Archive for the 'Breakfast Pastry' Category

Pumpkin Banana Bread

‘Tis the season for pumpkins and warm spices, even if it is beautiful, sunny, and hot outside here in Northern California. I know it is not so in the East Coast – my friends out there, please bundle up and find a nice cozy spot with a big blanket and a mug of hot cocoa or tea because it seems like this storm will be a big one! If you have all these tasty ingredients in your home, you should get right to baking this delicious treat, it will warm your soul and keep you happy through the storm. Happy soon-to-be Halloween!

The recipe is based on an old favorite banana bread recipe, which can be found here.

Banana Bread
Makes 1 full-sized loaf or 2 small loaves

Preheat the oven to 350.

In one bowl or an electric mixer, combine:

1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup sugar

Use your electric mixer to mix the ingredients – If you are not using an electric mixer, use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.

In another bowl, combine:

1 1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.

If you like, stir in additional ingredients here, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or apricots, or chocolate chips. A handful (about a half a cup) is about right. I used only chocolate chips in my bread.

Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.

After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool. Once they are cool they can be individually wrapped and frozen.

Enjoy!

An Old Favorite, Revisited

Have you ever been to the Cheeseboard or Arizmendi? If you have, you know these corn cherry scones are a staple. I just had to make them again…And they were just as delicious as the last time I made them.

The first time I made these scones, I veganized the original recipe because I was vegan (duh). I also added almond meal and millet flour, and it tasted great, but this time I really just wanted the original. So, a few weeks ago I tried making them again. I used the Cheeseboard recipe, because I’m not vegan anymore and I thought of course the recipe filled with butter would be way more delicious. Somehow, they were a total flop: they were flat and spread out all over the pan, the medium-grind cornmeal was too crunchy, and I was confused.

Ultimately, I resorted back to the vegan version and I tried them this week and used a very finely ground cornmeal, and wow, they were good. The best part was that I made them small, much smaller than the Cheeseboard originals, so you could eat one, then another, and another and still feel okay about your tummy. Or thighs. Or whatever.

Corn Cherry Scone Ingredients:


2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


1/2 tsp. baking soda


1 Tblsp. baking powder

2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup finely ground cornmeal

1 cup cold Earth Balance, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup dried sweet cherries


1 1/4 cup almond milk


1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup and stir together quickly. Let stand for a few minutes till good and curdled. While you are waiting, sift the flour, soda, and baking powder together into the large bowl for your mixer (you can also use a pastry cutter and do this all by hand). Add the 2/3 cup sugar and cornmeal, and stir with a wooden spoon till combined. Add the cubed Earth Balance and mix using the paddle attachment (or cut it in with a pastry cutter or 2 knives) until it is the size of small peas.

Mix in the cherries. Make a well in the center and add the almond milk-apple cider vinegar mixture. Mix briefly, just until the ingredients come together; some loose flour should remain at the bottom of the bowl. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes so some of the liquid soaks into the cornmeal and millet.

Gently shape the dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (they should have a rough, rocky exterior) and place them on the prepared pan about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup sugar on top of the scones and place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until the scones are golden. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.

Easiest Banana Bread

I love banana bread. Any kind – you can make it “healthier” or not, I always enjoy a hearty slice of sweet banana bread. Chocolate chips, nuts, applesauce, carob, lots of spices, berries mixed in, you name it, I’ll eat it! This week, my brother got a hold of a ton of bananas (literally) and he made the most delicious banana bread ever. He gave me some bananas, I asked for the recipe, and I was shocked to find out that it was incredibly simple. Too simple, it seemed. But delicious. So, I made it exactly as he instructed, except I made two batches – one in a loaf pan and one batch into muffins. They were scrumptious both ways. Consider this recipe tested and perfected and so simple and quick to whip up, you will want to make it all the time. Except somehow you’ll have to have so many bananas you turn yellow. I think I have eaten enough, except now I want more, but magically we have eaten all the bananas he conjured up! Jesse, go find more!

Banana Bread Ingredients:
4 ripe bananas
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup room-temperature margarine (I used Soy-Free Earth Balance)
2 cups white flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
sprinkle of dried coconut or sliced almonds, for topping

Preheat your oven to 350º F.

Mash bananas in a bowl using a potato masher or fork. You want to create as few lumps as possible. Beat in the sugar and margarine, till you have a smooth consistency. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into the wet ingredients.

Pour into a greased loaf pan, or lined muffin tins. Sprinkle dried coconut, sliced almonds, or a pinch of sugar over batter to give a crunchy topping.

Bake muffins for 25-30 minutes.
Bake loaf for 60-70 minutes.
*Stick a toothpick into the center and it should come out nearly clean (a few crumbs are okay because it is best a bit moist).

A Crunchy Start

For some reason, I was under the impression that granola was difficult to make. I have a friend who makes granola quite often, and I’m always extremely impressed with her ability to create something I want to eat in the morning for breakfast, snack on mid-day, and eat for dessert again in the evening. My new housemate also makes incredible granola, and after I ate the remaining scoop of her creation, I felt like I had to step up to the plate and try my own hand at granola-making. I used a Deborah Madison recipe, but since I can’t leave well-enough alone, I made a lot of adaptations. My version is posted below. I like this granola a lot; the quinoa gives it a crunchy texture and with the quinoa and nuts it’s a protein-packed breakfast that is just perfectly sweetened. You can make whatever substitutions you want depending what kinds of nuts or dried fruit you have at home, or add more or less juice (just keep the total liquid amount about the same, but you can play around with ratios of sweetener to juice to oil…). I’m sure you have lots of ideas of how to eat granola, but my recent favorite granola-pairing has been with homemade applesauce! My housemate likes to eat her granola as a topping on smoothies, and in the winter I love it as a sprinkled addition to a hot bowl of oatmeal.

For some people, school has started already, and this granola would be a perfect way to start your kids’ mornings or pack in a baggie for a mid-day snack. Monday is the first day for my school district, so tomorrow I will have 24 eight year olds in my classroom and I’m hoping that starting my day with a bowl of this hearty granola will help me keep them at rapt attention and create a strong learning environment from the get-go!

Granola Ingredients:

4 cups rolled oatmeal flakes (use gluten-free oats if you want)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened fruit juice – I used orange
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup large flaked unsweetened dried coconut

Preheat the oven to 300º F. Mix the oatmeal, quinoa, spices, and nuts together, then add the vanilla, juice, oil, and sweeteners. Toss well to moisten evenly, then toast on a sheet pan until browned, about 30 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the raisins and coconut once the cereal is cooked.

Banana Bread – Two Variations

Spring is here! It makes me simultaneously incredibly joyful and a little bit sad. It makes it really difficult to study, teach, and sit in class while it is warm and sunny outside…So I plan on making this post quite short in my effort to stay on the computer and inside as little as possible when I don’t have to.

Last week, we had gorgeous weather, and this week it’s looking and feeling beautiful again. However, last Friday was colder, grayer, and rainier, and of course this was the morning that I had off to play. My friend Zoe had fortuitously given me some ripe bananas the evening before, and so, instead of playing, I baked this spicy, moist, fragrant, and ultimately overall delicious Banana Bread. I made two variations; one with chocolate chips, and one without. Both loaves had pecans mixed in. Feel free to throw in whatever other add-ins you prefer. You can also use all agave or all maple syrup instead of the combination I used; just think about what flavors you want to bring out. I brought half a loaf of each variation to my afternoon class, with the intention of slicing and freezing the rest to keep for a future treat. Instead, I (and friends) ate it all within two days! Since there is no refined sugar (except in the chocolate chips) and no oil, it was a delightfully healthy study-break snack. I wish I could keep enjoying it, but alas, it is all gone. Anyone have bruised bananas that they want to gift to me so I can bake more?

Banana Bread Ingredients (recipe for one loaf):

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup agave
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped pecans + some for topping
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to preheated 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a medium sized bowl, mash bananas with Agave nectar, maple syrup, applesauce and vanilla until combined and creamy.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add the wet to dry. Sprinkle in nuts and/or chocolate chips, and stir batter until just mixed.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for one hour.

“Tropical Vacation” Muffins

I could write something cheesy about how these orange blueberry pineapple coconut muffins will send you on a little breakfast tropical vacation, in which you will dream about going somewhere warm, sunny, with ocean breezes and a very able-bodied person answering your every whim. But honestly, I don’t want to exoticize these muffins, and all of that sounds vaguely colonialistic, so I’ll spare you the sit-next-to-a-pristine-pool-with-a-pina-colada-in-hand-fantasy and just give you the recipe for these scrumptious muffins. You’ll want to eat them forever. You might even make a second batch next week. And maybe you’ll even double that, so you can freeze some and continue enjoying them as the days pass…You might even want to eat them for breakfast every day on the way to work so that you can pretend you’re going on vacation instead of to teach and video-tape yourself looking like a fool (and using so many hand-gestures while talking to your students…). Maybe that’s just me. But I think you’ll want to bake these muffins at least once and enjoy every single fruity bite of their goodness. This is kind of a random post, but hey, it’s been a long week and it’s not over yet!

And, let’s just notice that these muffins are purely agave- and fruit-sweetened, so they’re 110% healthy, right? I can eat them all day long?

Tropical Muffin Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. egg replacer
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup water (carbonated water will make your muffins rise a bit more than regular tap water)
1/4 cup agave
1 1/2 Tblsp. finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup diced pure pineapple
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin or use cupcake papers to line the tin.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk.

In a separate bowl, dissolve the egg replacer into the orange juice, then add the water, agave, orange zest, and oil, and mix until smooth. Combine the wet ingredients with the flour mixture. Fold in the coconut, pineapple, and blueberries.

Pour the batter into the muffin tin almost to the top and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

SweetHeart-Healthy Banana Blueberry Spelt Muffins

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I know it’s a Hallmark Holiday, but I always love to celebrate it with lots of pink and hearts. All the love floating around just makes me smile 🙂

Right now, I’m student teaching in a third grade class, and the students were so thrilled about the holiday – their excitement was contageous! My Cooperating Teacher has really set up a lovely community in the classroom, where the students feel comfortable with each other and with her; the Principal even commented on Friday that the class is just like a family, where there is trust and love and safety – and where the students are so close that they want to celebrate holidays exorbitantly together! These eight and nine year olds didn’t just bring in store-bought cards for their friends for Valentine’s Day, in fact, many of them brought goody bags filled with candy and chocolate and sweet notes for every single student in the whole class! One of our tables was literally covered, piled high with pink boxes of chocolate and red-wrapped chocolate roses, and one student even gave me a foot-long Valentine’s pen! It’s pretty incredible and I plan on treasuring it for a long time. It was hard to get any academic work done on such a celebratory day!

My students inspired me and I stayed up way too late on Thursday night making them all collaged cards and I had so much fun that I ended up making cards for all my friends…And then on Friday evening I had a crafts night with my girlfriends and made more V-day cards…And Saturday I spent the evening baking these delicious Banana Blueberry Muffins with my friend Talia and of course I had to put them in the festive paper liners that my mom bought me as a surprise! Aren’t they cute? Thanks, Mom!

Talia and I are not eating sugar, and she’s currently not eating wheat, so we did a lot of experimenting and adapting, and came up with this muffin recipe using spelt flour and date sugar. We were really into how delicious the batter was, and then how tasty the muffins were after they were baked, but we were a little concerned that they might not pass the test for “normal people” who eat white flour and white sugar all the time. We asked some friends to taste them, and they said they were good! So, this recipe is a great “heart healthy” (for Valentine’s Day as well as your real beating human heart) breakfast muffin, and with all the healthy additions it is certainly a great snack and was approved by all! However, if you don’t have those specialized ingredients on hand, and don’t have the same dietary concerns, then you can easily use white sugar instead of date sugar, and use white (or whole wheat) flour instead of the spelt. You could even make this recipe into a quick-bread, which would be delicious, and you can add in nuts or chocolate chips if you want!

Banana Blueberry Spelt Muffin Ingredients:
Makes 12 regular sized muffins, or 24 mini-muffins

2 cups whole spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup date sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 Tblsp. ground flax seed
3/4 cup water
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease your muffin tins, or line with paper liners.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
In a large bowl, beat the date sugar and oil together, then add the mashed bananas. Stir in the flax. Add the water, non-dairy milk, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour mixture and stir until all ingredients are just combined.
Gently fold in your blueberries last.
Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full with batter. Bake regular sized muffins for 20-25 minutes, and mini-muffins only about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they begin to brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


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