Category Archives: Breads and Muffins

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns from Taste Love & Nourish

I wish I could tell you I had memories of hot cross buns with their sweet white icing at every Easter dinner table. I don’t. We stuffed ourselves with so much Armenian Easter bread, that even one of these little rolls may have done us in. It’s a shame, really, because as much as I adore our Armenian bread, these rolls are admittedly wonderful. I just love the warm mixture of spices, like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom. Their flavor is really like a whisper, but, that moment you take a bite, you’ll wonder…what is that flavor? The dough is only slightly sweet, but you get these wonderful pops of sweetness from the icing and dots of currants.

These sweet little rolls are not difficult to make and once you’ve risen the dough, creating the buns is a task even little hands can handle. And just think, if you let your children help you make these, someday they’ll have wonderful memories of hot cross buns with sweet white icing at every Easter dinner table.

Hot Cross Buns from Taste Love & Nourish

Hot Cross Buns

1 C. milk
2 1/4 t. active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
3 3/4 C. bread flour
1/3 C. + 1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. cardamom
1/4 t. nutmeg
4 T. butter, softened
2 large eggs
zest of one orange
1/2 C. currants, soaked in a small bowl with 1 T. orange juice

Egg Wash
1 large egg yolk
1 t. water (or milk)

Icing
1/3 C. confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 t. milk

In a heat resistant bowl or measuring cup, warm the milk in the microwave for a minute and a half. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the sugar, then sprinkle in the yeast. Give it a light stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The mixture should be nice and bubbly after that time.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and the spices in a large mixing bowl or the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine. Add the yeast mixture, butter, eggs, orange zest and currants along with any orange juice remaining in the bowl. Mix to combine, using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Once combined, switch to the dough hook or place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand. Knead with the dough hook for 4 to 5 minutes or a bit longer by hand. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and keep in a draft free spot to rise for 3 hours.

Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Roll one half out into a log 12 inches long. Cut the log in half. Continue cutting each piece of the log in half until you have 8 pieces. Take one piece and roll the sides down a bit to form a smooth ball. Pinch the ends under and place the ball on a lightly greased baking sheet, or line with parchment. Continue with the remaining pieces, placing them 2 inches apart on the sheet. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough until 16 pieces have been formed. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise again for 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

With a sharp knife, score each bun with a cross pattern.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with either water or milk to create an egg wash. Brush each bun with the wash. Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.

Mix the icing in a small bowl and transfer into a small zipper bag. Snip the very tip of the bag and pipe the icing into a cross pattern onto each bun.

Makes 16 buns.

Hot Cross Buns from Taste Love & Nourish

 

Hot Cross Buns from Taste Love & Nourish

Coconut Pecan Banana Bread

This healthy Coconut Pecan Banana Bread may be the best I've ever made!  www.tasteloveandnourish.com

Something happens to me as soon as the temperatures drop. Without thinking, I whip open the pantry and start pulling out the flours and sugars and flip on the oven. You’d think we lived in the stone age and I had no choice but to light a fire to warm the house. Of course, that’s not the case, yet, no heater can warm things up the way that something baking in oven can. Just the smell alone of baking bread makes everything better.

Since we usually have a ridiculous number of bananas, I knew I needed to make some banana bread. I was going to make my standard recipe that we love, but once I saw a package of shredded coconut in the cabinet, plans immediately changed! I love coconut and knew paired with pecans, this bread would be wonderful. That combination reminds me so much of a German Chocolate Cake. Hmmm…if you love that cake as much as I do…consider dropping a handful of chocolate chips into this bread. Wouldn’t that be delicious?

I think this may be my new favorite banana bread. There is so much toasty, crunchy flavor from the coconut top and the pecans within. I think it’s that combination of textures and nutty flavors that make this bread so irrisistable. If I had been home alone when I made this…well, let’s just say my family may see this post and ask, “When did you make that?”

This healthy Coconut Pecan Banana Bread may be the best I've ever made!  www.tasteloveandnourish.com

Coconut Pecan Banana Bread

1 C. all purpose flour
2/3 C. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3/4 C. sugar
2 eggs
3 T. vanilla yogurt
1/4 C. coconut oil, melted
4 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 C. + 1 -2 T. shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 C. pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk to combine the dry ingredients through the sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, then add the yogurt and coconut oil and bananas. Whisk until combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Add 1/2 C. of the shredded coconut and all of the pecans. Mix just until combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and top with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut.

Bake on the center rack for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes one loaf.

Notes:

  • Do you buy way too many bananas like I do? If you’ve got some that are too soft to eat, peel them, slice them in half and quickly put them in a zipper bag. I remove any air from the bag and lay them on a flat surface, making sure the pieces are separated from each other so they won’t freeze into one big block of banana. They will keep for about two months in the freezer. To use in breads like this, remove what you need from the freezer and thaw in a bowl or dish until soft.
  • Don’t skip roasting the pecans in this recipe. I only say that because I used to skip that step frequently in recipes. I do it every time now. Toasting really makes a world of difference. Do a test…toast some for this recipe and keep some aside to compare. The difference is amazing, isn’t it? I like to toast in a dry skillet over medium heat. Keep a close eye on them and keep them moving in the pan. As soon as you smell the nuttiness, toss them a few more times then remove them from the heat. I like to leave them in the pan to cool while I prepare the rest of the ingredients.
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    This healthy Coconut Pecan Banana Bread may be the best I've ever made!  www.tasteloveandnourish.com