Banana Nutella Bread

I have a special weakness for banana bread. It’s super homey, and the smell of it baking permeates the house. It’s one of those foods that tastes good ANY time of the day. I also have a major weakness for Nutella. I often find myself dipping a spoon in the jar when I’m having a sweets craving. So… the idea of Nutella and banana bread together makes my mind explode. It’s a perfect marriage of two flavors I adore!

This is a very basic banana bread recipe, and you’ll likely have a good majority of the ingredients on hand. It freezes well and the recipe doubled makes 2 nice loaves, so don’t let those ripe bananas sit there any longer! :)

Banana Nutella Bread

Banana Nutella Bread
Yield: 1 9-inch loaf

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe banana (approx. 3 large bananas)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Nutella

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the mashed banana, followed by the eggs and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix well.

4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture until just combined. Remove half the batter and stir in the Nutella.

5. Add alternating spoonfuls of the regular batter and the Nutella batter to the prepared loaf pan. Swirl batter gently with a knife, chopstick, skewer or anything you can find. Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool the bread for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.


Cook’s Notes

I’m going to share a culinary school trick with you all. It’s called “oven pop.” Simply preheat your oven to 25 degrees higher than the recipe calls for, so in this instance you would heat your oven to 375. After placing the loaf in the oven, set a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, lower the heat to the correct temperature (in this instance 350) and then bake until done. This helps to give the yeast (or baking powder, for quick breads) a little boost which helps it to rise.

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Sriracha Cheese Bread

Oh my, oh my… Once again it’s been far too long since I’ve posted. I think part of the problem is that I sit in front of a computer all day and type type type! Soo… the last thing I want to do when I come home is stare at a computer and type some more. :-/

I’ve also been pushing myself to work on my photography more, so that’s been occupying a lot of my free time. I have all this gear and have been severely under-utilizing it for far too long. I’ve gotten out to meet fellow photogs, I’ve learned more each day about various settings on my camera and also some post-processing tricks, and I’m proud to see my pics getting progressively better. Now I just need to work on selling my prints to justify my increasingly expensive hobby! ;)

Speaking of… if you want to follow my personal account where I post a lot of my non-food pics, follow me on Instagram!

Ok… now for some yummy food! Some of you that already follow me on Instagram might recall seeing my post for Sriracha Cheddar Bread that I posted the night of the Super Bowl. I know, I know… that was 1 month ago. Sheesh… where does time go?!

It tasted soo amazing with homemade chili! I noshed down on leftovers for a week, though. I ate a slice room temp, I made a sandwich, and I even made a grilled cheese. Eeek – double gluttony! This bread combines the best aspects of food all in one – a crispy crust, a soft middle and a yummy swirl of spicy cheese! YUM!

Sriracha Cheese Bread

I know some of you might be scared about the idea of making bread. I promise you, though, this really isn’t a super complicated recipe. Yes, there are a few tricks to making bread, but this recipe is pretty forgiving!

The main thing to take note of when making bread is to ensure that your yeast is fresh and that the warm liquid isn’t too hot. If the water is too hot it’ll kill the yeast and we definitely don’t want that to happen. I typically turn on the faucet and hold my hand underneath the water. As soon as it starts to feel warm to the touch, it’s ready. There’s zero need to boil the water because that will overheat it and then you’ll just be waiting for it to cool down enough. If you’re super worried, use a candy thermometer.

The next thing to take note of is the amount of flour. I would suggest starting with 4 cups, but you could put in as much as 5 cups based on the humidity in the air. I know it doesn’t seem like the weather would impact it that much, but trust me – it does! Start with 4 cups and then add in 1/4 cup increments until the dough comes together. If making this in a mixer, you’ll want to add enough flour until it just starts to pull away from the bowl. It takes a good 30-60 seconds to mix in, so add 1/4 cup, wait 30-60 seconds, add the next 1/4 cup, etc.

I like super spicy food, so I used half sharp cheddar and half pepper jack cheese. If you aren’t into spicy, you can leave out the pepper jack. I actually made a loaf for my mom (who isn’t crazy about super spicy food), and I did a 50/50 blend of cheddar and pepper jack and simply omitted the Sriracha. I know, blasphemy… but she can’t handle the severe heat. ;)

This dough does need to rise twice, so allow for plenty of time to mix, rise, rise again and bake. All in all, it’ll take about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish.

Sriracha Cheese Bread
Yield: 1 9-inch loaf

1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 pkg (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sriracha
3/4 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
3/4 cup pepper jack, shredded

1. Pour the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Wait about 10 minutes, or until the mixture begins to foam.

2. While the yeast is rising, combine the milk, eggs, sugar and margarine in a large bowl. Whisk to break up the eggs and combine the mixture.

3. Once the yeast is ready, add to the large bowl and then add the 4 cups of flour and salt. Mix until a dough forms. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, as needed.

4. Grease the large bowl, add dough and cover with a kitchen cloth. Allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

5. Punch the dough down and place on a floured work surface. Press the dough with your fingertips to form it into a 9-inch rectangle. Spread the sriracha on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle the dough with the shredded cheese.

6. Starting on the side closest to you, tightly roll the dough jelly roll-style. Place the loaf, seam side down, into a greased 9-inch loaf pan. Cover with the kitchen cloth and allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

7. Bake the loaf in a preheated 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. The bread should sound hollow when removed from the pan and tapped on the bottom. Please be sure to use dry towels and use caution since the bread is very hot!

8. Allow the bread to rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Brush the top with some melted butter as this gives it a beautiful shine! Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.


Cook’s Notes

I like to give my breads an “oven pop.” Simply preheat your oven to 25 degrees higher than the recipe calls for, so in this instance you would heat your oven to 375. After placing the loaf in the oven, set a timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, lower the heat to the correct temperature (in this instance 350) and then bake until done. This helps to give the yeast (or baking powder, for quick breads) a little boost which helps it to rise.

Black Pepper Popovers with Chives and Parmesan

The people over at Food52 are going to start thinking I’m a stalker because here is yet another recipe I found from their site! :) I make no apologies, though, because their website just rocks, and so far every recipe I’ve made from their site tastes incredible.

While browsing for recipes the other day, I had Thanksgiving on my mind. I was trying to find ideas for things that I could cook this year and that you all might enjoy as well. I know a lot of family’s menus include some sort of a bread. In our family, it is Little Grandma’s Raisin Bread. This isn’t that fancy raisin bread with the cinnamon swirl (although that stuff is tasty!). Instead it is bigger-than-your-face loaves of buttery brioche bread with raisins folded into the dough. No frills, no bells and whistles, but man is it the best stuff in the world. Toast it and slather it with melted butter – perfection.

Raisin Bread is a staple in our family and nothing will ever replace it, but I wanted to find a savory item that could be eaten along with the meal, such as a biscuit or roll. That’s when I found this recipe and decided it would be fun to try. I honestly can’t recall having ever made popovers, and I’ll admit it was a bonus to see relatively few ingredients and a short list of quick, easy instructions.

Black Pepper Popovers with Chives and Parmesan

The batter is easily whisked together by hand and then poured into a pre-heated muffin tin. It makes exactly 12 popovers, so that’s yet another bonus. The batter is filled to the top of each cup, so don’t access your cupcake-baking experience and assume that they’re far too full. The batter will rise, puff up and pop over the edge, hence the name. :) Also, you need to lightly butter the muffin tin before placing it in the oven to pre-heat. I was a bit worried because my butter had slightly browned, but they did taste burnt at all and, if anything, it added to the wonderful flavor.

These popovers are crazy easy to make and are actually quite versatile as well. Instead of the parmesan you could use gruyere or pecorino. You could even play around with other fresh herbs or add in different spices. They bake in about 30-45 minutes, so this is something you could easily prepare and pop in the oven as you’re setting the table and putting the finishing touches on everything. By the time that’s done and you’re about to announce that it’s time to eat, the popovers will be ready and the feast can begin! Enjoy, and do let me know if you try any other flavor combinations!

Black Pepper Popovers with Chives and Parmesan
Adapted from Food52
Yields: 12 popovers

2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
4 large eggs
4 Tablespoons butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest

1. Preheat oven 450 degrees F (232 degrees C). Lightly coat a 12-cup popover pan or muffin tin with melted butter or oil.

2. Whisk together the milk, eggs and butter in a large bowl until blended. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

3. Place the buttered pan in the oven to heat for 7 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and fill the cups evenly with the batter. (Tip: Use a 4-cup liquid measuring cup to pour the batter.)

4. Bake for 18-20 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Continue baking until the popovers are a deep golden brown, approximately 15-18 minutes.5. Let the popovers cool briefly in the pan and then serve. Popovers can be reheated at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. Don’t even think about reheating in the microwave or you’ll end up with a soggy mess!