Holidays were made for caramel cinnamon rolls.

Since Santa arrives in less than 2 weeks I thought it appropriate to repost my favorite holiday breakfast recipe: Caramel Cinnamon Rolls.  Although I’ll make these for any gathering where breakfast is served to a crowd, there is nothing I enjoy more to nibble on while gathered ’round the tree on Christmas morning than one of these beauties, drizzled with warm caramel. They also make a good hostess gift as they freeze well too. Just remember to include  some of the caramel sauce, as that sauce truly makes this recipe shine. Happy 14 days ’til Christmas!

Honestly I can’t remember when I began making these cinnamon rolls. It’s been a long time, though. I fooled around with different recipes for years before perfecting this recipe. Well, I think it’s perfect, although some may have suggestions for improvement. Being a southerner, I love pecans so there’s plenty of those nestled throughout the cinnamon swirl, but feel free to leave them out or switch to walnuts or hazelnuts or what have you.

The true ‘secret’ of these cinnamon rolls is the caramel sauce. This sauce lifts the cinnamon bun above the ordinary breakfast roll… in my opinion it leaves the ones that are crowned with white icing in the proverbial dust. I like gooey and I like caramel and that combination soaked into every morsel of buttery cinnamon-laced sweet bread… this is my idea of heaven on a plate.

I’ve saved this recipe all summer waiting for fall to arrive. And while it’s still somewhat balmy here in the Lowcountry, we have been able to shut off the air conditioning and open the windows for the most part. With the scent of cinnamon and bread baking I deem it officially fall.

Ingredients include good quality cinnamon, a couple of eggs and my favorite, King Arthur Flour.

After dissolving the yeast, add a little sugar and then the eggs.

After whisking in the eggs, add the milk and softened butter.

Begin adding in the flour first with the whisk and then…

a wooden spoon. Continue adding in the flour to create a soft dough.

Here’s the dough ready to knead. Turn onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead 6-8 minutes. Then place in a bowl, loosely cover and allow to rise in a warm place (NOT hot ) until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile you can make the caramel sauce. In a heavy saucepan heat the water and sugar.

Allow the mixture to come to a boil but do not stir once it gets going. You can use a brush with a little water around the outside edges of the saucepan to brush down (melt) any crystalized sugar that forms.

Watch the caramelizing sugar carefully – don’t walk away. It can burn very quickly. In this image the caramel is almost ready, not quite, but almost…

Hey, it’s ready. Turn off the heat and time to add the butter…

The mixture will foam after adding the butter – keep whisking and…

Add the cream and the vanilla extract. Whisk some more and allow to cool before pouring into a covered container.

Now back to that dough…punch it down and…

Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Brush with melted butter.

This part goes quick…sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.

Then add the pecans (if you like) and begin rolling up – along the long dimension.

When rolled you can use a touch of water to help “seal” the dough.

Slice the roll into relatively equal pieces. I find the easiest way to accomplish this is to slice in the center first, and then slice each piece in the center after that, until you have the size and number of slices you like. This recipe will make 12 nice sized buns.

After rising in a warm spot for about an hour, bake the rolls in a preheated 325 degree oven.

Remove the rolls from the oven and pour about half the carmel sauce over the top. Reserve the rest of the sauce for individual portions , or to top a bowl of ice cream! If only serving a few of the cinnamon rolls, I remove the rolls from the pan individually and then top each one with the sauce. But it’s a personal preference!

Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 pkg. plus 1 tsp dry yeast
  • ½ cup scalded and cooled milk (no less than 2%!)
  • ½ cup barely warm water (NOT hot)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups (plus extra for kneading) bread flour (or regular unbleached, all-purpose will work)
  • 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided and softened
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl pour the water over the yeast, swirl to mix and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and then add each egg, whisking after each. Pour in the milk and then 5 Tbl. of the softened butter. Whisk together – it will not be completely smooth. Mix the salt with the flour and add 1 cup of this flour mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk to dissipate the lumps of butter. Keep adding the flour about a cup at the time and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.

When almost all of the flour is incorporated turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 6-8 minutes adding small amounts of flour (1-2 teaspoons) as needed. I use about 1/3 cup of additional flour. The dough should not be sticky but smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a lightly buttered bowl and allow to sit in a warm place (NOT hot) for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. If you like, you can store in the refrigerator at this point (prior to rising) overnight. Just be sure the dough is in an airtight container with room for expansion as it will rise some overnight, even in a refrigerator.

Once the dough has risen, roll out into a large rectangle on a flat, lightly floured surface. Approximately 18” x 13”. Brush 3 Tbl. of melted butter on the dough. Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the buttered dough. Then sprinkle on the chopped pecans. Brush one of the long edges of the dough lightly with cool water. Starting along the opposite long edge roll up the dough. Crimp the edge that has been brushed with water to seal as best you can.

With a sharp knife, cut 1” slices of the roll and place in a lightly oiled or buttered baking pan. Leave some space between the individual rolls. At this point you can cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze for up to 1 week. Or continue with preparing now. Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour. They should double in size.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the rolls for about 25-30 minutes until browned. Cool slightly and serve with warmed caramel poured over the entire pan of rolls OR pour over each individually after you remove them from the baking pan. Makes 12  cinnamon rolls.

Note: For frozen cinnamon rolls, allow to defrost over night in the refrigerator. Then allow the pans of rolls to rise in a warm place and follow the instructions above.

Vanilla Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 Tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extra

Have all measured ingredients assembled close by your stove. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the sugar with the water over high heat. Watch continuously – do not walk away. When the mixture boils do not stir but swirl carefully. You can also use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan if necessary.

The sugar water will begin to turn brown. When to your liking turn off the heat (remove from the heat) and add the butter. Stir and whisk in the cream. It will bubble a lot. Allow to cool and stir in the vanilla. This can be poured immediately over the baked caramel rolls or into a container, covered and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Makes 1 cup. Can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 5 days

Breakfast of champions (and busy moms everywhere): cereal muffins

on the plate

So I’m calling this week: “comfort and joy”, rolling into mid week with this recipe for simple cereal muffins. Not counting the prepackaged ‘masterpieces’ I created in my Easy Bake Oven, making muffins from cereal was most likely the first actual edible food I ever baked (or roasted, sauteed or what have you). Being I am, ahem o-l-d, we had two kinds of cereal in my childhood home – either Raisin Bran and some super sugary preservative laden stuff. Back then, anything considered ‘healthy’ was also considered ‘hippy’ so not to be found in my parent’s house, that’s for sure…

The latter type cereal surely came with a highly touted  (and cheap!) prize of some kind, which my brother most certainly had already fished out as soon as he spied the box in the pantry. For me, it was usually Raisin Bran all the way – it tasted delicious even to an 8-year-old me, but I had no thought that bran might actually be good for me too. These days I sometimes still enjoy a bowl of Raisin Bran – no other  bran with cereal will do, mind you! And if I feel like making muffins, I can always make easy, tasty ones with just a few additional ingredients. Oh, and I hope this recipe isn’t too “Sandra-esque” in it’s semi-homemade fashion…I figured since this recipe goes back way before the Food Channel, it’s ‘grandfathered in’…safely ensconced from any Bourdain-like criticism. Okay? Have a good day, my friends.

Probably have all these items in your frig. Well, maybe not the preschool sized cup of applesauce but hey, just use 1/2 cup from the big boy jar.

Probably have all these items in your frig. Well, maybe not the preschool sized cup of applesauce but hey, just use 1/2 cup from the big boy jar.

Mix the wet ingredients, well everything but that applesauce.

Mix the wet ingredients, well everything but that applesauce.

Add that egg mixture to the cereal, stir and allow to sit a few minutes.

Add that egg mixture to the cereal, stir and allow to sit a few minutes.

I find when making muffins its best to mix everything together at once. Here is the cereal mixture, applesauce and dry ingredients ready for a few stirs.

I find when making muffins its best to mix everything together at once. Here is the cereal mixture, applesauce and dry ingredients ready for a few stirs.

Whoaaaa there, don't overmix. That will make the muffins heavy and 'tough". And nobody wants tough muffins - tee hee hee...

Whoaaaa there, don’t over mix. That makes muffins heavy and ‘tough’. And nobody wants tough muffins…tee-hee-hee.

Fill the muffin tin. I use paper liners -no muss, no fuss!

Fill the muffin tin. I use paper liners -no muss, no fuss!

Here they are, hot from the oven. This recipe will make about 8 or 9 regular sized muffins.

Here they are, hot from the oven. This recipe will make about 8 or 9 regular sized muffins.

Cereal Muffins

  • 2 cups cereal with flakes – I used Great Grains, crunchy pecan, but Raisin Bran is great too
  • 1 cup all purpose or white wheat flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk (low fat or whole)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 4-oz cup apple sauce with cinnamon (about ½ a cup)
  • 2 tbl Demera or white sugar
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp salt

In a large bowl pour the buttermilk over the cereal and stir just to combine. In a separate bowl whisk the egg, agave nectar, and the oil. Add this to the cereal/buttermilk mixture. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In another bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the cereal/liquid mixture and the apple sauce to dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not over mix! Fill prepared muffins cups (use liners, I do!) and bake for 15 minutes. Makes about 8 to 9 medium/large muffins.

Pumpkin bread revved up with pecan rum streusal

pumpkin bread with pecan rum streusal

Hey, it’s Fall so that means apples and cinnamon and pumpkin. This recipe features two of those ingredients plus that Southern favorite, pecans, and a touch of rum. You could punch up the “ya’ll” factor by switching out the rum for bourbon if you like. Of course the alcohol evaporates out of the pecan streusal, so the residual flavor is what’s important here, thus use a good quality bourbon like Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark or your favorite small batch whiskey.

This pumpkin bread utilizes canned pumpkin too so it’s easy-peasy, but feel free to prepare fresh pumpkin if you like. I am not sure what the outcome may be using fresh due to the varying water content of pumpkin – but I’d love to know how it works out if you do try it. So please let me know!

I hope you enjoy this “bread” that is more like a coffee cake – it’s especially nice with a cup of hot coffee or tea for breakfast or a big cold cup of milk at snack time.

To start the streusal filling melt the brown sugar and water in a saucepan.

Once the sugar dissolves, add the chopped pecans and stir.

Add in the rum (or bourbon) and stir again.

This is ready so remove from the heat and allow to cool while you mix…

Mix the other streusal ingredients together in a small bowl.

Add in the ‘revved’ up pecans, stir and set aside while you make the pumpkin cake batter.

First though, let me introduce you to my new tube pan. It has been buttered and lightly floured. So pretty!

In a bowl or on a piece of parchment paper mix the dry ingredients.

In a large bowl mix the oil and sugar and then add in the eggs, one at time. Beat well.

Here’s the pumpkin, use whatever brand you like. I wondered exactly how much was in this can so…

I measured it and it was just under 2 cups. So if you use fresh pumpkin you have a better gauge than guessing the ounces needed.

Back to the cake…add the dry ingredients into the oil/sugar/egg mixture.

Then stir in the pumpkin.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and the top with the streusal.

Pour the rest of the batter on top and pop the pan into the preheated oven.

After about 50 minutes the bread comes out the oven looking great – smells great too!

Remove the bread from the pan and cool on a rack.

yummy pumpkin bread with pecan rum streusal

This is a moist ‘bread’ with a sweet, crunchy streusal surprise inside.

Pumpkin Bread with pecan rum streusal

Streusal filling

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed plus 1 tbl. brown sugar
  • ½ heaping cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbl flour
  • 2 tbl butter
  • 2 tbl water
  • 1 ½ tbl dark rum (or good quality bourbon)

Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose)
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. mace or nutmeg
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 can pumpkin ( or 1 2/3 cup cooked  fresh pumpkin puree) Do not use pumpkin pie filling!
  • 3 eggs

In a skillet melt 1 tbl. brown sugar and whisk in 2 tbl. water. When sugar is dissolved add in the pecans. Stir, turn up the heat slightly and add in the rum. Cook on medium heat about 1 minute or so. Keep stirring, do not allow to burn. Remove from heat and set aside while making the streusal. In a medium bowl mix all other streusal ingredients, adding in pecan mixture last. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift the flour and then measure. Mix the flour, flax, spices, salt and baking powder together. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat the oil and sugar then add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each. Add in the flour mixture and then the pumpkin.

Grease and lightly flour a tube or bundt pan*. Pour approximately ½ the batter into the pan, spreading if necessary so it is even. Sprinkle or spoon the streusal mixture evenly on the batter, avoiding getting too close to the outside edges. Pour the rest of the batter over the streusal, covering it completely. Bake for approximately 60 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack and invert onto a serving platter.

* Use 2 traditional prepared loaf pans if you like. Pouring ¼ of the batter in each pan, ad the streusal and top each loaf with the remaining batter. Cooking time would be reduced to approximately 45 minutes.

Holidays were made for caramel cinnamon rolls.

 

Since Santa arrives in less than 2 weeks I thought it appropriate to repost my favorite holiday breakfast recipe: Caramel Cinnamon Rolls.  Although I’ll make these for any gathering where breakfast is served to a crowd, there is nothing I enjoy more to nibble on while gathered ’round the tree on Christmas morning than one of these beauties, drizzled with warm caramel. They also make a good hostess gift as they freeze well too. Just remember to include  some of the caramel sauce, as that sauce truly makes this recipe shine. Happy 14 days ’til Christmas!

 

Honestly I can’t remember when I began making these cinnamon rolls. It’s been a long time, though. I fooled around with different recipes for years before perfecting this recipe. Well, I think it’s perfect, although some may have suggestions for improvement. Being a southerner, I love pecans so there’s plenty of those nestled throughout the cinnamon swirl, but feel free to leave them out or switch to walnuts or hazelnuts or what have you.

The true ‘secret’ of these cinnamon rolls is the caramel sauce. This sauce lifts the cinnamon bun above the ordinary breakfast roll… in my opinion it leaves the ones that are crowned with white icing in the proverbial dust. I like gooey and I like caramel and that combination soaked into every morsel of buttery cinnamon-laced sweet bread… this is my idea of heaven on a plate.

I’ve saved this recipe all summer waiting for fall to arrive. And while it’s still somewhat balmy here in the Lowcountry, we have been able to shut off the air conditioning and open the windows for the most part. With the scent of cinnamon and bread baking I deem it officially fall.

Ingredients include good quality cinnamon, a couple of eggs and my favorite, King Arthur Flour.

After dissolving the yeast, add a little sugar and then the eggs.

After whisking in the eggs, add the milk and softened butter.

Begin adding in the flour first with the whisk and then…

a wooden spoon. Continue adding in the flour to create a soft dough.

Here’s the dough ready to knead. Turn onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead 6-8 minutes. Then place in a bowl, loosely cover and allow to rise in a warm place (NOT hot ) until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile you can make the caramel sauce. In a heavy saucepan heat the water and sugar.

Allow the mixture to come to a boil but do not stir once it gets going. You can use a brush with a little water around the outside edges of the saucepan to brush down (melt) any crystalized sugar that forms.

Watch the caramelizing sugar carefully – don’t walk away. It can burn very quickly. In this image the caramel is almost ready, not quite, but almost…

Hey, it’s ready. Turn off the heat and time to add the butter…

The mixture will foam after adding the butter – keep whisking and…

Add the cream and the vanilla extract. Whisk some more and allow to cool before pouring into a covered container.

Now back to that dough…punch it down and…

Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Brush with melted butter.

This part goes quick…sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.

Then add the pecans (if you like) and begin rolling up – along the long dimension.

When rolled you can use a touch of water to help “seal” the dough.

Slice the roll into relatively equal pieces. I find the easiest way to accomplish this is to slice in the center first, and then slice each piece in the center after that, until you have the size and number of slices you like. This recipe will make 12 nice sized buns.

After rising in a warm spot for about an hour, bake the rolls in a preheated 325 degree oven.

Remove the rolls from the oven and pour about half the carmel sauce over the top. Reserve the rest of the sauce for individual portions , or to top a bowl of ice cream! If only serving a few of the cinnamon rolls, I remove the rolls from the pan individually and then top each one with the sauce. But it’s a personal preference!

Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 pkg. plus 1 tsp dry yeast
  • ½ cup scalded and cooled milk (no less than 2%!)
  • ½ cup barely warm water (NOT hot)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups (plus extra for kneading) bread flour (or regular unbleached, all-purpose will work)
  • 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided and softened
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl pour the water over the yeast, swirl to mix and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and then add each egg, whisking after each. Pour in the milk and then 5 Tbl. of the softened butter. Whisk together – it will not be completely smooth. Mix the salt with the flour and add 1 cup of this flour mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk to dissipate the lumps of butter. Keep adding the flour about a cup at the time and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.

When almost all of the flour is incorporated turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 6-8 minutes adding small amounts of flour (1-2 teaspoons) as needed. I use about 1/3 cup of additional flour. The dough should not be sticky but smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a lightly buttered bowl and allow to sit in a warm place (NOT hot) for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. If you like, you can store in the refrigerator at this point (prior to rising) overnight. Just be sure the dough is in an airtight container with room for expansion as it will rise some overnight, even in a refrigerator.

Once the dough has risen, roll out into a large rectangle on a flat, lightly floured surface. Approximately 18” x 13”. Brush 3 Tbl. of melted butter on the dough. Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the buttered dough. Then sprinkle on the chopped pecans. Brush one of the long edges of the dough lightly with cool water. Starting along the opposite long edge roll up the dough. Crimp the edge that has been brushed with water to seal as best you can.

With a sharp knife, cut 1” slices of the roll and place in a lightly oiled or buttered baking pan. Leave some space between the individual rolls. At this point you can cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze for up to 1 week. Or continue with preparing now. Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour. They should double in size.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the rolls for about 25-30 minutes until browned. Cool slightly and serve with warmed caramel poured over the entire pan of rolls OR pour over each individually after you remove them from the baking pan. Makes 12  cinnamon rolls.

Note: For frozen cinnamon rolls, allow to defrost over night in the refrigerator. Then allow the pans of rolls to rise in a warm place and follow the instructions above.

Vanilla Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 Tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extra

Have all measured ingredients assembled close by your stove. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the sugar with the water over high heat. Watch continuously – do not walk away. When the mixture boils do not stir but swirl carefully. You can also use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan if necessary.

The sugar water will begin to turn brown. When to your liking turn off the heat (remove from the heat) and add the butter. Stir and whisk in the cream. It will bubble a lot. Allow to cool and stir in the vanilla. This can be poured immediately over the baked caramel rolls or into a container, covered and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Makes 1 cup. Can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 5 days

Never gonna say goodbye: zucchini bread with fig and hazelnuts

A vegetable disguised as a breakfast food. This is my take on zucchini bread. Like carrot cake, quick bread made with the ubiquitous summer squash had its 15 minutes of fame back in the late 60’s and 70’s when as cookbook author Marian Morash once said, “carrot cakes were a restaurant quality test for awhile and the cake formulas were top secret. Now that the craze is over we can all relax.”

I think the same is true for zucchini bread. When I was enjoying the fruits, or rather the vegetables, of my parent’s labor from our family garden we ate a lot of squash because those plants always produced. And produced. And produced. It would seem that an undersized zucchini left behind to its own devices would suddenly be 2 feet long overnight. It was incredible to me as young child – like a miracle. I remember wanting to camp out in the garden so I could ‘catch them’ growing.

My parent’s shared the produce from our garden with family, friends and neighbors. But we always had lots of squash, specifically zucchini. My mother preferred them smallish and tender but there usually was one lonely, overlooked, gargantuan zuke left sitting in the bottom of a basket. Still edible but too big for a sauté or stir fry …time to bake some zucchini bread!

Probably the most famous original recipe for zucchini bread came from the beloved James Beard via Portland writer Carl Grohs. This is the very same recipe my version is based upon. I dare say that down south, zucchini bread hit the big time and thus influenced many home cooks, through appearing in Southern Living magazine. I’m sure this is how it made it into my Mom’s baking repertoire.

I remember it blowing my mind as a kid that squash could be made into bread and a great tasting bread to boot! I hope you like my version – not sure if it’s really any technically healthier than a straight-up zucchini bread recipe – with the substitution of applesauce for some of the oil and fig preserves for some sugar but it is moist, hearty and if wrapped, will stay delicious for several days. The flavor combination of fig, hazelnut and a touch of ground mace play off each other nicely in this version.

The ingredients. Yes, it was disheartening to use store-bought fig preserves and although these worked out fine, I wish I could have used preserves I made myself.

I grated the zucchini by hand but use a food processor if you like. By the way I only needed one of the zucchini squash. The larger one made 2 packed cups.

Mix the leavening ingredients, spices and salt into the sifted flour. When baking I always sift the flour once before measuring.

Beat the eggs well before adding in the sugar.

After adding in the oil, applesauce, vanilla extract, and preserves beat the mixture very well. The preserves should be broken down and distributed throughout the batter. Then use a spatula or spoon to mix in the dry ingredients by hand.

Don’t over mix the batter at this point. After stirring in the flour we’ll add the star of this show…

The shredded zucchini along with the hazelnuts. Stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into 2 loaf pans. You could make one giant loaf out of this…however, I make two so I can share. More fun that way!

Here they are out of the oven, cooling in the pan on a rack. After about 10 minutes, loosen from the sides of the pan and flip out onto a rack to finish cooling. Using oiled parchment on the bottom of the pan makes it a cinch to get the loaves out cleanly.

Here they are cooling right-side up. Sturdy but with a tender crumb. After they’ve cooled be sure to wrap them in plastic or foil – they will dry out if left unwrapped.

Zucchini bread with fig and hazelnuts

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup applesauce, regular or cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup fig preserves
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 cups flour, sifted once then measured
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground mace
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil 2 loaf pans and line bottom with oiled parchment. Set aside. Shred (or grate) the zucchini and set aside. Mix flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.

In the bowl beat 3 eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute. Add in sugar and beat 1 minute more. Stir in the vegetable oil, applesauce, fig preserves and vanilla. Beat again at medium speed until well mixed, especially the preserves, about 1 more minute. You do not want chunks of preserves.

With a spatula or wooden spoon stir the flour mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in the zucchini and hazelnuts and pour into the two prepared pans.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until bakes through*. Allow loaves to cool in pan for 10 minutes, run a knife along the sides to loosen bread, remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. (Remove parchment). Serve plain or with whipped cream cheese.

*If you are unsure, insert a skewer or toothpick into the center of the bread, if it comes out clean (no batter on it) the bread is done. If not, bake it a while longer.