There’s nothing quite like a warm slice of banana bread with a nice smear of butter. It’s as if the heavens looked down on the creation of butter and said, “Now we must create a perfect platform upon which to show off this butter.” When made properly, banana bread is moist and loaded with flavor. It’s pretty much a big, bread-shaped muffin. Best of all, banana bread is so easy to make… it’s “nuts!” Just kidding. It’s totally “bananas!”
In this article, I’ll show you my favorite banana bread recipe and share a couple of tips for getting great tasting bread every time. I’m also excited to present my latest cooking video. Last week, I watched the movie The Artist. It was cute. But you know what it was missing? A good banana bread recipe. Here’s a few scenes that would have made it perfect:
April 7th is National Coffee Cake Day. So it seems like the perfect time to to share some of my favorite coffee cake recipes. When you want a baked good for breakfast or brunch, you can’t beat a nice coffee cake. They’re easy to prepare and ready within an hour. As they bake, your kitchen smells like a bakery. If you have guests over, someone will always ask, “What smells so good?” If you need a dish to take somewhere, a coffee cake is the perfect, portable, party pastry.
The recipes here are all “quick bread” coffee cakes. That is to say, they don’t use yeast (which takes more time), but are made from scratch using flour as a base and baking powder or baking soda as their leavening agent. (A couple of the recipes call for a store bought-baking mix like Bisquick which is basically flour plus baking powder.)
In a later post, we’ll address yeast-risen coffee cakes and short-cut coffee cakes (those which use dinner rolls, biscuits in a tube or some other time-saving base). But for now, grab a coffee, sit back, relax and get ready to be hungry. I present to you…
18 Awesome Coffee Cake Recipes
1. Strawberry Jam Coffee Cake – You can use any flavor jam that you like. I’ve tried this recipe with both strawberry and raspberry jam and loved the results.
2. Cinnamon Flop (Coffee Cake) – This easy-to-make coffee cake features soft fissures and cracks loaded with buttery brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. Raspberry Cobbler Coffee Cake – This colorful beauty has fresh red raspberries resting in a light vanilla cake. Top it off with sliced almonds and a drizzle of icing and it looks like you bought it at an expensive bakery.
As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, many people are looking forward to healthy (size-wise) portions of corned beef, cabbage, Irish whiskey and Guinness. While I plan to partake in all those great things, I’m most excited about St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. Every year, I try to find new ways to incorporate green into my omelets, pancakes, waffles and other morning dishes.
One of my St. Patrick’s Day breakfast dishes was so green that it was literally unbelievable. I submitted a photo of my Green Egg Scramble to the popular food picture site FoodGawker and they wouldn’t accept it. They said it “looked overproccessed.” I can see how they thought that, but seriously, it was food coloring and green peppers – not Photoshop.
Today’s featured St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast recipe is festive but not quite as over-the-top. It’s a basic breakfast casserole with accents of distinct green from spinach, green pepper, green onion, chopped jalapeno and a garnish of parsley.
I discovered this recipe in a 1976 advertisement from the Egg Farmers of Ontario. The ad promoted the recipe as The 42 Cent Lunch, but it struck me that eggs on toast might be better suited for breakfast. It’s an interesting take on the classic Egg in the Hole. Instead of cooking an egg within a slice of toast, the egg rests on top of the toast. The yolk is supported by a pillow of beaten egg white that’s baked until golden brown.
This morning I “got cracking” and tried making this vintage recipe.
Above, you can see that the dish turned out pretty much like the picture in the ad. The yolk wasn’t quite as vibrant, but other than that, it was awesome. It was easy to make, tasty and a really fun way to do eggs and toast in a unique way.
Here’s how to make it…
I’m putting my toaster in the cupboard and my bread in the freezer. This week is all about light and flaky homemade buttermilk biscuits. Great things happen when you replace your toast with biscuits. Suddenly, everything you serve gets countrified. Breakfast at home feels like y’all be eating in a charming Southern restaurant. It’s like some wonderful, bespectacled grandmother used her whisk like a wand to cast a spell on your meal from her magic book of old family recipes.
The biggest and best secret about making homemade biscuits is just that it’s so extraordinarily easy! There’s only 7 ingredients and that includes a pinch of salt.
Let’s do it…
A breakfast strata is just a breakfast casserole with layered ingredients. It’s best when you assemble it the night before and refrigerate it overnight. The next morning: pop it in the oven, take a shower, watch a little George Stephanopoulos* and then… wham, bam, thank you ma’am… breakfast is ready.
Think of a simple farmhouse breakfast of sausage, toast and cheesy eggs with onions and peppers. Now, imagine what it would be like to have all those wonderful flavors mingled together in a single, delicious bite. That’s a breakfast strata.
This recipe features one of the non-glamorous superstars of breakfast… day-old bread. You probably already know that day-old bread makes the best French toast. It’s a little dry so it retains its structure but it’s also thirsty to absorb the egg, milk and other good stuff that make up French toast. It’s the key to French toast that’s firm but pleasantly moist inside. The same principal works for a strata. After we assemble our strata (which includes slices of bread), we drown it in a French toast-like egg and milk mixture.
This dish elicited enthusiastic comments from the people I tested it on. My Italian friend Pete said, “Dude, this is great. Is it cool if I get some more?” My fiance Kellie said, “Tell me about this. What’s in here? I’m gonna have another piece.”
Nobody is 100% sure who coined the the phrase “leave ‘em wanting more.” It was likely either Walt Disney or P.T. Barnum. Whoever it was, let’s just assume they were talking about a good Breakfast Strata.
Let’s assemble a strata…
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… in my kitchen. It smells a lot like Christmas too. I just made homemade granola with nutmeg, cinnamon and cranberries. I found some adorable little gift bags at Target in the dollar section. They have a clear plastic front so friends can see the granola – as if the oats were pressing against the window to say, “Happy Holidays! Let me out of here!”
Since I’m giving granola to friends, I thought it would be nice to give some to you, my reader-friend. Your holiday granola comes in the form of advice. Like the old saying goes, “Give a guy granola and he’ll eat for a day. Give a guy granola advice and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
I’ve been making granola for several years, but it’s only been in the last few that I’ve consistently made the kind of granola that I enjoy the most. To me, the best granola has distinct clusters – little nuggets of crispy, clumped oats (and other good things) that crunch when you bite them. It makes the best granola for snacking and even better granola for dousing with milk. So…
The Secret To Making Granola With Clusters
And the secret is…
During the holidays, I like to put my regular bread pans in storage and pull out my mini-loaf pans. That way, anytime I make bread I have instant gifts and I’m less inclined to personally over-indulge. And believe me… I am very good at overeating during the holidays. Sometimes, I’ll wake up and see open Tupperware on the kitchen counter. What magic elves have been eating my food? Alas, sometime around 5AM – half-aware and partially dreaming, I stood in the kitchen and finished the Thanksgiving stuffing or drank most of the Christmas eggnog. Holiday food in reasonably-sized, single-serving portions is a good idea for many reasons.
The loaves you see here are Raspberry Grapefruit Mini Breads. They have a vanilla cake base that’s loaded with fresh raspberries and brushed with a grapefruit syrup after baking. Brushing them with a simple syrup helps keep in the moisture so these breads will still be moist and at their best for a couple days after baking.
Almost any quick bread recipe (those not using yeast) can be made into mini-loaves. It’s just a matter of having the right pans and keeping your eye on the cooking time. I used raspberries for these loaves, but you could just as easily use blueberries or chopped strawberries.
The ingredients are pretty basic: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, half and half, grapefruit juice, lemon zest, vanilla, eggs, butter and raspberries.