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Monday, March 4, 2013

What's Sweet on Your Table?

Happy Monday! Back to the work week... *insert dramatic sigh here. BUT, it's going to be okay because I am going to shower you with recipes and tips! Today I want to give you a few new breakfast sweets to liven up your brunch...or just to get you through mid-week. These are a little outside the box, but sure to be delicious!

Vegan Banana Coffee Bread
Recipe adapted from Terri Wu, Farallon, San Francisco


  • Flaxseeds, ¼ cup
  • Coffee, freshly brewed and hot, ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
  • Canola or grapeseed oil, ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • All-purpose flour, 1 1/3 cups plus 2 teaspoons, divided
  • Whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup
  • Baking soda, 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon
  • Ripe bananas, 4 large or 5 small, peeled
  • Vegan mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla extract, 1½ teaspoons
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Granulated sugar, 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons

  1. In a coffee grinder or spice mill, grind until fine the: Flaxseeds
  2. Add the ground flaxseeds to a medium bowl and use the wooden spoon to stir in the: Hot coffee
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture becomes gelatinous, at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat the loaf pan with 1 tablespoon canola oil
  5. Add: 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  6. Shake the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Tap out the excess.
  7. Place 2 large pieces of parchment paper on the counter. Over the sheet, sift together: 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon
  8. Repeat sifting the dry ingredients over the second sheet of parchment, then sift a third time onto the first sheet of parchment. Transfer the dry mixture to a large bowl.
  9. In a medium bowl, use the potato masher to mash the peeled bananas
  10. Use the wooden spoon to stir in the: Vegan mayonnaise, vanilla extract, kosher salt
  11. Remove the coffee-flax mixture from the fridge and whisk in the granulated sugar
  12. Whisk in the remaining: ½ cup oil
  13. Use a rubber spatula to fold the flax mixture into the flour mixture until a few dry streaks remain, then fold in the banana-mayonnaise mixture.
  14. Once the batter is completely combined, use the rubber spatula to transfer it to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes, and if the top looks dark, loosely cover with a sheet of aluminum foil. Continue to bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the center resists light pressure, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and cool completely before running a paring knife around the loaf and inverting it onto a platter. Use the bread knife to slice the banana bread into 1-inch-thick pieces and serve.

French Toast Stuffed with Hazelnut-Chocolate Spread, Bananas, and Bacon
Recipe adapted from Brad Farmerie, The Thomas, Napa, CA

Hazelnut-Chocolate Spread
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • ½ pound milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup demerara or light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

French toast
  • 8 bacon strips **As a vegetarian, I'd leave this out, but if you like bacon, definitely try it!!!
  • 8 thick slices of sourdough bread (about 1 medium loaf)
  • 2 large ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into thin pieces, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • Maple syrup (preferably Grade B), for serving
  1. Make the hazelnut-chocolate spread: Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and rub to remove as much of the skins as possible. Add the warm nuts, chocolate, sugar and salt to a food processor and purée until smooth, adding the oil in a slow and steady stream until well combined. Transfer the hazelnut-chocolate spread to an airtight container and keep at room temperature. (It will thicken over a few days. To loosen to a slightly more spreadable consistency, heat in the microwave for about 5 seconds.)
  2. Make the French toast: In a medium skillet set over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until the strips are browned and crisp on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Use a pair of tongs to remove the slices from the pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Lay the sourdough bread on a cutting board. Evenly coat each bread slice with the hazelnut-chocolate spread (reserve extra hazelnut-chocolate spread for serving).
  4. In a medium bowl, use a fork to smash together about half of the bananas slices until a chunky mash forms. Spread the mashed bananas over 4 of the hazelnut-chocolate spread bread slices. Coarsely chop the bacon and sprinkle over the banana mash. Place the sliced bananas on top of the bacon and cover with the remaining 4 hazelnut-chocolate spread slices, pressing down lightly so they stick together. Place the sandwiches in a single layer in a large, ovenproof baking dish.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs until frothy. Whisk in the milk. Pour the egg-milk mixture over the sandwiches and carefully turn them over to coat evenly with the egg-milk mixture.
  6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once the butter is melted, add two of the sandwiches and cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and sandwiches. Halve the stuffed French toast on a bias, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with maple syrup and additional hazelnut-chocolate spread on the side.
Happy baking!

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