Coconut Rum Banana Bread

I’m not a fan of ripe bananas. If it a banana has even a HINT of a brown spot it’s inedible to me. Dead to me. I won’t eat it. I know, I know. It’s a quirk, but hey, I’m OK with it. The bananas I use for a quick bread are ripe but don’t have lots of spots. I prefer the less sweet taste and firmer texture of a yellow banana. If you like brown bananas go for it! It will be sweeter and probably taste more familiar. Not many people use yellow bananas for banana bread. That’s my special banana weirdness.

I recommend only lightly mashing the bananas. You will get some more tasty chunks of banana in the bread. If you prefer brown bananas you may end up with more of a liquid after mashing. It will still come out great, it’s more a matter of texture and what you prefer.

Note: With quick breads the standard is creaming butter and sugar, adding eggs one at a time and then alternating the dry and liquid ingredients, being mindful of not over-mixing. This recipe follows the same pattern. Measure out all ingredients before starting. I learned this lesson many years ago: mise en place, everything in its place. Read the recipe first, collect and measure ingredients, and THEN start your process.

Coconut Rum Banana Bread

Makes 1 large loaf or 3 mini loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2C pastry flour
  • 1C sugar
  • 1 1/2C gently mashed bananas, about 3 medium-sized
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2C shredded, sweetened coconut + 2T for topping
  • 1/4C unsalted butter, room temp (4T)
  • 1/4C plain full-fat yogurt
  • 3T spiced rum
  • 3/4t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t vanilla extract

Optional Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1/2C confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2T freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

If you are making one 9 x 5″ loaf, preheat oven to 350°.

If you are making the smaller loaves, preheat to 325°.

Prepare your loaf pans with Baker’s Joy spray or butter and flour them. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the flour, 1/2C coconut, baking soda, and salt. Give a quick stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine bananas, yogurt, rum, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

In the large bowl of a mixer (or deep bowl good for hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar until light and airy. Use a rubber scraper to scrape down the sides if the sides are not mixing well. Add the eggs one at a time and continue creaming them together until combined and light in texture.

Alternate adding the dry and liquid ingredients to the creamed butter, sugar, and egg mixture. Do not over beat.

Spoon the batter into your loaf pan or mini loaf pans (filling 3/4 full). Sprinkle the top with the 2T of shredded coconut that was set aside earlier.

Bake one large loaf for 60 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Bake the mini loaves for 30 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let sit in the loaf pan for 5-10 minutes until inverting onto a cooling rack. Once completely cool, make a glaze with the sugar and lime juice and drizzle over the bread.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

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This is so perfect for fall. That’s all I can say about my recipe.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Coconut Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

3C all-purpose flour (I used Cup4Cup gluten-free flour)

2C organic natural sugar

2C organic canned pumpkin

1½C semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (soy-free)

1C melted organic cultured unsalted butter, allowed to cool a bit

½C melted organic, extra virgin coconut oil, allowed to cool a bit

¼C organic shredded coconut

4 large eggs (I used 5 small-medium eggs from my chickens)

2t cinnamon

1t sea salt

1t baking soda

1t vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare the loaf pans by greasing with butter or using a Coconut Spray oil. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cinnamon, sea salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Give it a quick stir

In a small bowl combine the wet ingredients: pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to combine and then add the warm, but not hot, butter and coconut oil. Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir gently and only to combine; do not over-mix or you will create gluten and it will make your bread tough. We’re going for a tender loaf.

Pour batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans. Tamp on the counter to get the batter to settle and use spoon to even out the top. Sprinkle both loaves with the shredded coconut.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove from loaf pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy. It’s so good.

Note: I use organic ingredients as much as possible and do not always write ‘organic’ into my recipes. All my organic ingredients are found at local farm stands,  farmer’s markets, Market Basket, Whole Foods, Vitacost.com, or Amazon.com.

Coconut Brioche French Toast

Coconut French Toast.

I love baking bread. There’s something so wholesome and Zen about making your own dough and watching it rise. And then there’s the anticipation of that first warm slice. When my daughters were young, I took a baking course at Newbury College. Every Saturday for 6 weeks, my class started off with knot rolls. Did I say every class started out with rolls? Every – single – class. The first class was devoted to learning the basics of yeast dough, and every class thereafter we were expected to get fifteen dozen rolls in the proof box in half an hour. After a while, I was dreaming of knot rolls in my sleep. I didn’t complain – I loved the challenge of getting those rolls done quickly and with their knots all coiled perfectly. Thankfully, the class progressed to making croissants and Danish! Seven hours on a Saturday making Danish is not a bad way to spend a day.

Three years ago, I visited Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands. The first morning I ordered coconut brioche French toast. Amazing. I have been dreaming of it ever since. And so, last week, after sailing around the British Virgin Islands we couldn’t resist stopping there to have breakfast. Yay! The coconut French toast is just the same as ever. I loved it. I devoured it. I may have stabbed my husband a time or two with my fork when he reached to take some.

Since I can’t have the Peter Island French toast whenever I crave it, I created a recipe that comes pretty close. Brioche makes a perfect French toast. It’s similar to Challah, Russian Easter bread, and Portuguese sweet bread; a dense, sweet loaf. The key when baking bread is to make sure it gets a full two rises. For this recipe, I used my 10” loaf pan so I could get even slices, but you can use a traditional brioche mold and cut your slices to suit your style. A traditional brioche mold is round and fluted. The best brioche has an overnight refrigerated rest, but you don’t have to do that to get a nice loaf.

Toasting coconut is very simple, but you have to keep an eye on it. There’s a very fine line between toasting coconut and burning it. To toast coconut start with unsweetened, shredded coconut. I like the large coconut chips that I can get from Bob’s Red Mill. The larger shreds have more coconut flavor. If I want a smaller shredded coconut, I simply put it in my food processor and process for a few pulses. Preheat your oven to 300°. Spread the coconut on a cookie sheet in a fairly thin layer. Bake for about 20 minutes until just toasted. Check on the coconut frequently and give it a stir because it burns very quickly. Toasted coconut is great with Greek yogurt, sprinkled on ice cream, tossed into salads, and snacking. You can also toast coconut on the stovetop.

Brioche Loaf

Brioche
Makes one loaf
Ingredients:

  • ⅓C warm whole milk, 110°F
  • 1 package yeast, NOT rapid rise
  • 4T sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5T butter, room temp and soft
  • 2¼C flour
  • ¼t salt

Egg Wash
Ingredients:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1t milk

Directions: Put the dough hook on your heavy-duty mixer. In the bowl of the mixer, pour in the warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Stir to combine, and let it sit for about 10 minutes to wake up the yeast. It should bubble a bit. If it doesn’t, the yeast is probably dead. If that happens, get a new packet and start over.

Turn the mixer to medium-low and slowly add the eggs. Use a rubber scraper to scrape down the sides. Beat until combined, about 5 minutes on low. Add the flour and salt in small increments, and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Once all the butter is added, turn the mixer to high and beat the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl. It should feel springy to the touch. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit of flour and beat another 5 minutes.

Butter a large stainless steel bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, loosely cover it with plastic wrap, and place in a warm area of your kitchen to rise for up to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough. Remove it from the bowl, and rolling it with both hands, work the dough into a loaf.

Butter a 10” loaf pan. Place the dough into the loaf pan. Loosely cover the dough again with the plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1½ – 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Prepare the egg wash by using a fork to blend the egg yolk and milk. Brush the egg wash over the top of your loaf and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden. The loaf should sound hollow if you tap it on the bottom. Let the bread cool for a couple minutes, then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to continue cooling.

Egg Wash Brioche Loaf
Coconut Brioche French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 2C coconut, toasted
  • 8 eggs
  • ½C low-fat coconut milk
  • 1C whole milk
  • 1T vanilla or dark rum
  • 1T superfine sugar
  • 1 day old (stale works best) loaf of brioche, sliced into generous 1“ slices
  • 4T+ butter
  • 4T+ coconut oil

For serving:
real maple syrup
fresh berries, bananas, or other fruit of choice

Directions: In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut milk, whole milk, vanilla, and sugar until combined. The coconut milk will be lump. Whisk it hard. Dip the bread slices into the mixture and let the bread soak for at least a minute each side.

Press each side of the bread into the toasted coconut. You may have to turn them a couple times to make sure that the coconut sticks to the sides.

Brioche in Coconut

Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add the butter and coconut oil in equal amounts. Cook the bread until it’s golden on all sides. Watch out, that coconut crust can burn! Add more butter and coconut oil as needed to cook the French toast (this is not the time to skimp on the fat). Transfer to a platter and keep warm in the oven tented with foil until all slices are ready.

Serve with fresh fruit and real maple syrup.

 

Lemon Coconut Butter Cake (gluten-free)

I can’t get enough lemon these days: lemon water, lemon pasta, lemon rice, lemon vinaigrette, and my newest recipe – lemon butter cake. 

photo 2-5Lemon Coconut Butter Cake (gluten-free)

Makes 1 loaf

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ C Cup4Cup Gluten Free flour (or use ¾C cake flour and ¾C all-purpose flour)
  • 1 ½ C Demerara or raw sugar
  • ½ C  sour cream 2% fat, room temperature
  • ½ C unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 ½ sticks of butter (6 oz.), room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1t lemon oil (or zest from 2 lemons)
  • 1 fresh vanilla bean
  • ¼t baking soda

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 C confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3T freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ½ of a large lemon)

Directions: Before making this recipe, gather the eggs, measure the sour cream and butter, and allow time for them to come to room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, coconut, and baking soda. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on, combine the sugar and butter and whip until light and creamy. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and use a knife to run down the length and scrape out the black seeds inside. Add to the bowl with the sugar and butter. Drop in the sour cream, eggs, and lemon oil (or zest) and beat for one to two minutes until light and airy. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, beating on low until combined. Do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, testing with a cake tester at 50 minutes. When the cake tester comes out of the cake cleanly, remove the cake from the oven. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes then invert cake and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar and fresh lemon juice. Whisk with a fork until smooth. Put your cooled cake onto your cake plate and drizzle the lemon glaze over the top of the cake.

Optional: Garnish with lemon zest.

Gluten Free Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

This is pretty much the best apple crisp recipe.

That’s all I can say.

The crumb topping tastes so good even before it's baked!
The crumb topping tastes so good even before it’s baked!

Gluten Free Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp 

adapted from 2002, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds Honey Crisp and Jonagold apples
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2T freshly squeezed orange juice (zest it first)
  • 2T freshly squeezed lemon juice (zest it first)
  • ½C granulated sugar (I use Organic Turbinado)
  • 2t ground cinnamon

Crust:

  • 1 ½C Cup4Cup gluten-free flour
  • ¾C granulated sugar (I use Organic Turbinado)
  • ¾C light brown sugar, packed
  • 1C gluten free oatmeal (I use Bob’s Mill)
  • 8 oz. of unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°.

Peel, core, and slice the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and cinnamon.  Pour into the baking dish.

To make the crust, combine the flour, sugars, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

Bake for 1 hour until the top is golden brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

Smells divine.
Smells divine.

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Pineapple Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

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It’s time I started baking again. I love the comfort in baking – the precise ingredients, the blending of flavors, and oh! the aromas wafting through the house. Baking brings everyone to the kitchen. Carrot cake has that earthiness and grounding quality that warms the soul this time of year.  I’ve updated my recipe with gluten-free flour (better for you if you have any inflammation in your body or are celiac) using Cup4Cup, and substituting coconut oil for organic canola oil (coconut oil is miraculous). I use less cinnamon and sugar than most carrot cake recipes because I want to taste the individual ingredients and not be overpowered by the strong taste of cinnamon and sugar.

Gluten-Free Pineapple Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes one 9″

cake Ingredients:

  • 1¾C Cup4Cup gluten-free flour
  • 1½C turbinado sugar
  • 2t baking soda
  • 1½t cinnamon
  • 1t salt
  • 1C flaked, unsweetened coconut ( I use Bob’s Mill brand)
  • ½C currants
  • 1C chopped pecans
  • 4 free range eggs, beaten
  • 1C melted organic coconut oil, cooled
  • 2t vanilla  (I like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar vanilla)
  • 2C shredded carrots (about 4, depending on their size)
  • 1C crushed pineapple, drained (1 can)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and dust with flour (or use Baker’s Joy spray) a 9″ round springform pan. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, flaked coconut, currants, and pecans. Stir to combine.

In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients: beaten eggs, melted and cooled coconut oil, vanilla, shredded carrots, and pineapple. Stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake for one hour. Remove from oven, cool for 3-5 minutes and release the cake. Invert cake on a cooling rack or your cake dish. Cool completely before frosting the cake.
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Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 4C confectioner’s sugar
  • 1# cream cheese (two bricks), softened at room temperature
  • 8oz. of unsalted butter (two sticks), softened at room temperature
  • 1t vanilla extract (I like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar vanilla)
  • 1t natural lemon flavoring

Directions: Set your mixer to high and cream the softened butter and cream cheese in a mixer until smooth and creamy with no visible butter lumps, about 5 minutes. Stop the motor to add the vanilla extract and lemon flavoring. Whip to combine. Stop motor and add two cups of the confectioner’s sugar, cover the bowl with a towel (to keep sugar from dusting your entire kitchen), turn the motor to high, and whip the confectioner’s sugar into the butter and cream cheese until completely incorporated. Stop the motor again, add the remaining two cups of confectioner’s sugar, and whip until smooth and creamy and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl if you need to. Refrigerate until ready to use. If it’s too hard to spread when it’s chilled, let it rest on the counter for fifteen minutes and then frost the cake.

Sprinkle the top with a little shredded coconut and lemon zest.

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