best ever banana bread

bananabread
Hey, I’m not claiming this to be the best banana bread ever. Let’s face it, banana bread is banana bread, plain and simple. Paul McCartney gave this title to the bread and I liked it, as reminded me of something a toddler would say, so I kept it.  This banana bread was super moist, and stayed moist before it was consumed.  I loved that it used some whole grain gluten-free flours instead of the traditional white flour, and my kids loved it even though there were no chocolate chips hidden in it.  

Best ever banana bread:

recipe from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup ground rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Superfine sugar (sometimes called baking sugar) is granulated sugar that has been ground into finer crystals than your regular granulated white sugar. Bakers like it because the smaller crystals cream very easily into butter, this leads to products that have a finer crumb and lighter texture when finished.  You can make your own superfine sugar by by processing regular granulated sugar in the food processor until it is very fine. A minute or so is usually more than enough time to process the sugar, and the newly chopped crystals will work just as well in recipes as store-bought superfine sugar. I was to lazy to make my own so I just purchased it.  

Preheat oven 350°F.  Grease a 9×5 loaf pan; set aside.  
Mash the bananas in a small bowl with a fork.
Cream together (with either a hand held mixer, standing mixer or by hand) the butter and superfine sugar until light and fluffy.   I used my handheld mixer.
Beat in the 2 eggs, one at a time.  

Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the 3 mashed bananas.  

Sift together over a bowl, the 1 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup corn flour, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 
  Fold the dry ingredients into the mixture until incorporated.  You will be left with a very thick batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Smooth the top with a spatula. 
Bake for 1 – 1 ½  hours or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. 
My bread took only 1 hour to bake, so make sure to keep an eye on it.
Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.
Slice up and top the bread with some butter if desired.
This bread is the perfect afternoon tea or breakfast bread.  I paired a slice with some greek  yogurt topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries for breakfast the other morning.  It was a nice break from my grape nuts routine!

whole-grain skillet corn bread

whole-grain skillet corn bread

Remember when I went crazy over the November issue of Whole Living Magazine?  I made about 4 recipes from that one issue and they were all fantastic.  This corn bread recipe was in it as well, and I couldn’t wait to make it, but I wanted to wait till Santa brought me the cast iron pan I had asked for.  Well, Santa came through and my pan was under the tree Christmas morning wrapped in a big red bow tie.  Thanks Santa. I use my cast iron pan all the time now and recommend picking one up.  They’re a workhorse of a pan and so inexpensive.  This 10″ pan cost $22 and the 12″ costs $28.  I think that is going to be my next purchase with the gift card to Sur La Table that I received from my wonderful brother-in-law, Brandt.  Thanks Brandt!  

The cast iron pan is the key to a perfect crust.  The crust gets all brown and crispy when it cooks in the pre-heated pan.  Add some fresh honey to the top of this bread when it comes out of the oven and you have yourself a healthy grainy bread with a touch of sweetness. 

Whole-Grain Skillet Corn Bread:

Recipe from Whole Living Magazine

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • honey

DSC_0012Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Preheat (about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven) an 8-inch or 10-inch cast-iron pan, or pie dish if you don’t have a cast iron pan.  I used my 10 inch cast iron pan, and the bread turned out great.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
DSC_0015In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk and 1/4 cup of olive oil.
DSC_0014Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
Note:  The batter will be thick and a bit lumpy.
DSC_0022
Take out your preheated pan or pie dish and add the remaining tablespoon of oil, swirling to coat the bottom.  Pour in the batter and smooth the top with a spatula.  I know it looks a bit rough on the top, but the dough is thick and sticky.DSC_0026Bake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean from the center, 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your pan.  Note: My bread took 20 minutes because it was in a 10 inch skillet and was spread out more than it would be in an 8 skillet or pie dish.

DSC_0043Brush with honey, then let cool a bit.DSC_0052

DSC_0075Cut into wedges & add a drizzle of fresh honey or butter to each slice and serve up with your favorite soup or chili.  Take the remaining bread out of the skillet and store in a covered container.  Don’t store the bread in the skillet. 

This bread is also tasty in the morning as a breakfast treat.  Eli has been having a slice with his eggs every morning!

Tangerine bundt cake with citrus glaze

tangerine

I saw this cake on the most recent cover of Everyday Food Magazine and said to myself, “I just have to make that.”  I was looking for a breakfast cake for Thanksgiving morning and this one fit the bill perfectly because it looked so refreshing and it gave me an excuse to use my bundt pan again. This bundt cake was a bit labor intensive as you have to zest and squeeze about 8 tangerines.  It was well worth it in the end, as we all enjoyed an extra large slice of this on Thanksgiving morning.

Note:  It’s best to make this cake a day ahead so that the glaze can set overnight.  Just cover and store the glazed cake at room temperature. 

Tangerine bundt cake with citrus glaze:

Recipe from Everyday Food Magazine

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated tangerine zest (from 6 tangerines)
  • 1/2 cup tangerine juice (from about 6 tangerines)
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek or low-fat plain yogurt –  I used Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Citrus glaze:

  • 1  1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tangerine juice (from 2 tangerines)

OK, so I did not have any orange liquor lying around the house, nor did I want a whole bottle of it (yuck), so I went to my local BevMo and asked if they had any travel size bottles of Grand Marnier.  I was in luck as they had tons of these travel sized bottles hidden in back.  Isn’t it just the cutest thing, so tiny against the tangerines?   

As you all know, I like to prep my ingredients ahead of time, so lets do that.  Zest your 6 tangerines, then cut them in half and squeeze the juice out over a glass measuring cup until you get 1/2 cup full of juice.  
I just love all this vibrant orange color!

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a bundt cake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, using a standing or hand-held electric mixer, beat your room temperature butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  

Add your eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Your cake mixture will get creamy fast just by adding the eggs.
Beat in tangerine zest, tangerine juice and liqueur.  
Your mixture will look a bit curdled at this point.  Appetizing, right?
With mixer on low, add the flour mixture and yogurt in three additions. You will add in a bit of the flour then the yogurt and then the flour again and so on. 
Beat to combine and then beat in the vanilla.  Your mixture will thicken up and look like this.

Pour the batter into your bundt pan, smooth the top, and firmly tap the pan on a flat surface to remove any air bubbles and to help smooth the batter as well.
 Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes.  My cake was done in 50 minutes.  
Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.  Invert cake onto a cake plate or platter and let cool completely.  
Once your cake is completely cooled, you can move onto making the glaze.  
Whisk together confectioner’s sugar and tangerine juice until smooth.  
Note: My sauce was a bit thick so I added a bit more juice till it got thinner.  The glaze will look yellow at this point, but as it sets on the cake it will turn white.
 
As you can see from my professional glaze job, this was my first time ever glazing a bundt cake so I was not sure what to do.  I thought about researching how to glaze a bundt cake on the Internet, but it was late and the night before Thanksgiving so I decided to wing it.   I just took the glaze and poured it around the top of the cake and let it drizzle down the sides.  I ended up with a lot of drizzle on the bottom that I scooped up with a spoon and added to the top.   If you want to get fancy and make your cake look beautiful, I would recommend this method:
 
Take your glaze and pour into a ziploc bag.  Twist bag (so it looks like a like a pastry bag) so that the glaze can settle into one corner of the bag.  Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle the glaze over the cake.  Make sure you get a lot of glaze on the top of the cake.  The glaze does soak in so you want to use all your glaze. 
 
If you want to delve into your cake that day, then let cake sit for one hour to let the glaze set.  If your eating it the next day, then cover the glazed cake and store at room temperature. 
This is the perfect cake to serve up at breakfast or brunch or to have with your afternoon tea.  It was a hit with my whole family and friends!

Happy Sunday!

Cranberry Orange Bread

cranberry orange bread
cranberry orange breadThis is my favorite bread to make and give during the Holidays.  Cranberries and oranges always remind me of the Holidays, and when I bake up this bread my house smells like Christmas.  Cranberries and oranges are the perfect combination.  The citrus from the orange compliments the tartness of the cranberries, making each bite the perfect balance of sweet and tart. This bread is moist, full of flavor and a total crowd pleaser.  I love having this bread with a cup of tea as an afternoon snack, or with a slab of butter and some coffee in the morning.
cranberry orange bread

cranberry orange bread:

recipe from Joy of baking
  • 1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest 
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 3/4 cup orange juice – you can use regular old orange juice or freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional – 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts – I did not use nuts as my kids are not big fans

ingredients for cranberry orange breadPre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 5 x 3inch loaf pan.  
Zest up your orange and rinse and coarsely chop up your cranberries.
coarsely chopped cranberries
In a small bowl, beat your egg.  Add in the 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon orange zest and the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.
orange juice, egg, orange zest and vanilla_
In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  Cut the 4 tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces, and blend it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender. 
 The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
butter mixed into the flour
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. 
Then fold in the chopped cranberries (and nuts if you’re using them).  
cranberry orange bread batter
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
cranberry orange bread batter in the pan
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  
baked cranberry orange bread
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely before slicing.   I was surprised at how easily my bread came out of the pan.
baked cranberry orange bread on cooling rack
Slice it up and slather on some butter or just enjoy it plain.  It’s the perfect compliment to a cup of joe or tea.  The tartness of the cranberries combined with the sweetness of the citrus is amazing and it just melts in your mouth.  
cranberry orange bread
Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 3/4 cup orange juice - you can use regular old orange juice or freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional - 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts - I did not use nuts as my kids are not big fans

Instructions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3inch loaf pan.

Zest up your orange and rinse and coarsely chop up your cranberries.

In a small bowl, beat your egg. Add in the 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon orange zest and the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cut the 4 tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces, and blend it into the flour mixture using a pastry blender. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.

Then fold in the chopped cranberries (and nuts if you're using them).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Then remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely before slicing. I was surprised at how easily my bread came out of the pan.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2011/11/cranberry-orange-bread/

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Bread

chocolate chip pumpkin bundt bread

chocolate chip pumpkin bundt breadI don’t know about you, but when my kids come home from school, they are HUNGRY! The first words out of their mouths are, “Hi mom, what’s for snack?”  I get it, they’re growing and had lunch a couple of hours ago, and so they need some fuel!  When Zoe gets home and smells something baking in the oven, she does her leap of joy and yells a big “Yippee!”  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Here’s a great fall afternoon snack, or anytime of the year snack.  It almost qualifies as a dessert, it’s that yummy.  I serve this up for the kids with a tall glass of milk, and after its devoured, I get that sigh of contentment and the rubbing of the belly!  I made a few variations to the original recipe to make it healthier.  The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. I’ve replaced it with 1/4 virgin coconut oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.  I’ve also tried it using 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applause. I’ve also added in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt at times to give it a bit more moisture.  All 3 variations have been wonderful,  so play with this bread and make it your own, and let me know your favorite way to enjoy it!  chocolate chip pumpkin bundt bread

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Bread:

If you want to add a bit more moisture to this bread, then you can add in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt to the wet ingredients.
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree – my favorite brand is Farmers Organic Pumpkin and I love that the cans are BPA free.  
  • 1/4 cup fresh-pressed virgin coconut oil, (the coconut oil that actually smells like a coconut) in liquid form (I show you how to melt the coconut oil below) or 1/4 cup vegetable oil – Note: the old recipe called for 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and if you like and want that version, then just use the 1/2 cup vegetable oil and omit the unsweetened applesauce below as well as the 1/4 cup coconut oil.  
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips – I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease up a Bundt pan.  I always use a paper towel and some room temp butter to grease up my Bundt pan.  Make sure that you grease the pan up along edges and middle.

ingredients for chocolate chip pumpkin Bundt breadMeasure out 1/4 cup coconut oil using a dry measuring cup.  Add the solid coconut oil to a small pan and turn the heat to simmer.  Simmer the oil, using a spatula to stir it occasionally, until it melts.  Set it aside to cool a bit.  It won’t have to cool too much as it won’t be that hot.

melting coconut oilWhisk together the 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup applesauce, 2 large eggs, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and the 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice until well combined.Whisk together the 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda until combined and then add in the 1 cup of chocolate chips and give it another stir. A note about chocolate chips, my family prefers dark chocolate to milk chocolate, so we use these Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips.  They are amazing, and they do say that dark chocolate is good for you, so that may help take some of the guilt away.  Try them in your next recipe that calls for chocolate chips. Using a spatula or wooden spoon mix the dry into the wet until JUST combined. Spoon into the Bundt pan and even out slightly using a spatula.  Give the bundt pan a slam on the counter to release any trapped air and to help the batter get a bit more even. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 42-46 minutes.  Different ovens have different baking times, so the baking time is just an estimate here.

Baking tip: It’s hard to give an exact cooking time when it comes to baking because every oven, pan and even geographic locations, can command a slightly different cooking time. A great way to know when a cake is done, is to do the finger test as well as the standard toothpick test. To do the finger test, press your finger down gently in the middle of the cake, if it’s done, it should puff back up automatically on it own. If it stays dented, then the cake is not ready to come out yet. Also, a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean as well.Cool briefly and turn out onto a plate or rack.Enjoy this as a snack with a tall glass of milk, some tea or coffee, or add some vanilla ice cream and have it for dessert.

chocolate chip pumpkin bundt bread

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Bread

Rating: 51

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Bread

If you want to add a bit more moisture to this bread, then you can add in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt to the wet ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree - My favorite brand is Farmers Organic Pumpkin and I love that the cans are BPA free.
  • 1/4 cup fresh-pressed virgin coconut oil (the coconut oil that actually smells like a coconut), in liquid form (I show you how to melt the coconut oil below) or 1/4 cup vegetable oil - Note: the old recipe called for 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and if like and want that version, then just use the 1/2 cup vegetable oil and omit the unsweetened applesauce below as well as the 1/4 cup coconut oil.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips - I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease up a Bundt pan. I always use a paper towel and some room temp butter to grease up my Bundt pan. Make sure that you grease the pan up along edges and middle.

Measure out 1/4 cup coconut oil using a dry measuring cup.

Add the solid coconut oil to a small pan and turn the heat to simmer. Simmer the oil, using a spatula to stir it occasionally, until it melts. Set it aside to cool a bit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup applesauce, 2 large eggs, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and the 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice until well combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda until combined and then add in the 1 cup of chocolate chips and give it another stir.

Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix the dry into the wet until JUST combined.

Spoon into the Bundt pan and even out slightly using a spatula. Give the bundt pan a slam on the counter to release any trapped air and to help the batter get a bit more even.

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 42-50 minutes. Different ovens have different baking times, so the baking time is just an estimate here.

Baking tip: It’s hard to give an exact cooking time when it comes to baking because every oven, pan and even geographic locations, can command a slightly different cooking time. A great way to know when a cake is done, is to do the finger test as well as the standard toothpick test. To do the finger test, press your finger down gently in the middle of the cake, if it’s done, it should puff back up automatically on it own. If it stays dented, then the cake is not ready to come out yet. Also, a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean as well.

Cool briefly and turn out onto a plate or rack.

Enjoy this as a snack with a tall glass of milk, some tea or coffee, or add some vanilla ice cream and have it for dessert.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2011/10/chocolate-chip-pumpkin-bundt-bread/