Posts Tagged ‘QuickBread’


dinner 2

Lots of desserts

dessert table 4


bar 2

More meat

dinner 3

Delicious side dishes


Too many desserts

dessert table 2


guests guests 2 lauren sara

guests newlyweds



decor 2

decor 3

room 1

Much too many desserts

dessert table after

More food than one could imagine out of a NYC kitchen


More people than you’d usually fit in a 1-bedroom apartment

getting food

5 Years of Thanksgiving with Friends

Five years ago, in what started out as a “dinner club” with two other couples, Matt and I hosted our first mock Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  Four friends came to Matt’s apartment at the time for a turkey, sweet potato casserole, and some other dishes that aren’t memorable enough to stand out in my mind.  It was a fun night and such a success that in the years that followed, our intimate dinner party of six has turned into an annual event with almost twenty friends.  It gives us an opportunity to be in the kitchen together, share an evening with many of our closest friends, and show them how thankful we are for them through delicious food.

matt lauren cooking

This year’s dinner was so much fun and full of many tasty traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes: Turkey, Brisket, Turkey Meatloaf, Salad, String Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

dinner 1

And of course, as you surely already know, lots of desserts

dessert table 5

Cookie sandwiches: Red Velvet Cookie Sandwiches with White Chocolate Buttercream, Chocolate Chip Cookies with Mocha Ganache and Chewy Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling

sandwich cookies 2

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake bars

bars on plate 1

Cookie Dough Topped Brownies

cooke dough brownies

Gooey Caramel Butter Bars

caramel bars

Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Bars

Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream and Mocha Ganache

I am excited about the recipes I have to share from the dinner party over the next few weeks!  There are definitely some new desserts that I know I’ll be making again

What is your favorite Thanksgiving-related tradition?

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In case you haven’t noticed, I have a sweet tooth:-) I always have room for dessert, but if you can make a side dish that tastes like a dessert, isn’t that even better?  Combining that with the fact that pumpkin is one of my all time favorite dessert flavors, you can understand why I’d be a fan of pumpkin bread.


I’ve had lots of pumpkin muffins and breads, some are dry, some are too dense, and some just lack a true pumpkin flavor.  This recipe, however, produces a light, moist and flavorful bread that also works for muffins.pumpkin muffins 1

This recipe is super easy.  It is the one my mom has been making for years and she had gotten it from a friend of hers originally.  You can do all of the stirring by hand so no mixer necessary.

First, take your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt) and whisk them in a large bowldry ingred

Set that aside and combine your wet ingredients, pumpkin, oil, water and eggs

wet ingred

Add your wet to dry

adding wet to dry

Stir until well combined


The recipe is set to make 3 pumpkin bread loaves, however I wanted a little bit of variety

badder in mini muffin tin

An ice cream scoop makes the perfect transfer to muffin tins

scooping badder 1

scooping badder 2badder in reg muffin tin

A few pumpkin seeds for crunch



pumpkin seedsmuffin badder with pumpkin seeds



1 loaf for good measure

badder in loaf pan

Bake until bread and muffin tops are rounded and a knife comes out cleanregular muffins done loaf 2



mini muffins cooked

Cool everything on wire racks

all pumpkin

Eat it as a side dish



Or for breakfast

pumpkin muffins 2

My Favorite Pumpkin Bread

Makes 3 regular-sized loaves OR 1 loaf, 1 dozen regular sized muffins and 2 dozen mini muffins


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 small 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)  – about 1 3/4 cup

1 cup canola oil

2/3 cup water

4 large eggs


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Grease pans with non-stick cooking spray and/or line muffin tins with cup holders

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl and set aside

Combine wet ingredients (pumpkin through eggs)

Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix well until combined

Pour batter into baking pans

Baking times for different forms:

Loaves: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Regular muffins: 18 to 25 minutes

Mini muffins: 16 to 20 minutes

Bake until bread and muffin tops are rounded and a knife comes out clean



Cool pumpkin bread out of baking pans on wire rack


What is your favorite dessert-like side dish?

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What better way to spend a rainy summer night than to try out a new twist on banana bread?  Adapted from this recipe from the Rachel Ray Magazine, I bring you Upside Down Banana Bread.

I made some modifications to the recipe to reduce the fat and calories without losing flavor or texture.  No dry desserts in this apartment!

You will need:

3 medium ripe bananas

2 medium extra ripe bananas (to make 1 cup mashed)

3/4 cup of sugar, separated

2 Tb unsalted butter

1 large egg + 1 large egg white

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

I find that baking is so much easier when I have all if my ingredients out before I begin.  I also recommend reading the entire recipe at least once before you start.  This will keep you from many baking mistakes I have made in the past…. (stories for another day!).


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray or grease loaf pan (I sprayed a non-stick version with cooking spray and had no problem removing my loaf).

Now you will prepare your regularly ripe bananas for caramelizing. Brown bananas won’t work because they will not hold their shape as well. Slice each one in half and across lengthwise.  These halves, once cooked, will line the bottom of your loaf pan.

Now, heat 1/4 cup of sugar along with 2 TB of water over medium-high heat until boiling.

Once water is evaporated, remove the pan from heat and stir in butter until melted.  The liquid in the pan should be a golden brown by this time.

Lay banana slices, flat side down, in sugar and butter mixture.

Cook on low heat for about 1 minute.  Then, remove bananas and lay them down to line the bottom of your loaf pan.

Pour remaining sauce over bananas.

At this point, you already have candied bananas, so I don’t see how you could go wrong with this dessert!

Moving onto the batter….

Mash extra ripe bananas in a bowl with remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Brown bananas are best for sweetness and moisture.  Place yellow bananas in a paper bag overnight to speed ripening process.

Beat bananas and sugar with vanilla, egg and egg white.

I used an electric mixture but beating by hand with a whisk would work just as well.

Now whisk together dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt).

Add all wet ingredients (banana mixture, oil and applesauce) and whisk together until batter is smooth.

Pour batter over bananas and bake loaf for 30-40 minutes.  Bread is done when golden brown and knife or toothpick comes out clean from the loaf.

I baked my bread for 35 minutes and think it could have been taken out 2 minutes earlier.

Allow to cool in pan and then use knife or long spatula to separate loaf from inside of pan.

Slice and enjoy alone or with vanilla ice cream!  I think it would be delicious served warm with a smear of peanut butter myself…

Pro:  Your kitchen will smell amazing.  Con:  It will be nearly impossible to wait to cool.

The Executive Taster approved and retracted his earlier offer to share the banana bread with his office.

A couple of notes:

Next time I will add more cinnamon.  I think up to a teaspoon would work.

The bread was not dry at all and you could not tell that it was made with whole grains.  Next time I will try using all whole wheat flour.

What is your favorite use for bananas?

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