I don’t know what Christmas morning is like at your house, but ours is pretty much chaos. The boys are up early, sometimes way too early, and breakfast doesn’t happen until all the stockings and presents have been opened and unwrapped. By then everyone is hungry and ready to eat, so tackling a major breakfast project isn’t going to happen. We still like a special breakfast, so I prepare as much as possible on Christmas Eve, and pumpkin bread pudding is both easy and special….
Nutella Day isn’t until February, but it’s never too early or late to celebrate. We reserve Nutella as a special treat once a month because, frankly, it’s too hard to resist. We’ll open a jar and before you know it there are deep canals in it from spoons and Monkey Boy’s fingers, though we do actually use it with desserts. It’s good as a cookie topping, swirled in ice cream or gelato, and baked in cakes and breads. This banana bread with Nutella swirl from Cooking Light has become one of my family’s favorites for a snack or dessert, and it’s pretty easy to make. It’s flavorful and incredibly moist with a crunchy topping of chopped hazelnuts. You can also drizzle melted chocolate on top to make it even more decadent.
The whole buttermilk lends tanginess and plenty of moisture to the bread. Lowfat buttermilk will work but the texture will change a bit. If you can’t find whole buttermilk, you can make your own with 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus enough whole milk to make 2/3 cup. Let the mixture rest for 10 to 15 minutes before using.
- 5 tablespoon Nutella, or other chocolate hazelnut spread
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sunflower or canola oil, divided
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups (180 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice + enough milk to make 2/3 cup)
- 1/4 cup (29 g) hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
- Microwave the Nutella and 1 teaspoon of oil until melted, about 30 seconds.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the 3 tablespoons of oil, butter, brown sugar, and bananas until well-blended. Add 1 egg at a time, blending after each.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the medium bowl. On slow speed, add 1/3 of the flour, half the buttermilk, then 1/3 of the flour, half the buttermilk, and the remaining flour. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan, then top with the Nutella mixture. Spread the remaining batter over the Nutella. Use a toothpick to gently swirl the batter, but not too much to keep the Nutella stripe effect. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, about 55 minutes. Cool bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a plastic knife around the edges to release. Turn the bread out onto the wire rack. Warm the chopped chocolate and drizzle over the bread (optional). Let the bread rest until cooled.
small microwave-safe bowl
stand mixer with paddle attachment, or hand mixer and large mixing bowl
9x5 metal loaf pan, coated with floured cooking spray
More Quick Bread Recipes
More Quick Bread Recipes From Other Blogs
- Gluten-Free Goddess – Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie Bread
- Pinch My Salt – Orange Yogurt Bread Recipe
- Skinny Taste – Apple Spiced Scones with Spiced Glaze
- Vanillyn – Earl Grey Tea Loaf with White Chocolate Ganache
[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.][Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]
Yesterday the sun came out after Hurricane Sandy roared through. Some of our windows had steady leaks during the height of the storm, and some of our outdoor stuff got blown about, but otherwise we were very fortunate. Before the storm I went on a baking spree, something I always do so we will have supplies if the power goes out. We had whole wheat sweet potato cranberry bread, sweet potato pie, and a few other things ready in case of an extended power outage. Michael and the boys ate slices of this hearty bread for breakfast and snacked on it later, a nice bit of comfort while the wind howled and the rain drove in sheets….
Last month my parents came for a short visit just before my birthday, and when they pulled up in the driveway and got out of the car I realized they had brought me a wonderful birthday surprise: my grandmother. She looked a little confused as my mother helped her out of the car as if she couldn’t remember that she had been here before. It’s hard to see her like this now; frail, forgetful, and to look into eyes that don’t always recognize me. But every once in a while there is a spark, and I see a glimpse of her old self, a bit of her humor and that smile and laugh I have always loved, the woman who ran around and played on swings with my children just a few short years ago.
While they were here visiting we went out for lunch, and Dad and Grandma voted for Bob Evans restaurant, a perfect choice for them. They both got to have some biscuits and gravy, and Mom ordered some cherry bread to go along with her salad, which Grandma and her sweet tooth took a real liking to. In fact, she ate it all, then Mom bought a whole loaf to bring home for the boys, and Dad asked me if I could try to make some for him.
I can’t say that this is exactly like Bob Evans cherry bread, but it’s very easy to make and my boys all gave it two thumbs up and kept asking for more, plus they asked if I could make it for a snack every day. It passed the kid test, so I’m ok with it.
And every time I make this bread, it will remind me of the time we all went out to lunch with Grandma and she ate all the cherry bread, and it will be a good memory.
The Bob Evans cherry bread has a very pronounced cherry flavor to it. If you want to mimic that, use the cherry extract as mentioned below. If you prefer a milder cherry flavor, use vanilla extract instead. The cherry liquid is optional, it just lends a little color and a little extra cherry flavor.
- 2-1/2 (300 g) cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup (175 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cherry extract
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) maraschino cherry liquid (optional)
- 16-ounce (453 g) bottle maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
- Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F/175° C.
- In the medium mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, canola oil, cherry extract, and cherry liquid (if using). In the small bowl, toss the chopped maraschino cherries with the remaining 1/2 cup flour.
- Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until all of the flour is incorporated, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the cherries.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and gently tap on the counter to remove any bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven until a tester comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan abut 10 minutes, then turn out to finish cooling on a wire rack. Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to three days.
large mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl
9x5 loaf pan, greased and floured
More Quick and Easy Breads
More Quick Bread Recipes From Around the Blogs
“Mommy, you make the best bread!” Top Gun said as he happily munched on a slice of baked Boston brown bread. We made this to go with our slow cooker Boston baked beans, and the boys later enjoyed slices of it with butter as an after school snack. And like those baked beans, this bread is another easy recipe that the kids can help make, or even make on their own….
Breakfast is one of our favorite things about Christmas day. We sit down together later in the morning after all the presents have been unwrapped but before Michael and the boys begin work on assembling toys, and enjoy a hot breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, scones, pancakes, cranberry apple French toast, panettone, or waffles. These eggnog waffles are a Christmas morning favorite we savor with butter and warm maple syrup, and small glasses of eggnog on the side with a sprinkling of nutmeg. These waffles energize the boys for a full day of play, including time outside in the snow when we’re lucky enough to have some during the holidays.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours….
It’s apple butter season! Ok, well, it’s apple season, and just like every year I find myself craving apple butter, apple pie, apple dumplings, apples in salads, apple cakes, apple cider, I could go on for a while. I like Empires, Honeycrisp, Cortland, and Fuji for eating out of hand, and usually bake with Granny Smith or Gala. I’ve tried a number of different apples for apple butter, and finally settled on Gala as my favorite due to it’s slight sweetness and soft texture, which easily cooks down….
The final weekend of Mardi Gras is approaching, which means Pancake Day (aka Pancake Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday) is next week. In our home one would think that it’s Pancake Day just about every Sunday morning since that’s our weekly ritual, though these pancakes were born on a snowy weekday morning this winter when the boys were trapped at home and schools were closed. The morning was much more relaxed than our usual rush to get everyone fed, dressed, and off to school on time. The boys played while I took my time making breakfast, then they eagerly asked for syrup and apple butter to top their plate of pancakes….
It’s time for another post for The Kids Cook Monday, and this time our boys chose one of their favorite breakfasts, waffles. Around our house breakfast can also be dinner and the boys enjoy waffles any time of the day. Serve healthy whole wheat waffles with fruit and a vegetable omelet or frittata or and you’ve got a great meal….
When I lived in Bogotá years ago I frequented a small restaurant called Aquí en Santafe in Chapinero (Carrera 7 # 62-63). If you weren’t looking for it you would probably walk right past it, because at the time the only thing that made it stand out on the busy street was the dark red door. The restaurant served traditional Colombian cuisine, and my favorite thing to order was the arepas. They had an amazing assortment of arepa toppings, and the arepa with avocado and cheese was my favorite. The school cafeteria also served them, and the teachers could usually count on finding some arepas and aji for breakfast in the teachers lounge….
This year the squash were a big surprise all around. We planted just three kinds of zucchini squash (dark green, yellow, and light green), and of the three, only the yellow managed to survive the onslaught of the squash vine borers. We’ve had yellow zucchini coming in pretty regularly since mid July, and we’ve made chili and other good stuff with it. Then of course there are the volunteers that we didn’t actually try to grow but grew anyway….
With wide eyes and a booming voice, Top Gun shouted, “Mommy, are you making stones? I love those!”
Our boys adore scones (even if they still can’t say it) and with all the excitement in the kitchen you would think some fabulous dessert was in the works instead of simple gingerbread scones for breakfast. After the scones had cooled a little I arranged them on the plate, leaving one for the boys to share while I quickly took a few photos. The flavor of these is such a delight that there wasn’t a single crumb left after breakfast and Michael asked me to make a double batch next time….
[NOTE: I made this dish as part of a Daring Cooks challenge. This means it was an experiment that I most likely only made once, maybe twice, before posting here.]
For the Daring Cooks September challenge, we made vegan dosas adapted from the reFresh cookbook by Ruth Tal. Fresh is a popular chain of vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Toronto, Canada with three published cookbooks teaching how to cook Fresh food at home. Our host Debyi of Healthy Vegan Kitchen chose this fun challenge for us, and I for one am grateful because this is the first time I’ve ever made Indian food and witnessed our two older boys actually eat it. Builder Guy (6) has recently developed a taste for spicy foods—good thing because we like our spices—and Top Gun (5) is finally coming around and trying new things. Monkey Boy is still a picky three-year-old, but he did eat one of the plain dosas. We thought the dosas were delicious and would eat that coconut curry sauce on just about anything….
A couple weeks ago I scored a deal on bananas—14 overripe bananas in a bag for $1—and bought a bag with plans to make muffins, smoothies, and freeze a few, only none of them made it to the freezer because we used them up. I had wanted to try this banana muffins recipe from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread, and this was the perfect opportunity. (Cookbook review)
The recipe made a large amount of batter and I had to abandon the usual instructions about filling a muffin cup 2/3 full because the cups overflowed with batter. The baked muffins were large and hearty with a lot of texture, and one was more than enough for my breakfast or a snack, though my hungry crowd seemed to disagree.
- 2-1/8 cups (312 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2-1/4 cups (160 g) wheat bran
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2-1/2 cups (500 g) mashed ripe banana
- 1 cup (2 sticks) + 2 tablespoons (250 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large (100 g) eggs
- 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar, packed
- 1-1/3 cups (150 g) walnut pieces, toasted
- 1 cup (150 g) sliced ripe banana
- Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F/175° C.
- In the large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat bran, baking soda, and kosher salt.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the mashed banana and the softened butter until mixed. It may look lumpy, but that's ok. Add the eggs and brown sugar and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Gently fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture, just until combined. Don't overmix. Then fold in the toasted walnut pieces and the sliced banana.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin cups. Take care not to overwork the batter. The batter will be mounded over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 23 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The muffin tops should be medium brown.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack. Serve within 8 hours for best texture, and wrap the remainder in plastic to keep fresh.
1 standard muffin tin, lightly coated with cooking spray
stand mixer with paddle attachment (or hand mixer and large bowl)
large mixing bowl
More Tasty Treats with Bananas
More Muffins From Around the Blogs
Cornbread is a staple of Southern cooking, and it made regular appearances at our family table when I was growing up. I don’t remember my mother ever diverting from her standard cornbread recipe; it was always the same warm, comforting bread we enjoyed with beans and other foods….
It’s here! This week we celebrate my third blog anniversary and my birthday. January 7, 2006 was the day I found the first comment on my little online cooking database—it had been there for a couple weeks—and suddenly I realized I had a cooking blog. It’s also the day I found out I was pregnant with Monkey Boy, but that’s another story. Since we have two big things to celebrate I thought it would be fun to have some giveaways, so be on the lookout for at least one giveaway each week through the end of the month. This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Stonyfield Farm.
I’ll say this right up front: we are a family of yogurt eaters, and Stonyfield Farm is my favorite yogurt. I got hooked on the French Vanilla years ago and have been eating and cooking with their yogurts ever since. This pancake recipe from the Stonyfield website uses plain yogurt and pumpkin puree to make easy and fluffy pancakes. These are a family favorite and a great way to finish off any leftover pumpkin from holiday baking. Use fresh homemade puree or canned, whatever suits you….
Thanksgiving day breakfast is made to be special, especially if you have family or friends visiting, but it doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. In fact, we try to keep breakfast simple on big feast days just because we have so much other cooking business to attend to. Often I make breakfast the night before and warm it up in the morning. Scones and muffins are easy breakfasts that hold up well overnight and taste delicious in the morning with hot tea, coffee, or mulled cider….
Weekday morning breakfast is usually a quick affair for us with leftovers from the weekend or perhaps cereal with fruit. But today we woke up to ice on the roads and an announcement that schools were closed, so I decided to do something fun and make muffins. The recipe comes from Michael’s mother, a variation on her blueberry muffins that we enjoy during our treks to the family camp. The boys made quick work of them and there are none left for a snack!
Pan de yuca is a little crescent-shaped bread that I enjoyed while living in Colombia. The bread, which is also common in other Andean countries, has fresh cheese and yuca flour as the main ingredients. The flour comes from the root of the cassava plant and has a texture very much like cornstarch. It is completely gluten free, making this a great bread for gluten-free gourmets….
This weekend we’re leaving for our annual vacation to the family camp in the Adirondacks. We’ll enjoy a week of fishing, hiking, and playing at the lake, as well as some good family cooking by Michael’s mom. She fixes these for us every year when we visit and it’s rare to have any left after breakfast, especially with my boys there!
[Updated: October 4, 2008]
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup (118 mil) lowfat or skim milk
- 1/4 cup (59 mil) canola oil
- 1-1/2 cups (180 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1/4 cup (44 g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and well-drained
- cinnamon and sugar mix
- Preheat oven to 400° F/200° C.
- In the large mixing bowl, beat the egg and stir in the milk and oil.
- In the medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add to egg mixture and stir just until flour is moistened. Batter should be lumpy. Do not overmix. Carefully fold in blueberries.
- Use the scoop to fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
large mixing bowl
12 cup muffin tin, lightly coated with nonstick spray
For larger bakery style muffins, fill only 8 muffin cups.
[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]
I haven’t made a sweet bread in months, and this morning I just felt like enjoying some apple cinnamon bread for breakfast, and of course I knew that my boys would love the idea. We adore the apple cinnamon combination any time of year, and this bread makes a nice breakfast and brunch item. You can make it the night before and slice it to enjoy with coffee and fruit in the morning. If you want to make it in the morning, start early because it takes about an hour to bake, although mixing takes only a few minutes. The aroma of the cinnamon is so nice and comforting, no matter what time of year it is….
Michael’s favorite cereal is raisin bran and we always have a box or two in the pantry. This is a fun and tasty way to get some healthy bran and add a little variety to breakfast. I adapted this from an old recipe I’ve had for years that used oil as a binder. I substituted applesauce to lighten up the recipe yet still keep the muffins nice and moist. The maple syrup adds another layer of flavor, although you can certainly use honey as in the original recipe.
[Updated March 2012.]
- 2-1/2 cups raisin bran cereal
- 1-1/4 cups low-fat milk
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- cinnamon sugar mix
- Preheat oven to 400º F/200º C.
- In the large mixing bowl, combine raisin bran cereal, milk and honey. Let the mixture stand until the cereal softens, about 10 minutes or so. The mushier the better.
- In the small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.
- Add the egg and applesauce to the cereal mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour mixture just until combined, but don't over mix. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on the tops.
- Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the muffin tin and allow to cool about 5 minutes. Serve warm.
large mixing bowl
12 count muffin tin, lightly coated with cooking spray
[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]
I have two little early risers, as in they like to get up before the sun. The baby has taken to waking up around 4:30 am and then staying up, and my oldest has always been an early bird. In fact, he starts talking and singing almost as soon as he wakes up. We hear him over the monitor as early as 5:30 am and Michael will go camp out in the boys’ room to keep him settled down until we feel it’s a reasonable time to get up. His talking and singing can get so loud that he sounds like a morning dj, so we started referring to his antics as the “morning show.” “Hey, it’s 5:30 am and time for all you sleepy heads to get up and PLAY!”
While thinking about what to do for breakfast today, I remembered the extra pumpkin puree in the refrigerator. There wasn’t enough to make another pie, but there was certainly enough for pumpkin waffles. These are fluffy, full of flavor, and a little bit rich, and they go perfectly with a savory side of bacon or ham. Serve with warm maple syrup.