Breakfast, Brunch, Comfort food, Quick-breads, Sweet

Applesauce Bread

It is almost that wonderful time of year when the weather starts to cool and you ( if you are like me) are anticipating fall colors, pumpkin everything and the holidays. In my opinion, the last four months of the year are the best! The food is great, the clothes are cozy and there is always somethings to look forward to each month. Yesterday, morning was one of those “almost fall” morning where there was a crisp breeze in the air and the only thing missing was the smell of cinnamon. So, I decided to fix that and make this simple, but very satisfying quick bread. I had some homemade applesauce (courtesy my mother-in-law) and few honeycrisp apples and so I decided to make this recipe. It yields 24 muffins OR 2 larges loaves. I ended up making 12 muffins and 4 mini loaves–perfect for having some over the weekend and freezing some for later. I hope you had this recipe to you fall breakfast/snack menu!

INGREDIENTS

 4 large eggs, at room temperature

 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

 2 cups store-bought or homemade applesauce, at room temperature

2 medium apples, grated

 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for the pan

 3 cups all-purpose flour

 1 tablespoon baking soda

 1 teaspoon kosher salt

 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 2 loaf pans or place paper liners in 24 cupcake or muffin tins. I ended up making 12 muffins and 4 mini loaves.

Toss the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fit with the paddle attachment and beat until the mixture thickens and turns the color of lemons, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add first the applesauce and then the butter and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. T

Dump the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl and mix well. Stir it into the applesauce mixture and beat to combine. Add the nuts, if desired, and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pans or, if making muffins, use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon to fill the prepared tins. Bake the bread until golden brown and firm in the center, about 1 hour for loaves and 20 to 25 minutes for muffins.

Let the bread cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and set

Serve warm or room temperature. If you can resist the temptation and choose to save these treats for later, freeze muffins individually on a sheet tray, before transfering to a storage bag. For the loaves, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then with tin foil and freeze.

Breakfast, Brunch, Classics

Hot Cross Buns with Raisins and Candied Orange Peel

In my mind, I cannot celebrate Easter without an Easter lily plant ( I get one every year) and Hot Cross Buns. One of my fondest memories from growing up in India, was to buy Hot Cross Buns with my mother, right before Easter and delivering them to my Grandma. While Hot Cross Buns are not that popular in the US and certainly not in my household, I still make them, afterall, it is tradition!! Last year during the COVID-19 lockdown, I tried a recipe without yeast (remember, everyone was making sourdough and there was no yeast in the stores!!), it served its purpose, but this year when I got my hands on yeast and high quality candied orange peels (please spend the extra money to get the good kind like the FRATELLI MOTTA brand), I had no excuse but to make the buns. In the past I used a recipe that made a huge batch and no one would eat them, so now, this recipe is going to be a go to since it yields approximately 9 buns. I hope, someone out there is a hot cross bun fan and will make these soon.

Ingredients

 1/2 cup whole milk

2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast

2 Tbsp warm water

1 egg

2 Tbsp white sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed

1/2 tsp fine salt, use 1/4 tsp. if using salted butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp of ground cardamom

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

Raisins and chopped, candied orange peel (I never measure these)

For glaze:

1 egg yolk

1 tsp water

For the icing:

1 cup icing/confectioners sugar

2-3 Tbsp milk (add a little at a time )

Instructions

Heat your milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until steaming with small bubbles around the edges. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Add your yeast to 2 Tbsp. warm water (about 110° F.). Stir, then set aside to proof.

Once milk has cooled to lukewarm, add egg and stir until well combined. (*Be sure your milk has cooled sufficiently, otherwise the egg will cook in the hot milk). Add the yeast mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl add the sugar flour, salt, spices, and butter to bowl. Using your hands or a pastry fork, work the butter in to the flour until it has broken down a bit.

Add flour mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and attach the dough hook. Add milk/egg/yeast mixer to bowl. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding a bit more flour if necessary.

Add raisins and orange peel and knead until incorporated.

Remove dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Remove dough to a floured surface and divide in to 9 equal portions. Form each portion into a ball and place in a greased 9×9 square pan. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until almost doubled and puffy – 60-75 minutes (note the rise in the picture on the right).

Preheat oven to 375° F.

When buns have risen, combine 1 egg yolk with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops and sides of buns well. Bake for 20 mins.

Allow the buns to cool completely before icing.

For the icing: Add icing sugar and milk.  Add more icing sugar (or milk) as needed to make an icing of piping consistency.  Pipe crosses on the bun and let the icing set.

Serve at room temperature or microwave for 30sec to achieve that “fresh-out-of-the-oven” feel.

Breakfast, Brunch, Cupcakes, Sweet

Bibingka (Coconut-Rice Cake)

It has been a while since I have written, I blame the holidays and the post-holiday slump. In the new year, I have been trying to clear out my pantry. I had some rice flour and a can of coconut milk, and was wondering how to use them up. That is when I came across this recipe for Bibingka; it is a traditional Filipino breakfast cake. I had never heard of it before, but the ingredient list reminded me of Indian crepes or patishapta (if you are wondering what an Indian Crepe is, check out my friend’s recipe here). Anyway, the cakes came out looking beautiful, with a nice golden top. The rice flour gives it a nice nutty smell and an interesting texture; also gluten free! The coconut milk and sugar makes the cakes taste more like desert than breakfast, but who ever said you can’t have cake for breakfast? I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Ingredients:

2 cups rice flour

2 Tbsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

4 eggs

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp of ground cardamom

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Lightly grease line muffin tins (approximately 18).

In a medium bowl sift together the rice flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl beat the eggs, then add the sugar, coconut milk, butter and vanilla and combine well.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until well combined and smooth. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared tins.

Bake, for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Leave in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Breakfast, Sweet

Oatmeal Breakfast Loaf with blueberries

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As you all know by now, I always try to come up with new ways to “package” my oatmeal in the morning.  You can also tell that blueberries are really popular in my house (refer to Blueberry-Almond Oatmeal MuffinsGluten-free Blueberry Corn Muffins).  Here is my latest experiment–it consists of oatmeal and cornmeal and it low in sugar and it gluten-free.

Ingredients:

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup stone-ground, yellow cornmeal

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/8 cup of sugar + 1 Tbsp for sprinkling

2 eggs

1 cup almond milk

8 oz plain greek yogurt

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 cup blueberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix yogurt, eggs, almond milk in a large measuring cup (or bowl)

In a separate bowl, mix oats, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest, and sugar.

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Slowly fold in the wet and the dry ingredients.  Add the lemon juice and mix in thoroughly.  I like to mix the lemon juice at the end because I don’t want the milk or yogurt to curdle when I mix all the wet ingredients together.

The last step is to fold in the blueberries.

In the greased loaf pan, pour in the batter and spread it evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining 1Tbsp of sugar over the top.  This will create a golden, sugary top which is really nice for an otherwise “not-so-sweet” quick bread.

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Bake for 25 mins.  After that, you can turn on the broiler to High for 2-3 minutes to encourage the sugar to brown and the blueberries to burst!

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Let the loaf cool before using a serrated knife to slice the loaf.

Serve warm!

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Breakfast, Lifestyle

Breakfast Du Jour

 

I eat oatmeal everyday and if you read my blog, you will see that I am constantly trying to come up with creative ways of eating oatmeal for breakfast.  Usually I bake my oatmeal with fruits and nuts;  sometimes in a large baking dish like my Baked Oatmeal with Walnuts and Figs recipe, or in muffin tins/ mini bundt pans like Marmalade Muffins, Blueberry-almond oatmeal muffins or Lemon, rosemary and olive-oil cakes.  It is all about fooling the mind and making it appear as if I were eating dessert for breakfast.  However, when I don’t have time to “bake” my oatmeal ahead of time, I will eat it in its traditional porridge form.  Even then, I try to jazz it up, just to cheer myself and start the day off right.  After all,  Mom was right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Featured here is my Cherry Almond Oatmeal.  Cook the oatmeal as directed and thin it out with almond milk and honey.  Add sliced almonds and chopped cherries, and enjoy ! Make your Monday morning a little more exciting!

Breakfast, Brunch, Classics, Comfort food, Sweet

Blueberry Waffles, gluten-free

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I have this foggy memory of Saturday mornings from childhood.  My father sitting at the breakfast table, reading the newspaper and eating Eggo waffles–toasted with strawberry jam.  I think I get my love of waffles from him and I eat them like he does too.  Toasted, no butter or syrup.  If I am feeling indulgent,  I will slather on some nut butter or fruit preserve.  Waffles are now a Sunday staple, made even better because I eat my waffles while I Skype with my parents back in India.  It takes a while to make a large batch of waffles, so when I have time (which I do now, thanks to the pandemic) I make them and freeze them.  This past Sunday, I experimented with this recipe.  It is gluten-free and has dried blueberries instead of fresh.  I will be honest, the rice flour does give it a grittier texture, but when toasted, it actually lends a lovely crunch.  It suits my palate and I hope that somebody, somewhere, out there will enjoy these.  I know my Dad would!

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Ingredients:

1 cup of rice flour

1 cup almond flour

2 tsp of baking powder

2Tbsp of sugar

2 eggs

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste (you can use extract too)

6 Tbsp of dried blueberries

Method:

In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.

In a large measuring cup (I love measuring and mixing in the same vessel–less dishes) measure and mix almond milk, oil and eggs till smooth.

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Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and fold in the vanilla and blueberries.

 

 

Turn on your waffle maker and let it come to temperature.  I like to cook mine on the highest setting to get nice golden and crispy waffles.

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Once the waffle iron is hot, spray the surface with some non-stick spray and pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the iron.  Working quickly and using the back of the measuring cup (or ice-cream scoop like I did) gently nudge the batter to spread it evenly.  Close the iron and cook the waffles–I am sure your waffle maker will have an indicator to let you know that your waffles are ready.

 

 

Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.  If you are like me, I cool them down completely on a wire rack and freeze them individually.  When I want to eat them, I simply pop them in the toaster and they are ready to go!

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Breakfast, Sweet

Marmalade Muffins

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I love orange marmalade.  It is my favorite thing to slather on crunchy toast or a warm scone.  Two years ago, when we visited London, I brought back several jars of marmalade.  Now with the last jar, I thought I would try something different.  So, I decided to use it as a sweetener in my morning oatmeal muffins.   If you enjoy the sweet, bitter taste of orange marmalade, you will most certainly enjoy these.  Oh, did I mention that these are gluten-free too?!

Ingredients:

2 cups of quick-cooking oats

1 cup of almond flour

2 tsp of baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup orange marmalade for the batter, another 1/4 cup for the top of the muffins

1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

In a small bowl, heat the marmalade till it is runny, about 30-45seconds.  You will 1/2 cup fo the marmalade in the batter and reserve the rest to spoon on top of the muffin

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In another larger bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.

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In a large measuring cup, mix in yogurt, milk, vanilla, marmalade and 2 eggs.  Whisk together till everything is fully incorporated.

Mix in the wet and dry ingredients, fold to incorporate.

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Divide the batter into a lined muffin tin, you will have enough batter to make 12 muffins.  I use a 2-inch ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly.

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Use the remaining 1/4 cup “runny” marmalade (warm in the microwave if it has cooled down) and spoon (about a 1tsp) on to each muffin.

Bake for 20 minutes.

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Cool and store in an air-tight container, in the fridge, for up to a week.  Warm in the microwave before eating.  Enjoy your morning!

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Breakfast, Classics, Quick-breads, Sweet

Hot Cross Buns-no yeast

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This was a Good Friday/Easter tradition for me when I was growing up.  My mother would make them when we lived here in the United States–you can find that recipe here.  When we moved back to India, we would get them from Nahoum’s,  Kolkata’s first Jewish bakery in  Hogg Market, or better known as “New Market.”  This year, amidst the COVID19 crisis, finding yeast was impossible.   After reading a few “no-yeast” recipes, I combined a few different recipes and came up with this.  I was pleasantly surprised with the results!  Please make these buns, this week and here is hoping that next year I will have access to yeast, to make a huge batch and share with loved ones.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus an additional 2-4 tbsp of flour for the kneading process
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, make sure it’s not expired, or it won’t rise
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Zest of 1 small mandarin orange (any orange will do, the amount of zest should be approximately 1/2tsp)
  • Zest of half of 1 lemon (1/4 tsp of lemon)
  • 1 egg, the egg white goes in the dough, save the yolk for the egg wash
  • 3/4 cup 0% Greek yogurt, not regular yogurt, it will be too sticky
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 3 tablespoon raisins (but really, should you measure raisins? Just add as much as you like, but know that some might fall out of the dough during the kneading process)
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk or water

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet. If using parchment paper, spray with oil to avoid sticking.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, spices, zest, raisins and salt and whisk well.

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Add the yogurt, milk, and egg white in a bowl, mix with a fork or whisk until well combined.

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Using the additional flour, lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl, knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky, about 10 to 15 turns (it should not leave dough on your hand when you pull away).

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Divide into 8 equal balls. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

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Top with egg wash (leftover egg yolk with a few drops of water).

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Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before icing.

 

 

For the icing,  whisk the powdered sugar with milk, in a bowl, until smooth. Transfer to a small ziplock bag and cut the tip. Ice the tops of the rolls in a cross pattern.

 

 

I was not patient enough to wait as you can see from the pictures, my icing started to melt off when I applied it.  No worries, it still tastes delicious!!!

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Breakfast, Sweet

Baked Oatmeal with Walnuts and Figs

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Oatmeal is good for you.  It can also be really bland and boring.  The store-bought instant packets are also filled with sugar.  So, I resort to baking my oatmeal.  It usually add some combination of fruits (fresh or dried) and/or nuts –but the base is always the same; oatmeal, yogurt, almond milk, honey and eggs.  I bake it in a casserole dish, or in a muffin tin; it really depends on what I am in the mood for.  I found some off-season figs and just had to buy them.  I also had half a bag of walnuts left from baking a walnut cake .  So, this week, my breakfast will consist of oatmeal, walnuts and figs ! I hope you make this recipe and remember, feel free to add any kind of fruit and/or nut that you like.

Ingredients:

3 cups oatmeal

2 eggs

8 oz plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

1.5 cups of almonds milk

a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla extract (I rarely measure these!!!)

chopped walnuts and figs for the topping

drizzles of honey

Methods:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix eggs, yogurt, almond milk with cinnamon and vanilla

 

Fold in 3 cups of oatmeal

Pour mixture into a greased 7×11″ baking dish.

 

Top with chopped walnuts and figs and press down with your hands

Drizzle with as much honey as you like (maple syrup would be a great alternative)

Bake for 25 mins.

Serve warm!

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Breakfast, Brunch

Blueberry-Almond Oatmeal Muffins

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I like some variation in the morning.  Normally it is oatmeal with honey, almond milk and black pepper–yes, black pepper–try it, it tastes great! But I digress.  This is about fresh blueberries in your oatmeal muffin.  Good Morning never tasted so good.  I have tried several oatmeal muffin recipes and I have settled on this one–moist, yet a little crumbly for the almond meal.  I hope you like it, as much I did.

Yields about 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of almond meal

0.5 cups of quick cooking oatmeal

0.25 cups of AP flour

1 tbsp of baking soda

1tbsp of baking powder

2 eggs

0.5 cups of oil

0.5 cups of almond milk

0.5 water

0.25 cups of honey

zest of 1 lemon or 1tsp of lemon extract (optional)

1 pint of blueberries

sliced almonds for topping the muffins

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl

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Mix all the wet ingredients in another bowls or large measuring cup

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Slowly incorporate wet into dry.  The batter will be runny

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Fold in the blueberries

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Portion into a lined muffin pan.  There might be some extra batter, I put it in a ramekin and bake it off.  (serve this one with vanilla ice cream for a late night treat).

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Garnish the tops with sliced almonds.

Bake for 30-35 mins, till a toothpick comes out clean.

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