Have I told you what I have been up to lately? I started November wishing I could find a part-time job, and now I have two part-time jobs, totaling way more hours than a typical full-time one. I get very anxious about waking up for job #1 at 5:45 in the morning after I’ve been at job #2 until 11:00 at night. How do I get myself into these things, and why have I started every new food job I’ve had during the super-busy holiday season? Oh well, it won’t last forever…job #2 is only for another few weeks.
For the time being, I do really look forward to the one morning a week when I can drink coffee out of a proper cup and stuff my face with things like Cardamom Crumb Cake for breakfast. I get really happy when folks like Jill pick a breakfast recipe for TWD, and this coffee cake highlights one of my favorite spices. I’d say that this is a simple, plain cake, but cardamom is an interesting flavor and is something a bit more unexpected than cinnamon. Combine it with orange zest, espresso powder and walnut crumb topping, and you’ve got a cake I’d eat any day of the week. Happily, the second half of mine is tucked away in the freezer until Saturday.
Before I’m able to face the slew of holidays that are fast-approaching, I need to clear my cupboard of the ghosts of holidays past. Here, I’m talking about a freakin’ can of pumpkin pie “mix” I bought at some point last year, thinking it was straight-up pumpkin. I always think I must be losing it when I do stuff like that, but gosh, don’t those cans look so similar? That slip-up is far more understandable than the times I’ve returned from the grocery store and put my purse in the fridge!
I had to get rid of that can, because it’s been taunting me for almost a year now. I didn’t know what to do with pumpkin pie mix, though, because I have no idea how much sugar is really in there, so I turned to the expert source, none other than the Libby’s website, for a little help.
What I came away with was a great pumpkin bread recipe that promises it can be made “anyway you like it.” Hmmm…I like it with chocolate chips (I am always surprised by how good the pumpkin-chocolate combination is) and spinkled with a little spice sugar, so I don’t mind if I do. This bread may not have quite the texture you’d normally expect for pumpkin bread, but that’s because it really has very little added fat. It’s still quite moist, and kept just fine for three days, so I’d gladly trade the reduced oil for reduced guilt (and chocolate chips!).
“Anyway You Like It” Pumpkin Bread- makes one 8 x 4-inch loaf
adapted from Very Best Baking
Steph’s Note: The recipe below is half the size of the one on the website, which makes two loaves and uses a big 30 oz can of pie mix. If you’re more in the mood for mini-loaves or muffins, those variations are at the end.
1 3/4 c + 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c stir-ins (raisins, sweetened dried cranberries, chopped dates, nuts or chocolate chips)
1 15 oz can of pumpkin pie mix (the stuff with some sugar and spices added)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice, apple juice, skim milk or water
1 large egg
1 to 1 1/2 T sprinkle-ons (chopped nuts, cinnamon sugar, seeds such as: poppy, sesame or sunflower, optional)
-Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.
-Combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine pumpkin pie mix, oil, orange juice and eggs in another large bowl. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in stir-ins. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with your choice of sprinkle-ons.
-Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.
for four 5 1/2 x 3 1/4-inch mini-loaf pans:
-Prepare as above. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes.
for one dozen muffin cups:
-Preheat oven to 400° F. Prepare as above. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes.
There are some mornings when one cup of coffee just won’t do the trick. That’s what these Coffee-Break Muffins are for. They are chock full o’ brewed coffee (Chock Full o’Nuts, perhaps??) and instant espresso, and give you that double-shot kick in the pants that’s sometimes needed.
I’ve been having a lot of these mornings lately. Remember when I said I was busy? Well, I still am…running around so much during the day, my brain can’t switch off when it’s time to go to bed. The reason I haven’t been working this summer is that my husband and I have finally found our own place! Seriously, House Hunters could have done a freakin’ multi-year series on just us, but now we’ve closed the deal on a cool old house in Brooklyn. “Old” being the key word…there are a zillion things that need fixing up, so I’ve been shuttling back and forth to get estimates from painters, plumbers, contractors, floor refinishers, you name it…reasearching and meeting these guys is a full time-time job itself. The work has hardly begun, but our apartment lease is almost up, so we move this weekend–yikes! Oh yeah, and we have almost no furniture…we’ll be eating dinner in camping chairs in the middle of a construction zone for awhile. Should be an adventure!
It’s a good thing I made a full batch of these muffins. They are great freezer food and can be defrosted in a matter of seconds for a quick caffeine jolt! For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Chocoholic Anonymous, as it was Rhiani’s choice for TWD. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!
Thank you, Natalie of Oven Love, for choosing Oatmeal Breakfast Bread for TWD! I have dropped a couple of hints in the past that this is one recipe I’ve been itching to make…not only that, but I’m always happy when someone chooses a brekkie thing, as I kinda feel we ignore this section of the book.
I’m pleased to report that this oatmeal bread was everything I hoped it would be! It’s really soft and nicely spiced, and completely perfect with coffee…you can cut into slices like a bread or bigger chunks like a coffee cake. I used dried apples and pecans in mine, and baked it the night before (who wants to get up at 5am to do it, especially when it keeps so well?). I baked a half recipe, and it took a little less time to cook than Dorie indicated for a full batch. I can’t wait to make it again in cooler weather…a whole recipe next time, for sure!
Wow–super-busy week at work. If I hadn’t made this Cocoa-Nana Bread, chosen for TWD by fellow Steph of Obsessed with Baking, early last week, it just wouldn’t have happened for me. The bakery I work for was featured in a segment on national TV a few days ago, and it sent mail orders pouring in all weekend. Terrific for business, but the owners neglected to give the kitchen the heads-up that it was airing! Saying we we’ve been in the weeds would be an understatement, and my arms are about to fall off from so much brownie mixing. Anyway, back to matters at hand…
A healthy dose of cocoa powder makes this loaf pumpernickel-dark. And bananas make it moist. It’s really much more cocoa than nana….and also more loaf cake than bread. Dorie intends it to be for breakfast, but we thought it made a fine dessert. Leftovers are a yummy trifle base, BTW.
To all my Aussie friends–happy Australia Day! I’ll be celebrating here with homemade sausage rolls, a Cooper’s Sparkling and some good tennis!
I’m pretty slow-going in the morning, so don’t do that much breakfast baking. That being said, I was happy to have the lovely Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table chose Allspice Crumb Muffins for TWD this week. It’s good to have my routine switched up every once and awhile. And it’s hard to not like having a fresh, homemade muffin (especially one with streusel topping!) with my morning coffee.
Allspice isn’t a spice that I usually have on hand. In fact, before I made this recipe I had to pay a visit to my most favorite tea and spice shop, Two for the Pot in Brooklyn, to score some. Allspice in hand, I subbed just a bit of whole wheat flour for the AP in both the streusel and the muffin itself. I also added in the optional lemon zest…this muffin doesn’t have bits of fruit in it, so I think the zest went a long way towards amping up the flavor a bit. They baked up with kinda flat tops, but I can overlook that in favor of their ease and pleasant simplicity.
P.S.: I’m taking a quick trip out of town on my days off this week. I won’t be in front of the computer for a few days, so please forgive my lack of comments!
This is a recipe that’s caught my eye many times while flipping through BFMHTY, partly because it is directly opposite one of the things I most want to make (that would be Oatmeal Breakfast Bread for those in charge of next month’s selection…hehe), and partly because it just sounds a little wacky. Well, since Kelly of Baking with the Boys picked it for TWD, it’s time to try this wacky stuff out.
When mangos are cheap and easy to find (like they are now), I usually have one on my counter…they’re great for smoothies. So, without even having to make a trip to the store, I was good to go on the star ingredient here. The supporting player, raisins, on the other hand, don’t usually have a place in my home, so I thought I’d play up the tropical flavors of this bread and swapped in a little chopped candied ginger instead. Each piece was a sweet and spicy bite.
So guess what? Mango bread is really not so wacky after all. It’s moist and well-spiced…quite like a muffin, but in loaf form. No pat of butter or slather of jam needed with this bread– just a big cup of coffee, and you’re good to go.
Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake chose Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins for TWD this week. I love months where we get a savory or breakfast recipe…one less dessert to squeeze in. I made six muffins. We had a couple for breakfast with scrambled eggs, and a couple with a Mexican-ish tortilla casserole I made for dinner. They were the perfect accompaniment for both.
These muffins are wonderfully spiced from the chili powder, and have lots of good add ins, like corn kernels, jalapeños and red pepper. While I know some people can’t stand the stuff, I am a cilantro fiend and always use a heavy hand with it. If you’re a cornbread purist, you may not go for these. I’m not, so I did…I thought they were best warm.
It’s spring-time warm here, and pumpkin would be the last thing on my mind if it weren’t for the fact that Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp chose these muffins for TWD. I’d actually better get used to the idea of cool weather foods, and quick, because come Friday, I’ll be back in the States! That’s right–this is my last TWD from Oz…I’ve already done next week’s recipe, but I won’t be able to post “early” anymore. Boo.
I’ve never noticed canned (or tinned) pumpkin in Australian grocery stores. Maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong aisle, I don’t know, but I assume it’s just not popular here. I would have had to roast and mash my own if I hadn’t had a can of Libby’s that I brought back from home. As an aside, which my American friends may or may not find interesting, all the hard-skinned gourds are referred to as “pumpkin” here (not just the orange ones that I think of in the US). For instance, I’ve gotten used to calling butternut a pumpkin, not a squash.
So, armed with my Libby’s, I was ready to tackle Dorie’s muffin recipe. I started by dividing it half (to make just six) and replacing the raisins with dried cranberries. Then I decided to skimp on the butter a bit, leaving out one tablespoon and replacing it with an additional tablespoon of buttermilk. The baked muffins were moist and soft, so I never even noticed that bit of butter was missing. What was missing, though, were the nuts! I had the exact amount of walnuts needed for this…they were right there on the counter…and that’s where they stayed. Oops! Early morning baking is apparently not my forte. Oh well–they found a new home in a spinach salad instead.
I can’t say that I ever crave pumpkin muffins, but I liked these a lot. I’ll make them again if I have an open can that needs to be used up. Next time, I’ll be sure to remember the nuts!
Well, not my mom’s. I’m guessing Melissa Murphy’s mom’s, since it’s in her new cookbook The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. You know, I really don’t like bananas in their raw form (not even in smoothies), but once they are baked into something sweet, it’s a whole ‘nother story. R does like to have bananas in his cereal, but sometimes he buys more than he can eat. When that happens, I wrap them up and stash them in the freezer…after I’ve accumulated a few, it’s time for banana bread, cake or muffins!
What makes this particular banana bread extra-special are the bits of caramelized apple throughout. Most banana bread has a pretty good shelf life and can even get better after a day of so. This one is no exception, as the sweet apples just meld more into the spiced bread.
Mom’s Banana Apple Bread– makes one 1 1/2-quart loaf pan
from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. All rights reserved. Copyright © Melissa Murphy, 2008
For the apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the banana bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 to 3)
Before you start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan.
To make the apples:
Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
To make the banana bread:
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
-In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
-In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vanilla.
-Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the orange juice mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples.
-Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further.
*Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The banana bread keeps well wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Defrost (still wrapped) at room temperature.