Blueberry Banana Bread

Quick breads are so easy and satisfying to make.  This recipe is a direct offshoot of my Grandmother’s Banana Bread which I blogged about in 2012.  It’s not too high in sugar and includes some healthy rolled oats and blueberries.  Please try it and let me know how it goes.  Don’t worry about exact measurements for this one, it’s practically foolproof!

Blueberry Banana Bread

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 very ripe banana

1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen

3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the baking pan(s) with a good smear of butter; this recipe works well in three mini loaves or as muffins.

Begin by measuring the rolled oats into a bowl or jug like the one pictured.  Add the buttermilk to the oats, stir and let this combination sit while you gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients.  The buttermilk will tenderize the oats.

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl and add the 3/4 cup sugar and the banana.  Mash the banana with a fork and mix well.  Add the eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until well combined and relatively smooth.  Now add the oats/buttermilk mixture and stir it all up.

Add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the bowl.  Begin to mix the dry ingredients in gently and then add the blueberries and continue to mix gently until just combined.

Pour the batter into prepared pan(s) and smooth out the top.  Combine the 3 Tablespoons turbinado sugar and the cinnamon in your 1/4 cup measuring cup and sprinkle this all over the top.  Turbinado sugar has larger crystals than white sugar and will give a wonderfully crunchy top.  Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out to continue to cool.

 I couldn’t believe it when my husband said he thought it might even be better than banana bread!  The crumb is tender and moist and the crunchy top really sets it off.

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Almond Olive Oil Cake

20161204_132451Two of my favorite ingredients in one delicious recipe make a lovely bake.  I found this cake in an advertisement for olive oil in Food Network magazine (thanks Anna!) and felt sure it would be a winner.  It turned out to be a moist cake with an even crumb and delightful crunchy crust.  It is very similar to a pound cake, but without the dairy products.

Almond Olive Oil Cake

recipe from Pompeian Olive Oil

4 large eggs

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup almond flour (also known as almond meal read more about it here, find it with the ‘healthy’ grains and flours)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk.

20161204_132620Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a bundt pan for baking

Combine the eggs and sugar and mix on medium- high speed until they become pale yellow, thick and creamy.  This will take about 3 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the olive oil in a stream.  Add the almond and vanilla extracts.  Reduce mixer speed to low.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt.  This is important because almond flour tends to be lumpy.  Alternately add this dry ingredient mixture and the almond milk half at a time. Do not over beat at this point – I finished incorporating the last addition by hand with a rubber spatula.

20161204_145104Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  This will take 50 to 70 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

You can add a glaze if you choose using 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk or citrus juice (I used lime juice) mixed with 2 cups confectioners sugar.  Yum.

20161204_152351

 

Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

I love baking special treats for birthdays and my son always asks for chocolate cake.  He loves a big layer cake with chocolate frosting and has had the same cake for the past three years.  This year he agreed to cupcakes for a small change.  I used the easiest chocolate cake recipe EVER – which also happens to be vegan.  These cupcakes were topped with rich fudge frosting and kit-kats for that extra chocolate touch.20160902_192930

I blogged about this recipe when my son was three years old, and he just turned nine.  Thank you to anyone out there who has followed my adventures in the kitchen!  Your kind words and enthusiasm keep me trying new things.  (My husband thanks you too.)20160902_191121

Here’s the link to Deadly Good Vegan Chocolate Cake.

The recipe for the frosting is completely brilliant and found on the awesome blog Smitten Kitchen.  It’s really a basic buttercream, but unsweetened baking chocolate is substituted for some of the butter which makes it super chocolately.  Here’s the link for that recipe – scroll down to the bottom of her post to find the frosting.