After having a baby (2 weeks and 3 days ago) I am anxious to have a semi-predictable life again and get back to some of the things I was doing before he was born, like baking, cooking and blogging. And sleeping, that’d be nice. However, I have been consistently reminded that life with kids, and especially life with a newborn, is anything but predictable. I tried and failed to make some coffee cake muffins earlier this week. I blame sleep depravity, the speed at which I tried to put everything together, not totally thinking through my plan, and holding a screaming baby while filling muffin cups with batter and streusel! Thankfully they only looked ugly but tasted delicious!
I was frustrated with myself. But I realize my expectations for getting back to blogging were set a little high. It’s just not going to happen like it used to, at least not for now. I am no longer guaranteed a time in the afternoon where all the sweet children are tucked away in their beds and I can cook, bake, take pictures and type away. So I’m going to be a little more realistic with blogging and be happy with whatever I can manage for the next couple of months! And remember to cherish this time with the babies, like so many people who have kids that are now grown, tell me to. After all, the days are long but the years are short.
This morning I found myself up at 7am with my two older kids while the little man slept in until almost 9:30! I took advantage of the time and baked up some super simple scones. This recipe sits right next to the coffee cake recipe I attempted yesterday and is in the ATK Family Cookbook. I figured it was a sign.
It took me less than 20 minutes to mix these up and get them in the oven. They’re done baking in 15 minutes and ready to eat in 10. The ingredient list couldn’t be simpler which yields a simple and satisfying scone with nothing extra to take away from the hearty oats and rich butter.
Eat these plain, warm or at room temperature. Spread with a little extra butter and jam. Have one for breakfast, one for mid-morning snack and one in the afternoon with some tea or coffee for a little pick-me-up. The scones aren’t too sweet, which is nice. They’re almost like a biscuit, just with more texture and a bit more dense.
I am so glad I stumbled across this recipe, and thankful for the cooperative children who made this blog post possible!
Toasted Oat Scones
From ATK Family Cookbook
1 1/2 cups oats, old fashioned or quick cooking
1/2 cup half and half (plus 1 tablespoon for brushing on the scones)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on the scones)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into chunks
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Spread oats out onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Toast the oats for about 8 minutes, just as they begin to brown. Let cool.
Increase oven to 450°F.
In a small bowl, whisk half and half, the egg and vanilla together and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and pulse a few times.
Add in the butter and pulse until butter is in pieces no larger than the size of a pea.
Pour flour mixture into a large bowl and fold in the milk mixture until it just comes together. Flour your hands and bring the dough together in the bowl.
Turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a round about 1 inch thick. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges.
Brush the tops with half and half, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Me and coconut oil became fast friends once we finally got around to meeting each other. I’ve only used it in baked goods so far, but have plans to deepen my relationship with coconut oil by using it in my morning smoothie and as a substitute for vegetable or canola oil in stir fry. And as you probably know by now, there are like a million other uses for this trendy cooking oil.
This zucchini bread was a hit, which was a total relief. When I poured (scooped) the batter into the pans I was worried about it. Coconut oil just has a different consistency and doesn’t create the same textured batter as vegetable oil does. It’s thicker and doesn’t fill the pans on its own, it needs some help into the corners. This being my first time using coconut oil in a quick bread, I wasn’t confident that it would come out well. If you have the same concern, no need to worry! The loaf does end up being on the short side, but the texture is nice and while it is dense it isn’t heavy. The zucchini isn’t overwhelmed by the coconut, which is rather mild. If you really like and want a more distinct coconut flavor, then add some flaked sweetened or unsweetened coconut to the batter. Some crushed pineapple might not be a bad idea either…
I have an undying love for pecans, so that is what I used, but you can use walnuts or leave the nuts out altogether. If you really want to go tropical, use macadamia nuts. Yum.
White whole wheat flour isn’t always a great substitute for all purpose, but it worked well here. White whole wheat flour does have more texture than all purpose, so when I tried it in a pound cake a while back it wasn’t great. I’d imagine it would work in banana bread, though. White whole wheat flour apparently has the same health benefits of whole wheat flour, but without the stuff that gives whole wheat flour its strong flavor and darker color. I don’t know the proper terms for all of that or the reason behind it all, but I do know that when I can sneak good stuff into my baked goods without it changing the texture or flavor too much, I am on board. It’s all about lessening the guilt, am I right? I have the same mentality with the coconut oil. How can a slice of bread made with coconut oil, white whole wheat flour, and zucchini be BAD for me? It can’t. What sugar? It all cancels out… So I’ll go ahead and eat another slice smothered in butter. Eat up and enjoy!
3 cups shredded zucchini, drained on paper towels for 10-15 minutes
1 cup toasted pecans, cooled to room temp
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease and sugar two loaf pans.
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.
Combine coconut oil and sugar and whisk well. Add in eggs, one at a time until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla.
Fold flour into the coconut oil mixture until just combined, then fold in zucchini and pecans.
Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Check bread at 45 by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, then your bread is done. If it’s gooey, bake for another 10, then check again. Mine baked for close to an hour.
Oh, how I love quick breads. They are delicious, easy and, most importantly, quick. This month’s challenge was quite versatile and so fun. I was able to make one loaf of savory bread to serve with dinner and then a sweet loaf a couple days later for breakfast. Getting started on this challenge more than a day before the posting date was immensely helpful and I hope I can do the same thing next month. But we shall see…I have a history of acknowledging how great it was to work on something and get it done early and yet still managing to go back to my old ways of procrastination.
The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
This jalapeño bread was a big hit. I made a meal of barbecued chicken, creamed corn and cole slaw (all recipes I’d never used before and all of which were flops) and then this bread. My husband told me the bread was the best part of the meal, and he was right. I used a sharp cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeños, crumbled bacon and a bottle of Shiner. We ate it with dinner warm from the oven and the next couple of mornings toasted with butter. I’m bummed it’s all gone, so I’ll probably have to make another loaf.
Jalapeño, Bacon and Cheese Beer Bread
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup grated cheese
12 ounces beer
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
Measure and then sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl.
Mix in the the chopped jalapeños, cheese and bacon.
Pour one can of beer into the mixing bowl and mix until blended.
Pour mixture into the loaf pan, then pour half of the melted butter over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes, then pour remaining butter on top of the loaf. Bake for another 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool an additional 10 minutes.
The blueberry almond bread recipe came from Joy the Baker. She used raspberries in her bread, and I might try that next time, or maybe a mix of berries. I used frozen blueberries that I’d thawed out and drained, and dried as much as I could on paper towels. I added a buttery almond streusel to the top of this bread that was so delicious, sweet and crunchy. It might have been my favorite part of the loaf.
Blueberry Almond Streusel Bread
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cups sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small chunks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
Mix together all ingredients except for almonds and butter.
Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter pieces are mostly the size of small pebbles with some larger pieces, then mix in the almonds. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup blueberries, fresh or thawed and drained if frozen
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and sugar a 9×5 loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour and sour cream. Fold in the crushed fruit and almond slivers.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, then top with streusel. Bake in the center of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the bread in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, turn right side up and cool completely.
If you bake at all, then you can bake this bread. Not only is it incredibly easy, but the ingredient list makes me oh so very happy. I almost always have every single item in my kitchen. Glorious! The only thing that I didn’t have was buttermilk and we all know how easy it is to make your own buttermilk, don’t we? If not, see this blog. I do love Smitten Kitchen. Her blog makes me hungry.
Back to the cinnamon bread.
I made this for a neighbor who I made some cinnamon Amish friendship bread for a while back. He kept asking me to make more of it, but I’d let my starter die and couldn’t do it. I found this to be a great substitute and I can make it without having to keep feeding the friendship starter and making more loaves than I could ever hope to eat.
The recipe is from allrecipes.com, here is the link to the original recipe. I changed the method for mixing the batter together to something I was more comfortable with. I doubt it makes much of a difference, if any. For the topping I used 2 tablespoons of melted butter and about 3 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar I already had mixed up. Maybe this mixture swirled on top of the batter made it rise up all weird in the center but not on the edges? I don’t know. It isn’t pretty, but it is good. Enjoy.
Courtesy of allrecipes.com
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and sugar one 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Beat the oil and sugar, then add in eggs and vanilla.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and salt then mix into wet ingredients, followed by the buttermilk. Beat 3 minutes. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Smooth top.
Combine 3 tablespoons white sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and butter. Drizzle topping over smoothed batter. Using knife, cut in a light swirling motion to give a marbled effect.
Bake for about 50 minutes. Test with toothpick. When inserted it should come out clean. Remove bread from pan to rack to cool.
I bought a bag of cranberries last week for no reason. I found a delicious recipe for cranberry bread on Martha Stewart.com. Here is the link.
Here are the changes I made; I used 2% instead of whole milk and I sprinkled the top with granulated sugar instead of the turbinado. This is a dense, slightly sweet bread that is bursting with tart cranberries. The top of the bread comes out of the oven crunchy and delicious. After a day wrapped in foil, however, the top became a little gooey. It remains delicious, especially when toasted.
This bread is easy to make and isn’t too sweet to serve for breakfast, unlike some quick breads. Almonds or pecans would be yummy in this bread. Enjoy! (more…)