Holiday granola

Margaux says…

This time of year, when peaches are extra, super delicious at the farmer’s market (and those 4 lb boxes at Trader Joe’s! Yum!) my favorite breakfast is yogurt, granola and peaches. It’s really like a heavenly dessert for breakfast. Juicy, sweet peaches. Creamy, rich (whole milk, of course) yogurt. And crunchy granola, with tons of nuts and a hint of salty-sweet. I also have it for dessert sometimes, too (it’s great on ice cream!) And for a mid-day snack. We walk through one of those 4 lb boxes of peaches in about a half a week!

Holiday Granola - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

The granola is just as an important ingredient as the peaches. It can’t be too sweet, too chewy, or too hard. Supermarket granola, even the best kind, always has a weird aftertaste to me, almost like a coating is left in my mouth. I really don’t like it. Thankfully, making your own granola is really easy. I have two recipes that I use, both from my Aunt Judy. I’ve already posted one, the original “crunchy granola,” that I make on a regular basis. It’s very cheap, quick and easy. I also use this recipe, which Aunt Judy calls “Holiday Granola.” It has a few more ingredients (more nuts!), and uses real maple syrup instead of honey and maple flavoring like the other one. My aunt makes it for friends and family members as Christmas gifts, which is how I first tasted it. It makes a perfect Christmas gift because of the pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) and dried cranberries: it’s red and green. I prefer it to the “Crunchy Granola” recipe, but don’t make it as often because it’s quite a bit more expensive. But it is totally worth it!

Maple Pecan Granola - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Holiday Granola

4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup large flake, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ, preferably untoasted*
1 cup maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup dried cranberries, or other dried fruit blend (optional)**

* I’ve made this gluten-free by substituting flax meal for the wheat germ and had great results.

**I leave out the dried fruit during the summer because I don’t want it competing with my delicious in-season fruits. Totally your call, though. 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl. Heat maple syrup, oil and salt together, stirring to dissolve salt. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Spread in large flat pan (I use a large baking sheet and it fits perfectly).  Bake in oven for 45 minutes or more, until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Sprinkle dried fruit over granola and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in airtight containers.

Note: I have subbed all sorts of nuts for the ones suggested, just sticking to the same measurements. In this last batch I swapped half the pecans for cashews, and in the past I have used chopped walnuts in place of pecans, pistachios in place of pumpkin seeds and an additional 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds in place of sesame seeds. Just make sure all the nuts are raw and unsalted!

Corn Meal Pound Cake - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Orange and Dried Cranberries

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I’ve wanted to make a cornmeal-based cake for a while, with my eye on one made with olive oil.  But this cake, featured in our local newspaper’s Taste section, looked good and was just what was needed to get me in gear.  We really enjoyed it for breakfast with tea and coffee, feeling that tea was the better complement.  I also toasted and buttered a slice the second day – delish!  One of the things we really liked about this cake is that it’s not very sweet, making it perfect for breakfast.  The original recipe suggested berries and/or whipped cream when serving the cake as a dessert.

Corn Meal Pound Cake with orange and dried cranberries - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

I’m really glad Aunt Suzy shared this recipe with me!  I made it for our Saturday morning breakfast (baked the night before), and it was really fantastic with our over-easy eggs and yogurt with strawberries.  I love the orange flavor and the texture the corn meal gives to the cake.  My son pointed out that it would also be good with frosting (of course), and I agree, as a dessert it would be great with an orange glaze (2 tbsp fresh orange juice, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp orange zest).

Corn Meal Pound Cake with Orange and Dried Cranberries - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Orange and Dried Cranberries

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
Generous pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy.  Next, beat in the egg yolks one at a time, continuing to mix at high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, orange rind and orange juice and dried cranberries.

Gently fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the batter using a spatula until combined. Scoop into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  This will take 1 to 1 1/4 hours depending on your oven.

When done, remove and allow to cool in the pan.  Remove from the pan and turn the cake right side up. Cool completely before slicing.

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Orange and Dried Cranberries

AS COOK’S NOTES:  The original recipe called for 1/4 cup dried cranberries, but each slice had only 2-3 pieces per!  We’ve increased the amount of cranberries to 1/2 cup – they provide a nice contrast in taste and texture to the cake.  I used the organic dried cranberries from Trader Joe’s, which are large, round and plump. The baking time was specified at 1 hour 15 minutes, but I was glad I checked at 65 minutes, because the cake was definitely done – maybe slight too done!  I recommend setting a timer for 1 hour and checking from there until done.

Cornmeal Pound Cake with dried cranberries

M COOK’S NOTES: I agree about the baking time…I checked it at 55 minutes and found mine to be too done, too…It probably could have come out at 52 minutes.  I would actually recommend starting to check at 50 minutes.

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato BananaBread by Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

My dad is the family cook. You can find him in the kitchen most of the time, especially when my brothers were teenagers…I remember him telling me once that he is constantly cooking something; the minute something is done, the vultures descend and gobble it up, and he just starts cooking the next thing. I probably learned the most about cooking from Dad.

Dad

He even comes to our house and cooks (nice boarded-up window in the background, huh?  The pane just fell out one day and smashed everywhere.  It’s fixed now.)

Dad

Like any good cook, he likes to test things over and over and perfect them.  The first thing that I remember him doing this with was pumpkin pie.  We ate pumpkin pie for months (well, it was probably weeks, but in my child-mind we were eating pie every night for a year), which is no problem for me because I love pumpkin pie, until he got his own recipe just right.  Another time we were having all different kinds of stovetop macaroni and cheese…also no problem for me!  This winter he’s been doing quick breads…you can pretty much always find a loaf somewhere in his kitchen right now.  This one really stood out for me.
Whole Wheat Sweet Potato BananaBread by Sweet and Savory Kitchens

I love the texture and earthy flavor the whole wheat gives to this bread.  It’s super moist and dense from the sweet potato and banana, and because of the oil you can refrigerate it without losing any of it’s texture.  It’s really great plain, for breakfast or a snack, and extra super good drizzled with cream cheese glaze for a dessert.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I hadn’t had this before Margaux made and posted it, but I love banana bread and thought the addition of sweet potato would be just that much better.  I made it this morning and both Randy and I loved it!  It’s not too sweet and, as Margaux has noted, has a great texture.  It’s silky and the whole wheat flour gives a slight crunch.  Delish!  I will definitely put this in regular rotation for the occasional Sunday morning treat.

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato BananaBread by Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato BananaBread by Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Banana Bread

1 cup white flour, sifted
1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 small sweet potato, mashed
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour (or use baking spray with flour) 9×5″ loaf pan (or two mini loaf pans like I used).

Sift together flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, banana, sweet potato, yogurt, sugars and vanilla until completely combined. Add the oil and butter and mix until completely combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Fold in the chopped walnuts with a rubber spatula. Pour batter into prepared pan(s), bake for 45-55 minutes (I start checking at 45 minutes and kind of babysit it. It gets really dark and crispy on top, check it with a toothpick inserted in the center.) Place on cooling rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool on rack completely.

AS Cook’s Notes: I used a 9×4 pan and it took 60 minutes in my oven.  I also did not pre-sift the flours before sifting with other dry ingredients.  I thought I would try this because it seems sifting is not found in many recipes these days, even though this defies everything I learned in 4H and from Mom/Granny. 🙂 I learned recently from the Julia Child cookbook I just got that sifting isn’t necessary with today’s flours.  I used pecans and added currants, which are standard additions in my banana bread recipe.

Cream Cheese Glaze

2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 cup sifted powdered sugar

Beat the ingredients on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if needed to desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled bread.

Any extra glaze can be stored in the freezer until next time you make the bread, or to use on something else. Or you can put way more glaze on your bread than I did! 🙂

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Buddy was interested in what Randy and I were exclaiming about!  It was a new rhubarb recipe – a spin on the classic sour cream streusel coffee cake. We can’t get enough rhubarb here at S&SK, so when this recipe showed up last week on Pinterest, I ran right over to my friend Dianne’s.  I am lucky to have my pick of their beautiful ruby red rhubarb during the season.  Here’s how much we liked it . . . as we were eating the last of it, Randy asked if I would make it again this year.  This from a man who did not grow up with rhubarb and isn’t as wild about it as Margaux and I are!

Adapted from Relishing It

Preheat the oven to 350° and grease an 8-inch square baking pan

The cake batter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup yogurt or sour cream

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1 /2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

The rhubarb and the streusel

2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1 /4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

pinch of kosher salt

Prepare the rhubarb by combining it with the orange rind and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

Prepare the streusel by combining the remaining brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour, the cinnamon, 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, and a pinch of kosher salt in a small bowl.  Cut with a fork until crumbly.  Stir in the walnuts; set aside.

Prepare the cake batter.  First place 2 cups of all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Whisk together to thoroughly blend; set aside.

Next, cream 1 stick of butter and the granulated sugar until creamy on high speed with a mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on high speed and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Cream for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add half of the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined.  Add the yogurt and mix till blended, then the remaining dry ingredients.  Beat on low until just incorporated, being careful not to over mix.

Place half of the batter in the prepared pan.  Sprinkle half of the streusel evenly over the batter in the pan and then dollop the remaining cake batter on top of the streusel.  Smooth out with a spatula.  Place the remaining streusel on top of the batter.

Top all with the rhubarb mixture, being careful to drain of any liquefied sugar.  Press the rhubarb down into the batter a little.

Place in the oven and bake for about 50-60 minutes.  Check the center for doneness with a toothpick at 50 minutes and continue baking according to doneness.  Let the cake cool slightly before serving either warm or at room temperature.

You can enjoy immediately, and it will last for a few days if  stored covered at room temperature.

Margaux says…
Happy Thanksgiving!

Unfortunately, I don’t get to host Thanksgiving dinner yet. I suppose I could, but I don’t know that anyone would come besides my husband and son. And that would be a lot of food for the three of us. So until I get the pleasure, which isn’t going to be for years, I will make something ridiculously rich for breakfast (setting us up for a day of rich food, of course!).

This year I made a coffee cake from the November Bon Appetit. I heeded their advice and made it the night before, and I’m so glad I did! Not only was it ready to eat first thing in the morning, but the flavors had melded together into perfection overnight (full confession, we had some tastes last night before bed). This cake is absolutely delicious, and it will feed a crowd! I highly recommend trying it this holiday season for your overnight guests.

We had a hard time getting it out of the pan, and ended up breaking it in half, actually. It’s really hard to get it off the bottom and center tube of the pan. I was thinking that next time I may just leave it on the tube, which won’t make for a pretty presentation, but we won’t have a broken cake. My mom suggested cutting out a cardboard round that is the exact same size as the cake (or maybe an inch wider all around), sliding it onto the center tube, and inverting the cake onto it. I think that will probably work…you’ll just have to have someone help by holding the sides in place as you flip it over. If anyone tries this, let me know how it works!

Brown Butter, Ginger, and Sour Cream Coffee Cake
from Bon Appetit, November 2011 issue

Brown Butter

2 cups plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter (possibly more)

Topping

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Cake

Unsalted butter (for pan)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped (or I used sliced)

Grease a nonstick 10″ tube pan with removable bottom with butter. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Brown Butter

Simmer 2 cups plus 2 tbsp butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned bits form, about 6-8 minutes. Pour into a 2-cup heatproof liquid measuring cup. If needed, add more butter to measure 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp (added butter will melt).

Topping

Whisk flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp brown butter (reserve remaining butter for cake). Stir until moist clumps form. Stir in ginger. Set aside.

Cake

Butter pan generously. Whisk all-purpose flour and next 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat remaining 1 cup browned butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and thick, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in sour cream, milk and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture just to blend.
Spoon half of cake batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Scatter 1 cup of topping over. Spoon remaining batter in dollops over, smooth. Add almonds to remaining topping; squeeze to form 1/2″ clumps and scatter evenly over batter in pan.
Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove pan sides; let cool completely. Store at room temperature in airtight container.

Everything Muffins

November 21, 2011

Margaux says…

I made banana bread last week, and my husband said, “you should make this all the time, so we always have it on hand!”  He likes to grab a piece on his way out the door for breakfast.  Well, I can’t make the same thing over and over again, it’s just not in my nature.  So this has started me on a new trend of trying out breakfast breads, starting with this one.

(I get a LOT of help in the kitchen these days!)

This one is more of a cupcake, really, though…it would be great with cream cheese frosting!  I did cut back on the sugar a little bit from the original recipe, so it wasn’t TOO bad.  Definitely better than doughnuts!  And the are delicious!  (But I do recommend doing these as cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…REALLY delicious!!!  They have so much carrot in them, it’s sort of like a fancy carrot cake.)

Everything Muffins

2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted unbleached flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup shredded peeled apple (I used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup coconut (I used sweetened because it was what I had on hand, but unsweetened would probably be better)
1/2 cup raisins (I used the golden berry blend from Trader Joe’s)
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular size muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, milk and vanilla with wire whisk until well blended. Add brown sugar and beat with whisk until well blended, about one minute. Add flour mixture and mix just until completely blended. Stir in carrots, apples, coconut, raisins and nuts.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and smooth tops. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, remove from pan. Cool completely before frosting, if desired.

Crunchy Granola

September 4, 2011

Margaux says…

My Aunt Judy makes the most simple and amazing granola ever.  It’s the same recipe she’s been using since the 70’s, and she always has it on hand at her house.  She was my birth doula and came to stay with us for the last few weeks of my pregnancy, and the whole time she was with us (which ended up being about a month) she kept our supply stocked. It was so great to have every morning, with fresh fruit and yogurt!  It’s gotten so I can’t even eat store-bought granola anymore, I’ve become such a granola snob.  I try to keep it up, and make a batch as often as possible, but especially in the summer when fruit is in season and tastes oh-so-yummy with this salty sweet crunchy goodness.

Crunchy Granola

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup wheat germ or flax seed meal
1 cup large flake unsweetened coconut
1 cup cashews (or whatever nut you prefer)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried fruit, like cranberries or raisins (optional…I do this in the winter when I eat it with milk instead of fresh fruit and yogurt)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey (or agave syrup)
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tsp table salt
2 tbsp real maple syrup

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, minus the salt. Mix together honey, water, oil, salt and maple syrup. Pour over cereal and mix well. Bake in large jellyroll pan at 300 F for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in the pan, then pour into an airtight container.