Banana Muffins

I love baking muffins. I always have to have at least one kind of muffin in the freezer. You know, because they are a great go-to snack, a perfect oops-I-forgot-my-breakfast treat, and an easy addition to a not-big-enough packed lunch. I sometimes even make savory muffins…an extra special treat. My favorite are blueberry muffins, but with blueberries out of season and all, and those bananas hanging on my makeshift banana tree turning browner by the minute, I just knew I would have to make muffins with them (instead of this or this or this). Continue reading

Hamburger Buns

So you invited people over for barbecue only to realize you have no hamburger buns in the freezer. Fine, you’ll just run to the store down the block to get some. Uh oh, they’re out, too! Well, now you’re in luck. While usually burger buns and other breads are something you’d think about making in advance, this recipe takes 40 minute. That’s right, in under an hour you can have fresh homemade burger buns. With or without sesame seeds. Without HFCS.

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Two-Day Challah

Happy birthday to our big sister, Rayna! This year, instead of a birthday cake, you get a birthday challah:

We already have a few of challah recipes on this blog, but I always like to try new ones. This recipe splits up the process into two days, but I’m pretty sure you can use the same process for most other challah recipes; just make the dough and let it rise overnight in the fridge rather than a couple of hours at room-temperature.

Here, I display my loaves, one 6-strand braid and one 4-strand circle, on my beautiful new challah board that my Aunt Joyce made.

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Chocolate-Banana Marble Bread

Whether we bake, freeze or make smoothies, we always find ways to use up overripe bananas, but this time we bought bananas especially to make this bread. It was one of the recipes on Jessica’s list in her favorite bakebook (can you guess what it is? She should start one of those cook-through blogs and get a movie deal like Julie & Julia). She started mashing the bananas, but Richie didn’t want her to bake that day, so I took over.

This quick bread can be a dessert or breakfast! We made three, one for the parents, one for my in laws, and one for the freezer, because we always like to make extras for later.

Chocolate-Banana Marble Bread from The Art and Soul of Baking


  • 2 or 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups (7 oz.) sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz.) unsifted Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz.) boiling water, plus more if needed
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (7 oz.) sugar
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease the pan(s). The recipe calls for 1 9×5″ load pan, we used 3 smaller ones.
  2. Peel the bananas and place in a bowl or food processor. Mash or process to a smooth puree. Measure out 1 cup of the puree and transfer to a medium bowl; that’s all you need. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and set aside.
  3. Sift the cake flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a medium bowl and blend well. Set aside.
  4. Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl, pour boiling water over it and stir until it forms a smooth paste-it should run thickly off the spoon. If it’s too thick, add another tablespoon of water and stir again. Set aside.
  5. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high for 4 to 5 minutes until the butter is very light. Turn the machine to medium and add the eggs,  1 tablespoon at a time, completely blending in each addition before adding the next. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the banana mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients, scrape down the bowl and finish blending batter by hand.
  7. Tranfer half the batter to a medium bowl, add the cocoa paste and gently but thoroughly blend it into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  8. Drop alternating spoonfuls of batters into the prepared pans, then marbleize by using a spoon to gently turn the batter oven in 3 places down the length of the pan.
  9. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes.


Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon swirl bread, the kind without the raisins, is one of the best types of bread. Of course it’s not that versatile as a sandwich bread, I mean, you certainly can’t make a tuna sandwich with it (or you can, but I don’t think i want to), but toasted up with some cream cheese? It makes a perfect easy breakfast or pre-dinner snack! the best part about homemade cinnamon swirl bread is that it’s even better than that stuff you buy at the supermarket, you don’t even need to toast it or cream cheese it, it’s still the best snack! And it’s pretty, too; there’s no doubt in my mind that when you cut into it you’ll be proud of the cinnamon swirl you find inside.

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Rachel’s Challah

Our friend Rachel makes such delicious challah and is always generous enough to share with us! The first time she brought me a loaf was when we went out to dinner on a Thursday night. She said she made six, so she could spare one. She brought another one when I invited her for a fish taco dinner at our apartment. I told her how much we loved it, so she shared the recipe with me, and now I can have Rachel Challah whenever I want (not that there’s a shortage of challah recipes out there)!

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Kaak, or Syrian Bread Sticks

I have a confession to make. We made kaak a really long time ago. Probably more than 6 months ago, actually. We just never got around to writing up the post because the pictures were stuck on Adele’s camera, and because we had so many other interesting things to share with you. Better sooner rather than later, right?

Now that Passover won’t be back for another year, maybe we’ll make a giant batch of kaak for our freezer.

Kaak are bread sticks, but instead of being actual stick shapes, they are formed into rings. They are flavored with kemun, kizabrah, mahlab, and yansoon. Or cumin, anise, and cherry pit. I wouldn’t say that they’re hard to make, just time consuming. You need to shape each ring, then bake at two different temperatures. If you have two ovens, then this might be a little easier than it was for us. Anyone want to buy me a double wall oven? I promise you a batch of kaak! We baked these in Adele’s not-so-giant Manhattan kitchen. And hey, if we could do it there, then it can be done anywhere. You just have to have some patience. Continue reading

Corniest Corn Muffins

I didn’t make these muffins “corniest,” since I didn’t have any frozen corn, and it’s the winter so I definitely didn’t have access to fresh corn. I made them even though I was missing an ingredient because I was stuck home and really wanted to bake, and had everything else handy. I also thought corn muffins would be a fun breakfast! I think omitting the corn was a mistake, because they could have used some of the moisture and sweetness from the kernels. Still, cut in half and toasted with a bit of butter, they made a great breakfast! They would make a great companion to a savory meal too. Maybe some vegetarian chili?

I still have most of a bag of cornmeal left, so I’ll try these with the corn next time and I’ll keep you updated.

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Syrian Bread, aka Pita

Pita bread isn’t hard, and it’s much better that the kind you can get at the supermarket (but not better than Shore Pita. What’s their secret!?). The photo below is my Syrian bread grilled cheese for dinner Monday, but before that I also used it for hamotzi on Friday night and with eggs for Sunday’s breakfast.

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Oatmeal Bread

I love baking bread. It just makes the house smell so good. And I know it doesn’t have ingredients I can’t pronounce in it. It also allows for some really easy lunches – sandwiches! Though I’ve tried many bread recipes, my go-to recipe is always Amish white bread. It has the soft texture and flaky crumbiness that just works. I try to have some slices in my freezer at all times. Sometimes, I want some variety, though. Whole wheat bread, rye bread, and  sourdough bread are great, but oatmeal bread? That’s something new to me. So when I saw Alton make bread using leftover oatmeal, I just knew I had to try it. And I did, the very same day. I didn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast, though. I cooked it just for use in the recipe. It was definitely worth it.

This bread is amazing with some salted butter or fruity jam. It’s great for breakfast, and healthy, too! Put some in the freezer for fresh bread the entire week. Those oats are good for your cholesterol, according to the Cheerios commercial. This is a bread that I’ll definitely be keeping in my bread-baking rotation. I might double the recipe next time, though. It takes a lot of time to only yield one loaf. And maybe try to make it in my mixer because after being spoiled by my dough hook, kneading by hand gets tiring (though it wasn’t nearly as hard as kneading bagels).

Oatmeal Bread, adapted from Alton Brown:

Make one loaf – I got 16 slices.


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 11 ounces bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces cooked oats (to make this, use 3/4 cup oats and 1 1/2 cups water), at room temperature (you don’t want to kill that yeast!)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup (I used one tablespoon honey because I ran out of agave. Use both honey if you don’t have agave, or substitute with sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw oats
  • 1 egg + water, for eggwash


1. Combine yeast, flour, 1/4 cup uncooked oats, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Combine cooked oats, agave, water, and oil in a large mixing bowl.

3. In three increments, add dry ingredients to wet. Mix with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated.

4. Knead by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Add more flour if it’s too sticky.

5. Oil bowl, add dough, and cover. Let rise for an hour.

6. Punch down dough and shape into loaf. Place in greased loaf pan.

7. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

9. Combine the egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Brush the top of the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of raw oats.

10. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour (actually it took me 1 hour, 10 minutes), until the internal temperature of the dough reaches 210 degrees.

11. Cool on rack for 30 minutes before slicing.