It’s clementine season!
Loaves, Breads, and Cakes
jump to recipe This recipe for Vanilla Bean Blood Orange Mini Loaves turned into The Great Ingredient Improvisation Experiment. I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I had to wing it a little, and once I was winging it, I started adding in some things too. The results were incontrovertible: a perfect soft crumb, and […]
I devoured this loaf greedily, mostly because the soft crumb made it among the nicest baked goods ever to come out of my kitchen. It’s a little taste of what pumpkin bread heaven must be like. To quote Dale Cooper, “This must be where pies go when they die.” Trade in the pie for some cinnamon pumpkin bread and I’m right on the same page.
It was a beautiful, perfect, delicious bread, and a perfectly wonderful baking day. I had guest bakers! Meet Tracy and Antonia. Left to my own devices, I would have reduced or eliminated the chocolate chips, but Antonia & Tracy are huge chocolate fans and I wanted them to leave with their taste buds singing.
If you’re looking for a decadent, sugary pumpkin bread for dessert, this isn’t it.
If you’re looking for a gently spiced, not-too-sweet pumpkin bread for breakfast or a snack that warms you up from the inside out, you’ve found it. I like this bread but given the abundance of sugar in most pumpkin-based baked goods, you do have to know before your first bite that this is going to be a little different. On its second or third day it hits a beautiful peak of flavor, when the honey and the spices and the pumpkin coalesce into smooth perfection.
My mission: almond butter.
Why? Because my friend (and former co-worker) Tracy wanted something with almond butter, and she waited patiently week after week as I churned out muffin after muffin, loaf after loaf, all almond butter-free. Tracy has been the most loyal of baking fans and makes me feel like everything that comes out of my kitchen is a gift, so when I saw this recipe for Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips, I fought my peanut butter-loving instincts and decided to make the swap and grant my chocolate-and-pumpkin-loving friend her much-deserved wish.
I’ve been wanting to try making this recipe for weeks, but first I had to use up the carrots, zucchini, and bananas that were sitting around. Finally I ran out of everything, and felt it was morally okay to proceed. (I hate wasting food, okay?)
I had a feeling this bread was going to be something special and I was right. The texture is soft and perfect, reminding me of that Chai Tea Bread I enjoy so much. And it’s sweetened with honey; not a grain of sugar passed through my hands.
This delicious, satisfying chocolate zucchini bread came on the heels of two very unfortunate baking experiments, and a last-minute mishap to boot.
Failure #1: I tried to make a zucchini bread without chocolate chips or cocoa powder. Now I know that it’s possible to make a good spiced zucchini bread, but the recipe I tried did not generate one.
This tea cake is so delicious that I made another one three days after making the first one, and the only reason I waited so long is because we were away for the weekend.
The cake itself is warm with spices, and the topping adds a crunchy sweetness to every bite. It’s a magical combination. Hard to believe it starts out with something as mundane as a cup of shredded carrots.
jump to recipe I finally fixed the white balance on my camera. (Apologies for the previous two non-white-balanced blog entries.) I also found blood oranges at our local grocery store. I celebrated these events by baking with the oranges and taking pictures of the results. I thought it might be fun to take one of […]
I made this one night last week, when I wanted something hearty and robust and satisfying but not sweet and dessert-y. I know, that sounds weird. But I was after something that would ground me a little. And thus I made this delightful bread. I started with whole wheat pastry flour, which always makes me […]
Another home run. Make this bread right now. I mean it. It couldn’t be easier and your taste buds will thank you, as will anyone else who gets a bite. I brought some of this to work with me and had someone come back for thirds. Who says you have to wait for fall to bake with pumpkin?
And the topping…to think I almost didn’t include it. How dumb that would have been. The bread is a wonder unto itself but the topping adds a bit of crunchy magic. I made a few changes to the recipe, but the credit really belongs to a beautiful blog called Pastry Affair that gave me reason #85279 to love Pinterest and the internet.
I changed this recipe up a fair bit, and it paid off. Dave is normally immune to the charms of the endless stream of baked goods that makes its way through our kitchen, but this one hooked him. He’s even suggesting that there might not be any left to bring to my hungry co-workers tomorrow. I’ll take that as a compliment to the awesome power of Meyer lemon pound cake.
jump to recipe Let me just put this out there right away: this picture does not do this loaf justice. The how-to-use-your-new-DSL-camera class doesn’t start until April, so I’m still using the automatic setting, and I baked at night, so there was no natural light to work with. So understand that the dark blob you […]
I confess I find the name of this bread somewhat misleading. It’s not really about the lemons; this bread is all about the spice. A little too much spice, I think, which is a very big statement coming from this particular spice lover. That said, I might take another crack at this, because I love […]
Toffee Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce and Sea Salt, to be precise. The annual bake-off for the Digital Group was upon me, and this year I wanted to really make something special. I’ve taken up baking pretty heavily since the last one, but I mostly do everyday baking: breakfast muffins, cookies for the […]
Nathaniel requested an insane cake for his birthday party. He didn’t say “devil’s food cake”, but he knew exactly what he wanted. “A chocolate cake, with chocolate frosting, and I want layers, and I want it shaped like a rectangle.” Layered rectangles? It’s not like we invited 50 kids to this thing, I think we’ll […]
Finally, I remembered the sugar.
The last time I tried to make this cake, it took until it had been sitting in the fridge for a few hours for me to realize, mid-bloggery, that I had forgotten to put in the sugar. This time, I remembered. As Juliet would say, “wa-lah!” (It’s her version of “voila.”)
When it comes to a full-on decadent dessert maker, you can’t really go wrong with Paula Deen. I did actually lighten things up just a tiny little bit, but mostly I was just focused on making this a worthy dessert for tonight’s Thanksgiving table at Dad & Michael’s.
jump to recipe Nathaniel’s birthday was actually almost two weeks ago, but when Sandy knocked out the power, birthday baking was put on hold. Then I went away to BC, and so it got further delayed. Then I got home, we restocked the kitchen, and the time for birthday treats for his class finally arrived. […]
I finally did something with those brown bananas that have been sitting on the counter for days, disgusting all of us. Or maybe just me. I don’t know. I find them disgusting! But I’d seen this lightened-up version of cinnamon swirl banana bread a while ago and wanted to try it out. Its time had come.
jump to recipe I’ve made this before, sort of, but today I changed the recipe, used a new pan to make things pretty, and took the glaze from one dessert to add to it, skipping the frosting. We have company coming, and we’ve actually been talking about having these guys over for years. Literally. Years! […]
So while the Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Singles were baking or cooling or in various states of I’m-not-sure-if-these-will-work-out, I started working on my back-up plan. I’d seen this recipe on Pinterest a while ago, and I loved the idea of chocolate and cloves, plus I liked that it looked a little weird in the picture. […]
I decided there were more chocolate zucchini recipes out there worth trying. So I tried one. I admit I am a little distracted today. In addition, we had our summer outing at work today, so I spent the afternoon on a boat cruising around Manhattan. It was actually quite lovely, with wonderful views of the […]
As Nathaniel & Juliet would sing, “It’s the final countdown…” All week I have been using my colleagues at work as guinea pigs. They tasted, they described, they compared and contrasted. They weighed the issues: kids have to like them, they can’t be too messy, they need to appeal to the widest variety of tastes, […]
read about Night 1 read about Night 2 Tonight was the last night of true experimentation. Whatever I make tomorrow goes to the kids at St. Philip’s Academy for Read It All Up®, and that’s that. But tonight I went back to the site where I found the extremely delicious recipe for Secretly Healthy Chocolate […]
Most people who know me know of my hatred of cooked vegetables. Unless you count corn and potatoes, which are more like starches, I don’t eat any cooked vegetables at all, ever. Oh, Dave sometimes purees some carrots and sneaks them into the spaghetti sauce, and I make carrot oatmeal muffins, but that’s really as […]
I have a confession to make: I have never toasted nuts before. I generally don’t cook with nuts, either, and part of that is my own texture preference. I like nuts, but I don’t love biting into something crunchy and resistant in the middle of something nice and cakey. I don’t usually bake with chocolate […]
Yesterday I didn’t bake anything. So tonight I baked two things. I made my signature banana yogurt muffins, although I was a little distracted and forgot to top them off with cinnamon chips. Crap. They turned out great anyway, I say with honesty, and without any ego. They’re just delicious, that’s all. But I’ve had […]
There are some baked goods that I call “get-it-out-of-the-house-or-gain-ten-pounds-delicious”, and I created that expression specifically to describe snickerdoodle mini loaves. They’re insane. Antonia — the same Antonia who inspired me to make the Cheesecake Brownie Bites — asked for something decadent again, this time to celebrate John Calvin’s birthday tomorrow. She isn’t a Calvinist; in […]
jump to recipe I wanted something to contrast yesterday’s bran muffins, something with a more complex flavor. When I saw that the ingredients for this recipe included cardamon, allspice, cloves, black pepper, and brewed chai tea in addition to cinnamon and nutmeg, I knew my search was over. See all that stuff? I figured I’d […]
I’m not sure which I’m happier about: conquering a recipe with (liquid) coffee in it, or finally managing to successfully dust something with powdered sugar without having it look hilarious, like a 4-year-old did it. Both feel like long-awaited accomplishments, and both resulted in deliciousness. A long time ago, years before I was baking anything […]
According to Pinterest, I first noticed this recipe 20 weeks ago, which means it’s been waiting for me since January. Maybe it was the three sticks of butter that dissuaded me from trying it sooner, but a visit from our glorious friend Jenny was a good excuse to try something new, and she said she […]
Sometimes there’s no turning back. There was a point where I thought I’d have to trash the whole thing, but I persevered, and despite a rather major misstep, it all came together at the end. I’m still not quite sure how. Nathaniel wanted banana bread. I have a tried and true recipe from long before […]
(requested by Nathaniel) This was another very early Pinterest discovery: Cinnamon Swirl Bread. I made it in early January and I was disappointed because my streusel swirl sank to the bottom. The only reason I haven’t made it since then was my father’s description: “It was delicious but the sugar made my teeth sing.” But […]
I already have a plan for how make them prettier, but I think the deliciousness is just about right. Found this recipe on Pinterest, of course. (Of course!) I waited to make the glaze until the following morning, and it was very easy. The whole recipe was specific, but easy. The adventure began as I […]