Banana cupcakes with Nutella frosting

Banana Nutella cupcakes

Sometimes, instead of making something fancy and adventurous, I need to go back to flavors I love and feel comfortable with. These times generally fall when my life is insane. (For example when we're navigating the home-stretch of embryo adoption and transfer.)

Born from the nervousness was this cupcake.  Moist (sorry) banana cupcakes with light, chocolatey Nutella frosting. What can possibly be better? Nothing, that's right. As far as decorating goes, I used pastry bags and favorite french star tip. I used the same tip to decorate the raspberry champagne cake - so versatile!

Banana Nutella cupcakes!

Banana nutella cupcakes


Author: Lizzy via Sugar + Butter

Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 12 cupcakes

A moist banana cupcake topped with the world's most delicious substance: Nutella.


Ingredients


  • For the cupcake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

  • For the frosting

  • 8 oz. of butter, room temperature

  • 2-3 large spoonfulls of Nutella

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar




Instructions


For the cupcakes


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup cupcake tin with paper cupcake liners.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, add the butter and granulated sugar. Beat with a handheld mixer or in your stand mixer until light and fluffy; about two minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.

  4. Incorporate the dry mixture and wet mixture together until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

  5. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner three-quarters of the way full. Bake in the oven until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack and let cool before frosting.


For the frosting


  1. Beat your butter until soft. Add the Nutella and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add your confectioner's sugar. Mix on lowest setting until the powdered sugar has absorbed and you're sure it isn't going to fly everywhere. Then beat on medium-high speed for about a minute.







Banana Nutella cupcakes!

What flavors do you turn to when you need comfort?

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan)



Ben's favorite cookies are oatmeal raisin.  It has honestly never been one of my favorites, but I love him so I decided to make a gluten free, soy free, and vegan option we could both enjoy.

We didn't have any raisins, but we did have dried blueberries. Because I am a toxic mixture of stubborn and lazy, I rewrote my recipe to make these blueberry oatmeal cookies. I added a maple glaze so they are basically an unhealthy version of a bowl of blueberry oatmeal.

I brought these to a BBQ and no one knew they were GF, V, and SF until I told them. Then one woman looked very sad and said, "I probably can't eat these.." to which I happily and triumphantly responded, "I bet you can!" (She could.)

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan)


Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 18-24 cookies


Ingredients


  • For the cookies:

  • 1 cup vegan butter

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tbsp psyllium husk powder

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 and 1/2 cups Lizzy's gluten free, soy free flour mix

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 3 cups gluten free rolled oats

  • 1 cup dried blueberries

  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

  • For the maple glaze:

  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

  • 2 tsp Forager's cashew milk

  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup




Instructions



  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Throw your chopped walnuts on a cookies sheet and toast for 10 minutes. They will smell aromatic when you take them.

  2. Using a mixer (hand or stand) cream the vegan butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. It will look wet and grainy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and maple syrup and mix on high until combined.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, psyllium husk powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined.

  4. Scoop and roll balls of dough and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes until very lightly browned on the sides. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  5. Mix together confectioners sugar, cashew milk, and maple syrup and pour over the cookies once they've cooled a bit. If you're transporting the cookies, give them 15 minutes for the glaze to harden up.







 



Find Lizzy's gluten free, soy free flour mix recipe here.

I will definitely be making these again!

The BEST fudgy chocolate frosting



There are a few things that can solidify your reputation as a good baker. Having a solid pie crust recipe. Knowing your way around a vanilla cupcake. And a perfect chocolate frosting recipe.

Well, I can help you cross one of those off your list right now. (You're welks) This recipe takes a bit of finesse to get the right consistency, but the result is sweet, smooth, and fudgy.



Note before you start: The frosting will thicken as it cools. Always add less milk than you think you need. You can always add more!

Different consistencies you may need:

Layer cake: A layer cake will need a thicker frosting that will keep it's shape better.

Sheet cake: It doesn't need to be as thick, but should still hold it's shape pretty well.

Cupcakes: This is up to you! If you're planning on piping, it'll need to be similar to the thickness for a layer cake. If you're spreading it on top of your cupcakes, it can be a bit thinner.

The BEST fudgy chocolate frosting


Author: Lizzy via Sugar Plus Butter

Prep time:

Total time:

The best ever fudgy chocolate frosting for cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.


Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup vegan butter

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

  • 1 pound of confectioner's sugar

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2-3/4 cup Forager cashew milk




Instructions



  1. Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each.

  2. In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 1/2 cup of the milk.

  3. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture.

  4. Add remaining milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.

  5. Allow it to cool in your refrigerator in 10-minute increments, stirring in between each. (It took me about 3 rounds of cooling)

  6. If the frosting ends up too hard after it cools, microwave the mixture for 30-45 seconds to soften, and stir in a couple tbsp of cashew milk at a time until it is spreadable and can hold it's shape.







 

Everybody's Bread: Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan

You may or may not know this, but I have been gluten free for over a year. It has helped me overcome a lot of ailments that were dragging me down. It's not for everyone, but it did help me.

Add on top of that that we eat vegan and I've been put on a temporary soy restriction due to our fertility process. (Did you know that people who avoid soy also avoid xantham gum?) Well, there isn't much left, is there?

Wrong. There's a ton left! Especially when you can replace everyday staples that you're used to having. Like bread.

This bread is light and flavorful and will hold up as sandwich bread. With a single trip to your local bulk store, you can make as many loaves of this as you'd like. And the bulk store trip is honestly the most time-consuming part. This dough comes together in less than 10 minutes. Yup, less. Than. Ten.

Let's get to it, huh?



Everybody's Bread: Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan


Recipe Type: gluten free, vegan, soy free, bread

Author: Lizzy via Sugar Plus Butter

Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 1 loaf

This bread is light and flavorful and anyone can eat it.


Ingredients


  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk powder

  • 2 cups plan Forager cashew milk (or if avoiding xantham gum doesn't matter to you, any nut milk)

  • 3 cups Lizzy's GF flour mixture (4 cups of brown rice flour and buckwheat flour, 2 cups of almond or quinoa flour and tapioca starch, whisked together)

  • 2 tbsp baking powder

  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 2 tsp salt




Instructions



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Mix together the psyllium husk and cashew milk. Microwave them for 30 seconds to warm up and activate the psyllium powder.

  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If you want to add any other herbs or spices, this is the time to do it.

  4. Pour the psyllium/cashew milk mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until completely combined. The mixture will have a little elasticity to it, but mostly it will just be wet.

  5. Pour into a greased and floured bread pan. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan onto a cooling rack. It'll be ready to eat in just a few minutes!









That's it, guys. This isn't just for people who are allergic to everything, either. I fed this to a few people who all were completely surprised by how good it was. So there.

So, you're already making this right now, right? I'll leave you to it.

The 'R Word:' Religion and Embryo Adoption

[caption id="attachment_876" align="alignnone" width="659"] I found this note that Ben jotted down in our kitchen a few months ago.[/caption]

Religion has always been a difficult subject for me. Without going into the details, suffice it to say that it is a loaded topic in our house. Luckily, though, Ben and I find ourselves on the same page about it.

When we first looked into embryo adoption a year and a half ago, we immediately noticed something: A lot of these agencies were Christian-centered. 

Before I go any further, I have to note that nothing written here is meant to offend or slight people of the Christian faith. Many people whom I hold very dear are Christian and I would never dream of making a judgement about a person based on their religion.

When we found out that most of these agencies were Christian-based, it really bummed us out. We felt discouraged, as though we wouldn't be chosen based on our religion. In fact, we were turned away from an agency here in Colorado because they "probably wouldn't be able to find a couple interested in us."

For a moment I was full of bitterness. But then I realized that if these were my embryos, and I were trying to find a home for them, I might choose someone non-religious over religious if I had two sets of couples, both of whom I liked.

This choice implies that you have some degree of control over the situation when in actuality you don't. People change and grow and sometimes make mistakes, so the person you adopt out to may very well not be the same person by the time they're raising these kids; that's just the reality. Plus, once the papers are signed those children are no longer yours to make choices for. It's an incredibly difficult choice to make.

Christianity can be such a lovely thing. I hear of couples who adopt and their churches take up collections to help them pay for it. It is an immediate connector between two people when all they have in common is the internet. I'm sure the spiritual benefits are many.

The first thing people's minds go to is the 'respect of life' debate. I'll admit, when we first started considering embryo adoption, I worried about the implications. It has taught me new perspective on the subject, though. These embryos represent hope for Ben and I; they mean so much to us. But they are just a cluster of cells. Do they feel pain? No. Would I be in pain if I lost them? Absolutely.

The point of this post is to start a dialogue between people who are considering embryo adoption, both religious and non-religious. We find ourselves in the same club, which doesn't happen every day. I think that is just so cool.

What are your thoughts on this?

What is embryo adoption/donation?



The overwhelming response that I get when I explain that Ben and I are adopting embryos is: Wait...you can do that?

Nutella-Stuffed Funetti Cookies



I don't need to explain to you why I put Nutella in these cookies. I know that you already how magical it is. But I do have to tell you that the browned butter is the star of this cookie, even compared to the Nutella center.

They are the perfect cookies for any celebration or Monday night. They come together surprisingly fast and are so. worth. the. effort.

We're currently elbow-deep in adoption red tape and it seems there is a surprise around every corner. These cookies are really great because the surprise is chocolate and not paperwork.

Nutella-Stuffed Funfetti Cookies


Author: Lizzy Wolff

Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 24 cookies


Ingredients


  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup Nutella

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Sprinkles!




Instructions


To prepare:


  1. Prepare your Nutella filling first by lining a cookie sheet with wax paper and dropping Nutella by 2 teaspoon-sized dollops onto cookie sheet. Place in freezer to harden while you prepare your cookie dough. (It should be hard by the time your dough is prepared)

  2. Cut your butter into pieces and place in a medium-sized saucepan. Melt over medium-low heat.

  3. Once butter has melted, increase heat to medium heat.

  4. Swirl and scrape the sides of the pan frequently with a spatula - the butter will bubble. Once the bubbling slows, the butter will begin to turn brown.

  5. Once it begins to brown and you smell the nutty aroma of browned butter, remove from heat quickly and pour into a large, heatproof bowl.

  6. Allow butter to cool in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.


For the Cookie Dough:


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Do not grease or line your cookie sheets.

  2. Add sugars into cooled browned butter, stir well with your spatula.

  3. Stir in eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.

  4. Add vanilla extract and stir.

  5. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  6. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture with your spatula, stirring until ingredients are completely combined. Add your sprinkles and mix until evenly distributed.

  7. Chill dough in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

  8. Remove frozen Nutella from freezer and cookie dough from refrigerator. Scoop dough by heaping 1 1/2 Tbsp-sized spoonful and press frozen Nutella blob into the center. Form the dough around Nutella until it is completely concealed. Once the Nutella is covered, roll the dough in your hands to make it a smooth ball.

  9. Freeze cookie dough balls for 15 minutes.

  10. Place cookie dough at least 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined sheet, and bake on 375F for 10-13 minutes, or until edges are just beginning to turn golden brown.