Breads

Caramelized Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze

I can’t make Banana Bread. And by can’t, I mean shouldn’t. Does anyone else have a problem not eating an entire loaf of banana bread in one sitting? I think I have everything under control until I pull the pan out of the oven and the aroma that envelopes the entire house cradles me and slides me into the Land of Absolutely No Willpower. I’ll just cut a slice off the end. I’ll just slice one more piece. Okay, just one more and I’m done. Well, that piece was lopsided so I might as slice this off. Now, that looks weird so I should cut another piece. Have I really almost eaten half of this bread? What’s one more slice? You know what I mean. When I see a recipe like this Caramelized Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze, I tell myself I shouldn’t make it. I even convince myself I won’t make it and consider for a second not keeping the recipe. But then when I have those dark brown bananas sitting on my counter, well, I’m not going to throw them out. And putting them in the freezer for smoothies is just not a train I can get on. I hunt down that recipe.

The bananas are sautéed in butter with brown sugar until thick and caramelized. The gooey goodness is mixed with your standard quick bread ingredients (oh, and a little rum) and baked until puffy and golden. Then, to take things over the top, butter that is cooked until toasty brown is mixed with half-and-half and powdered sugar. This brown butter glaze isn’t needed, but you’ll be glad you added it. When you slide that glaze over the bread and watch it as it seeps into it’s deep, crusty crevices, you’ll be thankful. Just try to contain yourself and eat one piece. Just. Try.

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and bananas; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes. Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

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Combine buttermilk, oil, rum and eggs. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.

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Scrape batter into a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan, and cool on wire rack.

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Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 3 minutes or until butter begins to brown; remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and half-and-half, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

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Drizzle glaze over bread. Let stand until glaze sets.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Peanut-Butter Banana Bread

Is February, and winter for that matter, over yet? Since it snowed all day on Saturday, I had no motivation to do anything but watch a Parks and Recreation marathon and bake. I’ve been on a random peanut butter kick lately and realized that I have four – yes, four – different kinds of nut butters in my cabinet. And that isn’t even counting the powdered peanut butter I put in my protein smoothies everyday. Since there were a couple of bananas hanging out on my counter and today is National Banana Bread Day, I pulled out one of those jars of peanut butter and decided since it was cold and snowy outside that I needed to bake this Peanut-Butter Banana Bread.

Peanut butter is not just mixed into the batter but it is also mixed into the sweet drizzle that coats the soft, warm banana bread. I mean, bananas and peanut butter isn’t just for Elvis. This banana bread was insane. And I say was because I may or may not have eaten the entire loaf over the coarse of the weekend. Good thing I’m hitting the gym today. But seriously, since most people have peanut butter hanging around, next time you make banana bread, give this a try. And just try to eat only one piece. Elvis knew what he was doing.

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Preheat oven to 350°F.To prepare bread, combine peanut butter, yogurt, bananas, butter and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.

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Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts.

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Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

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To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Flaxseed

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Pecan-Pumpkin Drops with Sriracha-Honey Butter

What is it about winter that makes baking so appealing? By the time the holidays roll around, I’m dying to start cookie baking. And even though that is all done with now and our lives are back to normal, baking is still appealing. Is it because of the weather? When it’s warm out, we don’t want to stay in the house, let alone to do something that requires turning on the oven. But in the winter, it just feels so right. Is it nesting? These Pecan-Pumpkin Drops didn’t require me hitting the grocery store for ingredients and neither did the Sriracha-Honey Butter I smeared on them! This combination of recipes was easy and didn’t require me going out in the cold for anything!

Pumpkin and pecans, along with a little nutmeg, make up the primary flavors in these petite little muffins which are a perfect on their own or as an accompaniment to your winter meal. Served warm with a little butter or cream cheese would be oh-so-lovely but the sriracha-honey butter I smeared mine with gave these muffins another jolt. The sweet and spicy butter blended with the mellow pumpkin makes for a flavorful melt-in-your-mouth combo. Eat these muffins, and the butter, however you like. Just make them. Both. And stay warm!

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Preheat oven to 425°F. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

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Combine pumpkin and buttermilk in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.

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Add pumpkin mixture and chopped pecans to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

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Drop batter in mounds of about 1/3-cupfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 425° for 14 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet; cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm.

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For the Sriracha-Honey Butter, combine butter, Sriracha, and honey in a bowl.

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Chill until ready to serve.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Sources:

  • Muffins: Cooking Light magazine
  • Butter: Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine

Herbed Corn Muffins

So what do you do when your Thanksgiving leftovers are all gone but yet you still have leftover ingredients in your fridge? Leftovers from leftovers? Ugh! This happens to me all the time when I’m cooking. Really, unless you are making a parsley pesto, who ever needs more than a few tablespoons of parsley? Yet you can only get a big bushel in the grocery store. I hate throwing out herbs but it happens all the time. I’m sorry. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I refused to do it this time and sat down specifically looking for a recipe that I could use these herbs in. Thank goodness for these Herbed Corn Muffins.

Cornmeal batter made with buttermilk (also a leftover in my fridge that I never use up) gets a fresh kicky spirit from three leftovers in my produce drawer: thyme, parsley, and scallions. Oh, and some pecorino cheese! Talk about a perfect use for those random Thanksgiving hangers-on. Considering I always have baking items on hand (for when that cookie dough breakdown occurs), muffins are an easy way to use up leftover herbs because not only are they really easy and quick to make, they freeze so well. You can bake them and put them away for when you want them the next time you make soup or chili. And these muffins have such an amazing flavor from the cheese and herbs, you’ll be so happy that you made them now and have them later. It’s thyme to bake those herbs away, friends. Sorry…I had to. 🙂

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Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine buttermilk, olive oil, and egg; stir well with a whisk. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, and pecorino Romano cheese in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

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Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture, and stir just until moist.

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Gently stir in green onions, parsley, and thyme.

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Spoon into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 400°F for 13 minutes.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha

Breakfast is what’s for dinner tonight. I can’t imagine not liking breakfast food. I can eat eggs at any time of day or night and often eat hard boiled eggs as a snack or scrambled eggs at dinner. Several months ago, after trying Sriracha mayonnaise, I decided to top a deviled egg with a few drops of Sriracha. I never looked back. That turned into me adding Sriracha to my scrambed, fried, or sunnyside up eggs as well. Just for kicks, I wondered what it would taste like to make a savory French toast and top it with Sriracha instead of syrup. You guys, I can’t even tell you how happy I am with this result: Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha.

Herbes de Provence are added to the egg and milk mixture which coats thick slices of hearty bread. Cooked until golden brown, these slices are topped with a flavorful chive butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light and didn’t miss the extra calories!) and drizzled with as much (or as little) Sriracha as you want. The result is a mildly herby French toast with a buttery tang and spicy bite. The floral herbes de Provence can easily be replaced with dried thyme or oregano and you can definitely leave off the Sriracha if you’d like (but why would you?). For an even bigger oniony bite, use the chive butter to brown the slices if you desire. Everything about this French toast is savory and perfect for your next breakfast dinner. I’m ecstatic!

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Savory Herbes de Provence French Toast with Chive Butter and Sriracha (serves 2)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 slices hearty bread (such as French loaf or Artisan Wheat)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sriracha

Combine the softened butter and chives in a bowl. Transfer to plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Over medium-high heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to a large skillet. While butter melts, whisk together eggs, milk, herbes de Provence and salt in a shallow dish. Add one slice of bread at a time and soak, flipping frequently, until saturated with egg mixture.

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Add 2 soaked slices to the hot skillet and cook until the bread is golden brown; flip and continue cooking, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer cooked slices to a plate and keep warm while cooking the remaining bread slices.

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Garnish each slice of French toast with one pat of chive butter. Drizzle with Sriracha.

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Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Just about every January or February, right when I think I might snap from the cold winter weather, I find myself driving to the nearest candle store to buy the biggest coconut candle I can find.  The scent of coconut takes me to back to summertime when it was warm and suntan lotion filled the air.  It’s something I do to try to trick my brain into thinking it’s not so cold out.  Well, we are in Spring now and the temperature outside is 80 one day and 30 the next so when I went to Target the other day, I didn’t realize until I got home that nearly everything I bought had coconut involved somehow: coffee creamer, air freshener, instant iced tea, chocolate, and coffee (see my Instagram picture of this collection here). Obsessed with coconut much? Well, it just seemed like an appropriate time to breakout the actual coconut and make this Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze.

Sweetened coconut flakes are mixed with basic banana bread batter, which is made with low-fat yogurt and pumped up with some dark rum. A little extra sprinkling of coconut tops the batter which is then baked until golden brown.  Once cooled slightly, the bread is given a little extra sweetness with a simple lime juice/powdered sugar glaze which adds a whole other layer of flavor.  I almost left off the glaze because the bread was so perfectly beautiful without it but I’m glad I added it.  The citrus flavor really complements the coconut making this a real island-y banana bread.  Coconut is one of those things that people either love or hate. I don’t think I could live without it.

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Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.  Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

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Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended.

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Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut.

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Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan.

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Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely on wire rack.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat flour for half of the white flour

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Zucchini Mini Muffins

With zucchini being in abundance this summer and almost always on sale, why not pick up an extra squash the next time you are at the store and consider putting it in some bread?  Never had zucchini in bread?  You don’t know what you’re missing.  Zucchini bread was just as common in my house growing up as banana bread and it shocks be when people have never tried it before.  I once had a friend cringe at the thought of zucchini bread that you would have thought I was suggesting liver in bread.  But honestly, if you at all like banana bread, or even carrot cake, you must give zucchini bread a try.  When I had an extra zucchini in my fridge, I remembered I had this recipe for Zucchini Mini Muffins which makes for a quick bite for breakfast in the morning.

Shredded zucchini is added to a light quick bread batter accent by the flavor of allspice.  The result is fluffy bite-sized muffins which could easily be enjoyed as a quick breakfast or even as an after dinner snack.  And if you are able to eat just one, there is zero guilt involved.  Never considered zucchini bread, let alone zucchini muffins, before?  Definitely try this.  And since muffins freeze well, make a batch of these and throw them in the freezer.  Pop a few in your bag before you run out the door and microwave for a few seconds and your breakfast is ready.  Who would have thought that adding vegetable to a muffin could be so good?

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 400°F.  Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and allspice in a large bowl.

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Combine zucchini, oil, butter, vanilla, milk and egg in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

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Add zucchini mixture to flour mixture, stirring batter just until combined.

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Divide batter evenly among 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

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Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

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