Guess what? It's snowing! Just a little bit right now, and then it's supposed to snow 3-5 inches more in the afternoon. We'll see, though...
I'm sure you feel the same way as I do: when it's snowing all I want to do is bake, bake, bake. And drink coffee and read books.
I've been reading more books these days and I LIKE it, people. I've always been a big reader (When I was a kid I would bring books into restaurants when my family would go out to eat=sad), but for a while there I think I was only reading cookbooks and food magazines... and that's not healthy.
I had forgotten what it's like to snuggle up with a book and just read for hours. Or read in the bath tub. I'm a bath tub reader. I highly suggest it. It's weird, I know. Leave me alone.
I also suggest these books I read recently; they're all very good and worth reading.
On Rue Tatin
Those Who Save Us
A Soft Place to Land
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games sucked me in, so now I'm currently reading Catching Fire
Then I'll follow up with Mockingjay
This is a list of novels I want to read in the future, put together from recommendations from blogs and friends:
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
The Handmaid's Tale
The Kitchen House
Well, I guess Skinny Bitch isn't a novel, is it? I've heard so much about it. I'm very curious.
Do you have any book recommendations for me? I'd love to hear them. I'm sure others would, too.
So anyway, I plan on staying in today and reading and baking. I'm actually going to make another banana dessert today... I'm excited.
My uncle James sent me a big bag of English walnuts from his yard in Utah. Thank you, uncle James! (I don't think he reads this, but hey, it couldn't hurt.) I spent one evening cracking walnuts until I could crack no more. I ended up with a ton of walnuts. But no worries - I used them all in within a week. I wish I had a walnut tree.
I toasted and ground up the walnuts and used them in the cake batter, along with banana and maple syrup. The cake is baked in a springform pan for an hour. That seems like a long time for a cake, but this is a thick, dense cake. Don't worry - it comes out very, very moist and delicious.
What's even more delicious is the bacon whipped cream... because I could eat that alone as a dessert. It's whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup and flavored with vanilla extract, and then salty, cooked, chopped bacon is stirred in.
A little crazy, I suppose. I might be off my rocker, but I thought these flavors all worked well together. They're kind of breakfast-y flavors, you know?
Maple + Banana + Walnut + Bacon = Happiness.
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided use
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided use
5 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
Process walnuts in a food processor until finely ground; set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat melted butter, 1 cup sugar, banana, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well combined – about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and ground walnuts until combined – about 1 minute. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Pour batter in springform pan; bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until deep golden brown and set (cake no longer wobbles). Cool completely on a wire rack before releasing pan sides and slicing into wedges.
To make the Bacon Whipped Cream, beat cream in a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on high speed, until stiff peaks form; beat in additional 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and bacon until well combined. Serve torte with spoonfuls of whipped cream.
Makes 8-10 servings