Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spiced Apple Bread

This recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking book. I added some spices to give it more depth and I think it turned out great! You can supplement prune, apricot, cranberry and much more in place of apple.

Preheat oven to 350˙
Sift together in a medium bowl 1 1/2 c flour, 1/2 t salt, 1 t baking soda, 1 T cinnamon, 1 1/2 t nutmeg*. Add 1 1/2 c flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream 1/4 c shortening/butter/margarine with 1/2 c sugar. Beat in 1 egg. Then add 3/4-1 c of apple sauce/chopped apples/grated apples** and sifted ingredients alternately into the large bowl. Add 1 c buttermilk***. Stir just until everything is blended. Do not over stir. Pour into greased loaf pan and put in the oven for 1 1/4 hours.

*I added the spices tot he recipe. If you would rather just have the apple bread, don't add the spices. When I made it, I didn't measure. This is about what I added. Adjust at the end to your taste before baking.
**When working with the apple, do what you would like. However, from past experience, we once had grated apple in a pie and it was like eating hair. I've never had it in bread, but I would make sure that if you do choose to grate the apple, make sure the pieces are small, like grated cheese, and not long. I used my homemade applesauce recipe without the cinnamon.
***If you don't have buttermilk and don't want to buy any, take 1 cup of milk and add 1 T of vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This is my famous Banana Bread recipe with Chocolate Chips added in for a little extra sweet taste. It's considered a quick break because no yeast is involved, so it's fairly easy to fast to make. It's always a crowd pleaser, and during college I was often asked to bring loaves back after we'd been on fall or winter break. Everyone likes it!

Heat oven to 350˙. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of flour (keep an extra 3/4 cup to the side for later), 2/3 cup of sugar, 2 t baking powder, 1/2 t baking soda, 1/4 t salt. Mix together thoroughly. Add 2-3 mashed bananas, 1/3 c shortening/margarine/butter, 2 T milk. Mix thoroughly for about 1-2 minutes (hand or stand mixer) or until completely combined by hand. Add 2 beaten eggs and 3/4 c flour (set aside earlier). Add 1/2-1 c chocolate chips and/or 1/4 c chopped nuts if you so choose. Grease and flour a bread pan and add mixture. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Careful not to over cook or else the bread will be tough. I advise checking on it after 50 minutes and if it needs more time add it in increments of 5 or 10 depending on how much batter was on the toothpick. When the banana bread is done, allow to cool on a cooling rack for about 5-10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and allow to finish cooling on the rack.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Homemade Applesauce

With my Jazz Pandora station playing all the great hits of Michael Buble, Rosemary Clooney and Billie Holiday I got to baking in the kitchen this morning. There are TWO recipes, so far. I began by making homemade Applesauce, a very simple recipe with so many variations, then whipped up a quick Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. These are great recipes for those busy mornings where you have a laundry list of things to do but want something delicious and healthy to snack on later. Each recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, and bakes between 50 minutes and 3 hours. Set the timer on your oven or iPhone and check some things off that list, while the aromas fill the house! Bon App├ętit!


This was my Grandma Lucy's recipe that I've adapted a few ways. Take your pick, depending on what kind of time you have!

Peel and chop apples, (as many as you'd like, or will fit into your crock pot), discarding cores. Place in the crock pot on low and allow to bake until extremely soft (2-3 hours). Use a whisk or potato smasher or whatever you have on hand, and smash the apples to the consistency you prefer. Add cinnamon, as much or little as you please, mix. Taste. If you like your applesauce sweet you can add sugar but I strongly advise adding a little at a time and tasting as you go. Once you have the taste you want, allow the applesauce to cook for just a bit longer, 15-30 minutes, until you're completely pleased! Enjoy hot, cold, or warm. Freeze some for later, or serve it all up for lunch or dinner!

This is a great one to do with older kids, and younger (if you're careful with what tasks they can do). My grandmother taught me this way, and when I have the time I love doing it.
Heat oven to 350˙. Wash apples and cut in half. Core the centers and make sure the stem is removed. Do NOT peel. Fill an baking sheet (with sides/rim) with the apples flat side down. They can touch, get as many on as you can without overcrowding too much. Drizzle some water over them, about 2-3 Tablespoons. Bake 10 minutes or until the center of the apples are soft. Remove tray, carefully scrape and scoop the apple out of the peel, taking with you the color of the peels (that's why you leave the peel on) and put it in a bowl. Depending on the type of apple you use, your applesauce can end up being a traditional tan color, or end up a pink or even red. It's beautiful to serve. Dispose of the peels, and continue this process of baking the apples, scooping and putting it in the bowl. Some of the apples may take longer, so be patient. When you have all the apples cooked you can either leave it chunky, or put it through a food processor to make it a puree. Add sugar and cinnamon to your liking. Enjoy!

Suggestions for types of apples to use: Gala, Macintosh, Red Delicious, Melrose, Pink Lady (will produce a pink sauce if done in the oven!), Fuji

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

This is a great, quick coffee cake to make for any morning. It takes 35 minutes to bake, and in that time you can do so many thing! Get the kids up, take a shower, make the bed, clean the house, read the news paper, take a nap... I love this recipe, from The Joy Of Cooking and make it a few times a month. I hope you enjoy it!

Preheat oven 350˙.

Combine in Medium bowl: (Dry ingredients)
2 c sifted Flour (you don't have to sift it, but if you do it's lighter)
2/3 c sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine in Large Bowl: (Wet ingredients)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 beaten egg
1/2 c yogurt (I used greek)
1/3 c light corn syrup
3/4 c raisin (optional), also try apples

Blend Dry into Wet

Pour into greased 8x8 pan

Streusel Topping:
2T Flour
2T Butter
5T Sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle topping on batter

Bake for 35 minutes

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bread Chicken with Parmesan Baked Acorn Squash

Here's a great start to fall dinner! It's simple and will have everyone saying 'Yumm!!'. The cost is quite low too. Coming in at about $3 a person, if not less!

Cut acorn squash in half, de-seed and cut into thin 1/2in to 1 inch thick slices. Place a greased pan with lightly coat with olive oil, grated parmesan, salt, pepper and thyme (if wanted). Bake at 400˙ for 25-35 minutes or until brown and soft.

While the squash is cooking, in the last 10-15 minutes, begin to make the couscous (follow the directions on the box, it will take approximately 8 minutes to make) and coat chicken breast with a blend of bread crumbs and Mrs. Dash's Table Blend (or whatever herb blend you have on hand). Fry in 1-2 Tablespoons of EVOO and Butter.

Dab the chicken breast to remove any extra oil, and place on a plate with the acorn squash and couscous! Drizzle couscous with a bit of EVOO and salt. Enjoy!

The acorn squash recipe was taken from Real Simple.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved