Chocolate Banana Bread

Everyone’s had the typical banana bread, right?  Well, take that and kick it up about 10 notches.  Oh and of course, add some chocolate to that.  It pretty much takes the typical and moves it into the extraordinary!

If you happen to have some browning bananas, I would highly suggest transforming them into this spectacular creation of a banana bread.  I would even go as far as to hide bananas from my kids, in the hopes that they get brown fast enough to make this again.

Cream the butter and sugar.

Use two brown bananas and mash them in a bowl.

Add the mashed bananas and sour cream.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients, then add it to the wet.

Add the mini chocolate chips and walnuts, for extra sweetness and crunch.

Pour the batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Look at this warm chocolate beauty!  I like how those mini chocolate chips are peeking out, enticing you to come and pluck them out one by one.

I guarantee that after this banana bread comes out of the oven, the 10 minutes you need to wait for this to cool will be the longest 10 minutes of your life!!  Even though banana bread is thought of as more of a breakfast food, my family ended up eating it for dessert.  Yup, it’s that good!

Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe

From Savory Sweet Life

 

1 stick of salted butter, softened to room temp.

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 large ripened bananas mashed ( or 2.5 small bananas)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbl. cocoa powder

1/2 cup of sour cream

1 cup of mini chocolate chips (regular chocolate chips work too)

optional 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

 

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan, or 2 mini pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla until well blended.

Add baking soda, cocoa, and flour.

Mix everything until well incorporated (about 3 minutes in a stand mixer).

Add chocolate chips and nuts (if applicable).

Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hr.

Insert a tooth pick into the center of the loaf and check to see if it comes out clean when you pull it out.

Remove from heat and allow bread to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.

Invert the loaf pans onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or cold.

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Sweet and Savory Bread Knots

These are the fresh garlic basil bread knots that I made today to accompany my chicken corn chowder.  This is such an easy recipe and it was fun tying up these little knots of dough.  My kids actually ate the garlic and basil too, I was shocked.  My daughter usually scoffs at anything green on her plate.  These little things are an easy two-biter and they’re gone.

The kids had some friends over after school when these came out of the oven.  So I tossed these in some cinnamon sugar for a sweet after school snack.  Of course they were a hit with the kids!

Start by blooming your yeast in some warm water and sugar.

                     Yeast in full bloom after 10 minutes.

In my stand mixer, I have the flour mixture with the yeast poured in.

Here’s the poor dough getting beat up by the dough hook.    I had to stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides.  The stand mixer is such an easy way to make bread.  I hardly had to touch the dough at all.  The hook does all the kneading for me!

Here’s the ball of dough all oiled up and ready to proof.

The dough doubled in size in about 2 hours.

Split the dough into 4 quarters and cut into thin slices.

Tie those babies up and let them rise a second time for 2 more hours.

This is the olive oil, garlic, basil and scallion coating for the savory knots.  Paint this mixture on right when the knots come out of the oven.

Sweet and Savory Bread Knots

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Prep time: 3 hours

Cook time: 14 minutes

Yield: Makes 24 knots

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, more for coating
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Garlic-Butter Coating:

  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1/4 cup basil, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar and yeast in the warm water and let it sit for 5  minutes. Stir to combine and let sit for another 5-10 minutes, until it begins to froth a bit.

2 In the mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil, then the yeast-water mixture. Using the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer, mix this together to form a soft dough for 5-10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and lightly coat with olive oil. Put it back in the mixer bowl, top the bowl with plastic wrap and set it at room temperature to rise.

3 When the dough has doubled in size, anywhere from 90 minutes to several hours, cut it in 4 quarters. Set out a large baking sheet and line it with a silpat or parchment paper. Working with one piece at a time, flatten into a rough rectangle about 5 inches long 1/2 inch thick.

4 Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips of about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long. Take one piece and work it into a snake, then tie it in a knot. The dough will be sticky along the cut edges, so dust these with flour before you tie the knot. Set each knot down on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Remember that the dough will rise, so leave some space between each knot.

5 Once all the knots are tied, paint them with a little olive oil. Loosely cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise again until doubled in size, anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours or so. Toward the end of this rising period, preheat the oven to 400°.

6 Uncover the knots and bake in the oven 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.

7 Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small pot and cook the garlic gently in it just long enough to take off that raw garlic edge, about 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the basil and green onion and stir to combine. Turn off the heat.

8 When the knots are done, take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Paint with the olive oil and basil mixture and serve. For sweet knots, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Paint with some melted butter and toss in the sugar mixture.  These are best warm, but are good at room temperature, too.

Berry Oat Bread

This might be the world’s easiest sweet bread to make.  I only used 5 kitchen tools…….a large bowl, a glass measuring cup, measuring spoons, a spatula, and a loaf pan.  Now, that’s my kind of clean-up!  Am I right?!

Also, the main reason I made this bread is because I had all these ingredients in my pantry and fridge.

Well………technically, I didn’t have buttermilk on hand.  That is easily remedied by my homemade version, using regular milk and vinegar.  Just substitute one cup of buttermilk with one tablespoon of vinegar plus enough milk to make one cup.

I had reservations about the oats drying out the bread, but to my surprise it was totally moist.  The berries also help with the moisture content.  They also add sweetness and tang.  Love that combination!

Berry Oat Bread

Adapted from youmadethat.com

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup quick cooking oat

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 cup of buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tbsp. lemon zest

2 eggs

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup diced strawberries

Combine all dry ingredients and lemon zest in large mixing bowl and mix together with a spatula.

In a small bowl whisk eggs, buttermilk and oil together.

Pour egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix.

Fold in berries and pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours, checking for doneness about 10  min. before timer goes off with a cake tester.  If you are using fresh berries and not frozen then only cook for about 65 min.

Berry Buttermilk Muffins

These berry muffins came out beautifully and I couldn’t ask for a better way to use up the left over berries from my fruit tart.  They were very tender and moist.  The crunch from the turbinado sugar also adds a wonderful texture contrast to this  billowy soft muffin.

The next time you find yourself with extra berries around the house, try this recipe.  You’ll love them for breakfast in the morning!

 

 

Buttermilk Berry Muffins

adapted from the Joyofcooking.com

 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest of one orange

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup safflower or canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups fresh raspberries and blackberries

1/4 cup turbinado raw cane sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Position rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray 12 – 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups or use paper liner. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Gently fold in the berries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.

Fill each muffin cup almost full of batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop.  Generously sprinkle raw sugar over the top of each muffin.

Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes 12-15 regular sized muffins or 6 jumbo muffins.

Note: If using frozen berries you may have to bake the muffins a little longer than the stated time. Also, if making jumbo sized muffins, again, you may have to bake the muffins a little longer.

Banana Pistachio Bread

 

This recipe came to me purely due to my non-wasteful nature (drilled into me by my parents saying, “Do you know there are starving children in China?!”). I don’t know if I saved any children in China, but my overly ripe bananas were saved, in a great way!

I’ve never used pistachios in banana bread before, but I was out of walnuts, so there you are. It was a nice surprise to see the way the pistachios gave the normally drab-looking brown bread some color. Those pops of greenish yellow made the bread look kind of exotic, I think. They also gave the bread a richer taste and texture. It was an overall success and none of the banana bread went to waste either.

 

Banana Pistachio Bread

5 tbsp butter, room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups mashed, about 3 very ripe bananas

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

½ cup heavy cream

1/3 cup chopped pistachios

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray bottom only of 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Beat butter in large bowl with an electric mixer set at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add egg, egg whites and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add mashed banana and beat on high speed for 30 seconds.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cream, ending with flour mixture. Add pistachios to batter; mix well.

Pour batter evenly into prepared loaf pan. Bake until browned and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Cool bread in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

 

Zucchini Bread

I had zucchini bread for the first time when I was a teacher and a co-worker brought it into the teacher’s lounge. As much as teachers teach kids about health, the food pyramid and good eating habits, let’s just say we didn’t always practice what we preached.  Teachers are probably some of the most unhealthy eaters I know.  Leftover holiday sweets, cake, and cookies would end up in the lounge and disappear at every recess.  The big vending machine of junk food and soda didn’t help either.

So, there it was, this bread of zucchini sitting in the middle of the table with its owner proudly standing by waiting for someone to eat it and gush about it. I thought to myself,  “This must be a joke; that she would bake something like zucchini into bread, I mean are you serious?” I understand about carrot in cake form because at least carrots are sweet, but have you ever had a raw zucchini?  It’s green and bitter. My first instinct wasn’t exactly, “Hey let’s make this into a sweet bread!”

There she was, she saw me and I had nowhere to hide.  I had to give it a try.  I figure, I could take a bite, smile and walk out out of the lounge and spit it out if I had to. I reached out slowly and took the smallest piece.  Once I  started to chew, I realized there as no trace of zucchini flavor at all.  All I could taste was a very moist, nutty, spice cake.  I ended up asking her for the recipe and my confidence in my co-worker was restored. So the moral of the story is…..don’t judge a bread by its zucchini!

 

Every good zucchini bread should start with good zucchini.  These happen to come from my dear friend, Valeria’s organic garden.

 

 

Here’s the batter nearly all done.

 

Add the walnuts for texture and nuttiness.

 

I love the green specks of zucchini peeking out to remind you that this is a healthy, but tasty bread.

 

Zucchini Bread Recipe

from Simplyrecipes.com

2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour, a third at a time. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.

Divide the batter equally between 2 buttered 5 by 9 inch loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Makes 2 loaves.

 

Blueberry Scone with Lemon Glaze

When you think of scones, do you think of hockey puck-like pastries that stuffy English people eat with afternoon tea? So did I.  I remember having them at a bridal shower tea and I had to slather so much of that clotted cream and curd on it just to make it go down my throat.

Well, these are not your English grandmother’s scones (if you have an English grandmother that is).  They are solid on the outside, put totally flaky and light on the inside.

My kids liked these so much they asked for them as dessert after dinner.  I figure, why not?!  We’re not English and we don’t drink tea in the afternoon either.

I’m not sure what the etiquette is on eating a scone for dessert, but until I hear otherwise, we’ll keep doing it!!

 

 

Get the dry ingredients and the really cold butter mixed in together.

 

 

Here’s the butter incorporated evenly.

The original recipe calls for fresh blueberries, but I would recommend using frozen ones.  They make the mixing and rolling process so much easier.

 

 

The blue color also won’t spread all through the dough (as much) and discolor it and your hands and kitchen counter and clothes.  Can you tell I had some issues?!

Cut them into good size triangles.

 

 

Place them on a baking sheet.  I did not grease mine because this has enough butter in it……..believe me!

 

 

Take them out and let them cool completely.

Meanwhile, make your glaze.

 

 

Zest two lemons.  I used a regular lemon (left) and a meyer lemon (right).  It’s what I had on hand.  You can just use two regular ones.

 

 

The ingredient that really makes this scone transcend your usual scone is the lemon in the glaze.  It’s like the feeling you get when pop rocks go off in your mouth.  You don’t expect to get these hits of sweet and sour tang……..it’s delectable!

 

 

Lay the scones on a rack in your baking sheet and glaze away.  Let the glaze dry completely and you are on your way to making best friends out of your neighbors……..if you choose to share!

 

 

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

from Tyler Florence

 

Scones:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks

1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones

1 cup frozen blueberries

 

Lemon Glaze:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 lemon, zest finely grated

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

 

Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

Technically you should make this simple lemon glaze in a double boiler (i.e. over a pot of simmering water with a heatproof bowl set on top) but it’s even simpler to zap it in the microwave. Mix the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Nuke it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

To be honest, I’d never had bread pudding before this one.  Just the name of the dessert itself did not sound very appetizing to me.  Mushy, wet bread for a dessert?  I’d rather spend my calories on something with chocolate, right?

Little did I know that it is rich and decadent in its own right.  Bread pudding also takes on the flavor of anything you put into it.  This recipe calls for apple pie filling, but you can use other fruit flavors if you want.  You can omit that part altogether if you want.

I just love the golden raisins too.  Although I’m not sure how those renegade dark ones got mixed in.  It’s all good though!  I think that the secret ingredient, which is not really secret because it’s the main ingredient, is…….the bread. The sweet Hawaiian bread is good enough to just eat alone.  Can you imagine that used in this way?  Just Heavenly!

This recipe really isn’t complete without a nice scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream on top too.  The contrast of cold and creamy with warm and gooey are just in perfect alignment.

 

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

1 round loaf King’s Hawaiian bread

½ cup butter (1 stick)

2 cup milk

1 cup sugar

5 eggs, beaten

1 can Comstock apple pie filling

1 cup raisins

cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease 9×13 inch pan.

Cut bread into small pieces and arrange in pan.  Spread apple pie filling over bread.  Sprinkle with raisins.  Heat milk, sugar and butter until melted, medium heat (do not boil), then let it cool.  Add beaten eggs to the milk mixture and pour over the bread.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through and firm.

Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream on top.


Amish Friendship Bread

 

This must be my favorite sweet bread loaf thingy.  The best thing about this bread is that it’s so sweet and fragrant, yet tender and flaky.  The worst thing is having to wait for someone to give you the starter, in order to make it and then having to wait 10 days to bake and eat it!!  It’s definitely a lesson in delayed gratification.

I know, I know some of you smarty-pants out there will tell me that there’s a recipe for the starter.  I’m just too lazy to start it.  I want someone else to do the work and just hand me a bag of the gooey starter dough.  Is that really too much to ask?

 

Amish Friendship Bread

–  Days 1 through 5 – squeeze bag and let air out. (batter does not require refrigeration).

–  Day 6 – add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk.

–  Days 7 through 9 – squeeze bag and let air out.

–  Day 10 – in non-metal bowl, combine starter batter and

  • 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 cup milk.
  • Pour 4 – 1 cup starter into 4 zip-lock bags to give away to friends
  • To remaining batter (in a bowl) add

–  1 cup oil
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1 tsp. vanilla
– 3 eggs

  • Mix well
  • Then add:

– 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 2 cups flour
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1 large box vanilla instant pudding
– Mix well.  Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake 60 min. at 350.