Posts Tagged ‘Nuts’

Carrot Bread

April 6, 2011

Sliced

Last night after dinner I wanted to bake. It wasn’t that I wanted a specific food, I just wanted to bake. The problem was that without wanting something specific it was difficult to settle on a recipe. Another hurdle was finding a recipe that used ingredients that I had on hand.  The final factor was I didn’t want three dozen cookies or an entire cake. I decided to log onto Cookie Madness to see if anything would grab me. The first thing I did was go to the section “Scaled Down Recipes”.  This carrot bread recipe was the first recipe that I saw and I had all the ingredients!

The bread is baked in two 3″x5″ loaf pans.  Just perfect for a household of two! The batter rises to make a nice dome, and the top has just a bit of crust. The slight crustiness might be my favorite part of the bread. Nuts, carrots, and spices on the moist inside. What’s not to like?

No mixer is required, but you do have to grate some carrots. Otherwise this comes together really fast. I chose not to make the icing and I don’t really think it needs it unless you’re looking for more of a carrot cake like experience. This worked well for me since I wasn’t looking for something super sweet.

You can find the recipe here.

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Apricot-Orange Shortbread Bars

March 7, 2011

Apricot Orange Shortbread Bars

If I could only have one cookie for the rest of my life this might be the one. Statements like that are so melodramatic but it manages to convey how much I love these bars. Prior to eating one of these I might have told you I don’t like apricots. Ha! That’s obviously not true! I would have said yes, I like shortbread, and I adore anything almond. What I’ve learned is that the three together are a heavenly combination.

I used to use only Hero brand apricot preserves for these, but I’ve discovered that there is something different about those preserves and they aren’t as good as they used to be. My recommendation for preserves is to choose a brand with the least number of ingredients on the label, and more fruit than sugar if possible. These bars were made with Bonne Maman French preserves. Next fall when the apricots are plentiful I’m hoping I can find the time to make my own. The Bonne Maman preserves are wonderful, but as much as I like them I’d like to figure out a less expensive alternative.

This recipe can be found at Epicurious.

Basic Granola

December 4, 2009

Granola is something I’ve always intended to make, but have never gotten around to actually making until now. I rarely purchase packaged granola because I thought I was the only one here who eats it. The push finally came when I started crumbling up my crunchy Kashi bars and sprinkling them on top of my yogurt or cottage cheese. I knew this was a waste of my Kashi bars and that I could easily make my own granola.

In the past I’ve used the excuse that I didn’t have the right ingredients for one recipe or another. Do you know what? I don’t think there are the ‘right’ ingredients. If you use what you have on hand, chances are pretty good that you’ll come up with a pretty good granola. I did, and guess what? I’m not the only one who eats granola. Apparently if you have good homemade granola around other people will eat it too. Like my husband, who ate a startling amount of this while I was gone yesterday.

I had used some ingredients that have been hanging around in my cupboard for awhile. Like organic brown rice syrup, creamed honey from the farmer’s market, and sesame seeds all of which were leftover from other baking projects. Then there were the almonds and oatmeal which I always have on hand, and the pecans which I was lucky to have.

This is a conglomeration of a number of recipes, using a conglomeration of ingredients from my cupboard. The only thing I bought just for this were the raw sunflower seeds. There are a few of those leftover for a future baking project.

While this is full of good stuff, I don’t pass this off as health food. No doubt there are a lot of calories lurking here with all the sweeteners, nuts, and coconut oil. But, a few sprinkles on top of my yogurt won’t be too terrible for me and I’ll enjoy every crunchy bite.

Basically Baked Granola (Adapted from numerous recipes.)

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. sesame seeds
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/3 c. brown rice syrup
1/4 c. creamed cinnamon honey
3/4. golden brown sugar
3/4 c. almonds
1 1/4 c. pecans
1 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. coconut oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 1/2 sheet cake pan with parchment paper. Mix everything together in a large bowl as evenly as possible. Spread the mixture onto the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes stirring every 10-15 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully so that they don’t become too toasted. Use the parchment paper to transfer the mixture to a rack to cool completely. When cooled you might have some big clumps of granola you want to break up before storing.

Super Simple Sticky Buns

June 22, 2009
Super Simple Sticky Buns

Super Simple Sticky Buns

PJ Hamel from King Arthur Flour recently wrote about these rolls on the Baker’s Banter blog. As soon as I read her entry I knew I would have to make these sooner rather than later. I believe the recipe was inspired by one  in the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Last winter I made numerous loaves of bread from the book, but I haven’t tried any of the sweeter breads from there until now.

This recipe is “ridiculously” simple to make. I didn’t have any of the Sticky Bun Sugar, or Baker’s Cinnamon Sugar so I made the substitutions suggested in the recipe. You’ll find the recipe here. PJ’s blog entry about how to make them is here. You’ll also notice she recorded a You Tube video about making them.

You can  mix these up with a big spoon and a 6 quart container. No kneading. No kidding. I chose to leave my pecans in halves instead of chopping them. I knew that not everyone would want the nuts and they would be easier to pick off that way and share. I recommend only making what you’ll serve warm. We all agreed that they’re excellent warm out of the oven, but I didn’t like the texture of the topping when I reheated one to eat the next day. I will definitely make these again, and my 19 year old son wondered if he could make them on his own in his new apartment. The answer is, definitely! Go for it!!

I have more dough in the fridge that I could use to make challah bread, more sticky buns, or I might see what I think of regular cinnamon rolls out of the dough. They are so good and so easy! I might not ever make sticky buns the ‘hard’ way again. Thanks to PJ from King Arthur Flour, and Jeff and Zöe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

When the Weather Outside is Frightful….

December 14, 2008
Cranberry Crunch Cookies

Cranberry Crunch Cookies

We bake!! We’re in the midst of a snowstorm as I type this. What does one do during a snowstorm? Bake, read or quilt, or course! The house smells wonderful right now thanks to this delicious recipe http://oatmealcookie.typepad.com/the_oatmeal_cookie_blog/2008/10/cranberry-crunch-cookies.html from the Oatmeal Cookie Guy. He won a contest with this recipe and it’s easy to understand why. Even though I had to make some substitutions and use ingredients on hand these are clearly winners. They are crunchy and full of flavor from the dried cranberries, orange zest, nuts and vanilla. My substitutions included toasted pecans for the almonds and plain white sugar instead of the Turbinado sugar.
As the wind howls and the snow flies I’m grateful for my warm, wonderful smelling home!

While the wind howls, the snow flies, and the temperature plummets, this little woodpecker waits patiently between gusts for his turn at the feeder.

Waiting for his turn at the feeder.

Waiting for his turn at the feeder.