Cranberries topped with Sugar
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Banana Bread: 2 Varations



I love the smell of banana bread baking in the kitchen. The aroma takes me to a garden or comforting place in my mom’s kitchen. She loved to bake.

Banana Bread with Cranberries on the Side

Ingredients:
Parchment or wax paper
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each ground nutmeg and salt
2 medium (1 cup) ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (optional)
fresh cranberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper or wax paper extending paper up sides of pan; set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt on a sheet of parchment or wax paper; set aside. In a large bowl combine bananas, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips (optional); pour into parchment lined-pan.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Use edges of parchment to lift bread from pan onto a wire rack. Pull back edges of parchment. Cool completely. Add cranberries on the side for presentation. Makes 12 servings.

Another Variation:
How about Banana Bread w/Cranberries! 

If you’d like to make Banana Bread with the cranberries inside, here’s a great recipe:

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup shortening
3 eggs
3 mashed bananas
1 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, and mix in bananas, cranberry sauce, milk, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually blend flour mixture into the banana mixture. Fold in walnuts. Pour into the prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, and cool completely.

Buttery Breadsticks

Breadsticks

Don’t you just love to order these at a restaurant? When I go to Olive Garden, I can’t wait to get these! I figured there must be a way to bake these from home and I found a pretty good recipe!
 

Buttery Breadsticks

Ingredients:
3/4 c. milk
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. quick-rise yeast
1/4 c. warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
3-3 1/4 cups flour, divided
1 egg white, beaten
1 tbsp. water
Coarse salt

In a saucepan, heat milk, sugar, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Combine milk mixture, yeast and 1 1/2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Punch dough down. Pinch off golf ball-size pieces; roll into pencil-size strips. Place on greased baking sheets 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise 15 minutes. Combine egg white and water; brush over sticks. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden. Brush with butter when done and enjoy! Yields about 24 breadsticks.

Assorted Buns

Assorted Rolls

Bread is indeed a weakness and I can’t usually resist it. I also need to use my bread machine more!

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). If you are not using a nonstick muffin pan, grease 5 cups of a regular muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, milk, and mayonnaise. Spoon into the 5 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until nicely puffed and browned. Makes 5.

Chocolate Fluffernutter Cupcakes

photo by Janet Hudson
Oh yeah chocolate for Christmas, what a lovely idea! Chocolate anytime for me but Christmas gives me a built-in excuse to overindulge! I love this little cupcake and the recipe is easy too. A double chocolate pleasure, who can resist?

Ingredients:
For the cake:
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups flour
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream (I used 4% crème fraîche)
1/2 tbsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tbsp. baking soda
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, combine boiling water, butter, sugar, cocoa. Beat until sugar is dissolved.
Add dry ingredients, alternating with egg, sour cream, and vanilla extract.

Fill cupcake cups about half full and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting:
1/2 c. marshmallow fluff
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. butter, softened
1/4 tbsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tbsp. milk

Combine fluff, peanut butter, butter, salt, and vanilla with a mixer on low speed. Add confectioners’ sugar, beat until blended, and add enough milk to reach desired consistency. Top with peanut butter cups.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

photo by Janet Hudson
Pumpkin is so popular this time of the year! Thanksgiving will be here before I know it and I can’t wait to serve these for a dessert party I’m supposed to be having. Hopefully, I won’t chicken out like I did last year! I found this photo from Janet Hudson in the public domain who is an amazing vegan baker and cook! However, since I’m not a vegan at least not yet…LOL, I had to find a recipe that I could use.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1 cup mashed cooked or canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs. Blend in mashed pumpkin. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition; stir in chopped walnuts or pecans. Spoon batter into well-greased and floured or paper-lined muffin pan cups. Fill about 2/3 full. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Frost with cream cheese frosting, and top with candy corn. You can sprinkle some powdered sugar over the candy. Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

photo by Megan Chromik
It’s Harvestime! Just because I don’t celebrate Halloween doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate something! In my church, we call this time of the year, Fall Festival and since Thanksgiving is around the corner, I think these pumpkin patch cupcakes are perfect for the occasion. Cutely decorated with pumpkins tops them off nicely.

This recipe is taken from Martha Stewart.
Ingredients:
1 sugar pumpkin, (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and seeded
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree, or canned pumpkin puree
1 cup pecans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 seven ounce packages almond paste
Gel food color, orange, brown, and green
Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with paper liners. Grate pumpkin in a food processor or on the large holes of a box grater (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Transfer to a medium bowl, and add pumpkin puree and pecans.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves; pulse to combine. With machine running, add oil and eggs; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add pumpkin mixture; pulse to combine.

Spoon about 1/3 cup batter into each cupcake liner. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Make the marzipan pumpkins: Tint two-thirds almond paste orange, adding food color a dab at a time until desired color is reached. Tint a quarter of remaining paste brown and the rest green. Shape into leaves, stems, and pumpkins (see instructions below).

Decorate cupcakes with frosting and marzipan pumpkins. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days

Marzipan Pumpkin How-To: Using a small rolling pin, roll out green almond paste about 1/8 thick; use a leaf cutter to cut out leaf shapes. Roll brown into small ropes; cut and shape into stems. Using the palms of your hand, shape orange into three-quarter-inch globes. Use a toothpick to poke holes in tops of pumpkins and to press creases from top to bottom. Attach leaves and stems to tops with a bit of frosting.