Ultimate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Waffles with Caramelized Bananas

Sweet and fluffy buttermilk waffles are topped with plenty of my favorite things…including caramelized bananas… to make my ultimate waffles!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Waffles with Caramelized Bananas | thepajamachef.com

How about a yummy breakfast for Monday morning? These waffles are my ULTIMATE breakfast, you guys. Seriously. They’re light and fluffy and full of my favorite flavors: chocolate and coconut. But they don’t stop there. No, they’re topped with sweet brown sugar caramelized bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup, more chocolate chips, and creamy vanilla yogurt [though if you're a whipped cream fan, that would probably suit you better]. See? Yum!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Waffles with Caramelized Bananas | thepajamachef.com

Before making these waffles, I had never caramelized bananas before, but now that I know how to do it, I probably will never stop. It’s crazy how something so easy can totally transform something I love into something I love even more! And it was super fast to do, too. I realize by saying that it means I probably didn’t use the right technique, but they tasted good… so, oh well! :) Breakfast of champions, right here! Enjoy your day. :)

one year ago: Creamy Shells and Yogurt
two years ago: Strawberry Muffins
three years ago: Watermelon Coolers
four years ago: Brown Sugar Bacon Twists

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Waffles with Caramelized Bananas

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 30 mins
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Ingredients:

for waffles [adapted from allrecipes.com]

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour [can use white whole wheat or more all-purpose flour]
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk [can use 1 tablespoon lemon juice/vinegar + enough milk to fill 1 cup]
  • 1/4 cup milk [can use half and half or heavy cream]
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract [can use vanilla or almond extract]
  • mini chocolate chips
  • peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, additional mini chocolate chips

for bananas [from Food.com]

  • 2 teaspoons butter or oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 bananas, sliced into coins [bananas shouldn't be too soft/ripe to begin with]
  • cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milks, butter, eggs, and coconut extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients gradually, carefully whisking together.

Spoon batter into hot waffle iron. About 1/3 cup is right for my waffle iron. Top batter with about a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips, then cook until steam isn’t coming out of the waffle iron and the waffle is golden brown.

Continue cooking until batter is gone; this should be about 6 waffles.

While waffles are cooking, prepare bananas. Heat butter in a small skillet set over medium heat. Sprinkle sugar on a small plate or bowl and roll bananas in sugar until coated. Place bananas in hot skillet and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook for a minute or so until golden brown. Flip and sprinkle other side with cinnamon, then cook for another minute and remove from heat.

Top waffles with peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, bananas, and mini chocolate chips or other toppings as desired.

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SRC: Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes

These chocolate cupcakes are filled with sweet cream and topped with an easy chocolate frosting. They’re like your favorite storebought snack cakes, but homemade! 

Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes | thepajamachef.com

Ready for another installment of the Secret Recipe Club? I hope so, cause that’s what you’re getting! :) This month I made you some yummy cupcakes, courtesy of Micha at Cookin’ Mimi. Micha has a blog full of easy and delicious family-friendly recipes. Totally my style of cooking! Micha has been cooking with her family her whole life, and even got a pasta maker for a birthday gift around ages 13 or 14. How cool! I wish I lived nearby to borrow it, haha. After perusing her blog, I narrowed my recipe selection down to two things: these cupcakes and salmon burgers. I bought ingredients and planned to make them both, but life happened and these cupcakes are the only thing I’ve had a chance to make yet. Hope you don’t mind! Those burgers look great and I will make them soon. :)

I decided to make these cupcakes first because I was in a chocolately sort of mood, and I needed a dessert for a few events. I love being able to multitask recipes, huh? [And contrary to popular stereotypes about women, we aren't all always chocoaholics. I sure am not!] Micha’s original recipe made a chocolate cream filled cake, not cupcakes. But her post was all about these being a take on Little Debbie snack cakes so I thought that turning her cake into cupcakes would be totally appropriate! And don’t they look fun?

Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes | thepajamachef.com

Since these filled cupcakes require making the cake itself, filling, AND frosting, it seems like a lot of steps. However, it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Spread this out over a leisurely morning and you’ve got a great dessert by lunch. The cake is moist, fluffy, and not overwhelmingly sweet–the perfect balance to the sweet cream filling and rich chocolatey frosting. I think this cake recipe will be one to make again and again, especially because it doesn’t use eggs. A great recipe for allergies! When making the filling I had to add some powdered sugar to make it hold together for spooning into the cupcake. I suspect that it wouldn’t have been necessary had it been cooler outside, or if I was just spreading the filling in between two layers of a cake. Oh, and in case you’re wondering… the spoons are in the dish with the cupcakes above to prevent them from bumping into each other on the drive to work. Pretty clever, if I do say so myself. Why buy a cupcake holder if you can DIY it, right? Enjoy! Thanks, Micha for a great recipe!

one year ago: Churro Cheesecake Bars 
two years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
three years ago: Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken
four years ago: Potato Soup

Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes

  • Servings: 36 cupcakes
  • Time: 3 hours
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from Cooking Mimi

Ingredients:

for cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups water

for filling

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, optional

for frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • up to 3 cups powdered sugar
  • up to 1/3 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 36 muffin cups with paper liners or grease tins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Add oil, vinegar, vanilla, and water and whisk until just combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full, then bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin cup comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

While cupcakes cool, make the filling. In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and milk. Cook over medium-low heat until thick, constantly stirring. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer to cool. When completely cool, add butter, vanilla, and sugar. Beat on high for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. If desired, add up to 1 cup powdered sugar to thicken.

When cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife to cut circle from the top of the cupcake, angling down to cut out a cone shaped piece. Spoon [or pipe in using a pastry bag] about 1 tablespoon of filling in the hole, then replace the bit of removed cake. Repeat until all cupcakes are filled.

To make the frosting, place butter and cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on medium until combined, then alternate adding milk and powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Stir in vanilla, then frost cupcakes.

On warm days, you may want to store in the refrigerator until ready to serve so the filling doesn’t melt.

Be sure to check out the other recipes from the SRC here:

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies

These blondies have all of your favorite flavors: chocolate, peanut butter, and honey… and are healthy too! They’re a great gluten free and/or vegan dessert. :)

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef

Growing up, my little sister Kathleen would always copy me. Drove me nuts! Whatever I had, she wanted. Clothes, friends, privileges, etc. Man. We’re five years apart, so in my world, this was totally awful. I considered her quite the little pest for many years… but she did too, so I guess we’re even. And let’s not even get into bathroom wars. Can any other sisters relate?! :)

Thankfully, today Kathleen and I aren’t antagonistic towards each other anymore, and Ben and I love to hang out with Kathleen and her husband Grant. Too bad we live five hours apart! Kathleen copied me a year or so ago and made her own food blog, Two Happy Bellies. For pretty much the first time ever [in older sister speak], this copying benefited me as I could finally see all her yummy recipes in one place! Before, she’d just email/Facebook/instagram/pin them to me. Now it’s my turn to copy her with these delicious blondies!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef

These blondies are the closest thing to a healthy dessert  you can have without it being fruit or something else super natural [read: WEIRD]. There’s no flour, white sugar, oil, or butter in them… they’re gluten free, and can be made vegan in a snap. The chickpea base may weird some people out, but if you don’t tell ‘em, they probably won’t even know. #totallyserious These blondies are completely delicious though, and are so simple to make that they’re sure to become part of your regular rotation. Enjoy y’all!

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option | thepajamachef
P.S. I just realized that my sister is the ultimate copycat… she copies me, and her nickname is Kat. Get it?!?? CopyKat! Lol I crack myself up. I should go now. :) Love ya booboo!

one year ago: Eggplant Potato Frittata 
two years ago: Baked Flounder
three years ago: Brown Sugar Fruit Dip

Dark Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Blondies - Gluten Free, Vegan Option

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 45 minutes
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from Two Happy Bellies

Ingredients:
  • 1 can [15 oz] garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter [or other nut butter]
  • 1/3 cup honey [or pure maple syrup or agave nectar for vegan option]
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped or broken into chunks OR 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp chocolate chips [regular or vegan]
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray or shortening and line with parchment paper.
Using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except chocolate and blend until smooth. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then top with chocolate, pressing in to incorporate.
Bake for 15-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean AND edges are just beginning to brown. My sister took hers out at 18 minutes and I did at about 20. They might look underdone but they will firm up as they cool.
Cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Keep refrigerated.
Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars are an easy no-bake afternoon snack or lunch box addition. Plus, they last nearly a month in the fridge and even longer in the freezer, so make a batch today and be set for awhile if you can restrain yourself. :)

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

I am so excited about these chewy granola bars, you guys! They are simply the best. I’ve shared other granola bar recipes on my blog before, but these take the cake. Literally. I think I’d have one before I had a piece of cake, if only because they are healthy AND chocolately at the same time. Win win, I say!

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

In the past, homemade chewy granola bars just haven’t cut it for me because they’ve included ingredients I want to avoid on a normal basis [corn syrup] or because they’ve been so full of liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup that they’ve just been sticky and hard to eat on the go. So one day I was thinking about what could make chewy granola bars better [I'm in the car alot... this is what I do when I'm not paying attention to my book on CD--ha!] and it dawned on me. Coconut oil! Duh. Everyone’s favorite trendy all-purpose health/beauty/cooking product of choice these days.  So I gave it a whirl and was SO pleased with the results. These granola bars hold together well, are easy to cut, and just taste amazing. For those who are curious… they don’t really taste much like coconut, for better or worse–it’s just a hint, and it’s almost more the smell than anything.

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

When you make them–note that I said “when,” not “if”–be sure to follow the instructions to a T in regard to boiling the honey, brown sugar, and salt. It’s similar to making candy in that you need the mixture to come to a boil so that it gets to the soft ball stage to set. Then you just mix everything up, add your mix-ins, and spread it in the pan. Simple! For this batch, my mix-ins were chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chunks. There’s just something about dark chocolate chunks that makes everything better, righttt?! It practically goes without saying, but you can obviously use whatever dried fruit or nuts or chocolate suits your fancy. I think I might make a batch this weekend and have some white chocolate chips burning a hole in my pantry! :)

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

When you take these yummy chewy granola bars to work or your kids take them to school, I guarantee that they’ll be the talk of the lunchroom. They look pretty similar to the storebought kind, but just have a homemade appeal that will make people super jealous. Ben’s even shared some with his colleagues to spread the love… the granola bar love, that is! Enjoy, friends! Happy Friday! :)

one year ago: Oreo Popcorn
two years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
three years ago: Tangy Chicken Pasta

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 2hr 15mins
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[adapted slightly from Money Saving Mom]
Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed [or wheat germ, wheat bran, or more rolled oats]
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins of your choice [I used 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts--you can use dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc.]
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Directions:

Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil or wax paper, and grease well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together cereal, oats, flaxseed, and mix-ins. In a saucepan, stir together honey, brown sugar, and salt. Turn heat onto medium-low, then stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 60 seconds, then remove from heat and gently mix in coconut oil and peanut butter [be careful of splashes!]. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and mix to combine.

Press mixture into prepared pan, then evenly distribute chocolate chunks over top. If you mix the chocolate in, it will melt. Press into granola mixture with a spatula then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. Cut into bars and wrap in aluminum foil or wax paper for easy transport. Granola bars freeze well and stay fresh in the refrigerator.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies

Every summer, I grow lots of herbs on my balcony. I can’t wait for the day I have a yard so I can have a garden! But until then, I’m content with my low-maintenance substitute. My choice of herbs varies from year to year, but this year I have Thai basil, Greek oregano, catnip, and peppermint growing happily on my balcony. I always grow mint but never really do much with it aside from making copious batches of mint water, mint iced tea, etc. Sometimes I make fruit salad with mint dressing or a vinaigrette with mint, but more often than not, my mint kind of goes to waste. Except for the smell. I just LOVE the smell of fresh mint. Don’t you?

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies | thepajamachef.com

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is make a chocolate dessert with fresh mint, and last weekend, I finally got around to it! These brownies are not overwhelmingly minty–nothing like those over the top, ooey gooey Andes Mint Brownies that are super popular. I’m sure you know the ones I’m talking about! Those are good, but these are something extra special. There’s nothing artificial tasting here! Just fudgy, frosted cocoa brownies with a hint of mint. They’re refreshing and super tasty!

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies | thepajamachef.com

But enough about the mint… the brownies deserve some love too, right? I’ve tried quite a few homemade brownie recipes. They’ve either been too cakey, too dry, too complicated, too expensive [as in: half a pound of butter, half a pound of chocolate, etc. etc. etc.]. I don’t mind spending money on a recipe if it’s going to be good, but if it’s gonna flop…? Ugh, I might as well buy a box! But these… these brownies are perfect every time! I’ve made these fudgy cocoa brownies with frosting several times and always have been impressed with their chewy texture and consistency. Most people are shocked to hear that they’re just made with cocoa and not chocolate chips or bars… or a box! For the brownie AND the frosting. They’re just the best–and I know I’m not eating a bunch of chemicals! Win win! No one will be able to resist them!

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies | thepajamachef.com

For this batch of Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies, I changed Jen’s base recipe just a tad to use coffee instead of milk in the frosting. I also added some coffee to the brownie batter to add some extra moisture since I threw in a bunch of fresh mint leaves. Speaking of the mint leaves… I chopped them up veryyy finely and baked ‘em right in. You can hardly tell, unless you cut into one on the edges. If the thought of that bothers you, you could a) blend the batter with a blender or b) let the mint steep in the melted butter for awhile to infuse it, then drain it out through a fine sieve. I actually tried to do that second option, but made the mistake of also adding the sugar and found it was too thick to efficiently strain out. No matter your method, the end result is fabulous. I think these would make some pretty terrific brownie sundaes! Oh, and btw… these brownies are so fudgy and moist that they aren’t dried out, even a week later, if they’re kept tightly covered. I mean, they probably won’t last that long, but for the record it’s good to know! Enjoy! :)

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies | thepajamachef.com

Fudgy Fresh Mint Brownies [adapted from Yummy Healthy Easy]
click to print

Ingredients:

for the brownies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon strongly brewed coffee, optional
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

for the frosting

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon strongly brewed coffee [or milk]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a saucepan set over low heat. Add sugar and mint and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and coffee, then add in cocoa powder, flour, and baking powder. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool. Do not overbake!

Make frosting by stirring together butter, honey, coffee, and vanilla. Slowly whisk in cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Spread on brownies while they are still warm–I like to wait about 10 minutes so they aren’t super hot. Cool completely to set frosting, then cut into bars to serve.

Time: 45 minutes + time to cool.
Yield: 9 servings.