Blueberry Quick Bread

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I’m a one-note baker when it comes to quick breads. And that one note is banana bread. I honestly can’t remember the last quick bread I made that wasn’t banana. When Heather picked breads as the theme for this month’s What’s Baking? challenge, I knew it was the perfect excuse to finally try something else.

This bread was awesome – a nice crunch to the crust while being soft and fluffy inside. It’s not too sweet so it could pass for a breakfast bread but it’s just sweet enough to be dessert, too. Also, it makes for some pretty amazing French toast. I’m sure this will be making several repeat appearances during blueberry season!

You can check out the roundup of the breads made by other bloggers at Heather’s blog, Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, later this month!

 

BlueberryQuickBread
Blueberry Quick Bread
(slightly adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet)
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment and grease the parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in blueberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, oil, egg and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined – it’s fine if it’s slightly lumpy.

Pour batter into prepared, lined pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden on the outside and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Cinnamon Rolls

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I love lists. I make a lot of them. Probably too many. One of my current favorite lists is for the Day Zero Project – a challenge to tackle 101 goals in 1001 days. I’m currently on my second list – and I’ve only got about five months left. Hello, crunch time!

One of the things on my list was to make cinnamon rolls and I finally tried them out for Christmas this year. Since two dozen were a lot for us, we delivered some to our parents and neighbors too. I’m pretty sure making them for everyone is going to be an annual tradition from now on! So, so happy to have these under my belt.

Cinnamon Rolls
(as seen on Sugar & Spice by Celeste)
Makes approximately 2 dozen

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 cup melted butter, plus more as needed
1/8 cup ground cinnamon for sprinkling
1 cup sugar, plus more as needed

In a saucepan, combine the milk, vegetable oil and sugar. Scald and then let cool for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over the warm milk mixture and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of the flour and transfer to a large bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour, until doubled in size.

Stir in the additional 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Sprinkle your work area generously with flour and roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread melted butter over the dough, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up from the long side and pinch the seams together to seal up the rolls. Cut the log into 1 1/2″ rolls.

Place 1 Tbsp. melted butter in the bottom of each pan you’re using (a little more for larger pans) and arrange the rolls. You’ll get about 4 8″ round pans with 6 rolls each.

To bake now: Let rest for 20-30 minutes and then bake at 375F degrees for 13-17 minutes, until golden.

To freeze for later: Cover pans with foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the “bake now” directions.


Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins

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The theme for this round of What’s Baking is pumpkin – perfect for the season! Since I knew I’d be posting my pumpkin recipe this month, I wanted to pick one that would fit in with October Unprocessed. I actually made them last month and these aren’t totally unprocessed – I used a chocolate peanut butter and chocolate chips – but subbing an appropriate nut butter and leaving out the chocolate chips would easily bring them into line.

I’m going to be making them again soon. Like, probably today.

You can check out the roundup of other pumpkin goodies later this month on Carrie’s Sweet Life.

Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins
(from Running with Spoons)
Makes 9 Muffins

1/4 cup nut butter
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
6 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.

Add all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips to a blender and blend on high until the oats are gone and batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips then pour the batter into prepared muffin pans.

Bake until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean,about 10-12 minutes. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Banana Bread

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I haven’t tackled that many kitchen projects since Jake was born, but when we ended up with a pile of over-ripe bananas, I decided it was time to get back to it. I’ve waned to try this recipe for a while – but never seemed to end up with enough bananas for it.

Even though this is a quick bread, it’s not super quick – but the extra steps give this bread a really flavor. I don’t know that this will be my go-to recipe just because of the number of bananas and steps (I’d probably want a truly quick bread recipe for most days), but it’s perfect for when I’ll want something a little special.

Banana Bread
(slightly adapted from The Science of Good Cooking)
Makes 1 Loaf

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 very ripe bananas, peeled
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

Place bananas in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave until bananas are soft and have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to a mesh strainer over a bowl and let drain for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add liquid to a saucepan and reduce to 1/4 cup.

Stir reduced liquid into bananas until smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Add banana mixture into flour mixture until just combined, with some streaks of flour remaining.

Pour batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.


Cheddar and Chive Beer Bread

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We had our families over for St. Patrick’s Day a few weeks ago. No, we’re not Irish – we just love a reason to get together.

We made two menus: the traditional corned beef, cabbage and Irish soda bread was one and a big pot of beef and Guinness stew along with this bread for the people who weren’t into the traditional dishes. This bread was a big hit and a great mix of sweet and savory. I’m sure it’ll make repeat appearances in our house whenever I have an extra bottle of Guinness hanging around.

After lunch, we  played a game of luck (Left-Center-Right), complete with lottery scratch-offs for prizes. I think the luckiest part of the day was getting to spend it with people we love.

Cheddar and Chive Beer Bread
(slightly adapted from theKitchn)
Makes 1 loaf

2 3/4 C. sifted all purpose flour
3 T. granulated sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer (I used Guinness)
3/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/4 c. chopped chives
1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and then line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the beer and stir until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Fold in the cheese and the chives.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan evenly. Pour the melted butter evenly over top of the dough. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.


What’s Baking?: Italian Easter Bread

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This is my first month joining up with the What’s Baking? group. Each month, the host picks a theme and the participants blog a dish relating to it. This month’s theme was pretty simple: Sprinkles. I started searching through my saved recipes for a fun sprinkle-covered something to try. Despite a ton of choices, I kept coming back to this family favorite.

I was introduced to Easter Bread when I started dating Mark. His Grandmother used to make it every year for the family’s Easter Saturday gathering. It’s a sweet, braided bread that is covered in sprinkles. When she passed away, I got a copy of her recipe so I could continue making it.

It was easier said than done, though. Her recipe is finicky and gives hit-or-miss results. When it turns out, you get this beautiful loaf of sweet bread; When it doesn’t, you get a nice mess. After one-too-many failed attempts to duplicate her bread, I started browsing the internet for another recipe.

This recipe is close to hers, though there are a few key differences. The results taste the same, though, and I’ve yet to have a failed batch. Most importantly, it has gotten Mark’s seal of approval – which is good, because this has become my favorite Easter tradition. And of course, it’s covered in sprinkles.

You can check out the roundup of all the sprinkles-inspired goodies later this month on Beantown Baker.

Italian Easter Bread
(from The Italian Dish)
Makes 2 braided loaves

2 1/4 t. instant yeast
1 1/4 c. scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/3 c. butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c.sugar
3 1/2 c. flour (approximate)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
Sprinkles

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, warm milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add in about half the flour and beat until smooth using a dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour until a stiff dough forms. Don’t worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore.  Knead until smooth with a dough hook or turn the dough out on floured board and knead. Place the ball of dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down, divide into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope. Using three dough ropes, braid together and pinch ends to seal. Repeat with the remaining three dough ropes.

Transfer the braids to a greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rise until double, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees

Brush each loaf with the beaten egg wash.  Decorate with sprinkles.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


Flour Tortillas

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I’m a self-taught cook. One of my biggest self-imposed obstacles is that I assume everything is going to be hard to make.

I’ve had this tortilla recipe bookmarked for nearly a year but making my own tortillas seemed like such a project. I finally had time last weekend to do some kitchen projects and decided to make these. Imagine my surprise when I was done in a half hour! These weren’t hard at all and they were so much better than store-bought.

Have you tackled any recipes that intimidate you recently?

Flour Tortillas
(from Confections of a Foodie Bride)
Makes 12

3 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 heaping t. salt
5 T. shortening, lard, softened butter, or olive oil (I used shortening)
3/4 c. warm water

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the shortening and pulse until incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.

With the food processor running, slowly add the water until a ball of dough forms. Continue to process for another 30 seconds to knead the dough.

On a floured surface, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Cover with a towel to avoid drying out. Taking one piece at a time, roll into a 8″ circle.

In a heated pan, add one tortilla at a time, cooking for 10-20 seconds, flipping and cooking for another 10-20 seconds. Remove to a plate and keep covered with a towel to keep warm.


Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits

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Have you noticed the lack of seafood recipes on this blog? There’s a good reason for it: I really don’t like fish. I’ve tried it a few times in hopes that my tastes have changed, but no dice.

So, it goes without saying that I’m not a fan of Red Lobster.  I’m the person who goes and orders the one chicken dish on the menu. Their biscuits, though, are something I can get on board with.

These simple biscuits are a copycat of what they serve in the restaurant. They’re a little crunchy on the outside but nice and soft inside.  The butter brushed over the top soaks in and makes these an awesome treat.

Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits
(from Lettuce Pray, as seen on The Girl Who Ate Everything)
Makes 4 large biscuits

1 1/4  c. Bisquick
2 T. cold butter
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 c. milk
1/4 t. garlic powder

1 1/2 T. butter
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dried parsley

 Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Prep a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or spraying with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, cut cold butter into Bisquick until you have pea-sized chunks of butter. Mix in cheddar, milk and garlic powder until just combined.
Drop 1/4 cup scoops onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until tops are lightly brown.
While the biscuits are baking, melt remaining butter and stir in garlic powder and parsley. Brush over tops of baked biscuits with a pastry brush.
Serve warm.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Amish Muffins

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This is another recipe that starts with Amish Friendship Bread starter. It’s no secret that I love the peanut butter chocolate combo, and it worked really well in these muffins.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Amish Muffins
(from Friendship Bread Chicken)
Makes about 2 dozen

1 c. Amish Friendship Bread Starter
3 eggs
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
2 c. flour
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. chocolate chips
1 small box vanilla instant pudding

Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake papers.

In a large mixing bowl, add ingredients as listed. Fill tins 2/3 way with batter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Amish Soft Pretzels

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I love soft pretzels – and these were particularly awesome.  The starter gives in a good sour bite, but they’re also still on the sweet side. The dough was quite forgiving to work with.

You can top these with pretty much any spices you like. I just sprinkled salt over most of them, but I made a few topped with herbs de provence and sea salt. Both were awesome!

These also freeze well. To reheat, just pop on a baking sheet in a 350F degree oven until heated through.

Amish Soft Pretzels
(from Friendship Bread Kitchen)
Makes 12

1 c. Amish Friendship Bread Starter
3/4 c. lukewarm water
2 t. yeast
3 c. flour
1/4 c. instant non-fat dry milk
1 T. vegetable oil
2 t. salt
Kosher salt to top pretzels

In a stand mixer bowl with dough hook, add starter, water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add rest of ingredients into mixer bowl and mix until dough pulls away from the sides and a ball forms.

Grease a bowl, put in ball of dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest and rise for 1 hour. It won’t rise very much.

Lightly oil work surface. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to about 20 inches. Use fingers to roll from inside to outside.

Take dough and make a U shape and then cross, bringing it down to for a pretzel. (You can Youtube this if you need to see an example!) Press dough together so it stays together.

Get 8 to 10 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda simmering on the stove top.

Place one pretzel at a time in the simmering water for 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon. Place pretzels, spaced out on a greased pan and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until pretzels are lightly browned. Remove to cooling rack.