Zucchini Bread

zucchini-bread

An all time favorite that never gets old. Perfect at breakfast time or with afternoon tea.

Classic Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil or 1 cup applesauce
1 ½ cups sugar
3 medium zucchini, grated and well drained (2 cups)
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat eggs lightly in a large bowl. Stir in oil (or applesauce) sugar, zucchini and vanilla.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt onto wax paper. Stir into egg mixture until well blended; stir in raisins and nuts. Spoon batter into two well greased 8 x 5 x 3 loaf pans or three 8 x 4 x 2 loaf pans.

Bake at 375 for 40 minutes for the 8 x 4 x 2 pans or 1 hour for the 8 x 5 x 3 pans (test with a toothpick). Remove from pans and cool completely.

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Classic Apple Pie

apple pie close up

Classic Apple Pie

Cooler temps, falling leaves, fresh picked apples. Apple pie time. This recipe is so simple and so delicious!  Who wouldn’t love a flaky crust full of sweet apples and spicy cinnamon.  Save on time with a pre-made crust.

This 8 inch version is the perfect size for a small group.

Ingredients

7 medium-small Fuji or Honey Crisp apples

1 lemon

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 tablespoons flour

Prepared double pie crust

1 egg

8 inch pie plate or tin

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Prepare pie crust; your favorite recipe or store bought pre-made brand. Add bottom pie dough to pie plate and trim to fit. Save trimmings.

Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Add to medium sized glass mixing bowl. Squeeze juice from lemon onto apples and toss well. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Mix well to coat.

Pour apple filling into prepared pie pan.

Apple filling

Carefully lay top pie dough over filling. Trim to fit.

pie top

Fold top dough edge under bottom dough edge and pinch to flute or crimp with fork. Cut slits or a circle of dough from the center to allow steam to escape. Beat egg and a tablespoon of water in small bowl. Brush egg wash over pie dough.

pie crimp

Optional – press dough trimmings into a ball. Roll out on lightly floured board. Cut out leaves, use paring knife to score. Arrange on top of pie and brush with egg wash.

cut leavesleaves veins

Apple Pie pre bake

Move pie plate to cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake until golden; 45-50 minutes. Watch closely and loosely cover with a sheet of aluminum foil if needed to prevent over browning.

Remove from oven and move to wire rack to cool. Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream. Serves 6.

Apple Pie 1Apple Pie

Zucchini Banana-Nut Bread

Zucchini Banana Bread

It’s the last hurrah for zucchini from my garden so I’ve paired it up with sweet, ripe bananas for another fabulous variation on this moist and delicious snack bread.

Zucchini Banana-Nut Bread

adapted from recipe by Averie Cooks

You will need:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup  sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 large or 2 small)
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium-large bananas)
  • 1/2  cup chopped toasted walnut

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray one 9×5-inch loaf pan or two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans with Pam for baking; set aside.

Toast walnuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat. Stir often 4-5 minutes, being careful not to burn.

Grate zucchini, place in colander and squeeze out most of the liquid.

Add first 6 ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine.

Next, add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, soda and salt. Carefully fold or stir just until combined.

Fold in mashed bananas, zucchini and toasted walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40- 50 minutes for 8×4 pans; 50-60 minutes for 9×5 pan. Baking times always vary due to differences in moisture content of the zucchini and bananas and accuracy of oven temperature so watch your bread and check for doneness.

Cool in pans for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack. Bread is best if eaten in a couple of days. Save a loaf for later by wrapping in cellophane, then foil and freeze. Thaw and warm slices in the microwave.

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French Toast

French toast close up

Inspiration for my french toast comes from a variation on several of Martha Stewart’s recipes. I never missed an episode of her Sunday afternoon cooking and home show that aired in the early 90’s. I video taped every episode and studied them well. I have always admired her drive and desire for perfection and I have learned much from her over the years.

A favorite Sunday morning treat, this recipe brings back so many fond memories of weekends spent with my son Bryant and his requests for his favorite “Martha Stewart French Toast”.

An egg bread such as Brioche or Challah makes the best french toast, but a hearty white bread will be fine.

French Toast

6 thick cut slices Brioche or Challah
5 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon grand mariner
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest
grape seed or vegetable oil
unsalted butter
confectioner’s sugar

In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, grand mariner and orange zest.

Use a large heavy skillet or non stick electric griddle at medium low heat (300 on griddle). Add 1 tablespoon flavorless oil, such as grape seed oil and spread around pan. When oil is hot add 1 tablespoon butter, just before adding bread.

Dip bread into egg mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, add to heated pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.  If using a skillet, cook 2 pieces at a time, adding more butter as needed for each addition.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with warm syrup.

Cran-Apple Tart

Cran-Apple Tart 4

You don’t need a holiday to delight in the all the wonder that is pie. This simple, yet elegant dessert celebrates the flavorful combination of sweet apples and tart cranberries. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for an unforgettable taste treat.  What- no tart pan? No worries. Just use a 9 inch pie plate instead.

Cran-Apple Tart

1 Box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
6 small Fuji apples, peeled, cored and sliced (5 cups)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons flour
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom with one pre-made pie crust. Trim excess and discard. Cut top crust into 13 strips. Set aside.

Toss sliced apples in lemon juice. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Toss to coat.

Fill lined tart pan with apple mixture. Sprinkle with cranberries.

Cran-Apple Tart 1

Top filling with 7 parallel strips of pie dough. Weave remaining strips under and over into a lattice pattern. Bring out to the rim of the pan, press and pinch off excess.

Cran-Apple Tart 2

In a small bowl, whisk egg with a tablespoon of water. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash over dough.

Cran-Apple Tart 3

Move tart pan to a rimmed baking sheet and place into oven. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Check at halfway point, if crust is browning quickly, carefully lay a sheet of foil over tart to prevent over browning.

Remove from oven when done and cool completely on a wire rack. Remove tart ring, cut and serve.

Cran Apple Tart 4-1Cran-Apple Tart 5

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

Cinnamon Apple Loaf

The air is cool and crisp today in northern Illinois, reminding me that autumn is just around the corner. And though I am a southern girl, I must admit that I do enjoy all that fall has to offer here in the Midwest. Right now we  are reveling in the start of apple season. Now I know that I can find apples in the stores year round, but this time of year we have many more varieties to choose from. My favorite, the Honeycrisp. Sweet-tart, juicy with a bit of crunch, they are great for snacking and for baking.  So set aside old Granny Smith and give these red beauties a try.

You know there’s nothing like the smell of cinnamon and apples wafting through the house on a beautiful fall day, except for maybe the aroma of coffee that goes so well with this delicious sweet cake.

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

from Just a Pinch Recipes

You will need:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1 large baking apple, peeled and chopped

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×5 loaf pan with Pam for Baking or butter and flour.

In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and brown sugar together and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat granulated sugar and butter to a smooth consistency. Add eggs, one at a time, blend well and mix in vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Stir into butter mixture. Add milk and mix until smooth.

Pour half of the batter into loaf pan. Top with half of the chopped apples and half of the brown sugar and cinnamon. Swirl brown sugar and cinnamon into batter. Repeat with remaining batter, apples and brown sugar cinnamon.

Bake 40-50 minutes. Test for doneness with a wooden skewer or toothpick.