Pumpkin Bread

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It has been officially October for over a week and all I can think about is pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins. From picking the perfect pumpkin for a Jack-o-Lantern to finding armloads of mini pumpkins to place all over my house to whipping up our favorite pumpkin recipes, the orange fruit is forefront in my mind.

Of all the pumpkin-related activities that you can do this fall, my favorite thing to do is make pumpkin baked goods. You all know that my absolutely, positively, #1 go-to pumpkin baked good is Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, but today I’m sharing my family’s ultimate pumpkin treat.

Good Old Fashion Pumpkin Bread.

I always notice that around Labor Day, boxed pumpkin bread mix starts appearing on store shelves in anticipation of the holiday baking rush. As much as I love and use boxed bread/muffin/cake/brownie mix, I think that some things taste better when you make them from scratch… and this pumpkin bread is one of those things. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked (promise!).

This bread has three teams of ingredients and comes together very quickly in the stand mixer. You can also use a hand mixer if that’s what you have.

The first team is the dry ingredient team.

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Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Blend those together and set aside while you get the second team together.

The second team is the wet ingredient team.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, vegetable oil, and pumpkin puree. If you have homemade pumpkin puree, you are my hero and please use it here (and can you please send me some?). I always have canned pumpkin puree in my pantry from September thru January, so that’s my go-to. Beat the eggs and pumpkin together until combined.

Then, get together the third team… which is water. Yep, measure out ⅔ cup of water into a measuring cup with a spout.

And now you’re ready to make pumpkin bread (and yes, I may have forgotten to take photos but it’s easy!). With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients and water alternately, starting and ending with the flour.

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Mix the batter until just combined and pour it into two greased loaf pans with a sheet of parchment on the bottom (for easy removal). All that’s left is to bake them at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes.

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Divine!

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All that’s left is to let it cool slightly in the pans, turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely, and then slice up for your family to enjoy.

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Or you could keep it all to yourself (I won’t judge!).

 

So, kiddos, what’s your favorite pumpkin baked good?

Your pumpkin obsessed friend,

C

Pumpkin Bread

  • Servings: 20 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

3½ cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1-15oz can of pumpkin pureed – about 1⅓ cup homemade pumpkin puree

⅔ cup water

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray and place a rectangle of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan. An easy way to measure a piece of parchment that will fit is to outline the bottom of the loaf pan on the parchment and cut it out.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat together eggs, vegetable oil, and pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients and water alternatively, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and pop the pans into the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn them out onto a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely.

Enjoy!

 

Nutrition Information (1 slice):

274 calories Ÿ• 39gm carbohydrates •Ÿ 1gm fiber Ÿ• 4gm protein Ÿ• 12gm fat Ÿ• 1gm saturated fat Ÿ• 313mg sodium Ÿ• 37mg cholesterol Ÿ• 2mg iron •Ÿ 29mg calcium

Oat Bran Banana Muffins

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Seriously, who doesn’t love a good muffin?

The soft interior, a delicious crusty top, the endless varieties/flavors/mix-ins/etc. They are truly the star on any breakfast, brunch, or snack/teatime table… hence my enduring love for the muffin.

But what I don’t love about muffins is that sometimes they end up being more cupcake than muffin. Don’t get me wrong, I would never turn down a super-sized double chocolate chunk muffin (which can be a whopping 366 calories), but for every day consumption, I like my muffins with a little more substance (and a lot less calories!).

So when I had seriously overripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter, I wanted to whip up some banana nut muffins with a healthier edge. So after doing a little research and some adapting, here is a recipe for banana muffins that is not only delicious, but nutritious too!

It starts with the dry ingredients.

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Flour, oat bran (for a little nutty-ness), brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk those ingredients together until smooth – be patient, the brown sugar likes to clump a little bit.

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Then pour in the wet ingredients – skim milk, some vegetable oil, an egg, some vanilla, and a healthy splash of whiskey… yes, I do like whiskey in my banana muffins. If you don’t like to use alcohol when you cook/bake, feel free to leave it out!

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Gently stir the muffin batter until the dry ingredients just become moistened. Please don’t overmix your muffin batter… if you do, the muffins get tough and get those big air holes (which leaves you with more air and less muffin… not awesome!).

All that’s left is to add in the stars of the show!

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I folded in two thoroughly mashed, almost too overripe bananas and a half cup of pecans that I finely chopped. Again, if you don’t like pecans, swap them out for a nut you like (such as walnuts), or if you are like E, leave the nuts out all together!

Portion the batter into muffin tins lined with muffin cups… I have a passion for super cute muffin cups (pink gingham and pink flowers – yes please!).

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I used a ¼ cup ice cream scoop (#16 scoop) to make 14 muffins. You can also make about 40 mini-muffins if you use a tablespoon of batter per mini-muffin cup. The possibilities are endless!!

Bake the muffins for about 18-20 minutes until they are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Yum!

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Serve alongside your breakfast/brunch favorites or with a cup of tea or coffee as an afternoon treat!

Enjoy, kiddos!

Your muffin obsessed friend,

C

Oat Bran Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 14 standard muffins, about 40 mini muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup oat bran

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¾ cup skim milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2-3 teaspoons good-quality whiskey (optional)

2 medium-to-large overripe bananas, mashed

½ cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oat bran, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, combine milk, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla, and whiskey. Whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing gently until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  4. Add in the mashed banana and chopped pecans. Fold gently until combined. Portion out ¼ cup measures of batter into each standard muffin cup. If making mini-muffins, use 1 tablespoon of batter per mini-muffin cup. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes until the tops are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container for 3 days (they also freeze like a dream!).

Enjoy!

 

Recipe lightly adapted from: http://www.food.com/recipe/quick-oat-bran-and-banana-muffins-120465

 

Nutritional Information (1 standard muffin):

187 calories Ÿ• 28gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 2gm fiber •Ÿ 4gm protein Ÿ• 7gm fat Ÿ• 1gm saturated fat Ÿ• 253mg sodium Ÿ • 15mg cholesterol Ÿ• 1mg iron Ÿ• 123mg calcium

Nutritional Information (1 mini muffin):

65 calories Ÿ• 10gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 1gm fiber •Ÿ 1gm protein Ÿ• 3gm fat Ÿ• 0gm saturated fat Ÿ• 89mg sodium Ÿ • 5mg cholesterol Ÿ• 1mg iron Ÿ• 43mg calcium

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Happy Last Monday of October! Can you believe that Halloween is on Friday? I may need to get more candy… *burp*

Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.

Despite to proliferation of candy in my house, Halloween (to me at least) means pumpkin baked goods. And my favorite pumpkin baked good is pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

My parents discovered these nuggets of happiness during a winter festival in our downtown many, many years ago. They loved them so much and actually bought the muffin recipe book so that they could make them for the rest of their lives.

And they have. These pumpkin chocolate chip muffins have become insanely popular amongst our family and friends. They have become fixtures during our elementary school playdates, become a bonding moment with college roommates, and midnight snacks for dietetic interns.

All in all, they are pumpkin perfection. Here’s my adaptation of my favorite holiday treat.

In a skillet heated over medium heat, toast up some sliced almonds. Watch them carefully, or they’ll burn!

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A note about the type of almonds to use. My dad prefers sliced almonds. My mom prefers slivered almonds. My sister prefers no almonds. I prefer whatever gets the muffins into my mouth the fastest… and since I only had sliced almonds, that’s what I used. But feel free to use slivered almonds if you want. Follow your bliss!

In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

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Stir to combine.

Then in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can do this by hand if you want!), dump in some pumpkin puree and two eggs.

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Beat them together until combined.

Please excuse the dark, grainy photo…

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With the mixer on low, pour in some melted butter.

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Then slowly add in the dry ingredients.

When the dry ingredients are just combined, remove the bowl from the mixture and dump in the toasted slivered almonds and some mini chocolate chips.

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Stir to combine and then portion out into mini muffin tins.

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I used a tablespoon but a mini ice cream scooper would be the best to get each one the same size.

Then bake them up!

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And dig in!

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As much as I love them room temperature, they taste even better frozen (but that’s just me!). A spectacular treat for after-school snack, dessert, or midnight snack by the light of the fridge.

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Enjoy the last bit of October, kiddos.

Your pumpkin lovin’ friend,

C

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • Servings: 40-48 mini muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

½ cup of raw almonds, slivered or sliced

1⅔ cups of all-purposed flour

1 cup of granulated sugar

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon of ground allspice

1 teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of baking powder

¼ teaspoon of salt

1 heaping cup plain pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease 4 mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a skillet heated over medium heat, toss in the almonds and toast until golden brown.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or if you want to work out your arm muscles, you can mix the batter by hand!), add in pumpkin puree and eggs. Beat together until combined.
  5. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Stir until combined.
  6. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Remove from stand mixer.
  7. Fold in toasted almonds and mini chocolate chips. Using a tablespoon or a mini ice cream scoop, portion out the batter into the greased mini muffin tins.
  8. Bake the muffins for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Cool completely before serving… but they taste even better when frozen!

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Muffins by Elizabeth Alston.

Nutrition Information (1 muffin):

94 calories • 13gm carbohydrates • 1gm fiber • 1gm protein • 5gm fat • 2gm saturated fat • 63mg sodium • 17mg cholesterol • 1mg iron • 12mg calcium

Zucchini Bread

party-grad (71)These are my grandmothers. Both are forces of nature, committed to their families and communities, and they are both pretty skilled in the kitchen. The YIA-E (on the left) can whip up dinner for an army, while The YIA-C (on the right) was an amazing baker. I like to think that I get my cooking prowess from one and my baking skills from the other.

The one thing that I remember the most about The YIA-C is that every time we would go to visit and have a sleepover, we would always have zucchini bread in the morning. And this stuff was magical. The perfect balance of zucchini, sweetness, and warm bread goodness. Perfection in a loaf shape.

Now that she can’t make it anymore, the zucchini bread mantle has fallen, waiting to be picked back up. So when I saw a 2-lb zucchini at the farmer’s market, I saw it as a sign.

Zucchini bread starts with…

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…you guessed it – zucchini. You need a heaping 2 cups full, so a couple medium-sized ones will do. Or part of a huge zucchini. Your choice.

The dry ingredients are super simple – flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I actually sifted them together… I am super lazy when it comes to sifting but please don’t skip this. It gives the bread a great texture.

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For the wet ingredients, grab your stand mixer, your hand mixer, or get your exercise and use a whisk. Beat together some sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and some vanilla.

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The slowly add the dry ingredients… and don’t take a picture because you were spacing out thinking about how good this zucchini bread is going to taste.

When the batter is just combined, add in the zucchini.

IMG_4632And some walnuts. The YIA-C put walnuts in her’s and they do add a nice crunch. But if walnuts are not your thing, please feel free to leave them out.

Pour into two loaf pans and bake for about 45-60 minutes at 325.

Then you have two loaves of delicious perfection.

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A great accompaniment for coffee, tea, milk, juice, or ice cream!

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And a tribute to the woman who gave me my baking skills.

 

Your sentimental foodie friend,

C

 

Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: two loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

¾ teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1½ cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 heaping cups of zucchini, grated

1 cup of chopped walnuts, optional if you so choose

Steps:

 

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8”x4” loaf pans with non-stick spray and place parchment paper on the bottoms. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. To combine the wet ingredients, use either a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or a bowl and whisk – your choice. In a bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla and beat until combined.

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.

5. Gently fold the zucchini and walnuts into the batter. Divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool slightly, remove from the pans, and then let cool completely.

Enjoy!

 

This recipe was adapted from All Recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moms-zucchini-bread/.

Banana Nut Muffins

I love banana nut muffins. They are probably my second favorite muffin, behind the ultimate in muffin-ness, the blueberry muffin. But since I can get amazing fresh bananas all year round, banana nut muffins are my go-to favorite breakfast treat to make.

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Bananas + walnuts + whiskey + baked in a muffin shape = breakfast nirvana.

 

I took Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Banana Nut Muffin recipe and made some changes.

 

The flour mixture is basically the same – flour, baking soda, and salt.

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But I added a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Their inherent spiciness gives the muffins a wonderful depth and hint of warmth.

Then grab some semi-overripe bananas.

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I would show you the picture of the bananas in their skin to show you that the bananas should be yellow with many, many brown spots, but not over brown-black and mushy. Mushy bananas have no texture. Almost over-ripe bananas have amazing texture. Please, for the awesomeness that are your banana nut muffins, please use almost ripe bananas.

The one component that I didn’t change is the butter.

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One and a half sticks of it… this recipe makes a lot of muffins.

 

To make the muffins, grab your stand mixer and affix the whisk attachment.

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Toss in two almost overripe bananas. Try to keep your sister, who happens to think that almost overripe bananas are the best way to eat bananas, from eating them.

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And some brown sugar.

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Beat those two things together until they are completely combined.

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Then slowly add in two eggs.

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And the melted butter.

Now here is where I depart from Tyler’s recipe.

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I not only add vanilla, but a little whiskey too! Bananas and whiskey are a classic combination and the addition gives the muffins a little somethin’ somethin’.

After all the liquid ingredients are thoroughly combined, slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture with the mixer on the lowest setting.

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Or else you will have flour all over yourself, your kitchen, your cat, etc.

Now for the nuts.

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Grab yourself some walnuts (Tyler used pecans…).

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Chop into small pieces.

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And dump them into the batter along with the mashed bananas. Stir to combine.

Now comes the fun part – baking the muffins!

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Grab your favorite scooper or measuring cup and dish out the batter into muffin tins lined with muffin liners.

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Bake them at 375 degrees for 18 minutes or until they are golden brown!

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Yum!

These muffins are a delightful addition to any breakfast, brunch, or late night snack! Enjoy!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

C

Banana Nut Muffins

  • Servings: 18-20 regular-sized muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons of baking soda

½ teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

4 almost overripe bananas

1 cup of brown sugar, packed

1½ stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of whiskey

¾ cup of walnuts, chopped small

 

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. In a small bowl, mash two bananas with a fork until they are broken down but still have texture.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, toss in the other two bananas and the brown sugar. Mix until they are well combined.

5. Add in the eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and whiskey. Mix thoroughly.

6. Slowly add in the flour mixture – mix until the flour disappears and stop.

7. Fold in the mashed bananas and chopped walnuts.

8. Scoop batter into lined muffin tins. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown.

9. Serve warm or at room temperature!

Enjoy!