Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake Pops

First off, I have to apologize for my absence in the blogging world. School and interviews for a summer job (I found one! at a place that makes waffles and pancakes) have kept me very occupied, and with finals and what not coming up soon I'll continue being busy for a while. I'm updating my blog when I can but I know I'm greatly falling behind in visiting other people's blogs. I love and appreciate all of your comments and visits to my blog though! I look forward to being done finals (end of May) so I can have more time to bake (I'm already compiling a long list of the things I want to make this summer) and do food blog things. I'm not trying to be a snob by not visiting and commenting!

Deborah from Taste and Tell and Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms chose cheesecake pops for this month's Daring Bakers' challenge. I wasn't really excited by the idea of cheesecake pops, though I am a huge fan of cheesecake. They seemed like more work than they were worth and I didn't want to have to find lollipop sticks. (I ended up using sticks meant for caramel apples.) BUT of course this story turns around.

I loved these cheesecake pops. Like really loved them. They were so cute! I especially fell in love with the one I coated with broken Reese's pieces (not the peanut butter cups but the pieces that are like smarties/m&m's which are so much better than peanut butter cups). It was really fun to come up with different chocolate/topping combinations and I had lots of yummy things in the house to play around with.

The variations I made were: white chocolate & oreo, white chocolate & oreo & gummy bears (had to have one with gummy bears!), white chocolate with toasted coconut, milk chocolate with crushed Reese's pieces, and milk chocolate with crushed animal crackers. (Speaking of animal crackers, I am still dying to make this lemon cheesecake that uses them in the crust.)

For the first pop, I attempted to first coat the ball in crushed up oreo cookies and then in white chocolate - which is why you see cheesecake pops that just look like "cookies & cream" because it all mixed together. Delicious though.

All the flavour combinations were really yummy, and I was surprised at how much I liked the cheesecake when it was covered in chocolate like that. I didn't add shortening to my chocolate (an allowed deviation), and found the texture of it perfectly matched the cheesecake. The chocolate hardens really quickly on the frozen cheesecake pops though, so you have to work fast. This might not happen if you add the shortening to the chocolate though.

I would definitely make these again for a special occasion or party. Or maybe have a cheesecake pop decorating party! Mmm. I 1/5 the recipe and it turned out really well. You can see the measurements that I used at the bottom of the recipe. Go check out the other Daring Bakers' cheesecake pops!

Cheesecake Pops
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Note: I 1/5 the recipe and the measurements worked out really well. I made sure that the batter would come up 1 1/4 inch in the baking dishes I used (3 little ramekins). I baked it for the same amount of time as you're supposed to bake the regular cheesecake.

The measurements I used (makes about 6 or 7 pops):

1 8-oz pkg cream cheese
86 grams sugar (0.4 cups)
7.6 grams all-purpose flour (0.05 cups)
a little less than half of a 1/8 tsp measure if you have it
1 large egg
0.4 egg yolk (eyeballed this obviously)
0.4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp (15 mL) heavy cream

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TWD: Bill's Big Carrot Cake

This week, Amanda of slow like honey chose Bill's Big Carrot Cake for the TWD challenge. I've definitely eyed this cake on more than one occasion. Sarah said she was going to make cupcakes, instead of the 3 layer cake it was intended to be. This sounded perfect to me because then I could easily half it, plus I finally got to use my mini muffin pan!

The cake was easy to make, and oh so very delicious. The first day I tried it I thought it was good but not outstanding. But the next day and even a few days later, oh wow it tasted even better. This is an incredibly tasty carrot cake, and a definite competitor for the previous favourite, which has pineapple and dates. I think there's a bit too much sugar in the icing though for me, because I could taste the icing sugar and it detracted from the yummy cream cheese flavour.

I'd really like to try healthifying (yes that is not a word) this cake. It's so moist and flavourful I'm sure it could handle some playing around with (whole wheat flour, applesauce, less sugar - my usual tactic).

I wanted to thank the TWD members for inspiring me to make the time to do fun things like bake from Dorie's beautiful cookbook. I get really busy with school and life (as we all do) and I feel like I don't have time to take part. But then I see others who are busy, tired and what not and they're making the time. Why should I miss out on the fun? Go check out the other TWDers and see how their cakes turned out!

Other TWD Challenges I've done:
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
Orange Berry Muffins

Bill's Big Carrot Cake
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yields 10 servings
(When halved, makes 24 mini and 3 regular size cupcakes)

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)*
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound or 3 and 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded coconut

To make the cake:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325F. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:
Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice.

If you'd like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.

To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cake plate. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.

Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

*I did half sweetened, half unsweetened.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Baked Bean Soup

Healthy, filling, a unique taste, easy to make - what more can you ask for in a weeknight meal? I wasn't sure if I liked it at first, maybe because of the molasses or the vinegar (which made it slightly tangy). But when I added lots of pepper (which I don't usually do) it made it quite tasty. The pepper really complemented the flavours in the soup. And some grated Gruyere on top, yum even better.

I'm submitting this to the Cooking to Combat Cancer 2 event. This soup has a few cancer fighting ingredients: onions, tomatoes, carrots, and beans. I think we could all use some cancer fighting power so I try to eat lots of good, healthy, cancer fighting foods! Other cancer fighting foods include berries, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), flax, garlic, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, green tea, soy (in moderation), red grapes, avocados (my favourite!), chili peppers, grapefruit, mushrooms, nuts, oranges, and lemons (source, source - found through Mele Cotte). With so many choices, I'm sure everyone can easily add some more of these foods into their diet.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
Corn Chowder

Baked Bean Soup
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups chopped onions
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 tbsp chili powder
3 tsp Dijon mustard*
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups (14 oz can) undrained canned stewed tomatoes
1 2/3 cups (15 1/2 oz can) cooked kidney beans**
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste

In a soup pot on medium-high heat, saute the onions in oil for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Add the celery, carrots, and chili powder and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, water, tomatoes, beans, vinegar, molasses, and soy sauce. Cover and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Reduce this amount if you're not a big mustard fan. I love mustard so I might add more next time.
**The recipe suggests white beans, but I think any bean would be fine.

Note: Feel free to play around with the amount of mustard, molasses, vinegar and soy sauce to suit your taste. I think sweet potato would be tasty in this soup too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Neb at Nut Roast Event: Walnut and Mushroom Nut Roast

The lovely Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe is hosting an event called A Neb at Nut Roast. She loves nut roasts (a savoury vegetarian loaf made of nuts and other things that is kind of like meatloaf) and is wanting other people to share the love. I jumped on the chance to be a part of this, intrigued by the mysterious loaf. My adopted blogger, Holler, made a nut roast a couple of months ago and I was really interested to try my own.

Unfortunately I did not find a new and exciting recipe. I wanted to try out a recipe from Johanna's blog. A funny thing happened - I was telling my mom how I was going to make a nut roast and this was a great new adventure and exciting thing. Then she told me, didn't you make one of those years ago and how it was pretty good. I vaguely remember this nut loaf and couldn't remember where I possibly got the recipe from. Nut roast/loaf recipes are not something I've often come across in vegetarian cooking. Anyway I think I found it in 365 Ways to Cook Vegetarian.

So as my second nut roast experience, I know I'll definitely be making it again. I love one dish meals and this is perfect for that - with a salad or some random vegetable like broccoli on the side it's the perfect satisfying healthy meal. For me, I don't think it needs gravy or a sauce but I'm sure it would be yummy. I'll be making a nut roast for future Thanksgiving dinners and anytime meals. As for this particular nut roast, it was very tasty. Though I only remembered to add the soy milk halfway through the baking time, so that could account for it not sticking together at all. I loved the sunflower seeds, and I wasn't sure that I'd like the sun dried tomatoes because I sometimes find them too tangy, but they were a great addition.

Thanks Johanna for hosting this event and pushing me to try out a nut roast again! For those who want to participate, you have until Friday the 18th to make and post about your delicious nut roast.

Walnut and Mushroom Nut Roast
slightly adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe who adapted it from Leah Leneman

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
200g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup soy milk
1 cup dried whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 cup basil, freeze dried*
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp A1 steak sauce**
sea salt to taste

Heat oil in large frypan. Sauté onion over medium heat until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté an additional 5 minutes until mushrooms are cooked. (The recipe says tenderized but this just reminds me of meat too much. I also followed the recipe and just sautéed the onions and mushrooms together but I felt the onions needed more time than the mushrooms – although they were fine in the loaf.)

While the vegetables are sautéing you could dry fry walnuts until they smell roasted. Then process walnuts and sunflower seeds in food processor until coarsely ground.

Mix mushroom mixture, walnut mixture and remaining ingredients. Spoon into lined (with parchment paper or aluminum foil) loaf pan. Press the mixture into the tin with the back of a spoon. Bake in moderate oven for about 45 minutes. Stand 5 minutes.

*Fresh is of course better
**Original recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce but that has anchovies in it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

TWD: The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

Another delicious week participating in the Tuesdays with Dorie challenge! This week was a lemon tart and particularly a lemon tart that I've had my eye on for a while. I'm going to try and keep this short since I'm a bit bogged down with school right now.

I halved the lemon cream (but forgot to half the butter the first time, resulting in a very hard and for some reason iron-tasting "cream" so had to remake it), but didn't half the tart dough. I now have a couple of extra little tarts waiting in the freezer, hoping that someone picks another tart soon. I absolutely loved the tart shell itself - it was like a cookie. And it was the easiest tart I've made, which is great for my rolling dough out fear. All you do is press the crumbly "dough" into the tart pans and out come these wonderful delicious tarts. I will definitely be using this tart dough recipe again. (Oh and I finally got the chance to use these cute tartlet pans!)

As for the lemon cream, I didn't love it. It was beautiful and it had a great texture. And certainly it was good, but it just wasn't my favourite thing. Other people liked it, and I think it's the perfect thing to make for a lemon lover.

Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers to see their lemon tarts! Edit: I forgot to mention that Mary from Staring From Scratch chose the recipe this week.

Other TWD challenges I've done:
Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
Orange Berry Muffins

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 c fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tbsp butter (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temperature
1 9-inch tart shell made with sweet tart dough, fully baked (see below)

Getting ready:
Have a instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender or food processor ready. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy, and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture fees tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk- you whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling- you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point- the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience- depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp may take as long as 10 minutes.

As soon as it reaches 180F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the lender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going- to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to bend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests, and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

Pour the cream into a container, cover tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days or, tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.

Sweet Tart Dough
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in - you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed - press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.

Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).

To Fully Bake the Crust: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

To Patch a Partially or Fully Baked Crust, if Necessary: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice of a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, baking for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Review: 101 Easy Peasy Cookie Recipes

I was so happy and honored to be asked to review a cookie cookbook - 101 Easy Peasy Cookie Recipes by Lucinda Wallace and Heather Wallace. I was extremely eager for it to arrive, but had to wait a few weeks I think partly due to living in Canada. But it arrived! And I couldn't wait to choose a few recipes to try out.

The cookbook is divided into bar cookies, drop cookies, no-bake cookies, rolled cookies and shaped cookies. I chose three recipes - butter pecan blondies, white chip p-nutties (peanut butter cookies with white chocolate and walnuts), and chocolate caramel bars with a twist. Unfortunately I can't share any of those recipes with you, but you can check out the recipes for colossal double chocolate white chip cookies and oranges and cream cookies.

The peanut butter cookie is hands down the best peanut butter cookie recipe I've come across. And believe me, I've been looking! The texture is somewhere between crumbly and soft, but not chewy. And not only are these the ultimate peanut butter cookies for me, but also for my brother who I have been making peanut butter cookies for as a Christmas gift. The blondies were quite yummy too - I've never had or made them before. And I loved how the chocolate caramel bars with a twist combined pretzels, chocolate and caramel (which might sound like a weird combination but is oh so good).

The only things I don't like about this cookbook are that there are no pictures, no introductions to the recipes (or even to the book itself), and no index in the back if you're looking for a particular ingredient. The list of cookie recipes is extensive though and there are lots I can't wait to make like rootbeer frosties, caramel apple crisps, frosty pink lemonade cookies, crispy coffee cutouts, sweet graham scotchies, and malted milk chocolate brownies. (There are lots of more regular types of cookie recipes like oatmeal, mint chocolate chip, butter cookies, etc too if that's what you like.) The cookies are indeed easy to make and if you're like me, and love to hoard cookie cookbooks, or you're just looking for some new and easy cookies to make, this cookbook is great. After looking through this cookbook again to write the review, I want to go make some more cookies!

See what other people thought of this cookbook:
Baking Bites
Chronicles of a Curious Cook
Andrea's Recipes
Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My 100th Post! And Chocolate Walnut Banana Bread

This is my 100th post! I don't have anything exciting to celebrate it with but this banana bread was pretty delicious. I rarely make banana bread because when I was growing up my mom always made it. It was yummy but I guess lost its magical appeal. She never put walnuts or chocolate chips in it though, and this was actually my first time putting chocolate chips in banana bread. I like to maintain this image in my mind of banana bread being healthy and if I put chocolate chips in it, well it just makes it a little more difficult to believe! But I thought if I cut down the sugar a lot (to 2 tablespoons) and only put a small amount of chocolate chips, it wouldn't be a terribly unhealthy snack. And thus begins my love of this chocolate walnut banana bread.

I haven't used my mini loaf pans for a while and forgot how great little loaves are. In the recipe I wrote that you can use either oat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. The oat flour makes it much denser, but I loved it that way. If that's not quite for you, try the whole wheat pastry flour. It will still be a dense muffin but lightens it up a bit.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Earl Grey White Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Healthy Banana Bran Muffins
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins

Chocolate Walnut Banana Bread
Adapted from How It All Vegan!

Makes 1 loaf, 6 mini loaves, or 12 small-ish muffins

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour OR oat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup chocolate chips, optional*

Preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until very mushy, then add the applesauce, sugar, and walnuts and stir together.

In a separate large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour (or oat flour), salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and mix together gently until "just mixed". Gently stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon into a lightly oiled loaf pan (or muffin pan) and bake for 40-50 minutes**. Test with a toothpick or a knife to see if done.

*Use nondairy chocolate chips or omit them to make this vegan.
**The first time I made these, I used mini loaf pans and I can't remember how long it took. I would check them around 25 minutes and see how they are. Maybe even 20 minutes.