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Category Archives: Bread

Spiced Butterscotch & Black Walnut Banana Bread


This month I was assigned to Manu’s Menu for the Secret Recipe Club. Manuela is an Italian married to an Indian, living in Australia with her family, so her blog is a smorgasbord of delicious international recipes, with the majority being delicious, authentic Italian food. She has recipes for many things on my 40 by 40 list, like Lamingtons, croissants, biscotti/Cantucci, & risotto. And what did I do? I’m so predictable. I went for the banana bread because as you know, I have an obsession and I seem to always have overripe bananas on hand. I may have not checked anything off my bucket list of recipes to make, but we’re enjoying some really delicious banana bread in the mean time, so that makes up for it. :)

I took Manu’s recipe for the bread and kicked it up a notch, just on a whim that started because of the butterscotch chips sitting on my desk when I was reading her recipe. We really loved the combination of oozing butterscotch, black walnuts, and subtle spices in a loaf rich in banana flavor.  I went ahead and used the butter called for but next time will try oil as I just really prefer the soft & silky texture that oil gives to quick breads. If only oil had all the delicious flavor as butter!

This was a wonderful loaf and I thank you, Manuela for helping me create it. Buon appetito!

Spiced Butterscotch & Black Walnut Banana Bread

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2 cups (8 ½ oz / 245 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (5 ½ oz / 150 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2 eggs
½ cup (4 oz / 113 g) butter, melted
3 large (or 4 small) overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (2 ½ oz / 60 g) toasted black walnuts, chopped
½ cup (3 ½ oz / 94 g) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, bananas, and vanilla. Stir together until just moistened, then add the walnuts and butterscotch chips. Stir together until just combined and spread into prepared loaf pan. Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

Recipe source: adapted from Manu’s Menu

Cinnamon Freud Banana Bread

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I was assigned to Karen’s blog, Cinnamon Freud, for the Secret Recipe Club this month. She’s a counseling psychology doctoral student who also loves to cook and bake. How genius is her blog name?! I know she must get that a lot, but it’s true. Genius.

So anyway, last month I chose banana bread for my SRC assignment and Debra suggested I do banana bread every month because of my outrageous obsession with it. Although I didn’t intend to take her up on that challenge, as soon as I received my SRC assignment, I looked to see if Karen had a banana bread recipe, because I had a bunch of bananas that were really overripe and needing to be used. And she did – this recipe, in fact.  I made this bread the same day I received my assignment – the quickest I’ve ever done it!

Since she simply called it banana bread, and I have way too many banana recipes on my blog to call it just banana bread, I added her blog name into it.  I couldn’t resist – it’s just so catchy!  :)  My second choice for this bread’s name would be “Dessert Banana Bread.”  This bread has more sugar than normal (which I totally am on board with – the more sugar the better, as far as I’m concerned), making it a bit more indulgent and appropriate for dessert…with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce on top, of course. haha! ;)  Oh and I have to tell you this bread is excellent with black walnuts. I made one plain, one with black walnuts. They were beautiful – sweet, dense, soft & velvety, just perfect.  These disappeared FAST – a definite winner!

Cinnamon Freud Banana Bread

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3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 cups mix-ins (nuts, chocolate chips, etc)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and any mix-ins you want to add. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until blended, then add the remaining ingredients, beating until combined. Add approximately 1/4 cup dry ingredients into the wet. Mix until just combined. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients.

Spread into prepared loaf pans & bake for 55-70 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Recipe source: Cinnamon Freud

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I usually keep my recipe posts and baby posts totally separate, but since I haven’t been posting very much period, I just can’t resist including some baby love. :)  Here he is being a cloth diaper and baby leg warmers model. :D

Be sure to check out the other Group C Secret Recipe Club contributions this month by clicking the linky frog below!

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Banana Bread Cockaigne

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This month my Secret Recipe Club assignment was Rachel’s blog, The Avid Appetite. Cute name, and her recipes are great too!

If you’ve been reading a while, you know I have a banana bread obsession, fueled by my desire to beat a certain someone in this category at our state fair’s baking competition…which I have yet to do, despite many ribbons in other categories. As a result, I have shared 9 recipes for banana bread/muffins on my blog, and 26 more on my Facebook Fan Page in this album.  If there is a banana bread recipe on my assigned blog for the month, I usually have to fight my inner urge/obsession to make it and usually pick another recipe.  Usually.  But this time, I couldn’t.  It was the intriguing name.

Banana Bread Cockaigne (FYI it’s pronounced kah-kayne, not koe-kayne…big difference).  *Cue the harp music.*  I looked up the definition and it’s a mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts, and pleasures are always at hand (such as banana bread, but of course).  In other words, fairy tale banana bread! Therefore the editing on the first photo to make it look like it was living in a fairy tale – lol.

So does the bread live up to its name?  The lemon zest is such an interesting twist on the classic recipe and it does indeed give it an ethereal quality.  I was skeptical but it is a truly wonderful addition to the banana flavor!  I made this bread twice in one week (switching from shortening to butter, adding extra banana, a little oil, and toasted walnuts the second time to increase the flavor, moisture, and crumb) and sent some to work with Dennis to rave reviews. Then he got a romotion, so perhaps it really is fairy tale banana bread. :) Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe, Rachel!

Banana Bread Cockaigne

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Printable recipe with picture

1 ½ cups (6 ½ oz / 182 g) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (5 1/4 oz / 150 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter (3 oz / 85 g)
¾ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups (9 oz / 255 g) mashed ripe banana
½ cup (1 ¾ oz / 48 g) walnuts, toasted* and chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 8×4 loaf pan** with oil; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar, butter, and lemon zest together. Add the oil and eggs and beat until well combined. Beat in the banana. Using a spatula, stir in the flour mixture until almost combined, then fold in the walnuts, being careful not to over-mix.

Spread into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Remove from pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

*To toast walnuts, spread in an even-layer on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave in 1-minute intervals, stirring with your fingers in between, until fragrant and toasted. Allow to cool before chopping.

**Most loaf pans are 9×5, which is fine to use, but your loaf will be fairly flat compared to the one in my pictures. You will also need to decrease the baking time – start checking at 40 minutes for doneness.

Recipe source: The Avid Appetite

Check out the link below to see the other Secret Recipe Club, Group C posts!

 

Onion, Cheese & Poppy Seed Bread

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Poppy seeds go with lemon, amiright?  Maybe orange if you want to get a little adventurous.  But cheese and onion?  I wasn’t sure.  I love to try new things but I admit, I wouldn’t have made this bread if I hadn’t gotten the recipe from my Foodie Mama, and if she hadn’t told me that it was an undefeated blue ribbon winner for 25 years in California and she finally retired it to give someone else a chance. Ha!  Well, knowing it had to be good, even if it was a sweet quick bread with onions and cheese in it and poppy seeds, I made it while staying with my in-laws last week.  The loaf was devoured in less than a day. (I may have had more than my fair share.)

Marina recommended spreading cream cheese on the slices and I have to tell you, that was incredible! The tangy cream cheese really was the perfect compliment to the sweet & savory bread.  She also said if you toast the slices first, it makes an outrageous grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  Unfortunately this loaf was eaten too fast for us to try it, but I’m going to next time!

P.S. Marina still has copies of her cookbook available for purchase for $10 + $3.50 S&H. Let me know if you’d like to purchase one!  I have yet to be disappointed in any recipes I’ve tried from it.

Onion, Cheese & Poppy Seed Bread

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Printable recipe with picture

1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/4 oz) vegetable shortening
3 large eggs
2 cups (8 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder*
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar, Monterrey Jack or a combination
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onions
Sweet paprika

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan or coat with Miracle Pan Release; set aside.

Cream sugar and shortening until fluffy, a few minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients and add alternately to creamed mixture with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in cheese, onions, and poppy seeds. Pour into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle of loaf comes out dry. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove loaf carefully and cool completely on wire rack. Loaf is best the next day, or at least several hours after baking so that the flavors can deepen and meld.

*I always recommend using an aluminum-free baking powder, such as Rumford, in any recipe calling for more than a teaspoon. The regular kind with aluminum tends to leave a chemical aftertaste in baked goods, especially if a larger amount is used.

Recipe source: Marina C.

Black Walnut Banana Bread

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Well look at that, I wrapped a slice just for you! ;)

If you’ve never tasted the magic that happens when you combine banana and black walnuts, you need to try it, starting with this bread! Black walnuts used to be the only nut I used in my banana bread and I have no idea what happened but for some reason, I just stopped and totally forgot about them.  Maybe because they are harder to find, I moved on to using pecans, my overall favorite nut for baking, and didn’t remember the superior black walnut until my Mom gave me a bag from the Nifty Nuthouse recently.  I seriously wasted about three years on black walnut-less banana bread before she reminded me of the wondermosity that is the black walnut.

There is something really special about black walnuts in combination with banana. I also like to use them in banana cake- both in it and on top of the icing.  Just so good.  I can’t describe the flavor but there’s a little something extra to them that the regular walnuts don’t have.  I want to say they have a sulfuric  quality but I’m not sure that’s exactly right.  You’ll have to tell me how you would describe them because I’m at a loss.

I made this particular recipe very simple in order to showcase the banana and black walnut flavors without muddying the waters with butter or vanilla or cinnamon or  bourbon, et al.  I’m really partial to using oil in quick breads and cake because, in my opinion, it makes a superior crumb that butter just can not compete with, except in flavor, of course.  When the butter flavor isn’t necessary, I happily use oil.  I’ve made this bread both ways, and we both prefer the oil version – much more moist, tender, and almost silky.  The butter version is good, but not as good.  It’s also heavier and more dense.  I really recommend trying it this way before you scoff at the lack of butter.  You won’t believe how good it is!

Black Walnut Banana Bread

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Printable recipe with picture

2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 ½ cups (14 oz) mashed overripe banana
½ cup (3 1/2 oz) vegetable oil
½ cup (2 ¼ oz) black walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a large 9×5 loaf pan with oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the banana and oil and whisk until completely incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the wet mixture into the dry, then use the spatula to stir until somewhat blended. Add the black walnuts and stir until everything is just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert onto your hot pad-covered hand and then invert again onto a cooling rack to cool as long as you can stand it. Wrap up to seal in moisture if it doesn’t get eaten in one sitting. :)

Just had to share this cautionary photo of my thumbs after I’d tried to harvest my own black walnuts since they grow abundantly in the neighborhoods around here. It took me two hours to fill maybe a single teaspoon with tiny little nut shards (it’s so hard to get through the shell!) and my thumb nails broke through the latex gloves I was wearing while I was working on them and my thumbs were stained like this for weeks. I highly recommend paying for them – the free nuts are just not worth the effort!

Award-Winning Pumpkin Bread

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I baked this bread for the first time in 2010 to enter into the state fair pumpkin bread competition.  I’d never tested it out first, I just decided I’d bake it and enter it, and it won a third place ribbon so I figured it must be good.  I never baked it again until last week so I just now, over three years later, got to taste the bread I’d won a ribbon for.  Yes, I know, I’m a wild and crazy kind of gal. :)

And it’s SO GOOD!  Sorry for yelling, but I CAN’T CONTROL THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE WHEN SOMETHING IS THIS GOOD!  It’s really good.  The flavor is great–sweet, pumpkin-y, and perfectly spiced so that it’s not overly spicy, but just enough to compliment the pumpkin flavor without overwhelming it.  But it’s more the texture that captivates me.  It’s incredibly tender and almost delicate, but not enough so that you’d mistake it for a cake.  So crazy moist!  I just am in love with the texture of this bread and wish I could replicate it in every sweet bread and muffin possible.  WHY DID THE JUDGES ONLY GIVE ME THIRD PLACE?  Because they are even more wild and crazy than I am, obviously.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

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1 cup (8 1/4 oz) canned pumpkin*
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 1/8 oz) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (4 oz) water
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (7 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, water, and eggs. Whisk until well mixed. Measure the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and cloves into a separate bowl and stir until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, beating until smooth. Spray a 9×5* loaf pan and pour batter in, smoothing the top flat. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan, cool completely on a wire rack, and wrap in plastic wrap. The bread gets better after a day so wait till the next day to cut it if you can stand it. :)

*If you’re doubling the recipe, you can use a 15 oz can of pumpkin – there’s no need to open a second can just to make up for the tiny bit it’s lacking for this recipe. It is just as good with the 15 oz can as it is with a full 2 cups or 16 1/2 oz.

**This makes a lot of batter so if you use a smaller pan, you’ll likely have to increase the baking time.

Looking for more award-winning recipes? I gotcha covered! Here are a few of my blue ribbon winners, and you can check out the rest here.

Almond Fudge Cookies (multiple blue ribbons)

Fresh Apple Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

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I’m a newly established fan of sweet cornbread, and although I have some good recipes for sweet cornbread in my arsenal, I was lacking one that called for buttermilk.  I do have one with buttermilk for the hard-core Southern cornbread fans, but since I like sweet cornbread, I had to make one for the folks like me who’d like to have a sweet cornbread recipe that calls for buttermilk when that’s the only kind of milk they have on hand.

As was the case a last week when I made a big pot of spicy chili and wanted some sweet cornbread to go with it.  This is perhaps the most tender cornbread I’ve ever made, and when fresh from the oven, is so close to the texture of a cake.  The next day it’s more sturdy, but still the crumb is quite delicate compared to regular cornbread.  I loved it!  Balanced our spicy chili perfectly. :)

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

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Printable recipe with picture

1 cup (4 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 7/8 oz) cornmeal
2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 square pan (I used bacon grease) or a 10 inch cast iron skillet; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt until combined. In a separate smaller mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the buttermilk and oil. Pour into the cornmeal mixture and stir together until mostly blended but a few lumps remain. Let the batter rest for five minutes, then pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes (start checking at 20 minutes for a cast iron skillet) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with butter.

Recipe source: a marriage of my Favorite Cornbread and Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread from allrecipes.com

Soup & chili weather is upon us, and cornbread is the perfect accompaniment!

Favorite Cornbread – my pictures don’t do this cornbread justice.  It is my favorite and probably will always be my favorite.

Homestead Cornbread – no flour, no sugar! Naturally gluten-free.

Lighter Northern Cornbread – great cornbread doesn’t have to cost the calorie bank an arm and a leg.

 

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