Tagged: baking

Tahini Banana Bread

Tahini Banana Bread
My husband and son are regulars at the coffee shop. It’s part of their weekend routine to stop by for a cappuccino and a banana nut muffin. Our little one will pick the walnuts out of the muffin and devour the rest himself. Even sharing a bite can be a challenge, but I can’t blame him for being so possessive. They are really good muffins, and it’s hard not to like banana baked goods.

Since the habit began, I’ve tried to bake banana bread at home, but my three-year-old hasn’t been interested. I still haven’t figured out why, but I finally had success when I baked a loaf of tahini banana bread. Maybe it was the bittersweet chocolate flecks dotting each slice that did it for him. With white whole-wheat flour and yogurt, this was a somewhat lightened version of the usual banana loaf.
Tahini Banana Bread
Tahini Banana Bread

Adapted from Cooking Light May 2017

Makes 1 loaf

Non-stick cooking spray
6 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat together the bananas, yogurt, tahini, butter, vanilla extract and eggs. Beat in both sugars until combined. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and transfer to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies
I was a bit late to the spicy food party. I don’t know remember exactly when or why I decided to be brave when it came to heat, but I’ve never looked back since. I love that buzzy feeling on my tongue when I bite into something spiked with a chile pepper, no matter if it’s savory or sweet. Actually, I can’t get enough when desserts are surprisingly spicy.

When I saw the recipe for these Mexican hot-chocolate cookies, I knew I had to try them. With their combination of cinnamon, cayenne pepper and semisweet chocolate, these had a lot more going on than your standard cookie. I brought them to a get-together with friends, and they were a hit. I might be baking another batch for Cinco de Mayo.
Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies
Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living May 2017

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed-dark brown sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped
1/2 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, cayenne and baking soda.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until the dough is just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough by the heaping tablespoon to create 1-inch diameter balls. Roll the balls in turbinado sugar before placing on the sheet pan 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 11-14 minutes until the tops are cracked. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet pan before transferring to a wire rack. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight container.

Pizza Rolls

Pizza Rolls
I will never get sick of eating pizza. It is definitely in my top 10 and maybe even my top 5 favorite foods. If I could dissect a piece of pizza, I like the crust most followed by sauce and then cheese. I am not a fan of pies loaded with cheese to the point that it dominates each bite. Skip the cheese all together? I’m not sure I would really miss it. Just pile that crust high with other toppings, and I would be happy.

A few weeks ago I used leftover pizza dough to make cinnamon rolls, but this time I went savory making pizza rolls filled with tomato sauce, pesto and a sprinkling cheese. They rose tall in the oven turning into chewy, puffy pinwheels. I ended up eating one along with a big green salad for dinner. My 3-year-old wasn’t convinced since what I was calling pizza wasn’t in the shape of a triangle.
Pizza Rolls
Pizza Rolls
Makes about 12 rolls

2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil plus more for bowl and brushing pizza
1 cup bread flour plus more for work surface
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cups tomato sauce
1/3 cup pesto
1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and process until a ball of dough forms. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F Line a sheet pan with parchment.

Roll the dough into a 10-inch by 16-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Spread the tomato sauce leaving an 1/8-inch border followed by the pesto. Sprinkle all over with cheese. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into strips about 1-1/2 inches wide. Roll up each strip and place on the prepared sheet pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pretzel Shortbread Cookies

Pretzel Shortbread Cookies
I usually don’t complain about having too much snack food at home, especially pretzels. But when I was stuffing rubber-banded partial bags on top of each other, I knew the surplus had to go. It was time to clean house. I took what was left of pretzel rods that I had planned to dip in chocolate and candy, and I threw them in the food processor instead. In minutes I had pretzel flour.

I’ve made tart crust with pretzel flour, but this time I used it to make pretzel shortbread cookies. The dough was so crumbly that I baked it in a mini muffin pan. The result was a thick cookie with a dip in the center, some deeper than others. I melted bittersweet chocolate to drizzle on top, but you also could pour it in a puddle in the center for a super thumbprint cookie.
Pretzel Shortbread Cookies
Pretzel Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Food52

Makes about 24 cookies

Non-stick cooking spray
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups pretzel flour (about 240 grams pretzels blended into flour)
Melted bittersweet chocolate for drizzling
Pearl sugar for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the pretzel flour until combined. Press the dough into each muffin cup about three-fourths full.

Bake the cookies 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool the cookies in the pan. Use a paring knife to cut around the edge of each cookie before lifting out of the pan. Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

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