Category Archives: Baking

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Time for breakfast! 

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Whats that?  You say this looks like a cupcake?

It is.  A cinnamon roll cupcake.  And since you eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast, you can certainly eat these cupcakes.

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See what I did there?  Cake for breakfast!  You’re welcome.

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Have you seen these Frosting Creations packets from Duncan Hines?  I was able to turn regular butter cream frosting into cinnamon roll flavored frosting without breaking a sweat.

I think you’re supposed to use a regular can of frosting, but I thought I’d make my own.

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 A moist, soft yellow cake with a sweet and spicy cinnamon filling, topped with cinnamon roll frosting and a cinnamon sugar drizzle. 

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Like I said, you’re welcome. 

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Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

For cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp room temperature butter
  • 3/4 + 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk

For filling & drizzle:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • splash of milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Set this mixture aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Mix for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and egg yolk, mixing well between each addition.
  5. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter and sugar.  Mix well between each addition.
  7. Pour batter into a muffin tin that has been lined with paper liners, or sprayed well with cook spray.  Fill each cup 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.
  8. To make the filling, microwave the butter in a small bowl until it is just beginning to melt.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon and mix until combined.
  9. Scoop 1/2 tsp of filling mixture into each cupcake.  You will not use all the filling.  Save remaining filling to make the drizzle.
  10. Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown, and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. 
  11. Add a splash or two of milk to the remaining filling mixture to thin it out.  This may cause the mixture to look ‘curdled’ but this is just the butter congealing back to its solid form  If this happens, microwave for 5 seconds.  Mix this well and set aside until you are ready to frost the cupcakes.
  12. When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost using the frosting you create below.  I used a plastic ziplock bag. 
  13. Pour the drizzle into a small ziplock back.  Cut a very small hole in the corner.  This mixture will be pretty runny.  Swirl the drizzle over the top of the cupcakes.

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Cinnamon Roll Butter Cream Frosting

makes enough for 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • Frosting Creations packet, Cinnamon Roll flavor

Directions

  1. Cream butter using an electic mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.
  3. Continue adding powdered sugar until you get a consistency you like.
  4. Add flavor packet and beat icing for 1-2 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
  5. Frost cupcakes as directed above.

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Amish Friendship Bread

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I love my friends.  I don’t know where I would be without them.  I’m not talking about those acquaintances that you see every now and again, although I like them a lot, too.  I’m talking about those few girls or guys who you can tell anything to and you know they will have your back.

Those people who you can go months without talking to, but pick right up like you didn’t skip a beat.

Those people who have seen you at your worst, but still stand by your side.

Those people who would do anything fo you, and you wouldn’t hesitate to do the same. 

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And those friends deserve this bread.

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My coworker brought these bags of Amish Friendship Bread starter to work and handed them out.  She gave one to me specifically because I’m “the baker.”  DSC_0239 (1024x681)

Yesterday was baking day.  I’m going to make a few more friends by sharing this bread with them. DSC_0242 (1024x681)

The idea of the starter kind of freaks me out.  I mean, you leave milk, flour and sugar sitting on your counter for 10 days?  Sounds…uh, not delicious.

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But trust me, when you bake up the bread, it has a slightly sourdough taste to it, and the sweet cinnamon sugar flavor is really great.  The outside is crunchy, and the inside soft and sweet.  I think I have a friend like that. 😉

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 If you don’t have a friend who already has the starter, you can find instructions on how to make it here.  But if you were lucky enough to have a friend give it to you, like I was, you just have to “feed” your starter and let it sit around for a few days.   And on the 10th day, you will be able to bake two delicious loaves of Amish Friendship Bread.

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Amish Friendship Bread

adapted from this recipe <-also a handy printable to pass along with your starters!

makes 2 loaves

*Do not use any metal bowls or utensils while mixing.

You will need 1 portion of Amish Friendship Bread Starter.  Either get this from a friend, or make your own with the recipe linked to above.  Follow these instructions:

Day 1: Squish and mush the bag.

Day 2: Squish and mush the bag

Day 3: Squish and mush the bag

Day 4: Squish and mush the bag

Day 5: Squish and mush the bag

Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk to the bag.  Squish and mush the bag.

Day 7: Squish and mush the bag

Day 8: Squish and mush the bag

Day 9: Squish and mush the bag

Day 10: Baking day!  Pour your starter into a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups milk to the starter and mix until well combined. 

Scoop out four 1 cup portions of this mixture into new plastic ziplock bags. These are the new starters you will pass on to your friends (or keep)

Add the following ingredients to your bowl:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 large box vanilla instant pudding (Do Amish people really use this?  Anyhow…)

Directions

  1. Mix this very well until all ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Butter 2 loaf pans.  (I used metal pans for this because I only have metal loaf pans.  My bread turned out fine.)
  3. Mix together an additional 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Sprinkle about 1/2 of this mixture in the loaf pans and shake around to coat.
  4. Divide your batter between the two loaf pans and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. 
  6. Let bread cool completely before cutting.

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I passed on all my starters, because I didn’t want to make any more bread, but keep one if you would like to continue baking this treat!  Also,  you can check out this site which gives a bunch of tips on how to reduce the amount of starter you end up with and prolong the life of your starters. 

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Cinnamon Raisin Granola

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I think my kitchen was confused when I made this granola.

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To begin, it smelled just like oatmeal raisin cookies as it was baking.  I love oatmeal raisin cookies, so this made me very excited!  But alas, cookies will have to wait for another day.

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Another reason it was confusing?  The smell of cinnamon always, always makes me think of fall.  And it is far from fall in this neck of the woods. 

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Spring flowers are blooming all over the place, birds are chirping and allergies are acting up.  Nope, not a pumpkin in sight. 

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But don’t let these tricks deter you from making this crunchy granola!  I mean, is it really so bad to have your kitchen smell like you’re baking cookies?  Or to be slightly confused as to what time of year it is?

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I didn’t think so.

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Cinnamon Raisin Granola

makes 15 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 Tbsp very warm water
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine vegetable oil, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  This mixture will clump together.
  3. Whisk in 3-4 tablespoons of very warm water to loosen the mixture.  Whisk until it is mostly smooth (there may still be some lumps).
  4. Add in rolled oats and mix until oats are coated evenly with sugar mixture.
  5. Spread in an even layer on a foil lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with vegetable spray.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.
  7. Add sliced almonds to the tray and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until almonds are toasted.
  8. Cool granola completely and add raisins.  Mix to combine.
  9. Store in an air tight container for up to 4 weeks.

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Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Oh yes.  Moist red velvet cake with a hint of cocoa and topped with a smooth and sweet (but not too sweet) cream cheese frosting.  Just for you.

Well, that isn’t really true.  It was actually just for Chris.  As I mentioned, his birthday was this past weekend (on St. Patrick’s day!).   This was his birthday cake.  I joked that I should have made a Green Velvet cake…maybe next year? 

Chris isn’t really a sweets person. 

Besides pie.  That man would eat pie all day.

Ice cream?  He could take or leave.  Most cakes and cookies are in the same boat.  But occasionally there is a sweet treat that he really just loves.  Red Velvet cake is one of those treats!

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Just combine some sugar…

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with some vegetable oil your stand mixer (or with an electric mixer).

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Mix together until it resembles very wet sand.

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Then add in a couple of eggs and mix until well combined.

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Stir together some cocoa powder, red food coloring and a little water.

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Add that, plus some flour, salt, vanilla and buttermilk and mix it all really well.

Combine a little baking soda and vinegar and fold that into your batter. 

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Pour your batter into two prepared cake pans, and bake for 30 minutes.

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Cool your cakes completely before moving on to making the best cream cheese frosting. 

Let me pause for a minute to talk about this frosting.  I don’t know about you, but I really prefer a frosting to not be overly sweet.  I don’t want my teeth to hurt after eating a piece of cake! 

This frosting is more cream cheesy than sugary, and it is perfect on this cake, and would be great to use on carrot cake or a pumpkin roll as well. 

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Combine two packages of cream cheese and a stick of butter with a little vanilla and some powdered sugar, and mix until it is light and fluffy.  

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So easy and so delicious!

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No, I’m not left handed.

And, no, matching fingernails are not required to make this cake.

After your cakes are completely cooled, you want to cut off the rounded tops.  This is important for two reasons: 1) You want the tops to be flat so your cake is stable and pretty and 2) you need to get some crumbs for the decoration!  (Potential third reason-you might need a snack, but do try to save enough cake to make the crumbs)

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You’ll want to take your cake stand and some strips of parchment paper or wax paper and line the outside like so:

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Place your bottom cake right on top of the parchment strips. 

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The strips will help to keep your cake stand or plate clean while frosting and decorating. 

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Plop a good amount of your frosting in the center of the cake.  Use an offset spatula to guide the frosting to the outer edges of the cake.  Don’t be afraid to use a lot of frosting for this step.  I actually didn’t use enough and had a lot leftover for the outside of the cake.  I would say to use about 1/3 of your frosting for the middle.

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Once the middle is frosted, place the other layer of your cake on top.  Put the cut side to the middle, so the top of your cake will be nice and smooth.  Plop another good amount of frosting on top of the cake, and again, use an offset spatula to smooth and guide the frosting towards the edges of the cake.  Let the excess sort of “fall” down the sides.   Smooth the sides, and add more of the remaining frosting as needed.  You want to make sure the top stays clean, but the sides are less important.  You just want a nice even coating. 

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Crumble your remaining cake (that you cut off the top) into crumbs.  Work around the cake and press the crumbs onto the sides. 

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After all the sides have been coated, carefully remove the parchment from underneath the cake.  Your stand should have remained relatively clean of frosting and crumbs.   

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Red Velvet Cake

Makes 12-16 servings

adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp red food coloring
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour 2 8in or 9 in cake pans.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or electric mixer), combine the sugar and vegetable oil until the mixture resembles very wet sand.
  4. Add eggs and mix until combined.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, red food coloring and water.  Stir well until lumps are gone.
  6. Add cocoa mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until combined.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, vanilla and salt. 
  8. Alternate adding the flour and the buttermilk mixture to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer. 
  9. Once the last of the ingredients are added, set mixer on medium speed and mix for 1 full minute.
  10. Combine the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl.  Fold this into the batter until just combined.  Immediately divide batter between your two prepared caked pans.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. 
  12. Cool cakes completely before frosting.

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Cream Cheese Frosting

slightly adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer (or with an electric mixer).
  2. Add vanilla and powdered sugar.  Beat until frosting is light and fluffy.
  3. Use on your favorite cakes.

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This was the best red velvet cake.  So good, in fact, that Chris ate a leftover slice for breakfast the next day.  Life is short, eat dessert…for breakfast?

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Irish Soda Bread

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This has been a really difficult week for me.  My mother passed away.  I lost a mentor, an inspiration, a friend and the most loving person I have ever known.  She suffered from lung cancer and her struggle came to end last Friday.  It has been really hard to deal with, so I have taken a break from this project of mine.  I never got to tell her that I started this site, and that is something I wish I would have shared.  I know she would be proud that I am sharing a passion of mine.  She is looking down on me from heaven, and I hope that I make her proud in everything that I do. 

Share the important stuff, and always let the people you love know.  You never know if you’ll get another chance.  I love you, Mom. 

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 Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, I wanted to share this recipe for Irish Soda Bread.  According to this site, this actually isn’t Irish Soda Bread at all.   They say that if it has sugar and raisins and is sweet, it is a “cake.” 

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 Even if it doesn’t technically fit the definition, it is still delicious! 

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 Chemically leavened breads are fast and easy to make.  They are chewy and much denser than those leavend using yeast.  The addition of raisins to this loaf lend just the right amount of sweetness without turning it in a dessert.

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 Irish Soda Bread

Slightly adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add raisins to a small bowl.  Cover with boiling water and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Mix in 4 tablespoons of butter until small crumbs form.
  5. Add buttermilk and egg and mix until a soft, sticky dough forms.
  6. Drain raisins and add them to the dough.  Mix until raisins are distributed throughout the dough.
  7. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface.  Knead for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Form dough into a round ball.  Place dough onto a buttered baking sheet.  Let dough rest for 15-20 minutes. 
  9. Score the top of dough with a large “x” shape.  Do not score too deeply.
  10. Cominbe melted butter with remaining buttermilk.  Brush the top of dough with this mixture.
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

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Savory Goat Cheese and Date Oatmeal Cookies

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Happy Monday!

I know, Mondays are hard.  They are for me at least.  Coming off the weekend, I always feel a bit sad.  No more lounging around in your PJs all day.  No more carefree hours spent with your husband and dogs.  You actually have to shower and look presentable as you make your way back to office and back to the grind.

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But today, to make Monday a little more bearable, I have cookies!  And these aren’t just any cookies.  These cookies have cheese in them!  I know.  Sounds weird, right?  But trust me on this, you won’t be disappointed.

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A couple weeks ago, I received the daily email from theKitchn.  Sarah Kate had made savory oatmeal cookies and I could not stop thinking about them!  I was so intrigued by these cookies.  I filed the recipe in my “to make” folder, and went on with things, but, really, I couldn’t get them off my mind.

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This weekend, I got my taste.  The original recipe called for rosemary and parmesan cheese, which sounds amazing, however,  I wanted to experiment with a different flavor combination.  I decided on goat cheese and thyme.  Lemony earthy thyme pairs really well with the creamy, almost musty (in a good way!) goat cheese.  The dates were a last minute addition, but I think they brought the cookies back towards the sweet realm.

The texture of these cookies is almost like that of a biscuit or a scone.  If they were made a larger size, I think they would make a great accompaniment to dinner.   This cookie size is great on its own, or spread with more goat cheese to begin a meal.

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Savory Goat Cheese and Date Oatmeal Cookies

adapted from theKitchn

makes 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 6 dates, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix brown sugar, egg and olive oil until smooth.  Add oats and water.  Mix well to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, thyme and pepper.
  4. Add oat mixture to flour mixture and stir well to combine.
  5. Fold in goat cheese and dates until just combined.  Do not over mix or goat cheese will break apart too much.  You want there to be nice chucks of cheese.
  6. Scoop heaping teaspoons of dough and roll into balls.  Slightly flatten balls into disks and spread evenly on cookie sheets.  These cookies do not expand much when baking.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned.  Cool and serve.

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Banana Nut Bread

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Who doesn’t like banana nut bread?  If you said “Me!,” then you might want to skip today’s post, because, today, its all about the bananas!

I’m sharing an old recipe that my mom and I used to make together when I was growing up.  When your bananas are black and shrivled like this…

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make this Banana Nut Bread!

I’ve tried other banana nut bread recipes, but nothing beats the one I had growing up.  When I called my mom to get her recipe, and she told me I probably had it already.  A few months ago at a family gathering, my aunts were all passing around a stack of recipe cards from my grandmother.  I took the cards home to go through and see if there were any I wanted, and lo and behold, the banana nut bread recipe was in them!

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You begin by creaming together sugar and vegetable shortening.

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I know some people might be wary of using shortening, so I’m sure you could use butter instead.  I was trying to stay as true to the recipe I remember, so I used shortening.

Add in a couple of eggs and some vanilla.  Then add your salt and flour and mix until a soft dough/batter forms.

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Dissolve some baking soda in warm water ad mix it in to the dough.  You want to mash your bananas up before adding them to the mix.

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Chop your walnuts

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Pour your batter into a greased loaf pan and back at 325* for 1 hour.

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You wind up with a lovely, moist loaf of Banana Nut Bread.  Spread with a little butter and you have a seriously delicious treat.  You can also try it with cream cheese spread on top.  I know it sounds a little strange, but trust me, it’s delicious!

Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (or butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 bananas
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Cream shortening (or butter) and sugar with an electric mixer.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add salt and flour.  Mix until a soft dough forms.
  4. Dissolve the baking soda in the water and add to dough.  Mix until comibined.
  5. Mash bananas until relatively smooth.  Chop walnuts.  Add bananas and walnuts to the batter.
  6. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake in a pre-heated 325* oven for one hour.
  7. Let cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.

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