Brown Butter Banana Cranberry Bread

brown butter banana cranberry bread

brown butter banana cranberry bread

Whenever I need to recalibrate my brain in the kitchen, I look towards the oven and towards the fruit bowl. The oven is my base, my rock, my familiar place. My fruit bowl inevitably has an embarrassing amount of near rotten bananas in it because… I mean, who doesn’t buy a weird amount of bananas every single time they visit the grocery? That can’t be just me.

Banana bread. Familiar, simple, and sweet. It’s my first base.

I’ve spent the week writing recipes for my Brunch cookbook and I feel like aaaallll of my food ideas have been poured onto those pages for the future. Let’s just go back to first base, just to rest a bit.

brown butter banana cranberry bread

It would be fair to say that this month is a crush of madness. We all do a pretty fair job of acting like we’ve got our heads on straight, but I know what’s up. I also know how many rotting bananas you have in your fruit bowl… so, there’s no escaping this bread. Embrace the simplicity. Add cranberries. It’s festive and appropriate.

Sidenote: on this Sunday’s list post we’re going to need to talk about the last episode of the Serial Podcast because EXCUSE ME WHAT!?

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Inside The Baker’s Kitchen + Sweet and Savory Buttermilk Biscuits

biscuits sweet and salty

inside the baker's kitchen

Once upon a time I was a baker in a professional kitchen.  I’m talking about the kind of kitchen with bins of flour so large they you could climb inside and take a nap…. the kind of kitchen where you had to yell (and I mean YELL) ‘behind’, so no one crashes into your pan of scones on their way to the oven…. the kind of kitchen that was noisy, full of chocolate, hot pans, sheet trays for days, savory scones… and smelled REALLY GREAT.

I spent so much time in the professional kitchen that my home kitchen was as modest as it was tiny.  I had two mixing bowls, a spoon, and a spatula to my name.  Why bother with more than one cake pan when I make ALL of the cakes in a rowdy kitchen with thundering ovens?

My working kitchen these days is very different.  I have more than one cake pan.  I have more than a single wooden spoon, yes… and while it’s still a humble kitchen, there are a few tools in the kitchen that feel like necessary extravagances.

I want to take some time to talk about what I keep in my Baker’s Kitchen.  I think it’s important to know what’s over-the-top extravagant, and what’s a reasonable tool to stock.  Kitchen real-estate is a precious commodity.  Let’s only stock up with what we really need.

I’ve partnered with my very favorite kitchen brand KitchenAid in a 3-part series to show you some of my very favorite kitchen tools and baker’s tricks.  It doesn’t take a lot to coax great flavors and flakey crusts out of the oven.

Today we’re talking about my favorite 11-cup Food Processor.  It will have you making ALL of the biscuits, ALL of the pie crusts, and ALL of the pesto.  It’s the best, and super versatile!

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Baking Bootcamp: Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

The first thing you should know is that it’s time for our THIRD installment of Baking Bootcamp with King Arthur Flour! Bring out your jazz hands. It’s about that time.

The second thing you should know is that we’re making the most delicious and chewy, salty and cheesy loaves. Like cinnamon rolls, hold the cinnamon, extra Gruyère and green olives.

The third thing you should know is that I always wanted to be a hand model so I’m beyond satisfied with myself here… that’s just my truth.

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

For our first baking bootcamp we piled berries high and braided bread for the Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread. You amazed me with your kitchen bravery.

For our second baking bootcamp we folded dough and made Apple Pie Biscuits. So stellar. You guys got all up in the season!

Now we’re taking a step to the savory side. Salty and soft. And we’re using an entirely new flour: King Arthur Flour’s Unbleached Bread Flour!

Baking Bootcamp Essentials III

Here’s what we’ll need:

1 • King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour.  High protein content for chewy and sturdy buns!

2 • I use this King Arthur Flour Bench Knife just about everyday in my kitchen. It’s perfect for scraping little dough bits from the countertop… something a sponge just pitifully attacks. You might also use the bench knife to slice though the center of the rolled dough. It’s sharp too! I love this tool!

3 • Kitchen fashion is important to me. Hedley & Bennett understands my needs for a functional, durable, totally chic apron. Not too frilly. I always want to be more badass than 50’s housewife-y in the kitchen.

4 • A good 9×13-inch baking pan is a kitchen staple.  The new ones are nice, mine happen to be covered in years of kitchen rust. Part of the charm!

5 • Having Colorful Mixing Bowls is the kitchen equivalent of having a great black dress in your closet. Necessary treat.

6 • We’re going to need lots of medium shreds of Gruyere cheese. Box Grater to the rescue!

7 • I like a natural bristle kitchen brush in my arsenal.  Great for egg washing biscuits and rolls!

8 • The Pyrex glass measuring cup.  A forever kitchen classic.

9 • These wooden spoons just get better with time.

10 • Is it normal to have a completely mismatched set of Measuring Cups, or should I just treat myself to a matching set like this? Don’t answer that…

11 • Same goes for the Measuring Spoons… it’s nice to have a full matching set.

12 • I go through Paring Knives like I go through socks.  How is it possible to have them one day and then lose them the next? I don’t know.  Clearly I have an issue.

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls

There are loads of resources to help you get from here to warm cheesy buns.

• All of these step-by-step photographs in the post were done by the incomparable Jon Melendez.

Baking 101: The Difference Between Baking Flours for all the nitty-gritty on bran and germ and protein content.

• King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Hotline is a fantastic resource for curious home bakers to discuss your fears, concerns and eventual successes. Give them a ring! It’s magic. 1-855-371-2253

Four Flours + Four Recipes Challenges + One Instagram #bakingbootcamp + Four Awesome Sets of Prizes!

The idea is simple!

• Make these Gruyère and Green Olive Rolls (they’re sooo delicious!) and take a picture of your creation!

• Follow @joythebaker and @kingarthurflour on Instagram

• Photograph your beautiful rolls and post them to Instagram with the hashtag #bakingbootcamp

• When you submit a photo, you’ll be entered to win a one year supply of King Arthur Flour and a Baking Essentials box valued at $250!! Official rules and details can be found here.

By entering the challenge you’ll also have amazing cheesy rolls in your kitchen, so… you really can’t lose.

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Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts

pumpkin bread with walnuts

pumpkin bread with walnuts

What a lovely start to October it has been.  I’ve reacquainted myself with my collection of jeans that seems to have somehow shrunken in the closet ever so slightly.  I mean… jeans shrink from neglect right?  It’d definitely not that I’ve moved to New Orleans, land of the beignet.  I have also rediscovered my awkwardly large collection of scarves.  Scarves are blankets we can wear in public… of course I own too many.

With the hint of crisp in the air, I’m also getting into pumpkin.  There’s no use fighting it.  Since I’m rediscovering old things as new, I thought I would remake my standard pumpkin bread recipe.  It offers a familiar comfort that I’m looking for these days.  This time I’ve used melted butter instead of vegetable oil and added the slightest dash of black pepper for intrigue.

Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts

Leaves are changing.  We’re discovering we own too many scarves and too small jeans.  We’re making our own Pumpkin Pie Spice.  We’re drinking hot lattes.  All signs point to Pumpkin Bread.  Let’s just be here.

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Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughnuts

Brown Butter Baked Pistachio Doughnuts

Brown Butter Baked Pistachio Doughnuts

That first bite of doughnut… that very first taste is success, surrender, satisfaction, joy, and celebration all wrapped up into one bite.  It’s the anticipation that makes it so great!  And the brown butter, obviously.

These doughnuts feel like an extra special treat because they’re topped (as all things should be, really…) with browned butter glaze and chopped salted pistachios.

Where brown butter and pistachios combine, the gates of Heaven open wide and welcome you in with open arms.  Not literally… but that sure is what it feels like!

Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughnuts

It’s time to make an extra pot of coffee.  Call a friend.  Pull up a few chairs and relish in it all.  What a lovely life when doughnuts are fresh and pretty.

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Turkey Sloppy Joes with Buttery Buns

turkey sloppy joes with buttery buns

turkey sloppy joes with buttery buns

There was a girl singing Summertime (and the living is easy) outside of my window as I made these Sloppy Joes today.  She wasn’t the best singer in the world.  I imagine that if I had the gall to sing in public, I’d be just around average as well.  A lot of times it’s way more about feel and guts when it comes to singing in the streets.  You just have to step out there and mean in.  That’s just about everything.

I’m feel the same way when I step in the kitchen to make bread.  Feel and guts, every time.

Turkey Sloppy Joes with Buttery Buns

I’ve had every intention of making homemade hamburger-type buns for (no joke) two years now.  Two years!?

I think that’s called self-procrastination.  Sometimes even the best laid plans take years to activate.  Feel and guts!  I’m telling  you.  It’s so real.

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Baking Bootcamp: Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

triple berry swirl bread

Triple Berry Yeasted Cinnamon Swirl Bread // King Arthur Flour + Joy the Baker

I first started Joy the Baker because I wanted partners in baking. Strange really, considering that when I started Joy the Baker I was working as a baker in a rowdy kitchen.  Still, I would find myself coming home in the middle of the afternoon, still looking around for people to bake with.  Maybe I was a little obsessed…

Where do obsessed people go to find friends that understand them?  The Internet… obviously.

(What feels like) ages ago I joined an online baking group called The Daring Bakers.  Every week a different member would bring the group a new and challenging recipe, we’d all make it, post the results and photographs on our respective blogs, and otherwise totally dork out on our accomplishments.

Being part of The Daring Bakers was instrumental in helping me grow my blog audience, helping me make great baking friends online, and helping me realize that I really should never attempt to make a baguette in my home oven ever again… all really important things.

Now, I wanted to bring some of that community spirit back to Joy the Baker! I want us to take on baking challenges, get in the kitchen, and share all the goodness that comes out! We’re partnering with King Arthur Flour on a 4- part baking challenge called BAKING BOOTCAMP!  You guys… this is going to be good! The goal is to learn the differences between the most popular flours we use in the kitchen, and to get in the kitchen (each and every one of us) and take on 4 different baking challenges with new knowledge and confidence under our apron strings!

Triple Berry Yeasted Cinnamon Swirl Bread // King Arthur Flour + Joy the Baker

Four Flours + Four Recipes Challenges + One Instagram #bakingbootcamp

+ Four Awesome Sets of Prizes!

The idea is simple!

•  Make this braided Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread (it’s sooooo good!) and take a picture of your creation!

•  Follow @joythebaker and @kingarthurflour on Instagram

•  Photograph your beautiful braided bread and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #bakingbootcamp

•  When you submit a photo, you’ll be entered to win a one year supply of King Arthur Flour and a Baking Essentials box valued at $250!!  Official rules and details can be found here.

I’ll be answering questions and sharing your photographs here on Joy the Baker.  By entering the challenge you’ll also have amazing cinnamon swirl bread in your kitchen, so… you really can’t lose.

Let’s get started!

Baking Bootcamp Essentials

Here’s what you’ll need for our Cinnamon Swirl Bread Baking Bootcamp:

1 •  King Arthur All-Purpose Flour  is perfectly soft and reliably sturdy for this braided bread.

2 •  I use this King Arthur Flour Bench Scraper just about everyday in my kitchen.  It’s perfect for scraping little dough bits from the countertop… something a sponge just pitifully attacks.  You might also use the bench scraper as a knife to slice though the center of the rolled dough.  It’s sharp too! I love this tool!

3 • Kitchen fashion is important to me.  Hedley & Bennett understands my needs for a functional, durable, totally chic apron.  Not too frilly.  I always want to be more badass than 50’s housewife-y in the kitchen.  

4 • My Cast Iron Skillet are a staple in my everyday kitchen.  Some are more successfully seasoned than others, but I try to keep some cast iron specifically for savory and other just for sweets.

5 • Having  Colorful Mixing Bowls  is the kitchen equivalent of having a great black dress in your closet.  Necessary treat.  

6 • Powdered Sugar Sifter because dumping it straight from the bag onto our finished bread is way more dramatic and clumpy than we want it to be.

7 • I inherited a Marble Rolling Pin from a family friend and now I don’t know how I’ve gone without one for so long!  This piece has great weigh and can be chilled in the refrigerator prior to rolling to keep our doughs more amiable.

8 • Don’t skimp on Good Silicone Spatulas.  The ones that melt along with the butter are just infuriating.  

9 • Is it normal to have a completely mismatched set of Measuring Cups, or should I just treat myself to a matching set like this?  Don’t answer that…

10 • Same goes for the Measuring Spoons… it’s nice to have a full matching set.

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Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLTs

Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLT

I still have daydreams of my Dance Like Nobody’s Watching jaunt in the laundromat.  I haven’t done it yet mostly because I’m scared and also… I’m not Beyonce.

The daydreams are still there.  They’ve transferred from my Venice Beach laundromat to the streets of the French Quarter.  In my daydreams I’m taking over the streets to The Naked and Famous song Girls Like You.  I’ve got all the jump moves and hip gyrating, spins and flips I need to look like… not an idiot.  It’s still just a daydream.  I know it’s been years and years of a daydream.  Your patience is appreciated.  Beyonce wasn’t built in a day.  (I just likened Beyonce with Rome AND I’VE NEVER BEEN SO RIGHT ABOUT ANYTHING EVER!).

While Rome (and dance videos) are built in daydreams… at least I’m in the kitchen cooking like nobody’s watching.

cheddar buttermilk waffle BLT

Except someone is watching…

And he’s really bossy about what happens to all of the bacon in the house.

Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLT

What happened here is this:  I put bacon, lettuce, and tomato in between two cheesy waffles. Nothing but trouble.

I was cooking (and smashing food in my face) like no one was watching.  Well.  No one my height was watching.  No one with thumbs was watching.  Just me, and this, and three minutes later a dance party for one.

I am the picture of (really embarrassing) success!  Dance daydreams pending.

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Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

pizza rolls

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

We all have our favorite bites.  My favorite bite of a brownie is the slightly burnt corner edge.  My favorite sips of coffee are the first and the last.  My favorite part of the pepperoni pizza roll is the soft gooey center.  If you leave me alone with a tray of these Pepperoni Pizza Rolls, be prepared to come back to just the outsides because my favorite bite is the gooey center of every.single.roll.

I stand by the fact that the best part of baking is sharing what you create with people who you love.  Baking is totally a love language.  If you can share your favorite bites?… now that’s something special.  If you were to ask me to share the gooey center pizza roll bite, it would probably take me a good while before I said yes.  That’s just real.

baking a difference

 

Remember last Fall?  Last Fall I shared my partnership with Fleischmann’s® Yeast, Fleischmann’s® Simply Homemade® Baking Mixes, and Karo® Syrup as a part of their Baking a Difference Program to benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program.  I love this charity because they focus on ending childhood hunger in America.  If I can help that cause with a bit of baking, I’m all in!  One in five children in the U.S. struggle with hunger and cannot rely on having access to the daily nutritious food they need to grow and thrive, and the No Kid Hungry campaign works to end that hunger.  Big deal, right?

Last fall we made Salty Pretzel Vanilla Caramel Corn with much success, and now we get to talk about a really cool free e-cookbook and Pepperoni Pizza Rolls!

Pizza Rolls for charity?  Yea… that’s totally a thing.

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

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Brown Butter Banana Bread

Brown Butter Banana Bread

I’ve unpacked the moving boxes of the essentials:  sock slippers, gin, loaf pan, spatula, and mixing bowl.  I’ve managed to find the fancy candles I love,  a few pictures of my family, and the face wash.  The cookbooks are lined up on the book shelf, color-coded just like Shutterbean taught me.

I’m just far enough in the whole moving process to miss home.  Strange because I am home.  It’s just that I have to build up a familiarity to this new space. I don’t yet know its nuances.

What I do know is that I’m mostly responsible for feeling at home where I’m home.  It’s a state of mind.  It’s coming to understand the different shade of light.  It’s the different sounds of the street.  It’s the familiar smell of comfort.  Banana Bread feels like home, so Banana Bread it is!

Brown Butter Banana Bread

We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel here.  This banana bread is more about settling in and planting roots.  It’s tastes just like home to me, and so it is!

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Bonkers Awesome Pistachio, Orange, and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon rolls

Pistachio Orange and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Have I told you about that one time I invited myself over to the Pioneer Woman’s ranch and insisted that she show me how to make her world-famous cinnamon rolls… at which point I twisted her arm into adding pistachios, orange zest, and dark chocolate?  Yea.  That happened.

Ree Drummond has been on of my favorite people on the internet for years. The Pioneer Woman blog has taken over the internet, for real.  I think of Ree as part mentor, part big sister, fellow butter enthusiast, and just an overall inspiring lady.  She knows how to work a blouse and she’s always smiling.  Ree is just the best.  When I invited myself over (like aaalll the way over in Oklahoma), Ree was kind enough to open her doors and feed me macaroni and cheese, cinnamon rolls, and wine.

We had the very best time together!  It rained.  Ree showed me her mom’s famous cinnamon roll recipe.  We laughed. We used an embarrassing amount of butter.  Here’s the Bonkers Awesome episode to prove it!  Please note… I’m trying my best to play it cool, but totally freaking out about being on the ranch.  It would seem that Bonkers Awesome is a series about me freaking out about meeting people who I admire.  Normal.

Joy the Baker and Ree The Pioneer Woman make cinnamon rolls

I just have to say… there are few people in the world who enjoy butter more as I do.  Ree is one of those people.  The way she poured the melted butter over this cinnamon roll dough, even I was like dang-girl-dang.  She was unphased.  It’s just a lifestyle. If this much butter goes into the cinnamon rolls, I can only imagine how amazingly buttery Ree’s mashed potatoes must be… right?  The above photograph is a picture of me looking at cinnamon rolls and thinking about mashed potatoes.  Send help.

Pistachio Orange and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Original Photography Shot with the Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR. The perfect multimedia solution.

Melted chocolate, salty pistachios, and fragrant orange all packed into a gooey-centered Ree-inspired cinnamon roll?  Exactly zero things are better.  Does this scream Christmas morning to you?  What if I told you you could make them a day in advance and bake them off Christmas morning?  Yea… Happy Birthday, Jesus.

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Persimmon Prosciutto and Brie Grilled Cheese

Persimmon Prosciutto and Brie Grilled Cheese

Persimmon Prosciutto and Brie Grilled Cheese

Can I melt that?

If the answer is yes, I’m most likely going to make a grilled cheese sandwich.

I was named Most Likely To Make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich On Earth in high school… because that category existed (in my dreams).

Persimmon Prosciutto and Brie Grilled Cheese

I’ve been building up to this moment.  I’ve been waiting for the stars to align, the persimmons to ripen, and the Brie to appear in the refrigerator.  This is that moment realized.

This sandwich makes me feel rich.  Like, cash-money rich.  (I’m not.)  (It’s cool.)

lots of grilled cheese!

In other grilled cheese related news:

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese

Cranberry Brie Grilled Cheese

Lasagna Grilled Cheese

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Savory Cheddar and Cranberry Soda Bread

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I usually enter the colder months with a hint of bitterness.  It has everything to do with wearing uncomfortable tights and missing fresh strawberries in the market.  And I live in California so surely a real winter would send me into a tailspin.

Thank goodness for cranberries.  I’m so thankful for these little ruby-red gems!  They’re tart.  They’ve got gumption.  They’re super pretty.  They make tights tolerable.  They drastically improve Thanksgiving.  They belong on every turkey sandwich from now until the end of time.

Don’t even get me started on how many sweet cranberry scented candles I sold when I worked at The Body Shop.  Pro-status.

Savory Cheddar and Fresh Cranberry Soda Bread

Original photography shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital SLR. The filmmaker’s camera.

I usually pair fresh cranberries with sweets.

Last year I made this Cranberry Orange and Pecan Coffee Cake and I can honestly say it’s one of the best things the cold months have to offer.  I’m totally biased but it’s totally true.

This year I’ve swapped orange fruit for sharp orange cheddar cheese.  We’re going savory for this cranberry situation.  Soda bread studded with tart cranberries, salty cheddar, and crunchy nuts!  Crazy, right?

Now… can I sell you a candle?

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Fresh Herb and Gruyere Cheese Puffs

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It’s almost time for us to think about Thanksgiving gravy, holiday cocktail parties, and wrapping paper.

And holiday cards, and party dresses, and church service, and the right shade of Christmas red lipstick.  Gosh.  We’re going to need a gift for the mail carrier, and the FedEx guy, and the dude at the bank that always makes everything better.  So many things are about to happen.

It’s like once Halloween passes, the rest of the year is just madness.  Right?

Can we just ease on in to this whole situation?

Let’s start slow.  Baby steps.  Appetizers.

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These cheese puffs start with a simple pate a choux dough.  We’ve definitely talked about pate a choux before, but usually in sweet incarnations.  See: Strawberry Cream Puffs with Milk Chocolate Sauce.

Pate a choux is made by stirring together water and melted butter with flour over a low flame.  It’s a cooked dough!  Eggs are beaten into the cooked dough and the silky dough is piped onto a baking sheet.  Instead of adding sugar, we’re going to add a major amount of cheese and herbs.  These are totally light and pop-able… and we can make ahead and freeze them too!

We’re learning.  It’s cool.

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Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Brown Butter Glaze

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I’ve always wanted to be the kind of girl that can get away with saying ‘y’all’.  You know… like, ‘I made Pumpkin Scones, y’all!’.

Being from California, I feel like I can only reasonably get away with something like, ‘Hey dudes, I made you these Pumpkin Scones! Now, let’s go surfing.’ Mostly annoying, but kinda true.

I’ll just daydream about being a ‘y’all’ girl.  It’s cool.  In real life I get to mega-indulge in scones, so being a ‘dude’ girl is just fine.  I’m just steps away from ‘bro’.

‘It’s cold outside.  Cool Pumpkin Scones, bro.’

Lordy…. clearly I need help.

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Mashed Potato, Cheddar and Chive Waffles

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What am I going to do with all of these leftover mashed potatoes (said no one ever!)?

Make waffles!

How is there a solution to a problem that isn’t really a problem at all? I’d eat mashed potatoes straight out of the fridge with a serving spoon. Maybe I’d put mustard and pickles on the cold mashed potatoes. That either makes me super gross or kinda genius. Most likely somewhere in between.

I’ve been daydreaming this waffle situation for a few weeks now. It’s mostly about the transformation of carbs. There’s a formula:  transform carb, add cheese, melt, sprinkle chives.  This works for any baked potato, nacho, and pizza happening.  Look how smart we are.

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Ps.  I figured out what you’re doing this weekend.  Waffles.

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Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts

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I’m really just thinking about the future.

This weekend I bought a doughnut baking pan.  I’d always thought baking doughnuts was for the birds… literally.  For some reason, lately I’ve been daydreaming about future doughnuts:  pumpkin with maple glaze, chocolate with peppermint frosting, and candy bar cupcakes for Halloween (because yes, I’m that crazy).

It’s just a bit too early to dive into Fall flavors, so I thought I’d break in ye olde doughnut baking pan with some browned butter.  Browned butter is forever in season, as are doughnuts.  We must have a win.

doughnuts

This is the most natural way to make doughnuts… on my desk with boards and napkins, a big camera, a tripod, and sprinkles everywhere.  Not true, but it’s real life anyway.

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Lasagna Grilled Cheese

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It’s like… what won’t I put between two slices of grilled bread?

Well.  I won’t put cake between grilled bread.  I promise to never put cookie dough between grilled bread (though… wait, is that sounding good to anyone else?).  I won’t ever smash pie and grilled bread together.  Ice cream.  Nope.

I will, however, try to smash every comforting savory food I can think of into a sandwich.  Yesterday:  Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  Today:  Lasagna. Tomorrow:  I think I just heard someone whisper ‘Taco’ in my ear.  Whoa.

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I can’t deal…  I’ll just eat it all.

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Homemade Hot Dog Buns

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We are officially in ‘Last Meal’ territory.

You know that weird question people ask you… ‘What would you choose to eat as your last meal?’. Geeeez what a daunting question!  People ask it so frivolously.   When asked this question (and I’m asked this question with weird frequency) this dialogue runs through my head:

You know that’s actually going to happen right!?  We’re actually all going to have a last meal, because we’re all going to die.  I think you want me to talk about chocolate chip cookies right now, or prime rib, or I don’t know… but all I’m thinking about now is my own mortality and all the ridiculous things I have to ask God forgiveness for.  And now I’m thinking about your mortality… how do you like that?  And now I’m thinking about my cat’s mortality and really, I think that’s a rude thing for your to make me think of.  Why would you do that?  I thought we were friends.

It’s complicated in this brain.  Too real.

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Aaaaaaannnyyway.

Hot dogs would totally be my last meal.  But …since it’s my last meal, these hot dogs must be exactly perfect.

All-natural.  All-beef.  Totes grass-fed.  Majorly organic. Homemade Poppy Seed Bun(!!!).  Hot dog charred to a crisp.  Like really really charred.  Topped with ketchup.  Topped with whole grain mustard.  Dotted with hot sauce.  Loaded with sauerkraut.  Three hot dogs, please.  One big bag of potato chips.  Two root beers with lots of ice.  Crushed ice. Some privacy.  Don’t worry about it.  It’s cool.

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Brown Butter Banana Bread with Rum and Coconut

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I’d like to tell you I’m working on my tan, but that’s a dang lie.

I’m working on my sitting-at-my-desk-and-eating-banana-bread-and-drinking-too-much-coffee.  It’s a tough job but someone has got to hold up this end of the banana bread bargain.

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While we’re here sharing all sorts of things, I should also tell you that ‘banana’ was the word I spelled incorrectly in Mrs. Saxon’s sixth grade Spelling Bee.  To be fair, you should know that I was dealing daily with frizzy bangs, I was standing in front of a class full of weirdos that included my mega-crush Hayden, I was trying to speak in a British accent because I had watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too many times, and there are way too many ‘n’ and ‘a’ situations in the word banana.

I’m glad I could finally explain that one.  I feel better.

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