Irish Soda Bread

My favorite holiday that’s not Christmas or Thanksgiving is coming up! No, not the one that you drink green beer and hit your local bar at 6 a.m. in your effort to be drunk by the time the morning news is on.  The OTHER one; the REAL St. Patrick’s Day.  

The one where your mom puts on the Irish Rovers and we pretend we know how to  jig.  The one where you eat piles of corned beef, lots of potatoes, a few carrots, and skip the cabbage.  And yes, the one where you eat Irish Soda Bread JUST so you can slather it with butter.  That is the St. Patrick’s Day I will be celebrating.  Won’t you please join me?

Classic Irish Soda Bread (minus caraway seeds and raisins)

from Cook’s Illustrated

 3 cups bleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 
1 cup cake flour 
2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar 
1-1/2 teaspoons table salt 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons softened + 1 tablespoon melted) 
1-1/2 cups buttermilk 

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. 
2. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl. 
3. Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs. 
4. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork just until dough begins to come together. 
5. Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.) 
6. Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in cast-iron pot, if using. 
7. Place the loaf on a cookie sheet and cut a cross shape into the top. 
8. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes. 
9. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes. 

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

Dear Sir, 

Why does it cost $150 to buy a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four?  I am strongly opposed to this, and my bank account hates it even more.  I am not quite sure what you’re goal is, sir, but I don’t think it’s fair to charge so much for fruits and vegetables.  If tiny robots bagged my groceries and loaded them into my car, I would understand this enormous bill, however, they did not.  I know this because I bagged my own, and I’m pretty sure I put them in the trunk myself.  I don’t use your in store coffee shop/sushi bar/florist/dry cleaner/in store day care, and I didn’t see anyone else using them either, so we could start there.  Please lower your prices, sir.  I want to buy a Kinnect, so I can do Dance Central 2 in my living room, more than broccoli and cauliflower.  

Yours Truly,

Kara

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

from 101 Cookbooks

 1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125g all-purpose flour

1 cup / 5 oz / 140g whole wheat flour
3/4 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 4 oz / 115 g coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g mashed, VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 cup / 60 ml plain, whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
For the glaze:
1/2 cup / 3 oz / 85 g sifted dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55g confectioners’ sugar
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. You want to get that beautiful color on the cake, but at the same time you don’t want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you’re in that zone, pull it. Erring on the side of under-baking versus over.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the sugars and the lemon juice until smooth. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, spreading with a spatula to cover.
 
Serves 10.

Adapted from Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make, Hyperion, October, 2011

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes #1

My sister is getting married next August.  We’re on a mission to find THE best Red Velvet Cake recipe.  I think this one is it, but she’s not convinced.  She’s going to have to recreate perfection if she is going to top this one.  I hope she accepts the challenge!  In short, over the next year, you may see several Red Velvet recipes, but in the end, the best shall be named.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

2¼ cups cake flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder, not dutch processed
2 tablespoons red food coloring
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar

Frosting
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Mix cocoa with food coloring in small bowl until a smooth paste forms.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Scrape down bowl, add cocoa mixture, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir. Scrape into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

3. For the frosting: With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. When cakes are cooled, spread about 2 cups frosting on one cake layer. Top with second cake layer and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who watched Real Housewives of Beverly Hills last night?  I am dying to call my sister and ask what happened!!  I am a sucker for reality shows.  Bravo totally knows what they are doing too.  Those marathons are so addictive.  Starting the next episode as soon as the last one ended should be illegal.  

These cookies are very tasty, and are invented by none other than the best Real Housewife herself, Bethenny Frankel!  The original post is here.

She says to bake them for 35 minutes, but I think that’s (in the words of my sister) crazytown station.  Mine only took 15 minutes, so definitely keep an eye on them!

The dough is also very crumbly and on the dry side. I rolled them in my hand to get them to stick, and then flattened it on the tray.

I also didn’t have oat flour, so I used rolled oats.  I pulsed them in my food processor for about 1 minute.  Maybe that’s why it only took 15 minutes…hmm…

On a completely different note, I return to work tomorrow.  I’ve had a great 10 months with my boys, and am sad to see it come to an end.  My posts will probably consists of DiGiorno Pizza and Chinese Take Out.  I apologize in advance!

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Bethenny Frankel

  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raw organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup mashed overripe banana (≈1 large banana)
 
Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 350°
    2. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
    3. On a non-stick cookie sheet (or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper), scoop batter with a medium sized ice cream scoop.  Space cookies evenly on baking sheet.
    4. Cook 35 minutes, rotating halfway through.  The cookies should have a slightly brown edge and come out clean when poked with a toothpick.
 

 

Vegan Banana Muffins

I was looking for a Vegan Banana Muffin recipe for breakfast this morning.  Most of the sites described this as a Vegan Dessert.  Muffins are not  dessert.  They are breakfast.  I might need to rethink my future, if this in Vegan World muffins are dessert.  We won’t play nicely together.

Shhh…these aren’t vegan chocolate chips.  

Vegan Banana Muffins

from EatingCleanRecipes.com

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk or almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sucanat or organic evaporated cane sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/2 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 regular size (2 1/2-inch) muffin cups with paper baking cups. (Or, coat muffin cups with cooking spray.)

In large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Stir together soymilk and vinegar; let stand 2 minutes until thickened. In medium bowl mix soymilk mixture, sucanat, banana, oil and vanilla until well blended. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until browned and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ok, I’m really behind in posting.  I made these for Christmas Day, which was what, two weeks ago?  Sorry.  They are still worth making, even if Thanksgiving, Fall, and now Christmas are well in the past.  Maybe make them for Groundhog’s Day?  It’s coming soon, you know.  Right now, it’s 60 degrees outside, so I’m guessing Spring isn’t too far from that.  With this Indian Summer turned Fall weather, I think I might throw some burgers on and pop open a few beers.  It will snow tomorrow, now, I’m sure of it.

These came from various sources, and I’ve provided the links below.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from King Arthur Flour

Cinnamon Filling from Alton Brown

Cream Cheese Frosting from Foodess.com

A Final Note on Pumpkin….Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

So, I meant to post this a while ago, but then life got in the way, and that’s not a bad thing.

I spent Thanksgiving week in Disney World with my family, as a surprise birthday present for my mom.  I made these muffins to avoid eating overpriced greasy airport breakfast.  I had great intentions.  I also had a very long list of things to remember to pack.  Unfortunately, I didn’t write these on my list, and they were left behind.

Disney was a blast, and though it was insanely crowded, we had a great time!  We got to live through my two year old, and got to experience the excitement of being young and meeting the characters, riding the rides, and seeing the castle for the first time.  When we were packing up, he started crying because we were going home, and instead, he wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom.  So did I…

Now, every toy car, truck, train, and boat in my house is going to Disney World.  He holds on to my table legs and announces that he is riding the monorail to see Mickey Mouse.  My question…when can we go back?

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

From Barb on Allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  •  
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  •  
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour 18 muffin cups, or use paper liners.
  2. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth, then set aside.
  3. For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.
  4. For the muffin batter: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.
  5. Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full. Then add one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter. Try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper cup. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F (195 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies

My husband wanted cookies, but I didn’t have enough of anything to make a specific type cookie.  So, I just made them all.  

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 3/4 cups oatmeal
1/2 chocolate chips

1/2 C white chocolate chips

1/2 C dried cranberries

1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 C walnuts

 

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add Baking soda, powder, and salt and mix. Add flour, oatmeal and chocolate chips and anything else you want to throw in. Mix until combined. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

 


 

Starbuck’s Pumpkin Scones

 

Sorry for the multiple emails, those of you that subscribe!  I’ve been having some issues with my computer lately (that’s code for I’m completely computer illiterate, and couldn’t figure out how to change something without reposting it).  Anyway, I was going to remake my scones because they are all gone, but I thought, no I’ll try something else.  These are SO good, different, but awesome!  The first scone recipe is like your traditional scone, more dry and subtle flavor.  These taste just like the ones you get at Starbucks.  They are a little more flavor pack and more cakelike.  You decide which you’d like to try, but I thought they were both worth posting.

Starbuck’s Pumpkin Scones

From Food of Our Lives

Scones Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 C sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
6 Tablespoons cold butter 
1/2 cup canned pumpkin 
3 Tablespoons half-and-half 
1 large egg

Sugar Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar 
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar 
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Spiced Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar 
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar 
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1 pinch ginger 
1 pinch ground cloves

Scones Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl.

4. With a fork, pastry knife, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter remain. Set aside.

5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, half and half, and egg.

6. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

7. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide).

8. Use a large knife to slice the dough into three equal portions. Cut diagonally to produce 6 triangular slices of dough.

9. Place on prepared baking sheet from step 2.

10. Bake for 14–16 minutes until scones turn light brown.

11. Place on wire rack to cool.

 

Sugar Glaze Directions:

1. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoon milk together until smooth.

2. Brush glaze over the top of each cooled scone.

 

Spiced Glaze Directions:

1. As sugar glaze firms, combine the spiced icing ingredients.

2. Use whisk to drizzle over each scone and allow to dry before serving.

Makes 6 pumpkin scones.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

I told you not to be surprised.  I have no self-control.

I saw these on Sunday, and couldn’t get them off my brain.

I am on a Pumpkin Spice binge.  I can’t get enough of it.  Maybe I’m pregnant.  No, I’m not.

The funny thing about all this Pumpkin Spice nonsense is that I have yet to have the REAL deal.  I went to Starbucks with the intent on diving in a few weeks ago, but THEN I saw the Salted Caramel Mocha, and well, if you read my post on Salted Caramel Brownies, then you can imagine what happened.

These cupcakes are great as muffins, but even better as a cupcake.  And we all know, a muffin is just a cupcake in disguise.  They are based off of William Sonoma’s Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes.  William Sonoma is like  a foodie’s paradise.  I mean, doesn’t everyone need a Quick Pop Character Design tool kit?  

I’m wondering what will catch my eye next.  I’m a little scared.  Darn you, Pinterest!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

from AnnieEats, adapted from William Sonoma

 

Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes
Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

 

For the whipped cream:
2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

 

For garnish:
Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce

 

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

 

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cool completely.

 

To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.