Braided Cookie Butter Bread

Braided Cookie Butter Bread Can we just talk about Cookie Butter for a second?

Or, an hour. Or, maybe the whole darn day. Really, lets never stop talking about it. It deserves that much attention. Am I right?

My love for Cookie Butter is very, very new. As in, I tried it for the first time a week ago. Gasp. How could I wait so long? What was I doing with my life? How was I missing out on so much deliciousness? All valid questions. Let me tell you what happened.

I saw the Cookie Butter madness on Pinterest—recipes for Cookie Butter cookies, Cookie Butter pie, and even Cookie Butter bars—but, in all honesty, I just thought people were being fancy with their naming of desserts. Or, that they were listing the things they put in their desserts. Or, even that they somehow managed to take a perfectly wonderful cookie and turn it into butter, which they then baked into another cookie—I’ll admit that last one seemed a little complicated and I really didn’t want to have anything to do it.

I know. I messed up. Big time.

Braided Cookie Butter Bread

I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. Looking at the recipes, I realized Cookie Butter was a creamy spread, much like peanut butter, that tasted like crushed up gingerbread cookies. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

So, I bought a jar. Stuck the tip of my spoon into it. Took my first bite. And, then my second. And, fifth. And, then I smeared it on some bread. Ate that. And, then I proceeded to ask all my friends if they had tried this magical Cookie Butter, which most of them hadn’t. So, I of course, told them to sprint to Trader Joe’s and get some. Like now.

That my friends is how I fell truly madly deeply in food love with Cookie Butter [yes, I did just hear that song, if you know what I mean].

I debated what I would bake cookie butter into first. A cookie? Cake? Pie? Bar? There were endless options and tons of ideas popping into my head (don’t worry, I will be sharing another Cookie Butter related post at some point!!), but then I saw this Braided Nutella Bread, and knew I had found THE recipe. Would now be a bad time to mention I also just recently tasted Nutella? Probably. That’s a story for another day.

Please give a warm welcome to this Braided Cookie Butter Bread. Oh, is that chanting I hear? You guys are so kind!
Braided Cookie Butter Bread

Cookie Butter swirled into a homemade bread loaf. Really, what more can I say? The Cookie Butter caramelized itself on the outside of the loaf as it bakes, giving it a little crunch, and stays creamy and soft in the inside. Honestly, I can’t say more. Just go make this bread already. 

Braided Cookie Butter Bread
Recipe adapted from Inspired by Charm
Yields: 1 loaf

Ingredients:
1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup water, warmed (temperature should be between 100-110 degrees, about 30 seconds in the microwave)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup Cookie Butter (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)
1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water

Directions:
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in a ¼ cup of the water. Mix in the teaspoon of sugar and let sit for ten minutes to activate.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine flour and salt. Add the active yeast and remaining ¾ cup of water. Mix on low with the dough hook until just combined. Turn speed up to medium and mix for about 7 minutes or until dough is of a smoother looking consistency—the dough should be a little sticky, but still be able to hold it’s shape.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm spot for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to form a 12-inch x 15-inch rectangle. Spread the Cookie Butter—I found warming it in the microwave for about 10 seconds made it easier when spreading—evenly on the surface, leaving about a ½-inch border of dough. Roll the dough tightly (starting with the longer side) up. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough down the middle, making sure to leave one end intact. Twist or ‘braid’ the dough over the top of each other. Place braided dough on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet that has been lightly sprinkled with flour. Cover loosely with a towel and let sit for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush surface of the braided dough with egg wash. Bake bread for 25 to 30 minutes or until bread is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before digging in.

 

Braided Cookie Butter Bread

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Peekaboo Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pound Cake

PeekabooPCCPCakeMy laptop decided to take a nap.

Really, a permanent nap. And it refused to be awaken. So, I took it to be repaired. And this little repair, left me computer less for about two weeks. This is partly to blame for my lack of posting recently.

The other part, you can blame, is a few failed dessert photo shoots and my need for every picture to be perfect. I admit it, I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. Especially when it comes to this blog and the recipes I provide you. I just want you all to be happy with the taste and look of the final product…Can you blame me?

The one good thing about taking this baking break is that I was able to prioritize my ‘To Bake’ list. Meaning, that I have some really good recipes in the works (a lot of which involve pumpkin…the season simply demands it) that I CANNOT wait to share. You have been warned of the future deliciousness. Prepare your kitchens, stock your cupboards, and be ready for your stomach to growl in happy anticipation.

Now, can we just talk about how cute this Peekaboo Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pound Cake is? Just look at it.

PeekabooPCCPCake

Aside from being ridiculously cute, this cake is extremely delicious. Did I mention it’s actually pretty easy to make too? The peekaboo pumpkin is made from a box mix of pumpkin bread and maintains the wonderfully warm and cinnamony undertones you would find in the bread. The surrounding cream cheese pound cake is a homemade cake that contains both regular and pumpkin flavored cream cheese, giving it a slightly pumpkiny aftertaste. As a whole, the cake is extremely moist and both the pumpkin and cream cheese flavors are present in every bite!

Peekaboo Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Cake concept from SheKnows
Yields: One 9×5-inch loaf (+ about 6 cupcakes)

Utensils:
Medium sized pumpkin silicon molds (if you don’t have molds, you can use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter—see the SheKnows website for directions on how to proceed).

Ingredients:
Pumpkin Bread
1 box pumpkin bread (I used the Trader Joe’s brand)
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
food coloring

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz. pumpkin spice cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions:
Pumpkin Bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin bread mixture, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Stir until combined.
Add food coloring (2 red drops + 3 yellow drops=orange) to the batter until you feel the pumpkin is orange enough.
If you are using pumpkin silicon molds, pour the batter into the mold, filling it only about 2/3 of the way, and bake for about 10 minutes—the pumpkin will still be doughy in the center, but should be slightly firm on the sides.
The bread requires about 7 medium sized pumpkins, which means you’ll have extra pumpkin batter (with my extra batter, I made mini pumpkin shaped cupcakes using the mini pumpkin silicone molds, but I suggest making extra medium sized pumpkins just in case one falls apart while pulling it out of the mold).
Let pumpkins cool completely before gently removing them from the mold. Place pumpkins in a container lined with wax paper.
Refrigerate for at least four hours (I let mine sit over night).

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Cream together butter and both cream cheeses, until creamy.
Gradually add sugar, beating until combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture until each egg is incorporated.
In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.
Add vanilla. Mix until combined. Set cake mixture aside.

Assembly
Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
Remove the pumpkins from the fridge. Place pumpkins right side up (the bottom of the pumpkin touches the bottom of the loaf pan) in the middle of the pan in a line from one side of the pan to the other.
Pour the cream cheese pound cake mixture over the pumpkins, making sure to cover the pumpkins completely (there will be some left over cake batter, I made cupcakes with mine and placed the mini pumpkin cupcakes on top as a decoration).
Bake for about an hour and 50 minutes—if the top of the loaf is browning to quickly cover the pan with foil.
Let the cake cool completely (if you can) before cutting into it to reveal the inside.

 

PeekabooPCCPCake3

Banana Bread with Coconut and Rum

Banana Bread with Coconut and RumUgly mornings.

That’s what I’ve been waking up to. Gray cloudy skies, a cool breeze, and an instant desire for fuzzy socks, a warm blanket, and a large cup (or three) of gingerbread coffee.

Do you see the problem? It’s way too early in the year for me to be feeling this way. It should be sunny, slightly warm (but, not overly hot…I know, I’m picky), and I should have the desire to jump in the pool, drink iced coffee, and make my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, ice cream (or some other cold treat like popsicles). In the weather’s defense, it does start to heat up around noon, but still, I spend my mornings thinking fall is a lot closer than it actually is.

It doesn’t help that the Hallmark Channel (yes, I watch Hallmark movies, but only after checking to see what’s playing on Lifetime), has been having Christmas movie marathons. And, I of course, sat through about three Christmas movies before turning off the TV. I was getting way too excited about tree decorating, cookie baking, and wearing scarves and boots.

Hello, it’s July. Still Summer. Not fall or December. And definitely not time for Christmas or ugly mornings. What’s a girl to do with all these mixed signals? I’ll give you a hint, it involves baking.

Yup, you guessed right. It is baking this Banana Bread with Coconut and Rum.

Banana Bread with Coconut and Rum

Banana bread, or really any baked bread, makes me think of fall. I think it has something to do with the smell of bread baking in the oven or the need to have a chunky slice with a steaming cup of coffee. Coconut, on the other hand, makes me think of tanning, palm trees, and summer. Can you see how this bread solves my problem? Did I mention that there is rum in the bread? Well, there is, and it pairs quite perfectly with the coconut if you were wondering.

This bread takes banana bread to a whole new (and extremely delicious) level. The bread itself is super moist (thanks to the coconut yogurt) and each bite is filled with a subtle banana flavor, a crunch from the roasted coconut, and an undertone of the cinnamon and rum. I also made the bread with wheat flour (feel free to use all-purpose if you want), which gives the bread a milder taste and combines nicely with the other ingredients. If you’re feeling like fall is invading your summer, or even down the road if summer needs to invade your fall, I’d make this bread. Or, even if you’re just feeling like banana bread, I’d give this recipe a try. It’s worth it. Believe me.

Banana Bread with Coconut and Rum
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
Yields: One 9×5-inch loaf

Ingredients:
¾ cup (12 tablespoons) of salted butter, melted, browned, and cooled
2 cups wheat flour
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons rum, and about 1 tablespoon for topping
¼ cup coconut yogurt (I used Vanilla Coconut Milk Yogurt from Trader Joe’s)
1 ¼ cup mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
½ cup roasted coconut, plus ¼ cup for topping (I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Coconut Chips—recipe will use the whole bag).

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. As it melts, the butter will foam and crackle. Stir (or swirl the pan) as the butter cooks. When the butter begins to brown (mine was a very light brown color) and you smell a nutty aroma, take the saucepan off the heat. Pour the butter in bowl, whisk for about 30 seconds, and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Whisk until lumps are gone.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, rum, and coconut yogurt until well combined. Mix in the mashed bananas.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fold in roasted coconut. Stir until just combined.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle roasted coconut on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes. If the coconut on top starts to get too brown, cover loaf pan with foil.
Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes in the loaf pan. Brush top of bread with rum as it cools. Transfer bread to a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Banana Bread with Coconut and Rum