Posts Tagged "baking"

Banana-Oat Energy Bars

Sometimes before a run or during a long bike ride, I need an energy boost. Store bought energy bars often have ingredients I don’t like to eat, so for the past few years I’ve tried to find various energy bar recipes to make at home. This recipe is based off of one found in the Runner’s Word Cookbook, and it is delicious and gives me enough energy to make it through a run or bike ride. It’s a strange cross between banana bread and a granola bar. The only downside, though, is that it is so moist that I’m afraid it’ll crumble when I store it in the back of my cycling jersey (I haven’t had a chance to try it yet).

The original recipe can be found in the Runner’s World Cookbook, which I highly recommend to any runners. Below is my modified recipe:

energybar-10

Ingredients:

2 very ripe bananas (defrosted if using frozen)
Slightly less than 1/2 cup of safflower or canola oil* 
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 Medjool dates, pits removed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup of dried cranberries**
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts**

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 8×8 baking pan (or a round cake pan works too).

Mash the bananas. Stir in the oil, syrup, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda.

Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix. Next fold in the chopped dates (make sure the pits have been removed!), the cranberries and walnuts.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Now you’re ready for the 30+ mile bike ride. Enjoy!

*why slightly less? The original recipe used sugar instead of maple syrup, so I cut back on the oil.

**if you “accidentally” add more than 1/2 a cup, that’s okay. Accidents happen.

 

 

Read More

Cast Iron Skillet Apple Pie (or maybe it’s apple crisp)

Ok, fine, so maybe this isn’t a true apple pie. Since I didn’t use a dough or a crust, I guess it’s more like an apple crisp. I’m calling it pie, though.

The cast iron skillet I used has been in my family for years. It belonged to my great grandmother, and I just recently re-treated it. And let me just say this here and now: I’m madly in love with it, and you can expect to see many more recipes using it.

But anyway, as for my not-quite-a-pie, maybe-an-apple-crisp recipe. The filling is from my 1984 edition of Joy of Cooking. I love using old cookbooks for baking recipes because they typically use less sugar than modern day recipes you’ll find online (which is odd of me to say considering that I’m posting this one online). This recipe only uses 1/2 cup of sugar in the filling, which allowed for the true taste of the apple to shine through, rather than the overbearing taste of sugar.

The topping is a modified version of a topping that I got from who knows where. It uses a lot less sugar and butter than the original.

So begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat.

Next core and slice:

5 apples

Place them in a large bowl and add:

1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
(depending on how juicy your apples are)
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg

In another bowl, mix together:

1 1/2 cups of oats
1/4-1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Once mixed, add:

1 stick, plus 1 tablespoon of butter, cubed while still cold

I like to work the butter into the other ingredients with my fingers, but you can use a food processor as well.

Next pull the cast iron skillet out of the oven and add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. It will make a wonderful sizzling sound. Let it melt (it’ll only take a few seconds) and then quickly add the apple mixture (more wonderful sizzling noises) and then pour the topping on. Place the skillet back in the oven and back at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 35-45 minutes. 

pie-1

pie-2

 

Read More

Zucchini-Carrot Bread

When I first heard of zucchini bread, I thought it sounded odd. This was during my not-quite-as-adventurous food days. I was in college and my roommate’s grandmother sent her back to our apartment with a loaf. I was hesitant to try it, but after my first bite, I was hooked. It’s so moist and so glorious that I can’t wait for the first sign of zucchini at the market every summer.

The following recipe is based off of one found in Sur la Table’s cookbook Eating Local. As usual, I’ve made some adjustments. Though I’m not including it in the below recipe, the book uses 1/2 a cup of minced candied ginger. It is a wonderful addition, and if you happen to have some, do add it. I don’t often have it on hand, so I don’t usually use it.

zucchinibread3

And so, the recipe:

Preheat the oven to 325. Coat two loaf pans with butter or cooking spray. (I, personally, prefer butter.)

Stir together:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

In a separate bowl, whisk:

3 eggs

Whisk in:

1 cup of canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar*

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger

Once the sugar has dissolved, whisk in:

1 cup of grated carrots**
1 cup of grated zucchini**

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture all at once. Stir just until blended. Divide the batter into the two loaf pans. Bake about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it sit in the pans for ten minutes before removing the bread from the pan and cooling it on a rack.

Once the bread has cooled, you can freeze a loaf, if need be.

*One of my goals this summer is to try and tweak this recipe even more and use less sugar and white flour. If I succeed, I will post it here.

**I use my food processor to shred the carrot and zucchini. I’ve used a box grater before, but it’s time consuming. If you have a food processor, use it.

zucchinibread

zucchinibread2

 

 

Read More

Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread by Richard Bertinet

Dough

 

Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread by Richard Bertinet (9781904920205)

Put simply: I love this book. Over the past few years, I’ve tried many different bread recipes. Some came out well, some failed, but all of them were always too dense. That changed when I got this book. Every single recipe I’ve tried so far has been delicious. Even when I screw something up, it still somehow turns out okay. And my bread is so light and airy now! I know several people who own this book, and they all say the same thing. Richard Bertinet’s method of kneading dough is so simple that I really believe that anyone could use this book and master the art of making bread. I’ve used it so many times that there’s a thin layer of flour and even dough on many of the pages. Buy this book. Eat bread. Be happy.

And in case I haven’t convinced you enough, here are some photos of the bread I’ve made from this book.

orange

rolls

garlic

bread

focaccia

sticks

Read More

Banana Oat Pancakes

Pancakes2

Update: It has been over two years since I first posted this recipe, and in that time I have gone from just learning how to run to training for my first marathon. These pancakes remain one of my favorite post-run recovery treats. I no longer add any buttermilk to the recipe, and I only add sugar or honey if I’m not using maple syrup on top. As a hungry runner, I’ve been known to nearly devour the entire batch in one sitting, so I suggest doubling the batch if cooking for multiple people. 

Sunday morning is simply not complete without either pancakes or waffles. Though I grew up eating traditional buttermilk pancakes every Sunday morning (complete with Mickey Mouse ears), these days I like to switch up my pancake batters a bit. This recipe is good for winter when fresh berries aren’t available. It is based off a recipe found in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking (9780881507195). I use honey instead of sugar and I add buttermilk (I prefer a thinner, less dense pancake). Also, if you’re cooking for multiple people, you’ll want to double it. I’ve been known to eat nearly the entire batch myself.

Begin by smashing:

3 small or 2 large bananas

Mix in:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar or honey (I omit this if I’m using maple syrup on top)

Beat in:

2 eggs

In a separate bowl, mix:

1 cup of oat flour (I make my own by pulsing old fashioned oats in the food processor until fine like flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients. Stir just until mixed (lumps are normal). Let sit 10 minutes.

Cook on a griddle or skillet. I prefer large pancakes, but I suppose you could do small ones. Flip once bubbles appear around the edges.

This pancakes are actually quite good on their own, but who doesn’t love maple syrup?

Pancakes

 

 

Read More