The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
Where do I even start? Maybe I should just start out by admitting that I am addicted to quick breads. Yes, I can raise my hand and unashamedly admit that I am over the top in love with them. How could you not be? Just the fact that it is a quick bread, it is easy to throw together, it smells awesome while baking, it tastes incredible upon eating, and your family looks at you with adoring eyes because you have baked something so wonderfully delectable. Is that a little over the top? Maybe, but really that's what a good quick bread is like in my house.
In case you couldn't already tell, I loved this month's Daring Bakers challenge! It was the perfect excuse to bake a myriad of different breads, have a slice here or there, stick it in the freezer for later and try another loaf. The only problem, which picture to post as my main picture. It was a difficult choice but I ended up going with the most colorful of those I baked.
How about if I just start at the beginning and take you through some of the quick breads that I baked up this month. Soon after reading our challenge I decided to bake up a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook that I got as a Christmas present. My husband and I are trying to watch our caloric and sugar intake so it felt like a bit of a splurge to be baking muffins. Also, I tried to pick one that I had all the ingredients for already and it was an added bonus that it had chocolate involved. Say hello to Double Chocolate Muffins! The muffins hit the spot without being overly sweet. The chocolate I used was a dark/bittersweet chocolate so it had a chocolate flavor without being sugary.
I can't post the recipe because that would be copyright infringement, but I definitely think that purchasing Dorie's cookbook is a welcome addition to any baking kitchen.
The next recipe that I tried was a savory little appetizer to be enjoyed while watching the Superbowl. Pepperoni Pizza Puffs pilfered from Pinterest (how is that for alliteration). They were tasty and made you want to pop more in your mouth than I'm sure the recommended serving was. You can find the recipe link here.
For my next baking frenzy I made three different loaves in one weekend. I couldn't decide which recipe to try so I decided to try them all. Of the three, my favorite was the cinnamon bread. It was fairly easy to put together, with the most skill being how to layer it in the loaf pan, it smelled heavenly in the oven and it tasted amazing upon sampling soon after it came out. It only gets better with time!
Chocolate Marble Bread (which really should be called cake) took a bit more skill to bake since you have to separate the batter evenly between the chocolate and vanilla and then spoon it into the loaf pan before swirling it together. But that being said, it was still very easy to make. My son called this Zebra Bread since it looked more like zebra stripes on the sides and top of the loaf. I was really pleased with how the marbling turned out.
And finally, Lemon Loaf. The original Daring Bakers recipe is for Meyer Lemon Loaf but unfortunately I can't add the word Meyer. And you can't know how disappointed I am in that little technicality. For every Daring Bakers challenge where people have commented on using Meyer lemons, I have been sorely disappointed to not find Meyer lemons anywhere in my vicinity. I don't know if we do citrus based recipes during an off-season for my region, or if I'm not shopping at the right stores, or if there are just never any Meyer lemons in my particular area. Whatever the case, you can make this recipe with just plain old yellow lemons and it tastes just fine.
By the way, the reason why you see two different colored loaves is because on this particular baking day it was pretty stormy with rain pouring down and wind howling. My son and I talked it over and decided that since the recipe gave us two loaves of bread we would make one traditional lemon and the other a rainbow color so that we would have the sun and a rainbow to brighten our day. What is funny to me is that when you give him a piece of the plain lemon and a piece of the rainbow lemon he thinks that the rainbow lemon tastes different and much better. There must be some truth to food having a psychological influence, or else you can chalk it up to the fact that he is 5 and fun, bright colors make everything taste better.
Now the part that you are all going to just love. I have decided that these three incredible breads need their very own post so I will be revealing each of the recipes over the next three days. I know, some of you are weeping along with drooling but I promise you will only have to wait another day or two to see the actual recipe.
Check back on February 28th for the Cinnamon Bread recipe, February 29th for the Chocolate Marble Bread recipe, and March 1st for the Lemon Loaf recipe.