Posts Tagged ‘pecans’


Twisted Strata

May 1, 2011

I made a new version of french toast strata last week for brunch.  I’ve been wanting to kick up my strata recipe for a while and thought using banana bread was a perfect way to do that.

I love a good strata.  I love that you can make it the night before and then just stick it in the oven in the morning.  Strata is perfect for brunch, or a Sunday morning after church.  I made a strata the night before my wedding to serve to the girls as they got ready for church.

This version came to me after I had a wonderful banana bread pudding a few weeks ago.  I’ve also been reading about how soaking nuts is a great way to have a healthy snack.  So pairing them together seemed like a no brainer.  I was right.  Of course, if you have a nut allergy, I don’t think that omitting the pecans will alter the recipe that much.

I used my banana nut recipe as the base of the strata and just omitted the pecans.  I’ve actually been making the bread that way that last few times lately.  It’s the number of bananas that really makes this recipe so moist and yummy.  You could use whatever banana bread you like, though.  I won’t judge.  Just make sure that whatever bread you use, it’s cool.  Making the bread a few days ahead would be best.

Banana Bread Strata

  • For the Bread:
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 t vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease 2 loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt with a wire whisk; set aside.  In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, bananas and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed until thick.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed just until combined.  Do not overmix.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake for 60-70 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean and the bread should pull away from the sides.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Turn the pans on the side; cool to room temperature before removing and slicing.

I usually make this bread once I have 7 ripe bananas.  I just accumulate them and stick them in a bag in the freezer until I have the right amount.  The riper the banana, the better the bread!  (You can also add a cup of pecans to the bread, but then I wouldn’t add them to the strata.)

  • For the Strata:
  • 1/2-3/4 of a loaf of banana bread
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 C Half and Half (or whole milk)
  • 1/2 C Caramel (use your favorite jar caramel)
  • 1 T Vanilla
  • 1/2 C Pecans, chopped (optional)

Cut the bread up into 3/4 inch cubes.  Place the cubes in an even layer inside a 11×7 prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the bread.  Beat the eggs, half and half, caramel and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Cover, refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.  Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  Garnish with leftover caramel, syrup or powdered sugar.


Vanilla Nut Bars

August 26, 2010

I love pecan squares.  Especially Corner Bakery’s maple pecan squares.  If you’ve ever had  Corner Bakery’s maple pecan squares, you know how good they are.  The crust is buttery.  The pecans are the right amount of crunchy.

I came across this recipe and thought of those pecan squares.  The crust is dead on.  I actually like these bars better because of the mixture of the nuts.

Vanilla Nut Bars

  • Crust:
  • 2 1/2 sticks Butter, softened
  • 6 T sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • Pinch of Fine sea salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 C  Butter
  • 1/2 C Honey
  • 1 1/2 C light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
  • 2 T Half and Half
  • 1 C Almonds, chopped
  • 1 C Pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Make the crust by combining the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment and mix for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter/sugar mixture on low speed just until all the ingredients are completely incorporated. Using well floured hands (I actually used a rubber spatula and therefore did not flour my hands), press dough into ungreased 9×13 metal cake pan. Bake crust for 15 minutes. Cool. While the crust is cooling, make the filling.

Combine the butter, honey, and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils; continue to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the half and half, vanilla, and chopped nuts. Pour mixture over the crust and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool until set. Cut and serve!

Note: I use half and half pretty much wherever milk/cream is listed.  We drink skim milk and skim milk doesn’t always work well in a recipe.  We buy a lot of half and half so it’s easy to substitute in recipes.   I also plan to drizzle some chocolate on them the next time I bake them!

The original recipe is right here.  Butter Yum’s website is really cool.  I love her pictures.


Caramel Apple Muffins

August 24, 2010


Meeshie started school yesterday.

That means the weather will be turning cooler soon. 

I love fall. 

I love summer too, but the fall is so beautiful and the weather is so energizing.

I decided that I wanted to make caramel apple muffins but couldn’t find a recipe that I liked.  So I came up with this one.

I used apple sauce instead of butter in this recipe to give it more of an apple flavor.  But you can substitute apple sauce for butter in a lot of recipes when you bake.  No one will know the difference.

Caramel Apple Muffins

  • 1 C Apple Sauce
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 t Vanilla
  • 2 C Flour
  • 2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 3/4 t Cinnamon
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 2 C Granny Smith Apples, chopped and peeled (about 2 apples)
  • For the Caramel Sauce
  • 3/4 C Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1/4 C Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 t Vanilla
  • 3/4 C Pecans, chopped

For the caramel sauce:

In a medium sauce pan, combine the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup.  Stir constantly until it starts to simmer.  Let it simmer for about two minutes then take off the heat and add the vanilla and nuts.  Set aside.

For the muffins:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the apple sauce, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add to the apple sauce mixture and beat until just combined.  Fold in the apples.

Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and insert muffin cups.  Spoon half of the batter (I used a gravy ladle) into the prepared muffin cup, then add some of the caramel sauce, and spoon the remaining batter into the muffin cup.  Set aside the remaining caramel sauce.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

Cool for about 10 minutes and then remove the muffins from the tin.  Spoon additional sauce on top of the muffins.  Let cool completely.

You may have additional sauce to use as you desire, on top of ice cream or as a dip for apples.

Makes 12 muffins.


Heavenly Pecan Crescents Cookies

May 25, 2010

When I wrote about the sweet table last week, I promised that I would post this crescent recipe. I have been making this recipe forever. It has always been a family favorite and it is definitely on my Christmas cookie list. Meeshie loves making the ropes that are formed into a crescent shape. Double this recipe, you won’t regret it!


  • 1 cup Butter, Softened
  • ⅓ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Water
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Pecans, Chopped
  • Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the water and vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour and pecans, form into a ball and chill for three to four hours.

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pinch off about a golf-ball-sized ball and roll it into a snake. Shape into a crescent. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    These cookies are very fragile so are best stored in a large flat container.

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