Gluten Free Pancakes

– johanna | December 30th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Breakfast

In our home pancakes are more than just a breakfast food drenched in syrup. They are a quick snack with cream cheese or peanut butter. Or a sweet dessert with chocolate or butter and cinnamon sugar. And, they had better hold up under the sharp scrutiny of the little guy, our carbohydrate connoisseur. So you can imagine my delight when the switch from wheat to gluten-free pancakes went unnoticed.

These gluten-free pancakes are light and fluffy just like a buttermilk pancake should be. I love them best with sauteed sliced banana in real maple syrup. They also taste scrumptious with a smear of butter and a drizzle of honey.

Source: Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking by Kelly Bronski and Peter Bronski
1 cup Artisan GF Flour Mix (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix. Add the melted butter and mix just until the ingredients are combined.

Heat a griddle or skillet to medium-high heat. Grease with butter. Pour batter into rounds on the hot griddle using a two-ounce ladle. Cook until bubbles have formed on the surface of the pancake. Flip and cook other side until golden brown. Serve with real maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, or berries.

Makes 12 pancakes

Artisan Gluten-free Flour Mix: Makes 3 cups
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon potato flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To use: stir flour then pour into measure cups using a spoon. Level off with a knife. Do not densely pack the measuring cup.

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Naan- Indian Flat Bread

– johanna | November 4th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads

Photo: Property of Mels Kitchen Cafe and my source for this recipe

Naan is a type of yeasted flat bread common in Northern India and the southern regions of Asia. For best results when making naan, use a low protein flour such as Pillsbury all-purpose flour. A higher protein flour will result in a dense bread that tastes ok and is a bit chewy.

In India, naan is made in a clay tandoori oven. I have had the best success using my panini press or a pizza stone in the oven. If using a panini press remove the naan from the press then brush on the butter. If baking in the oven brush with garlic butter before placing on a hot pizza stone in the oven.

Stand mixers are great for kneading doughs like naan and tortillas because it eliminates the mistake of adding too much flour. This dough should feel soft and smooth when kneaded.

Serve with grilled salmon or pork. Also goes great with a Moroccan stew.

Source: adapted from Andrea’s Recipes
2 3/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 egg
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl by hand), stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and yeast. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, yogurt, and milk. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir for about 1 minute, until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the wet ingredients.

Increase machine speed to 2 (or by hand) and knead the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.

Put a baking stone or heavy baking sheet on the lowest rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.

Divide the dough into eight pieces and form into teardrop shapes with your hands, about 6 to 8 inches across.

Cook two or three pieces at a time. Drop the dough onto the hot stone and shut the oven door, watching until they are just starting to turn brown in places, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the naan and brush with garlic butter. Serve warm.

Garlic Butter:
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 garlic clove, minced

Combine garlic and butter until creamy and smooth.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

– johanna | October 14th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Snacks

Fall finally arrived last weekend. Rainy and cold. It was heavenly. Thanks to Emily, my brother’s wife, the pantry is well stocked with canned pumpkin. Last year I was complaining about not being able to find canned pumpkin in the supermarket during the month of October. Emily made sure I had a few extra cans tucked away in the pantry to use this fall. This year we are hardly into october and I have used up two of those cans. The onset of rainy cold fall weather called for a batch of pumpkin muffins.

My favorite pumpkin recipe used to be Pumpkin Chip Cookies. I especially liked the ones from a grocery store in Utah. I searched recipe after recipe trying to find an exact match. Baked and baked, with unsuccessful results, until I found the closest contender on Joy the Baker. They were soft with a hint of spices just as I remembered. Pumpkin chocolate cookies are no longer my favorite. Although they still bring a smile to my lips as I remember wonderful dear friends I once shared them with.

Pumpkin Chip Muffins are similar to the cookie in taste. However, many people find the cake texture of the cookie to be annoying. If this is the case a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin might make more sense.

Source: Thorp House Inn of Fish Creek, WI
1-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal, optional
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pre-spiced)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spray a standard muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking liners.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, and melted butter.  Add the pumpkin mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir until just moistened (batter may be a bit lumpy).  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into the 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, or just until a wooden toothpick inserted into centers of the muffins comes out clean. Do not over bake. Let sit in the muffin pan to cool for 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups.

Yield:  12 standard size muffins

–This recipe calls for mace. Mace is the outer red webbing of a nutmeg seed. Add it if available. Otherwise omit it and add a hint more of nutmeg.

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Apple Harvest Festival

– johanna | October 11th, 2011

Filed under: CREATING MEMORIES, RECIPES - Beverage, RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Treats

Photo: Courtesy of Istock Photo

One of my favorite children’s books is, “The Blackberry Mouse” by Matthew Grimsdale. “The Blackberry Mouse” is a wonderful tale about a greedy young mouse who learns a valuable lesson about friendship. The story ends with Mouse and his neighborhood friends gathered together around the table enjoying a blackberry feast. There is blackberry jam, blackberry jelly, blackberry pies, lots and lots of blackberry tarts, and blackberry juice.

September marks the beginning of apple season. Mounds of succulent apples have already made their way to the market. The fall apple harvest reminds me of Mouse’s elaborate table laden with delectable blackberry goodies. There are so many wonderful edible creations to make with apples. What better way to celebrate the fall apple harvest than with an Apple Feast.

Many apple farms across California open their orchards to the public to celebrate the apple harvest. U-Pick It farms are ideal for an adventurous family outing. Although, the fun need not stop once the basket is filled. The real excitement begins at home making apple cider, apple jelly, apple butter, applesauce, apple pie, apple turnovers… However, fanfare such as this should never be enjoyed alone.

Mouse, in the story Blackberry Mouse, recognized that blackberries are nice but even better when you share them. Preserved goods such as jams and butters make perfect gifts for Christmas or to say “Thank You”. Tasty cakes, muffins and turnovers make the grand beginnings for a family apple festival.

Photo: Courtesy of

An Apple Festival can be a small intimate gathering with family and/or friends. Or a grand event involving the neighborhood or community. Fun activities and good food made with apples are a must to pull off a successful Apple Feast.

**For those with allergies to apples substitute pears.

Apple Festival Activities:
Apple Bobbing Fill a large container with water and apples. Bob for apples using only your mouth, no hands. Or attach apples to a string- participants must pull the apple from the string using only their mouth, no hands allowed.

Apple Toss Stand in two lines. Each person has a partner. Toss the apple to your partner. If they catch it you both take a step back. If you drop it you are out. Last couple standing wins.
Apple Darts Attach ‘red balloons’ to a board or wall. Participants throw darts to try to pop a balloon. If offering prizes place a ticket or several tickets in each balloon that can be exchanged for treats and prizes.
Apple Tasting- Display a variety of different types of apples. Place each variety on its own plate. Label. Keep a tally of who likes what best.

Apple Crafts:

Apple Treats:

1. Apple Butter 2. Fruit Leather 3. Applesauce 4. Apple Dip 5. Apple Cake 6. Apple Turnovers 7. Praline Apple Bread 8. Autumn Cheesecake 9. Caramel Apples (caramel sauce) 10. Apple Cider 11. Fried Apples Pies 12. Spiked Apple Cake 13. Apple Zeppole 14. Apple Cider Doughnuts 15. Apple shaped cupcakes 16. Apple Pie-rate Ship 17. Apple Crisp 18. Fried Apple Fritters 19. Apple Spiced Punch 20. Apple Muffins 21. Apple Scones, Walnut Apple Scones 22. Apple Dumplings 23. Almond Apple Strudel Bars 24. Apple Pie 25. Candied Apples 26. Apple Strudel Bars 27. Creamy Apple Chicken Chili 28. Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

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Old Fashioned Homestead Cornbread

– johanna | September 16th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Snacks, RECIPES - Treats

Cornbread as we know it today is a modern interpretation to the flat cakes of the 17th century. Corn, or Maize, was once a form of wild grass called Teosinte used by the ancient peoples of Central America 6000 to 10,000 years ago. The Teosinte kernels were small and unfused. In fact Biologist were certain that the Teosinte plant was a relative to rice. There was no possible way corn could have mutated from the Teosinte plant. Upon further investigation the science community discovered that the Native Americans selected particular Teosinte plants and developed the first hybrid corn plant through genetic modification. The hybrid was a shorter replica of the modern ear of corn.

Corn was a staple in the Native American diet. It was easy to cultivate as it grew well in the soils of South America. The Native Americans learned to dry and grind corn into corn meal for food. The husks were used to make shoes, baskets and mats. When the British Colonist arrived, in the 17th century, they taught the settlers how to grow and harvest the corn. Corn plants were planted with bean plants to provide support for one another. The spaces in between the mounds of earth were filled with ground covering melons. This method of planting provided an abundant supply of food in a small space. Cornmeal became a substitute for traditionally used grains of wheat and oats.

The type of cornbread depends on the area and family. Most culinary enthusiasts claim there are two factions of cornbread, Southern and Northern. Southern cornbread is made using bacon grease and little to no sugar. It is grainier and crumbly. Northern cornbread is a sweet cake-like bread with added sugar. Still there are more varieties of corn breads. Yeasted cornbread has a bread like texture. Savory cornbread mixes in fruits, vegetables and herbs. Skillet cornbread, or hoe cakes, are fast fried in fat before putting the pan in the oven. Corn Pone is a fried corn dough. Johnny cakes are corn pancakes.

This recipe for cornbread is a Northern cake-like bread. It is sweet and has a significant rise similar to a cake. I like to serve it as a dessert with honey butter.

Be sure to check out the variations after the recipe for some yummy alternatives.

Source: Patricia Bergstrom
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Honey Butter:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

For Honey Butter: Whip 1/2 cup butter with 1/3 cup honey until smooth.

For Cornbread:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth, about 5 minutes on low speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Serve with a dab of fresh whipped honey butter.

– Substitute the white sugar with half white and half light brown sugar.
– If using a glass pyrex reduce oven temp by 25 degrees.
– For muffins bake 25 minutes
– For more corn flavor use 2 cups cornmeal and 1 1/2 cups flour.
– For a gluten free alternative replace all-purpose flour with amaranth flour using 2 cups cornmeal and 1 1/2 cups amaranth.
– Melt 1 tablespoon bacon grease in a 10 or 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the grease is sizzling hot add the cornbread batter to the pan. Smooth the batter. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. This creates a nice crispy outside.
– If you are looking to incorporate more whole grains into your diet try grinding your own cornmeal from popcorn. You read right, yes popcorn. Since popcorn is extremely hard a professional grinder like the WonderMill is recommended. (Grind with the dial turned as far to the right as it can go.)

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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

– johanna | June 24th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads

In my hometown where I grew up there was bread factory. The smell of delicious fresh baked bread permeated the still early morning air. It was a stark contrast from the pungent aroma of rotten oranges emanating from the orange juice factory on the opposite side of town. Accompanied by the fishy stench from the ocean side.

My experience with bread making has seen more failures than successes. Nevertheless I refuse to accept defeat. I now have a small arsenal of bread recipes. That despite my lack of talent tends to come out no matter what. In fact, the dough for Honey Whole Wheat Bread has never been the same every time I make it. Yet the final result is always the same.

My idea of a good bread recipe uses minimal ingredients and is user friendly. This recipe accomplishes both. The idea of letting the sponge (wheat flour and water) rest for an hour is genius. No bitter flavor here. I read once years ago that honey was used in wheat bread to offset the strong flavor of the wheat. However, honey can also contain an overpowering flavor. So often my whole wheat loaves were bitter due to the combination of honey and wheat bran. In the King Arthur Whole Grains cookbook the recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread calls for orange juice instead of honey. They claim the OJ placates the strong flavor from the wheat. Still the recipe involves the additional ingredients of potato flakes and dry milk. These three ingredients were not a common staple in the pantry. Thus, the recipe did not meet my criteria for a good loaf of bread.

This recipe yields a tender crumb and no bitter taste. Yet it is a hearty loaf. This is not a recipe for a light airy wheat sandwich bread.

Source: The Fresh Loaf
makes two loaves
1 pound whole wheat flour (3 cups)
12 ounces hot water
8 ounces bread or all-purpose flour (2 cups)
1 5 ounces milk
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons instant yeast

Mix the hot water and whole wheat flour together in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and set aside until around room temperature, at least 1 hour.

Add the milk, honey, salt, yeast, and bread flour to the original mixture and mix until well combined. Add additional flour and knead by hand or in a stand mixer until a tacky but not completely sticky dough is formed. Place the ball of dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.

Divide the dough in two and shape the loaves. Place the loaves in greased bread pans, cover the pans loosely with plastic or in a large plastic bag, and set aside to rise again for 90 minutes.

During the final 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pans into the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pans once so that they brown evenly, until the internal temperature of the loaves is around 190 degrees and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

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Banana Oat Pancakes

– johanna | March 25th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Breakfast

Yum, yum pancakes. Oatmeal banana pancakes. I so love pancakes. I think my son could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is a picky eater. Occasionally he will surprise me like the time he ate hummus with carrots. He did not start out picky. In fact, when he started solids the more gourmet the better. Pancakes is one area I have made gradual changes. I swapped out the all-purpose flour for oat flour, added wheat germ and ground flax seed and omitted the sugar. I feel better knowing he is getting some nutrition. He ate these banana pancakes without a single peep. Be sure to visit Simple Bites to read the post for Banana Oatmeal Pancakes. You will find a few more suggestions to placate a picky eater.

The addition of ground oatmeal flour gives the cakes a nice hearty texture. Be sure to puree the banana it helps it blend in nicely with the other liquids. I was worried about the strong flavor of the honey but you cannot even taste it.

Source: Simple Bites
makes about 20 pancakes
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat milk, room temperature
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, room temperature
3 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
1/3 cup honey
1 1/3 cup puréed ripe bananas, about 4 medium bananas
2 eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature

Preheat a large skillet over low heat.

Add the oats to a food processor and process until very fine. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, ground oats, flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the milk, yogurt, cooled butter or canola oil, honey, banana, and eggs. Hand whisk until thoroughly combined, but do not beat.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the liquids into the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Do not beat the mixture. Just stir until moist and combined.

Turn the heat on the pan or griddle up to medium-low. Grease with cooking spray, oil, or butter according to your preference. Add the batter 1/4 cup per pancake to the pan. Cook until golden brown on the bottom before flipping.

You can usually tell it is ready to flip because the top will start to bubble. Pancakes can be kept warm in a 150 degree oven on an oven-safe plate or cookie sheet while the remaining cook. Serve with sliced banana, your favorite jam, honey, or syrup.

To freeze leftovers: Cool on a cookie cooling rack completely. Then, place pancakes in gallon-sized zip top bags. To reheat, warm in a toaster oven or microwave.

– Swap oats for instant oatmeal and process as directed. Or use oat flour, no need to process.
– Use sour cream in the place of yogurt.
– Replace the wheat flour with all-purpose or gluten free mix.
– Add chopped or broken pecans to the batter or sprinkle on each pancake after you pour the batter onto the hot griddle.
– Swap the banana puree with pumpkin puree, sweet potatoes or applesauce.

Recipe for a simple version of Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes.

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Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

– johanna | January 7th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Snacks

Growing up in the south biscuits were common whereas in California rolls or bread usually accompany a meal. We rarely serve bread with a meal. The exception would be if we are having soup or a dinner salad. Biscuits are a great choice because they are fast. They do not require proofing yeast and then waiting 2 hours for the dough to rise. These biscuits go really well with chicken soup or tomato soup.

The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups buttermilk plus more to brush the tops with. I found that I did not need all of the buttermilk in the dough. Take the time to slowly add the buttermilk testing the dough between each small addition. You only need enough to help the dough stick together.

I like to use a fork when adding the liquid. Once the dough starts to form by sticking together I use my hands to gather it together. Just be careful not to overwork the dough. I learned a great tip from my Baking Illustrated cookbook on how to gather the dough. Use a fork not a spoon to lightly work the milk in. Once the dough starts to come together into a ball there will be a small amount of flour on the bottom of the bowl. Add a little of the liquid to the flour and then incorporate it into the rest of the ball.

Source: Cooking with Shelburne  Farms
Makes 12 (2 1/2-inch) biscuits
3 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp col unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, sage or rosemary leaves
1 1/4 cups cold buttermilk plus a little more to brush the biscuit tops with

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powder, soda and salt.

With your fingers or two forks, work the butter into the flour mixture until the dough looks like fine gravel with a few larger butter bumps throughout. Stir in the cheddar and thyme. Add the buttermilk gradually, just until a pinch of dough comes together when you squeeze it between your fingers.

Lightly four the counter and dump the dough onto it. Knead it a few times to bring it together and then use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to a 3/4-inch thicknesss. Cut out the biscuits with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter or glass.

(You can reroll the biscuits once but more than that will make the biscuits tough.)

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops with buttermilk. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

— You can reroll the scraps once but not more or the biscuits will be tough.
— Keep the ingredients as cold as possible and work with the dough as little as possible to ensure light flaky biscuits.

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Panettone French Toast

– johanna | December 24th, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Breakfast

Panettone {Pan e toni} (meaning large bread) is an Italian sweet bread, studded with dried fruit that has been soaked in liquor, commonly associated with Christmas. Historians are unclear as to the exact history of Panettone; however, it is said to have originated during the 15th-century in Milan Italy, when the ancient Romans used honey to sweeten breads. Writings dating from the 18th-century associate the bread with Christmas; yet, it was not until the early 20th-century that panettone became a widely shared Christmas tradition. Today Panettone is shipped all across the world and not only at Christmas time but Easter too.

There are just as many legends as there are versions of the bread. The first story tells of a young noble man, Toni, and his love for the baker’s daughter. To win the heart of his true love he disguised himself as apprentice to her father. One day he made a special domed bread that impressed the baker and the daughter so much that the baker sanctioned his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The second tale occurs one Christmas Eve at a lavish banquet held at the court of Ludovico Sforza. The cook accidently burnt the dessert. A kitchen hand, named Toni, saved the evening by making a sweet bread using the remains of the burnt cake and adding dried fruit, spices, eggs and sugar.

How ever Panettone came to be this rich buttery sweet sensation is a world wide Holiday favorite. Panettone is often toasted and served alongside coffee. You will also find recipes for Panettone stuffing and bread pudding in addition to this version of Panettone french toast. Panettone is not a fruit cake although it does contain dried fruit. Freshly made is always preferred over store bought but if it is not available at the local bakery try finding the brands by Bauli or Flamigni.

Source: Williams Sonoma
1/2 Panettone, about 1 pound
3 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Softened unsalted butter for brushing
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Warm Maple syrup for serving

Slice off the end pieces and discard. Cut panettone into 5 or 6 vertical slices then slice pieces in half.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, orange zest, orange juice, Cointreau, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a large shallow bowl; add bread slices. Soak, turning once, 10 seconds per side.

Heat griddle on medium heat; brush with butter. When the butter foams, add a few bread slices. Cook, turning once, untl lightly browned, 3-5 minutes per side. Turn slices over again; cook a few minutes more per side. Transfer French toast to serving plates. Place in oven; turn oven to 200 degrees. Cook remaining slices.

To serve dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Serves 4 or 5.

Keep any left overs refrigerated. Reheat in the oven, spread with butter and eat with a cup of hot chocolate. Mmmmmm.

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Orange Spice Banana Bread

– johanna | December 3rd, 2010

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Snacks, RECIPES - Treats

This orange spice banana bread smells absolutely amazing. The aroma fills the house with the pungent fall spices. It is so hard to wait until the bread is completely cooled before pinching off a nibble.

The most important tips I can pass on is to make sure the cream cheese is completely softened. Unwrap the bar and leave it out for at least 25 to 30 minutes to soften. Brown speckled very ripe bananas are the best type of banana to use in banana bread, it gives the bread a more intense banana flavor. This rule may be broken if you are looking for a subtle banana flavor to showcase the orange. Lastly blend the wet ingredients well, no lumps remaining in the cream cheese, before combining with the dry ingredients.

Source: Good Life Eats
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbs orange zest, (about 2 medium sized oranges)
1 1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 pinches of allspice
1 1/2 c very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
6 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking.

Sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

Mix the mashed bananas, cream cheese, eggs, butter and vanilla using a wooden spoon. Gently combine the flour mixture with the mashed banana mixture until just combined. Do not overmix; the batter should look slightly lumpy and thick.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool on a wire rack.

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