Banana Oat Bread

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In the last few weeks of pregnancy with Baby N, one of my goals was to fill the deep freeze with meals for after baby arrived. I hoped having a stash of easy-to-prepare meals would make the recovery and transition to motherhood smoother.

After haphazardly throwing together an ingredient list (and making a memorable trip to the grocery store with a very full shopping cart), I spent most of a Saturday in the kitchen prepping meals. Ingredients were tossed into freezer bags to create over a dozen crockpot meals. A soup pot filled with oatmeal boiled away on the stove. The oven ran at a steady 350 degrees for hours. My husband dutifully chopped ten large onions by hand, doing his best to fend off the tears.

It was a production.

With a newly filled freezer, I collapsed on the couch, exhausted but pleased to cross another item off the pre-baby to-do list.

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Ironically, a full three and a half months into parenthood, the deep freeze is still full of freezer meals. Although the breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal disappeared quickly, the rest of the thoughtfully prepared meals continue to wait their turn.

Although we hadn’t anticipated it, the act of cooking dinner each evening helped to keep us grounded. In our new role as parents—where everything felt new and unknown—we enjoyed the familiar routine of turning on the stove and cooking simple meals.

It was a way to connect our new lives with the old, as we evolved from a family of two into a family of three.

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Lately, however, there is increasingly less space for the frozen meals as the freezer space is steadily being replaced with bags of breastmilk. It’s time to start enjoying the fruits of our labor.

While reorganizing the freezer last weekend, I was delighted to find a hidden loaf of this Banana Oat Bread buried beneath a bag of Italian chicken and a marinated pork shoulder. Needless to say, it disappeared quickly (nursing hunger is real). Unfortunately for me, there are no more loaves hiding away (I double checked), so I’ll have to bake up another one to take its place.

With my free time for baking being limited since going back to work, it would be nice to have a reason to spend an afternoon in the kitchen again. My husband already said he’d take the baby for an afternoon so long as he gets a slice warm from the oven.

I think that’s a fair trade, don’t you?

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This Banana Oat Bread is simple in construction and customizable to your taste, The bread itself is subtly sweetened with maple syrup, which allows the banana flavor to shine. The addition of oats adds a comforting flavor to the loaf. My preference is to add chocolate chips and chopped walnuts to my loaves, but you can choose your own mix-ins (or forego them completely). While I like to toast each slice and slather it with butter, the bread is equally delicious served at room temperature straight from the pan.

Banana Oat Bread

Yields 5 x 9-inch loaf

4 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups or 450 grams)
1/2 cup (156 grams) pure maple syrup
1/2 cup (100 grams) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (80 grams) old fashioned oats
1 cup (113 grams) chopped walnuts (optional)
2/3 cup (113 grams) chocolate chips (optional)
1 tablespoon raw or demerara sugar, for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, maple syrup, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until uniform. Whisk in the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir in the flour and oats. Fold in the chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. Set aside.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth until level. Sprinkle raw sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies

This post is sponsored by Bob’s red mill. Thank you for supporting the brands I love and use in my own kitchen. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by Bob’s red mill. Thank you for supporting the brands I love and use in my own kitchen. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

With the holidays right around the corner (and a baby on the way!), December is shaping up to be a busy month for my family. In year’s past, it has been my holiday tradition to spend days in the kitchen meticulously cutting out and decorating my favorite holiday cookies—like these honey, sugar, and chocolate sugar cookies—to share with my family and friends.

This year I honestly don’t have the time to spare.

Instead, I’m going to feel out a new holiday baking tradition. My goal is to spend the next few days filling the freezer with cookies from easy-to-make recipes, and enjoying the remaining days by relaxing before our sweet baby arrives.

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These Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies meet all of my criteria this year: simple to make, freeze well, and quickly disappears from the serving plate.

For this cookie recipe, I turned to Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour. I prefer to use unbleached flour in my baking because it means the flour is not chemically treated. To create the classic light colored appearance and delicate texture of all-purpose flour, the wheat bran and germ are removed during the milling process (which is the key difference between whole wheat and all-purpose flour).

Crinkle cookies get their crackled appearance from being rolled in powdered sugar before baking. The sugar draws out moisture from the outside of the cookie, causing the edges to dry out before the interior is finished baking. This difference in moisture levels causes the top of the cookie to take on a crinkled appearance.

With a handful of chocolate chips to provide a richer chocolate flavor and ground ginger and cinnamon to give the cookie a spiced warmth, these cookies are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth this holiday season.

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One of the qualities I look for in a good holiday cookie is its ability to freeze well. Knowing I have homemade cookies stashed away that can be ready at a moment’s notice is a relief during a busy season when events pop up or unexpected guests drop by. Happily, these chocolate ginger crinkle cookies can be easily frozen using two methods.

The first method is to form the cookie dough into balls and freeze them before rolling them in powdered sugar. When ready to bake, the frozen cookie dough balls can be rolled in the sugar and head straight towards the oven. This method is great when you can spare a few minutes to bake or you want to serve hot cookies straight from the oven.

The second method is to bake the cookies as directed and allow them to fully cool before placing them in an airtight container in the freezer. When ready to be served, pull the cookies from the freezer and allow them to thaw. This method is best when you anticipate the cookies being eaten quickly since the powdered sugar can become sticky if the cookies are left out for longer periods of time.

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These Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies are a seasonal take on the classic cookie. The chocolatey cookies are spiced with ginger and cinnamon to bring out traditional holiday flavors. After chilling the dough, the cookies are dipped in powdered sugar and baked until they take on a crinkled appearance. These cookies are best served alongside friends and family with a tall glass of milk.

One Year Ago: Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate Cake & Pumpkin Caramel Bread Pudding
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Gingersnap Tart
Three Years Ago: Caramel Apple Crumble Pie & Rosemary Olive Bread
Four Years Ago: Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds & Pumpkin Pie (Dairy-Free!)
Five Years Ago: Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts & Stovetop Popcorn
Six Years Ago: Molasses Ginger Cookies, Marbled Butternut Squash Bread, Chai Pear Scones, & Hot Bourbon Apple Cider
Seven Years Ago: Grandma’s Applesauce, Honey Roasted Chickpeas, Caramel Apple Tart, & Cranberry Orange Brioche
Eight Years Ago: Fig & Balsamic Jam, Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal, & Raspberry Vanilla Creme Brulee

Chocolate Ginger Crinkle Cookies

Yield 18-22 cookies

1 cup (120 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (43 grams) cocoa powder
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup (85 grams) powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, spices, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla, stirring until a uniform batter forms. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Place cookie dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours (or overnight) until completely chilled through.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Roll chilled cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Drop cookie dough balls into the powdered sugar and coat evenly on all sides. Place balls at least 2-inches apart onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until cookies have a crackled appearance. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

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With less than nine weeks to go before we meet our little one, the nesting phase has been setting in quickly for me. Unfortunately for my husband, this means waking up on the weekend to pressing “to do” lists featuring half a dozen lengthy chores that need to be done right now because we are running out of time.

Last Sunday I pulled out the holiday lights to hang on the roof right after breakfast. My poor husband asked if he could finish his morning coffee before pulling out the ladder.

The desire to get the house organized and ready is more than I bargained for. Even though I wanted to relax and enjoy our time as a couple before we become a family of three, the need to “nest” is proving hard to suppress.

Today’s quote is perhaps more aspirational than reflective of my current state of being, but I trust I’ll find that happy medium soon.

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Although autumn squash is primarily featured in savory preparations, as a baker I have a hard time imagining it as anything other than sweet. While pumpkin is the go-to squash when it comes to baking, butternut squash can also work equally well in many of the same recipes.

For this seasonal cake, I started by roasting and pureeing a small butternut squash. The squash is then sweetened in a traditional cake batter. With the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, the cake takes on the classic autumn flavors.

And, because chocolate only makes things better, I added a cup of chocolate chips to the batter and covered the cake in a thick chocolate glaze. The combination of chocolate and spiced squash is one of my favorites. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

This Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake features the spices of autumn. Butternut squash forms the base flavor of the cake, which is enhanced with spices and chocolate chips. While the cake can certainly stand-alone without the glaze, the addition of the glaze will help seal in the cake’s moisture and enhance the overall chocolate flavor.

Serve with a hot cup of coffee, a rainy windowpane, and a sense of happiness being exactly where you are.

One Year Ago: Apple Pandowdy
Two Years Ago: Apple Cinnamon Muffins & Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones
Three Years Ago: Pear Almond Tart & Pumpkin Espresso Bundt Cake
Four Years Ago: Pumpkin Molasses Bread, Vegan Caramel & Rustic Apple Tart
Five Years Ago: Butternut Squash Biscuits & Apple Crisp
Six Years Ago: Pumpkin Waffles, Apple Cinnamon SconesPear Crisp, Pumpkin Rolls, & Butternut Squash Cake
Seven Years Ago: Red Wine Chocolate Cake, Pear Spice Cake, Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake, & Apple Cinnamon Cake
Eight Years Ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Apple Tart with Almond Cream, & Fresh Ginger Pear Cake

Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Yields 8-10 servings

Butternut Squash Batter
1 1/2 cups (370 grams) butternut squash puree
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (177 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Glaze
6 ounces (170 grams) semisweet or milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Heavily grease a 10-cup Bundt pan. Set aside.

For the butternut squash batter, beat together the butternut squash puree, eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt until smooth and uniform in appearance. Stir in the chocolate chips.

In the prepared baking pan, add the cake batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes before un-molding and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the chocolate glaze, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until steaming. Be careful not to boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate, allowing the chocolate to melt for 5 minutes before stirring until smooth and uniform. Allow glaze to cool until it reaches a thicker consistency before pouring glaze evenly over the top of the cooled cake.

Serve the cake after the glaze has fully set.