Banana Chocolate Espresso Swirl Muffins

Here is a twist on banana bread – Banana Chocolate Espresso Swirl muffins. I had very ripe bananas on-hand and wanted to do something different with them. Plus, one of my very favorite breakfasts, when I go on vacation, is fresh-baked breakfast bread with fruit and a hot cup of coffee. Since I can’t go on vacation, and I had ripe bananas, I looked through my cookbooks to find something special.

Cue Bake from Scratch – Artisan Recipes for the Home Baker by Brian Hart Hoffman. Three-hundred twenty-six pages of baking everything from cookies to pastries and everything in between. It will make the perfect gift for the novice to the pro baker. It’s from the writers of the magazine.

The recipe is a little more effort than making banana bread, but it made about a dozen delicious muffins perfect for breakfast. The next time you host a coffee with friends, the muffins would be an excellent addition to the table. Plus, the rich chocolate flavor of the espresso could easily make these a dessert if you wanted to bake it in a loaf pan.

Photo credit: Bake from Scratch

Go straight to the recipe here and save it to your Pinterest Board.

Mrs. Twists Tip:  Dust the tops with powdered sugar and make sure to record in your cookbook the date you made these and the outcome so you have a history of your recipes. I always love finding my mother’s notes in her cookbooks.

Celebrate National Coffee Cake Day – April 7

Today is National Coffee Cake Day!  I don’t know about you, but I will celebrate a good coffee cake any day. I have a delicious recipe to share from Smells Like Home for a New York-style crumb cake.  No cake mix here – it’s all from scratch. I have appropriately re-named it “Carry On Coffee Cake!”

And you know I always like to throw in a little history lesson on a recipe!

Coffee cake—also referred to as Gugelhupf or Kaffekuchen—evolved from other sweet dishes from Vienna. In the 17th century, Northern/Central Europeans were thought to have come up with the idea of eating sweet cakes while drinking coffee. Doug’s Uncle Trevor always has what he calls “Elevenses” – a short break for light refreshments, usually with tea or coffee, taken about eleven o’clock in the morning.  As the region’s countries were already known for their sweet yeast breads, the introduction of coffee in Europe led to the understanding that cakes were a great complement to the beverage. Immigrants from countries such as Germany and Scandinavia adjusted their recipes to their liking and brought them to America. Though the cakes varied, they all contained ingredients such as yeast, flour, dried fruit, and sweet spices. However, over time, the coffee cake recipes have changed as cheese, sugared fruit, yogurt, sour cream, have been used, leading to a denser, more cake-like structure. In the 19th century, American cooks also used coffee as an ingredient to thriftily use up leftovers, reducing waste, and flavor the cake. The invention of pasteurization in America following World War I also led to the creation of a new kind of coffee cake, called sour cream coffee cake. 

I baked the cake in a 9-inch square parchment paper-lined pan, and it popped right out. It was beautiful on top of my vintage glass cake pedestal.

Recipe – as follows or visit Smells Like Home.

FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING:

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar (2 ⅔ oz)
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar (2 ⅔ oz)
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp table salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick or 4 oz), melted and still warm
  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour (7 oz)

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 ¼ cups cake flour (5 oz)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (3 ½ oz)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter (¾ stick or 3 oz), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup liquid buttermilk (not dried buttermilk powder)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To make the topping: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. To make the cake: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325° F. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of the dish.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With the mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.
  4. Transfer batter to baking pan; using a rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces between your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward the center.
  5. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

It was very moist, but I will say it is best served the day you bake it. The next day it was not as moist. I think this would be a beautiful gift wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow.  How about giving the recipe a try for Easter morning.

Keep Calm and Carry-On Baking!

Mrs. Twist’s Jolly Mix – Spotify Playlist for the Holidays

I love Christmas music. I start my season of holiday tunes November 1 every year.  If they had Thanksgiving music, I’d enjoy it, but they don’t so I go straight to my happy place.  I created my own playlist this year and I am sharing it with you on Spotify.*

103 tunes from classic to modern and everything in between.  I included some my favorite artists like Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis, but I’ve also added in a few twists.  I hope you enjoy it while baking, wrapping presents or entertaining guests.  Having just a little Home with a Twist in your homes makes me happy!

Merry listening!

 

*Go to www.spotify.com and search Mrs. Twist’s Jolly Mix. It will pop up and you can save it to your phone or in your Spotify library.

The FriYay Fit – Outfit of the Day

I’ve got your outfit inspiration for this beautiful Friday.  Remember Holley’s travel post here from last week, well this outfit would be perfect for you weekend warriors headed out antiquing or taking bluebonnet photos.  Casual and hip with a vintage vibe on the jeans and leather backback. Add a fedora and a stack of bangles and you will look fetch!

Target A New Day Blouse xs $8

Free People Jeans size 6 $22

Tory Burch Thora Thongs size 6 $45

Patricia Nash Backpack $68

Call the store if you want to hold or purchase items over the phone (they do not ship items).  (817) 731-3443, 4636 SW Loop 820, Fort Worth 76109 located in Overton Park Plaza.  Open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. most days. Be sure to tell them Home with a Twist sent you!

FriYay Fit: Clothes Mentor Finds

I am so happy to share that Clothes Mentor Fort Worth has partnered with Home with a Twist to be a blog sponsor!  They will be sharing with readers a cute outfit idea each week.

Have you ever shopped at Clothes Mentor?  I have found some beautiful pieces for my wardrobe at a fraction of the price in retail shops.  They make resale hot! At Clothes Mentor, they buy and sell high-quality, gently used name-brand and designer clothing, shoes and accessories that are like new—for less! … And, if you’re looking to be a #bossbabe, Clothes Mentor is the nation’s top women’s clothing franchise and they are looking to expand!

I have such great luck selling my clothes and get a pretty nice cash back bonus the same day, no waiting for my items to sell and return to the store to see what my payout is.  I have also benefitted from purchasing my favorite brands like Kate Spade, JCrew, Tory Burch, and Coach.

Here’s this week’s cute outfit…

Dress is Plenty by Tracy Reese, Size S, $22 (think summer wedding or graduation)

Kate Spade Clutch $45 (omg this is CUTE)

Lucky Brand Wedges, Size 9, $22 (wedges are always a good thing).

Call the store if you want to hold or purchase items over the phone (they do not ship items).  (817) 731-3443, 4636 SW Loop 820, Fort Worth 76109 located in Overton Park Plaza.  Open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. most days. Be sure to tell them Home with a Twist sent you!

Friyay Fit: My Picks for Spring – Gingham, Tie Waist Pants, Lipstick, and a Podcast

My two favorite seasons are fall and spring.  Spring because everything is so fresh and new.  It’s still cool and flowers are blooming.  Pretty much by June I am ready for fall because it gets so hot here in Texas.  With just a short window of time, I have to jump onto spring like a lady bug on a hot plate!

Here are some of my favorite trends for spring:

A new handbag — every gal needs a new purse for spring that will carry  through fall.  I love the transparent and croc detail bags that are popular right now.  This small tote from Vince Camuto has me excited and it comes black, rose and cobalt blue.

 

Tie Waist Pants — One of my favorite wardrobe staples for work is slacks.  I do alot of moving around and it’s practical to wear slacks, a blouse and fun jacket.  I really like these lilac pencil pants from Loft with the cute tie detail.  I wore these to work recently with a black swiss-dot ruffle blouse and black sandles.  Fresh and simple.  They also have an army green color which is considered neutral and will go with anything in your closet — white, black, navy and lavender in particular.

Gingham — just keeps coming back into play.  This iconic vintage-inspired pattern is popular in shoes and accessories, too.  But, I love it in these Talbots black and white gingham ankle pants.  I wore these to work with a tshirt and hot pink blazer.

 

 

 

Lipstick — I love this new drug store brand lipstick from Revlon – Kiss Cushion lip tint.  It has a soft sponge tip and goes on really smooth, almost like a lip balm, but covers like a stain.  I’ve been using 240 Berry Lit, a very pretty pinky pink that makes my lips look fresh and moisturized.

A new podcast I found from Trader Joe’s my favorite place to shop.  They talk about their brands, food trends, sustainability, wine and cheese, how they choose their products and more.  It’s pretty interesting.

And, it reminds me I need to record a new podcast episode myself.

So, that’s wrap for this week’s Friyay Fit where I round up things to inspire your weekend.  Have a good one!

The Friyay Fit: Go Frogs Attire

Now that TCU football season has begun, on Fridays we wear purple!  I’ve rounded up some of my favorite accessories — shoes, earrings and a scarf to bring home the win!

For my birthday I treated myself to a fancy new pair of TCU Palm Beach Sandals from Fort Worth’s haute couture boutique Keeping Up with the Joneses.  Be sure to stop by and see Judy for all your purple apparel and accessories.  She offers a special purple 15% off discount on Fridays, too!

Next up, earrings!  You must get a pair of Horned Frog earrings from Lola+Lina!  Everytime I wear my pair, people stop me and say, “Go Frogs!”  They really are show stoppers.  They also have a smaller version and a few choices of metals, too.

A scarf is a must for when the chilly, autumn days arrive.  Spirit Snob has the exclusive Horned Frog scarf designed by Fort Worth artist Allison Castillo.  There are so many ways to wear these wraps—twisted, double-up, wrapped, tied—it’s sure to be your most versatile collegiate accessory and wardrobe piece!  Incredibly soft and lightweight on, perfect all year long!  And, it comes in a cute, muslin drawstring bag perfect for gifts (and a bottle of wine)!  Not sure how to wear a large scarf?  Well, check out this video on all the ways to style your work of art.

Spirit Snob is also offering a new square scarf available for a pre-sale price of $35!  Wrap it around your neck for an old-school-cool retro vibe, twist it in your hair to jazz up a high pony, or tie it around your favorite bag! Get all this while still sporting your favorite collegiate attire.

Once you get the shoes, scarf and earrings just add jeans – either dark wash or white, and a cute top and you are set to cheer on the Frogs!

Friyay Fit — The Three T’s

It’s the weekend!  I’m sharing three T’s today — Tom Cruise, my favorite Trench coat, and a graphic tee!

First, if you haven’t seen Tom Cruise’s latest installment of Mission Impossible: Fallout, make time to see Tom run, yell, and almost self-destruct about 10,000 times.  It’s popcorn worthy.

Second, my favorite new wardrobe addition from this past spring is my soft blue trench coat from Cabi.  Regrettably, it’s no longer available.  If you don’t own a trench, be sure to add one to your closet.  They are perfect for chilly AC office spaces and I look forward to incorporating it into my fall uniform with autumnal colors of brown and orange.  Trenches never go out of style and I am sure this fall’s lineup will be no different.

On this particular day of laughter, I paired it with white, frayed hem jeans from Ann Taylor, a tee from J Crew –  Jane of all trades and navy blue flip flops.

This is the perfect segue into my last Friyay tip — graphic tees!  My favorite thing to wear with jeans.  J Crew is my happy place because their tees are so beautiful made and hold up well.  Old Navy is my second go-to.  I have rounded up some of my favorites…

J Crew’s latest graphic tees

So, that’s my fit for this week.  Have a fab weekend, y’all!

The Best (and those to avoid) Flowers for Allergies

Here’s a quick  guide of the best and worst flowers for the allergy prone. And the good news is that a whole lot of pretty made the best list.

The Best….

RANUNCULUS.  First up on the A-ok list, we have one of the current “It girls” of the popular-flower crowd. Pleasingly symmetrical and packed with layer upon layer of tissue-thin petals, ranunculus are style chameleons that can play romantic, whimsical, or modern depending the vessel and setting.

TULIPS.    True story: Tulips come in a mind-blowing 3,000 varieties. So there are puh-lenty to love. And luckily, you and little Sneezy can! Especially since they’re one of the most no-arranging-needed flowers around. Just stick a bunch in a clear-glass vase highlighting the clean lines of their stems and you’ve got yourself an allergy-free display.

HYDRANGEAS.  As puffy as clouds, these blossoms are conveniently hypoallergenic and great for adding easy (affordable) volume to arrangements. It’s a win-win!

ROSES.    Whew. Your man can bring you a dozen of these beauties—long-stemmed—and you two won’t wind up with a red-eyed, runny-nosed kiddo on your hands. Allergy-issue solved, now you’ve just got to work on the hinting-you’d-like-flowers-every-now-and-again aspect of this equation.

Other blooms generally in the safe zone: Peonies, begonia, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil, orchids, geranium, hosta, iris, calla lilies, periwinkle, zinnia.

Sadly…the Ones to Avoid…

HYACINTHS.   Allergy sufferers will need to take a pass on these stalks bursting with fragrant, bell-shaped blooms. They have high concentrations of pollen likely to bring on the snuffles.

SUNFLOWERS.  Though nothing says summer like a bright, mood-boosting sunflower, each sunflower center is a little pollen factory and majorly allergy-triggering. Bummer.

DAISIES.  That fantasy of running through a field of daisies, plucking them willy-nilly, and sticking them devil-may-care in mason jars back home for the perfect just-picked look? Yeah. Forget it. And forget the daisy chains of your youth, too. Allergy central over here.

CHRYSANTHEMUMS.    Spiky, bold, and striking, these old-school classics should come with a tissue box on the side. But the good news is that several recent hybrid varieties have been developed with more petal, less pollen, so just take a careful look when purchasing.

Other blooms to avoid: Freesia, chamomile, jasmine, asters, single-flower baby’s breath.

 

What Would Holley Wear: Garden Party Style

Can you think of a better introduction to spring and summer than a garden party?  I can’t! From tea sandwiches to beautiful spring ensembles, it’s one of those traditions us Southern girls keep close to our hearts.  

When I decided to write this article, I reached out to my P.E.O. sisters to see if they would be willing to participate.  Our lovely hostess was Susan, and her beautiful home and garden was the perfect garden party setting. The ladies came dressed to the nines!  Floral scarfs and dresses were definitely on-trend, and our president, Mel, wore a beautiful floral scarf complemented with a monogram brooch….so classy!  Some of the ladies wore their finest pearls and others donned beautiful hats. Be sure to take a peek at all the party photos on our Pinterest board!

Dresses and hats go together like peanut butter and jelly…right?  We are loving the selection of hats from J Crew, Tory Burch, and Tuckernuck.  A floral yellow maxi dress paired with a straw hat is perfect for any outdoor soiree’.  Another Pinterest board favorite is a burlap dress with a scalloped hem, trimmed with red embroidered flowers.  And the best part is the watermelon picnic basket handbag. Can’t get any cuter than that…right?

And speaking of baskets….A tisket, a tasket, a woven leather basket full of berries from Kate Spade is the perfect accessory for any spring/summer occasion. Wicker and wooden handbags are definitely this season’s “it bags”.   We think J McLaughlin’s bamboo clutches are the perfect bag for parties, luncheons and resort wear. Another favorite is the black wicker honey pot bag from Frances Valentine. Ready for a spring fling?

To give your garden style a casual vibe, you can’t go wrong layering a denim jacket over your shoulders.  For the P.E.O. garden party, I wore a pearl enhanced denim jacket over a white blouse tied at the waist with a bright yellow skirt and blue denim blocked heels.  To add additional flair to my ensemble, I carried a wooden handbag with a navy bandana tied to the handle. BTW…the jacket was a gift from Susie, a dear P.E.O sister.  

Denim and chambray are the perfect combo for lace and florals.  Don’t you just love mixing casual with fancy? Think about wearing a denim jacket over a floral dress….and be sure to add a cute bag and sandals.  I bet you love eyelet and lace too….though it may seem a little dressy for a casual outdoor party. No worries…just wear a denim jacket with a lace dress or a chambray blouse with an eyelet skirt.  How casual and fancy does that sound?

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again…you can never go wrong with black and white!  There are so many fun options on our Pinterest board, and we are especially loving black and white stripes.  Sundresses, pants, and skirts….oh my! White lace dresses complemented with black accessories will definitely dress-up your garden party style.  At the P.E.O. party, everyone was crushing on Ann’s white eyelet dress accessorized with a straw hat and statement earrings…so garden chic!

So here’s my definition of a garden party:  A beautiful garden complemented by a really cute outfit, a few adorable accessories, delicious finger food, and most importantly…your friends and sisters!

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]   Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.