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Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Yogurt Zucchini Walnut Bread

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Today I snuck out of work early and joined Dana, mom, gram, aunt Bonnie, and Hope at the Natural History Museum. During the next hour and a half that was spent wandering through mammals, sea creatures, DumDum/GumGum/Gumby, and dinos I was hit with an overwhelming sense of under-the-weather-ness. Uh oh. So I skipped out on dinner (sorry fam!) and trudged home. I retired to my bed but still felt restless. Then, it hit me! All I probably needed to do was make the zucchini bread I had planned on making last night but never got around to doing. Silly me. I set to work, popped two mini loaves in the oven, and rested for another 45 minutes while they baked. My cure? Three (thin!!) slices of zucchini bread, one cup of tea, and one NYMag crossword.

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Yogurt-Zucchini Bread with Walnuts (from September 2009 Food & Wine)

1 cup walnut halves
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini (or finely chopped, if you’re like me and have no grater)

Preheat oven to 325F. Place the walnut halves in a pie pan and toast for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven, chop coarsley and freeze for 5 minutes until cool. Whisk together sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, and yogurt. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the sugar mixture then stir in grated zucchini and walnuts until evenly moistened. (*I also added cinnamon and nutmeg to jack up the flavor a bit…about 1/4 teaspoon of each!*) Pour batter into buttered-and-floured baking pans and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes (if one large pan) or 45 minutes (if two smaller). Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

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There are certain foods that just taste better at home: monkey bread, chocolate chip cookies, and, of course, Gram’s pancakes.

A few weeks ago my mom threw a little graduation brunch for yours truly. I made banana crunch muffins and sour cream coffee cake. Mom made baked eggs florentine, baked french toast, and monkey bread (duh!) Everything was delicious and quickly eaten up.

banana crunchies

banana crunchies

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Ina Garten’s Banana Crunch Muffins

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

¾ cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)

1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)

1 cup small-diced walnuts

1 cup granola

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into bowl and whisk. Add melted butter and blend. Combing the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas and add them to the flour mixture. Do not overmix. Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tin and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

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monkey bread

monkey bread

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I was just in New Jersey staying with my little brother for a few days and there was a strange lack of cookies in the house. (For those of you who know my stepmother, you also know that there are usually sixteen different types of cookies to choose from at any given time.) Obviously this was an issue, but Veraldi’s have pretty good problem solving skills so we were whipping up our own batch in no time. I used Baking Illustrated’s recipe for thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies and we threw in some peanut butter chips too. Please note the new jagged edge cookie technique outlined below. Loves it. Cookies were dunked into glasses of milk soon after being removed from the oven and our cookie cravings were satisfied.

please note the jagged edge technique

please note the jagged edge technique

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and blend until combined. Slowly add flour mixture and blend until just combined. Stir in the chips.

Roll a scant ¼ cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with the jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 ½ inches apart.

Bake until edges have begun to harden but center is still soft and puffy, about 15-18 minutes.

ready for dunking

ready for dunking

The next morning Robbie and I drove over to my Gram’s house for pancakes. Cooked to order (I like mine batter-y in the middle, don’t ask.) and with optional blueberries, they were better than any pancakes elsewhere. Leftovers were, of course, thrown to the squirrels.

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lucky squirrels!

lucky squirrels!

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Oats

If my life were Top Chef and I was involved in last week’s Quickfire challenge involving Oats I totally would have won immunity. Stefan’s Banana Oatmeal Mousse with Almond Crisp and Oat-Almond Petit Four has nothing on my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Or my granola, for that matter. What started out as a cookie experimentation in my cupcake-dominated life has quickly turned into one of my trademark sweets. There is always a multitude of Quaker Oats in cuddlegan due to my and Nina’s obsession with their grainy goodness so I’m whipping up batches of cookies on a pretty regular basis. In fact, I’m chomping on one right now.

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1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together the butter and sugars then blend in the eggs, milk and vanilla. You’re supposed to mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then slowly add it to the wet mixture but I don’t do this…I just throw everything but the oats and chips in the same bowl and blend away. I usually have to incorporate the oats and the chips into the mixture by hand because it gets so thick. I then use an icecream scoop to form the dough into balls and then space them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Wait a bit for the cookies to cool before removing them from the pan…or eat the cookies right from the pan being careful not to burn your tongue.

Now I have a few secrets to making my cookies top-notch that I probably shouldn’t share. But! I’ll give you one: I use 1 cup of “Old Fashion” oats and 1 1/2 cups of “Instant.” I like the juxtaposition of the bigger heartier oats with the smaller…use all big and your cookie doesn’t seem unified, use all small and the oats are almost lost! And another half-secret is that I like to do the same with chocolate chips.

And, since this post is oat-themed. I’ll take you through my granola as well. My mom and I made granola for the first time this summer and it was so good and so simple that I make it all the time. It’s yummy by itself or paired with yogurt or milk (or ice cream!)…put it in a container, tie it with a bow and you have yourself a nice little home-made thank you gift for old bosses!

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2 cups oats
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine the oats, almonds and coconut in a large bowl. Heat oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and toss with the dry ingredients. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheets and bake for 30 minutes at 325F, stirring every ten minutes.

That’s the basic recipe. You can also add 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds to the oats and/or dried cranberries or other dried fruit after the baking.

-Amanda

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Bananananana

BananaBreadAfter 11am wake-ups and a lazy morning, Amanda headed to ballet class while Christina ran some errands. The browning bananas on our counter were begging to be squished and mushed and made into a warm loaf of banana bread. We argued for a minute about the possible inclusion of chocolate chips (A voted nay, C voted yay) and ended agreeing to one-and-a-half the recipe and make two smaller loaves (plus three muffins with the extra batter.) After a run in Riverside Park we returned home to warm banana bread that made us forget all about our cold hands and runny noses.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a loaf pan. Cream together butter and sugar then add the eggs. Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined. Add the banana, sour cream and vanilla then stir in some chocolate chips. Bake for about an hour and ten minutes and allow it to cool before feasting on it.

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