Browned Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

This recipe is different in that, I used browned butter, rather than vegetable or canola oil. The nuttiness of the browned butter lends another layer to the pumpkin and spices and has a more complex flavor than my normal pumpkin bread. Plus, I am on “team browned butter makes everything better,” because, well, it most certainly does.

  • 3 1/2 C AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice*
  • 1 C unsalted butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 C milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C mini semi sweet chocolate chips or, 1 C dark chocolate chips

Spray two 8″x4″ loaf pans and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees

To brown butter: add two sticks to saucepan, on low to medium heat. Let butter melt, then froth/bubble up, stir it with spatula in order to prevent burning. The bubbles will die down and the butter will start to crackle. The proteins of the butter are sinking to the bottom and after a second bubbling, the bits on the bottom will start to turn a little brown and the butter will change to a more amber color. This whole process will take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t burn the butter, we want it browned. Remove from heat and transfer melted butter and brown bits to a bowl to cool. (We don’t want to add hot butter to the eggs because we don’t want scrambled eggs).

*Note: As always, you can adjust the spices to your taste. I didn’t have enough pumpkin pie spice, so, I had to add a little ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. When the butter has cooled, add to beaten eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin vanilla and milk. Stir until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and add chocolate chips. If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a little bit more milk. Divide dough between the loaf pans, bake at 350 for 45-50 min. Check the bread with a toothpick in the center to see if the bread is done. Cool on baking racks. Or, have a warm slice…like I just did.

Pumpkin Pecan Biscuits, Take II

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

I sit here with a cup of coffee, a purring cat by my side and blustery winds outside (it’s not really that cold, maybe 50 degrees, but my apartment is cold). The morning sun is reflecting off the houses and it’s very quiet outside. Saturday is my favorite day.
Sometimes I make mistakes…I mean, how else will I learn? After the first try, I decided to scrap the previous recipe and re-do it by adding more cold butter and substituting a little dark brown sugar for honey. I also made my own buttermilk (see below). These actually taste and look like biscuits. The previous recipe results looked like lumpy scones and didn’t taste very good at all. These are light, flaky, layered biscuits. The extra flour and butter definitely helps too. I think this recipe is far better!

To make buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 TB or fresh lemon juice. Add juice to milk and stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or, until it thickens. Use as you would regular buttermilk.

  • 2 1/4 C. AP flour
  • 1 1/2 TB baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 TB chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 C. canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 C. buttermilk
  • dash of vanilla
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. chopped, toasted pecans (in 2 TB of butter)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop and toast pecans in a skillet in two tablespoons of butter, set aside to cool. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, cut in butter with a pastry cutter or, with hands, until butter is the size of peas or tiny pebbles, set aside (If you’ve handled it too much and the butter pieces are warm, chill the dry ingredients while you deal with the wet ingredients). In a medium sized bowl, whisk the buttermilk and brown sugar, add vanilla and pumpkin. Stir until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in toasted pecans. If you find that the dough is a little sticky, don’t fret, add a little flour and use your hands or a spoon to mix it. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and press into a rectangle until the dough is about 1 inch thick all around. Also, try not to over handle the dough, as the butter will warm up (which you don’t want). If the dough becomes too warm or sticky, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Press (don’t twist, or else the biscuits won’t have layers) biscuit cutters into dough and place onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. The dough makes about 12-14 biscuits. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or, until slightly golden brown. You’ll be able to tell when they’re done. Serve warm with some whipped honey, or, like I did, with butter. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator or, wrap up in wax paper and foil in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.

Before I took the biscuits out of the oven, I switched on my Pandora Charlie Parker station…the song that played? “April in Paris.” Weird coincidence? I think not. My heart goes out to all the people of Paris. Je suis Français.

Banana “Ice Cream”, aka, Bananascream

Why on earth did it take me so long to make this? I had seen the recipe online last year some time and had filed it away until a friend mentioned it last week. I’m lactose-intolerant and have found many ice cream substitutes (coconut milk, almond milk ice creams are my preference) at the grocery store, but have never tried making anything comparable at home, until just now. I will say, that if you want just one serving (one medium banana is about 105 calories), use one banana and a mini food processor, like I did just now. I’m still swooning. The flavor reminds me of my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor, Chunky Monkey. You can adapt this recipe to your whims…the possibilities are endless…fresh or frozen berries, chopped nuts, maple syrup, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, peanut butter, etc. Next up: I’m going to buy some popsicle molds and make popsicles for the warmer months…

Of note: I think it helps if the bananas have a few brown spots on the skins. It’s also helpful if you cut the bananas into chunks prior to freezing because I found it difficult to cut frozen solid bananas (oops). Freeze the peeled bananas overnight and until completely solid. For more than one serving, use more bananas, I know, a no-brainer.

For one serving

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 2 TB bittersweet chocolate chips

Add frozen chunks of bananas to food processor and pulse until creamy. Do not over-process, or else you’ll have soup. Throw in whatever additions you please and pulse a couple more times. Next time I think I’ll add some pecans or Nutella or cold peanut butter…or, or..

Don’t worry if you did over-process! Just pop the mixture in the freezer after you add your extras and you should be good to go in under an hour.

Baked Kale Chips

baked kale chips

baked kale chips—pretty good for my first try.

I’m not sure exactly how healthy these are…but hey, you gotta live a little, right? All things in moderation!

I used pre-packaged (washed) organic/local mixed kale. (Yes, I realize that I sound like a Brooklyn stereotype). I didn’t even bother to de-vein it or tear it up either.

  • 1 packaged kale, or 1 bunch of de-veined kale, torn into pieces
  • 1 1/2-2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkling of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of crushed red pepper

Put kale in appropriate sized bowl, add extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and crushed red pepper. (If you want spicier chips, use a mixture of chili powder and maybe some cumin). Massage oil and spices into kale until it’s well-coated. Evenly spread kale on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (hello? easier clean up) and bake at 275 degrees for about 20-25 min. About halfway through, turn kale over using tongs. It should be pretty crispy after 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it. What did I have for dinner? Um, possibly baked kale chips and beer. I’m not ashamed…it’s college football Saturday!