Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

WIN_20150724_123445If you don’t like zucchini, well, I’m not sure we can be friends. 😉 In all seriousness, zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables available. It’s also low in calories, surprisingly packed full of vitamins, and a prolific producer in just about any North American garden. This recipe uses grated zucchini. Feel free to use grated patty pan squash, yellow crookneck squash, or any other “zucchini-like” summer squash.

PS – You can grate your extra zucchini now and freeze it in 1 1/2 cup quantities (just measure it into zip-lock freezer bags) to bake this recipe later, if your hammock is calling you out into the sunshine!

WIN_20150724_101403Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves)

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 large package instant chocolate pudding

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

WIN_20150724_103524Directions

Step 1) Grease and flour two bread pans.

Step 2) Combine grated zucchini, almond extract, applesauce, oil, and eggs. Stir until well combined.

Step 3) Add sugar and pudding mix; stir well.

Step 4) Add dry ingredients, a little at a time, until well incorporated. Fold in the mini chocolate chips last.

Step 5) Divide batter between two bread pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Like just about any zucchini bread, this bread freezes well!

Lazy Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Z1Here’s the quick story behind this recipe: Half-Pint wanted zucchini bread (actually, the request was “Can you turn this zucchini into something chocolate?”), but it’s nice outside. Autumn is a’comin’, and I want to be outside savoring the end of summer! This recipe Continue reading

Kids in the Kitchen: Cake Mix Zucchini Bread

cakemix1Today’s recipe is easy enough for even the most pint-sized of kitchen helpers to manage, and makes a cheerful after-school snack! Best of all, this recipe goes from “idea” to “oven” in just a minute or two, making it perfect for this crazy-busy time of year. Enjoy! Continue reading

World’s Easiest Cinnamon Bread

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Half Loaf of Cinnamon Bread – Look at that yummy center!

I really shouldn’t share this, because I’m giving one of my big secrets away. You see, I like to bake loaves of this cinnamon bread for other people, because who doesn’t love cinnamon bread?! People seem to be under the impression that baking this bread is a real labor of love. Well, here’s the big secret… this recipe is stone simple and takes hardly any time at all to prepare.  😉

Let’s get started!

Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves of World’s Easiest Cinnamon Bread)

2 loaves bread dough*

*Either thaw two loaves of Rhodes frozen white bread dough, available in the freezer section of any supermarket, or make a batch of Simple Bread dough and stop at the end of step 5!

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons cornmeal

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 generous tablespoon cinnamon

Directions

Step 1) Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Step 2) Grease a counter top with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 10″ wide and 16″ long.

Step 3) Beginning right along one of the 10″ edges, spread half of the butter/sugar mixture over the dough rectangle. Leave about an inch along each of the long sides bare. Leave about 2 inches along the far, 10″ edge bare.

Step 4) Gently roll up the dough, beginning with the 10″ edge covered in butter/sugar, and rolling toward the 10″ bare edge. The 10″ bare edge should be on the bottom of your rolled up loaf, with the seam on the bottom. Gently pull the side ends down and tuck underneath the loaf.

Step 5) Repeat Steps 2 – 4 with the second half of the dough and the second half of the butter/sugar mixture.

Step 6) Grease a very large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then, lightly sprinkle the entire baking sheet with cornmeal.

Step 7) Carefully set your two loaves on the baking sheet, with the seams on the bottom. Leave at least 3 inches of space around all sides of each loaf. If your baking sheet is not large enough to allow this, use two baking sheets!

Step 8) Allow your loaves to rest while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees (do not begin preheating until Step 7 is complete). Then, after your oven is preheated, place your loaves on the center rack. Bake for 25 minutes or until loaves are light golden brown. Remove loaves from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Optional: After loaves are cool, drizzle with cream cheese frosting for an added treat!

Simple Bread

picture346Simple Bread is a Crowded Earth Kitchen favorite. We first shared this recipe a few years ago, and it has been wildly popular! As the name implies, baking this bread is simple.  It is also economical, costing far, far less to prepare than any nutritionally equivalent bread available at your local market.  Simple Bread freezes well, as does the dough itself.  Over the next few days, we will use Simple Bread dough as the foundation for several healthy, low cost meals.  Let’s go play with flour!

Ingredients (makes 2 standard sized loaves, approximately 9×5 inches each)

2 cups lukewarm (not boiling) water

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1/4 cup dry milk

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

4 cups white flour

picture330Directions

Step 1)  Combine sugar and lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in yeast, and allow to sit for a minute or two until the surface of the water appears a bit creamy.

Step 2) Add dry milk, salt, and oil to the picture331yeast mixture.  Stir in flours, one cup at a time, and transfer dough to a floured tabletop.

Step 3) Knead dough for a few minutes until a smooth ball forms.  Add a bit more flour as needed, to prevent sticking.  Transfer dough to a large bowl which has been greased with canola oil.

picture334Step 4) Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise until it doubles in size.  This will take about an hour in a warm location, such as an oven that has been warmed to 100 degrees and then turned off.

Step 5) Punch the bowl of risen dough a few times to release air bubbles (this is picture332fun!).   Knead on a floured tabletop for a few minutes.  Divide dough in half, and shape into loaves.

Step 6) If you are making freezer dough, stop here!  Simply wrap your dough in plastic wrap and freeze.  When you wish to bake fresh Simple Bread, thaw your dough in greased, floured pans, and let rise until picture336double (this will take several hours from frozen).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Step 7) If you are baking bread right now, place your loaves of dough in greased, floured pans, and let rise for one hour or until dough is slightly higher than the pans.

picture345Step 8) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy your Simple Bread!

Steak ‘n Beer Cornbread

win_20161003_185148Cornbread doesn’t have to be boring, and it sure doesn’t need to be bland. This super simple recipe merges traditional cornbread with a bottle of beer and savory steak seasoning. The result is absolutely delicious!

Ingredients (Makes 1 bread loaf or 1 casserole dish)

2 cups white flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon steak seasoning (such as Penzeys Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning)

12 ounces of your favorite beer

Directions

Step 1) Grease a bread pan or casserole dish; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2) Mix all dry ingredients with a fork. Stir in beer and transfer batter to greased pan.

Step 3) Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Lemonade Bundt Cake

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Lemonade Bundt Cake

Have extra summer squash lurking in your garden? Here’s a fun, summery way to enjoy this plentiful veggie! This recipe works for zucchini, too.

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Yellow Summer Squash

Ingredients (Makes 1 Bundt cake or 2 loaves)

1 1/2 cups grated yellow summer squash, such as patty pan squash (cut the peel off before grating if the peel is tough)

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 cup applesauce

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Patty Pan Squash, peeled

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup sugar Continue reading

Chocolate Cheesecake Roll

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If chocolate chip cheesecake and homemade sweet rolls fell in love and had a baby, the result might be this Chocolate Cheesecake Roll. One taste and you’ll understand… you need this in your life. Equally perfect for breakfast or dessert, Chocolate Cheesecake Roll can be enjoyed while still warm from the oven OR can be frozen to be frosted and enjoyed later. On second thought, when the aromas of fresh bread and chocolate waft through your kitchen, I doubt the finished product will ever see the inside of a freezer.  😉

WIN_20160208_152324Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves, serves 16)

For the bread:

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter Continue reading

Spiced Lemon Blueberry Bread

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Not too sweet, Spiced Lemon Blueberry Bread is lovely enjoyed with fresh butter over afternoon tea. This recipe makes excellent use of preserved lemons (a link to that recipe is provided below). If you don’t have preserved lemons, you can mimic the flavor in this recipe by substituting 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 teaspoon lemon zest + 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf)

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup skim milk

1/4 cup applesauce

3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 tablespoons preserved lemons, rinsed and finely diced

WIN_20160124_133922Directions

Step 1) Grease loaf pan well and coat with flour.  Set aside.

Step 2) Combine all dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 3) Combine egg, milk, and applesauce in a separate bowl and mix well.

Step 4) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until moistened.  Don’t get carried away… it’s OK if the batter is a little bit lumpy!

Step 5) Gently fold in blueberries.  Save a dozen blueberries for the next step.

Step 6) Transfer batter to loaf pan. Sprinkle top with a bit of sugar and a few extra blueberries if desired.

Step 7) Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool and enjoy!

Vanilla Pear Bread

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Vanilla Pear Bread is a light colored quick bread with a subtle, vanilla laced flavor. For me, this recipe offers a refreshing change from the more common zucchini breads and pumpkin breads. Like it’s more common cousins, Vanilla Pear Bread makes a lovely gift to wrap in foil and deliver to a neighbor or old friend. Give it a try – bake a loaf for someone you haven’t seen in a while, drop by, and say “Hello.” Happy Baking!

WIN_20160104_114918Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 cup canned pears, pureed

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

WIN_20160104_120759Directions

Step 1) Puree one cup of canned pears (such as Vanilla Spice Pears) until it looks like chunky applesauce.

Step 2) In a large bowl, whisk together pureed pears, sugar, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.

Step 3) Combine all remaining dry ingredients and add, a little at a time, to the wet ingredients. Mix well.

Step 4) Transfer batter to a greased bread pan. Bake your Vanilla Pear Bread in a preheated 350 degree oven for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Brandied Raisin Pumpkin Bread

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Brandied Raisin Pumpkin Bread is an easy to make quick bread (meaning it does not contain yeast) perfect for sharing with friends. I like to make several loaves at a time and deliver them fresh from the oven! This bread also freezes well, and is tasty in bagged lunches.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

2 cups flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup all natural applesauce

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons brandy

1/3 cup raisins

WIN_20160104_112458Directions

Step 1) Place raisins and brandy in a microwave safe container. Microwave, loosely covered, for about 30 seconds or until brandy is hot. Leave covered and allow to cool. This will plump up the raisins and infuse them with brandy flavor.

Step 2) Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, and sugars. Add milk, oil, applesauce, and spices.

Step 3) Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. When flour is fully incorporated, fold in brandy-soaked raisins (add everything; don’t drain the raisins).

Step 4) Transfer batter to a greased bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Banana Bread

WIN_20151030_185933This Chocolate Banana Bread is absolutely luscious. Dense and full flavored, this bread works equally well as a breakfast food and a dessert. The trick is to use very ripe bananas. If the skins aren’t black, wait another day or two. Any green on the skin? Don’t even think about it – even a speck of green means that your bananas aren’t ripe at all, let alone ripe enough for this recipe. Patience, friends. Patience.

WIN_20151030_173516Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves, approximately 12 slices per loaf)

4 very ripe bananas (skins should be black)

2 eggs

1/2 cup cooking oil

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 small (3.9 oz) packages instant chocolate pudding

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

1/4 cup milk

WIN_20151030_173902Directions

Step 1) Grease and flour two loaf pans. Set aside.

Step 2) Use a pastry cutter or two forks to thoroughly mash bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, oil, sugar, and almond extract. Mix well.

Step 3) Stir in chocolate pudding mix, baking powder, salt, and flour. Mixture will be very stiff.

Step 4) Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until chocolate banana bread mixture spreads easily with your mixing spoon (more like brownie batter, less like cookie dough). I added a total of 4 tablespoons, or 1/4 cup of milk. You may need a bit more or less, depending upon the size and ripeness of the bananas you used.

Step 5) Spread chocolate banana bread batter into loaf pans. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Step 6) Cool loaves on a wire rack and enjoy!

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Fun Variation: Feeling creative? Try experimenting with pudding mix in other flavors. You might try vanilla pudding mix with vanilla extract instead of the almond extract. Or, you might try pistachio pudding with a few coarsely chopped pistachio nuts sprinkled onto the top of each loaf just before baking. If you try a variation on this Chocolate Banana Bread recipe, I’d love to hear about it!

Happy baking!

 

Apple Cider Bread

WIN_20150929_185548We’re using a bread machine today, folks, because November is a BUSY month! Between launching the Global Recipe Project cookbook and keeping up other projects, the convenience of my bread machine is alluring. If you prefer to go old school, this recipe will work just as well if you knead the dough by hand as we’ve done with many other bread recipes.

This bread is earthy and spicy, not too sweet – the perfect accompaniment to a hearty meal of beef stew or perhaps pumpkin soup. Enjoy!

WIN_20150929_151711Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup lukewarm apple cider

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 1/2 cups flour

1/4 ounce packet of active dry yeast

WIN_20150929_184640Directions

This is the marvel of bread machines… simply add the ingredients to a bread machine in the order listed above (wet ingredients in first, yeast in last), and turn on your machine! I used a “sweet bread” setting with “medium crust.” A “white bread” setting would work just as well.

My bread was ready in just over three hours; times will vary depending upon the machine.

WIN_20150929_185047

Green Tomato Cinnamon Bread

WIN_20150724_120008My garden has more green tomatoes than red tomatoes right now, and that’s just fine. Green tomatoes are delicious in many recipes, and this recipe for Green Tomato Cinnamon Bread is one of my very favorites. What I’ve written below is a lower-fat adaptation on a recipe I read years ago on frugalupstate.com. When I first read about baking bread with green tomatoes, I was skeptical. If you’re raising your eyebrows, I understand. Seriously, give this a try. When it becomes one of your favorite recipes, send me a message!  🙂

WIN_20150724_095635Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves)

2 cups of pureed, whole green tomatoes (small chunks are OK)

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

WIN_20150724_1004111/2 cup applesauce (real applesauce, no sugar added)

2 eggs

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups sugar

WIN_20150724_1000401 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups flour

Directions

Step 1) Grease two bread pans and “flour” using granulated sugar. This adds a WIN_20150724_101754wonderful flavor to the bread, and actually allows us to use less sugar overall, because some of the sugar is concentrated on the outside of each slice.

Step 2) Mix together pureed tomatoes, almond extract, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Add sugar and stir until well combined.

Step 3) Add remaining dry ingredients, a little at a while, until all ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be pretty stiff, and that’s OK. As the bread bakes, any little chunks of tomatoes will release liquid, and your bread will not be dry.

Step 4) Bake loaves in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

This bread freezes wonderfully – just cool and wrap in foil. When thawed, it will taste as good as fresh. Slices of this bread are delicious packed in school lunches!

Pumpkin Cornbread

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Everyone in my home enjoys cornbread, but my Pickle in the Middle loves cornbread. We have a favorite restaurant which serves cornbread as a complimentary appetizer, and we need to reign the child in after two pieces to leave room for the rest of the meal!

Pickle in the Middle says this recipe for Pumpkin Cornbread is the BEST because “it doesn’t even need honey.” In childspeak, this means that the pumpkin cornbread is pleasantly sweet and not too dry (as cornbread can sometimes be). It really is delicious all on it’s own. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

WIN_20150414_182315Ingredients (Makes a 9″ pie dish of pumpkin cornbread)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, either works fine)

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

WIN_20150414_1833193 tablespoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup ground yellow cornmeal

1 1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

WIN_20150414_185802Directions

Step 1) Grease a 9″ deep dish pie dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2) In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin, egg, milk, and oil until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix gently with a fork. Don’t get carried away! Over-mixing will make your pumpkin cornbread less tender.

Step 3) Transfer batter to the pie dish and smooth with a spatula. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Enjoy!