Banana Nut Muffin with spelt & emmer flours

While I have been doing some minor baking, I haven’t posted because my camera-computer communication system seems to have broken down. In other words, I don’t know what I’m doing if the slightest thing goes wrong or doesn’t work. But, somehow, I’m back on track.

Also, as I may have mentioned previously, due to a tumble I took in Hawaii 2 years ago, I have to use more of the electronic conveniences than I did before. At first—and for some time—this bothered me and I didn’t feel like baking. I’m getting over that phase and have decided to embrace the modern. For example, that means no—or very little—hand kneading, which had been something I very much enjoyed.

But this recipe for Banana Nut Muffins with Spelt and Emmer Flours, is from a spoon bread recipe anyway. No kneading required. The following is a take-off on the Banana Bread recipe in The New Laurel’s Kitchen (1986, page 317). I liked it because she only used whole wheat flour. No white flour. I used spelt and emmer flours in my rendition.

Banana Nut Bread  with spelt & emmer flours

Banana Nut Bread with spelt & emmer flours

Ingredients:

Makes 12 muffins

1/3 cup salted butter, softened

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup spelt flour

½ cup emmer flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

3 very ripe large bananas, mashed

1lemon, juiced

1 ½ cup chopped pecans and walnut mix

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Put 12 muffin cups into muffin pan.

Cream softened butter and sugar with mixer at medium speed.

Sift together the flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.

Add mashed bananas and lemon juice and mix until well blended.

Divide dough evenly in 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

RESULTS: As you might be able to tell from the photograph, the muffins have lots of nuts in them. They are also moist because I kept the bananas roughly mashed. If you look carefully at the photo, you might be able to see some banana in the muffin. These can be eaten with butter, but are also tasty without anything on them. This is the second batch I’ve made in less than 2 weeks, so I can vouch for them!

If you have a whole grain bread or dessert recipe you’d like to share, please let us know what it is. It’s always fun to learn about new and healthier breads, muffins, and other treats.

Enjoy!

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Dorothee’s Bourbon Pound Cake with Emmer and Spelt Flours

I have had this recipe for more than 30 years.  When visiting a friend in Colorado those many years ago, she made this for us and shared the recipe.  A marvelous pound cake.  This is the perfect dessert to take when you are going to a pot luck or whatever. It travels easily and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t thoroughly enjoy it.

Following what has become my normal baking routine, I substituted heritage flours for the standard white flour.  However, I didn’t change the sugars.  This cake wasn’t an experiment; I wanted it as a holiday dessert. Therefore, I didn’t substitute agave for white sugar.  The problem was—since I wasn’t sure how the added moisture of the agave would affect the cake—I didn’t want to mess it up by making the dough too moist and the cake too dense or soggy. Besides, if I had to redo the cake, I would have had to run out to buy more eggs!  There was no time for that!

Yield: 1 pound cake or 3 loaf size cakes

Dorothee's Bourbon Pound Cade

Dorothee’s Bourbon Pound Cade

Ingredients:

8 eggs

2 ¾  cups + 2 Tbl granulated sugar

1 lb butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla extract – used my vanilla extract with a vodka base

2 tsp almond extract

1/3 cup bourbon – used Southern Comfort instead

1 cup emmer flour

2 cups spelt four

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease angel food pan

Separate egg whites and yolks

Beat    8 egg whites until firm

¾ cups sugar

             Put aside

Cream  1 lb butter

2 cups sugar + 2 Tbl

Add        8 egg yolks

                Put aside

Combine  2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp almond

1/3 cup Southern Comfort (or bourbon)

                    Put aside

Combine   1 cup emmer & 2 cups spelt flours in a medium sized bowl

Put aside

 

Alternate  the combined vanilla, almond, and Southern Comfort,

the combined 3 cups of flour,

and, finally, the butter, sugar & yolks mixture

Fold batter into egg whites

Bake 1 ½ hours in angel food tin.

After baking place cake upside down on a sturdy bottle until it’s cool.

375 degrees and decrease 1 Tbl flour only at 5,000 feet altitude

Final Note: Delicious!  I had made this pound cake for years using a good bourbon, and loved it.  However, in the last year or two, I’ve substituted Southern Comfort with excellent results.  Even friends, who normally didn’t eat much or any dessert, ended up asking for a second piece.  This will certainly please your guests.

Enjoy!

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The Sweet Side of Baking

My sister and her sister-in-law, Jessie, came for a short visit, so I wanted to make something special for them—something I was sure they would like even though I’d never made it before.  In perusing Jo Hiestand’s Cider, Swords & Straw, celebrating British customs cookbook, I found two recipes I had to make: Midnight Chocolate Cake (pp.360-361) and Eggnog Cranberry Tea Bread (p 368).  As expected, they were both great hits.

My altered recipes are below, but go to Jo’s cookbook (http://www.johiestand.com/) for the original recipes and for more information on fall British customs—as well as her intriguing British mystery series.

Midnight Chocolate Cake

Midnight Chocolate Cate with Emmer Flour

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup emmer flour

1 ¾ cups sugar

¾ cup unsweetened baking cocoa

1 ¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 ¼ cup almond milk

¾ cup butter

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract (made with brandy)

Filling:

2 large eggs, separated, preferably at room temperature

2 ½ cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup water

2 sticks butter, softened

2 square unsweetened chocolate; melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting:

[your favorite chocolate butter frosting—I used the one on Hersey’s cocoa can]

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease 2-9 inch round cake pans; coat lightly with flour.

Cake:

—  In large bowl, combine dry ingredients: flours, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking poweder, and salt.

—  Mix almond milk, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter.

— Blend wet ingredients in with dry ingredients.  Mix until smooth.

— Pour into cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of cakes comes out clean.

— Set on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove pans and allow to cool on wire racks.

— Wrap cakes in saran wrap then tin foil and put in freezer over night or at least for a couple of hours

—  After frozen cut each cake into 2 horizontal layers-  this is much easier after the cake is frozen.  However, you can skip freezing the cake and simply slice each one into 2 horizontal layers, the freezing just make this part easier.

— You now have 4 cake layers.

Filling:

—  In electric mixer bowl, beat egg whites to peaks

— Gradually sprinkle in ¼ cup powdered sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and white stand in stiff peaks.

— Melt butter with chocolate together in microwave, stir well. Let cool slightly

—  In a separate bowl, gradually mix remaining sugar with egg yolks, water, butter, melted chocolate and vanilla.

— Fold in egg white mixture, using rubber spatula.

Assemble cake:

— Spread the filling between the cake layers.  I felt the need to use 3 toothpicks to hold the layers in place because I didn’t make the cake surface flat.  That is, I forgot to slice off the slight dome that forms with a cake bakes; having a nice flat surface on each side of the cake makes for a more symmetrical final presentation.

— Frost the entire outside of the cake with your chosen chocolate frosting.

Enjoy with ice cream or whipped cream along side of slice of cake.

Eggnog Cranberry Tea Bread

Eggnog Cranberry Tea Bread with Emmer Flour

Eggnog Cranberry Tea Bread with Emmer Flour

I pretty much followed Jo’s recipe for this fun spoon bread.  The only changes I made were the substitution of

  • 1 ¼ cup emmer flour for the all-purpose flour and
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour for the whole wheat flour.

Also, after the 45 minutes of baking time recommended, my bread was still so unbaked that I added another 23 minutes and increased the temperature to 375 degrees.  Your oven may vary, just be sure to use a toothpick to poke into the center of the bread when you think it’s done.  The toothpick should come out clean.

ENJOY!  We all need a special dessert or sweet bread at some time.  Try these, you’ll be happy you did.

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A New Look at British Cooking

A friend of mine, Jo Hiestand, writes two fabulous mystery series set in village England. (You can find her at http://www.johiestand.com/.)  Her Taylor and Graham series highlights different British customs and holidays.  Her readers requested more information on the holidays and the foods favored for each.  A recipe book, Cider, Swords & Straw (subtitled: celebrating British customs), was her answer to their requests.   The book’s chapters on British holidays and cherished foods are organized monthly with full recipes given for each food mentioned.

Full disclosure here, I have a long standing distrust of English foods.  Somehow I had learned early on that their food was bland and boring, i.e., something to be avoided.  Since I acquired this book, however, I’ve decidedly changed my mind.  So far I have only tried a few recipes, but I—and my family and friends—have enthusiastically enjoyed each dish.  As a result, I’ve decided to try one or more recipes each month and report on my new food adventure into traditional British foods, as given in Jo Hiestand’s book Cider, Swords & Straw.  Some items will be breads or muffins, but others not.  I will chronicle my food journey here.

By the way, if you’ve followed my bread blog in the past, you know I often cannot make a recipe without changing something.  If I do this, I’ll alert you to the change.  All original recipes, of course, can be obtained in her book.

I hope you come along with me and try some of these recipes.  If you do, let me know what your reaction was, any changes you made, and how you and yours enjoyed (or not) the results.

I started with the September chapter and made Lentil Cream Soup (p. 330), Lemon Plus Muffins (p 338), Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake (p 340), and Scotch Whisky Oatmeal Cookies (p 346).  The first three were quite successful, the fourth—the Scotch Whisky Oatmeal Cookies—was just so-so.  The latter may have been my fault; I replaced the flour with white whole wheat flour and the ½ cup of granulated sugar with ¾ of ½ cup of blue agave.  If you try this one, let me know what happened with your cookies!

Here are the Lentil Cream Soup and Lemon Plus Muffins I made.  For the cake, I followed her recipe exactly.

 Lentil Cream Soup:

The first time I made this soup (it was so popular, I already had to make it again!), I pretty much followed the recipe as given.  However, I did add more lentils, and whipping cream, and replaced the chicken stock with veggie broth.  Also, rather than slice the vegetables, I put everything through the food processor.  Since I fell in Hawaii (great trip otherwise!)

Lentil Cream Soup

Lentil Cream Soup

and messed up by back, etc., I am now into seriously trying to simplify cooking steps and ease the amount of time I have to stand in one place.  The food processor works wonderfully well and I highly recommend it for making this soup.

Ingredients:

2 cups lentils

¼ pound carrots

¼ pound onions

2 stalks celery

1 small turnip

2 Tbl butter

4 cups vegetable broth

2 ½ cups almond milk (you can use regular milk)

1 round tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 cup whipping cream

 Directions:

Rinse the dried lentils in a colander.

Cut up all vegetables, using the food processor’s slicer attachment.

Melt butter in large pot and add vegetables.

Cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring as needed to keep them from sticking.

Add stock, milk, lentils and seasonings.

Bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils and vegetables are cooked—at least 30 minutes or as lentils require.

Add cream—carefully and slowly to avoid curdling the cream.

Garnish with parsley before serving.

Results:

A big hit with everyone.  Simple ingredients, but the soup has a come-back-for-more character.

Lemon Plus Muffins:

I love lemon in cookies, pies, breads, muffins, whatever.  Often, however, I am disappointed with the strength of the lemon flavor.  Not so with these wonderful creations.  Lots of full, tart lemon flavor.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Muffins:

1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour

¾ cup sugar

1 Tbl grated lemon peel

1 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

8 oz Greek lemon yogurt

6 Tbl butter, melted and cooled

1 egg

1 Tbl lemon juice

Glaze: [note: do NOT skip the glaze, it adds much of the lemon’s flavor to the muffins]

1/3 cup lemon juice

¾ cup sugar

2 tsp grated lemon peel

Directions for Muffins:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In large bowl mix the 5 dry ingredients above and make a well in the center.

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, butter, egg and lemon juice.

Pour the liquid mixture into the center of the dry mixture.

Stir just until blended.

Pour batter into muffin tin lined with muffin/cupcake cups.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until done. [test with toothpick, which should come out clean]

Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer onto wire rack.

Pierce 6-8 holes in each muffin.

Generously drizzle each muffin with HOT glaze.

Serve at room temperature.

Directions for Glaze:

In small saucepan, combine and cook the glaze ingredients over low heat.

Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves.

Results:

Fabulous.  Has to be one of my, now, all-time favorite lemon muffins!

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Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies with Emmer & Whole Wheat Flours

I have a real weakness for chocolate chip cookies and needed something for a special occasion this weekend.  I found these Black Forest Chocolate Chip Cookies in A Baker’s Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies by Dede Wilson (page 39). They are—as the name implies—a chocolate cookie with a twist. And, of course, mine are a further modified version of these modified cookies!

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies with Emmer & Whole Wheat Flours

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies with Emmer & Whole Wheat Flours

I used emmer flour and whole wheat flour versus standard white flour but stayed with the white sugar.  Next time I will try agave; however, since I need to take these to someone else, I thought that—at least with the sugars—I’d go more traditional.

Also, I make my own vanilla extract using either vodka or brandy in a 4 oz bottle with one complete vanilla bean per bottle.  In this case, the vanilla extract I used was the one made with brandy.

Yield: about 5 dozen medium sized cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup dried tart cherries, chopped

½ cup Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)

1 1/3 cups plus 1 Tbl emmer flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp almond extract

2 jumbo eggs lightly beaten

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Microwave the chopped cherries and Kirschwasser for 60 seconds. Let sit for 15 minutes so that the cherries have time to absorb the Kirschwasser.

Mix flours, baking soda, and salt together in a medium-size bowl.

In an electric mixer’s large bowl beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy (2 minutes). Add sugars gradually; beat until light and fluffy (3 minutes).  Slowly add extracts, then eggs, scraping down sides of bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture; mix until just blended.  Stir in plumped cherries, including 1 Tbl of remaining liquid, then chocolate chips.

Cover with wax paper and the a tight layer of tinfoil over the bowl.

Wilson says to chill for at least 2 hours.  I put it in the refrigerator overnight and baked the cookies the next day.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Drop rounded tablespoons of chilled dough onto sheets.  Bake about 12 minutes.

Put on racks to cool completely.

Final Note: Delicious!  The chocolate does appear to overpower the cherry flavor somewhat—but what chocolate lover would say that was a problem?

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Can You Help with Nordic Bread Recipes?

After some time being off this blog, I would like to delve into certain whole grain breads.

I am looking for authentic Nordic Bread recipes – whole grain only.  Do you know of any?  Do you have any?  Would you share?  I read about these wonderful breads – particularly rye breads and even barley breads – but the recipes elude me.

I also have a German food lover in the family, and I remember the fantastic breads we had when we traveled in Germany.  Any good whole grain, traditional recipes there?

Hope to hear from you!

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The Southern Most Bake Shop in the US – The Big Island, Hawaii

The southern most bake shop in the US (the Big Island, Hawaii)

The southern most bake shop in the US (the Big Island, Hawaii)

This was a delightful bakery with restaurant. They had wonderful classic bakery products as well as Hawaiian sweet breads. Sadly, however, we didn’t see any whole grain breads.

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