April 2011

Banana Toffee Coffee Cake


Make this if you only attempt one baked good this year. Or if you know you are dying tomorrow. I used a standard coffee cake recipe (well, a standard coffee cake recipe with an extra cup of flour and 1/2 stick butter)…and added a ripe banana to the batter and toffee chips on top. Not necessary, but highly recommended.

For the Cake:

  • 1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 whole egg whites, beaten until stiff
  • 1 large ripe banana, or two medium

For the Topping:

  • 1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Heath toffee bits

This recipe is a serious case of multi-tasking. I creamed the sugar and butter in a stand-mixer, mixed the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl, mixed the milk with 2 mashed bananas in another bowl, and beat the egg whites.

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture. Mix until just blended. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula. I added vanilla here, because I add vanilla to everything.

Eat the dough.

For the topping, mix the butter, flour, sugar, and cinnamon with a pastry cutter to chop the butter. Or, use a potato masher if that’s all you have.


Pour the batter in a 9 X 13 inch buttered pan, pour the topping over it.


Bake in 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes, until no longer jiggly. Top with the toffee bits.



Eat as much as you can before someone else finds it.

Ham & Spinach Quiche


I decided to make Easter brunch this year. Typically I just like to eat cereal in the morning, but the re-birth inspired me to do something special. So, after careful consideration and interrogating my husband-to-be on possible brunch items, I decided on quiche, banana toffee cake, and fruit salad.

For the quiche, I went straight to my new cookbook, Dorie Greenspan’s ‘Around my French Table.’ My table is not french, but it hopes to be some day. I started by making the crust, or pate brisee if you’re fancy. I mixed the dough together, then rolled it up in aluminum foil to refrigerate for 3 hours (or 30 minutes if you are hungry and dying to eat as soon as possible, like myself).

After refrigerating, I rolled out the dough to a 12 inch diameter. I believe this is the step that would have benefitted from 3 hours of refrigeration. However, we both survived and Easter went on.  I placed the dough in a very buttered pie pan, then froze for approximately 42 minutes.

Now it is time to partially bake the crust. In order to maintain a flat crust, I lined it with parchment paper and filled it with ben’s instant white rice. I came up with this idea on my own.

Just kidding. That idea was Dorie’s. How do people come up with things like that??!  Bake it for about 20 minutes. Take out the parchment paper/rice, and bake for 3-5 more minutes.

For the filling, I did spinach, ham, and mushroom.  I started by sautéing some onions until golden brown.  I then added mushrooms, steamed spinach and chopped ham.

While the tart was cooling, I mixed the quiche filling. I modified Dorie’s recipe slightly to add more heavy cream and cheese, to lighten it up a bit. I mixed 3 beaten eggs with heavy cream.  I placed a layer of mozzarella on the bottom of the tart, then the ham mixture, followed by more cheese.

I then poured the custard (I did not know this was called a custard. Dorie is one smart lady) over the soon-to-be quiche. Oh – I also added a lot of pepper. There can never be too much pepper.  I then baked in a 350 degree oven until the middle was set, about 35 minutes.

And…voila! It tasted great and was delicious 1 hour later as well.  Here is the full recipe:

Crust (or pate brisee):
– 1 1/4 cups flour
– 1 t. sugar
– 1/2 t. salt
– 6 T. very cold butter, preferably unsalted
– 1 large egg
– 1 t. ice water

With a food processor ( or your clean hands if you don’t own a food processor, like me) mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and cold butter. Mix in the egg (beaten first), and 1 t. ice water. Knead the dough into a ball and refrigerate.

– 1/2 chopped sweet onion
– 3/4 c. chopped mushrooms
– 5 oz. baby spinach, steamed and chopped
– 1/2 lb chopped ham
– 1 c. cheese of your choice. I always like mozzarella or cheddar.

– 3 eggs, beaten
– 1 c. heavy cream


So there you have it.  A good, solid quiche recipe you can make again and again for your own french table.