Archive for the ‘The Bread Basket’ Category

CARROT CAKE MUFFINS with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Liberally adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe.  I did my usual flour substitutions, reduced the sugar, and completely changed the frosting recipe.  Nicely carroty and satisfied a pack of picky eaters.

1 cup all purpose flour

¾ cup white whole wheat flour

¼ cup almond meal

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

4 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 lb. carrots)

1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 24 muffin cups (or use paper liners).

Whisk together the first eight ingredients in a medium bowl.  Beat sugars, oil and eggs in large bowl until well blended. Stir in blended dry ingredients. Stir in carrots and walnuts. Divide batter between muffin cups.  Don’t overfill.

Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool completely, then frost.  (Or frost only as you use them, which makes for easier storage.  The muffins and frosting store well in the fridge for several days.)


6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of one lemon or orange

Beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar, syrup, and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Stir in zest.

Printable version:  CARROT CAKE MUFFINS


BANANA BREAD, best so far

This is one of those recipes that I just keep tinkering with. I think I’ve got to a good place now though: added whole wheat flour and almond meal and reduced the sugar without sacrificing taste and texture.  Plus I’ve futzed with the order of things to save on dish washing.  This makes one large loaf (9.5” x 3.5”), 4 small loaves (5” x2”) or 12 muffins.

1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup almond meal (or 1/3 cup more ww flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (1/4 teaspoon if not using buttermilk)

2 large eggs

½ cup buttermilk, low fat milk or whole milk

½ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup sugar (I use a combo of granulated, brown and/or honey)

about 3 medium ripe bananas

Optional additions (choose one or two)

½ cup pecan or walnut pieces, toasted

½ cup mini-chocolate chips

½ cup raisins or cranberries

½ cup sliced raw almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease loaf pan(s) or muffin tins.

Whisk together first seven ingredients in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, beat eggs, then beat in milk, oil (use same measuring cup as milk), vanilla and sugar(s).  Add bananas, broken into chunks and mix in, mashing them as you go with either an immersion blender, potato masher or fork.  Add dry mixture and stir until just blended.  Fold in any of first three optional ingredients.  Divide evenly among prepared pan or muffin tins.  If using almonds, sprinkle them on top.

Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean:  25 – 30 minutes for muffins, 35 – 40 minutes for small loaves, 60 – 70 minutes for large loaf.  Cool 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Printable version: BANANA BREAD

FLATBREAD, two ways

This is adapted from Ben Ford’s recipe shared at epicurious in March 2009 and influenced by Crisp Rosemary Flatbread recipe in Gourmet (also posted in Smitten Kitchen) that incorporated fresh herbs.  Ben actually brought these to a party at our house this year and I’ve been making them ever since.  Makes 6 – 12”x 4” flatbreads.  Doubles easily.

You can cook these once to a nice brown and use them as crackers, or par-bake them, cool, and re-bake with toppings.  Ben’s toppings were very complicated; my toppings are usually simple and using up leftovers.

1 ¼ cups warm water (105 – 115 degrees)

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 ½ cups AP flour

1 ½ cups WW flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 – 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced fine (optional)

1 – 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced fine (optional)

2 tablespoons EVOO

½ cups grated parmesan (optional)

In a large glass measuring cup, mix together water, yeast and sugar.  Let stand about 5 minutes, until foam forms on top.  Put flours and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix until combined.  Pour in yeast mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.  Add oil and herbs and mix another 30 seconds.  Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 5 – 8 minutes.  (I usually have to stop the mixer and push escaping dough back down).  Dough should be firm and moist, but not sticky.

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl.  Turn dough a couple times to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Remove all but the bottom oven rack, and preheat oven to 450, with pizza stone or heavy baking pan inside.

On lightly floured surface, roll out about 1/6 of dough at a time into rough rectangles, about 1/8’ thick.  (Keep the rest of the dough covered with plastic wrap.)  If using parmesan, sprinkle on a couple tablespoons after rolling out most of the way, then place parchment paper on top to roll cheese into the dough as you finish.  Stack flatbreads between layers of parchment paper.

If making crackers:  just before baking, brush dough lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse or flaky salt.

Working in batches, transfer 1 or 2 flatbreads to pizza stone or baking sheet, with parchment underneath.  Par-bake for about 5 minutes until puffy but still somewhat pale OR bake fully for 8 – 10 minutes until mostly browned.  If cooking two together, you may have to switch positions of flatbreads on the baking sheet partway through to achieve more even browning.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Serve flatbread crackers with dip of choice or as accompaniment to soup or salad.

To add toppings:

Assemble desired sautéed or thinly sliced vegetables and/or cooked meats, sauce and cheese (you can’t use anything that is too juicy, so strain the tomato sauce and vegetables and drain any meats).  My favorite is mushrooms, shallots and spinach with pesto and fontina cheese.  As with a pizza, spread sauce to within an inch of the edge of a fully cooled par-baked flatbread OR brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle vegetables/meats/cheeses on top.  Brush edges of dough with olive oil.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven on preheated stone or baking sheet until cheese has melted, 6 – 8 minutes.

To serve, it’s fun to add a dollop of lightly dressed micro greens or arugula on top.  Then, cut crosswise into slices and serve immediately.



This was adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted from Gourmet.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter pieces in with two knives. Stir in the cheddar and sour cream until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Pat it out to a circle, 1/2-inch thickness on a very well-floured counter.  Cut into wedges.  Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden on top.

Sourcream & Cheddar Biscuits printable version.