Category Archives: Bread

Spoiling Myself

Last month, I spent a few days at my parents’ house in Laredo, Texas.  It was such a treat.  My folks got to see my changing pregnant body in person and I got a little spoiled.  I got plenty of attention, and had a couple of generous escorts to shuttle me around and take me shopping.

But, besides their company, I most enjoyed the food.  Both my parents are talented in the kitchen and they always make sure I have my Texas favorites, so I ate really well.  Plus, while I love cooking, this pregnancy makes me tire easily and I try to avoid staying on my feet for too long, so having someone else not only do all the cooking, but all the clean-up, too, was like visiting a spa.

It was nice to come home and see my husband (who spoils me in different ways) and pets, and sleep in my own bed again.  (I missed you body pillow!)  However, I do miss waking up to ready-made food.  It sounds ridiculous, but sometimes I’m so hungry when I wake up I can’t think straight and trying to put breakfast together can be a lot of effort.

So, I’ve been trying to prepare some breakfast items in advance that way I don’t have to exert much energy or brain power to feed myself first thing in the morning.  And, while I can’t have my parents cook for me right now, I can enjoy their recipes.

This recipe is a hearty breakfast bread that my mom shared with me last year.  It makes wonderful toast and provides protein, fiber, and potassium – you know…good stuff.

Toasted Almond and Apricot Bread
Makes 1 loaf

7 oz dried apricots
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp canola oil, divided
3/4 cup chopped natural almonds
1 heaping cup rolled oats or 1 cup oat flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt

Coarsely chop apricots.

Heat orange juice in small saucepan until it boils.  Stir in brown sugar and apricots.  Remove from heat and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to medium frying pan and use it to brown the almonds.  Stir and toss the nuts so they toast evenly and are lightly browned.

If you don’t have oat flour, add 1 heaping cup of rolled oats to a food processor and blitz until it resembles flour.

Beat the eggs until frothy.

Mix in remaining 2 Tbsp oil and buttermilk.

Thoroughly blend the all-purpose and oat flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix in toasted almonds.

Add dry mixture to egg mixture and blend well.

Stir in apricots and their juice.

Pour the batter into a well-greased 9-inch loaf pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean and top is lightly browned.

Let rest in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to finish cooling.

The bread will keep several days in an airtight container, or may be frozen.  To freeze, after completely cooling, wrap the loaf in foil and store in a plastic zip-top bag for up to 6 months.

I really enjoy it toasted with butter.

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Personal

Bun in the Oven

Perhaps you have noticed that I haven’t posted to the blog in quite a while.  Well, at least I hope you’ve noticed.  I’ve missed all of you and I’ve missed my kitchen, too.

I’m not here to offer excuses, but more of an explanation.  Turns out Mr. Cook in a Bar and I are expecting a baby.

As good as this news is for the Cook in the Bar family, for several months this expected baby didn’t really want me to have much to do with cooking or eating or writing.  In fact, she made me feel downright sick most of the time.  Ugh.  This wasn’t a very helpful development for someone who spends her days thinking of and attempts to earn her living through food.

For now, however, I am pleased to announce that future Baby in a Bar and I have reached an uneasy detente.  I am feeling much better and I am attempting to return to my normal activities.

Okay, mostly normal activities.  You’ll probably notice a slight change to Bar Stool Fridays (sigh) and I’m sure my cravings will be clearly illustrated by upcoming entries between now and my expected due date of July.

Sorry for the cliched title, but I hope you can enjoy these literal buns in the oven.  They hit several craving high points for me – oranges, cinnamon, and of course, baked goods.

Sticky Orange Cinnamon Buns
Makes one dozen

For Dough:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm milk (about 110 degrees F), divided
1/2 cup sugar, divided
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 Tbsp grated orange peel
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 – 6 cups all purpose flour

For Glaze:
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp grated orange peel
1 cup chopped pecans

For Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Start by working on the dough.  Combine yeast, 1/4 cup milk, and dash of sugar in small bowl.  Let stand until foamy.

In a large bowl, beat remaining milk, remaining sugar, butter, orange peel, and vanilla until well blended.  Gently add yeast mixture.

Beat in eggs one at a time until well blended.

Stir in salt and cinnamon.  Add flour 1 cup at a time and stir to combine.  Add flour until smooth but still slightly sticky.  Please note the amount of flour depends on things like your measuring style and the humidity levels of your work area.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Place in a large greased bowl and cover.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, probably 60 to 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking pan and set aside.

Stir together all glaze ingredients, except for pecans, in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil and let bubble over medium heat until slightly thickened, maybe 3 or 4 minutes.

Stir in pecans.  Moving quickly, but carefully, pour glaze into prepared pan.  Spread it out evenly with a spatula or spoon.

Beat all filling ingredients together until smooth.

Once dough has risen to double in size, turn it out again onto a floured surface.  Gently roll into a 18×9-inch rectangle.

Spread filling over entire surface of dough.

Starting with long edge, tightly roll dough into a long cylinder, pressing edge to seal.

With a sharp knife, cut into 12 even slices.

Place slices, cut-side up, into pan.

Cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, probably 60 to 90 minutes.

Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes.

With a knife, gently loosen edge of buns from side of pan.  Line a baking sheet with wax (or parchment) paper.  Place that baking sheet on top of the pan and invert.

Cool buns for at lest 15 minutes before serving.

The buns are best served on day of baking, but they can keep for a couple of days if they are kept tightly wrapped in wax paper surrounded by foil.

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Personal

Game Day Eats – Apple Cider Doughnuts

Consider the doughnut.

In the words of M.F.K. Fisher does it live, “a dreadful but exciting life”?  Naw, probably more like a short and delicious life.

Who doesn’t love this fried confection?  It is one of my favorites without a doubt.  But, they are best eaten quickly after frying.  It is indeed a brief and joyous time for us.

If you are planning a brunch for your friends this weekend or your tailgating starts early, might I suggest you wow them with some apple cider doughnuts?  You won’t be sorry…

Apple Cider Doughnuts
Makes about 20 doughnuts and holes

Modified from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for  working with the dough
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
not small quantity of vegetable shortening (aka Crisco)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, reduce apple cider to about 1/4 cup.  It took me about 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until each is incorporated into dough.

On low speed, gradually add the apple cider and buttermilk, mixing until just combined.

Add the flour mixture, and continue to mix until dough just starts to come together.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour.

Turn the dough out onto one of those sheets and using your hands, flatten the dough until it is about 1/2-inch thick.

Add more flour, as necessary.  Place the baking sheet of dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until it is slightly hardened.

Pull the dough out of the freezer, and cut out doughnut shapes.  Place the cut doughnut onto the second baking sheet.  Place the cut doughnuts in the refrigerator for another 20 minutes.  If you need to re-roll the scraps, refrigerate them again for a while before cutting.

Add enough shortening to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 2 inches.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side and heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.  Have a plate lined with paper towels ready to receive the fried dough.

While the shortening is heating, you can make your toppings, if you like.  We made both cinnamon and sugar (self-explanatory) and a glaze of apple cider and powdered sugar.  Set them aside until the doughnuts come out of the oil.

Once your frying oil is ready, carefully add just a few doughnuts at a time.

Don’t crowd the pan to ensure even frying.  Fry until golden brown and gently flip to the other side.  Drain on paper towels for a minute or so and then dip in toppings.

They are best if served immediately.

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Snacks

Cooking Through a Hurriquake

Oh, electricity how I missed you….the hum of the refrigerator, the whir and cool breeze of the fan, the joy of showering in the light.  But, oh, wireless internet connection, I missed you most of all.  So good to have you back.

Things are gradually returning to normal here in Washington, DC after the hurriquake and several days with no power at our house.  What’s that?  Oh, you don’t know what a hurriquake is?

A hurriquake is the unnatural occurrence of two natural disasters – an earthquake and a hurricane – in one location within a short time period.  In this case, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit DC on Tuesday with a series of 4.something aftershocks over several days followed by Hurricane Irene on Saturday and Sunday.

Please know that I’m not complaining and I am very aware of how lucky we are.  We had minor losses (except for some spectacular blackberry jam!) in the earthquake and have only struggled with power loss from the hurricane.  We suffered no injuries or major property loss, and I am very grateful for that.  But….I have now had my fill of natural disasters for a while.

The lack of electricity has led to a bit more creativity in my cooking, though I did manage to mooch off friends for a couple of meals.  We enjoyed the last of the tomatoes I picked last week and didn’t can in two ways.  I used about a pint worth for a loaf of focaccia and then the last bit I grilled and turned into tomato sauce.

Tomato Foccacia
Makes 1 large loaf

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups of milk
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp salt
5 to 6 cups of white all-purpose flour
about a pint of fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes
about 1/3 cup olive oil
about 2 – 3 Tbsp fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
cornmeal for dusting
salt and pepper, to taste

Warm 2 cups of milk.  Place  yeast in a small bowl, add 1/2 Tbsp sugar, and pour in 1/2 cup of lightly warmed milk.  Yeast should start to bubble and grow – proof that it is alive.

While the  yeast is “proofing,” pour remaining milk into a large bowl, add remaining sugar, salt, and 2 cups of flour.  Stir after the addition of each cup of flour.  Add the proofed yeast mixture and stir.  Add about 3 more cups of flour, again stirring after the addition of each cup.  When dough is firm and sticking together, turn out onto floured surface.  Knead, adding flour as needed, until dough is smooth and satiny and no longer sticky.  It took me about 10 minutes of kneading.  Roll the dough into a ball-shape.

Grease a steep-sided bowl and place the ball of dough inside.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, I prepared the tomatoes.  Luckily, we have a gas stovetop, so with a match I could still use it to boil some water.  I dropped about a pint of cherry tomatoes into the rapidly boiling water.  Let them blanch for no more than 3 minutes.  Quickly drain them and rinse with cold water.  The blanching will make the tomato skin easy to peel.

 Remove the tomato skins and drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil.  Set aside.

When doubled, turn out the dough again onto a floured surface and knead again gently for 2 to 3 minutes.  Using a rolling pin and/or your hands, roll the dough into a rectangle shape about 1-inch thick.

Lightly dust a baking sheet with cornmeal.  Place the dough on the sheet and using your fingers push the dough to fill the pan.

Pour the tomatoes and olive oil over the top of the dough.  Push your fingers into the dough to create little indentions and an uneven surface, and also to push the tomatoes into the dough very lightly.

Sprinkle with basil.

Leave it to rise again until it is doubled.  At this point, I traveled to my brother’s apartment to use his working oven.  Just before baking, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Bake in a 425 degree F preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.

We sliced the loaf into squares to make into sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and Italian cured meats.

Grilled Tomato Sauce
Makes about 3 cups

2 to 3 pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes
about 3 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 Tbsp fresh basil
salt

Drizzle the tomatoes with about half the olive oil and place them on a grill.

Cook over medium heat until wrinkled and lightly charred, turning as necessary.

Remove from the grill, place in a bowl and add minced garlic.  Let sit for about 10 minutes to meld flavors.

If you have power, you can puree the tomatoes in a blender.  Or, you can use a food mill, like I did.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a wide, deep skillet.  Pour the pureed tomatoes to the skillet and add herbs.  Simmer sauce, stirring frequently until thickened to desired consistency.  It took me about 15 or so minutes.

Season with salt, to taste.  Use it right away, or you can put it in your freezer to enjoy the taste of summer later.

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Filed under Bread, Vegetarian

What the Heck Is Bromate?

What the heck is bromate?  That is the question I asked myself while staring at flour labels in the grocery store.

Never bromated. Is that something I want?  I decided to come home and do some research.

Bromate (potassium bromate) is a slow-acting oxidizer added to flour in order to strengthen dough (thereby reducing mixing times) and create higher rises in bread while in the oven, also known as oven spring.  Bromated flour means that the flour has been enriched with potassium bromate.  Some commercial bakers use bromated flour because it yields dependable results, and it makes a stronger, more elastic dough which can stand up to bread hooks and other commercial baking tools.

Without much work, I was able to learn on several government health websites that the use of bromate has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals.  In theory, the bromate should bake out of the dough as it cooks, but if any residue does remain, it could be harmful, especially after repeated consumption.

In many countries (even China!), bromated flour has been outright banned.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled bromate a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).  But, the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) hasn’t banned its use, just encouraged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.  Some flour producers have switched their additive to ascorbic acid, which has similar properties without the potential health risks.

Now a number of baked good companies and retailers have stopped using bromated flour, but some public health agencies recommend that consumers avoid bread, rolls, doughnuts, cakes, and other baked goods that list potassium bromate or bromated flour as an ingredient.

If you know me, you know that I bake a lot.  My husband and I go through quite a bit of flour every year.  This information has made me decide to only buy flour that does not contain potassium bromate and to read food labels and avoid the ingredient.  I am curious to know if any of my readers share my concern.

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Filed under Bread, Tips & Tricks

Peaches with My Coffee

Peachapalooza continues in my household as I experiment with Georgia peaches.

Next up…peaches for breakfast.

Spiced Peach Bread
Makes 1 9-inch loaf (or 3 mini loaves)

Modified from Southern Living magazine

1 cup pecans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced
3/4 cup freshly grated carrots
1/3 cup natural applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake pecans in a single layer in  shallow pan for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant.

Cool 15 minutes and coarsely chop.

Stir together flour and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

Add diced peaches.

Stir in remaining ingredients, including toasted pecans, just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack for about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

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George Washington in Hot Water

While my parents were in town, we decided to visit George Washington’s Gristmill and Distillery outside Alexandria, Virginia.  It is just a few miles south of his estate, Mount Vernon.  The original structures were destroyed sometime around 1850, but the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association have reconstructed the operation.

As a farmer, George Washington operated a gristmill that ground wheat and corn into flour and meal.  The mill was powered by a huge water wheel with water diverted from the Dogue Run Creek.  The mill machinery is enclosed in a huge frame of heavy oak and pine beams that is built directly onto the building’s foundation and not connected the walls.  This protects the structure from the machinery’s potentially damaging vibrations.

It is a terrific working example of the Oliver Evans Automated Milling System.  This system connected all machines in the mill in a continuous process, greatly improving the production of flour and meal.

The 16-foot water wheel provides power to run all the machinery in the gristmill.

Raw grain is stored in bins and fed into the rolling screens for cleaning.  The rolling screen is a grain cleaner which removes any chaf or other debris so only clean grain drops to the millstones.

The millstones grind the wheat into flour or the corn into meal.

After milling, the flour/meal travels up to the hopper boy where it is spread and cooled.

From the hopper boy, flour/meal drops into the bolter, where it is sifted through bolting silk and graded into superfine flour, fine flour, and bran.

Once the gristmill was well established, Washington’s farm manager, James Anderson, suggested building a whiskey distillery.  Anderson, who had experience as a distiller in Scotland, pointed out to Washington that all the key components for making whiskey were already in place: an abundant supply of grain, a gristmill to grind the grain, and a water system to operate the stills.  Once it was complete it was one of the largest distilleries in the United States.  In its most profitable year, 1799, it had become Washington’s most successful enterprise, producing 11,000 gallons of whiskey.  A variety of whiskeys were produced at the site along with different types of fruit brandy.

With our country’s teetotaler history, the distillery was not a priority for rebuilding for many years.  Further, because there was no surviving examples of eighteenth century distilleries, the reconstruction required extensive archaeological and documentary study before an authentic structure could be built.

Beginning in 1997, excavation archaeologists uncovered the original foundation stones and the location of five stills and boilers, and found many objects related to the distilling process.  The distillery was reconstructed in 2007.  To ensure an authentic reconstruction the wood was finished by hand and the construction used hand-made nails and hardware.  There were some compromises necessary to meet modern building codes and safety requirements.  Even though, we were surprised to see open flames in the same room as the stills.  That seems like kind of a no-no when dealing with flammable substances like grain alcohol…

But, back to present day.  The distillery is back in operation and with five copper stills, produces rye whiskey using George Washington’s original recipe (60% rye, 35% corn, and 5% malted barley).

The grain mixture is ground and placed in a mash tub.  Hot water is poured over the grain to convert starches to sugar.  And, it is stirred by hand with the implement you see below.

Yeast is added to the mash to turn sugar into alcohol.  Then, after it sits for a bit, the liquid moves to distillation in the pot stills.

It is distilled at least twice to bring the alcohol up to 80 or 90 proof, the level at which Washington sold his common whiskey.

Limited numbers of bottles of whiskey distilled using this method are available certain times of the year at Mount Vernon.  Unfortunately, we were not able to secure a bottle during  this visit.

Stone ground cornmeal produced on site is always available in the Gristmill Shop, however.

Lucky for me, my dad treated me to a bag of this special product.  Here’s the first thing I made…

Hot Water Cornbread
Makes 12 to 18 pieces, depending on size

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal (maybe more)
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp shortening (maybe more)

Bring water to a boil.  Add cornmeal to boiling water.  Stir constantly with wire whip to prevent lumping.  Stir in baking soda and salt.

Remove from heat.  The mixture will thicken quickly.  You want it to be stiff so it will stick together in a little cake.  If it is still a little drippy, add more corn meal, whisking with a fork to smooth out the lumps.

Heat shortening in a cast iron skillet.  The amount will vary to the size of your skillet.

Once it is nice and bubbly, scoop out the cornmeal mixture to make a little oval flat cake and drop into the hot grease.  Fry the cakes, browning slightly on each side.

Drain on paper towels, and repeat until all cornmeal mixture is used.

Serve right away.

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Whole Grain Cooking Club

My mom is a terrific baker and I grew up with fresh baked bread throughout my childhood.  I can only aspire to make bread as good as she can someday.  Typically, she made bread with white flour, but lately she’s been baking with more whole grains.

I’ve been doing the same and so we share the notes from our kitchen experiments.  We’ve formed our own little cooking club of sorts.

Here’s her latest success that she shared with me…

Whole Wheat Bread
Makes 2 loaves

1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk
1/4 cup oil
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 – 3 cups white all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water.  Warm the milk and stir in oil, sweetener, and salt.  When cool to the touch combine with dissolved yeast.

Add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, the wheat germ, and flaxseed.  Blend thoroughly.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead dough about 10 minutes, adding as much white flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking.  When it is smooth and elastic turn the dough into a clean and greased bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a draft-free place until doubled in bulk.  It took me about 90 minutes.

Punch the down down, knead about 1 minute, then shape into 2 loaves and put in greased 8-inch loaf pans.  Cover with a towel and let rise until dough just swells over top of pans.  My dough needed a little over an hour.

Bake in preheated 425 degree F oven 10 minutes, then turn heat down to 350 degrees F, and bake 25 minutes longer, until loaf sounds hollow when tapped with a finger.  Cool on racks.

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Clear Out the Cranberries

I’ve talked about Thanksgiving leftovers for several posts, and I was quite pleased with myself for so efficiently using all the bits that remained from our feast.  One dish was a bit of a challenge to reinvent, however – the cran-orange-apple relish.  I can only eat it for so long before my palate tires of the tartness.

I knew there had to be a way to turn it into a baked good, but I wasn’t sure how the consistency of the relish would effect the consistency of the batter.  Would I be able to figure out the ratios of dry ingredients to wet?  So, I turned to my cookbooks and the interweb for help.

Inspired by a recipe on the Washington Post’s website and a spiral bound cookbook I inherited from my grandmother, I came up with this…

Cranberry Relish Muffins with Orange Glaze
Makes 12 to 14 muffins

1 1/4 cup leftover relish
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

For glaze:
1/8 cup orange juice
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin, or 6 cup large muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

To make muffins, combine the relish, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and eggs in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl, then stir into relish mixture.
Add the chopped pecans and mix.
Fill muffin tin and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 30 minutes until tester comes out clean.
Let cool for about 10 minutes in tin, and then using a butter knife, loosen from the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.
To make the glaze, combine orange juice, powdered sugar, and zest in a small bowl.  Smooth out any lumps and drizzle/spread on top of each muffin.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Thanksgiving

Sweet Potato Redux

Thanksgiving leftovers are the best, but I do tire of turkey sandwiches and reheated stuffing.  Many of the remaining dishes from your Thanksgiving meal can be turned into something more inventive, however.

Take sweet potatoes, for example…I made mashed sweet potatoes with chipotle peppers this year.  I got some of my best compliments ever, but I still had some left after the meal.  If you also have leftover diced sweet potatoes you could make them into soup or a hash with turkey and brussel sprouts.  Now, if your sweet potatoes are mashed they can become some delicious bread…

Sweet Potato Bread
Makes 2 loaves

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 eggs
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, orange juice, oil, applesauce, eggs, sweet potatoes, and mix well.

Add dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Mix in pecans.
Divide batter between 2 well-greased loaf pans, or one large and two mini-loaf pans, like I did.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.  Cool to room temperature in pans.

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