Chocolate teff banana bread

December 15, 2014 at 11:58 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Dessert, Muffins and quick breads, Website / blog)

I was looking for a recipe to use up some teff flour, and I came across this recipe for chocolate, teff, banana bread on the Cannelle Et Vanille blog. I vaguely recall making a different chocolate, teff, banana bread earlier this year (this recipe from the gluten-free-girl blog) and not being so excited about it. I’m not usually a fan of chocolate in banana bread—I normally prefer adding nuts and spices, as I find that adding chocolate or chocolate chips overpowers the pure banana-bread-y-ness.  With this recipe, however, I absolutely loved the final product. I’m not sure what made the key difference (maybe it’s just the pregnancy talking?), but I adored this cake. It’s very sweet and very moist and very banana-y, with a tender crumb that is neither overly delicate nor overly gooey. Read the rest of this entry »

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Healthier zucchini bread

August 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Muffins and quick breads, Summer recipes, Website / blog)

A friend gave me a ton of zucchini from her garden, and I had to figure out what to do with it. I’d never made zucchini bread before, but I was in the mood for something sweet, so I found two recipes online for reasonably healthy-looking zucchini bread. One is for a “regular” zucchini bread, just modified a bit to be lower calorie. The second is for a chocolate zucchini bread. Read the rest of this entry »

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What I’ve been cooking lately

June 21, 2014 at 7:02 pm (breakfast, Muffins and quick breads, soup)

What have I been cooking lately? Not much. I just haven’t been in the mood. Derek has been cooking some old standbys like whore’s pasta and chilaquiles and sesame noodles, and I’ve been making a lot of really simple dishes like stir-fries or roasted veggies or big pots of beans. But I have tried two new recipes, which I’ll blog about here, briefly.

Naomi Pomeroy’s Celery Velouté With Spring Herb Salsa Verde. It’s rare that a vegetarian recipe wins a challenge on Top Chef, so I was excited to try this recipe for a creamy celery soup. Without the salsa verde, the soup was not that exciting. I generally like celery, but the soup smelled a little too strongly of cooked celery for me to really love it. It was better with the salsa verde, which added some acid and non-celery flavors. Still, overall I wasn’t so impressed. It was basically a celery vichyssoise (i.e., using celery instead of potatoes). But Derek liked it a lot more than me. I had a few bowls over a couple of meals, but he single-handedly finished off most of the pot.

Gluten-free pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins. I don’t eat gluten-free, but I bought some coconut flour and was looking for recipes to try it out with. I chose this one because the photos looked very good and the comments were generally pretty positive. I doubled the recipe to make 12 muffins. Some of the comments said the muffins were greasy so I cut down on the oil by about a tablespoon and used an extra tablespoon of pumpkin puree. I reduced the maple syrup to 1/4 cup and halved the amount of chocolate chips, because some reviewers complained that the muffins were too sweet. When the muffins first came out of the oven the texture was very odd, but by the next day they had improved. They were definitely sweet with plenty of chocolate chips (despite the halving), but not very pumpkin-y or spice-y. The outside of the muffin was a bit greasy. Derek didn’t like them at all, so I ended up giving some to a friend and eating the rest by myself. They weren’t bad, but I don’t think I’ll make this exact recipe again. Maybe next time I’ll try a recipe that calls for both coconut flour and almond flour.

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Buckwheat pumpkin muffins

April 13, 2014 at 9:38 am (breakfast, B_ (2 stars, okay), Dessert, Muffins and quick breads)

This was the second recipe from The Splendid Grain that I chose to use up my buckwheat flour. In her recipe head notes Rebecca Woods says that the recipe is reminiscent of carrot cake, only better. That sounded so good that I willingly sacrificed my very last butternut squash of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vegan banana bread with peanut butter frosting

November 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm (Cook's Illustrated, Dessert, Fall recipes, Mom’s recipes, Muffins and quick breads, My brain, unrated, Winter recipes)

I used to make banana bread all the time in Pittsburgh, but for some reason I stopped making it once I moved to Germany.  But yesterday I had five over-ripe bananas gracing my windowsill, and so I decided to resurrect my old recipe.  We were having guests for dinner, however, and Derek thought that plain banana bread was a little homely to serve for dessert, so he decided to dress the bread up a little with a peanut butter icing.  Banana and peanut butter is a ubiquitous combination, but somehow I’ve never had banana bread with a peanut butter icing.  But a quick internet search reveals quite a few recipes for banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, so clearly others have trod this path before us.  I even found one recipe for banana bread that calls for mini Reese’s peanut butter cups in the batter.  Wow.  Our banana bread wasn’t quite that decadent, but the peanut butter / banana bread combination was definitely a winner.

My recipe makes a basic banana bread with deep banana flavor, a moist, crumbly interior, and a golden, crisp top. Use older, more darkly speckled bananas because they are sweeter, more moist, and give more banana flavor than less ripe bananas.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Light cranberry orange muffins

December 26, 2010 at 2:19 pm (breakfast, C (1 star, edible), Cook's Illustrated, Dessert, Muffins and quick breads, Necessarily nonvegan)

I have a recipe for pumpkin cranberry bread that I just adore.  I wanted to try making it into muffins, but I couldn’t find any more fresh cranberries.  So instead I found this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Light Recipe.  The basic recipe is for blueberry muffins, and then they offer variations for bran muffins, corn muffins, raspberry almond muffins, and cranberry orange muffins (which call for dried not fresh cranberries).  Alex and I made the cranberry orange muffins for breakfast last Sunday, along with these two ginger muffins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Millet Fruit and Nut Quick Bread

June 15, 2008 at 8:18 pm (breakfast, B_ (2 stars, okay), Dessert, Grains, Muffins and quick breads, Rebecca Wood)

This is an update of an older post, but I changed quite a few of the details so I thought it was worth reposting. I pulled some millet out of the freezer, and decided to give this recipe another try, with alterations based on my comments from the first version:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3/4-1 cup dried fruit (I used currants, dried pear, dried apple, dried cranberries, and sour Persian berries)
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 cups cooked millet
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop the dried fruit, and place in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat up 1 cup of the orange juice to not-quite boiling, then pour over the dried fruit. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in the same saucepan, melt the butter, then add the honey and stir to combine well. Pour into the bowl with the dried fruit and let cool. Toast the almonds, and then chop them coarsely. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, or a 8×8 inch square banking pan.
  4. When the liquid has cooled, add the egg and mix well. Next, add the millet and and stir to break up any clumps. Sift in the flour, salt, baking powder, and soda, and mix gently. Fold in the almonds. Pour the batter into a loaf pan or square baking pan, and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

My notes: the texture of this cake was nice. It was moist and heavy and millet-y and crumbly, and held together quite well. The almonds didn’t add a lot of flavor, but I added a bit of texture, although I wish I had left a few of the nuts in slightly larger pieces. The tart Persian berries and cranberries were a great addition, but I couldn’t taste the other fruit individually. I liked the orange juice instead of the original apple juice. It adds just a touch of acidity which is lovely. This cake is not too sweet. It’s almost mid-way between a cake and a quick bread like Irish Soda Bread with raisins. It’s nice toasted with a little salted butter on top, or toasted and topped with warm milk. It’s still a tad bit low on the pizzazz factor, which would be helped perhaps by the use of some baking spices: cloves or cardamom or poppy seeds or black pepper maybe?

Rating: B

Update Dec 27, 2009

I cooked 1 cup of millet with 2 cups of water, 1 Tbs. butter, pinch of salt, pinch of cloves, and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg.  It came out a bit wet, not sure why.  I used 1 cup of it for the cake.  I used 3/4 cup orange juice, plus a little that clung to the fruit after soaking.  In addition to the honey, I added 2 Tbs. of sweet syrup made from Derek’s failed honeycomb sugar experiment. I used only 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup cornmeal.  I used toasted walnuts instead of almonds, but forgot to measure them.  Maybe about 1/3 cup?  For fruit I used 3 dried peaches, 1 dried apricot, some raisins, some tart Persian berries, and a little crystalized ginger.  I baked the cake in a 9×9 square pan for 20 minutes, and the tester came out clean.

The cake was tasty.  I liked the addition of the cornmeal–it gave it a slightly grittier texture that was lovely.    The flavor was good, although I still think there’s some room to play around with spices.  Almond extract maybe?  Next time I’d add the cloves and nutmeg directly to the batter.  I liked the bigger pieces of walnuts–you could definitely taste them.  The addition of the honeycomb sugar syrup made the cake sweeter than last time–Derek didn’t try to add any sweetener.  He did add a little butter, however.  He said the cake was pretty tasty, but he wouldn’t ask me to bake it again.  Also, he didn’t like the tart berries. He was also confused about the recipe.  What is it, he wondered?  Dessert?  Breakfast?  Neither.  The next day Derek liked it better.  Derek rating: B.  My rating: B.  I think it’s a good recipe to have around if you want to use up some cooked millet or dried fruit, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to make it.  It would probably be good to serve in the afternoon with.  For this recipe:

Serving Size: 1/16 recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 133
Total Fat 4.4g
Saturated Fat 1.7g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 19mg
Sodium 134mg
Carbohydrate 21.9g
Dietary Fiber 1.2g
Sugars 8.6g
Protein 2.5g
Vitamin A 3% Vitamin C 10%
Calcium    2% Iron 3%

Original post: December 31, 2007

Last year Derek and I had a delicious millet cake at Green Zebra in Chicago, and ever since then I wanted to try my hand at replicating it, partly because it’s something different, and partly it’s because it’s the first time Derek ever liked millet. I did some googling, and turned up very little–one recipe with nuts and fruit, and a few made from millet flour rather than the whole millet. I decided to start with a recipe for Apricot Millet Breakfast Cake from The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood.

  • 1 cup apple juice + 1/2 cup (in case your fruit is very dry)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 2 Tbs. dried cranberries
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup cooked millet
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped pumpkin seeds

My own version of the instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Chop the apricots, and place with the cranberries and currants in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, heat up 1 cup of the apple juice to not-quite boiling, then pour over the dried fruit. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in the same saucepan, melt the butter, then add the honey and stir to combine well. Pour into a large bowl and let cool briefly. Chop the pumpkin seeds, and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  4. When the fruit has been soaking for 15 minutes, pour it through a strainer, letting the juice fall into a 1-2 quart measuring cup. If there is more than 3/4 cup of juice, pour off some, and if there is less, add enough to make 3/4 cup (the amount yielded will depend on how dry your fruit was). Pour the juice into the large bowl with the butter and honey, then add the egg and mix well. Next, add the millet and fruit and stir to break up any clumps. Sift in the flour, salt, baking powder, and soda, and mix gently. Fold in the pumpkin seeds. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a test comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

My Notes:
I misread the instructions and added 1 cup of apple juice instead of 3/4 cup, so then I was afraid my batter would be too wet so I added extra millet. The cake took 45 minutes to cook, rather than 30, probably because of my mistake. But in the end I liked it with the extra millet and juice, so I might actually do this on purpose next time!

I like the cake. It has a very similar texture to the one we had at green zebra~the millet is definitely noticeable, and adds a nice crumbliness to the cake. Like all of Rebecca Wood’s recipes, this cake tastes surprisingly simple, and is almost but not quite bland, with a little something elusive that makes it interesting, and keeps you going back for more.

I like that this cake uses real butter, but only 3 Tbs., and honey, but only 3 Tbs. I bet it would also be nice with olive oil instead of butter. The cake is sweet from the juice and fruit and honey, but not crazy sweet (although Derek did add maple syrup to his). I enjoyed the cake for dessert, and I had a slice toasted and covered in warm milk for breakfast, which was delicious.

All that said, I don’t think I would make this recipe again without substantial changes. I used white flour since I didn’t have whole wheat pastry flour, but I thought it could use a slightly more flavorful flour, either whole wheat or half white and half something else, maybe oat flour or cornmeal? The pumpkin seeds were subtle, but noticeable, and I didn’t dislike them, but next time would try another seed or nut instead, perhaps poppy or almonds. I don’t really care for dried apricots, so next time I make this I think I’d sub in some other dried fruit, maybe some dried apples to echo the apple juice flavor, or perhaps something very tart would be nice, something like barberries or unsweetened cranberries (although they’re very hard to find). I also might try adding just a pinch of a sweet spice like cloves or allspice or nutmeg perhaps, or maybe even cardamom.

Derek said the cake was “not bad, pretty good, needs to be sweeter.” He liked it warmed up with milk and honey or maple syrup over it, but wouldn’t touch it plain and room temperature.

Rating: B-
Derek: B-

Here’s the nutritional stats for 1/12 of a loaf pan:

Serving Size: 1/12 cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 176
Total Fat 4.8g
Saturated Fat 2.2g
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 178mg
Carbohydrate 31.4g
Dietary Fiber 1.5g
Sugars 13.9g
Protein 3.7g
Vitamin A 7% Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 2% Iron 6%

It’s 24% fat, 68% carbs, and 8% protein. As a dessert that seems a bit low fat. For a breakfast, you’d clearly want to add more protein. But it’s only 175 calories so there’s room for a higher protein food. With a serving of lowfat yogurt or milk or regular soymilk the percents would be around 25%, 60%, 15%, which is more appropriate for breakfast.

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June’s Bran Muffins

November 14, 2006 at 6:36 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Dessert, From a friend, Muffins and quick breads, Quick weeknight recipe)

This bran muffin recipe is rich, dense, and filling. It’s from my friend June, and all the notes below are hers.

The basic bran mix is a “refrigerator” muffin mix, given to my mom by a dear friend years ago. You can bake off what you want. It’ll keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks, and lends itself easily to different added ingredients, which keeps it interesting. Also the muffins freeze beautifully once baked. I use all organic ingredients, except the buttermilk, as I haven’t been able to find that organic yet.

Make 26-27 muffins

Dry Ingredients:
3 cups bran (I usually do 1.5 raw wheat bran and 1.5 oat bran)
.25 cup wheat germ
1 t. salt
1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 c. soy flour
2.5 t. baking soda

Wet Ingredients:
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup honey
.5 cup blackstrap molasses
.5 cup oil

Optional (barely): 1 cup raisins (I always put these in unless I know I am going to want to make the banana variety, in which I don’t like the raisins. If I am going to make the banana muffins, I take that batter out, set it aside and add the appropriate amount of raisins to the remainder)

Directions:
Mix the dry together with a whisk. Mix the wet ingredients together. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until combined.

Portion size = 2.5 oz batter per muffin

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Variations

Zucchini Muffins
22oz bran muffin mixture (with raisins…mmm)
8 oz shredded zucchini
1.5 t. dried lemon peel

This zucchini version yields a much lighter, moister, and less sweet muffin, but still pretty satisfying.

Carrot Cake Muffins
22oz bran muffin mixture (again raisins…mmmmmmm)
8oz shredded carrot
1 t. cinnamon
Pearl sugar or any coarse sugar to sprinkle on top before baking. Cinnamon sugar works too.

Banana Walnut Muffins
22 oz bran muffin mixture
8oz banana
1/2 to 1 cup walnuts (I really like walnuts…)

Notes: Don’t be afraid to experiement. If you want more banana go for it, just remove another ounce or two of muffin mix and add in some more banana. This batter is pretty darn forgiving.

My Notes:

These muffins turned out larger than the AMA recipe I’ve used before. They’re slightly less salty (a good thing) and slightly sweeter tasting. They’re also much more substantial seeming and more filling, which is great, but I don’t understand it because the stats are pretty similiar (see below). I will make these again, and I might consider adding some ginger or other spice as well. A tip: measure the oil first in a 1/2 cup measure, then use that cup to dole out the molasses and honey.

Rating: B+

These muffins:

junemuffin1.gif

The AMA muffins I posted before:

amamuffin1.gif

The major difference is that this recipe has slightly more bran, plus has wheat germ and soy flour, and double the honey. Finally, it uses all baking soda (no powder).

I improvised a version of these muffins, but they came out way too wet, and the flavor is a bit muddy.  I think I had too much liquid, and I didn’t cook them long enough.  They dried out a bit after sitting overnight, and despite their weaknesses they still called to me.  Derek couldn’t stand them though.

  • 1.25 cups bran (should have stuck with 1.5 cups)
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ (I’d omit this next time)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup white flour (should have used 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour (should have used 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda (I’d increase this to 2 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder (I’d decrease this to 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces grated carrot
  • 4 ounces chopped apple (with peel)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ginger

Here are three recipes from Cook’s Illustrated (I have no idea why they thought they needed 3 different recipes–isn’t their philosophy that there exists one perfect recipe for every dish?).  They say too much bran produces a dry, crumbly muffin, too little and you don’t really have a bran muffin anymore.  The right proportion of bran to flour turned out to be 1 to 1. Because these muffins can easily overcook, baking time is also crucial. If a few moist crumbs cling to a toothpick withdrawn from the center of a muffin, they’re done.

Makes about 20 muffins

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, (see illustrations below)
4 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup light brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons, packed firm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon maple extract
1 1/2 teaspoons butter extract (or flavoring)
3 large eggs , lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1 cup wheat bran (not the cereal)
1/2 cup whole dates ,plumped with scalding water, drained, and coarsely chopped
1 cup dark raisins , plumped with scalding water and drained

And a second one, makes 12 muffins:

1 1/4 cups  bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup  whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon  baking soda
3/4 teaspoon  table salt
1 1/4 teaspoons  ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon  ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon  fresh grated nutmeg
7 tablespoons  unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup  dark brown sugar plus 2 additional tablespoons
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
3 tablespoons  unsulphured molasses
1/4 cup  sour cream
1 cup  buttermilk plus 3 additional tablespoons
1 1/2 cups  wheat bran
1 cup  raisins

And the most recent recipe, makes 12 muffins:

1 cup raisins
1 tsp. water for plumping the raisins
5 ounces All-Bran Original cereal
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (2 1/2 ounces),
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (4 2/3 ounces)
3 tablespoons mild molasses (or light)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

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Molasses Raisin Bran Muffins

October 30, 2006 at 5:45 pm (AMA, breakfast, B_ (2 stars, okay), Dessert, Muffins and quick breads, Quick weeknight recipe)

These bran muffins have a noticeable molasses flavor and a moist crumb. Based on a recipe from AMA family cookbook.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 12 muffin cups with vegetable oil spray or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together:

  • 1 1/4 cups wheat bran
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (a little too salty?)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

In small bowl whisk together until smooth:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Whisk in:

  • 1/4 cup honey (use the same cup you measured the oil in)
  • 1/4 cup molasses (ditto)
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk

When well mixed, stir in

  • 1/2 cup raisins

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until no specks of flour remain. Do not overmix. Spoon into the muffin tins, filling them about 3/4 full.
Bake until the muffins are a dark brown, 18 to 22 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. These muffins can be refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for 2 weeks.

My Notes

I didn’t have buttermilk so I substituted 3/4 cup nonfat yogurt and 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk. I skimped just a bit on the 1/2 tsp. salt as well. The muffins are small but make a pretty nice snack. I like the bran texture, and the taste is pretty good. These aren’t the ultimate bran muffins but I enjoy them. They’re not quite decadent enough for dessert, unless they were served maybe with an icing or compote or side of fruit or something. They’d be a nice addition to breakfast as well, except they’re pretty low in protein (only 9% of the calories are from protein, and almost 30% are from fat, plus they have 3.5g fiber).

For slightly larger muffins, it might be worth multiplying this recipe by 1.25…. or going the other way and making them smaller in a mini-muffin tin. I’d like to try making these vegan sometime, using flax seeds.

Rating: B

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Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

October 11, 2006 at 12:44 am (Alma's faves, AMA, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Dessert, Muffins and quick breads, Quick weeknight recipe) ()

This is a great fall dessert. The pumpkin and cornmeal give this bread a great texture and the cranberries are marvelously tart. I made it last year for Thanksgiving and everyone liked it. This is based on a recipe in the AMA Family Health cookbook. I’ve decreased the sugar, doubled the number of cranberries, and used half whole wheat flour. It was good to start with, and now I think it’s even better! The traditional look is to bake this in a loaf pan but I think it holds together better and has a better (crispier) texture when baked in a standard cake pan. Read the rest of this entry »

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