions like birthdays and New Years Day.  These are not ‘Cinnabon’ style cinnamon buns; I don’t actually like those, overly sweet white icing covering a less-than-perfect bun.  My mother’s recipe is for buttery buns filled with cinnamon sugar and covered in gooey drizzle.  This recipe is almost identical to my mother’s, using her ingredients with just a few technical changes.  I make these for birthdays (including my own-my husband wakes up early to pop them in the oven), Christmas and New Years and hope to one day serve them to my children as they roll out of bed.  You could just as easily make these for a treat any weekend but be warned, they are very time consuming to prepare.  I strongly suggest preparing your buns the night before then waking up and baking them fresh, otherwise you will end up having them for lunch instead of breakfast (allow 2 hours for rising alone on top of preparation time).  I hope you enjoy these as much as I have over the years!

1 tsp sugar
2 ¼ tsp yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups flour

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast in warm water. Let it stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.  Be careful with your water, too warm or too cold and your yeast won’t properly activate.


Next, warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove it from the heat.  Mix in the sugar, butter and salt and stir until melted.  Let the mixture cool until lukewarm.  In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs and 1 1/2 cup flour; stir well to combine.  Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.


When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.  Next, lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn it to coat.  Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.


¾ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
¼ cup melted butter
Pastry brush
Large baking pan
Rolling pin

While your dough is rising, melt 3/4 cup butter.  Stir in 3/4 cup brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Pour the mixture into a greased baking pan.  Melt your remaining butter and set it aside.  Combine the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside.


Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into an 18×14 inch rectangle.  Brush it with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, leaving 1/2 inch border uncovered and sprinkle with brown sugar cinnamon mixture.


Starting at the long side of your rectangle, tightly roll up your dough pinching the seam to seal.  Brush the roll with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cut it into 1 inch disks using a serrated knife.


Place your cinnamon buns cut side down in the prepared pan and brush them with the remaining butter.  Cover the tray and let them rise for 1 hour or until doubled in volume.  If you plan to bake your buns the next day, cover and refrigerate after they have risen.  Otherwise, preheat your oven to 375 F.


Bake your rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.  Let them cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then invert them onto a serving platter.  Finally, scrape the remaining filling from the pan onto the rolls.