Almond Poppy Seed Bread

Before you go any further, let’s just get one thing straight: this is “bread” in the sense that a bellini is a “fruit smoothie”, but eating bread for breakfast seems so much more reasonable than eating cake for breakfast and it IS baked in a loaf pan.  This comes together really quickly, uses pretty basic pantry ingredients, and smells absolutely divine while it’s baking.  Pair it with your favorite coffee for breakfast, or with a hot cup of tea for an afternoon snack and you’ll feel super decadent, even for a Tuesday.  Of course, pair it with a bellini and you basically have toast and a fruit smoothie – super healthy breakfast!

Almond Poppy Seed Bread

3 cups flour

2 tsp, baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

1 Tbsp poppy seeds

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter

for the glaze:

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup orange juice

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in the oil and eggs until well combined.  Mix in the sugar and milk.  Fold in the poppy seeds, extracts, and butter.  The batter should be a thin, not at all dough-like.

2. Divide the batter into two greased loaf pans.  Bake for 50 minutes, until the tops begin to crust.

3. As soon as you remove the bread from the oven, stir the glaze ingredients together in a small saucepan.  Cook over high heat until the sugar melts (I brought mine to a boil, which was fine), stirring constantly.  When the glaze has cooled a bit, remove the bread from the pans and drizzle the glaze on top, stopping occasionally to let it soak in.  I recommend doing this on a plate or over foil because it will drip over the sides.  Allow the bread to cool before serving.

 

Roasted Strawberry Coffee Cake

If Robin could eat one food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner it would be strawberries.  She requests them every time she is hungry and prefers them cut in half with the “leafs” cut off.  She can easily eat a half pound in one sitting, so we do try to limit her intake, but I pretty much buy a box or two every time we go to the grocery store.  Lately our strawberries have been fantastic at the store, and on sale!  To that end, I can make this coffee cake with things I have on hand.  It comes together really quickly and has the perfect coffee cake texture and isn’t too sweet.  You could really use any amount of strawberries you have – I used a 1lb carton with a few strawberries eaten out, but anywhere from half to a whole pound would work.

I baked mine in a cast iron skillet and I’d recommend you do the same, just for rustic appeal and because you don’t have to worry about greasing it.

Roasted Strawberry Coffee Cake

1/2 to 1 lb fresh strawberries

1T olive oil

2T maple syrup

1/4tsp salt

2.5 cups flour

1T baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/2tsp salt

2 eggs

1.5 cups buttermilk

4T melted butter (plus an extra T for the skillet)

1/2 tsp almond extract

1. De-leaf and quarter the strawberries. Whisk the syrup, olive oil, and salt together in a small bowl and toss the strawberries in the mixture until they are coated.  Spread the strawberries out on a baking sheet with parchment paper (unless you want to scrub strawberry goo off of your favorite cookie sheet) and bake for 40 minutes at 350.  Stick your cast iron skillet underneath the pan to heat up while the strawberries roast.

2. Stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl.  Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and almond extract together in a small bowl.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until smooth.

3. When the strawberries are done, turn the oven up to 400.  Melt the remaining T of butter in the bottom of the skillet and swirl it up the sides.  Then pour the batter in the skillet.  Spread the strawberries on top and return the skillet to the oven for 25 minutes or so.  Allow the cake to cool in the skillet.

Source: adapted from Joy the Baker 

Grapefruit Scones

It’s always a surprise to me that winter brings grapefruit.  Grapefruit seems like such a summery fruit – light, citrusy, pink – so it’s a true delight that it’s at it’s best in January when not much else is.  I got a little overzealous in my grapefruit purchasing a few weeks ago and ended up with a few spares, so I tried putting them into a scone and the results were fabulous.  You don’t get an oppressive amount of grapefruit flavor, but enough to know it’s there.  As with all scones, I prefer a much smaller scone than is typically considered a serving size, so I cut mine into triangles that have about a 3″ hypotenuse.  Sometimes I just form the dough into a disc and cut it like a pizza after baking – either way, you’ll get about 15 small scones.

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Grapefruit Scones

1/2 large grapefruit

2 cups flour

1 T baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar (more if your grapefruit is bitter)

5T butter

1/2 cup cream (I used half&half)

1/4 cup yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel the grapefruit and remove the pith from grapefruit segments.  Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl.  Cut the butter into 1/2″ pieces and cut the butter into the flour mixture using either a pastry cutter or a fork.  The idea is to break the butter into small pieces, not to incorporate it entirely.

2. Add the cream and yogurt to the dough and stir with a spoon until the flour is incorporated.  Fold in the grapefruit chunks – they will break up as you stir them and provide a little more liquid.  Taste to make sure there’s enough sugar to offset the tart of the grapefruit.

3. Form the dough into a disc about 1″ high and place in the center of a baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  After allowing the giant scone to cool for a few minutes, transfer to a cutting board and slice like a pizza.

Pumpkin Scones

I have a confession to make: I don’t really like pumpkin spice lattes.  It’s tough because I live in North Texas and when the PSL is released (in what, July?) it’s still about 85 degrees outside and it doesn’t seem very seasonal to order an iced pumpkin spice latte.  Instead, I’d rather sip some iced coffee from home and enjoy my breakfast pumpkin in the form of a scone.  These scones have a very autumnal vibe and are incredibly easy to make.  They require a few specialty ingredients, namely a can of pumpkin.  I do find that sometimes scones are too dry, too massive, and have a huge slab of icing on top – not the case here, these are moist, normally sized, and have a nice glaze.  Pumpkin season is ending, so get one last great breakfast in before it’s smoothie season.

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Pumpkin Scones

yield: 12 small scones

2 1/2 cups flour

1 T baking powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

4 T cold butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

For the maple glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp maple extract

2 T heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and spices in a medium sized bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces and cut into the dry ingredients (I used a fork, but you could also use a pastry cutter or your hands) and break the butter up into very small pieces.

3. Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl and fold into the flour mixture.  Don’t over mix the dough, just use a spatula to blend the ingredients until they form a soft, but sticky dough.  Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and use your hands to make a rectangle.  Using a knife, cut small triangles of dough and separate them onto the parchment paper a few inches apart.  Put your parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake until the scones are firm, but still soft inside, 12-15 minutes (I tap the top to make sure there’s still some give).

4. Whisk the powdered sugar, maple extract, and cream together to make the glaze.  Once the scones are cooled, dip the top of the scones into the glaze.

Source: adapted from Our Best Bites

Cost-Benefit Analysis:

This recipe has 3 integral specialty ingredients: pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and maple extract.  If you don’t put cream in your coffee, you may need to purchase that as well.

1. A can of pumpkin cost $1.79 – it’s nonnegotiable in this recipe.  Fortunately, you use about a half a can in this recipe, which leaves you plenty of pumpkin to make pumpkin snickerdoodles in the same week.  You could also put pumpkin in a smoothie (with some yogurt, banana, and some spices) or feed it to little ones if you have them.  I put plastic wrap over the can and store it in the fridge for a few days.

2. Pumpkin pie spice cost $5.49, which is a lot for a small container.  It would probably cost much less if you were buying it in, say, April, but I’ve never really wanted a pumpkin scone in April.  If you have PPS, use it!  If not, it’s really easy to make your own with spices that you probably already have.  To make it easy, PPS is essentially 1 part ginger, allspice, and nutmeg to 3 parts cinnamon (so 1 T cinnamon, and a teaspoon of ginger, allspice, and nutmeg).  If you’re planning to make a lot of pumpkin baked goods, scale it up and store it in an old spice container, if you’re just using it for these scones, I would increase the cinnamon to 1 1/2 tsp and then use 1/2 tsp of ginger, allspice, and nutmeg.

3. The maple extract cost $3.59.  I really love the taste of maple extract and I use it in frostings and glazes enough to make it worth the cost, but if you don’t want to buy it, you could easily substitute 2-3T of maple syrup and get the same effect.

4. I put whipping cream in my coffee, so I always have it on hand.  If you don’t, you could certainly substitute half and half or even whole milk, but it will give you a runnier glaze.  If I were not a cream lover, I’d buy a small container, use it for this recipe, and then plan on making a pasta with cream sauce pretty soon.  Cream stays fresh in the fridge for quite a while before it goes bad, so you don’t need to use it immediately.