Category Archives: Breads

Nutella Morning Buns

Nutella Morning BunsIf I could change one thing about myself, I think I’d like to be a morning person. I really like mornings (especially the lazy variety), but I have such difficulty getting myself out of bed that I rarely enjoy them. It’s a whole horrible, eight-alarm ordeal on weekdays and I almost always sleep past 11 on the weekends, so I’m either a bleary-eyed mess or out like a light for the start of most days. But, on extremely rare occasions, I wake up early of my own volition—usually with the aid of jackhammers outside my window or the sun shining in my eyes—and I get to enjoy the morning, starting with making myself a nice breakfast.Nutella Morning BunsSometimes mixing flour, sugar, and butter is an act of self-care.

Exhibit A: An unfortunately-timed 6am wake-up call last Saturday was turned around when I realized I had time to make myself a Puff Pancake, my childhood favorite weekend breakfast.

Exhibit B: These Nutella Morning Buns, which I made the previous Saturday when my roommate’s cute pup had to air some early morning grievances. They helped change the trajectory of my day: I got to treat myself, and the batch is large enough that I got to share with eleven of my closest acquaintances! Most everyone loves a fresh pastry swirled with warm Nutella ❤Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsFor something so rustic and beautiful, Nutella Morning Buns are surprisingly simple to make and come together in a pretty reasonable amount of time. It takes me about two hours to make a batch from the time I decide that a soft, warm bun full of chocolate-hazelnut spread might be nice to the time I dust them with confectioner’s sugar and dig in.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsThe dough is very straightforward. It’s got all the usual suspects: flour, a little sugar, butter, milk, and an egg. It requires yeast, of course, but I use the instant stuff here, which simplifies the already simple process, making these buns incredibly approachable.

I’m not the sort of person who bestows wishes or blessings on people, but if I were, I think I’d say “May all your yeast doughs be approachable.” Is that weird? It’s probably weird. 🙂 Nutella Morning BunsIf there’s anything that’s intimidating about making Nutella Morning Buns, it’s probably shaping. Never fear though—it’s really simple and satisfying. Once your dough has risen for 40 minutes, punch it down and roll it into a large rectangle. Spread it with a thin layer of Nutella and then fold it like a letter, so that you have alternating layers of dough and filling. Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim off the ends and slice the rest into a dozen 8×1” strips.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsWorking with one strip at a time, twist it up. Then cross the two ends over each other and tuck them into the hole that forms in the center. BOOM! Dough shaped!Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsRepeat with the rest of your strips and then let them rise a little longer. If some ends come untucked, just nudge ‘em back with your fingers before baking. Or don’t. These are the sort of buns that can take all sorts of manipulation and still look gorgeous when all is said and done. And even if they don’t, a swipe of melted butter and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar can cure all manner of ugly pastry.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsBut is there such a thing as ugly pastry when Nutella is involved? I don’t think so. Or if there is, nobody who tried one of these buns during testing found the time to tell me. Oh, and all the test batches were gone (GONE!) within 45 minutes of coming out of the oven, so I’ll just let that speak for itself.Nutella Morning BunsI’m pretty sure it’s impossible to have anything but a beautiful morning when these are around.Nutella Morning Buns

Nutella Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
2/3 cup Nutella

For finishing:
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Spread dough with Nutella, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12×12-inches. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12×6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14×8-inches. You may lose a bit of filling. This is normal.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I can get 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with wax paper (or parchment) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove wax paper (or parchment). They will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place overnight racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

Brush warm buns with melted butter. Let cool 10 minutes before dusting with confectioner’s sugar and serving.

Baked buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so. I’ve never had them last longer than 45 minutes out of the oven though.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning Buns

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Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}I repeat recipes so infrequently that this is only the third time I’ve made this Chorizo Cornbread since discovering it three years ago. It came to be during a late-January snowstorm that was billed as the storm of the century (as all of them are), but was wholly unremarkable.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Except for the cornbread. That part was pretty memorable. Especially the near-perfect breakfast sandwich I made with the leftovers.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Before we talk about leftovers or magnificent fried egg sandwiches, let’s talk about how good salty, savory chorizo is when it’s enveloped in a barely-sweet piece of cornbread. Because it’s really, really good.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}It’s easy too—this recipe takes just about an hour from the time you start browning the chorizo to the time you pull the finished cornbread from the oven. You won’t need a mixer or anything more than a bowl and a silicone spatula either 🙂

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Start by browning eight ounces of raw chorizo and sautéing some diced onion and minced garlic in the rendered fat.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Mix together some yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar. I don’t usually add sugar to my cornbread, but I like the way it balances the salty chorizo here.

You may also notice a complete lack of flour, making this recipe gluten-free 🙂

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Toss the chorizo, onion, and garlic with the dry ingredients. This allows some of the baking powder to adhere to the meat and keeps it from sinking to the bottom of the finished cornbread.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Add some milk, sour cream, and eggs…

…followed by some melted butter.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Spread it all into a parchment-lined pan…

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}…and bake until browned and a little, uh, dimply.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Slice it into pieces while it’s still warm. I like my Chorizo Cornbread served alongside a kale salad or with a vegetable soup or even just by itself, with or without a pat of butter.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}But like I said, the best way to enjoy this Chorizo Cornbread is to sandwich your slice with a runny egg.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}You can leave it simple (like I did) or jazz it up with cheese and greens and a big hit of sriracha. Either way, it’s basically the best egg sandwich ever.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}Have a great weekend, y’all.Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}

Chorizo Cornbread
inspired by and heavily adapted from Food52
makes one 9-inch pan

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
8 ounces raw chorizo,* removed from casings (use certified gluten-free chorizo for gluten-free cornbread)
1/2 large white onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup milk (not skim or non-fat), room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the pan. Brown chorizo, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Once brown, use a spatula to transfer meat to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Turn heat down to medium. Add onion and cook in the chorizo fat until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Combine milk, sour cream, and eggs in a measuring cup. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add chorizo, onion, and garlic, and toss to coat. Pour in milk mixture and fold together. Fold in butter. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Slice and serve warm, with a runny egg, if desired.

Leftover cornbread will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Note:

I find raw chorizo at Brooklyn Fare in Downtown Brooklyn. If you cannot find or don’t wish to use the raw stuff, I recommend dicing 8 ounces of fully-cooked, dried chorizo and letting it brown a bit in oil before proceeding as written. I haven’t tried it, but I think soy chorizo would work, too.

Chorizo Cornbread {Gluten-Free}

One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}

One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}I love banana bread. It’s a classic, easy crowd-pleaser, and while I’ve had a few that were subpar, I don’t think I’ve ever turned a slice away.

I already have two banana bread recipes on this site (see here and here). They are both pretty standard, containing the usual three overripe bananas. They’re great for those times when I have a bunch of near-rotten bananas lying around, but if I’m being honest, I rarely do. I buy a bunch nearly every week with the vague intention of making banana bread, but it almost never happens. Between breakfasts, snacks, and an obsession I have with creating a perfect banana milkshake, they’re gone long before they’re brown enough to be folded into brown sugar batter and slid into the oven.

One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}Last night my boss offered me a banana that was far past its prime, casually suggesting that I make something with it. This is not an uncommon occurrence; people offer me their leftovers all the time in hopes that I’ll use them for some higher purpose. My biggest successes so far have been this Overnight Raspberry Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast Bake and this Peanut Butter Granola.

I didn’t even have to think about what that banana would be thrown into–I came straight home to make an old favorite, Faux Martha’s One-Banana Banana Bread. I made this recipe over and over in the spring of 2015, using up overripe bodega bananas and messing with its chemistry in an effort to make it mine. I soon realized that her recipe was perfect already. As such, last night I had every intention of following her recipe to the letter, but upon discovering that I was out of eggs, I made a lot of adjustments at once.

One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}The version I’m sharing today is vegan, made with a few easy changes. The “egg” is made from ground flaxseed and water. The buttermilk is a mixture of almond milk and apple cider vinegar. The butter is swapped for coconut oil. All the rest of the ingredients are standard fare: flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and so on. Fold them all together (but don’t stir too much–banana bread can easily be made tough), scrape the batter into a loaf pan, and bake for 40 minutes.

One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}Now, this recipe does not make a ton of banana bread–there is just one banana in there after all–but the half-size loaf that it produces is seriously good. It’s dense, moist, and full of banana flavor. This loaf was made last night before bed, and when I woke up this morning to have a slice, the flavors had married perfectly.

For those of you wondering if this bread, being made without eggs and milk and butter, is as delicious as traditional banana bread, the answer is a resounding yes. I have toyed around with vegan baking here and there, but had never attempted a vegan banana bread until last night. I wondered if I’d be able to taste the flax or if the coconut oil would change the flavor, but I shouldn’t have worried. This One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan} is just as delicious as the recipe that inspired it.One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}

One-Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}
adapted from Faux Martha
makes 1 small 9×5″ loaf

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons warm tap water
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Make a flax egg. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together flaxseed and warm water. Let sit five minutes, or until thickened. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, whisk together non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil and light brown sugar. Whisk in flax egg and non-dairy milk mixture followed by vanilla and mashed banana. Add dry ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold ingredients together (20 strokes maximum). Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let banana bread cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a small, thin knife around the edge and invert. Slice and serve.

Banana bread is best the next day.One Banana Banana Bread {Vegan}

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter99% of the time, I’m a biscuit kind of person. You’re making eggs? Great! I’ll make biscuits. Soup for dinner? Let me slap some biscuits together for you! It’s literally any hour of the day or night? Fantastic–let’s have biscuits.

Yes, biscuits are my answer to just about everything. But there’s something about snow that makes me want cornbread. Even the light dusting we had yesterday–it just screams cornbread to me. Where others might grab bread and milk when they are preparing to hunker down, I grab a pound of cornmeal.

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey ButterNow, there are two kinds of cornbread. In the north, cornbread is cakey and sweet. That’s all fine and good, but when I want cornbread, I want it southern–sturdy and deeply savory with crisp edges. It’s just as good sandwiched with a fried egg as it is as a side to soup or roast chicken.

My favorite cornbread requires just seven ingredients: yellow cornmeal, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, an egg, melted butter, and bacon fat. Yes, bacon fat. It makes the edges of this cornbread outrageously delicious and, of course, keeps it from sticking to the pan. Don’t have bacon fat lying around? Just substitute a tablespoon of neutral-flavored oil. It won’t have the same depth of flavor, but your cornbread will still come out of the oven with crispy edges.

You may also have noticed that there is no flour in this cornbread. This means it just happens to be gluten-free 😊

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey ButterWhile this recipe contains only a few ingredients, it needs a little technique to make the finished cornbread irresistible. The batter comes together in just a few minutes. Before you go to bake it though, make sure to get the pan nice and hot. I heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high for a good three minutes before swirling in the bacon fat. While the pan is still heating on the stove, I scrape in the batter and then let it cook for a minute before sliding it into the oven. This minute on the burner is just more assurance that the finished cornbread will have a great crispy edge.

Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey ButterOne of my favorite things about making cornbread? It’s ready to eat just minutes after it comes out of the oven. I spend so many hours of my life waiting for things to cool–I love that this recipe doesn’t require that sort of tedium. In the ten minutes that I waited before slicing into this cornbread, I had time to whip up a simple Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter. While this Southern-Style Cornbread is perfectly delicious with a pat of regular butter, this spicy, tangy, slightly sweet butter really brings it over the top.Southern-Style Cornbread & Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter

Southern-Style Cornbread
makes about 8 servings

2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon bacon fat (or neutral-flavored oil)

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk and egg in a measuring cup. Whisk together with a fork. Fold into dry ingredients. Fold in melted butter.

Heat an 8- or 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat for at least 3 minutes. Add bacon fat and coat. Add cornbread batter. Cook for one minute before transferring to the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cornbread cool for ten minutes before slicing into wedges and serving with Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter.

Chipotle-Lime Honey Butter
makes about 1/4 cup

1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 teaspoon honey

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mash together with a fork. Taste and adjust chile powder by up to 1/4 teaspoon. Transfer compound butter to a serving dish.

Oat Crumble Banana Bread

 I almost didn’t share this recipe. Heck, I almost didn’t make this recipe.

Two weeks ago, I received an order for a hummingbird cake, so I went out and bought the necessary coconut, pecans, pineapple, and bananas. But things happen, and I had to cancel four days before the cake was scheduled for delivery; a friend of mine passed, and I was asked to cater the memorial. It was something to which I simply could not say “no.” So the bananas continued to brown, and the first half of the Fourth of July weekend was spent marathon-cooking with my friend, David, going to the service, and making sure all of the 100+ guests were fed. 

I got home Saturday night and noticed the browning bananas on my way to bed, figuring I’d throw them in something the next day. Sunday, my friend Liz came over to make pie, and the bananas were neglected again. I went into work unexpectedly on the Fourth of July, so no baking happened that day. 

When I went to pour my cold brew on Tuesday morning, I noticed the little bunch of bananas drooping off my baker’s rack, brown and visibly soft, seemingly minutes away from being inedible. And so I peeled and mashed all four and gently stirred them into banana bread batter. I poured it into a loaf pan with every intention of keeping it plain…but that’s not really my style. Classic banana bread is great, but I’m the kind of baker who loves to add cinnamon swirls, layers of cheesecake, or at the very least, a handful of chocolate chips anywhere I can. But it’s hard to add any of that stuff once the batter’s in the pan and the oven is making your kitchen a sauna. I was about to tap the pan on the counter and slide it into the oven, but then I paused, grabbed a half-stick of butter I had leftover in the fridge, a canister of oats, and some walnuts, and mixed up a quick crumble to sprinkle over the top before baking. 

When I took the loaf out of the oven, I had no intention of posting the recipe. The oat crumble had huge, beautiful clusters, my whole apartment smelled of cinnamon and bananas, and I couldn’t wait to have a slice before heading to work, but who really needs another banana bread recipe? Once you have a good one, you make it over and over, forever-and-ever-amen. I already have a whole wheat version on here, and I wasn’t planning to add another anytime soon. Plus, I had a lemon cake on the docket. Again, I was not going to post this recipe. 

But then, I ate a slice. And I followed it with a second one. All afternoon at work, I thought about the soft cinnamon-banana bread base and the crispy, crunchy combination of oats, toasted walnuts, and brown sugar in the crumble. It really is perfection in a mouthful. And so the lemon cake got pushed to next week, and here I am posting a second banana bread recipe.

And that, my friends, is the very long story of how this Oat Crumble Banana Bread recipe came to appear on this blog. 

 Oat Crumble Banana Bread
makes one 9×5″ loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup plain yogurt (nonfat is fine)
4 large ripe bananas, mashed

Oat Crumble:
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and line it with parchment, leaving a little overhang on the long sides. Grease the parchment. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and brown sugar, followed by eggs, plain yogurt, and mashed bananas. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir the batter together in no more than 20 strokes. There may be some small bits of visible flour–this is fine.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Set aside while you prepare the oat crumble.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together oats, flour, cinnamon, light brown sugar, salt, and walnuts. Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use your fingers to scatter the crumble over the top of the banana bread batter. Tap the full pan on the counter five times before baking for 55-65 minutes, tenting with foil at the 30 minute mark. The banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Let the bread cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use the parchment overhang to lift the bread out of the pan onto a cutting board. Slice and serve.

Oat Crumble Banana Bread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to ten days.