Brown Sugar Banana Bread | Bob's Red Mill

Brown Sugar Banana Bread aka The Best Banana Bread EVER

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

Banana bread: the saving grace for thrifty bakers with rapidly browning bananas. At my house, banana bread is a means to an end for using up those pesky bananas that didn’t get eaten fast enough. This recipe, however, takes banana bread to a whole new level. This is a recipe that I would actually set out to make. I would actively age bananas to get the deepest banana flavor in this bread (and have done so).

When this recipe came out of the test kitchen, I knew I could scrap my go-to banana bread recipe and start relying on this one. It’s not as “healthy” as many banana breads claim to be (and, let’s be honest, it’s a claim and not a reality), but it’s sure delicious. This is a perfect recipe to bake and give to a friend, or you just might find you’ve eaten the whole loaf by yourself. Trust me, it’s happened.

Brown Sugar Banana Bread | Bob's Red Mill

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Contributed by:  Sarah House for Bob’s Red Mill Test Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time:  60 minutes

Yield: one 9-inch loaf (12 – 16 servings)

Bread

Simple Topping

  • ¼ cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, soft
  • ½ tsp Large Flake or Kosher Salt

Deluxe Topping

  • ½ cup packed Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Butter, soft
  • ½ tsp Large Flake or Kosher Salt

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9-inch loaf pan or line with parchment paper.

Step 2

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the chosen topping.  Set aside.  In another small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Step 3

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or by hand with a spoon, mix butter and Bob’s Red Mill Brown Sugar until fluffy, about 10 minutes.

Step 4

Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition.

Step 5

Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by the banana puree.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well combined.  Fold in the pecans.

Step 6

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Evenly sprinkle the topping over the batter.

Step 7

Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes.  Let cool 30 minutes before serving.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Banana Barley Biscuits F

{Meatless Mondays} Banana Barley Biscuits

by Cassidy Stockton in Meatless Mondays, Recipes

These are not your grandmother’s biscuits. Our banana barley biscuits balance delicately on the line between cookie and biscuit. Serve these biscuits at breakfast for a delicious whole grain addition to your plate, or turn them into a light dessert by topping with whipped cream. We tend to snack on them whenever we need a little pick-me-up, but we’ve also been known to turn them into ice cream sandwiches on a whim.

Adaptations: 

Make these biscuits fully whole grain by using our whole wheat pastry flour. If you can’t find rolled barley flakes locally, rolled oats will do in a pinch. Make these gluten free by using our gluten free rolled oats and our Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour

Banana Barley Biscuits | Bob's Red Mill
Banana Barley Biscuits

recipe by Sarah House for Bob’s Red Mill Test Kitchen

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 20-25 minutes | Yields 32 biscuits

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease two sheet pans or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Combine mashed bananas, milk and rolled barley flakes and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Sift and combine flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter until the butter is about the size of peas.
  4. Add egg whites and vanilla to banana mixture then add flour mixture to banana mixture. Mix until just combined.
  5. Scoop 2 Tbsp of dough per biscuit onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake at 400°F until golden brown, about 20 – 25 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 16 – 32 (1 to 2 biscuits per serving).
About The Author
Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Hot Cereal 2

Hot Cereal: Thinking Outside the Bowl

by Sarah House in Whole Grains 101

Hot cereal is a great way to start your day, especially with the variety of styles available:  flakes, farinas, grits and meals.  The possibilities of whole grain goodness are almost endless.  But, have you ever thought about making something other than your usual hot pot of breakfast cereal for you and the family?  If not, then you should.  Hot cereals are so much more than just for breakfast.

Hot Cereal F

Our flakes and rolled cereals (think oats, barley, rye, spelt, triticale and wheat) are perfect candidates for home-made granolas, crisps, and cookies.  Try swapping out the usual rolled oats in your favorite fruit crisp topping or oatmeal cookie with barley or wheat.  If you want to take it a step further, try incorporating rolled flake cereals into biscuits or breads.  Since the cooking time (think “how long it takes for the flakes to hydrate and soften”) is relatively short for rolled flake cereals, they are great candidates for additions to quick cooking items like biscuits and scones and they work great mixed-in and sprinkled-on yeasted breads and rolls.  The texture and décor they provide when incorporated into a loaf of bread or sprinkled on the top of rolls is an excellent way to personalize a recipe.  I like to add up to ½ cup rolled flakes into my single loaf bread recipes.  As a topping décor, anywhere from 2 Tbsp to ¼ cup usually gets the job done.

bread w oats

If you are aiming for a muffin or bar with a more delicate and chewy texture, farinas, grits, and meals are what you are looking for.  The amount of liquid necessary to fully hydrate the cereal will vary depending on the particular grain (wheat, corn, rice, millet, buckwheat, and many, many blends) so make sure to take note of the liquid amounts recommended in the basic preparation instructions before making a final choice.  Adjust the liquids in your recipe accordingly (or try soaking and then draining the cereal before using) otherwise, you may find some crunchy bits in your baked goods!

Finely ground cereals like farinas, grits, and meals release more starch than flakes or larger grind cereals.  This extra starch will contribute to softer textures and increased chew and also works well as a binder.  Try using a starchy cereal like Brown Rice Farina in place of a panade in your next meatloaf or to help hold together a batch of veggie burgers.

When incorporating farinas, grits, and meals into baked breads, their small grind and subsequent starchiness can cause a significant effect on the crumb similar to flours.  Using this style of cereal to replace some flours as opposed to “in addition to” will produce a better loaf.  For satisfying texture and flavor, replace up to 20% of a recipe’s flour with cereal; anymore and you’ll be looking at a shorter, heavier, and dense loaf (which isn’t always a bad thing).

Now, let’s say you cooked a big pot of porridge for breakfast and there is still a fair amount left over in the pot.  Did you know…you can bake that leftover hot breakfast cereal into your next loaf of bread?  As if you were adding nuts or seeds to your bread dough, try adding some cooked flakes or granular cereals.  Start small, about ¼ cup per loaf.  Once you know what the outcome is, adjust the amount and type of cereal to your liking.  I won’t go into specifics here and instead direct you to the master artisan bakers at Tartine in San Francisco, in particular their book Tartine Book No. 3.  If you are serious about bread baking, this book and all their other bread books are a goldmine of information and creative inspiration.

If you are feeling totally overwhelmed by the myriad possibilities of incorporating cereals into your recipe repertoire, just step back and take a breather.  Cook up a pot of good old-fashioned hot cereal and choose one of our unique topping combos for any easy and impressive spruce-up.

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Sarah House Google: Sarah House
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FlaxseedandMeal F

5 {Easy} Ways to Add Flax to Your Diet

by Cassidy Stockton in Whole Grains 101

Flaxseed is considered to be a super food for two main reasons- it delivers quality plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and ground flaxseeds (as opposed to the oil) are a good source of dietary fiber. There are many other wonderful health properties that are attributed to flax, but we’re not doctors and you can read the claims elsewhere- like this great WebMD article. If you want to know more about flax, read our What is it? Wednesday post. I’m not really here today to tell why should include flax in your diet. No, I’m here to tell you just how easy it is to include flax. We’ll assume you already want to eat more flax.

5 {Easy} Ways to Add Flax to Your Diet | Bob's Red Mill
Here are five simple, easy and DELICIOUS ways to make sure you get a little more flax in your life.

1. Drink it down- version 1. Okay, this one might not be all that delicious, but I can tell you that it is a common practice in our office and you can see this method being used on any given day here because it’s easy and it gets the job done. Here’s what you do- pick your beverage of choice- we recommend water or juice and mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flax. Just mix it up and drink it down. Don’t let it sit too long or you’ll have a very thick drink. Yes, kind of unappealing, but if you just want to get it in, this is a quick and relatively painless way to do it.

2. Drink it down-version 2. This is my preferred method. Add flax to your smoothie. If you don’t have smoothies on the regular, it might be a fun way to mix up your breakfast routine. We put together 10 of our favorites in this post if you need some inspiration.

5 {Easy} Ways to Add Flax to Your Diet | Bob's Red Mill
3. Mix it with your oatmeal. Or any hot cereal really. Just add your flaxseed meal after you’re finished cooking. It adds a nutty flavor that won’t overpower the dish. If you like your hot cereals with sugar, you’ll probably never even notice the flax.

4. Add it to your baked goods. This is a great option for those of you who want to eat more flax, but don’t like the flavor and/or texture. Muffins (pictured below), quick breads, pancakes, brownies, cookies, bread- nearly anything can take a little flax without altering the flavor and texture of your baked good. To get started, I recommend following a tried and true recipe, like these Date and Apricot Muffins from Spiced or these Blueberry Banana Muffins from The Lemon Bowl. The only downside of eating flax this way is that you’re not guaranteed to get a full serving with each serving of the baked good. The upside is that you won’t notice the flax. Heck, your picky kid probably won’t notice the flax (although I’m convinced mine would notice if I breathe funny on his food). You can feel better about eating said baked good and know that you are getting the benefit of flaxseed. *You can also use flax to replace eggs. We’ll dive in deeper on this topic tomorrow.

5 {Easy} Ways to Add Flax to Your Diet | Bob's Red Mill

5. On Toast. This is a funny one that a customer recommended to me a long time ago and, once I tried it, I was hooked. It’s definitely my second favorite way to enjoy flax. Slather a piece of toast (although it could really work with any bread-like substance from muffins to pancakes), with honey, peanut butter, jam, whatever as long as it’s sweet and/or flavor masking, sprinkle flax on top, mix it in a little bit and chow down. A good multi-grain bread with peanut butter and honey is my go-to. The bread and the topping cover most of the flavor and texture.

That’s it. Five easy ways to get more flax in your diet. For recipes and inspiration, visit our recipe collection at bobsredmill.com or check out our Super Seeds board on Pinterest. Be sure to check back later in the week to find out how to use flax to replace eggs and fat in your baked goods.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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Molasses-Crinkle-Cookies F

Molasses Crinkle Cookies

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes

We love a good gingersnap around here, but these molasses crinkle cookies have us passing up the crispy ginger cookies for something with a little more chew. These cookies have a kick to them and are made festive with the addition of our new sparkling sugar. This is a fun recipe to bake up with kids, as they will love rolling each ball of dough in the sparkling sugar. Plus, they’re made with whole wheat pastry flour, so you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying these. The whole grain flour is completely hidden under the molasses and ginger flavors, so no one will ever be the wiser.

Make a batch of these for Santa or just enjoy them with a tall glass of milk. We hope you love them as much as we do. Check out the video below for  step-by-step instructions for making these jazzy cookies.

Molasses Crinkle Cookies | Bob's Red Mill

Molasses Crinkle Cookies

Prep Time:  15 minutes | Cook Time:  8 – 10 minutes

Yield: 18 cookies

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 2

In a small bowl, mix together whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

Step 3

In a large bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar and molasses until combined, then add egg.  Add dry and mix until combined.

Step 4

Scoop cookies and roll the tops in Bob’s Red Mill Sparkling Sugar.  Place 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until edges are just set, 8 – 10 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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WholeWheatChocolateChipCookiesF

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Jennifer Farley in Recipes

The holiday season has many meanings to me and I’m not even slightly ashamed to admit that one of those meanings is cookies. I love cookies because I’m so incredibly indecisive when it comes to choosing desserts. Cookies give me the freedom to have it all. And these whole wheat chocolate chip cookies are a slightly modernized twist on the classic that will wow your holiday guests.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt | Bob's Red Mill
Bob’s Whole Wheat Pastry Flour replaces all purpose flour in this recipe but you will never notice the difference! I was amazed at how seamlessly it incorporated into the dough. I’ve also added a bit of coarse sea salt on top of the cookies to enhance the flavors. These have that perfect texture one craves in a chocolate chip cookie- slightly crunchy on the outside but just chewy enough on the inside. Make these for your next holiday party or cookie exchange. You’ll be glad you did!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt | Bob's Red Mill

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes| Yields: 40-45 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (13 ounces) Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 1/3 cup unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) packed light Brown Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • ½ teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • 12 ounces Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Coarse Sea Salt on top

Directions:

  1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar on high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add the flour and vanilla until just combined and then stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Use a small ice cream scoop to portion out the cookies. Sprinkle coarse sea salt liberally on top of each cookie. Allow them to chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and then bake for 13 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool for several minutes before serving.

Jennifer Farley-600Jennifer Farley is the creator, recipe developer and photographer of Savory Simple, a blog dedicated to gourmet, simple, beautiful food and quality ingredients. Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD and has worked professionally as a chef and cooking instructor. She recently published her first cookbook, The Art of Slush. Her work has been featured by Williams-Sonoma, Bon Appetit, Food52, The Kitchn, Huffington Post and Marcus Sammuelsson.  She currently resides in Washington DC. Follow her FacebookTwitter and Google+.

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Jennifer Farley Google: Jennifer Farley
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brownief

Chocolate Mint Brownies

by Erin Clarke in Recipes

If an Andes chocolate mint and a decadent fudge bar eloped to the North Pole and had a beautiful baby brownie, and if that brownie went on to be crowned homecoming queen, graduate from Harvard, and win the Nobel Peace Prize, it would be these Chocolate Mint Brownies.

Chocolate Mint Brownies | Bob's Red Mill

I’m not one to rush to superlatives or swoon at the concept of a soul mate, but these mint brownies are THE ONE. A lifetime fan of the chocolate-mint flavor dream team, as well as a self-proclaimed brownie aficionado, I can say with confidence that no other chocolate mint dessert compares to these mint brownies. They are transcendent.

The brownie layer is deep, dark, and decadent, a chocolate-lover’s paradise. On its own, it nearly risks being too rich, but the fluffy, fresh mint layer majestically lightens and balances it. The mint layer, in turn, is balanced by a thin lid of unsweetened chocolate. I love sinking my fork into the shiny chocolate top, watching it crackle over the York Peppermint Pattie mint filling below, then forge into the fudgy brownie base.

Chocolate Mint Brownies | Bob's Red Mill

The origin of this recipe is my friend Elizabeth, who years ago slide an innocent-looking pan of brownies (if there can be such a thing) my direction and asked if I’d like to try, “the best mint brownies ever.”  They were so incredible, I nearly seized the pan and made a run for it, but a slug of milk returned me to my senses. I asked for the recipe instead. Elizabeth obliged.

Today’s recipe is a lightly adapted version of Elizabeth’s. I modified the brownies to be thicker and fuller, as well as to fit into an 8×8-inch vs. 9×13-inch pan. The brownie thickness is simply because that’s how I believe a brown should be. The smaller pan is an act of self-preservation—once I begin work on these brownies, self-control becomes a mere hypothesis, so the smaller pan is prudent. Trust me.

To keep things from completely rolling off the edge of reasonable brownie behavior, I also baked these mint brownies with Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. It’s completely undetectable, adds fiber, and allows you to feel a bit more confident about that extra slice you just snuck. I plan to use it in many of my baked goods this holiday, and I know my family won’t suspect a thing!

Chocolate Mint Brownies | Bob's Red Mill

To celebrate the start of the holiday baking season, Bob’s Red Mill for giving away a prize pack filled with high-quality baking essentials. One lucky winner will receive:

To enter the giveaway: Visit The Law Student’s Wife and scroll to the bottom of the post. You’ll find full entry details, as well as multiple ways to win!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Yield: 1 8×8-inch pan

Ingredients

For the Brownie Layer

For the mint layer:

  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 -1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 -1/2 tablespoons Milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure Peppermint Extract
  • 2 drops Green Food Coloring

For the topping:

  • 1 -1/2 (1-ounce) squares Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1 -1/2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Directions

  1. Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch pan and set aside.
  2. Prepare the brownie layer: In a heat-proof bowl set atop a pan of simmering water so that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water’s surface, melt the 12 tablespoons butter and 3 ounces chocolate together. Stir frequently and watch carefully so the chocolate doesn’t burn. When the chocolate has nearly melted, remove from heat and stir until smooth. Set aside and let cool completely.
  3. Once the chocolate has cooled, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add the vanilla extract and sugar, beating thoroughly. Add the whole wheat pastry flour and all purpose flour, then beat until blended.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the middle appears set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  4. Prepare the mint layer: In a medium bowl, beat the 3 tablespoons of softened butter and powdered sugar together. Add the milk and vanilla, beating until smooth, then beat in the food coloring.  Spread over the cooled brownie base and refrigerate until firm.
  5. For the topping: Melt the 1 1/2 ounces chocolate and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter together, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over the chilled mint layer, then spread with spatula, gently covering surface with a very layer. Place in the refrigerator to set, then cut into squares. The brownies will cut more easily (and are delicious) when chilled. Enjoy with a large glass of milk.

Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator or wrap tightly and freeze for up to two months.

Erin Clarke

Erin Clarke is dedicated to wholesome food that tastes incredible. On her blog, Well Plated by Erin (www.wellplated.com), she shares approachable recipes for lightened-up comfort foods, healthier baked treats, and seasonal eating. She passionately believes that family dinner can be special without being complicated and that one need not sacrifice taste to enjoy a balanced diet. The Huffington Post named her as a “Best Food Blog for Eating on a Budget,” and her recipes have been featured on TODAY, Oprah, Parade, The Kitchn, and Cosmopolitan. She conducts televised cooking demonstrations and resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

When Erin’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find her out running, working on long overdue photo projects, and exploring Milwaukee’s local food scene. She owns far too many plaid shirts and is convinced that bourbon should be classified as a condiment.

Keep up with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus

 

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Erin Clarke Google: Erin Clarke
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quinoa bites F

3 Healthy Road Trip Snacks

by Claire Gallam in Recipes

The holiday season is upon us, and to many, that means lots of baking, holiday parties, endless shopping and long road trips to see family and friends. Even though it’s just as easy to pull into a McDonald’s or a Burger King when the kids start demanding food, those meals filled with fat, empty calories and sugar will only leave them hungry again in no time.

My suggestion? Skip the drive through and pack your car full with one of these healthy, fiber and protein-packed snacks for seamlessly easy road snacking. Now, I can’t promise your kids will behave, but I can promise they’ll eat these up without any complaining.

Preventing your son from licking his sister’s face or your daughter from hogging the iPad is on you, I’m just packing the snacks.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | Bob's Red Mill

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yields about 8 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/3 cup of Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/3 cup of Canola Oil
  • 1 cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt together. Form a well in the middle. Add eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and oil.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir until fully mixed. Add chocolate chips and nuts, stir until incorporated.
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of batter into each cup (or until 3/4 the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until browned.

Mexican Quinoa Bites | Bob's Red Mill

Mexican Quinoa Bites

Yields about 14 mini bites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa (we love tricolor)
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded Carrot
  • 1 stalk Leeks, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Jalapeño Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons diced Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Green Chiles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Cilantro
  • 1/3 cup shredded Colby Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon Mexican Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Plus Sour Cream (or Greek Yogurt) and Avocado for garnish

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix the quinoa, egg, carrot, leeks, garlic, jalapeño, diced tomatoes, green chiles cilantro and cheese. Mix in the seasoning and salt and pepper.
  3. Fill each muffin tin all the way full with quinoa mix. Bake for about 16 – 20 minutes, or until crispy on the outside.

Fluffy Banana Bread | Bob's Red Mill
Easy Frosted Banana Bread

Serves about 14 – 16.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2-½ tablespoons unsalted Butter
  • 3-½ medium Bananas, smashed
  • ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Almond Meal
  • ½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 cup chopped Walnuts
  • ½ cup Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Chocolate Chips for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large 9 x 3 x 3 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the applesauce, butter, eggs and sugar, until creamed. Mix in the banana, cream and vanilla, stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the flour, almond meal, xantham gum and baking soda together.
  4. Make a well in the center of the butter ingredients and add the flour mixture, fold to combine. Stir in the chopped nuts.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.
  6. Bake for about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, frost with cream cheese. Top with chocolate chips.

Claire GallamClaire is a cookbook author, food writer and recipe creator, soon-to-be culinary student
and avid world traveler. She is recently married to a social media guru who loves *almost* everything she conjures up. She writes full-time for the Food section of SheKnowsFabulousFoods.com and is a contributing writer for the Travel section of SheKnows. You can also follow her daily musings and find delicious healthy recipes on her food blog, The Realistic Nutritionist. Follow Claire on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with her newest creations. 

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Claire Gallam Google: Claire Gallam
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Ciabatta Bread F

Baker’s Dozen: Essential Tips and Tricks for Baking Success

by Stephanie Wise in Featured Articles

In my five years of baking and blogging about bread, I’ve acquired a few bits of knowledge on the subject along the way. This doesn’t mean I don’t have oh-so-much more to learn – believe me, I do, as I am often reminded by a recipe fail – but thanks to these handy tips and tricks, I’m much better off than I used to be (sayonara, loaves of bricks!).

Because I want everyone in the whole world to know how to bake a good loaf of bread because there are few better things to bake and eat from scratch, in my opinion, I’m going to share some of those tips and tricks with you – a “baker’s dozen” of handy knowledge, if you will – along with a few delicious recipes from me and other Bob’s Red Mill bloggers that can help you get started!

  1. Know the difference between active dry and instant yeast. Instant yeast can be directly added to the dry ingredients in your recipe, while active dry yeast most often needs to be activated before it can be added to the remaining ingredients. To activate active dry yeast, dissolve the yeast in a bowl of warm water (sometimes with some sugar or honey, too) and let it sit until foamy. The amounts of these ingredients should be indicated in the recipe, for example, in this recipe for Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread with Caramelized Onions from The Roasted Root. Some people like using instant yeast because you can skip a step, but I prefer to use active dry yeast in most of my recipes so I know the yeast is fresh.
  2. Some flours cannot be substituted for another. Sometimes, yes, they can, but when you come across a situation when they can’t, you’ll know it. For instance, in my recipe for Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread, it’s best to use the ratio of all-purpose flour to whole wheat flour called for so you don’t end up with the aforementioned “brick loaf.” Whole wheat flour needs more water to absorb to yield the same result as all-purpose flour with less water, but even with some tweaking of the recipe, it doesn’t always work. That being said, I will sometimes substitute up to 75 percent of the all-purpose flour called for in a recipe with whole wheat flour, but no more. The same goes for bread vs. all-purpose flour – bread flour has a higher gluten content, so when a recipe calls for it, it’s probably because it will give the bread the extra shape and sturdiness it needs. In those cases, I often suggest just sticking with whatever the recipe calls for.

  3. Check the expiration dates. This is a big one, because I think many of our recipe failures can be attributed to it. So be sure you have the freshest ingredients on hand: Baking soda, baking powder, yeast, nuts and even whole wheat flour can all lose their oomph over time. I like to keep my flours in the fridge to extend their shelf lives, and on my jar of yeast (which I also refrigerate) I’ll write the date six months from when I’ve opened it, which is when it tends to lose its freshness.
  4. How to make your own ingredients. You’ve got the oven pre-heating. You’ve got the mixing bowls set out. And then you realize you’re missing a key ingredient. Raise your hand if you’ve been there! Yeah, me too. That’s when knowing how to make your own ingredients comes in handy. Here are a few examples:
  • Buttermilk: Combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a scant cup of milk for every cup of buttermilk you need for the recipe. Let it sit for five minutes.
  • Cake Flour: Remove 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour for every cup you need for the recipe and replace it with cornstarch. Sift the ingredients together about four or five times.
  • Bread Flour: Remove 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour for every cup you need for the recipe and replace it with gluten additive. Stir it in.
  • Homemade Butter: Savory Simple has a fantastic tutorial on how to make your own!
  1. How to halve ingredients in a recipe. There are times when a recipe makes a double batch, or I just don’t need all of those muffins or pancakes, so I’ll halve the recipe. That’s when this nifty guide comes in handy.
  2. Keep fruit from sinking to the bottom of baked goods. Easy-peasy: Give the berries or pieces of fruit a good toss in one or two tablespoons of the flour called for in the recipe, then add them to the batter. This isn’t necessary for yeast breads, as the dough is sturdy enough to hold up the fruit. Here’s a great recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal Bread from The Lemon Bowl to give it a try on.

  3. Less is more. If there is nothing else you take from this list, let this be the one mantra you keep with you for baking. It never fails me, especially when it comes to working with dough. The less you play with the dough after it’s fully kneaded, the better. The less flour you add to it to make it a smooth, soft, pliable, elastic, tacky (but not sticky) dough, the better. The less flour you sprinkle on a surface to knead or shape the dough, the better.
  4. Know when bread is fully kneaded. Solution: The windowpane test. Once you’ve kneaded your dough, remove a small piece of it and stretch it out between your fingers to a thin membrane. If the dough breaks, it needs a little more kneading. If it stays thin and translucent, it’s ready.
  5. Make dough rise really well. If it’s the cooler seasons (meaning, it’s sub-70 degrees in your kitchen), I’ve found this trick works well to helping dough proof better: Wrap a heating pad in a thin towel, turn it on low heat and set it on a counter. Place the dough, in a covered bowl or loaf pan, on top of the wrapped heating pad. The little bit of added heat from the pad will help the dough along. Don’t have a heating pad? Place the bowl or loaf pan in the microwave or oven, turned off.
  6. How to test when a dough is doubled. I’m a big fan of eyeballing it, but for extra accuracy, place a strip of tape on the side of the bowl to gauge when the dough is doubled, or, lightly press two fingers into the top of the risen dough. If the indentations remain, the dough has doubled.

  7. How to tell when a loaf is fully baked. Take the loaf out of the oven and give it a tap on the bottom with your fingernails. If it makes a good “thwacking” sound, like it’s almost hollow, it’s probably done. But to be extra sure, insert an instant-read thermometer in the bottom center. For regular yeast breads, 210°F to 220°F is ideal; if it’s an egg or milk-based yeast bread – like this recipe for Apple Honey Challah from The Law Student’s Wife – or has a few extra ingredients in it (like nuts or veggies), aim for 200°F to 210°F. This does not apply to quick breads.
  8. How to store yeast breads. Crusty loaves store well in a paper bag and soft, milk or egg-based enriched breads store well in an airtight container or plastic wrap. Both can be stored at room temperature for a day or two before they get stale, but I like to refrigerate my breads to extend their lives (this is a huge no-no to some because it can alter the flavor of the bread, but I’d rather keep my bread around for longer). If you want to freeze bread, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then foil.
  9. Have great baking resources at the ready. Bob’s Red Mill has oodles of resources, products and articles that will help you along on your baking journey!

StephanieStephanie is the baker/blogger/babbler behind the blog, Girl Versus Dough, where she writes about her adventures in bread baking and other tasty, unique recipes. Her approach is friendly yet inspiring, down-to-earth yet adventurous. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Elliott, her furry child-cat, Percy and a beautiful baby girl, Avery. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter

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Stephanie Wise Google: Stephanie Wise
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What is it Wednesday | Bob's Red Mill

What is it? Wednesday: Pastry Flour

by Cassidy Stockton in Recipes, What is it? Wednesday, Whole Grains 101

What is pastry flour? Pastry flour is a low-protein flour designed for baking when baking powder or baking soda is the leavening agent. It bakes delicate pastries, chewy cookies and is an excellent solution for pie crusts. We recommend our Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for bakers who want to use whole grains, but need a lighter touch. Full-force whole wheat flour is great for breads, but a little heavy for cookies and muffins. Our whole wheat pastry flour is milled from soft white wheat, which has less protein (aka gluten) than our whole wheat flour ground from hard red wheat. We offer whole wheat pastry flourorganic whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached fine pastry flour for all of your pastry baking needs.

How is it different from all purpose flour and cake flour? Pastry flour, whether whole wheat or unbleached white, has less protein than all purpose flour and more than cake flour. It’s a happy place in between.

Why would you use this instead of all purpose flour or cake flour? I am starting to sound like a broken record, but you choose this flour because you can. Because baking is an act of love and, just as you would choose your words carefully in a love letter, you choose your ingredients carefully when baking something from your heart. It sounds cheesy, and maybe it is a little, but when I bake, I bake with the intention of creating something special for my loved ones. I can’t think of the last time that I baked just to get the job done.

When you want to make a perfect blueberry muffin, pumpkin quick bread or chewy chocolate chip cookie, pastry flour is a good choice. Just between us, I would venture to say that unbleached pastry flour and cake flour are pretty interchangeable. You probably don’t need both on hand. Whole wheat pastry flour, though, is a kitchen essential when you want to use whole grains in your baking. Whole wheat pastry flour is a far cry from regular whole wheat flour. It is not nearly as heavy as regular whole wheat flour and has a lighter flavor. It’s wonderful when used half and half with white flour. I guarantee that no one will know your chocolate chip cookies have whole grains if you use half whole wheat pastry flour and half white. I know, I’ve done it. Do not, however, be fooled into thinking you can use pastry flour for bread baking. You’ll be sadly disappointed.

What is it? Wednesday: Pastry Flour

Why does protein (gluten) matter? The protein in wheat flour (aka gluten) gives baked goods structure and elasticity. For chewy breads and pizza crusts, you want to use a higher protein flour. For pastries and delicate baked goods, you want less protein.

Gluten is sticky and stretchy (think of a balloon). When leavening reacts and produces gasses in your baked good, gluten creates pockets that expand around these gasses, causing your baked good to rise. More gluten and high-power leavening (yeast) will make beautiful artisan breads with lovely air pockets. Less gluten and tamer leavening (baking soda, baking powder), make smaller bubbles and smaller air pockets. When you’re striving to create a decadent coffee cake, you want a small crumb and a moist loaf.

Is pastry flour gluten free? Nope.

Is Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour organic? We offer one organic option- Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. Otherwise, our regular whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached fine pastry flour are not organic.

Is Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour enriched? Yes, our Unbleached Fine Pastry Flour is enriched to government standards with  niacin, iron, thiamine, folic acid and riboflavin. Our whole wheat varieties are not enriched, as they contain all of the healthful vitamins and minerals just as nature intended.

Is Bob’s Red Mill pastry flour whole grain? Our whole wheat varieties are made with whole grain soft white wheat, nothing added, nothing removed. Our unbleached fine pastry flour is not whole grain.

Is there a substitute for pastry flour? Not really, but if you are in a pinch, all purpose flour and cake flour are close replacements for white pastry flour. For whole grain baking, a combination of regular whole wheat flour and all purpose flour will work, but baked goods will be more dense. Luckily, whole wheat pastry flour is a very popular item and available at many retail stores.

What is it? Wednesday: Pastry Flour

Some of our favorite recipes using whole wheat pastry flour: 

View even more here

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Cassidy Stockton Google: Cassidy Stockton
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