zucchini muffins

Muffins

I changed the ratios a bit but the recipe is pretty close to the original. The one thing that I never do when making breads or cookies is add nuts.  No not because of nut allergies but because I just don’t like them in my baked goods. Cranberries and chocolate chips? Yes, please! I added about half a bag of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and 3/4 of a cup of cranberries. I don’t make these changes below because you really need to play with this recipe a few time to get the hang of your “add-in” measurements.

I brought the muffins to work (breads great but for work, muffins work better) and they were gone before lunch. I would suggest keeping your eye on them in the last 5 minutes because they can go from almost done to done fast!

Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 2 loaves or about 24 muffins

3 large eggs
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
1 3/4 (350 grams) cups sugar (I probably did closer to 2 cups)
2 cups grated zucchini (2 whole zucchinis)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 or a couple of good shakes teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
1/2 cup (55 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup (115 grams) dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans, liberally. (See those pictures of the cakesinside their non-stick pans? Yup, they’re pretty much hanging out in there for the time being.) Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using.

Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

pretzel bread

double loaf p b

Until Monday night I thought I was horrible at making anything with active yeast aka bread.  I used to kill the yeast because the water I was using was too hot until the Family Consumer Science teacher explained to me that your body temp is 98 degrees, so you want to barely feel any heat from the water on your hand or wrist.

cheers bread

So with this advice and a few encouraging words from a friend, I made the pretzel bread recipe from Libbie Summer’s Sweet and Vicious while listening to episodes of Cheers and maybe sipping on a cold brew to off put the heat from the stove.   Obviously the bread turned out great and I brought some into work where folks enjoyed it with a grainy mustard and at home I made a fancy grilled cheese with it.

Below is the recipe with all of my notes but if you have questions feel free to comment or tweet at me @thehomemadegood.  Also, Libbie’s book has a ton of other great recipes in it and would totally suggest ordering it if you like this one!

 

single loaf

Pretzel Bread Recipe

adapted from Libbie Summer’s Sweet and Vicious

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons warm water 115 F

1/2 cup warm milk (I used half and half)

3 tablespoons butter, melted and room temperature

2 1/2 teaspoon

3 tablespoons packed dark brown butter

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups bread flour (I used all purpose)

1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used 1/2)

1/2 cup baking soda (used for boiling the dough)

1 to 2 tablespoons of pretzel salt or rock salt

a large spider or slotted spoon

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, put the water, milk, butter, yeast, and brown sugar.  For ease of mixing, take a second and break up the packed brown sugar.  Mix until combined, then let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, or until it begins to foam.  Mix in the salt.

 

With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of flour and mix for 1 minute.  Continue to add the remaining flour as needed until the dough forms a firm ball that is tacky, not sticky.  You want it to feel like the back of a post-it note.  Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl-you can keep it in the mixer bowl if you want.  Pour the oil over the dough and begin to flip the dough around a few times to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

dough risen

Using the stand mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes at medium-low speed, until the dough has a satiny shine and is elastic.  While you can do other things during this time you want to make sure that you stay in the kitchen because my mixer slowly moved from one end of the counter to the other.  Cover the dough and let rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.  You can place it on the center of your stove top while preheating the oven to 400 F to possibly speed up the process.   You can also complete the steps below as your waiting for the dough to rise.

 

If you haven’t already, preheat the oven to 400 F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  In a stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.  Slowly add the baking soda without stirring.

 

Working with one dough ball at a time, use a large spider or slotted spoon to slowly lower the dough ball into the boiling water.  Boil for 30 seconds, turning once to make sure the complete surface of the dough has been covered with water.  Remove with the slotted spoon to drain and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the second ball of dough.

 

Make a cross in the top of each loaf using a sharp knife.  The dough looks pretty ugly at this point, but it will pop up and look gorgeous and tasty after baking.

 

Sprinkle the loaves with salt… lots of salt!

 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the loaves are a dark golden brown, turning the sheet around once in the middle of the bake time.  Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and let cool slightly before serving.

 

Dutch Oven Bread

 

I feel like a broken record but I don’t think this Winter is ever going to end and it seems that I’m coping by baking bread and ingesting as many carbohydrates and dark chocolate as possible.

 

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I have been using the New York Times No Knead Bread recipe (pictured above) and yesterday I tried Alaska From Scratch‘s Dutch Oven Crusty Bread recipe.  I like both of them and think that after a few more tries I’ll find my groove with my oven, the amount of time to let the dough rise and the yeast, water, flour combination.    Do you have a trusty bread recipe?  If so, please share!

 

image via Gemma Correll

St. Patrick’s Day recipes

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Hope everyone has fun weekend plans to celebrate St. Patrick’s day.  Here are a few recipes for a few St. Patty’s day treats from around the web.

 

8 Alternatives to Green Beer! Dye the river, not the beer.

 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes oh and whiskey spiked buttercream. Sounds like you need to make these on Saturday night!

 

Irish Soda Bread Scones or Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Soaked Rasins enjoy with butter, lots of butter.

 

Vegan Chocolate Stout Brownies because even thought you don’t/can’t eat dairy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get spiked brownies!

poppy seed mini bundt cake

After a yoga lesson last week my student gave me a slice of lemon poppy seed bread and there wasn’t a crumb left on the plate. So, my student let me copy the recipe out of an old family cookbook and a few days of me raving about how good it was, my mother decided to make a batch. However we didn’t have two bread pans in the house so, she used mini bundt pans instead. They turned out great and we had to give away some before we ate them all! I would suggest making these when you are having houseguests or when you’re having friends over for brunch.

Poppy Seed Bread, makes 2 loaves or a dozen mini bundt cakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and move the racks to the center of the oven.

 

3 cups unbleached flour
2 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups milk
3 T poppy seed
1 ½ tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 1/8 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
½ tsp almond oil

 

Mix all ingredients and beat for 2 minutes. Pour into 2 bread pans or 2 mini bundt pans, greased and floured. Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

 

glaze
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon butter melted
¼ cup orange juice
½ teaspoon almond extract
Mix. Pour over bread while warm.

pumpkin bread

I receive an email from America’s Test Kitchen about once a week with great recipes and tips.  Usually I just read through them and think about how nice it would be to make something and never make any of the a recipes.  Until Sunday night, when the stars aligned and I was making my shopping list, trying to think of a healthy “get well soon” treat and saw this recipe for pumpkin bread! Overall the recipe was very easy to make but is not something I would make unless you have a solid 3 hour window to be in the kitchen.

Pumpkin Bread adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

 

Makes 2 loaves with loaf pans that measure 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches or 4 mini loaf pans.

 

Ingredients

 

Topping
5tablespoons packed (2 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
1tablespoon all-purpose flour
1tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8teaspoon salt
Bread
2cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1(15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
1teaspoon salt
1 1/2teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8teaspoon ground cloves
1cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2cup vegetable oil
4ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces
4 large eggs
1/4cup buttermilk
For the Topping: Using fingers, mix all ingredients together in bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside.
For the Bread: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl.

Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1½ cups, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove pot from heat; stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous.

 

Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1½ cups, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove pot from heat; stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK).


Scrape batter into prepared pans.

Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes (see first picture). Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 1½ hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

sourdough croutons

On Saturday morning at Whole Foods they were giving away samples of their cheddar sourdough bread and after a lap around the dairy section, I decided that the bread would make great croutons for a summer salad. If you haven’t made your own croutons, you really should give it a try because in total it will take you about 30 minutes (that includes baking) to make this delicious treat.

Step One: Cut up day old bread into bite sized pieces.

Step Two: Melt a stick of butter (yes, a whole stick) over the pieces and toss. Make sure each piece got some butter love.

Step Three: Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and create an even layer of bread bits. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the bread pieces. You can add more seasonings, like garlic but because this bread already had “seasoning” from the cheddar I didn’t add any.

Step Four: Move an oven rack to the highest level and turn the oven on broil. Now do not walk away from the oven, you will need to hang out and monitor the croutons because once they start to brown, you need to take them out and flip them (with a spatula or by hand) place them back in the oven and when they have browned on the second side, they are finished!

 

Step Five: Let them cool off on the baking sheet, and then toss them with a salad to take to a cookout or put them in a container and use over the next few days.

Quick Bread Recipes


This morning I woke up with a craving for banana bread or maybe I didn’t eat them fast enough and now I need to make bread with them. Who knows? So I went to a few different blogs and then I found this great post “My Top 10 Quick Bread Recipes,” from Joy the Baker.


She has shared so many interesting recipes, like Honey Cranberry Cornmeal Quick Bread, that I may need to just throw the bananas in the freezer. Hope you have a nice weekend!

chocolate banana bread


Last night I came home and we had a few overly ripe bananas, so what else do you do but make banana bread?  Well, I was sort of sick of the traditional style of this morning treat so, I flipped through the pages of my Dorie Greenspan cookbook Baking: From my Home to Yours and found this recipe for a decadent chocolate banana bread.

 

Here is what Dorie had to say about this tasty treat, “At first bite the loaf is chocolate-chocolate, and then the banana flavor kicks in- it’s altogether winning and, while it may feel decadent to have it at breakfast, it would be just as winning, it a little less racy, as a P.M. treat.”

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup of sugar

½ cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

¾ cup buttermilk (I used half and half)

3 ounces (I used one bar) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or ½ cup of chocolate chips

Directions

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other.  (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking.)

 

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium size mixing bowl.

 

Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute, until softened.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition.  At this point, that batter may look a little curdled- it’s okay. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in the additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter.  Still on low speed, add the buttermilk, missing until it is incorporated.  Stir in the chopped chocolate.  Scrape the batter in to the pan.

 

Bake for 30 minutes.  Cover the bread loosely with a foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40 to 45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 and 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at lest 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.  Once cooled wrap it up in plastic and it is good for two days or wrap it up and store in an air tight container in the freezer for up to two months.

 

click chocolate banana bread to download a pdf of the recipe.