Tag Archives: baking

Egg-less Banana Bread

First, if you’ve never been to this blog before, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. I eat eggs. I raise chickens just so that I can have good, quality eggs at my disposal. However, we’re smack in the middle of winter. Even worse, we’re smack in the middle of some awful polar vortex that made its way here from the Arctic and won’t leave. If you’re not familiar with chickens, you probably don’t know that when the daylight starts to wane, so does their egg production. Add to that the fact the we’re down to three hens and Luna’s production has slowed anyway as she reaches her fourth spring. We haven’t had an egg here since October!!
So, I’ve been forced to go to the co-op or farmers’ market to keep eggs in the house. Which is fine, but um, we’re trying not to spend all our money on groceries and egg and sausage biscuit sandwiches are on this week’s dinner menu and I didn’t want to use them all up and have to buy more.

My pig!So, the bunch of bananas getting browner by the day was screaming at me. I could have peeled the bananas and put them into one of the freezers, but I’m trying to empty them enough to make space for the hog we’re getting from Quartz Farm as soon as he’s big enough.

Banana bread is the best way I know to use up sad, old bananas. All my recipes called for eggs. I Googled egg-less banana bread and got 2 or 3 different recipes that were all basically the same. I then searched for egg substitutes. My search returned the usual, “applesauce, banana, flax seed or oil”.

I ran through the options in my mind and decided against all of them because: I’m already putting 6 bananas in the recipe, I don’t think I should substitute one for the eggs; banana bread already has a lot of butter or oil, so I didn’t want to add any more; all my applesauce is flavored and I don’t want to add any more fruit to my bread; and finally, I don’t have any flax seed. But, there was another egg substitute that intrigued me, for each egg, mix:

2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons baking powder

I have oil, water and baking powder in my house, so I decided to give it a go.

Banana bread recipes are essentially the same. Oh, of course you can add chocolate chips, or sprinkle some sort of topping on your loaves  but they all boil down to the same thing. Bananas, flour, sugar and a few other key  ingredients in similar proportions across the board. Well, except for that whole egg thing.

Have I mentioned that I’m a math geek? Sometimes when I can’t decide on which recipe to use, I like to play the game of averages. Do you remember averages from school? Or maybe, like me, you actually still use them in your adult life? Add up the values of a given thing and then divide by the number of given things you started with. It’s pretty easy actually, but the nerd in me loves it.

(If you’re screaming in your head, “Just get to the recipe already!” Click here for a printable version or scroll down to the pictures and please accept my apology for rambling.)

I start with a table. I list all the ingredients down the side and then across the rows I write in the volume of that ingredient in the various recipes. Once the table is complete, I calculate the average amount of each ingredient, round it to the nearest measurable amount and then use that number as the amount in my recipe.
For example, sugar. I had six recipes. The sugar called for in those six recipes was: 1 cup, 1 cup, 1 cup, 2/3 cup, 3/4 cup and 2/3 cup. I added all the sugar amounts together and divided by six to get 0.74 cups and then rounded it up to 3/4. Sound tedious? It actually brings me a great deal of joy that I can’t quite explain. Oooh! Oooh! Plus, I doubled the recipe; more math!

When I was all done with the math for my recipe, I added in a few ingredients of my own. One of my original recipes called for milk, one for sour cream, and one for cream cheese. When those ingredients were averaged in, they didn’t account for much of the total recipe, so they weren’t included. Except, I happened to have a half a container of sour cream in the fridge. I myself am not a fan of sour cream, but I needed it for a recipe so I decided to go ahead and add sour cream after all so that I could use it up before it spoiled. And, I added WAY more vanilla than the averages called for. Plus, cinnamon. It wasn’t in any of the recipes and I just felt like putting it in.

The batter was really thick and I thought I was going to end up with a dry bread (which I hate) but I’m quite pleased with how the loaf came out. It was very moist, had a nice flavor and if I have sour cream in the refrigerator again I could probably be persuaded to make another batch.

When everything was said and done, I ended up with this:Yummy homemade banana bread.

To make Egg-less Banana bread,
preheat your oven to 350°.

Add butter and brown sugar to the mixing bowl.

Butter and sugar

Cream butter and sugar together.Creamed together butter and sugar.

Add one egg or one “egg”.

egg substitute

2 T. water
1 t. oil
2 t. baking powder mixed together

Mix well and add sour cream and vanilla. Mix until combined and add bananas. My math said 5 1/2 but I had 6 so I used all of them. I also didn’t mash the bananas before I put them in; I broke chunks off into the mixer and then just beat the snot out of them until they looked like this.All mixed up

Measure the dry ingredients into a separate bowl or 1 quart measuring cup.Flour and spices

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in stages, mixing after each addition.

Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or two loaf pans. Spread the batter into your pan(s) and bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes. Bread is finished when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Click here for printable version.

Egg-less Banana Bread

Makes 2 loaves or a 9” x 13” pan

Preheat oven to 350°

  • 1 cup butter

  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar

  • 1 “egg” ~ whisk together:

    • 2 T. water

    • 1 t. oil

    • 2 t. baking powder

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 t. vanilla

  • 6 bananas, mashed

  • 3 1/3 cup flour

  • 1 t. baking powder

  • 1 t. baking soda

  • 1/3 t. salt

  • 1 T. cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg substitute or egg. Mix well. Add sour cream and vanilla and blend again. Add bananas and mix well.

In a separate container combine dry ingredients. Add a little at a time, mixing after each addition.

Grease a 9” x 13” casserole or two loaf pans.

Pour batter into pan(s). Batter will be quite thick and may require spreading with a spatula.

Bake in 350° oven 45-55 minutes.

Bread is finished when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Cinnamon Caramel Monkey Bread

There’s a little restaurant in town that serves monkey bread and my family loves the stuff!

Finished Monkey BreadI’ve noticed a lot of recipes on the internet lately for the pull-apart cinnamon bread many people call monkey bread. Apple Monkey Bread, Blueberry Monkey Bread, even Crock Pot Monkey Bread. With all the buzz, I decided to give it a try.

Before I started, I looked at a lot of recipes. Like this one for Crock Pot, Apple Monkey Bread. This was the leading contender, but I decided I didn’t want to wait 2 1/2 hours for it to cook. So, I looked around some more and found these oven-baked recipes for Blueberry Monkey Bread and Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread. I was leaning toward the Cinnamon Pull-Apart bread, but didn’t want to make actual bread before starting the recipe. For a minute I contemplated using the dough I had in the refrigerator, but wasn’t sure how the 5-minutes dough would hold up. The dough is pretty thin and I didn’t think it would hold its shape.

The other two recipes call for canned biscuits. I neither had nor cared to purchase any canned biscuits to make my bread, so I decided to whip up some biscuit dough to use. My biscuit recipe only makes 10 biscuits, so I had to double it to make sure I had enough biscuits to fill my chosen pan.

Flour, sugar, salt, tartar, baking powderStart by combining flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. I measured the flour into this measuring cup and then just added the remaining ingredients on top before dumping the whole mess into my mixer bowl.

Mmm. Butter.Cut the butter into chunks and add to dry ingredients.

Butter blended into dry ingredients.“Cut” the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can do this by hand with a pastry cutter, a whisk or even a fork. I opted to use the whisk attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer. ‘Cause I love it.

Milk in the well.Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk all at once.  I used unsweetened almond. 

Mix until blended.Using a wooden spoon, mix the wet ingredients until just blended. I used the paddle attachment on my mixer.

biscuit doughKnead the dough 10-12 times on a lightly floured surface and then flatten it out. If you were making biscuits, you could roll them out to a half an inch and then cut them, but since I was just going to make balls of dough I opted to just pinch off balls of dough that were about 1″.

Grease a baking dish. I would recommend a 9″ x 13″ pan, but I actually used a deep, 4″ x 8″ pan.

Sugar and Spice and everything nice.In a microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Mix together and sprinkle two-ish tablespoons into the bottom of the greased baking dish. Pull or cut balls of dough from your flattened biscuits, roll them in the sugar mixture and spread them out into the baking dish. When you are finished rolling all the biscuit pieces in sugar, there will probably be a little left. I left it in the bowl and added the butter and cider to the bowl.

Smirnoff Caramel KissedMicrowave the bowl until the butter is melted. Remove the bowl from the microwave and add the caramel vodka. The little bit of alcohol in this small amount of vodka will cook out, but if you don’t like cooking with alcohol or don’t have any flavored vodka, you can use vanilla instead. Stir to combine and drizzle the liquid mixture over the pan of cinnamon-sugar covered dough balls.

Ready for the oven.Place the pan in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Because I used a deeper dish, my bread took the whole 40 minutes to finish.

Cinnamon Pull-apart bread.

Fresh from the oven!

Cinnamon Caramel Monkey Bread

Biscuits

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 T. baking powder
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cup milk

Topping

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/6 cup apple cider
  • 1 T. caramel kissed vodka (or vanilla if you prefer)

In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt.
I used the whisk on my Kitchen Aid mixer to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, but you can do it by hand with a whisk or dough cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add milk all at once. With a spoon (or the paddle attachment of your mixer), stir just until the ingredients are blended.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 10-12 times and pat it flat.

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In Search of the Perfect Brioche

When I was working for 9 Bean Rows in trade for my CSA share, I became acquainted with brioche. If you’re not familiar, it is a flaky, buttery egg bread. When toasted and slathered with raspberry jelly it easily passes for a jelly donut and is probably just as bad for your diet.

Tired of spending $5 a loaf for the stuff, I decided to make it myself. I bake. It can’t be too difficult, right? Wrong. I tried to make a loaf and it turned out horribly. Dry. Almost crumbly. It was so bad that I didn’t even note which recipe I used. It was then that my quest for a decent recipe began.

I’m still working my way through recipes, but I thought I should keep you posted in case you, like me, are on a quest for The Perfect Brioche. This recipe wasn’t bad. I would actually consider trying it again on a day when I had more time because I rushed it a little and that could have affected the final product. The texture was right, but it was dry. How can ANYTHING with almost a pound of butter in it be dry??  As a dinner roll, the bread was okay. It fared much better as toast, but its real redeeming quality was that it made the best french toast ever. Another plus? This recipe doesn’t require the shaping of loaves, you just dump the dough into a pan or muffin tins and let it rise.

This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse’s Lousiana Real and Rustic.

Brioche

Starter
3 envelopes (6 3/4 tsp.) yeast
1/2 C. warm milk (about 110°)
1 C. flour

Combine the yeast and milk.
Stir to dissolve the yeast.
Add flour; mix well.
Let sit in a warm, draft-free place 2 hours.

Dough

4 C. flour
6 eggs
1/2 C. warm water (about 110°)
3 T. sugar
2 t. salt
3 sticks butter at room temperature plus extra for greasing pans
1 egg yolk, beaten

  1. Put 2 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl. Add 4 eggs, one at a time beating thorougly with a wooden spoon after each.
  2. Add water, sugar and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add three sticks of butter and mix in with your hands until it is well blended.
  4. Add remaining two eggs and mix well.
  5. Add remaining flour. Mix well and break up any clumps of flour.
  6. Knead the starter into the dough with your hands. Continue kneading until well mixed; about 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky and moist.
  7. Cover with a clean damp cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free place 2 hours.
  8. Butter two 9″ x 5″ x 3″ loaf pans or two standard 12-muffin pans.
  9. Punch dough down lightly and divide into baking pans.
  10. Brush tops with egg yolk.
  11. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour.
  12. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  13. Bake loaves 25-30 minutes or muffins 20 minutes until tops are golden.

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#39 ~ Bake Something Every Week: No-Egg Chocolate Cake

This morning Maggie asked about how the cake turned out.  So, here it is.

To be honest, not great.  But, it was my own fault.  The recipe is tried and true and came from a sitter Mr. Hippie and his brothers had when they were little.  He’s been baking it since he was old enough to cook with great success.  I however was in a hurry.  I rushed and didn’t give the cake enough time so the center wasn’t finished and of course, the cake collapsed.  My failure does not change the fact that this is a great recipe. It can be mixed in one bowl with minimal utensils and the result is a dense but not-too-rich chocolate cake. 

Eggless Chocolate Cake

  • 3 C. flour
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. cocoa
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 T. vinegar
  • 3/4 C. oil
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 2 C. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
Mix until well blended but do not over mix. 
Pour into a greased 9×13″ baking dish.
Bake 30-35 minutes. (Or, more importantly until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.)

My cake failed for any number of reasons: 

  1. I halved it and baked it in a greased pie plate.
  2. I trusted that after 38 minutes the cake was done and didn’t test it with a toothpick.
  3. I screwed up some other variable at any point in the process.

Who knows.  Baking can be fickle.  The cake still tasted yummy even though it wasn’t pretty.

eggless chocolate cake

Collapsed. So sad.

So this isn’t the fanciest cake, but that wasn’t the point.  Someone had a sweet tooth and cake was the cure.  After baking up this cake Mr. Hippie and I pondered why people buy cake mixes.  If you can bake a cake in one bowl and only dirty a couple of measuring cups and spoons, why bother with a mix?  It doesn’t take any longer and tastes way better.

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#39 ~ Bake Something Every Week: Better than Tollhouse(R) Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not gramma's, but not bad.

Last week I baked sugar cookies.  I don’t remember which recipe I used, but they weren’t spectacular, so not share-worthy.  When I find my Grandmother’s recipe maybe I’ll share. 

I also baked pasties but I haven’t decided if that really counts as baking.  They were also not very spectacular.  I used leftover beef tenderloin, rutabaga, carrot and potato chunks and then sliced in a little cheese for good measure.  Pasties are good because you can individualize them.  Gwen’s pasties were meatless and Dylan’s were potato-less.  Adam doesn’t love rutabaga so I didn’t put as much rutabaga in his.  Since I was pressed for time I used straight-up pie crust instead of croissant dough like I usually do.  If you need a recipe for pasties I have one here.

This week I baked enchiladas from a new recipe, and chocolate chip cookies.  Essentially I use the recipe from the back of the Nestle bag, but I have modified it.  And yes, it actually is better.

Better than Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) real  butter; melted, not just softened, melted

    Melted butter

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 T. vanilla Yes, a whole Tablespoon.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

In mixer cream together melted butter and sugars.
Add eggs one at a time mixing after each addition.
Add vanilla.  I probably use more than a tablespoon because I just dump it in.

Melted butter yields a smoother base.

Add salt and soda to flour.  Add slowly to egg mixture and blend until combined. 
Mix in chocolate chips stirring until blended.

Refrigerate for an hour.

Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 9-11 minutes at 375 degrees.

Breakfast of champions.

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Happy Birthday Bubba

My Bubby turned 9 today.  While at the grocery yesterday, he commented that he liked the strawberry cakes.  So strawberry cake it was.  I surfed the internet for a recipe that didn’t require a cake mix or strawberry Jell-O and found one that I thought would work at A Dash of Sass.  Since I can never follow a recipe exactly as it is written, I made some modifications.  Since I am lazy crunched for time I didn’t strain the berries as Kate recommended; I don’t think this had a negative effect on the finished cake.  Also, since my mixer is out of commission still, I did most of it in the blender:

Cake being mixed in the blender

The blender is great, but it's no KitchenAid mixer.

Easy Strawberry Blender Cake

  • 3 cups flour (I used spelt)
  • 4 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Frozen strawberries (enough to yield 2 cups of frozen strawberry puree with some left over for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  •  4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Flour a 9×2″ and a 6×2″ cake pan; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder.
Defrost strawberries slightly; scoop a few out and set aside.  Dump the rest in the blender and puree.
Add eggs, oil, vanilla and lemon juice.  Puree until smooth.
Add sugar and blend until mixed thoroughly.
Dump contents of blender into dry ingredients.  Stir until just blended. 
Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake 26 to 28 minutes.
Okay, if you pour this batter into three pans you might get it to bake in 26-28 minutes.  I, however, overfilled my pans causing the small one to overflow in the oven and create a horrible burned smell in the kitchen.  Overfilling the pans also resulted in a cook time of about 40 minutes. 😦

Combine the reserved strawberries with a softened stick of butter and as much confectioner’s sugar as you need to make the frosting a spreadable consistency. 

"the Chive"

Such concentration.

 

While the cake is cooling, take your family to Wilderness Crossing to bowl.  While you are there, open gifts.   Dylan got to open a gift every time one of us got a strike.  We aren’t very good bowlers; it took a long time to get the few presents opened.  One of Bubby’s favorite gifts was the pocket knife his father gave him.   When he was much younger he asked when he could get a knife like his dad carries.  Instead of saying, “When you get older.”  I said, “When you are nine.”  Nine seemed a long way away then.  Now he is nine and he has his knife.  He is ready for it. 

Pizza at the Bowling alley

Birthday Pizza

 

The bowling alley is also a good place for a birthday dinner (if you are 9).  Drink some lemonade.  Eat some pizza.  Go home, wish your Bubby happy birthday and eat some blender cake.

I think he likes his blender cake

"Happy Birthday to you . . ."

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Crusty Round Loaves of Homemade Bread

Finished loaf cooled, sliced and ready to eat.

Freshly baked bread in five minutes?

When was the last time you had freshly-baked bread hot from the oven?  Maybe, like most people, you can’t remember the last time you had homemade bread.  We had some with dinner, but that isn’t a big deal around here; we have homemade bread four or five nights a week.  Granted, it isn’t a soft, sandwich-type loaf but it is delicious just the same. 

I’m not telling you this to brag; I’m trying to tell you how easy it is so that you can do it too!  

This summer I started baking my own bread in an effort to eat more slowly.  When I started making my own cheese, homemade bread became a natural use of the gallons and gallons of whey leftover after cheese production.  I experimented with lots of recipes, but this is by far my favorite due to the fact that it is so  easy.  The recipe is from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day“, and it really only does take five minutes a day.  Well, it takes a little longer, but you only have to spend five minutes a day dealing with it.    Plus, if you are frugal like me, you’ll appreciate these loaves not only for their ease, but for their value.  This bread is just like the fancy-shmancy loaves you can buy for $4-$7 at the local bakery and only costs pennies to make.

Warm whey ready to use

Whey measured out and warmed.

Here is my variation:

3 cups      lukewarm whey (or water)
1 1/2 T.    yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1 1/2 T.    kosher salt
6 1/2 cups     spelt flour (or whole wheat)

Warm the whey and sprinkle the yeast onto it.  You don’t need to let the yeast rest, just pour the yeast and whey into a large mixing bowl and add the salt.

All miked up and ready to raise.

The dough after a quick mix with a wooden spoon. No mixer, no kneading.

Stir in the flour.  Mix with a wooden spoon or other sturdy utensil until all the flour is moistened.  The dough will be fairly wet.

Mixed dough rising

Cover the mixing bowl and let rise.

Loosely cover the bowl and place in a warm spot for two or more hours.  You can use plastic wrap, but I use a damp kitchen towel or cloth napkin because it is more earth-friendly and because I hate to spend money on plastic wrap.   Ignoring the dough for up to five hours will have no negative effect on the final product.

The round loaf after rising for about 40 minutes.

Finished rising and ready to bake.

Using well-floured hands and a serrated knife, scoop out a grapefruit-sized ball of dough and shape it into a roundish loaf by repeatedly tucking the edges under.  This takes some practice and you have to keep adding flour to your hands unless you want to end up like a cartoon character all covered with a sticky mess of dough.
Place the loaf onto a well-floured plate or board to rise.  You can use cornmeal, but I’ve had better luck with flour.  (Excessive amounts as you can see in the picture.) 
Loosely re-cover the remaining dough (with the same kitchen towel you used last time 🙂 ) and refrigerate until you are ready to make another loaf.  This dough can remain in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Place a broiler pan or an old metal baking pan on the bottom oven rack.  Preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 450 degrees while your round loaf rises.  This should take about 40 minutes and will allow the stone to get nice and hot. 

When the oven and stone are nice and hot and your loaf is ready to bake, quickly transfer the loaf to the hot pizza stone. Using a well-floured and very sharp serrated knife, slash the top of the loaf one or more times.  Carefully pour a cup of water into the pan on the bottom rack, place your loaf in the oven and close the door to trap steam.  Bake about 30 minutes.

In another day or two when you are ready to bake another loaf, pull the dough out of the refrigerator, cut off another hunk of dough and let it rise while the oven warms.  Depending on the size of your loaves, this recipe should make three or four loaves.

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