Banana oatmeal chocolate chip almond muffins


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , , | Posted on 1:27 PM

Can i put more things into these?!?! Anyway, like I said, I am moving Saturday so I was going through my food and realized I had too many bananas and leftover oatmeal and almonds plus a bag of chocolate chips. So I had to figure out how to put them all together and this is what the outcome was! I am SURE these are to be a hit with friends and family!! Great breakfast item!

1.5 cups of oats (toast them in oven at 375* for about 10 min or fragrant)
1 cup all purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1 stick of butter melted
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup milk
3 ripe bananas mashed
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 375*
Combine first 8 ingredients (all dry) (minus choc chips and almonds). Combine butter through bananas (all wet ingredients). Pour wet into dry just until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips and almonds. Scoop into muffin tins with liners. These don't rise too much so you can fill them full. Bake until golden brown on top...could be 30 minutes. They are delicious directly out of the oven. So warm and fluffy! Happy breakfast eating :)



Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , | Posted on 7:23 AM

Hey friends. I have no clue how many people are reading this blog or not...but for those of you who do, I have to apologize for this upcoming week. I am working M-F from 6-2 in waukegan and then packing because I am moving on Saturday! WOOHOO! Which not only means that I am busy packing, but all of my kitchen will be packed :( trust me, this is sadder for me than you can even imagine! I will TRY to bake at least once because I don't know if I can go the whole week without it!!! In any case, instead, I am reading a great book about facts that you would never know about food! So I am going to post a tidbit daily that HOPEFULLY you didn't know about! Maybe we can all learn together! Here is todays:

Is there a nutritional difference between dark meat and light meat on a chicken?
Dark meat (the leg, thigh, and back) has two to ten percent more calories than does the light meat (the breast), depending on the bird; fryers are more caloric than roasters. (fyi- fryer is a chicken between 6-8 wks old and weigh between 3-4.5 lbs. roasters are between 2-6 months and can reach up to 8 lbs). Dark meat also has slightly less protein and about 1/3 more fat. Both are low in cholesterol and supply comparable amounts of A and B vitamins and calcium!

Have a great sunday!!!

Lemon Pistachio (White Chocolate dipped) Biscotti


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , , | Posted on 1:46 PM

Hi all! Sorry I've been MIA. On monday of this week my catering company asked me if I wanted a short term gig thru November 13th! So I took it, but it requires me to wake up super early and be in Waukegan by 6 am! At least I'm making some money again :)

Anyway, since I'm projected to move Oct 31/Nov 1 I am still trying to use up ingredients! Today's special ingredient was Pistachios! I also am planning on giving this away to my new landlord and the guy who found me the place!

These are super simple and great with coffee and tea!

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
6 oz ( 1 1/2 cups) unsalted pistachios
3 large eggs
zests of 2 lemons
3 tbsp lemon juice (had no lemons- i used water)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350* and put rack in the middle.
Mix flour, sugar and baking powder with the pistachios. Mix eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice (or water), and vanilla extract. Mix egg mixture into flour mixture until just incorporated. I did this all by hand! On a floured surface separate dough into to batches rolling into a log. Place on the cookie sheet (with plenty of space in between since they rise a bit) and slightly flatten. Bake for til they feel firm, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Reset the racks to upper and lower third and reduce oven temperature to 300*. Slice biscotti into 1/3 inch thick diagonal slices. Arrange on a cookie sheet, without leaving space in between them. Bake until dry and slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Remove and cool on a baking rack.
When completely cooled, melt the chocolate (in a double boiler or in the microwave at 15 second increments) and dip 1/4 of the biscotti in the chocolate and place on a piece of wax paper and let cool. You can dip these in dark chocolate as well or not dip them. Your choice! That's the beauty of them. They are fun to make!

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwiches


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 8:27 AM

Delicious recipe today! I love peanut butter and chocolate! This is like a reese's peanut butter cup in a cookie...can't get much better than that!!! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did making it.

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup+ 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup+1 T packed dark brown sugar
6 T (3/4 stick) softened butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 1/3 cup (8 oz) milk chocolate chips

3 oz chopped milk chocolate
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 T powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 T whipping cream

Make the filling so it has time to set up. Combine chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar and salt into a bowl. Bring the cream just to a boil and pour over chocolate mixture. Whisk til smooth. Chill until thick and spreadable (about an hr)

Preheat oven to 350*.
In a bowl mix flour, soda, powder, and salt. Set aside. Using a mixer (or handheld) mix butter, powdered sugar, and dark brown sugar. Mix til creamy and add the peanut butter. Mix till creamy. Slowly add the oil, egg and vanilla. When fully incorporated add the flour mixture. Add in chocolate chips. Place by rounded tablespoons on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 min. They will look uncooked and fluffy, but they will cook up just by sitting and harden up. Don't over bake or they will be like a rock!

Assembly by spreading some of the filling on the flat side of a cookie and place another cookie on top! How much filling you want is up to you! You can always make more filling!

Chocolate Ganache Cake


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , | Posted on 9:32 AM

Today's recipe is because I was commissioned to make a birthday cake for someone who loves dark chocolate! I gladly accepted because making chocolate cakes are my specialty! I think you'll really love this recipe. Very basic yet rich and delicious.

3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder- NOT dutch-process (once again I used dark)
1 tsp instant espresso powder (this is actually a great ingredient to keep in the house!)
1/2 cup whole milk (you can interchange depending on what is in your house)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
20 oz bittersweet (not un-sweetened) fine quality chocolate, chopped (or chips are fine)

Preheat oven to 350*.

Make ganache (it needs to cool for a few hrs). Bring cream just to a boil. Once boils remove immediately and pour over bittersweet chocolate. Let sit for a second before whisking til creamy. Plastic wrap it (so it's touching the chocolate) and put in the fridge til just set. If it's too thick let it stand at room temp til soft.

Prepare pans by lining 2- 8 inch round cake pans with parchment. Then butter and flour the pans. You may need to spray the bottom (or butter) before you put the parchment down so it sticks.

To make the cake. Whisk boiling water, cocoa powder and espresso powder til smooth. Add vanilla and milk. Set aside. Mix flour, soda, and salt. Set aside. In a mixer (kitchen aid or handheld) beat butter and brown sugar til fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture in batches starting and ending with flour mixing at low speed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans evenly. Cook until set. About 25 min. Let cool completely on a rack before removing from the pan and remove the paper.

Make sure the ganache is spreadable, yet not too runny. Now you can make either two layers or 4 if you want to cut the cake rounds into two. I preferred to make two layers. Using a turntable (it's helpful if you have one) slice off the top of the round so it's flat. Top one layer with a cup of the ganache and spread. Place other layer on top. Place in the fridge so the ganache hardens up and cake gets cold (maybe 1 hr or so). Next crumb coat the cake with the ganache. This basically means a very thin layer of ganache on the entire cake so it's sealed. Then put the cake back in the fridge for about 30 min so it hardens as well. Then you can proceed to cover the entire cake in ganache as you would a frosting. I hope the pictures help explain it, but they are hard to tell. Keep in mind, ganache isn't supposed to be spreadable, so it's not like your typical frosting. It will look a bit messy and you can cover it up with decorations like I did. The best way to smooth out ganache is by taking your spatula and running it under the water. The heat and the dampness will help out with the smoothness of the cake. But if it's not perfect, that's ok! It's rustic :)

*Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cooled completely then wrapped and chilled.
*Ganache can be made also 1 day ahead. On day of usage bring to room temp.
*Assembled cake can keep for up to 3 days, covered and chilled.



lemon pound cake


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , | Posted on 11:21 AM

Today I stayed basic. I wanted to make a gift for Ron's Parents and you can't go wrong with pound cake! Super simple recipe and easy directions. Again, a great gift!

1 3/4 cup cake flour (cake flour has a different consistency that all purpose. It will make your product lighter. I highly advice you don't substitute all purpose)
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar (superfine or castor if possible- if not you can use regular or you can make your own superfine by processing your sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds)
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon (i always use more- the flavor is great! can substitute orange zest too!)

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix flour, soda and salt. Set aside. Using a mixer (hand mixer or kitchen aid) beat butter til creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Should look white. Keep scraping down the sides so it's all incorporated!! This should take about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time (continue to scrape the sides). The mixture will look like it's curdling- that is ok! Add vanilla and zest. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Pour into a loaf pan (recipe calls for one 9X5X3, but I used two 8X4X2.5) that is buttered and floured (explained in a post a few before this one!) Bake for about and hr or until golden brown on top. This cake, because of the butter and sugar, can be kept for several days if wrapped very well. Or you can freeze it for a month and defrost when hungry!!!

Oatmeal Scones


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 7:06 PM

Yes...I am using up the buttermilk and then it's done! What better way to use buttermilk than to make scones. One of my favorite foods because they can be sweet or savory- BRILLIANT! Here is a random recipe I found trying to use up other ingredients I had in my house like whole wheat pastry flour! It's much lighter than regular whole wheat flour so it doesn't taste so dense and wheat-y. I'm sure you could substitute all purpose flour, but I haven't look up the conversion.

1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon (or more like i added)
2 cups oats (old fashioned or quick cooking)
2/3 cup+1/4 cup buttermilk (plus more for brushing on top)
raw sugar for sprinkling on top


Preheat oven to 375*. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Cut (i used a kitchen aid, but I usually use my hands) in butter until mixture becomes uniformly crumbly. Stir in oats. Add buttermilk and mix gently until a soft dough begins to cling together. Once mixed, put onto a baking sheet in balls. Make your own size! It's fun! Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle on raw sugar. Bake until golden brown and firm when pressed lightly in the center.

*to make less sweet, add 2/3 brown sugar instead
* you can add dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, or anything else you want to!

Remember, this is whole wheat pastry flour, so the product will have a different taste if you aren't used to eating wheat pastries, so you may wanna keep in the sugar to counterbalance the taste! Your choice! Either way, they are delicious warm with some butter. I say that about all scones though :) Enjoy!!!

Chocolate Buttermilk Brownies


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 7:23 AM

I apologize for such a long break! Like I mentioned I went out of town with my boyfriend and he loved the cookies and we had a nice time! And then Monday I had to work another 4 am shift...but I'm back in action :)

I still have buttermilk left, and after this recipe I'll prolly still have more left! I don't know why I bought such a big container! But it's fun cause I'm learning what buttermilk goes with. I love making scones, so that will probably be next!

Anyway, this recipe is close to a basic brownie recipe, but it has some buttermilk in it. Also, it's more cake like than a brownie that is chewy or fudgy!

1 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (i used extra dark)
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350*. Begin by bringing butter, cocoa powder, and water to a boil. While that is going, butter and flour a 15x10 in pan. I used Pam with flour, but the way you butter and flour a pan is this. Using melted butter that has been cooled or softened butter is easiest. Butter the pan as you normally would (I use my fingers). Put some flour in the pan and roll is around to cover it all. The tap into the garbage can or sink ALL of the flour. The flour layer should be VERY thin! Excess flour is not good. Once boiled, bring that mixture to cool. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and soda. Mix eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour cocoa mixture over dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour liquid over that and mix well. I used a whisk for all of this. No need to bring out the fancy machines for this one! Then pour into prepared pan and do not over bake. Start at 20 minutes and then watch carefully.

For the frosting, if the butter is at room temperature just whisk all of the ingredients together and spread on brownies. If not, melt the butter with the cocoa powder and buttermilk. Add the sugar and vanilla. Then pour over brownies.

Since I used dark cocoa mine have a strange color. However, the taste must be delicious because the people I gave them to have raved about it!

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 2:50 PM

Since I am taking a mini vacation this weekend with the special person in my life, I decided to make him a special treat! He can't eat dairy so I made a dairy free cookie- and he loves chocolate chip! The recipe I found on the Crisco box! I're thinking gross! But crisco isn't as unfriendly as you think. I have a feeling you will like this recipe very much!

3/4 cup (or stick- it's the same) Crisco Butter flavor shortening
1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 T soy milk
1 T vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate (dairy free)

Preheat oven to 375*.

Cream crisco and brown sugar. Add milk, vanilla and egg. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda. Mix in chocolate chips. Using a tablespoon or an ice cream scooper (what I use) and put on an un-greased (or silpat) cookie sheet with some space in between. I did it two ways- once just dropping them and once dropping and flattening. I think just dropping them is better. Bake about 8-10 min. DO NOT over bake or they will be hard. Enjoy all you lactose free people :)



DROP (on left) SMASH (on right):

Buttermilk Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , , | Posted on 10:57 AM

Last week I bought a HUGE carton of buttermilk, which I didn't wind up using because I didn't make that recipe. So I was determined to find a recipe to make with buttermilk! Not only did I find a recipe that uses it, but it used 2 cups worth and sadly I still have more left (more to bake!!!). And the maple cream cheese frosting was because I was reading my book that had the flavor profile of buttermilk and maple went well with it, which was also in my house!!

4 cups cake flour- NOT self rising. (can substitute all purpose four:1 cup minus 2 tbsp= 1 cup cake flour)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter (1 cup) softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 cups well shaken buttermilk

2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350*. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy using a mixer . Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add buttermilk until just incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches slowly until just mixed.

Pour into muffin tins with liners. Fill almost to the top. I made about 36 but the original recipe was called for 24. Mine also overflowed, but they were large and in charge! Bake for 20 minutes or until just turning golden on top/knife comes out clean.

For the frosting, mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the rest of ingredients until mixed.

Pipe (i used a professional piping bag, but you can make one with a baggy and cut the end off!) the frosting on the cupcakes only if they are cool! If the frosting isn't stiff enough, put it in the fridge until the consistency is pipe-able! You can also spread it on. You will see the pictures and the difference.

Now, I gave one to my dad- he said there was too much frosting on it and it over powered the buttermilk in the cupcake. So maybe this was a bad choice of frosting or maybe I just actually did put too much on it!

Anyway, here are the pictures. Play around with different frostings like chocolate or lemon.

Hob Nobs


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , | Posted on 8:20 AM

Ever heard of them? Me either until I went to London! They are very popular there. And since they include all of the ingredients I have to get rid of, I decided to make them. The problem is you can't find the recipe online, so I had to borrow this one from a friend's blog! Keep in mind- these are NOT replicas. They are a recipe someone came up with to make a cookie similar to the Hob Nob! Do not be disappointed when they don't taste exactly the same! But by the way they smell and look, I bet they taste pretty darn good :)

1 1/4 cups oats
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat PASTRY flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
9 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

4 oz milk chocolate

Preheat oven to 350*.

In a food processor, grind the oats til fine.

Mix both flours, baking powder, soda, and both sugars into the oats. Add the butter to the flour mixture until it looks crumbly. You can do this by hand or with a mixer using the paddle. Or you can do all of those steps above in a food processor. Add corn syrup and vanilla. The mixture will look dry and that is ok.

Separate the dough into to 2 balls and place in between two piece of plastic wrap. This makes it easier to roll out. Roll out til 1/4 inch thick. Cut with a cookie cutter into circles. I chose to make small ones, but you can make them as big or as small as you want them. You could also probably use different shapes ;)

Bake until slightly brown. When you remove them from the cookie sheet to put on the cooling rack, be very careful because they are fragile and can fall apart easily! Let cool on a rack completely.

Melt the milk chocolate. Once cookies are cool, spoon some chocolate on top of them and spread around. Once the chocolate starts to cool (make take a while) you can mark them like the original Hob Nobs. Or you can be lazy like me and only do a couple for the pictures ;)

Online Picture:



Brown Sugar Cookie


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , | Posted on 10:07 AM

I love using ingredients that I have an abundance of in the house. Brown sugar happens to be one of them and I am not sure why. As most of you know, brown sugar gets hard (dry out) if you don't store it properly so here are some tips on how to store brown sugar:

-using a terra cotta clay disk (found in kitchen type stores)
-put an apple or a piece of bread (change often) in a tightly sealed plastic bag with the sugar
-never store in fridge! (can freeze!)
-always put in a non rusting bowl and seal TIGHT!

If it becomes hard do NOT throw it out. You can revive it by:
-put into an oven at 250*. Watch carefully as you don't want it to start to melt, just to get warm
-put in a microwavable bowl with a damp paper towel on top and cook for 30 seconds stopping to see if it's soft yet. Repeat til soft.
-if you have time, put sugar in non rustable bowl with damp paper towel and then plastic wrap or foil and seal tightly. After two days or so the moisture should have kicked in!

Now onto the recipe. I made brown sugar cookies which are very similar to sugar cookies but the recipe uses brown sugar! This can be made with light or dark, but I used light because that is what I have!

Cookie Recipe:
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger

raw sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375*. Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and ginger and mix until combined. The ginger in this recipe is not for flavor, it's to enhance the flavor of the brown sugar! Roll in plastic wrap into a log. Chill til cold. Remove from plastic wrap and roll in the raw sugar. Slice and lay out on baking sheet. Bake til edges are slightly brown. Over baking will result in a hard cookie instead of chewy!

According to Bob (my theatre/date nite buddy) he loved them! Here's to more shows/dinner with you Bob! (and to many more blogs! heehee)

Print these coupons...
About Concordance™

Mushroom Soup


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , | Posted on 10:54 AM

With the weather changing, oh and having a plethora of mushrooms in the house, I decided to come up with a mushroom soup recipe to warm me up! (and something I can eat!!) I looked at a bunch of recipes, but after doing that I decided to combine a bunch of them and make my own. Here is what I did cause sometimes when I cook I don't measure too well :)

I started with approximately 2 T butter and melted it in a stock pot. Once bubbling I added 1 chopped shallot, 3 chopped garlic cloves, and the white part of a leek chopped. I sauteed them til golden brown. Then I added 10 oz chopped crimini (baby bella) mushrooms sliced, and 5 oz shitake sliced. I cooked them for maybe 5 minutes and then I added a box (32 fl oz) of vegetable stock along with 2 tsp dried thyme. I then let it simmer for almost 20 minutes and then added about 1/2 (approx- maybe more. Depends on how creamy you want it) cup skim milk/cream/half and half (i used what I had in the house!) Then I made a slurry (a mixture of water and a thickening agent) using 1 tsp tapioca starch (can use corn starch or flour) and 1 T water. The reason you mix this first is so it doesn't clump in the soup. Then slowly add it to the soup while stirring. The soup then simmers a bit more and you will see it thicken. You may need more of this slurry depending on how thick you want your soup. Once fragrant or tastes enough like mushrooms (and this is up to you as well) then turn off the heat and mix it with an immersion blender, or you can use a blender just be careful because it's HOT!!!! Add salt, pepper, and spices to your taste and Voila! To present it, I whipped some heavy cream, made a quenelle (food item in the shape of an oval or egg) and topped it with thyme. I wish I could explain how to make a quenelle but it's difficult. Find it on an online video or something :) Oh and enjoy the soup- I did!

Chocolate Stout Cake


Posted by Chef Penny | Posted in , , , | Posted on 12:51 PM

Sounds interesting huh? That's what I thought. I LOVE dark beer and I thought what a brilliant idea to put beer, chocolate, and a bit of coffee together! I found this recipe in the October 2009 Bon Appetit and thought it was very fitting that 1) it was guinness' 250th bday and 2) it's oktoberfest!!! I didn't use guinness though. I found an Ohio brewed stout called Edmund Fitzgerald from Great Lakes Brewing Co. The description on the bottle was "porter combines a complex, roasty aroma with a bittersweet, chocolate-coffee taste". It was perfect for this recipe, which also uses dark chocolate and coffee. The recipe can be found at, one of my favorite websites! However, I have a problem with not stocking enough ingredients in my house so I had to alter the recipe. Instead of 14 T of butter (198 g) I used about 166 g and the rest vegetable oil. Also, for the frosting I didn't have 1 lb of bittersweet chocolate, so I used about 13 oz of bittersweet, 1 oz unsweetened, and 2 oz milk chocolate. I also didn't have instant espresso so I used 1tsp of coffee extract! The cake seemed to turn out just great, so I don't think my changes made a huge difference. Try it for yourself and I don't think you'll be dissapointed!