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Chocolate Banana Bread

17 Apr

INGREDIENTS
3 large ripe bananas (easily mashable)
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed, light or dark)
1 teaspoon salt (1/2 a teaspoon if using salted butter)
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) with a rack in the middle. Butter or spray with cooking spray the inside of a 5×9-inch loaf pan.
  2. With a fork, mash the bananas until smooth (you can also use a blender or food processor to purée bananas). You should have 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of banana purée. Whisk to break up any clumps of brown sugar. Stir in the beaten egg and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and allspice.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Place in a 350°F (175°C) oven and bake for 1 hour. (Note that because of the chocolate chips that melt in the bread as it cooks, it’s hard to check for doneness using a tester that you insert. One way to test is to gently push the center top of the chocolate banana bread down with your finger. If it feels relatively firm and bounces back when you release your finger, that’s a good sign that it’s done.)

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

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Maple and Pecan Oatmeal Scones

15 Mar

IMG_20150314_212827

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups (4 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) lower-protein unbleached all-purpose flour (like Gold Medal or Pillsbury)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

GLAZE
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the oats and pecans evenly on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until they are fragrant and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes; cool on a wire rack. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. When the oats and pecans are cooled, measure out 2 tablespoons (for dusting the work surface) and set aside.
  2. Whisk the milk, cream, maple syrup and egg in a large measuring cup until incorporated; remove 1 tablespoon to a small bowl and reserve for glazing.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until combined, about four 1-second pulses. Scatter the cold butter evenly over the dry ingredients and process until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, twelve to fourteen 1-second pulses.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl; stir in the cooled oats and pecans. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the liquid ingredients until large clumps form. Using your hands, gently knead the mixture in the bowl until the dough forms a cohesive mass.
  5. Dust the work surface with half of the reserved oats, turn the dough out onto the work surface, and dust the top with the remaining oats. Gently pat the dough into a 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick.
  6. Using a bench scraper or chef’s knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges and set on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Brush the surfaces with the reserved milk-and-egg mixture.
  7. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes; cool scones on the baking sheet on a wire rack 5 minutes, then remove scones to a wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  8. When the scones are cool, whisk 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl until combined; drizzle the glaze over the scones.

Recipe from Baking Illustrated

No-Knead Bread

1 Mar

INGREDIENTS
3 cups bread flour (all-purpose flour will also work)
3/4 teaspoon regular yeast (not instant)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water

DIRECTIONS

Mix all the ingredients in the morning before you go to work. This should take about 3 minutes and leave you with a thick, slightly goopy or “shaggy” dough. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray, or, if you do not have cooking spray, lightly oil the top of the dough with olive oil. Spread a thin layer over top with a paper towel, then turn the dough in the bowl so the whole ball of dough is coated with the oil. Cover with a towel or some plastic wrap and leave it in the warmest spot in your kitchen. It should get a 6 to 8-hour rise.

When you come home from work lightly mist a counter or baking sheet with spray oil and turn dough out on it. Shape it roughly into a ball, mist with oil again, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let proof for about an hour, or however long you have.

Heat the oven to 450°F. Put a Dutch oven in the oven to heat. When the dough has doubled in size, put it in the pan. You may have to pour it, pry it off the baking sheet, or just roll it in – the dough is very wet. Don’t worry if it looks a mess. Cover the pot with a lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15 minutes to let it brown.

You can be really sure that the bread is done when an inserted into the side of the loaf reads 210-220°F.

Recipe from The Kitchn; step-by-step guide (with pictures) here

Gougères (aka Cheese Puffs)

11 Jan

IMG_20150110_195113

INGREDIENTS
1 stick butter (8 Tbsp)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) grated cheese, like gruyère or cheddar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or rosemary)
Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, add the water, butter, and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour all at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir rapidly until the mixture will form a dough ball that will pull away from the sides of the pan. Continue to cook for a couple minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes (continue stirring to help cool). You want the dough to be warm, just not so hot that when you start adding eggs they cook as they hit the dough. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition until the eggs are incorporated into the dough. The dough should become rather creamy.
  5. Stir in the grated cheese, thyme, and a few grinds of pepper.
  6. Spoon out small balls (about a heaping tablespoon) of the dough onto prepared baking sheet, with at least an inch separating each ball. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes at 425°F. Lower heat to 350°F and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until puffed up and lightly golden.

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

Variations & Notes:

  • Prepare all ingredients (grate cheese, etc.) ahead of time to avoid water evaporating from while boiling.
  • Instead of thyme or rosemary, use 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard powder
  • Add in cooked bacon (chopped) and chives.
  • Try using some Parmesan cheese in place of cheddar.

Jalapeño-Cheddar Corn Bread

16 Oct

INGREDIENTS

1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped seeded jalapeño peppers
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk*
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat an oven to 400°F. Grease a 10-inch cast-iron fry pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, sugar, jalapeños and cheese. Make a well in the center.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk and melted butter until just blended. Pour the egg mixture into the well in the cornmeal mixture and fold gently until the batter is blended and no lumps remain.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the corn bread comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Cut the corn bread into wedges and serve. Serves 8 to 10.

*Note: To make buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to a measuring cup, and add milk (filling to 1 cup mark). Let milk sit for about 5 minutes.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma website