Foodieobsessed's Blog


Healthier Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread with Cinnamon Glaze

This recipe was circulating all over the web this morning and I thought I would take it and twist it to be a little more healthful. I cut back on some of the sugar and oil and I hope that you will enjoy this!

PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE BREAD

FILLING:

6 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

BREAD:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1/2 unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp softened butter
2 large eggs
1 cups sugar
2/3rd chopped pecans or walnuts

CINNAMON GLAZE:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 tsp fat free milk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pans. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside. In a large bowl, blend flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, applesauce, butter, eggs and sugar; beat well. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the chopped pecans or walnuts.

Pour half of the pumpkin bread batter evenly into the two prepared loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin batter layers in each loaf pan and then spoon or pour on the remaining pumpkin batter (if you don’t have enough pumpkin batter to cover the cream cheese layer entirely, that’s okay, because you’ll be swirling them together anyway). Take a knife and stick straight down into the top pumpkin batter layer and middle cream cheese layer; swirl the knife around in these two layers, creating a marble effect; this will give the cream cheese filling a nice swirly shape as it bakes.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes; remove to a rack to cool completely. While waiting for the bread to cool, mix your cinnamon glaze: combine powdered sugar and milk, blending well; then add cinnamon and mix until smooth and creamy.

Note: the cinnamon makes this glaze darker in color, so if you want a lighter, creamy color glaze, just add a dash of cinnamon to the mixture. Drizzle over completely cooled bread loaves.

If you get 16 servings out of this bread it is 221 calories per slice. Enjoy!

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Greek Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

I have a deep and abiding love for Greek yogurt. It started small with a one time purchase and now is a full time staple in my kitchen. I love banana bread and had an awesome recipe for it that included sour cream and thought it would work just as well with some yogurt in place of it.

When I asked the Hubbs (who is generally a food ‘purist’ and doesn’t like frills) if I should add chocolate chips to this I got a shocking “sure!”. You could use walnuts, milk chocolate chips, or nothing at all!

I store my blackened bananas in my freezer. I was getting overrun so hence the urge for banana nut bread! It is a great use up for bananas that are about to “go”.

Greek Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

4 medium blackened bananas, mashed
1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 tbs of raw sugar
—-
Preheat oven to 350. Pam 2 large loaf pans (I use Pam for baking).

1. Combine banana, yogurt, oil, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs thoroughly. Add sugars and mix to combine.
2. In a separate bowl combine flours, salt, and baking soda.
3. Mix dry into wet ingredients until just combined. Add chocolate chips (do not over mix!).
4. Evenly distribute batter between pans. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
5. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Bagels

In my home town we had a local bakery that specialized in bagels. My Aunt happened to work there for about a year when I was twelve and she would get the “left overs” at the end of the day and many of those made their way to our kitchen. These bagels were chewy, delicious, and begging to be smothered in cream cheese (because really, bagels are mostly a conveyer belt for that right?). I remember trying every of their fourteen or so varieties and my absolute favorites were Scored Garlic (parmesan, tons of garlic, parsley) and Sesame Seed. I also love a good Everything Bagel.

Home made bagels is an extremely daunting task in theory. What you say? I have to make the dough ahead of time? Boil them? Bake them? Top them?

I know, I know. In this busy world you can buy a bag of bagels for a small amount at the grocery store but the difference between a bag of bagels and home made with love bagels is galaxys apart. I live in rural Northern California so I don’t have access to my beloved fresh bagel shop or the delicious bagels from New York or New Jersey.

These are pretty darn good if I do say so myself–I don’t make them often because of the process but boy when I do!

I use Peter Reinhart’s bagel recipe from “Bread Bakers Apprentice” with a couple of changes that I found make it easier for me.

Peter Reinhart’s Bagels
Yield: 12 bagels or 18 mixed bagels (some small, some big)

Sponge
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups unbleached bread flour

2 cups unbleached AP flour (originally calls for all bread flour, but I used AP and they turned out great!)
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

Dough
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour (I used AP)
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon honey

To Finish
1 tablespoon baking soda

Cornmeal for dusting

Topping: I used both a knock off “scored garlic” topping I made with 1 cup parmesan cheese and 1 TBS garlic powder and a few cracks of black pepper, as well as sesame seeds, and coarse salt.

1. Day one: To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients for a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough. (I found it impossible to mix this dough in the mixer–you really need to use some man power for this one kids!)

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 71 degrees F. If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

This is where my recipe deviates from Peter’s. . . .

4. Place into an oiled bowl and cover with a damp paper towel or cling wrap. Place in the fridge and let set over night.

5. In the morning when you wish to make the bagels remove dough from fridge at least 2 hours before you begin and let the dough come to room temperature.

6. Divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired (I did 1/2 4.5 ounces and 1/2 2.5 ounces to have some smaller options). Form the pieces into rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

7. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Proceed with shaping. Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter (half of this for the smaller bagelsl). The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)

8. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature while preparing water and oven.

9. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels pans and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minutes flip them over rand boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decide to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.) If you want to top the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water. You can use any of the suggestions in the ingredients list or a combination.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

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These turned out great. I took a little of the perfect science out of Peter’s original fabulous recipe and changed the order of things a little bit to make them more friendly to my Sunday baking. It is of course completely up to you (just google Peter Reinhart Bagels to get the original recipe) but I could not taste a difference.

My favorite were of course the cheese topped bagels! Though the salt and sesame are delicious. Be careful with the salt bagels–they need to be eaten within the first two days because the salt will whick away any texture to your bagel.

Boiled

Delicious!


Garlic Parmesan Knots

I was feeling a little guilty that the Hubs was getting a dinner a la the freezer tonight (see Pasta Bolognese) and had some time on my hands. It was too late in the afternoon to make our favorite french bread or no knead bread so I decided to tweak our favorite pizza dough recipe into some garlic parmesan knots. This might take a little playing with to get the right dough but well worth it and great for dunking! This recipe would be easy to double up. It will make enough knots for four people as is!

I did these in my kitchenaid mixer with a dough attachment. There is so little dough that it could easily be done by hand though!

Garlic Parmesan Knots

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp yeast

1 cup warm water (it should feel warm to the touch, not hot)

1 tbs olive oil (the best you have)

1/2 tsp garlic powder (or less, to taste)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (plus 1/4 cup to add if still to wet)

1-2 tbs grated parmesan cheese

—-

Place sugar, yeast, and water in the bowl of your mixer. Agitate a little bit (with a wooden spoon or the dough hook of the mixer) and let set until foamy and smells like yeast. Add olive oil and flour. Combine with dough hook. Add salt, oregano, and garlic.

Turn the mixer back onto medium speed. You will have to keep your eye on the dough until it comes together. You want it to be lifted off the sides of the bowl and grasp to the dough hook but still be slightly tacky. Add flour as needed (I needed about 1 3/4 cup but it depends on the day and weather). Let the dough hook go for at least 7-10 minutes to develop a nice chewy dough. It should be shiny.

Place mixture into a small mixing bowl that has been sprayed with olive oil spray or drizzle with olive oil. Turn the dough in the oil to make sure it is coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place. Let rise 1 hour until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you have a pizza stone make sure it is in the oven when preheating. If not you can just use a cookie sheet.

At this point you can shape the dough however you like. You could easily pull it into braids or bread sticks. I decided to do little knots. To do this I divided the dough into eight portions (you could go bigger and do only four knots) and then pulled them into a long snake and then pulled it into an easy sailor knot. I placed it on a silpat, covered with olive oil spray, and let rise for another half hour.

Top each knot with parmesan cheese and spritz again with olive oil cooking spray for even browning. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

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They turned out great! Fabulous for soaking up sauce. You could even put a little nuget of mozzarella cheese in the middle of these to make them extra yummy!


Pear Pecan Bread

Well it is fall! On the weekends I always get itchy to get into the kitchen and start baking. Generally the recipes that I find end up making two loves. . . I guess my work friends will benefit from this Sunday’s fruits!

I made a standard pear bread recipe. I had two pears there were just about to go and wanted to use them up. I added pecans but if I were to make this again I would have thrown some crystalized ginger in there as well (I saw the bag of it right after I put the bread in the oven, DOH!).

Here is the recipe! Care of Allrecipes.com and my pictures. I did re-arrange the recipe to make a little more sense. I went easier on the nutmeg then originally suggested and as I said I would add in some crystalized ginger next time in place of some of the pecans. There was also 1 TBS of flax meal added for a little fiber.

Pecan Pear Bread

1 cup of canola oil

2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cup pears – peeled, diced, cored and chopped (I did not peel mine)

1 cup chopped pecans

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tbs ground flax meal

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

———–

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 8×4 inch loaf pans (I used pam baking spray).

2. In a large mixing bowl mix oil, eggs, and sugar until well combined. Stir in pears, pecans, and vanilla.

3. In another bowl mix all dry ingrediants together. Stir into the pear mixture until just combined.Pour into prepared loaf pans.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for ten minutes and then turn out on cooling wrack. Let cool completely.

My first pear bread of Autumn 2009!

My first pear bread of Autumn 2009!

This bread turned out great. I think there was too much sugar for my taste but it did make a delicious crackly crust. In the future I would substitute some of the oil for 1/2 cup of sugar free applesauce and cut back on the sugar. Overall delicious and I am sure my co-workers will be pleased!