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Lemon Monkey Bread

8 May

If you like lemons and lemony creations, you will love this one.  We are overt lemon enthusiasts around here.  My all-time favorite lemony dessert are these best-ever, most lemony lemon bars.  I could eat the entire pan.  One of my favorite savory lemon dishes is a  fabulous lemony pesto.

Now, let’s talk breakfast.  Introducing my new favorite citrus breakfast piece.  Hello, Lemon Monkey Bread.

Lemon Monkey bread

If you take a peek around our blog, you’ll find that we adore great breakfast/brunch concoctions.  Savory or sweet, gotta be simple, and must be deemed unquestionably delish!  This lemon monkey bread fits the bill.

Lemon Monkey Bread 2

I really, really like that this lemon monkey bread doesn’t rely on pudding mixes or food coloring.  The lemony glaze is the star of this monkey bread, plus plenty of fresh lemon juice and zest.

Lemon Monkey Bread 3

The result is an unbelievably light and airy texture with a refreshingly lemony taste.  The slightly crunchy topping offsets the tender bite underneath, with just the right amount of sweetness.

Lemon Monkey Bread 4

Because I’m the polar opposite of a morning-person, I made this lemon monkey bread the night before, minus the drizzle.  I let it cool, wrapped it up, and waited until morning to drizzle ‘n devour.  An absolute keeper.

Enjoy!

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LEMON MONKEY BREAD (makes 12 rolls)

INGREDIENTS

12 Rhodes frozen white dinner rolls or Rhodes Texas rolls (not warm ‘n serve variety)
zest of one large lemon
1/2 cup white sugar
3 TB salted butter, melted
butter for greasing

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 TB fresh lemon juice (slightly more or less, depending on desired consistency)

DIRECTIONS

Thaw frozen dinner rolls just until no longer frozen but still cold (not yet risen).  Butter a 9×13 baking pan or two round cake pans.  Cut rolls in half and arrange in pan cut-side down, 1/2 inch apart.  Drizzle with melted butter, evenly over rolls.

Mix lemon zest and sugar together in a bowl.  Sprinkle a third of the zest/sugar mixture evenly over the rolls.  Cover and let rise until rolls are doubled in size, approx. 1 hour, depending on your room temp.  (I covered my baking pan with an equal-sized baking pan in lieu of cling wrap, to give room for rolls to rise upward.)

Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on lower middle.

Carefully sprinkle remaining zest/sugar mixture evenly over the rolls.  Bake 16-18 minutes or just until golden.  (If it is the night before, let baked rolls cool completely.  Cover and let sit at room temp until ready to reheat.)

Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over warm rolls.  Serve while still warm.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from mybakerlady

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Honey Pear Bread

22 Mar

Quick breads are one of my fave things to bake for breakfast.  Now, I don’t wake up extra early to bake.  I’m a bear if awoken too early.  I don’t even try to pretend I’m Miss Sunshine at the crack of dawn.  Instead, my happy night-owl self prefers to strut around the kitchen in the evening, baking something yummy for tomorrow’s breakfast.  Honey Pear Bread makes an awesome breakfast, particularly if it was baked the day before 🙂

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I often bake various quick breads on the weekends so the family has something extra yummy for breakfast when they wake up.  They love this moist, tender, pear-filled bread with the perfect balance of sweetness, thanks to honey and brown sugar.  Honey Pear Bread is loaded with healthful ingredients, making it a no-brainer for both flavor and nutrition.  One loaf lasts about one day in our household.

Honey Pear Bread 3

This Honey Pear Bread is a tasty alternative to apple breads, when you’re looking to deviate from the norm.  I love that this bread uses firm pears, because pears are almost always firm at the store when I buy them, and I don’t have to wait for them to soften!  A bit of immediate gratification.

Honey Pear Bread 4

This recipe makes extra batter, which is perfect for tender muffins – bonus!  Dense, moist, chock-full of goodness, and superbly satisfying.  Make some Honey Pear Bread, and sit back to enjoy it with your morning coffee.  Or afternoon  snack with tea.  Or dessert with ice-cream on top 🙂

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Honey Pear Bread (or muffins) keeps really well.  Both texture and flavor are much better the day after it’s baked.

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RECIPE (one large 9×5 loaf + ten muffins, OR 2 smaller loaves)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 TB vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 TB ground flax meal (dry)
5 cups of very firm pears, peeled and diced

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on lower middle position.  Generously grease one large loaf pan and line a muffin pan (or grease two loaf pans for two smaller loaves.)

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, olive oil, applesauce, and honey.  Stir together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Stir to incorporate.

In another large bowl, combine salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, all-purpose and wheat flours, and flax meal.  Mix dry ingredients well.  Gently fold honey mixture into dry ingredients, just until completely moistened.  Gently fold in pears, distributing evenly.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s) and/or muffin tin.

For single large loaf, filled almost to the top, bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean, with few moist crumbs attached.

If splitting batter between two loaf pans, bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs attached.

For muffins filled almost to the top, bake 20-23 minutes or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs attached.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by allrecipes

Yogurt Banana Chocolate Bread

28 Feb

Yogurt-Banana-Chocolate-Bread.  That’s quite a mouthful.  There’s no other way to describe this wholesome, rich, moist, thick bread!   This is a densely satisfying bread for breakfast, brunch, and snack.  It’s got everything I love in it, and more.

Yogurt Banana Chocolate Bread 4

We just returned from our regular trip back to So. Cal., where we’re from.  It can be challenging to travel with kiddos, but the memory-making is important to us since our entire extended family is in CA.  Nobody wanted to relocate to the Arctic with us.

Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Bread 2

It wouldn’t have been a real trip without the usual visits to our favorite Cali eateries, being the silly foodies that we are.  Actually, any trip we take tends to revolve around food somehow.  Yet no amount of In ‘n Out can rival my mom and dad’s home cooking.  And they cooked up a storm.

Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chips Bread 3

I’m not sure what all that has to do with this Yogurt Banana Chocolate Bread, except that it’s obvious my parents’ love of cooking was passed down to me.  Hopefully, I’m passing it on with all the cooking/baking I do with my own family now.

Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Back to the banana bread.   This sweetie’s loaded with super ripe bananas, protein-rich yogurt, flax, and a healthy dose of chocolate.  So rich, dense, moist, and just the right amount of sweetness!  I’d say this bread lasted about one day in our house.  We never have leftovers with this bread, but I’m guessing it would freeze beautifully.

Enjoy!

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RECIPE (1 9×5 loaf)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup softened butter (room temp)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup over-ripe, mashed bananas
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate morsels (minis melt into the bread better)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle position.  Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

In large bowl of stand mixer, mix the softened butter and sugar until fluffy and light, several minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix to incorporate.

In separate bowl, combine flour, flax, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add butter/egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring by hand until fully incorporated.  Gently fold in the yogurt and mashed bananas with rubber spatula just until combined.  Gently fold in the mini chocolate chips, just until combined.

Spread batter evenly into greased loaf pan.  Bake about 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with tender crumbs attached (not totally clean.)  Cool loaf in pan 15 minutes and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.  Cool completely before slicing.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Texas French Toast Bake

19 Dec

Technically, I suppose “French” toast isn’t Texan.  But this scrumptious French Toast Bake is big and hearty, and the saying goes that everything is bigger in Texas.

Texas French Toast Bake, 2

What makes this French Toast Bake superb is the use of Texas Toast, in place of regular sliced bread.  If you aren’t familiar with Texas Toast, it is typically found in the sliced bread aisle of grocery stores, and the thing about it is… well, it’s Texas-sized.  It looks like white bread, sliced extra thick and made extra dense.

Texas French Toast Bake

I usually buy whole-grain bread, so it’s something special for me to reach for the enriched stuff.  Though whole-grain sandwich bread has come a long way in texture and flavor, the white slices brought me back to my childhood.  Back when wheat bread tasted like cardboard and my mom kindly bought us white loaves.   It’s a special occasion to bite into these Texas soft slices.  It’s hard not to cheat and eat the bread straight out of the bag.  Just remember that you’ll need to use almost the entire loaf for the French Toast Bake, so try.  Just try.

Texas French Toast Bake 3

This is one of the most ideal, no-fuss offerings for brunch on Christmas, New Years, or any weekend morning.  It’s simple to assemble the night before.  Wake up late the next morning, pop it in the oven, and give your family a carefree smile.  My family loves anything French Toast-ish, and they flipped for this one.  Devoured the whole pan the same day.  I’m talking no leftovers, not even a few crumbs.

Texas French Toast Bake 4

This Texas French Toast Bake is something that will easily go on your family’s list of favorites.  The thick, dense slices of Texas Toast soak up the custard perfectly.  The brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon meld together like magic.  It’s just the right amount of sweetness.  You can serve with pure maple syrup, but you might not need it.

Oh, this is important – be sure to scrape out all the gooey yummy goodness you’ll find on the bottom of pan.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE (one 9×13 pan)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 loaf Texas Toast
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 TB vanilla extract
2 TB light brown sugar, mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Real maple syrup for serving, if desired

DIRECTIONS

Put butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until melted.  Add 1 cup brown sugar and stir until well incorporated  Pour into bottom of a greased 9×13 pan, spreading mixture evenly.

Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla until incorporated.  Set aside.

Lay a single layer of Texas Toast in pan, cutting pieces to fit if needed.  Spoon 1 cup of egg mixture over bread.  Sprinkle with half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Repeat with second layer, ending with a sprinkling of brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Cover tightly and chill overnight in fridge.

Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, covered for the first 30 minutes, and uncovered after that.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  If desired, serve with pure maple syrup.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Rach’s Blog

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns

14 Dec

The holiday season seems to bring out the breakfast in people.  The holidays grant us special mornings when the family can sit down for breakfast together in a more leisurely manner, rather than the usual rush-off after scarfing down a bowl of cereal.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 2

A hot breakfast or brunch is actually my kids’ favorite meal year-round, but we don’t always have time for it.  We try really hard to have hot breakfast as a family at least on the weekends.  This is why I am often scouting for easy but delicious ideas for that first meal of the day.  These Pull Apart Sticky Buns are just that… so easy and delish.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 3

I love these phenomenal cinnamon rolls, which are the best ones we’ve had and totally unparalleled, at least in our book.   If you taste those, you’ll be entering the hooked category.

But sometimes we just need something in a pinch.  These Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns are one of the quickest solutions towards enjoying a tasty breakfast treat.  It’s perfect for holidays like Christmas morning, when the kids and family are calling for your attention away from the kitchen.  It’s equally great for any day of the year, when you just want a quick morning treat that is assembled in minutes.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns

All you need is a couple tubes of buttermilk biscuits, and you’re good to go.  I like to use the natural (no artificial stuff) biscuits for mine.  Your favorite brand will do.  I use pecans in mine, but if you have nut allergies, just go without nuts.  This literally takes minutes to assemble.  We all love recipes that are super easy to pull off, yet wonderfully impressive.  Nobody has to know you didn’t slave for hours over these fabulous sticky buns.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 4

Yummy, yum, yum.  Said my beloved peeps.  This one’s a keeper for sure.

Now you have an excuse to sit down and enjoy a morning treat.  With minimal effort and lots of “mmm’s” coming your way!

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RECIPE (1 bundt pan)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tubes of large buttermilk biscuits
3 TB melted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
powdered sugar for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375.  Generously grease a nonstick bundt pan.  Whisk together the melted butter and maple syrup in a bowl.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts until incorporated.

Pour half of the syrup mixture into bottom of greased bundt pan.  Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top.  Gently lay one biscuit at a time into the pan, overlapping them (like tilted dominoes.)  Use enough biscuits to form a ring of overlapping biscuits (I used 1 1/2 tubes.)  Top with rest of the syrup and brown sugar mixtures.

Bake on medium-lower rack for 20-22 minutes, or just until golden brown.  Cool a few minutes in pan.  Invert carefully onto serving plate, and serve immediately while still warm.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, slightly adapted from stamps4fun, via Pinterest

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread

3 Dec

Bread just might be one of the very best edible creations ever.  Around here, we find nearly impossible to refuse soft, chewy, yummy bread.  When I’ve got a bit of time to spare, I work out my issues by making all kinds of bread from scratch.  Kneading and punching down dough is like therapy, but cheaper.  Our all-time favorites include rosemary garlic bread and those “famous” breadsticks.

Ok, but what if one is short on time?  Something’s gotta give when I’m in a time crunch and my beloved peeps are hungry for a hearty bread to go with their pasta.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread

Enter this super easy, cheesy, garlicky bread.  Cheese + garlic + crusty bread = Scrumptious.   How can that trio not be perfect together?  This cheesy garlic bread is chock full of savory garlic, butter, and cheese.  It’s tender and soft on the inside, and crisp on the outside.  This garlic cheese bread comes together in a pinch, so you can easily pop it in the oven at the last minute for tempting oven-fresh bread.

Easy Cheesey Garlic Bread 2

Try to use a large, thick, and crusty bread loaf, which will provide that hearty texture.  And, though eight cloves of crushed garlic may sound like a typo, rest assured that it’s correct.  Once it’s all thrown together, the garlic flavor actually tends to get lost, so the herb formula here is:  the more, the merrier.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread 3

Y-U-M.  Serve up your cheesy garlic bread with any pasta, soup, or salad dish.  It’s fabulous to use for soaking up broth, if you’re making a dish with savory broth to spare.  This bread is definitely best served warm, right out of the oven, so enjoy it immediately.

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RECIPE (1 large loaf)

INGREDIENTS
1 large, thick loaf of crusty bread (i.e., a rustic Italian or French loaf)
8 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 TB regular butter
4 TB good olive oil
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
fresh parsley, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine the crushed garlic, garlic powder, butter, and oil in a saucepan and heat over low for several minutes, until incorporated.  Set aside.

Split loaf in half, lengthwise, and place on foil-lined baking sheet.  Brush bread generously with garlic butter mixture.   Bake bread 5-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Remove bread and sprinkle evenly with cheese and parsley.  Adjust oven to broil, and broil bread about 1 minute, or just until desired level of golden brown is achieved and cheese is melted.  Watch carefully and remove bread as soon as it looks done.

Cut into thick slices, wrap in clean cloth, and serve immediately.

By Chewoutloud

Sweet Corn Muffins, Moist ‘n Tender

16 Nov Sweet Corn Muffins

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’ve all been thinking about the dishes that we hope will grace our family dinner table for the eagerly anticipated holidays.  Though sweet corn muffins are a treat our family savors year-round, these moist ‘n tender muffins would be a fabulous addition to either breakfast, lunch, or dinner for the holidays.

Sweet Corn Muffins

We’ve been using this perfect corn muffin recipe for years.  Ten years, to be exact, as my tattered old Cooks Illustrated subscription reminds me.  There has never been another corn muffin (or cornbread or any sort) that has rivaled this recipe.  These muffins will be loved by both grown ups and kiddos, who will beg you to make them again and again.  They aren’t overly dry/crumbly, like so many corn bread/muffin recipes I’ve tried in the past, which is what made these muffins a keeper.

Sweet Corn Muffins

Not only are these sweet corn muffins easy to whip up, they are hearty and stay moist for days, as long as they aren’t overbaked.  They are tender and sweet, yet not at all cakey.  These muffins retain a wholesome cornmeal flavor and rustic quality to them, due to the whole-grain cornmeal and corn kernels, replacing the usual degerminated cornmeal.

Sweet Corn Muffins

Pat on some whipped honey butter, plain butter, or eat em’ just as they are… they are perfectly satisfying with any meal – breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Sweet Corn Muffins

…or go a bit unconventional and call it dessert 🙂

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RECIPE (12 large muffins)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup (4.5 oz) fine ground, whole grain yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
8 TB regular butter, melted
3/4 cup whole sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

DIRECTIONS

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.  Heat oven to 400F.  Grease a standard muffin tin.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda in a bowl to combine well.  Set aside.

Whisk eggs in second bowl until well combined and pale light yellow, about 20 seconds.  Add sugar and whisk vigorously until homogenous, about 30 seconds.  Add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition.  Add half of the sour cream and half of the milk.  Whisk to combine.  Whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined.

Combine wet and dry ingredients together, mixing gently with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened; do not over mix. Gently fold in frozen corn kernels.

Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping to form mounds.  Do not level or flatten tops of mounds.

Bake until muffins are light golden and toothpick comes out almost clean (few tender crumbs are perfect.)  Bake about 18-19 minutes, rotating tin halfway through baking time.  Actual baking time varies with each oven, but watch closely not to over bake.

Cool muffins in tin for a bit.  Serve warm.

Leftovers keep well in airtight container and can be reheated in microwave or oven.

By chewoutloud, adapted from Cooks Illustrated

*Note:  Whole grain cornmeal has a fuller flavor than regular cornmeal milled from degerminated corn.  To determine what kind of cornmeal a package contains, look at the label.

Favorite Pumpkin Scones with Spice Glaze

30 Oct Favorite Pumpkin Scones

We’re finally gearing up for a little Halloween fun here.  We’ve totally procrastinated this year, with so much else going on.  I have yet to check that all the pieces to my kids’ costumes are existent and intact.  I barely had time to make sure we have enough candy to hand out to all those trick or treaters.  A little last minute, right?  With some exceptions, Halloween is lucky to get a courtesy nod amidst the fall/winter holidays.  As one child in my son’s class proclaimed in disbelief, “We don’t even get the day off school?!”

Better Than Bakery Pumpkin Scones

Yes, the 31st will come and go, we will have a sugar overload, and then everyone will be eagerly anticipating the next major holiday.  At least, we carved out all the kids’ pumpkins last weekend and read our annual Pumpkin Story while we yanked and threw out out all the yuckies inside the huge round gourds.

Better Than Bakery Pumpkin Scones

Seriously, I could barely bend my fingers after carving all those pumpkins.  And our kitchen was an orange mess.  Yet…the memory making, the kids’ excitement, and the Pumpkin Story make it all worth it.  And now there they are, four smiling squash, adorning our porch and ready to shine tomorrow night.

Favorite Pumpkin Scones

In honor of pumpkins everywhere, I’m sharing the best Pumpkin Scone I’ve ever had.  In fact, it may well be one of the best tasting scones of any flavor.  This scone is not your everyday, average scone.  This pumpkin scone is amazingly delish, and I think you’ll love the recipe as much as I do.

Favorite Pumpkin Scones

This Pumpkin Scone is tender and moist on the inside.  It’s packed with yummy spices, giving it a delightful holiday flavor and bringing out the pumpkin.  What everyone loves in this scone is the addition of cinnamon chips and white chocolate chips.  Cinnamon chips can be found at many grocery stores, especially seasonally.  Be sure you pick up a bag before they’re gone.  I love including pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds), which are readily found in the stores right now.  The pumpkin seeds give this scone a fantastic texture and delicious flavor.  Pepitas seem to be selling like hotcakes right now, so grab some on your next grocery trip.

Enjoy this special morning treat. 🙂

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RECIPE (12 scones)

INGREDIENTS

2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 – 1/2 cup white sugar, depending on whether you like it sweeter
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup cinnamon chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup Pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
coarse sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling on top
milk for brushing on

Spice Glaze
1/2 cup powder sugar
1 TB whole milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Directions

In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Work in cold butter (I use my fingers) just until mixture is unevenly crumbly; some larger chunks of butter that remain unincorporated are fine.  Stir in cinnamon chips, white chocolate chips, and Pepitas.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs until smooth.  Add pumpkin egg mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir until all is moistened and holds together.  If dough is sticky, just scrape it into a ball and wrap with cling wrap.  Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes or until dough is cold enough to be workable.

Line two plates with squares of parchment paper (parchment should extend past the plate) and sprinkle some flour on parchment.   Divide dough in half and place each half on a separate plate.  Pat each half into a 6 inch circle, about 3/4 inches thick each.  Carefully slice each circle into 6 wedges.  Separate wedges so there is at least 1/2 inch space between them.  Brush each wedge with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar/cinnamon.

Place the plates into freezer for 30 minutes (this helps the texture and rise.)  White scones are chilling, preheat oven to 425F.

Transfer parchment paper with scone wedges onto baking sheet.  Bake scones 18-19 minutes on lower middle rack, watching to make sure they don’t over bake.  Once they are golden on top and a toothpick comes out mostly clean (a few tender crumbs are fine.)  The edges should look baked, not wet or doughy.

While scones are baking, make Spiced Glaze.  Mix together all glaze ingredients and whisk to incorporate well.

Remove scones from oven and cool a bit.  Drizzle with spiced glaze and serve warm.  Wrap any leftovers in airtight container and keep at room temp.  Do not put in fridge.  Glazed scones keep well for a day or two.

By Chewoutloud, adapted from King Arthur Flour

Best Pumpkin Spice Bread

26 Oct BEST Pumpkin Spice Bread

If there is one baked good that is a regular hit in our household, it has to be pumpkin bread.  We love our pumpkin bread so much that it is absolutely not reserved only for the short months of fall.   Around here, you can smell the tempting aroma of freshly baked pumpkin bread any time of year, with the only exception being the very warmest summer days.

BEST Pumpkin Spice Bread

Throughout the years, I’ve used a number of various pumpkin bread recipes.  Most all of them have been at least in the “good” category.  My most recent undertaking of the ever popular pumpkin bread, though, was actually a stand out.  We noticed a difference.  In a yummy good way.

BEST Pumpkin Spice Bread

What makes this particular pumpkin bread a notch above the usual?  For one, the canned pumpkin puree is cooked down a bit to diminish the slight metallic flavor that canned pumpkin can sometimes impart.  Of course, using a fresh pumpkin would eliminate that as well.  But, we all know canned pumpkin is the way to go when there’s just no time for the cook-your-own-gourd route.

BEST Pumpkin Spice Bread

The other piece that makes this pumpkin bread a cut above?  It’s the simple, light topping that provides a wonderful exterior crispness, without weighing down the bread with a heavy streusel.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a good streusel 🙂  However, this quick topping just works.  Here is a light, crisp topping for the pumpkin bread that prevents any sog-factor the next day.  It’s super easy to assemble, adds texture, and maintains a nice crispness.

BEST Pumpkin Spice Bread

This sweet little bread delivers hugely on the moistness scale, with a soft tender crumb inside, thanks to the wonderful addition of cream cheese.  YUM.  Who doesn’t love a little cream cheese?  Lastly, we’re not shy with the amount of spice, giving it enough seasonal oomph to call it Pumpkin Spice Bread.

Breakfast, dessert, or snack?   Yes, yes, and yes.  The only problem is that we can’t keep it around long enough.

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RECIPE

Note:  Bake time written is for two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaves.  You can use two 9×5 loaves, lessening the bake time to 35-40 min.  I like to do one full 9×5 loaf, increasing bake time to about 60 min., and use leftover batter for muffins.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups (10 oz) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 (15oz) can unsweetened pure pumpkin puree
1 tsp fine salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar}
1 cup packed (7 oz) light brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces at room temp
4 large eggs, room temp
1/2 cup buttermilk
Optional: 1 cup toasted, finely chopped walnuts

Topping
1/2 cup + 2 TB packed light brown sugar
2 TB flour
2 TB softened unsalted butter
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine salt

Directions

Make the topping by mixing all topping ingredients in a bowl with fingers, until well combined.  Will resemble wet sand.  Set aside.

Heat oven to 350F with rack on lower-middle position.  Grease loaf pans.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a bowl.

Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and vanilla in large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cream cheese until smooth and combined.  Stir in sugar, brown sugar, oil, and let stand 5 minutes.  Whisk until mixture is smooth, without lumps.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk.  Slowly add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.  Gently fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture just to combine (small lumps of flour are okay.)  If desired, fold toasted walnuts in.  Scrape batter into prepared pans.

Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf.  Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean, about 45 minutes (see above note for bake times.)  Loaves are done when inserted toothpick comes out with just a few tender crumbs attached.

Let bread cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes.  Remove breads from pans to finish cooling to room temp.  Serve, and enjoy!

by Chewoutloud, inspired by Cooks Illustrated

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

5 Oct Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Recently, I felt compelled to obey that bread-making compulsion that comes calling now and then.  Everyone knows the fall season is synonymous with a sudden onset of baking activity.  For me, that includes bread.   Armed with a craving for rustic bread, an addiction to garlic, and a fondness for the heady aroma of rosemary, I decided to bake the Best Rosemary Garlic Bread ever.  If such a thing can be decided 🙂

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

I was super thrilled that this actually resulted in the Best Rosemary Garlic Bread we’ve ever had.  It’s most definitely a family favorite now.  The mouth watering aroma from the oven is one big ridiculous temptation.  Seriously, we all sooo wanted to tear into this loaf the minute it came out.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Needless to say, once the dinner bell was officially rung, the bread lasted maybe seconds.   Oh-So-Good.  The exterior has that artisan, rustic texture – a gorgeous golden crisp crust.  The inside?  Everything I’d want in a hearty dinner bread… it’s chewy, soft, yet robust… delicious.  The roasted garlic and rosemary are absolutely meant for one another.  The seasoning flavors this bread perfectly.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

I always make homemade bread by hand, only because I’ve never purchased a bread maker.  I’ve thought about getting one, but so far it’s been fine without; if you don’t have a bread maker, no worries.  You can absolutely make this fab bread at home with a little extra elbow grease.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Plan ahead to allow time for rising.  Depending on the temperature of your room, it could take a couple of hours for the dough to double.  I like to put mine in an oven that has been slightly warmed up, which helps the rise time go a bit faster.  No doubt, this bread is so worth it.   You’ll be one popular baker at the dinner table.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (makes 1 loaf)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 110-115F
2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp fine salt
3 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 TB dried rosemary
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 head of roasted garlic
extra olive oil for brushing on top and serving
coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top
balsamic vinegar for serving
clean water in spray bottle

DIRECTIONS

In large bowl, Sprinkle yeast into 1 cup warm water.  Mix in the sugar and salt.  Let sit for about 10 minutes or until it foams.  Add in olive oil.  Add flour and knead (by hand or stand mixer) for about 10 minutes.  Add rosemary, black pepper, and oregano.  Knead another 5 minutes.  Finally, gently knead in roasted garlic by hand, about 1 minute.  Dough should come together well at this point; slightly sticky is fine.  Place dough ball in well oiled bowl, turning dough a few times so that dough surfaces are protected by oil.  Tightly cover bowl with cling wrap.  Place in warm, draft-free area to rise until dough is doubled, approx. 1 hour, depending on room temp (if your room is cooler, it could take 2 hours.)

After dough is doubled, punch it down and shape into a rounded loaf.  Using sharp knife, make a criss-cross design on top.  Place rounded loaf on greased baking sheet.  Cover up loaf with large mixing bowl inverted over it.  Make sure bowl is large enough that it gives your loaf room to rise.  Let rise until doubled again, approx 1 hour.

After dough has doubled again, gently brush with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and a bit more rosemary.  Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, spraying loaf with water once during the middle of baking.  Bump oven up to 425F and spray loaf with water again.  Watch carefully – bake just until top is a  nice golden brown, taking care not to over bake.

Serve bread fresh and warm, with your favorite blend of good olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and balsamic vinegar!

by chewoutloud, adapted from Jo’s Rosemary Bread

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