Pear Nut Bread

 

Hello all–  Are you on the countdown to Thanksgiving??  Me too!  Can’t wait for kids and grandparents to come pouring in the door.  Hoping for hugs and laughter and my sister’s pie.  So thankful.

And if you have people staying over for the weekend (like we will), it’s great to have a couple loaves of this bread waiting in the fridge– for breakfast or to serve with soup or for a midnight snack…  Love these tender, fruity moist little loaves–think you will too!

PEAR NUT BREAD
1/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 pears peeled, cored & cut in bits
1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 or 2 tab. milk or half & half

Peel, core and cut the pears to bits and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugar and eggs.  Then stir in the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Then fold in the pear and nuts just until it’s all thoroughly blended.

Scoop the batter in a standard 9″x 5″ loaf pan (I used 2 smaller half size pans) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted into the loaf comes out dry.

While it’s baking, whisk together the powered sugar and milk to make the glaze–use 1 tablespoon of milk to make a thicker glaze– or 2 tablespoons for a thin glaze.

When the bread is baked, let it sit in the pans for 10 minutes to cool just a bit and then remove and drizzle the glaze over the top.

Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies (Gluten Free)

Hi Cookie Lovers– I almost hesitate to call these cookies.  With no flour and with an unusual mix of ingredients, they are more like candy!!  But what they truly are is chewy chocolaty delicious!!

Making them for my Monday ladies tonight, and trundling the leftovers up with me to visit the kids in San Francisco this week.  A grandma should always arrive with a bag of treats!

CHOCOLATE SEA SALT COOKIES
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
sea salt

Stir together the sugar, cocoa and salt,  Then stir in the eggs, vanilla and oil until it is all blended.  Finally fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon globs of batter at least 2″ apart (they really spread in the oven!) onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment (so that they don’t stick).  Lightly sprinkle with just a little sea salt on each cookie.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Let them cool on the parchment to firm up before you take them off of the pan. Makes about 2 dozen.  Enjoy!!

Chocolate Walnut Pie Bars

Hi there– I sure wish you could meet my Monday night ladies.  They come in the door in around 7:00 each week.  I can hear them talking and laughing as they come up the steps.  There are hugs and cups of coffee and when I finally get them to settle in, there is time to read and pray together. It’s a bright spot in my week.

And, of course, we eat.  This week it’s these pie bars– nutty and sweet (a little like my ladies!)

CHOCOLATE WALNUT PIE BARS

Crust:
1  1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted

Filling:
3 eggs
1  1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. melted butter
1  1/2 cups chocolate chips
1  1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

To make the crust, mix together the flour and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Then fold in the melted 1/2 cup butter until it’s all crumbly.  Press the mixture into 9″x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s lightly browned.

While that’s baking, stir together the filling– beat the 3 eggs in a mixing bowl, then stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Then mix in the butter, chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon the filling carefully over the crust, covering it from edge to edge.  Bake it in the same 350 even for 25 to 30 minutes longer, until the filling is set.  Let it cool completely and then cute into tidy bars!

Apple Broccoli Salad

Hello friends–  Here’s the old favorite, Broccoli Salad, with a bit of a fresher taste.  Sweet apples and carrots add crunch and flavor.  And a bit of red onion sharpens up the taste.

We had it at a salad pot luck here a couple weeks ago and there were just a few shreds left at the bottom of the bowl by the time we all served ourselves up!  I think you’d like it too.

APPLE BROCCOLI SALAD

Dressing:
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tab. sugar
1  1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt

Salad:
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 apple, cored and cut to small bits
2 carrots, peeled and cut to match sticks
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup red onion chopped

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt to make the dressing.

Add the chopped broccoli, bits of apple, cut carrots, walnuts and chopped red onion to the dressing and mix well to coat all the veggies.   Chill about 30 minutes before serving.  Delish!

Maple Walnut Banana Bread

Hello Bakers–  I’ve been making my Grandma Rose’s banana bread for as long a I can remember,  It’s the favorite in kitchens all over our family.  But when I saw this version sweetened by maple syrup, I had to give it a try.  I can just say it smells heavenly coming out of the oven!!

MAPLE WALNUT BANANA BREAD
2 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tab. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

topping:
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Prepare the topping first.  Chop the nuts, mix in 2 tab. brown sugar and set aside.

Mash those bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Then stir in the oil, syrup, egg and vanilla.  Next mix in the flour, brown sugar, baking powder an salt.

Spoon the batter in to a standard 9″x5″ loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees from 35 to 40 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.  (I used two smaller pans to make one loaf to keep, one to take to my father-in-law Stu). Enjoy!!

Caramel Pear Cake

 

Hello there– It’s that time of year when dinner can shift from leaning in around the family room table, to catching cool evening breezes under the maple trees in the back yard.   So last week friends came over the share an outdoor “pot luck salad supper” — perfect summer kick off!

And for dessert we had Miriam’s tart, Glenda’s legendary lemon bars, Joanne’s super strawberry cake and this caramel pear cake.  Sweet ending to time around the table with friends.

P.S. The best thing about this cake is that there is more pears, nuts mixed in than batter– so it’s fruity sweet crunchy sweet.

CARAMEL PEAR CAKE
2 large pears, peeled, seeded & cut in bits
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1  1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
garnish:  powdered sugar,  1/4 cup salted caramel*

Prepare the pears and walnuts.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the egg, oil and vanilla (batter will be very stiff!)  Fold in the pears and walnuts until it’s thoroughly combined.

Spoon the batter into a 8″ or 9″ cake pan** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for an hour or so.  Then dust on a little powdered sugar through a sieve.  Drizzle the salted caramel over the top.

If you serve it with ice cream, be sure to have a little pitcher of warm caramel to top it all!

*You can make your own caramel– I used Smuckers salted caramel from a jar!
**I like a springform pan because it’s easier to extract the cake and set it on a pretty plate.

White Texas Sheet Cake

Hello ya’ll–  We lived in Texas for a few years when we were first married and the chocolate version of this sweet cake was a staple of friends there.  And it made it’s way into our own cake rotation.

So when I ran across this white reiteration of the old favorite, I wanted to give it a try.  Swap out cinnamon and pecans for almond flavoring and walnuts– and of course, hold the chocolate!  Love the simple, homey little cake.  Just right for a weeknight meal or a picnic with friends.

WHITE TEXAS SHEET CAKE
Cake:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp. almond extract or amaretto*

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract or amaretto
1 cup walnuts, chopped (or more if you love nuts like I do!!)

In a mixing bowl, stir up the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a saucepan, bring the 1 cup butter and water to  simmer (be sure all the butter is melted).  Them stir it completely into the flour mixture.

In a mug, whisk together the eggs, sour cram and 1 tsp. amaretto with a fork.  Then blend it into the batter.

Spoon the batter into a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking sheet** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 375 degrees of 18 to 20 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch.

While that’s baking make the frosting.  Bring the 1/2 cup butter and milk to a simmer in a saucepan.  Take it off the heat and then stir in the powered sugar, amaretto and walnuts.  Smooth it over the cake– delicious warm or cooled!

*I use Amaretto in place of almond extract because it it so much less expensive!  And a big bottle will last forever…
**In place of the large baking sheet, I used two 10″ inch tart pans– prettier to serve from.