My Favorite Banana Bread

I’m on a bread kick this week, I baked banana bread today for a friend’s housewarming present, and then tomorrow I’m getting together with another friend to bake zucchini bread ๐Ÿ™‚ Good thing, I have awesome recipes for both (stay tuned for the zucchini bread recipe tomorrow). Both of these breads are rich, moist, dense, and always take me back to childhood ๐Ÿ™‚ This is my mom’s recipe that I grew up on, and it is the best!

Ingredients:
– 6 tbsp. salted butter, softened (make sure you allow time to soften, and don’t try and hurry it along by microwaving it)
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 3 to 4 ripe bananas, mashed well
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 tsp. vanilla
– 1 tsp. almond extract (optional, but it just adds another depth of flavor)
– 2 eggs
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 1 -2 tsp. cinnamon
– 2 tsp. baking soda
– 2 1/4 cups flour

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300F. Spray 2 loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In your mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together. Stir in bananas, sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Sift in salt, baking soda, flour, and cinnamon. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, and bake in your preheated oven 50-60 minutes, or until the loaves pass the “toothpick test”.

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Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch!

Hello lovelies!
I really apologize for being so sporadic with my posts! I’ll try and do better with posting them the day or day after I try a recipe, rather than waiting until I have a collection of them and then hitting you with a bunch!
I just had some family visit from Oregon and of course I wanted to spoil them! The way I spoil my loved ones is by making them homemade meals, so they are plump and happy afterwards ๐Ÿ™‚ My family was only going to be here for one night, so I had a lot of meals to prepare and cram into an evening and morning! I will admit that this is not my recipe, but another glorious lady who is my idol… Have you guessed yet?… If you guessed The Pioneer Woman, you would be correct! ๐Ÿ˜‰ These cinnamon rolls are seriously to die for! In her original recipe, she uses a maple coffee glaze which can be found here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/cinammon_rolls_/

I’ve tried the maple-coffee glaze in the past, and while it is good, I prefer a traditional the traditional cream cheese frosting (which I’ll include my recipe in this post). I hope you try these cinnamon rolls out, the refrigerated store bought ones don’t hold a candle to these! Enjoy!

Note: This recipe makes a TON! If you do the full recipe, you’ll end up with about six pans, I usually halve it, and get about three pans, which is still usually too many. However, there are a lot of people that typically don’t mind taking these off my hands, so it’s usually not a problem ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients:
– 1 quart while milk (4 cups)
– 1 cup vegetable oil
– 1 cup sugar
– 2 packets active dry yeast (0.25 oz. packets, or 2 1/4 tsp. each)
– 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 more extra for towards the end (9 total)
– 1 heaping tsp. baking powder
– 1 scant tsp. baking soda
– 1 heaping Tbsp. salt
– 2 cups additional sugar
– plenty of melted butter (I do about two sticks for half the recipe, and 4 for the full recipe)
– generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting recipe
– 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 cup butter, softened
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract
– confectioner’s (powdered) sugar ( I just make my frosting to taste for the sweetness, I would say it probably roughly comes out to 2 cups, more or less. Just taste it and adjust as necessary

Directions:
For the dough, combine the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat to just before the boil (scald). Pour this mixture into a large bowl, and set aside to cool until just warm. Sprinkle the yeast and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
Add 8 cups flour to your bowl with the milk mixture. Stir this until just combined, and then cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup of flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Now place the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour (it’s much easier to work with when it’s cold) if you’re planning to make these the same day. You can also leave the dough I. Your refrigerator for up to three days like this.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the bowl onto a floured baking surface. Roll the dough into a large rectangle (approximately 30 in. X 10 in). The dough should be rolled very thin.
Drizzle 2 sticks of the melted butter and spread with your fingers, make sure to spread it out completely, so it covers the whole dough. Next, add 1 cup of sugar to the top and a bunch of cinnamon! Really get crazy with the cinnamon, if you think you’ve done enough, then add some more!
Now, beginning at the top of the dough, roll the rectangle tightly towards you (jelly roll fashion). Use both hands and work carefully, making sure to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes out while you work, it’s just a little snack that you get to have later ๐Ÿ˜‰ When you reach the end, pinch the seams together and flip the roll so that the seam is facing down. When you’re finished if you’ve ended up with a buttery, cinnamony, thick gooey log, you’ve done it correctly!
With a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices, ( one log will yield 20-25 rolls). Pour a couple of tsp. of melted butter into disposable pie tins (or your own) and swirl to coat the bottom. Place the rolls into your pans, being careful not to overcrowd them. Each pan will hold 7-9 rolls.
Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.
Cover your rolls with a towel again, and let them rise for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel, and bake for 15-18 minutes, until just golden brown. Don’t let them over brown. Remove the rolls from the oven once baked, and let them cool 5-10 minutes. Frost with plenty of cream cheese frosting and enjoy!

Cream Cheese Frosting Directions:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter, until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, and gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar. Just keep adding sugar until it reached your desired sweetness. Refrigerate frosting, until ready to use.

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Homemade soft white bread

A Happy Friday morning to you! This week to go along with the rain I decided to make a big meal of spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and homemade bread! I will post the spaghetti and meatballs a bit later, but this post is for the bread ๐Ÿ™‚ I am still a bit new to making my own bread, I have a fabulous recipe in my collection, however it takes about 6 hours from start to finish. I don’t really have that kind of time on my hands and usually take on my cooking/baking projects during the two hour nap time window when Paisley goes down. So, I have been on a bit of a bread hunt, I’ve tried a few bread recipes, some have been pretty good and others have ended in disaster! I won’t get into it, but lets just say my 9 x 13-inch pan was a causality in one of my bread flops…
Anyways, I found this bread recipe and its very good, straight forward and simple as far as bread recipes go. This is a softer bread, more like a sandwich bread, than a crusty French bread. Like I previously mentioned, I served it with pasta and it was perfect for the occasion. I only buy wheat bread from the store, so when I make bread it’s a treat since my family doesn’t get white bread very often. I am curious about trying out some wheat bread versions, I just honestly haven’t had the time. Hopefully this winter I’ll be able to try some different ones. For now though, here is a good white bread recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients:
* 3 cups luke-warm water
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast
* 1/3 cup oil
* 1 tbsp. salt
* 7-8 cups all-purpose/ bread flour. (The original recipe calls for ground white wheat flour but I just used bread flour. Next time I’m going to give the wheat flour a try! Also you may need more flour, I used probably closer to 8-9 cups, it just depends on the flour used).

* Makes two loaves*

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar into the luke-warm water, and then add in the yeast. At first the yeast will fall into the bottom of your bowl, but after a few minutes it will begin to rise to the surface and activate. Let this sit for 10 minutes. Add the oil. Then, add the dry ingredients, starting with the flour. Start off slow at first with the flour, maybe 6 cups to begin and then see how it is once you begin to mix it up. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it away once it’s in there. Knead the dough, you will need to knead it for about 7 or so minutes. You want your dough to be smooth, elastic, just a little sticky, and pull easily away from the side of the bowl. Like I mentioned earlier, add more flour until the dough is the desired consistency.
Oil a large bowl and place your dough into it, turning up once (so that the oiled side is on the top). This will preven the dough from sticking to the bowl. Cover the bowl of dough with a slightly damp cloth and place it in a warm spot. The dough will take an hour (more or less, depending how warm your kitchen is) to double in bulk.
Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and set aside. After an hour punch the dough down and divide the dough into your two loaf pans. Cover once more and let rise until the dough is just an inch or two above the top of your pans. This will take about 40 minutes or so.
When your dough has almost risen fully, preheat your oven to 375F. Bake your loaves for 25 minutes, the tops should be golden brown and have risen above your pans. Remove the baked loaves from their pans immediately, and set on a cooling rack to cool. Serve warm with butter and honey, mmm!
* I have yet to try it, but apparently bread dough, and the bread itself freeze well when placed in a ziploc bag * ๐Ÿ™‚

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The dough after being kneaded.

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The dough in the greased bowl getting ready to be covered up!

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The dough after rising the first time, divided and placed into the two loaf pans.

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Risen dough, ready for the oven!

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The bread fresh out of the oven.

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Ta-da! The bread all ready to be gobbled up by hungry husband’s and children!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I made this bread last week before the big moving weekend, so everyone would have something tasty and we wouldn’t have to get any dishes dirty. I found this recipe on Pinterest, it’s originally called “The cinnamon Amish bread alternative” I believe. I guess the Amish make a similar bread to this, but it takes hours to make. I was drawn to this recipe because of how simple the recipe was and that I had all the ingredients on hand, plus it just looked amazing! It smelled divine baking and I can definitely say it held up to its rave reviews! Everyone loved it and my husband even took a loaf into work and he said everyone gobbled it up there too! Definitely a keeper recipe, which is why it’s on here and I’m sharing it with you! ๐Ÿ™‚
I don’t know if I’ve disclosed my relationship with butter… However, if I’ve never mentioned it, I am the butter queen! I put the stuff on everything! My husband makes fun of what I put it on and admittedly how much I use. I grew up eating butter on a lot of things, so it’s basically second nature to me. It has to be 100% real though, I don’t set foot near the fake stuff. Also nutritionists now believe that butter is significantly better for you than margarine because it is a much purer product and it’s not loaded down with a bunch of chemicals claiming to be “better for you”. When in doubt, I always levitate to the most natural products and this is definitely no exception. There are few things in this world better than a slice of homemade bread with a big ole pat of deliciousness on it, mmm…. Case in point, when you slice yourself up a piece of this bread, make sure you have a little bit of butter with your bread, or if you’re like me, bread with your butter ๐Ÿ˜‰

Batter Ingredients:
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 cups buttermilk, or a little trick to “making” buttermilk; just take 2 cups of regular milk and add 2 tbsp. of vinegar or lemon juice
* 4 cups all- purpose flour
* 2 tsp. baking soda

Cinnamon/Sugar Mixture:
* 2/3 cups sugar
* 2 tsp. cinnamon (or a little more if you like)

Directions:
Grease two loaf pans, and preheat the oven to 350F. Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Next place half of the batter, (1/4 in each loaf pan), and sprinkle about 3/4 of your combined Cinnamon/sugar mixture between the two loaves. It just goes right on top of the batter once you’ve poured it into your pans. Add the remaining batter on top of your layer of cinnamon/sugar, and then sprinkle the rest of your mixture on top of your loaves. Swirl with a knife. Bake the loaves in your preheated oven for 45- 50 minutes or until they pass the “toothpick test”. Once removed from the oven, let the loaves cool 20 minutes before removing them from the pans. Enjoy!

P.S I was silly and didn’t take any pictures of the inside of the bread once I cut into it, but trust me, it was a beautiful sight! Here’s a couple of the loaves once I took them out of the pans though.

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Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins

Muffin Ingredients:
* 7 tbsp. unsalted butter
* 1/3 cup buttermilk (or regular milk is fine too)
* 1 large egg
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cups granulated sugar
* 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
* 3/4 tsp. salt
* 2 cups fresh blueberries ( frozen berries are fine if they are thawed and drained prior to use)

Topping Ingredients:
* 3 tbsp. very cold unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 tbsp. granulated sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F and line a muffin tray with muffin wrappers or non-stick cooking spray.

For the muffins:
Melt the 7 tbsp. of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Don’t stir right away, but keep an eye on it. After its done crackling for the most part, it should be a medium brown color and smell a little nutty, then you know it’s done. Remove the pan from the heat right away and transfer the butter to a bowl to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the browned butter at this point.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir gently. Carefully fold in the berries, and divide the batter equally among your muffin cups. Let this sit while you mix up the streusel topping to put on top, before placing them in the oven.
Streusel topping:
Combine all three ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and resembles little pebbles. Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter cups, you can go heavy on the streusel topping, the muffins can handle it!
Place your muffin pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown and passes the “toothpick test”. Cool the muffins in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them, serve warm with a big slab of butter!

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Notes: This recipe freezes well, just place the cooled muffins on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. After the hour, transfer the muffins to a resealable freezer bag, these can be stored for up to 3 months. To thaw, just pop in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

Buttery soft rolls

Ingredients:
* 1 cup warm milk
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 4 cups all- purpose flour or bread flour
* 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 perforated packet)

Directions:
Put the warm milk and softened butter in the bowl of your stand mixer. A trick to this step is to place the butter and the milk into a 2 cup glass measuring cup and then heat in the microwave for about 55 seconds. That way you have the softened butter and warm milk! Once you’ve taken the mixture out of the microwave then add it to your mixer bowl, add the yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Next, add the sugar, eggs, salt, and flour to your mixer, mix with the paddle attachment for just a few seconds until just combined. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on medium spread for 10 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
Divide the dough and roll into 15 uniform balls, you may have more or less depending on the size you make your rolls. Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan, and cover the rolls once more and let them rise for an additional 15 minutes. Bake at 375F. For 13-16 minutes, don’t overlook them, remove from the oven once the tops are just barely golden brown.
Serve with honey butter ๐Ÿ™‚

Also toddler and husband friendly! Just remember if you are going to be feeding these to your baby, maybe skip the honey butter on their rolls. Honey is not recommended for infants under a year. Just a friendly reminder ๐Ÿ™‚
Adapted from “My Recipe Magic”.