Banana Blueberry Crumb Muffins

It always makes me so happy when a food related experiment turns out successful, because lately, I’ve had quite a few “mishaps” in the kitchen.

Mishaps sounds so much nicer than incidents or accidents. 

But we really don’t need to bring those out into the open, do we? Well, probably not…….. however, since there are no secrets here, I will tell you that in the last 4 days, I’ve made two dinners that didn’t turn out well at all (i.e. almost inedible), burned out the motor on the drinker mixer, broke one of the good drinking glasses, and cracked a plastic serving bowl in half.

The last mishap (there’s that word again!) resulted in a large quantity of potato chips flying across the kitchen floor, which then resulted in two dogs desperately racing around, trying to eat as many as they could before I was able clean up the mess.

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Now, of course, the pups have taken to staring at the top of the refrigerator where the chips are stored, in the hopes that one of the bags will take an unfortunate tumble to the floor. I’m half expecting to see these two jokesters appropriate a kitchen chair to climb up and help themselves.

I think it might be time to install a camera in the kitchen……

Banana Blueberry Crumb Muffins – adapted from various online sources

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of ripe, mashed banana
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping:

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¾ cups flour

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, cinnamon, and flour. Pour the butter over top and using a spatula, mix until large crumbs form.

To make the muffins:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 jumbo size muffin cups with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and bananas until blended. Add the dry ingredients and blueberries, and gently stir just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle on the crumb topping. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 large muffins

Hatch Chile Cheese Beer Bread

In case you live under a rock here in Texas, (and hey, you could…) August 6-19 is the Hatch Chile Festival at Central Market.

Which, in layman’s terms, means that chiles are everywhere. Enormous bins of fresh whole chiles, hundreds of containers of roasted chiles, chile salsa, chile bread, chile tortilla chips – the variety and creativity of products is almost overwhelming.

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Resisting the urge to pick up one of everything (and that wasn’t easy, believe me), I picked up a container of roasted “hot” chiles, and bag of fresh “mild” chiles. The hot ones were used to prepare this bread, and the mild ones were roasted and turned into chile rellenos.

I toasted a slice of this bread and packed it for Sabrina to take to work with her this morning, and for a completely unbiased opinion on how it tastes, this is her direct quote:

Chile Cheese Beer Bread is the bomb“.

Hatch Chile Cheese Beer Bread – adapted from Austin Food Lovers’ Companion

Note: Like most quick breads, this is versatile and changeable…. you could use canned chiles in place of the fresh, mild instead of hot, and any kind of cheese you prefer.

  • 1/ 2 cup chopped hot Hatch chilies, chopped
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • ¼ c. diced onion
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¾ tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbs. honey
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded Jalapeño Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz. Mexican beer

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes, or until tender but not brown. Add the honey and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Combine the black pepper, cumin, flour, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the cheeses, then the onions and chopped chiles. Add the beer and fold just until the ingredients are combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for just about an hour, or until a tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove it from the pan and cool completely on the rack.

Fresh Strawberry Bread

One thing I’ve noticed since our move to Austin is the lack of “stuff” in the freezer. At this very moment, there are a few containers of ice cream (Alexander’s favorite), a few quick breads (that’s a given), and ice.

seriously.

So imagine my complete and total surprise when I discovered a container of sliced strawberries in there the other day. I mean, where did they come from? I have no recollection whatsoever of procuring said container. Strange. Yet…. there they were.

I did the only thing I could think of (aside from turning them into a smoothie), which was to make this bread.

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And may I say, that was an excellent move on my part.

Fresh Strawberry Bread – adapted from saveur

3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups canola oil
4 eggs
4 cups roughly chopped strawberries

Heat oven to 350°.  Grease a 12 cup bundt pan with baking spray and set aside. Whisk flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl; set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, oil, and eggs. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Stir in strawberries and pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 hour. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Red Velvet Banana Bread

Ok …. we need to sit down and talk. Do you have a moment?

For real.

Apparently, I am the only person on this entire planet that doesn’t think that “red” is a flavor.

It’s not.

However, in the interest (or Pinterest, in this case) of keeping Sabrina happy, I acquiesced  to buying a cake mix (!!) and preparing this for her.

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She’s come to accept (notice I didn’t say love, I said accept) banana bread, and therefore specifically sent this pin to me last week, with the not-so-subtle caption “I would really like to try this”.

Subtlety has never been her strong point……….like her grandmother…. I’m still convinced they are the same person……

Anyway, the verdict, in her exact words…….. drum roll please…… “It’s good – not overly banana-y, but kind of sweet.

But my question remains……. do you taste the red? And if so, what does red taste like?

Much like the owl from the Tootie Pop commercial……the world may never know….

Red Velvet Banana Bread – adapted from pinterest / something swanky

  • 1 red velvet cake mix (just the dry mix, not the other ingredients on the box)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • optional: powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9″ loaf with a non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Mix together cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil and bananas until well blended, then pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan.

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

 

Zucchini Apple Bread

I suspect that, if my father was still here, he would really enjoy a slice of  this bread.

And by “still here”, I mean still here in Austin.

But he’s not………because……….well, he doesn’t like me anymore and said I’m a terrible baker.

yeah right.

Ok,ok – call off the lynch mob, neither of the preceding statements are true. He and The Queen Mother are not in Austin anymore because they have bigger and better things on their agenda right now.

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Exactly what, I couldn’t tell you. Something about privacy laws and confidentiality agreements.

However, on a separate note, can you believe that this is the last weekend of June?! July is literally around the corner – and we haven’t planned a single thing to do yet this summer.

Actually, I like the way that sounds……

Zucchini Apple Bread – adapted from Aaron McCargo

Nonstick spray
1 cup finely grated zucchini
1 cup grated apple, peeled and cored
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 2 (4 1/2 by 8 1/2-inch) loaf pans with nonstick spray. Line the pans with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Combine the zucchini, apple, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg to the bowl and mix well.

Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the middle of each loaf comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the bread from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

 

Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread

If you’ve got something on your mind, and need to work it out in your head, what do you do to resolve it? Yoga? Meditation? Exercise?
When we lived in Vegas, I would generally go for a very long bike ride. But here in Austin, I can’t do that. The hills in our (temporary) development are so steep, my legs almost gave out on me 10 minutes into my ride. Plus, we are situated right next to a very busy highway that I wouldn’t dare ride on.
I value my life too much…..
Anyway, I have taken to walking (although with all the rain, that activity has been seriously curtailed), and of course, baking more. I have found that watching the mixer blade spin round and round is a sure-fire way to sort out those little gray cells in my cerebrum.
Or, in the case of this quick bread that I made today, which obviously does not require the use of the mixer, I was able to solve my dilemma by organizing my files in the office, complete with color coded file folders.
Organized space = organized mind. 
Ok, ok….. truthfully, I just called my mother. She always knows exactly what to do, and has the remarkable ability to put things in proper perspective. And she reminded me that Alexander won’t be a teenager forever.
Thank goodness…..
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Brown Sugar Zucchini Bread – adapted from Food Network
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Stir the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. When combined, mix in the oats. Make a well in the center of the ingredients. Whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla together in a small bowl and pour the mixture into the well. Combine lightly, then stir in the zucchini. Do not overmix.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, mounding it up in the center. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar if you wish. Bake for 60 or 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack covered with a clean dish towel to prevent indentations. Let the bread cool at least 10 minutes longer before slicing. The bread can be served warm or at room temperature. It keeps well and makes good toast, too.

Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bread

I was very much on the fence about posting this bread.

Why, inquiring minds want to know? Well, the simple fact is that although I liked it, I didn’t love it. I mean, I love the idea of it, not the actually reality of it.

By now there’s a good chance you might be thinking that I bumped my head recently, (and actually, I did – three times I knocked my head into a low-hanging oak tree branch over the past weekend) as anything that contains chocolate is generally considered a keeper to me.

But this……. this was not all I hoped it would be. Sure, it has all the components of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies – but it just didn’t hold together as well as it should have. The texture was extremely dry and crumbly, even though I followed the directions exactly and allowed it to cool completely before slicing.

I might have to remake this, using oil instead of butter to see if that alleviates the problem. Or, increasing the amount of butter.

When in doubt, add more butter :)
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Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bread – adapted from Cookies on Friday

1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup of butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbs. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chocolate chunks
coarse sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9”x5”loaf pan with cooking spray.
 In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, and cinnamon.. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter until creamy then add the brown sugar. Beat on high speed until fluffy. Add in egg and mix until fully combined, then add in vanilla and stir to combine.
With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients. Once combined, add the buttermilk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until completely incorporated. Fold in chocolate chunks.
Pour batter into the buttered pan and sprinkle with coarse sugar (if desired). Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool.