Applesauce Oatmeal Bread

This wholesome quick bread really caught my eye. I made it as a special after school snack for my kids (and me!). They enjoyed it with a glass of fresh apple cider. I thought it was absolutely perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

The recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour.com. I baked the loaf in a Pullman pan, used freshly ground allspice and freshly grated nutmeg, and substituted pecans for walnuts. Yum!

Yield: One standard or Pullman loaf

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or boiled cider
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, plus more for sprinkling top, optional
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • cream cheese, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection. Lightly grease a Pullman loaf pan or a standard 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and soda, and spices.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Mix in the rolled oats, applesauce, and nuts.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  7. Sprinkle rolled oats over the top, as desired.
  8. Bake the bread for 40 for a Pullman pan or up to 60 minutes in a standard loaf pan, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool completely.
  10. Store cooled bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.
  11. Serve with cream cheese, or as desired.

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Ina Garten’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Most people make carrot cake in the springtime… I make it in the fall to celebrate my mom’s birthday. 🙂 It’s one of her absolute favorites. I have made this yummy version several times- they are special and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties that are Really Fun by Ina Garten. I cut the recipe in half to make 12 cupcakes, adjusted the baking times for a convection oven, and used the orange cream-cheese frosting from my favorite (springtime) orange chiffon bunny cake.

Fabulous! A true gold standard. Happy Birthday, Mom. ❤ ❤

Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg plus 2 T beaten egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (less than 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 stick, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (I used light cream cheese)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • grated orange zest, from about 1/3 of a large orange, about 3/4 tsp
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To Make the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  3. Add the egg, mix to combine. Repeat with the additional 2 T of beaten egg.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  5. With the mixer on low-speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  6. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.
  7. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  8. Using a cookie scoop,  scoop the batter into 12 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  10. Cook an additional 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack.

To Make the Frosting:

  1. Cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  2. Add the zest and salt, beat to combine.
  3. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
  4. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: If the recipe is doubled, 3 large eggs can be used to make 22 to 24 cupcakes.

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Pear Snacking Cake with Brown Butter Glaze

This cake was just calling for all of the Bosc pears that I’ve received in my CSA share recently. I love it when I have all of the ingredients readily available to make a special treat. 🙂

As a side note, I don’t really understand the idea of a “snacking” cake. This is definitely a CAKE. The brown butter glaze was absolutely essential and absolutely fabulous. Yes, it was easy to eat and, yes, it’s not a fancy layer cake. I also suppose it would be a wonderful snack! We enjoyed it for dessert. 😉

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour and decreased the amount of fresh nutmeg. I also omitted the nuts. Delicious!

I’m sharing this special “snack” at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #142 this week, co-hosted by Elaine @foodbod and Michelle @O Blog Off. Enjoy! 🙂

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup/227 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature, more to grease the pan
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 to 4 large pears (2 1/4 pounds/1 kilogram), peeled, cored and shredded or finely chopped (to yield 2 1/2 cups) (I finely chopped the prepared pears in a mini-food processor.)
  • 2 ¾ cups/350 grams all-purpose flour (I used 175 g all-purpose flour & 175 g whole wheat pastry flour)
  • ¾ cup/75 grams rolled oats
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped, optional

For the Brown Butter Glaze:

  • 5 tablespoons/70 grams unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons/25 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup/125 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters heavy cream or milk, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of coarse salt
  1. Prepare the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-2-inch square or 9-inch-round pan and line bottom with parchment paper. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  2. Using a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add sugars, baking powder, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda and beat for 1 minute.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  5. With the mixer on low, beat in half the pears, and then beat in the flour until smooth.
  6. Beat in remaining pears, then the oats, beating until well incorporated.
  7. Beat in nuts, if using.
  8. Spread batter in the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center of the cake, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan, melt butter, then let it simmer until the foam on top falls to the bottom of the pot and turns brown, about 3 minutes. It will smell nutty and rich when it’s ready.
  10. Whisk in brown sugar until it dissolves.
  11. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla and salt until you’ve got a thick glaze with the texture of hot fudge sauce.
  12. Spread this over the cooled cake. Let the glaze set for at least 2 hours before serving.

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Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins With Orange Streusel

I love a good, hearty muffin for a special breakfast. Especially if it’s warm from the oven. 🙂 These muffins were moist, earthy, and wholesome. The recipe made 24 muffins- so I was able to freeze a dozen of them for a busy day. Woo hoo! Nice. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from the The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin. I weighed the dry ingredients, omitted the nuts, baked the muffins in one large oven in a single batch, and modified the baking time for a convection oven.

Yield: 24 standard muffins

For the Muffins:

  • 2 cups/240 g all-purpose flour, more as needed
  • ⅔ cup/75 g whole wheat flour or wheat germ, preferably toasted
  • ⅔ cup/92 g fine-ground yellow cornmeal
  • ⅔ cup/66 g rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • ⅔ cup/142 g packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp cinnamon (or 2 tsp cinnamon & 2 tsp nutmeg or allspice)
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 ¾ cups/414 ml buttermilk, more as needed
  • 1 ⅓ cup/315 ml coconut oil, or neutral oil like safflower or canola
  • ⅔ cup/158 ml maple syrup
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups/198 g grated carrots or tart apple (I grated the carrots in a food processor.)
  • 1 ½ cups/255 g blueberries (I used frozen wild blueberries.)
  • 1 cup/113 g chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

For the Streusel:

  • ⅓ cup/71 grams packed light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup/59 ml coconut oil or cold unsalted butter
  • ½ cup/60 g all-purpose flour
  • finely grated zest from 1 large orange (about 1 1/2 T)
  1. Make the muffins: In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flours, cornmeal, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix the wet ingredients: buttermilk, oil, maple syrup and eggs.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently mix just until blended. Don’t worry about a few lumps or streaks of flour.
  4. Stir in the carrots, blueberries and nuts if using. (If you’d like, reserve a handful of blueberries for sprinkling on top of the muffins just before baking.)
  5. Set batter aside at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes to allow flours to absorb the liquid. Check batter after 15 minutes by giving it a light stir. It should be thick, not runny (this will help the muffins rise). Thin with a little more buttermilk or thicken by adding 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Set aside for 5 minutes more, check and adjust texture again, and repeat until batter is thick and fluffy.
  6. Heat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection, and place rack in top third of oven.
  7. Butter or spray two muffin tins (regular or jumbo), or line the cups with paper liners. Make sure to also butter or spray the top surface of the tin to help the muffins release.
  8. Make the streusel if using: In a small bowl, mix and pinch all the ingredients together until blended and crumbly. (If using butter, cut into small pieces first.)
  9. Using an ice-cream scoop or small ladle, divide thick batter among muffin cups, filling almost to the top. Mound the batter slightly in the center of each cup; this will help make a domed muffin top. If you reserved blueberries for topping, press them lightly into the muffins. Top with streusel, using your fingers to divide streusel over batter and press lightly onto the surface.
  10. Place one muffin tin in oven (or both tins if using a large oven) and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 17 minutes on convection, or up to 20 minutes in a standard oven, until a tester inserted into center of muffin comes out moist but clean. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
  11. Cool muffins in pan on rack, then remove from tin.
  12. If baking one batch at a time, repeat with remaining batter. (If there is not enough batter remaining to fill all the cups, fill every other cup with batter. Pour water into the empty cups to protect the pan in the oven.)

Note: To freeze extra muffins, wrap them individually in aluminum foil. Reheat, still wrapped, in a 300-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Or unwrap and reheat in a microwave.

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Apple & Pear Galette with Walnut Streusel

Nothing is better than having a Happy Birthday Galette after Happy Birthday Mushroom Soup! 🙂 I made this delicious free-form galette for my mom’s early birthday dinner celebration. Today is my mom’s actual birthday, so I felt like it was about time I posted it! Happy Birthday, Mom! ❤

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe, contributed by Justin Chapel. I loved that the fruit was left unpeeled. It would also be absolutely fabulous for Thanksgiving.

I haven’t joined a link party for some time, so I’m sharing this deliciousness at Throwback Thursday and Fiesta Friday this week! Woo hoo! Enjoy. 🙂

Yield: Serves 12

For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For the Streusel:

  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

For the Filling:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples—halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 firm Bartlett pears—halved, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick (I used Red Bartlett pears)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling the crust
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional
  • freshly whipped cream, for serving, optional

IMG_1022

Make the Crust:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the 2 cups of flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until the pieces are 
the size of small peas.
  2. Sprinkle the water on top and pulse until the dough just comes together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. (I turn it out onto a large piece of plastic wrap to decrease the mess.) Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, 1 hour or up to overnight.

Make the Streusel:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°, on convection. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and bake for about 5 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool, then chop.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingers, pinch it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add the walnuts and pinch the streusel into clumps. Refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.

Make the Filling:

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the pears, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the salt and lemon juice.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 19-by-13-inch oval. (I roll the dough out on a piece of parchment paper fitted to the baking sheet.) Ease the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Mound the filling in the center of the oval, leaving a 2-inch border. IMG_1019
  5. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the fruit and fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling. IMG_1020
  6. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake the galette for 37 to 40 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 45 to 50 minutes in a standard oven, until the fruit is tender and the streusel and crust are golden brown.
  8. Let the galette cool. 
Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using, before serving. Serve with fresh whipped cream, if desired.

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Throwback Thursday #15 is hosted by Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Quinn @ Dad Whats 4 Dinner.

Fiesta Friday #94 is hosted by Judi @Cooking with Aunt Juju and Stef @The Kiwi Fruit.

Pesto Polenta with Fresh Tomatoes

This is a fast full-flavored dish. Healthy too! I always forget about how much I enjoy creamy polenta. 🙂 We ate it for dinner but it would also be wonderful for brunch.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Todd Porter and Diane Cu. I increased the salt, doubled the tomatoes, and made homemade pesto. The pesto recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Tasty!

Yield: Serves 3 (in my house!) or 4

For the Pesto: (Makes about 1 cup)

  • 2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
  • coarse salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano

For the Dish:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used Campari)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup pesto

To Make the Pesto:

  1. Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender.
  2. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually.
  3. Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. (Sometimes I add a little bit of stock instead to achieve the same result.)
  4. Stir in the cheese.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. (I use a cast iron pot.) While whisking, gradually pour the polenta into the water.
  2. Reduce the heat to simmer or low and continue whisking for an additional minute.
  3. Continue cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot.
  4. Remove the polenta from the heat when it is tender and creamy and has reached your desired thickness.
  5. Stir the salt and butter into the polenta until the butter is melted.
  6. Scoop polenta out onto plates. Top each with about 1/4 cup pesto. Divide tomatoes among plates. Serve. (We individually mixed together all of the ingredients before digging in!)

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Buckwheat, Banana, & Zucchini Muffins

I have been receiving TONS of zucchini in my CSA share. These super moist, earthy, and healthy muffins were one of the best ways I used my zucchini so far. They were very hearty and flavorful- accompanied with fresh fruit they were a tasty and filling breakfast. Perfect for a snack as well!

This recipe was adapted from Bubby’s Brunch Cookbook: Recipes and Menus from New York’s Favorite Comfort Food Restaurant by Ron Silver with Rosemary Black.

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup mashed very ripe banana
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 T honey
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees on convection.
  2. Line a standard muffin pan with paper baking cups or grease the baking cups lightly with cooking oil spray or butter.
  3. Combine the flours, banana, zucchini, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Combine the buttermilk, honey, vegetable oil, and egg in a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously.
  5. Form a deep “well” in the center of the flour mixture with a large wooden spoon. Pour the buttermilk mixture and the nuts (if using) into the well.
  6. Immediately stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well blended.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them two-thirds full. Bake the muffins for 17 to 18 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed lightly or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

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