Going Bananas

There’s something about bananas which pairs incredibly well with baked goods.  Maybe it’s the moisture it brings to the party or the subtle flavor hinted throughout.  Either way, we can’t wait to share our banana creations with you.

Banana bread

Banana bread

Banana Chocolate Walnut muffins

Banana Chocolate Walnut muffins

banana brownie

Banana Brownie with Brown Butter Frosting

Banara Chocolate Chip Bar

Banana Chocolate Chip Bar

Garden Inspiration

Tia’s a lucky lady.  Her husband has a terrific garden.  And he loves to do it?  She’s the envy of all the black thumbs out there like myself.  Each summer she has plenty of fresh vegetables.  Zucchini being one of the major producers.

Having so much zucchini, especially the giant ones, inspires one to use them in creative ways.  The natural choice is shredding the meaty vegetable for bread.  Tia produces loaves by the dozen in these last summer months.  The crunchy crust protects the fluffy bread inside.  Walnuts are sprinkled throughout for texture.  You can even mix in other ingredients to give a little flair.  (We’ll have an example later in the week.)

So if you’re buried under zucchini and trying to find something to do with them, quick bread is a wonderful choice.

zucchini

TTW: Applesauce Coffee Cake

Fall is just around the corner and will bring the harvest fruits with it.  Some people will have the opportunity to pick a bunch right off the tree and then end up with tons of apples they aren’t sure what do with.  Applesauce is the staple for these situations, but then you are back to the issue of an abundance of the fruit only in a different form.

Here is a quick bread to use some of that plenty.  The sweetness comes through the crumbly cake and matched well with it’s old buddy cinnamon.   It’s a pretty simple and straight forward recipe making it easy for anyone to do on a crisp fall morning.  Not to mention your house will smell fantastic!

Ingredients:

c. all-purpose flour

½

c. sugar

½

c. butter

¼

c. chopped nuts

½

tsp. ground cinnamon

tsp. baking powder

½

tsp. baking soda

2

beaten eggs

1

c. applesauce

1

tsp. vanilla

½

c. raisins (optional)

Directions

Oven at 375 degrees.

In a bowl combine 3/4 cup flour and the sugar; cut in butter. For topping remove 1/2 cup crumb mixture, stir in nuts and cinnamon. Set aside.

To remaining crumb mixture add remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, add eggs, applesauce and vanilla; beat until well blended. If desired, stir in raisins. Pour into a greased 9 × 9 × 2 inch baking pan.

Sprinkle topping on batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Serve warm.

Rating: Turn of the Season Delish

TTW: Strawberry Bread

For a few minutes, we saw a flash of spring.  There was warm sun beating down on our skin and even the whim of wearing shorts.  In this quick spurt there was enough time for strawberries to grow and the local strawberry stand to open.  To welcome this change of the season, Tia wanted to work the strawberry into a quick bread.

The outside of the bread has a golden crust with the dark pink from cooked strawberries peaking through.  Tia purchased super-ripe, freshly picked strawberries.  This may have not been what the recipe was expecting.  Although the outside is pretty, the inside was a bit lack luster.  The strawberries turned into a bright pink mush and sunk to the bottom.  We decided to only remember the pretty:

If you would like to try, here is the recipe http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/fresh-strawberry-bread/.  They also have a lovely picture of what the inside should look like.  I will also added, the taste was delish!

Rating: Fresh Delish

TTW: Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

There is something about April that reminds me of lemons.  Maybe it’s the matching yellow from the rough skin of the fruit to what it supposed to be the sun shining in the sky.  Or maybe it’s the fresh citrus smell to match the blooming tulips.  It may even be the hope there will be lemonade stands in the summer heat around the corner.  Although I’m not sure of the reason, I do know the reminder the sun should be coming out soon has been needed more than a couple times with this long winter extending it’s arm well into the spring months.

Tia went with a solid staple in her repertoire this week.  I love the combination of lemon and poppy seed.  The bread has a light consistency, but a gooey crunch from the sugary glaze on the top.  To say it was good would be misleading because it was downright fantastic.

Hopefully you will try the recipe and enjoy a taste of spring while you are fighting off the winter blues.  Trust me, if you do, you will be thanking Tia for bringing sunshine back into your life.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tbsp poppy seeds
3 c all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ c milk

Icing:
2 tbsp lemon juice
¾ c confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350oF.  Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.  Combine sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and lemon extracts in a large bowl; mix well.  Stir in poppy seeds.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add flour mixture and milk to sugar mixture alternately, mixing well after each addition.  Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Loosen edges from sides of pans.  Cool loaves in pans for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto wire racks.

For icing, blend lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.  Drizzle over warm loaves.

TTW: Hawaiian Bread

We’ve been buried under grey clouds and rain for far too long.  Last week it even snowed.  To fight away the dreaded winter blues, Tia showed up with a tropical quick bread.  Right from the start, the cheery yellow color brightened the room (and day).  The texture was typical of a quick bread with a dense middle flecked with coconut pieces and a nice soft crust around the outside.  The bread alone was delicious.

The thing which takes this bread to a different level than the typical banana or zucchini is the fact it came with a great spread.  Now, I will tell you Tia’s husband did not like the macadamia nuts in the cream cheese spread.  I disagree.  The crunch with the sweetness of pineapple chucks and the tang of the cream cheese made it something interesting.  (Looked pretty cool, too.)

It was a nice treat to remind us summer will be here one day and we will see the sun.  Even though we expect a heavy dose of rain next week, the bread gave me hope of feeling warmth again.  Okay, it didn’t really do all of that, but it was sure darn good.

Rating:  Really Delish