Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone Cheese

fresh from the oven Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone CheeseThe recipe we are featuring is made with a smoked bacon, a “Apple-Bourbon Smoked Bacon” to be exact. Yummy!!

Have you ever thought how flavors are smoked into the bacon? According to Bacon Wikia, smoked bacon is prepared using different types of wood chips or sawdust for different flavors, such as applewood gives the bacon a mild, fruity flavor. Oak and hickory wood produces a stronger, heartier flavor.

The apple-bourbon smoked bacon is made with applewood sawdust, bourbon whiskey, and brown sugar or coconut palm sugar.

smoking bacon

Photo Credit: Bacon Wikia

Turning our attention to Bacon Wikia again, they explain how you can smoke bacon at home, and I would say it is similar on a grander scale at a smoke house.

They say, “We like to cold-smoke the meat at a low temperature over a long period of time. This ensures that you get the maximum smoke penetration and gives you a rich color on the meat. Try to keep the temperature of the smoker between 80F and 100F. When you start going above this the surface of the meat will start to seal and the smoke will no longer penetrate the meat. Smoke the meat for about 8 hours, or until you are happy with the color” (BaconWiki).

Now for our featured recipe: FlatBread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone Cheese. We got our inspiration from a recipe we pinned to our Vegetable Recipe Ideas board on Pinterest (Link here to view our boards – Delectable Foods on Pinterest). But we made modifications to fit our taste. The original recipe does not include bacon, and requires a smoked paprika which we omitted. The original recipe requires to make a flatbread from scratch, but to save time we bought a ready made whole wheat flatbread from the Whole Foods Market.

Here is what you will need.

2 whole wheat flatbreads, roughly 7 3/4 inches X 10 1/4 inches

5 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 small shallot, finely minced

2 small zucchini, washed and patted dry

1/2 pound apple-bourbon smoked bacon

extra virgin olive oil

parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

prepared uncooked Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone CheeseCook bacon in a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon only until half done, about 3 to 4 minutes. remove from heat, and let cool. Using a knife or kitchen shears cut bacon into 1 inch slices.

In a medium bowl, mix the minced shallots with the mascarpone cheese. Place the flatbread on a cookie sheet, and spread the cheese mixture over the top of the bread, trying to get every square inch of the bread surface.

Next using a vegetable peeler, scatter ribbons over the top of the cheese mixture, covering the entire area. Next divide the cut bacon over the top of each flatbread.

Lightly drizzle with some olive oil, and  grate some parmesan cheese over the top. Grate as much or as little as you want.prepared uncooked close up of Flatbread with Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone CheesePut the cookie sheet in the heated oven, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Flatbread with Zucchini Smoked Bacon and Mascarpone CheeseRemove from the oven, and let cool for 3 minutes. Move flatbreads to a cutting board, and using a pizza slicer, slice each flatbread into 4 equal pieces. Plate and serve. The preparation will serve 2 to 4 persons. Just double the recipe to make more servings.

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Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Top View

Our pudding is referred to as “Toasted Coconut,” because it has that appearance of being toasted as we used coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is like brown sugar in appearance, but doesn’t have the same effect on blood glucose in the blood stream. In other words, it does not spike your sugar levels.

The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 as reported by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the largest supplier of coconut sugar along with Indonesia. 35 is classified as a low glycemic food.

Coconut sugar has many natural occurring nutrients, including magnessium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids. Because it is unprocessed, the nutrient content is intact, unlike refined white table sugar.

Coconut sugar is actually more sustainable than sugar cane. The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar, while only using 20% of the resources.

Now for the featured recipe: Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding, and here is what you will need.

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

1/3 cup organic arrowroot starch

1/2 teaspoon organic Himalayan salt

3 cups silk Coconut milk (or your preferred organic brand)

3 tablespoons organic coconut butter

1 teaspon organic vanilla extract

About 30 to 40 organic vanilla wafers

3 ripe organic bananas

Toasted organic coconut for garnish (optional)

Organic heavy cream, whipped for topping (optional)

mixing ingredients in sauce pan to make Toased Coconut Banana Pudding

Whisk together coconut sugar, starch and salt in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in coconut milk, oil, and vanilla. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Lower heat and simmer whisking occasionally until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

layering sliced bananas and vanilla cookiesTo assemble spread a layer of vanilla wafers in a 9 X 9 inch square baking dish, or a 9-inch round baking dish (your choice) top with half of the banana slices and half of the pudding.

Continue with another layer of vanilla wafers followed by remaining bananas and ending with remaining pudding, spreading to cover all banana slices.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Side ViewTo serve, line a dessert glass or small dessert bowl with some vanilla cookies, and top with fresh organic whipped cream and toasted coconut.

This is a gluten free and all organic dessert. Enjoy!!

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Peach Upside Down Cake

Peach Upside Down Cake with Butter and Brown Sugar Glaze

Here’s a Peach Upside Down Cake that is just peachy. This dessert is made with a brown sugar glaze. It’s a natural syrup with no added chemicals and it’s not like the ordinary glaze of just water, powdered sugar and a little milk.

Cutting the cake into six (6) servings would make it 49.5 grams of Carb, 18.75 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein. If you used raw sugar and whole wheat flour, both with their fiber intake, you could add 3 grams more of protein to this dessert.

If you view dessert like that, it isn’t so bad. It is true there are sugars in the recipe. But you can always change out processed foods for more natural foods that are minimally processed, therefore making a recipe closer to more natural and still enjoy dessert.

Peaches provide about 18 mg phytosterols, which are plant-based nutrients, and they lower your cholesterol levels. Knowing this about peaches also can make the dessert more Peachesappealing. Don’t you agree?

But wait there’s more. A large peach has niacin, or vitamin B-3, that helps with energy metabolism in your body.

Peaches are high in vitamin-C, which we all know is an antioxidant and an essential nutrient for a healthy immune system and strong joints. Peaches also have vitamin-A, an essential nutrient for healthy vision.

Peaches can also help regulate your blood pressure. The fruit provides about 332 mg potassium each, and they are sodium-free.

A high-sodium, low-potassium diet may cause high blood pressure and an increased risk for stroke and kidney disease, and most of us need to increase potassium and decrease sodium. Most all of the fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are high-potassium, low-sodium foods.

Now for our featured dessert: Peach Upside Down Cake, and here is what you will need:

ingredients for Peach Upside Down CakeBrown-Sugar Glaze

¼ cup butter, softened

½ cup packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced, pitted and peeled peaches

Cake Ingredients 

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Line a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper and set aside.

melting butter, adding brown sugar and spreading on bottom of spring form panGrab the room temperature butter and melt in a small sauce pan over medium heat and then add the brown sugar and stir until sugar is completely moistened and mix well with the butter. Next spread sugar mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared spring-form pan.

arranging peaches in uniform over brown sugar mixtureLine peaches in a circular pattern on the bottom of the spring form pan until it is filled with the peaches (as shown in image). Set aside.

pour batter over peaches and spreadIn a food processor, combine the ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of sugar and process till creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and process until combined.  Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, process on -mix- speed after each addition just until combined.

Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly over the peaches using the back of a large spoon or flexible spatula.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.

Peach Upside Down Cake with Butter and Brown Sugar GlazeLoosen cake first by running a knife around sides and loosen ring and lift off. Grabbing edge of parchment paper, carefully pull cake to a serving platter. Cool for another 10 to 15 minutes.

slice of Peach upside Down Cake with Butter and Brown Sugar GlazePlate and serve.

 

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Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Another great cupcake recipe I found in the April 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

The muffins came out perfectly, so soft and moist! Dark chocolate and banana is a great flavor combination. You can bake this recipe into a dessert bread as well. Just pour the batter into a 9-inch bread pan and enjoy.

Dark cocoa according to Health News Library (HNL) has great health benefits, like potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron in high concentrations. You know what that means, right? Dark Chocolate is great for your heart and lowering high blood pressure.

HNL states, “The copper and potassium help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular disease. The iron protects against anemia, and magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease” (read more here: Dark Chocolate Helping with Health Concerns).

Now for the featured recipe: Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins and here is what you will need:

ingredients for Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup buttermilk (we forgot to add this to the cutting board)

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 bananas, peeled

Honey for topping

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

 

Grease twelve 2 ½ -inch muffin cups; set aside.

Mixing dry and wet ingredients for Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

 

In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and butter. Add all at once to flour mixture. Gently stir just until moistened.

 

bananas cut for topping Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Peel and trim ends from bananas and cut each into 6 pieces. You should do this before mixing dry ingredients in with the wet. Once the wet ingredients hits the dry portion, it activates the soda. As a rule of thumb, once you have mixed the wet and dry together, get it in the oven as soon as possible.

Next, spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full and press a banana piece into each prepared cupcake batter, but the banana should not be covered completely, only push in half way.

Now the next part says to drizzle with honey, then bake for 15 minutes. But it is not recommended to heat honey above 100 degrees, it kills the enzymes that benefit good health.

Ask A Scientist says, “Honey bees keep the temperature of their brood nest at just under 100 degrees. Many figure that honey should not be raised above this temperature to preserve many of its good qualities. If honey is heated above that, there is disagreement on what the temperature is at which the helpful enzymes are damaged. It is likely in the 120 to 140 range.”

They go on to say, “Honey distributed by large distributors and sold in larger stores is usually heated to 180 degrees.This is to dissolve even the smallest crystals that might act as “seeds” that promote crystallization. Although crystallization does not harm the honey in any way, it is considered less desirable (in the US but not necessarily abroad). The enzymes that are not visible are sacrificed for the sake of “good” looks.”

Here at Splendid Recipes and More, we use raw honey, in its whole form. To liquefy the honey: boil some water in a sauce pan. Place the amount of honey you want to liquefy into a small glass jar and dip the jar into the hot water. The honey will soften and become runny, but will not heat to above 100 degrees.

 

 

cooling Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Now bake the muffins for 15 minutes or until tops are firm, then remove and cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

 

 

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins (end article)

 

Remove from muffin cups. Drizzle with honey and serve warm. Here we drizzled with raw honey. As a side note, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar dosen’t sweeten the muffins to well. But adding the honey will sweeten every bite. If you don’t wish to drizzle with honey, increase your dark brown sugar to add the sweetness you desire. Enjoy!!

 

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Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

Preparation for the muffins:

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oat bran

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

2/3 cup mashed pumpkin

1 cup whole milk

2 egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

 

Preparation for the topping:

8 pecan halves, finely chopped

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1 tbsp. coconut oil

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, oat bran, brown sugar and baking powder, mix to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the pecan halves, butter, and remaining brown sugar and whole wheat flour. Mash with fork until crumbly.

Grease muffin pan or line with 12 paper liners. Fill each liner 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle topping evenly on muffins. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You can also bake this as a coffee cake, by lining 8 X 8 baking pan with parchment paper and pour in batter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping

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Sour Cream Blueberry Banana Cheesecake

Sour Cream Blueberry Banana Cheesecake

This cheesecake is touch and go. As we noted in our article “Cheesecake Tips” you cannot open and close the door during the baking process as it lowers the temperature and the oven has to spend time to reheat and this affects the cake or actually the cooking and setting of the eggs. So make sure the cake has baked at least 45 minutes before removing from the oven to add the blueberry sour cream topping. If the water-bath container you are using has handles, remove gently from oven place on stove top and quickly top with the sour cream mixture and return to oven.

 Crust

1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats, processed
½ cup walnuts, processed
½ cup packed brown sugar
8 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Mix together the processed oats and nuts. Stir in brown sugar and butter until well combined. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan prepared with parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Filling
2 – 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 eggs

 In a food processor cream the sugar and cream cheese. Add the mashed bananas, yogurt, and lemon juice until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Do not over mix. Pour into the prepared crust. Bake for 45 minutes. While the cake is baking, prepare blueberry sour cream topping.

What Other’s are Saying about Cheesecake

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Brown Sugar Finger Wings -includes video-

Brown Sugar Finger Wings

1 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp. ginger, fresh and finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 lbs. chicken wings, petite style

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

 

Mix first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

Grease a 13 x 9 baking pan and position wings in pan. Pour brown sugar mixture over wings. Mix chicken around to coat. Bake in heated oven for 1 ¾ – 2 hours, until tender and glazed; stirring occasionally.

 

Video also includes a recipe for: Bacon Wrapped Green Beans, link here to view recipe.