I headed out to run a few errands this morning and couldn’t believe how chilly it was. Just yesterday I was out in a sweater. I found myself longing to be home baking these scones I’ve been dreaming about and sipping a cup of my favorite loose tea. I love dried apricots and have enjoyed them in a moist cake I bake called Swedish cream cake, in my chicken salad, and just popping them in my mouth. I could just picture The apricots peeking out of the buttery dough. Beautiful for serving in the spring at tea time. I’ve baked many scones over the years and never tire of the experience. Looking forward to sharing these.
What could be more comforting then ripe bananas baked into to bread. So sweet and so fragrant. This is one of my favorite fall treats.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Add banana to the creamed butter and sugar. Then add eggs, vanilla, and spices. Add flour to creamed mixture.
Fold in walnuts.
Pour batter into buttered loaf pan. Bake.
Cool on a wire rack.
Serve on your favorite plate and enjoy!
Banana Nut Bread
9 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed, you may use pure cane sugar if you wish
Cream the butter and the sugar.
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
Add to the creamed mixture.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg to the creamed mixture. Mix until blended.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
Sift ingredients together and add to the creamed mixture. Mix on low till blended.
¼ cup whole milk
Add milk and mix on low to blend
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
Add walnuts to the mixture by gently folding into the batter.
Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. A tooth pick inserted should come out clean and the crust will be golden. Cool 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Then cool until it’s warm on wire rack. Serve warm plain or spread with softened butter.
Bakers note: My ingredients were all at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros.
I was at the book store one day last week and to my delight my eyes came upon a new magazine: SIFT, a King Arthur Publication. As I thumbed my way through I saw beautiful pictures of bread, muffins, cakes, biscuits, pizza, sandwiches, gluten free baked goods, and a section on a Mediterranean feast. The photos all looked so appealing, but one picture really had my attention: hot cross buns. I was hoping to make hot cross buns for the upcoming Easter season this year to share with my Mother-In-Law Helen. She just loves hot cross buns and buys them every year. I read over the ingredients and method for preparing the dough and the baking. I happily purchased my new magazine and couldn’t wait to bake the buns. Later that week we had a snow storm and I knew it was the perfect day for baking. The recipe called for either apple juice or rum, and I had rum on hand so I used that. It also called for mixed dried fruit, and I used a mixture of golden raisins and California raisins. I chose to mix the dough by hand instead of the mixer. When baking bread at home in such a small batch I love to get my hands in it. The dough was easy to mix and the process was relaxing. I did some reading during the rise times. It was so hard waiting for those buns to cool, but I wanted to enjoy the little taste of icing piped on the top to get the whole experience of the tasting. It was worth the wait! The bun was soft and tender. The fruit was tasty with the infusion of the rum, and who doesn’t love the taste of icing? I love the buns and the magazine. I will be patiently awaiting the next issue, but ‘till then there’s lots more great recipes in this issue to try.
These muffins smell so good baking in my oven this afternoon. I have always made these muffins just around Thanksgiving. The beautiful fresh red cranberries just beg to be added to muffins, breads, and fresh cranberry sauce of course. Who could resist them! I lived in Washington State many years ago and I would bring these muffins to my Sunday school class. Everyone really seemed to enjoy them. When you bite into this muffin it’s moist. The orange zest and cranberries give a burst of fresh tangy flavor and the nuts give a delightful crunch. Once you try these tasty muffins you will want them every year. When see those beautiful red cranberries, you won’t be able to resist!
Cranberry Orange Muffins
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ Teaspoon baking powder
½ Teaspoon baking soda
½ Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ Teaspoon ground ginger
2 Tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
½ Cup shortening
¾ Cup Fresh orange juice
2 large eggs beaten
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ Cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 ½ Cups pecans, chopped
Bake 375 degrees in a pre-heated oven
Bake 15-18 minutes
In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients and the orange zest
Cut in the shortening
Stir in the orange juice, eggs, and vanilla
Stir just till combined, add cranberries and nuts. Gently stir just to bring ingredients together. Don’t over mix. Line muffin pans and fill 2/3 full with the batter. Makes 1 ½ dozen.
I rarely bake cookies any more. There’s never anyone at home that wants to eat them. We all seem to be watching our waist. So when an opportunity presents itself I’m right there ready to bake. I love chocolate chip cookies warm out of the oven with an icy cold glass of milk. They need to be soft in the center with a little crispiness around the edges, have semisweet chocolate chips, and be full of walnuts. I usually do half plain, half with walnuts. Not everyone shares my love of nuts. I slightly under bake my cookies; I find that they keep better. I don’t want to bite into a hard cookie the next day. These cookies stay just moist enough, making me feel confident that I can bake them the day before an event. I baked these cookies for a family gathering this past week. When I was leaving the tray was completely empty, which put a smile on my face.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup organic pure cane sugar, or granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2-3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (if you love the cookies very chocolaty add 3, I use 2)
2/3 chopped walnuts, optional, or divide batter and make half plain and half with nuts just use ½ cup walnuts in that case.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together the butter, brown sugar, pure cane sugar on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Mixture will be light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix an additional 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture just till it comes together. Add the chocolate chips, and walnuts if using. Mix on low for about 25 seconds, just to mix together. At this point I refrigerate the dough for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using a teaspoon or small cookie scoop place cookies 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotate cookie sheet at the 7 minute mark. I like mine light and just golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
Yields 4 dozen cookies
Store in an air tight container
Bakers note: I love to infuse my sugar with a vanilla bean for these cookies. Keep a container on hand for cookies and other bake goods.
I consider room temperature butter to be at least 65 degrees. I give the eggs 30 minutes to come to room temperature.