Posts Tagged 'raisin'

Vegan Banana-Raisin-Nut Bread

Emily and I sometimes go a little dessert-crazy when we’re together. You saw the pretzel-M&M blondies. But what you didn’t see was the coffee-chocolate chip blondies, the coffee ice cream, and the brownies that we also made during the week she was here. And as much as I love baking stuff like that, I realize it’s probably best not to do it all the time.

Yesterday I told Mike I wanted to make chocolate chip banana bread but he gently suggested that it might be a tiny bit more reasonable to bake something healthy after our gluttonous weekend. So he suggested whole wheat banana bread with raisins and walnuts. I thought it sounded weird to put raisins in banana bread, but we made the deal that if it was good I would give him mad props on the blog. So here they are… GREAT IDEA MIKE!!!

I pretty much made this up as I went along, using a flax egg, sweetening with maple syrup, and using whole wheat pastry flour. Even with baking powder and baking soda the loaf is pretty dense and hearty, which I appreciate.

I haven’t talked too much about working out lately because last week I realized I might be done with the gym. Two days in a row, I got pretty dizzy and started having some mild contractions (which my doctor isn’t too concerned about, I may have just been a little dehydrated) on the elliptical, and switching to the bike didn’t make me feel any better.

BUT I’ve been doing way more yoga and it makes me feel awesome. Plus I can do it right here in the living room.  I want to try and do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day until the baby is born. I have no idea if that’s realistic, but I’m going to try. I have a few DVDs and podcasts, and nothing but time, so as long as I’m still feeling decent it should be doable.

And my last piece of baby news… we finally have a crib! As far as the nursery goes, that’s pretty much all we have – there’s still nothing on the walls (kind of like the rest of our house. We’re lame.) – but at least she’ll have a place to sleep!


1 tbsp ground flax seeds
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Start by greasing a loaf pan and preheating the oven to 350 F.

Stir the ground flax and water together in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes.

Beat the coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed. Add the bananas, maple syrup, vanilla, and water-flax mixture and mix for about a minute.

Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and add to the banana mixture. Mix on low until just combined.

Fold in the raisins and walnuts.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Weekends seem like they’re the perfect time for baking bread, but for me they actually aren’t. I started this bread on Saturday afternoon. Instead of letting it rise for an hour and a half like I was supposed to, I put it in the fridge so we could go and get coffee and browse at a bookstore (it took MUCH longer than an hour and a half…really glad I didn’t keep it on the counter!)

Sunday morning I had to run 15 miles, so I took it out of the fridge pre-run, figuring it would definitely rise a lot while I was gone.

Side note… my knee didn’t hurt AT ALL on the run. And it was BEAUTIFUL…there was snow in the Marin Headlands! That doesn’t happen very often. I know it’s kind of hard to see in this picture, but those hills right under the clouds had snow on top!

After the run I was all set to continue with the bread (even though the dough barely rose), but we both had an urgent need for some Thai noodles. So the dough went back in the fridge while we headed up to the Inner Richmond to satisfy our craving.

King of Thai Noodle House No. 2 (346 Clement St, San Francisco) is one of the only Thai places I’ve found that has all the noodle soups we loved in Thailand. I got the Guay Tiaw Jae and it was absolutely delicious. A huge bowl of flavorful broth, thin rice noodles, and plenty of vegetables. I was in heaven.

After we came home I was FINALLY ready to actually bake the bread. I let it sit out for awhile, then mixed together the ingredients for the filling. Brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon. YUM.

I was recently sent some vanilla and cinnamon from Singing Dog Vanilla. They’re based in Eugene, Oregon, where I lived for a couple of months during college. Their products are fair trade and organic, and I have been really impressed with the quality. Plus I gotta support businesses from my beloved home state! The Red Ape Cinnamon was perfect in this recipe.

I rolled out the dough, which finally seemed to have risen a little bit, and spread the filling over it.

After 40 minutes in the oven (which probably should have been 45 – it was a little doughy inside), I had a beautiful loaf of cinnamon raisin swirl bread, which by the way, is a perfect vehicle for cream cheese. And today, while typing up the recipe, I realized why the dough barely rose. As you’ll see, it calls for 2 TABLEspoons of yeast. I used 2 tsp. Brilliant. And they trust me to teach the youth of America.

(adapted from Steph Chows)

2 tablespoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar + 1/4 cup
3/4 cup warm milk (not hot)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups bread flour, plus additional for rolling
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
2/3 cup raisins

Combine the warm milk, yeast, and 1 tsp sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir in 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, salt, butter, vanilla, agave, and egg and mix well. Add the flours gradually, then mix with the dough hook on medium speed for 10 minutes.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about an hour and a half.

Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 10″ by 20.”

Combine 1 tsp cinnamon, the brown sugar, and the raisins in a small bowl. Spread evenly over the dough then roll up and pinch the ends closed. Put in a greased loaf pan, cover, and let rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Persimmon Muffins

I haven’t eaten a persimmon in at least a few years, so I’m not sure why I decided to buy 3 hard-as-a-rock hachiya persimmons at the store the other day. As soon as I brought them home I started looking for recipes, but immediately realized it would be days (weeks?) before they were ripe enough to bake with. So I took them to Portland in case they ripened there (they didn’t), then brought them back here and finally they were nice and soft and ready to puree.

Look! Seasonally appropriate and orange, but not pumpkin. Not that I’m sick of pumpkin, it’s just a nice change. Pureeing persimmons is ridiculously easy. I just chopped the green part off and put the whole thing in the blender. Within a minute I had this!

And for the second time in a month, I’m using brandy. First it was lentils and mushrooms and now it’s these muffins. I’m going to be due for a new bottle soon.

The weird thing about these muffins is that they don’t taste like persimmons. They kind of taste like bran muffins with a faint hint of fruitcake (but not in the gross cardboard way…in the slightly sweet and fruity way). The texture is just like any other muffin, even though I cut the sugar and oil both in half and added extra persimmon puree.

I baked them last night while Mike worked on decorating our apartment. We’re not going to get a tree because it would take up the entire living room, but we do have stockings!

They were a dollar each at Target. For about 45 seconds I was convinced I needed to buy a glitter pen and write our names on them, but then I realized I had far more important things to do, like grade piles of labs. Bummer.
We also have lights!

Just about every other apartment in our building has decorations in the windows so we needed to do something mildly festive.

As far as running goes, I’ve been really lame since that 25-miler. I’ve had a pretty bad sore throat that is not getting better no matter how many chloraseptic drops I use, so that’s kept me off the roads, but I did go the gym and run 4.2 miles on the treadmill this morning. The only thing worse than the treadmill is watching Fox News while on the treadmill. I thought my head was going to explode, but I was so bored I needed something to help pass the time. Sunlight, please come back to me. I miss running outside SO MUCH already.

At least I still have a few of these mini muffins to cheer me up.

(adapted from James Beard via David Lebovitz)

this made 4 regular muffins + 24 mini muffins, so I’m guessing it would be 10-12 regular muffins or about 30 mini muffins

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, gently beaten
1/4 cup brandy
1 1/2 cups persimmon puree (put 3 very ripe hachiya persimmons in a blender and puree)
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease your muffin pans.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and ginger.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, brandy, eggs, and persimmon puree. Mix well.

Gently stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Fold in the raisins. Divide evenly among the muffin pans, filling them almost to the top.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I steered clear of vegan baking recipes for a long time. I’m not sure if I was intimidated by unfamiliar ingredients, or afraid that the product would be inedible, but I was really reluctant to give up my beloved butter and eggs. Now that I’m head over heels for my local natural food co-op, though, the ingredients are becoming more familiar.

The only thing these cookies call for that you probably don’t have in your pantry is brown rice syrup, and it’s probably time you invested in a jar! It looks like honey, but has a unique flavor. It’s mostly maltose sugar, which takes longer for your body to process than fructose or glucose, so it doesn’t cause a sudden blood sugar spike. I have come to totally love the stuff.

These cookies aren’t exactly healthy, because they do have a decent amount of brown sugar. But they’re also made with whole wheat pastry flour and rolled oats, and are addictively chewy, particularly the day after baking. I’m excited to try this recipe with some variations like dried cranberry and walnut, or dark chocolate and peanut.

(adapted from Veganomicon)

1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup soy milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 F and put parchment or Silpats onto 2 baking sheets.

Stir the oil, brown rice syrup, soy milk, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and mix just until a dough forms. Stir in the oats and raisins.

Scoop up 1-2 tbsp of dough at a time and roll into a ball. Flatten slightly and place on the sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Apple Upside Down Cake

apple cake 3
Humidity and I are not friends. Sure, I love visiting tropical places and can deal with humidity just fine on a short term basis, but this summer in Seoul has been pretty unpleasant, with all the heat and humidity of the tropics, but none of the beach and fruity drinks.

Baking has been the last thing on my mind for the past couple weeks, but when I opened the door the other day and felt cool air (cool and DRY, even!) I immediately started thinking about fall baking – bring on the apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin!

I made an unsuccessful attempt at apple upside down cake awhile ago; I cut the apple slices too thinly and they ended up getting lost in the batter. The flavor was great, though, so had to take another stab at this cake. The whiskey-soaked raisins and cinnamon bring those great fall flavors, and the brown sugar and apple topping makes it just a little more special than typical apple cake.

It’s not as pretty as pineapple upside down cake (the lack of artificially colored fruit may have something to do with it), but it has a rustic charm and great flavor to welcome the cooler weather I’m so excited about.

1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup whiskey

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 or 2 apples

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup minced apple (in 1/4″ cubes)

Between 8 and 12 hours before you plan to bake the cake, combine the raisins and whiskey in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

For the topping, peel the apple and slice crosswise into slices about 1 cm thick. With a paring knife, carefully cut a small circle in the center (around the seeds) and remove it so you’re left with a doughnut shaped slice. You may need to use more than one apple to have enough slices to fill the bottom of the pan.


Put a 9″ cake pan with sides at least 2″ high (probably best not to use a springform pan in case of leaks) on a burner over low heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and stir well until butter is melted and the mixture is uniform. Arrange the apple rings in the sugar mixture with one in the center and the others around the outside.

To make the cake, cream the butter and add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and mix well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter in 3 parts, alternating with milk.
Gently fold in the raisins and minced apple, then spoon into the cake pan so that the apples and topping mixture are completely covered.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a knife in the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Cinnamon Raisin Bread


Part of moving overseas means making sacrifices. You have to give up some things, and sometimes, it’s pretty painful. The whole three months we spent in Thailand, I never had a kitchen. That was a HUGE sacrifice, even though I could eat amazing food for pennies, it just wasn’t as fun when I couldn’t cook.

I was prepared to have no oven when we moved to Korea. I’d heard it was extremely rare for the kitchens here to have them, and the idea of not being able to bake for an entire year almost made me cry, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make for the experience of living in a new country. When we walked into our apartment for the first time, I was absolutely thrilled to discover we did, in fact, have an oven.

Asian cuisines have a lot going for them, but bread is not their forte. In fact I don’t think I had a decent loaf of bread anywhere in Thailand or Korea. I know I could have probably found a good bakery if I had really looked, but it kind of seemed like it wasn’t worth the trouble. Then, in the same week I heard about the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day concept, and my mom sent a care package that included yeast and raisins. I took that as a sign that I needed to make some bread. And not just any bread, cinnamon raisin bread!

raisisn bread2
This bread isn’t sweet, but it has a nice hint of cinnamon and the raisins contrast nicely with the almost-sour flavor of the dough. I may play around with adding a little honey to the dough next time, but for now, this is just what I crave.

(adapted from One Particular Kitchen, originally from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day)

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups warm (110 F) water
3/4 tbsp yeast
3/4 tbsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Combine the flour, water, yeast, and salt and stir well.
Cover, and leave on the counter for about 3 hours.
Stir in the cinnamon and raisins and transfer to the refrigerator.
After anywhere between 5 hours and 14 days, your bread will be ready to bake.
Sprinkle some flour over the surface of the dough, and sprinkle a little more on the counter.
Pull off a piece of dough, or use the whole batch, and shape into a loaf on the counter.
Let rise anywhere from 30 mintues to an hour, then bake at 400F until golden, and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

raisin bread 3


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