Posts Tagged ‘Bread’

If you have day-old Bioche, this is the perfect way to enliven the stale, but decadent, bread.  The French created this recipe to use up leftover Brioche by painting it with orange syrup and almond paste and then baking it until golden and crisp.  The combination of almond and orange imparts incredibly bright flavors.  At the San Francisco shop Patisserie Philippe, their bostocks are also topped with beautiful, thinly-sliced apples.  Serve it for breakfast, tea, or for an unexpected dessert.


Patisserie Philippe's rendition.


Bioche bread, thickly sliced (or challah bread)

Almond Cream

    1/2 cup almond paste
    4 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
    1/4 cup flour
    1 egg
    1/4 tsp almond extract
    1/2 tsp fiori di sicilia (orange-flower water), optional


    1/4 cup sugar
    zest from half an orange
    1/2 cup sliced almonds
    1/2 apple, sliced almost paper-thin


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make the almond cream: cream together the butter, almond paste, flour, egg and almond extract in a food processor until smooth and set aside.
  3. For the topping, combine the sugar, orange zest, and almonds.
  4. Spread the almond cream (about 2 tbsp) on a slice of bread.  Arrange a thin layer of apples atop the cream.  Liberally paint the sugar topping (with a pastry brush) and sprinkle sliced almonds.  Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden.  Serve warm.



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Yesterday I lamented the March gloom that has blanketed our area of late and cozied up to a bowl of Fall pumpkin chili.  This morning, as I prepared to swaddle Rice Kernel in his winter coat, Spring spray forth.  There’s 60+ degree weather and the California sun is ablazing.  Not that I’m complaining.  But I do have two cups of leftover pumpkin puree ready to emerge from the cold of the refrigerator into the sauna of the stove or oven.  So I offered FHE three highly-rated, highly-nutritious pumpkin recipes and asked him to choose:  spice bread, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, or scones.  I had barely uttered the latter two choices when FHE settled on bread.  So bread it is today.  (Don’t worry, there’s one more cup of pumpkin to throw in the direction of cookies or scones.  But which?!)

This bread is hearty and mildly sweet, with the benefit of whole grains and moist, fiber-packed, heart-healthy pumpkin.  As quick breads come, this one is fairly guilt-free – just putting it out there in case you’re looking for a Paula Deen-inspired recipe.  It’s also a pinch to put together and gets Rice Kernel involved in the kitchen by measuring, pouring, and stirring (not necessarily in that order….).  Looks like FHE picked a year-round keeper. 

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Feel free to mix in 1/2 to 1 cup of walnuts, pecans, raisins or chocolate chips for some added texture and flavor.  Also, the slices of the bread make for moist and satisfying french toast.


    1 cup white whole wheat flour
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon allspice
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/6 cup canola oil
    1 cup honey (or 3/4 cup agave or 1 cup mix of brown and white granulated sugars)
    1 cup pureed pumpkin or squash (butternut or acorn)
    2 eggs
    1/3 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or milk (reduced fat is fine)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9″ x 5” loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the flours, baking soda, spices and salt in a mixing bowl.  Combine the oil, honey, puree, and eggs in a medium bowl and whisk until everything is fully incorporated.  Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet.  Then fold in milk.
  3. Place in prepared baking dish, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Note:  For a vegan recipe, you can replace the eggs with two teaspoons of baking powder and a half cup of soy yogurt.  (Haven’t tried this yet, but several websites recommended it.)

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When life gives you grape-nuts, make grape-nuts bread. 

I’ll be honest.  We don’t eat grape-nuts.  I don’t know how we came to have a box in our home.  It may have had to do with the fact that Rice Kernel didn’t poop for something like 21 days when he was younger. (No exaggeration.)  Or maybe FHE needed added fiber.  Doesn’t matter.  When I discovered neither one of my boys would consume grape-nuts in cereal form, i.e. as intended, I made it my mission to find a recipe to “hide” it in.  (The idea is using the cereal as a body exfoliant did cross my mind.  Fortunately I was spared.) 

This recipe requires three steps: soaking, stirring, and baking.  It’s nutritionally packed and FHE and Rice Kernel have inhaled loaves of the wholesome, nutty bread over the years.  Good thing it’s a quick bread – the first loaf is all gone….

Grape-Nuts Bread

Easy. Healthy. Flavorful.


    1 cup grape nuts cereal
    1 1/2 cups milk (I use 1% because that’s what we have on hand)
    2 tbps oil
    1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    1/4 cup agave nectar
    1 cup flour (I use a mix of all purpose and white whole wheat flour)
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 egg
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1/2 cup to 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut (optional) or any mix-in… or none.


  1. Soak grape nuts in milk for 30 minutes. 
  2. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
  3. Mix in rest of ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  4. Bake in a prepared 8×4 loaf pan for 35-40 minutes.

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There are few dishes that wait for the cook and her company.  In my kitchen, it is far often the other way around.  So when I need to regain some control over service I turn to the strata, a dish that is perfectly flexible, patient, and decadent.

Strata is the bread pudding made with a base of savory eggs.  This easy treat (meal) generally includes cubes or slices of bread that have been soaked in custard.  Like many egg dishes, a strata can incorporate any or all of your favorite ingredients.  Once assembled, it sets anywhere between a few hours up to an entire day before baking – making it the perfect dish to entertain with.  For me, it is the ideal vehicle to sneak eggs and milk into my toddler’s diet – neither of which he has been enjoying of late.



5 cups of cubed bread (use whole wheat for more nutrition; French for a more classic version)
8 large eggs
1 quart milk (lowfat is fine)
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1 1/2 – 2 cups grated cheese (we use low-skim mozarella)
Filling of your choice. Ours includes:

    1 cup spinach, chopped and thawed from frozen
    1/2 large onion, chopped
    1/2 cup sliced onions
    1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
    1 cup sausage (any variety), cooked and crumbled



  1. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and pepper.  
  3. Add cooled sausage and vegetables (or your filling(s) of choice). 
  4. Gently fold in bread cubes and cheese.
  5.  Cover and chill for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
  6. To bake, heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Uncover and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the mixture has puffed up slightly and is golden brown on top.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Note:  Consider a sweet strata – essentially a baked french toast.

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I have yet to speak of my fondness for using bananas, avocados, applesauce and yogurt as fat replacements in baking recipes.  Hungry Girl was my initial inspiration some six or seven years ago.  Back then, I was working atop a Corner Bakery in Chicago.  Every morning the smell of buttery muffins, sweet scones, and sinful croissants would seduce my senses and question my resolve.  To be sure, there were days I made a B line for the bakery and not the office.  But, thankfully, most days the smell of their rich offerings reminded me I’d be better off wearing the fragrance on my clothes rather than as an accessory in my cheeks and thighs. 

I know what you’re thinking – baking is a science and there are some rules which need to be followed to achieve success.  I make no claim that “healthier” recipes taste like the originals they aim to duplicate.  They can’t.  And I know there are critics out there who say, “just eat the ‘real’ darn thing – live a little!”  (Or my husband’s tagline:  “Don’t mess with perfection!”)  I savor the “real” thing.  But I can’t do it every day with a clear conscience.  So I more than make do with the help of fruit, fat-free yogurt, and healthy fats.  With their help, my made-over look- and smell-alikes are undeniably delectable and satisfying. 

I’ll slowly commit my “cleaned-up” recipes to paper but, for now, here’s my favorite brown-banana-use-up recipe (modified from Baking Bites).

Banana Oatmeal Cookies (Cakes)

These little gems are crisp around the edges and bread-like in the center.  Old-fashioned oats add a chewy, grainy texture that make the cookies a fairly sustantial snack.  I’m feeling pretty full from the four I devoured while typing this post.  FHE has a couple in his palm, too – looks like soccer practice didn’t go as intended…. or maybe it did.




    1 cup white whole wheat flour
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
    1/4 cup agave nectar
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar (or 1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend)
    1 medium ripe banana
    1 large egg
    1 1/2 cups oats (I used rolled oats.  Quick oats work as well and give a slightly smoother texture.)
    1 cup dark chocolate chips (or any mix-in)


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and banana.  Mix in the sugars, agave nectar and egg. 
  3. On low speed mix in flour mixture.  Finally, mix in oats and chocolate chips.
  4. Use ice cream scoop to drop dough on prepared baking sheet. 
  5. Refrigerate the cookies while oven preheats to 350 degrees F.  (This prevents the cookies from spreading too quickly.)
  6. Bake for 11-12 minutes until lightly browned around the edges.  Cookies should puff slightly.
  7. Cool for about 5 minutes before transferring.

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