Brownies! (w/ apples, bananas, zucchini)

“Healthy” Brownies… can it be done?  Ehh, not really, because this still has a cup and a half of sugar in it, but it’s all relative, right?  I mean, if I eat a medium-healthy thing instead of some ultra-unhealthy crazy confectionery from a store, then I’m still doing better health-wise; that has to count for something, right?

Anyway, this is a recipe for a “very moist, low-fat chocolate brownie alternative” … so I’m a bit suspicious, to be honest, but the ingredients sound like it’s worth a shot.  I already like zucchini as a vegetable, so I doubt I’m going to notice the flavor, and having applesauce and bananas contribute some of the sweetness is good, while still having enough sugar that I won’t mentally dismiss it as ‘health food pretending to be tasty food’ – so we’ll see what happens. 🙂

  • 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 2 small-medium bananas, mashed
  • 1.5 c. sugar (1 + 1/2 c.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda (1 + 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c. finely shredded zucchini
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. nut pieces (walnut is recommended, but I’ll probably substitute pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease and flour a 9×13″ baking pan.

In large bowl, combine applesauce, mashed bananas, and sugar.

Add vanilla and cocoa; mix well.

Add baking soda and salt; mix well.

Add zucchini; mix well.

Add flour and walnuts; mix well.

Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 25 minutes, or until brownies spring back when gently touched.

Source:  Normally, I recommend going to the source website for pictures and stuff, but not this website; it’s full of pop-ups and it re-loads unexpectedly (and the re-loading of the page re-triggers the pop-ups) and there’s only one picture, so really, I can’t think of any reason to encourage you to check out that site. :/


Cardamom-Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I’m always a fan of moist, heavy pound cakes, and this combination of flavors sounds divine!  The original recipe calls for whole spices, which are always superior (well, superior for flavor, but not superior for your finances), but if you don’t have whole vanilla & cardamom pods, just substitute a splash of vanilla extract and some ground cardamom.  When I try this, I’ll measure how much cardamom I get from 3 pods, and update the recipe.

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 c. (5 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • thinly sliced almonds, to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350 F and generously coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Line the bottom of the loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit of overhang.  Coat the parchment paper with nonstick spray as well.

In medium bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In electric mixer, combine butter and cream cheese until blended.  Slowly beat in the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Crack open the cardamom pods and remove the black seeds.  Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom.  Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean pod.  Add the vanilla seeds and ground cardamom to the butter & cream cheese mixture.  Mix until incorporated.

On medium-low speed, individually beat in each egg.  Scrape down sides of bowl, then incorporate the almond extract.

Turn mixer speed to low, then slowly add the dry mix, beating until just incorporated.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake about 60-70 minutes, until top is golden brown, springs back when pressed, and toothpick in the center comes out clean.  If the almonds start to brown too early, you can tent the cake with foil until it’s fully cooked through.  If desired, serve with whipped cream, ice cream, and/or poached fruit.


Double Chocolate Banana Bread

This is the second banana & chocolate bread recipe from King Arthur Flour.  I can’t see any real reason these aren’t muffins… why aren’t these muffins?  I think I’m going to make this recipe into muffins…. mmmmmmmm muffins……

Yields one 9″x5″ loaf, or two mini loaves, or ?? muffins

  • 1 c. flour (unbleached all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs cocoa (Dutch-process)
  • 1/2 c. (8 Tbs) soft unsalted butter (seriously, who ever buys salted butter?  What’s the point?  I’ve never seen any recipe demand salted butter…)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp+ vanilla extract
  • 1 c. mashed banana
  • 1/2 c. cold sour cream
  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips (mini size preferred)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease baking container (two 3-and-a-quarter-inch by 5-and-three-quarters-inch mini loaf pans, or one 9×5″ pan, or MUFFIN PAN).

In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.

In stand mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Then beat in the egg, vanilla, banana, and sour cream.

Gently mix in the dry ingredients.  When well-incorporated, add chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the container(s) and bake

  • 60 minutes for one large loaf
  • 45 minutes for 2 mini loaves
  • ?? for muffins (will edit recipe after I try it and find out)

Remove from oven, and allow to rest in pan(s) for 10 minutes (maybe less for the muffins??).  Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  (Ha!  Eating it while it’s still warm is, like, 70% of the fun.)


Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Pumpkin yeast bread?!? I HAVE to try this… 😀

It suggests using it as sandwich bread for turkey & cranberry sauce sandwiches… *drool*

  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 Tbs active dry yeast
  • 2/3 c. warm milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1.5 c. canned pumpkin (one ingredient)
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 6.5 c. (approximately) flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom

In bowl of stand mixer, stir yeast into water (by hand) to soften.  Add milk, eggs, pumpkin, oil, 4 c. flour, brown sugar, salt, ginger, and cardamom to yeast mixture (with dough hook).  Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add remaining flour, and incorporate well, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.  (This section of directions seems to be for making it by hand – can I continue using the dough hook for this step?)

Put dough into oiled bowl.  Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil.  Cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about ONE HOUR.

Turn dough out onto slightly oiled work surface.  Divide dough in half.  Shape dough into loaves and place in 2 well-greased 10×5″ pans, OR, shape one half into a loaf and the other half into 12 large dinner rolls.  Whatever you want to end up with, obviously.

Cover with towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 MINUTES.  Set oven to preheat to 375 F sometime during those 45 minutes.

Bake loaves about 30 minutes, rolls about 20.  If you’re fancy enough to have an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature, 190 F means the bread is done.

Immediately remove bread or rolls from pans and cool on wire rack to prevent crust from becoming soggy.  For a shiny crust, brush tops of bread/rolls LIGHTLY with vegetable oil (or delicious, delicious butter?)

Source: Mmmm King Arthur Flour…

think this is fructose-free… pumpkin’s okay, right?

Rosemary Foccacia Bread

  • 2 tsp rapid-rise dry yeast
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 3.5 – 4 c. flour
  • 1 Tbs coarse salt
  • 1/4 c. olive oil (plus some)
  • cornmeal, for dusting
  • FRESH rosemary (dried will burn)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 Tbs of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. Scrape dough off the hook periodically. Mix until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Turn dough onto a work surface and fold a few times. Form into a round and place in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat entire ball with oil so it doesn’t form a skin. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Line a cookie sheet with foil, then coat with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto counter. Roll and stretch into an oblong shape about 1/2-inch thick.  Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with damp towel. Let sit 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F.

In the meantime, prepare toppings. Fresh rosemary is always the best, but other suggestions include onion (freshly copped end caramelized, or simple dried flakes), shredded parmesan cheese, fresh-ground black pepper, coarse salt, or other herbs, mixed in with 2 Tbs olive oil.

Uncover dough and dimple surface, re-stretching to desired thickness. Spread olive oil topping mixture evenly over surface. Bake on the bottom rack 15-20 minutes.

Source: ??  This is another one I typed ages ago… I think it might be a simplified version of America’s Test Kitchen, or it’s from the internet…somewhere. 

Pineapple Bread

  • 6 c. flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. pineapple juice
  • 1 c. water
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 pkg yeast
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 greased round cake pans
  • stand mixer

Put three cups of flour in the bowl of the stand mixer with paddle attachment.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs, and then add the pineapple juice, water, sugar, ginger, vanilla, and melted butter.

Turn on stand mixer and slowly add in the egg mixture.  Combine thoroughly.

Add yeast and mix well.  Gradually add the remaining three cups of flour.  Switch to the dough hook if needed.

Cover bowl with cloth and allow to sit in a warm place for ONE HOUR.

Punch down the dough and remove from bowl.  Knead in 1/2 c. flour (knead about 10 times).  Divide into 3 equal parts and place in well-greased round cake pans.

Cover and allow to sit in warm place for ONE HOUR.  Begin preheating oven appropriately.

Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes.  If 3 cake pans don’t fit simultaneously, allow one pan to continue resting while the first 2 pans cook; don’t try to rearrange the oven racks.

Source: ?? It’s one I typed up and printed out a while back… :/