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Posts from the ‘Brunch’ Category

Pumpkin Brioche Buns


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday week.  This is my third post in a row about pumpkin; over the past few weeks, I’ll admit that I’ve gone a little pumpkin crazy.  But this recipe was one I had never seen before, and looked so brilliant that I had to give it a try.

I got the itch to try my hand again at real bread when I saw this recipe by Gesine Bullock Prado.  Brioche rolls – which are already delicious – combined with pumpkin?!

This is a yeast bread, not a pumpkin quick bread – it tastes like a fluffy brioche roll, with a distinct pumpkin flavor.

Brioche, Bread, Rolls, Buns, Pumpkin

I was, again, very popular at the office.  These are the perfect addition to any holiday table!  And if for some reason you have leftovers, you can use the buns to make Gesine’s Pumpkin Brioche Bread Pudding.  I can’t imagine a better way to use Thanksgiving leftovers.

Brioche, Buns, Bread, Breads, Pumpkin

One year ago: Pumpkin Biscotti

Pumpkin Brioche Buns

Recipe by Gesine Bullock Prado – see her recipe for more tips!

Makes 16 buns, or more if you want them smaller


For the sponge

1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 packets instant yeast (I used Red Star)
2 cups bread flour

For the dough

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
8 eggs
2 pounds all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
egg wash (1 egg whisked with 2 tablespoons water)

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, maple syrup, yeast and flour.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until the sponge has doubled, about one hour.

2.  Once the sponge has doubled in size, add the brown sugar, salt, pumpkin and eggs to the sponge and mix with the paddle attachment until incorporated.  Switch out the paddle attachment for the hook attachment, and add the two pounds of all-purpose flour and mix until just combined.  Add the butter, a small piece at a time and continue mixing until the dough is shiny and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  This can take 15 to 20 minutes.  Only use a larger (5 to 6 quart) mixer to spare the motor of smaller mixers.  Otherwise, sprinkle a small amount of flour on a work surface an knead by hand.

3.  Coat a large bowl with oil or non-stick cooking spray and turn the dough over in the bowl so all the dough is coated.  Cover again with plastic wrap, and allow to dough to double in size, about one hour.

4.  Once the doubled in size (again), punch down the dough, dump onto a work surface, and divide the dough into 16 even pieces.  Roll each piece of dough into a tight ball, and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment.  Cover the sheet pans with plastic wrap and allow the buns to barely double in size.

5.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Brush the bun with egg wash and using a bread lame or sharp knife, score each bun in a star burst fashion to mimic the look of a pumpkin.

6.  Bake until the buns are golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.  If you decide to make smaller buns, bake time will be less.

Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Bread


It’s been far too long since my last post!  Between travel for work, Hurricane Sandy, and that pesky Nor’easter that just hit the New York City area, life has been chaotic.  I hope everyone out there made it through the storms safe and sound.

Right before Hurricane Sandy arrived, the Baked in Brooklyn blog posted a recipe for Quick Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Bread.  I’ve been looking for a good pumpkin bread recipe ever since I started baking.  I turned my nose up at every recipe I tried – they were too dense, or too dry, or too sweet, or not sweet enough, or not pumpkiny enough, or so loaded with butter or oil that the bread tasted more like a heavy pound cake.  I was the ever-suffering Goldie Locks of pumpkin bread.

Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Bread

Lo and behold, the Baked blog came to my rescue.  This truly excellent recipe for pumpkin bread that will now be my go-to recipe.  It’s moist, just-sweet-enough, well-spiced and sufficiently pumpkiny.  I think the buttermilk is a key ingredient, so please don’t skip it.  Most grocery stores carry low-fat buttermilk with an extended expiration date, so please invest in it.  I would be happy to suggest any number of recipes on this blog that make use of your leftover buttermilk!

One year ago: Chicken with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce, Caramel Walnut Pie, Soup au Pistou, Pasta with Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts

Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Bread

Adapted from Baked’s blog, The National Baking Society

Makes one 5 x 9 inch loaf; Recipe can be doubled

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature; could substitute 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a loaf pan (or spray with non-stick baking spray, my preferred method).  Cut a sheet of parchment to fit so that you can line it along the long sides of the pan, which will make for easy removal of the bread after baking. Gather all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer (or large mixing bowl) beat the butter until fluffy; if using oil, just put the oil in the bowl.  Add the cup of sugar and beat until creamed, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add eggs followed by the pumpkin puree and then the vanilla.  Take care to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl.  Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  I added the dry ingredients in three steps, and the buttermilk in 2.  Don’t overmix!

3.  As soon as almost all of the flour mixture is incorporated, use a spoon or spatula to fold in the cranberries and walnuts.  Spoon all of the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Smooth the top and place in the hot oven.  Bake 60 to 70 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I’ve been delinquent in posting new recipes, and I’m sorry.  I like to joke that I’m an “occasional lawyer,” but the truth is I’m actually a full-time lawyer, and right now the lawyer thing is kicking my butt.  Being busy at work means less time in the kitchen!  But I have a few great things I’ve made recently that I can share with you, and this is one of them.

King arthur flour

I know I’ve made a similar Chocolate Zucchini Cake before, but I had such a craving for chocolate and zucchini, and I have been dying to try King Arthur Flour’s recipe for this bread (which is really a cake, let’s not kid ourselves).  I’m so glad I did, because I like this recipe better than the cake I made last year!  It’s more moist and has a deeper chocolate flavor, without tasting too heavy.  I really enjoyed devouring slices of the bread the day after I made it, drizzling each slice with a generous amount of honey.

This quick bread is simple and comes together fast.  It’s the end of the summer, so enjoy the good zucchini while you still can!

Zucchini loaf

One year ago: Zucchini Cornbread, Spicy Brittle, Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Green Olivada, and Key Lime Pie

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf

Total time: 90 minutes


2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional (but encouraged!)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 2/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini, gently pressed to remove some excess liquid
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F; lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, or spray bottom and sides with non-stick baking spray.  Move a rack to the center of the oven.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth (no mixer needed).  In a separate bowl, mix together the salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa, cinnamon, and flour, mixing until well combined.

3.  Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until well combined, but no longer.  Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips under just combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

4.  Bake the bread for 65 to 75 minutes, until the loaf tests done (a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean, save for perhaps a light smear of chocolate from the melted chips).  Mine took about 60 to 65 minutes.

5.  Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack.  Cool completely before slicing; store well-wrapped, at room temperature.  I thought the bread tasted better after it had sat in my fridge (well-wrapped) overnight.  Particularly if you drizzled a slice with honey!

Carrot Fig Muffins

Muffins, Breakfast Muffins, Carrot Muffins, Fig Muffins, Healthy Muffins

Do you all need a break from all the desserts I’ve been posting lately?  Well, I just made two more for a party this weekend … but won’t tell you about them for a little while longer.  Instead, I’ll tell you about a wholesome breakfast I made recently.  I got the idea for these very healthy muffins from another blog, but made so many changes to the recipe I can comfortably say it’s my own.  An acquaintance of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer, and while she has always loved baking and all the wonderful foods that come as a result of such a distinguished hobby, she can no longer eat sugar.  Fruit sugars and honey are okay, but not refined sugar.  So I thought about a good, sugar-free bread to make her, and came up with these muffins.  I’m happy to say they came out pretty well!

These are the kind of muffins you make when you want to feel really good about what you’re eating for breakfast.  All whole wheat flour, a minimal amount of oil and sugar – they are low-fat, high fiber, whole grain goodness.  Carrots and figs lend a lot of natural fruit sweetness, so only a small amount of sweetener is needed.  The muffins can be made with brown sugar or honey – I used honey, but I probably would have preferred brown sugar (if you are lucky enough to be able to eat sugar!).  They aren’t as fun as my Brown Sugar Carrot Bread, but they are still good, and as healthy a breakfast as you can get.

Carrots, Figs, Carrot Muffins, Fig Muffins, Healthy Muffins

One year ago: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Carrot Fig Muffins

Recipe by Pâte à Chew

Makes 12 muffins

Total time: 45 minutes


1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup almond flour (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup almond flour
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, milk, or unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 honey instead, but otherwise I’d recommend brown sugar)
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 4-5 medium carrots)
5 to 6 ounces dried Calimyrna or Turkish figs, chopped (you can put as many or as few figs in as you like)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with a baking spray or line with paper liners.

2. Sift whole wheat flour and corn starch together. Mix with wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, almond flour (if using), cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, sugar, and oil. Add the wet ingredients tot he dry until just combined – do not overmix, otherwise you will end up with tough muffins.

3. Gently stir the carrots and figs into the batter until well-distributed. Fill each muffin cup with batter until 3/4 cup full. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly browned and a tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Blackberry Peach Teacake

I’ve been trying to take advantage of the bounties of early summer as much as I can.  Blackberries, while probably my favorite berry, are a finicky fruit – when they are good, they are the most delicious berry in the world.  But when they are bad, they are sour, dry, and make you wonder why they even exist. Each year, early in the summer, I see pints of blackberries pop up at farmers markets and grocery stores, and I have the same internal debate with myself: do I risk the money on what are, more often than not, disappointing sour berries?  I usually take the risk, and many years it doesn’t pay off.

Well I don’t know about you, but up in the Northeast we’ve been getting the sweetest, juiciest blackberries this year, which have led to many a smile on my face.  So when I saw this recipe by the talented Jessica over at her lovely blog Oh Cake, I couldn’t resist making it.  It looked like the perfect way to incorporate into a cake some of the several cups of blackberries in my fridge.

What I like about this cake is its sheer simplicity and versatility.  It’s a pretty basic cake batter that comes together fast, and is slightly rich from the addition of cream (or in my case, half and half), but not overly so.  The addition of ground almonds and a little almond extract compliments the peaches perfectly.

You can also play around with the fruit.  I fully intended to use conventional yellow peaches in this cake, but accidentally bought white peaches instead.  I ended up loving the white peaches, as they have a sweet honey flavor that goes beautifully with the cake.  You could substitute another berry for the blackberries, and substitute another stone fruit for the peaches.  Raspberry apricot, blueberry nectarine – the possibilities are endless!

One year ago: Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Jacques Torres-style

Blackberry Peach Teacake

Adapted slightly from Oh Cake

Makes one 9-inch-cake

Total time: 75 minutes


1 cup slices of fresh yellow or white peaches (about 3)
1 cup fresh blackberries
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
1/2 cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1 dash
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350º F.  Spray a 9″ springform pan with baking non-stick spray, or butter and flour.  Set aside.

2.  Mix peaches with one tablespoon sugar and one tablespoon flour. Add a dash of cinnamon and toss to coat. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, sift together flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4.  In the bowl of a standing mixer or with a hand-held mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, beating on high for 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a spatula halfway through.  Next, add eggs one at a time, incorporating after each addition.  Add vanilla and almond extracts and cream (or half and half), and mix until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed, add almond flour or ground almonds, and gradually add flour mixture.  Mix until just combined.  Do not over-mix.  Spread into pan and top with the fruit.  I fanned out the peaches and then dotted the spots in between with blackberries. Bake for about 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then remove sides of the springform pan and let cake cool completely. I had a slice when it was still a little warm and it was delicious.  Top with powdered sugar or a little fresh whipped cream.


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