Thursday, January 17, 2013

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

These are to die for, that's all I have to say. Thanks Becky for sharing your amazing banana cake recipe with me! This browned butter frosting just puts these over the top. They are good freshly made, but I prefer them cold from the refrigerator the next day.

Banana Cake

2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. sour cream, room temp
3 eggs, room temp
½ c. (1 stick) Butter, softened
6 overripe bananas mashed well
1 Tbs vanilla extract
3 c. flour
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350, use cooking spray to grease a half sheet (bar) pan.

Cream together sugar, sour cream, eggs, and softened butter. Add mashed banana and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking soda; mix well.
Pour into pan and bake for 15-18 minutes. Top should be lightly browned.

Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 c. unsalted butter, divided
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, cut into 6 chunks
about 4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In Kitchenaid or mixing bowl place cream cheese and 4 Tbs of cold unsalted butter. In small saucepan, melt remaining 4 Tbs butter over medium heat. Continue to cook, watching carefully, until butter is a brown nutty color, this usually takes about 5 minutes. Pour hot browned butter over cream cheese and cold butter. Beat together for 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Correct consistency with more powdered sugar or milk if necessary.

When cake is cool, frost. If not eaten immediately, refrigerate.

Chewy Glazed Lemon Cookies

I know it has been awhile, but these two recipes were so good, I had to share! I had seen a picture on pinterest of glazed lemon cookies that looked really good, but when I read the recipe, it said they were crispy. Nothing against crispy cookies, I know some people love them, but I am a fan of the chewy type.
So I took my all time favorite Chewy Sugar Cookie recipe (from Cooks Illustrated) and made it into a lemon cookie. The glaze was simple to put together, this recipe makes about 22 cookies. These cookies are seriously amazing (and I have high standards when it comes to cookies!) Once you eat one, you'll be back for more. You'll notice there are weight measurements on the flour and sugar, I always weigh them to be consistent each time, but if you don't have a kitchen scale, don't worry about it!

Chewy Sugar Cookies
(from Cooks Illustrated)

2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, aerate before measuring
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract (2 tsp if making plain sugar cookies, only 1 tsp if making lemon)

Preheat oven to 350 and adjust rack to middle position.
Have two cookie sheets ready.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In mixing bowl combine sugar, cream cheese, and lemon zest. Pour hot melted butter over and stir with rubber spatula until you can't see any chunks of cream cheese. Add oil and egg, stir until well combined. Add milk and vanilla. Stir until well incorporated. Slowly stir in flour mixture until the dough resembles play dough. Scoop by Tablespoons into hand, roll in ball, and then roll in sugar and place on baking sheet. I usually get about 11 on each sheet. Bake one sheet at a time, for 10-12 minutes. 11 minutes is perfect for me, but my oven runs a little hot. You really do not want to over bake these, they should be mostly white with VERY LIGHT browning on the edges and crackly on top. Remove to wire rack to cool.

While cooling make the glaze:

Lemon Glaze

1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon zest

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. When cookies are cooled, lightly spoon about a teaspoon of glaze on each cookie, swirl around with back of spoon until covered. Let harden and enjoy! These cookies stay chewy and delicious for 3 days.