When life gives you bananas, you make….

You know where I’m going, right? You buy a bunch of bananas which end up not getting eaten before they turn brown at which point nobody wants to eat them. What to do? You make banana bread of course!

For those of you with kids, this banana bread makes for a great after-school snack. It’s made with only whole wheat flour (can’t tell), a reduced amount of sugar and some added protein.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 230 gr. white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 150 gr. chocolate chips
  • 4 or 5 medium sized bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 150 gr. brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, oil, sugar, and eggs.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips. Stir this into the banana mixture and mix thoroughly to make sure the ingredients are fully combined.
  5. With the help of a spatula, pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for about 50 to 60 minutes. Test to make sure it’s done by inserting a thin knife or a long toothpick into the center. It must come out without any wet batter. If the bread is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with aluminum foil for the last 15 to 20 minutes of the baking time. 
  7. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. This banana bread can easily be frozen.

Enjoy!

Soda bread, a sign of spring

Making Soda Bread reminds me that spring is around the corner. Spring is definitely something to look forward to with more outdoor time which this year may give us more together time too, as things will have it.

I didn’t grow up with Soda Bread but I love it and it does remind me of the delicious raisin bread my mom sometimes got my sister and I as a treat when we were kids.  

For this bread I use Irish-style whole meal flour which is a whole grain flour. It makes the bread more dense and more filling. I also add caraway seeds, giving it a distinct flavor that goes so well with the sweetness of the raisins.  

Enjoy this bread with brunch or as a snack in-between meals. It also makes for an easy after-school snack. You can freeze it and take up a slice or two when anyone is in the mood.

Ready to order yours? Check it out here.

A classic (and sticky) Danish cake

Brunsviger is a popular Danish Cake. The name is hard to translate. “Brun” is brown in Danish but I’m not sure how I would convey “sviger” in English. Many claim that it originated on the Danish island of Funen (the same island where Hans Christian Andersen was born) but nobody knows for sure. What the records do show is that the cake is quite old, meaning the recipe first appeared in 1873!

Brunsviger

But enough about the history of this cake. Now to the good stuff – how it tastes! I don’t think I’ve ever met a Dane who hasn’t tasted Brunsviger. Its sticky, gooey topping is what makes it special. Because I love the traditional Danish spices of cinnamon and cardamom, I did add a pinch of cardamom to the cake itself and a teaspoon of cinnamon to the topping. That isn’t the traditional way but it’s good! Brunsviger is often used as a birthday pastry by being made into a cake man/boy or cake woman/girl depending on whose birthday itself. For those occasions, it is decorated with candy, making it look very festive.

It’s an easy cake to make so I hope you will try it. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 50 gr butter
  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp dry instant yeast
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • pinch of cardamom (optional)
  • 275 gr all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg

Topping

  • 200 gr butter
  • 200 gr brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions

Warm the milk. Add the butter and let it melt. Pour into bowl for a stand mixer or any other bowl.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl along with the egg. Knead the dough in the mixer or with a wooden spoon until smooth. It will be a bit sticky.

Line a square baking pan/brownie pan with parchment paper. Spread the dough onto the parchment paper with wet fingers. Let it rise, covered, on the countertop for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

While the dough is rising, make the topping by melting the butter and brown sugar in a pot while stirring. Once melted, add the cinnamon, if using, and mix well. Let it cool.

Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger. Stir the topping again before pouring it over the cake.

Bake the cake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool on a rack before slicing.

Happy baking!

A delicious breakfast roll

I bake rolls quite often because it’s such an easy thing to have on hand for breakfast during the week. Usually I make a double portion so I have enough to put some in the freezer. When we want them for breakfast, I’ll take a few out of the freezer the night before and warm them up in the morning.

The rolls I made this morning are made with some whole grain flour, carrots, cranberries (without added sugar) and walnuts. Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and a little bit of allspice enhance the flavors of these ingredients and make the rolls smell soooo good! Check out the recipe below.

Breakfast roll with carrots, cranberries and walnuts

Ingredients

  • 6 3/4 oz milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 tsp flake salt
  • 100 gr whole wheat flour or other whole grain flour
  • 350 gr unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 10 gr dry instant yeast
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 50 gr butter, softened
  • 1 egg combined with 1 Tbsp of water for brushing the rolls

Directions

Whisk together milk, eggs and sugar in a stand mixer. Add shredded carrot, cranberries, walnuts, salt and whole grain flour. Let it sit for a few minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, yeast and spices. Work in the butter until it’s crumbly.

Slowly add the flour/butter mixture to the other mixture using a stand mixer. Knead the dough until well combined. It will be sticky.

Let the dough rise, covered in a bowl on the countertop for about 1 hour.

Shape 12 rolls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cover them with cling wrap and let them rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Towards the end of the rise time, turn the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the rolls with the whisked egg and water. Bake them for about 15-18 minutes.

Happy baking!

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Fastelavn – a Danish celebration

As a child I used to look forward to Fastelavn because it was a day filled with fun and goodies, similar to Halloween. But unlike Halloween, Fastelavn always falls on a Sunday, between February 1st and March 7th, and always 7 weeks before Easter.

My friends and I, like most children in Denmark, would dress up in costumes, walk door to door in our neighborhood and sing a song when people opened their doors asking for treats or else…..

This year Fastelavn will look differently, just like our Halloween last year was different in the way we had to celebrate. But no matter what, people will still enjoy the special pastries that are traditionally served around the time of Fastelavn. Fastelavnsboller, as they are called, are sweet rolls with fillings such a jam, vanilla cream or whipped cream.

Fastelavn falls on the same day as Valentine’s Day this year and I think Fastelavnsboller are the perfect, indulgent treat to mark the day of love! ❤️ I offer two kinds – one filled with vanilla cream and raspberry jam, another filled with vanilla cream and chocolate. If you’d like to place an order, click here.

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Nothing like fresh homemade rolls

There really isn’t anything as good as coming home to the wonderful smell of homemade rolls! On second thought, eating those rolls is THE BEST.

My sister and I still talk about the memories we have of coming home from school, smelling the rolls that our mom had just baked for our afternoon snack, which we enjoyed all together while talking about our day. That is “hygge” for you.

Today, at my house, was a day that called for homemade chocolate rolls. And they were just coming out of the oven as my son and husband returned from their hike.

I want to share the recipe in case you feel inspired to bake them yourself. They are made with both cinnamon and cardamom which make them extra tasty. Check out the recipe below.

Chocolate Rolls with cinnamon and cardamom

Ingredients

  • 6 3/4 oz milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 125 gr whole wheat flour
  • 300 gr unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 10 gr dry instant yeast
  • 3/4 tsp flake salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 100 gr butter
  • 125 gr dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg for brushing the rolls

Directions

Warm the milk until it’s lukewarm. Add the eggs and sugar. Whisk to combine.

Mix the flours, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour until the butter is pea sized.

Slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mixture using a stand mixer or a wooden spoon. Knead the dough until well combined, either in the mixer or on flour-dusted countertop. Then fold in the chopped chocolate.

Let the dough rise, covered in a bowl on the countertop for about 1 hour.

Shape 12 rolls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cover them with cling wrap and let them rise for another hour.

Towards the end of the rise time, turn the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the rolls with the whisked egg and bake them for about 15 minutes.

Happy baking!

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Danish Æbleskiver

Æbleskiver are mainly served at Christmas time in Denmark. They are made of a pancake-like batter, baked in a special on the stove.

If you translate the word “æbleskiver” directly into English it would be “apple slices”. But æbleskiver are round and do not contain apple (at least most modern versions don’t). They do, however, offer lots of flavor with cardamom as the main spice and a little bit of beer in the batter.

The recipe has slight variations, but the recipe I use is a family treasure that shall never be changed. Once my mom offered us æbleskiver from different recipe, which we quickly rejected, and it was agreed that we will always stay with the “old” version.

My mom usually serves them with her own homemade blackberry jam and some powdered sugar for dipping. I do the same although I often make a mixed berry jam instead. But that’s all I change. And of course, there is the warm spiced drink called gløgg which we usually serve to accompany the treats. It warms you up and easily fills you with the Christmas spirit.

I love traditions, especially at Christmas!

Cranberry Chutney

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s time to start the preparations. Yes the holiday will be very different this year. We’re not getting together family or friends in order to keep everyone safe, but we will still make the foods that for my family are an integral part of this very special holiday; the holiday I have loved ever since I was introduced to it during my first year in the United States so long ago.

One of the items that have been a staple on our Thanksgiving menu for many years now is a cranberry chutney. I came across the recipe in a Cooking Light magazine in 1998 and it’s become tradition that I make this every year, no matter where or with whom we celebrate Thanksgiving. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly but it’s still really easy to make and I encourage you to try it.

Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sugar (or a little less)
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar (you can use white vinegar if you don’t have apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½  tsp ground ginger
  • ¼  tsp ground cloves
  • 12 oz fresh organic cranberries

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until the chutney is slightly thick. Stir occasionally.

Pour the chutney into clean jars (it’s a good idea to put the jars in boiling water first) and put the lids on while it’s still hot.

Enjoy!

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Time to bake with pumpkin

I love to bake in the fall. The warmth from the oven is welcoming as the temperature outside drops, and the smell of the spices reminds me that the holidays are coming. The high season for “hygge” is upon us!

Here is a recipe for a pumpkin bread that is more like a loaf of bread than a cake, with less sugar and butter but lots of flavor and a good amount of whole grains. The bread smells and tastes wonderfully of fall and Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread with whole wheat flour

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 ¾ cups pumpkin purée
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • ½ cup raisins

Directions

Combine flours, spices, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, eggs and melted butter.

Using a mixer, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead for 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading for 5-7 minutes until it’s smooth. Stir in the raisins.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 – 1 ½ hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into three pieces. Roll each piece into a log. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and braid them together. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under. 

Cover the braid with lightly greased plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove it from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy! 

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A Great Snack

Now that school has started for many of our kids, even if it’s virtual, they need some good, healthy snacks that give them fuel to get through the day.

I like to bake with vegetables and fruit. They add nice moisture and great flavor. But it’s also a good way to add something extra healthy to what you’re baking. Most kids won’t even notice when it comes to vegetables in their baked treats.

Here is a great recipe for a perfect snack.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use avocado oil)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 225 gr (2 cups) whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • approx. 300 gr (approx. 2 cups) shredded, unpeeled zucchini (preferably organic)
  • 170 gr (1 cup) chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, oil, honey, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and, if using, the cardamom and protein powder. Mix until well combined.
  4. Squeeze the zucchini to drain off some of the liquid. Stir it in the mixture along with the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for about 55 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Remove the loaf from the oven. Cool for 15 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack and cool completely before wrapping.

TIP: If you have leftover, shredded zucchini, squeeze it to drain some of the liquid and weigh/measure it. Then flatten it and put it in a freezer bag. Label, date and write the amount on the bag. Now you have some zucchini to add to another baked treat, preferably within 3 months.

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