Pumpkin Morning Glory Bread

Happy Sunday!! Need something for the week? I did. Carrots, pumpkin, warm spices, and toasty walnuts all come together in this fresh and fragrant quick bread. Two vegetables in one loaf and you wouldn't even know it. A little oil for richness, and a little molasses for subtle sweetness, it's the perfect combination. I've been wanted to make a morning glory bread or muffin for a while now but I never seemed to have carrots at the right time. Yesterday however, everything came together at the perfect moment to bring me this lovely loaf. I'm halfway through a two week stretch of nights, and this little bread is going to help get me through the final week. Having this to look forward to in the mornings at the end of a long night is going to be the perfect way to end the shift.

I found a nice looking recipe for a morning glory loaf of my pinterest board that has been hanging around for a while, but of course had to make a few adjustments based on my preferences and what I had around. The only thing I was missing that I didn't have anything to substitute for was dried fruit, raisins, or cranberries as the original recipe called for. That's pretty traditional in morning glory muffins but I just had to do without this time. I had all of the other important things though; carrots, coconut, walnuts. The original recipe called for applesauce, but I used pumpkin instead which worked like a charm, and then I threw in a few pumpkin seeds too since it seemed fitting. 

The recipe called for maple syrup as the sweetener, but since I was running a little low I decided to go with molasses instead. Baking up, this bread smelled amazing! Like gingerbread due to the molasses and spices. But don't worry, the finished product doesn't really taste like gingerbread, it's just fragrant with spices and a hint of rich molasses flavor. Each slice is soft and light and moist. Perfect on it's own, or jazz it up with a pat of real butter, or your favorite nut butter. Breakfast is served. 

 
 

Pumpkin Morning Glory Loaf
Heavily adapted from Wholehearted Eats
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) spelt (or whole wheat) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (150 grams) pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (84 grams) molasses (or maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (115 grams) grated carrots, about 2 medium carrots
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) coconut
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) raw pumpkin seeds
  • Turbinado sugar for topping, optional

Directions
Line a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. 

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, soda, spices and salt. In another bowl combine egg, oil, pumpkin, molasses, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until halfway combined.

Stir in the carrot, coconut, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds and mix just until combined.

Pour the batter into a parchment lined pan. Sprinkle the top with some extra pumpkin seeds and turbinado sugar, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. 

Yields: 10-12 slices

 

Cranberry Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins

It may be January, but I have one last Christmas-y recipe to share. I am a big gingerbread fan (as you could probably already tell from the  Gingerbread Bundt Cake I made for my big family Christmas party) but it seems to be something that is only eaten at Christmas, so I have to try and fit in as many different recipes during December as I can. Since I'm such a huge muffin fan I couldn't resist a gingerbread muffin of course. I decided to fill it with dark chocolate and fresh cranberries, one of my favorite combinations. Along with some molasses, spices and a little butter, this blend of flavors packs the perfect punch of flavor that can be enjoyed all winter long. 

Nothing fancy in this recipe, just a lot of nice add in's and spices that can be customized to your tastes. Don't have any fresh cranberries, how about dried cranberries? Or dried cherries for that matter. Try switching out the dark chocolate with some white chocolate, or skip the chocolate + fruit combination and throw in some cinnamon chips. Whatever you like and have on hand. That's what I love so much about muffins, they are so easy to adapt. So go ahead, have some fun!

Cranberry Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins

Adapted from 

Sweet Phi

Ingredients

  • ½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted (I've also replaced 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt and they still turn out great!)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon all spice
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with liners. 

In a microwave safe bowl microwave butter for 30 seconds, then remove from microwave and add milk, molasses, egg and vanilla. Whisk until combined, it's ok if there are a few lumps.

In another bowl add all dry ingredients except the cranberries and chocolate. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir a few times, then add the cranberries and chocolate, mixing until everything is just combined, don't over-mix. Spoon batter into muffin liners. Bake for 15-18 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Yields: I got 10 medium sized muffins

Christmas Cookies 2014

Merry Christmas! Once again this year Lara and I had way too much fun in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies and lots of other goodies to share with friends and family members. It has been a blast, and I am sad that it is now over for another year. But that's okay, I can always look back on my photos and remember the good times. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, however you celebrate, and a blessed New Year!

The traditional rolled sugar cookies made their yearly appearance, decorated solely by Lara, I can't claim to have had anything to do with those. Gingerbread men are my favorite so they also joined the fun. I also made some mini almond pound cakes for another option this year using a pan my sister-in-law gave me a little while back. I am pleased with how it all turned out.

I brought a tray of cookies to my families Christmas party, and then made bags of cookies for friends, as well as boxes to hand out to the neighbors. Both Lara and I had so much fun with the whole process as we do every year. Now off to celebrate Christmas!

Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread

We had our Christmas party for my mom's side of the family yesterday. It was a wonderful time of food, conversation and festivities! I had such a fun time seeing everyone and catching up on what is going on in everyone's lives. Of course I offered to supply a few dishes to the lunch menu along with a few other family members. Everything turned out deliciously from the roasted beef tenderloin provided by my grandma to the salads and desserts brought by everyone else. My contribution to the dessert table this year was a rich and dark gingerbread cake that I had spotted on Smitten Kitchen some time ago. It had intrigued me, but until now I had never had the opportunity to make it. Gingerbread is not really something you can make year round so I was excited to have the opportunity to try it out. 

I ended up loving the cake. It really does pack a punch of flavor thanks to the oatmeal stout, the dark molasses, and the 2 tablespoons of ground ginger. It is an intense cake, definitely not for the faint at heart. A scoop of ice cream or a dollop of freshly whipped cream are the perfect accompaniment. I think a simple lemon glaze or some lemon curd would also be wonderful options. If you're looking for something different from the typical sugar cookies or chocolate cake this Christmas, give this cake a try, it will be difficult to forget. 

Other than needing to go out and buy a few extra ingredients to make this cake (the stout and the dark molasses) there was nothing difficult about this cake. I mixed it all together by hand, didn't even need a mixer thanks to the use of oil. It came together easily and baked up beautifully, perfectly done at 50 minutes, exactly as the recipe said. 

From what I read about this cake, it is very prone to stick to the pan so I heeded all the advice I read and made sure to butter and flour my bundt pan very, very throughly. It seemed to work as I didn't have really any sticking at all. However, my bundt pan is pretty new and releases cakes easily. My old bundt pan was notorious for having cakes stick and come out in two or more pieces, not so pretty. But regardless of how nice your pan is, I'd advise making sure you spend a little extra time greasing and flouring it up before pouring the batter in. It would be so disappointing to have this cake fall apart on it's way out of the pan. 

Gramercy Tavern's Gingerbread

From 

Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
  • 1 cup dark molasses (NOT blackstrap)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Very, very, generously butter a bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess. This cake will stick badly if pan is not thoroughly greased. 

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream or ice cream.

Do ahead: I'm told this gingerbread is even better if made a day ahead. I made mine 2 days ahead and it was fantastic. I didn't try it freshly baked, but it didn't appear to suffer at all in the 2 day wait.