Banana Bread: Fast, Easy and Deeee-licious!

I like banana bread. Or banana cake. Not sure how you tell the difference. But in any case, I went looking for a new recipe (I have blogged a recipe from TheFreshLoaf previously) just to see what was out there and ran across this one from baker and author David Lebovitz that looked pretty darn good. So I gave it a go and really liked it. So I thought I’d share the process for those of you who want a quick, warm-from-the-oven treat. It’s very simple and, I need to point out, really yummy.

Banana Bread,
from David Lebovitz
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake, 12 servings

Be sure to use very ripe bananas: the skins should have black speckles on them and be soft to the touch.

Continue reading “Banana Bread: Fast, Easy and Deeee-licious!”

Recipe: Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

HeadCranBiscottiThis is the recipe used in the companion Step-by-Step Biscotti Treats post.

With a festive mix of red cranberries and green pistachios, these make a tasty surprise any time of year but also a lovely winter holiday gift.

This recipe was derived from as supplied by member MimiCT. Continue reading “Recipe: Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti”

Recipe: Cappuccino Biscotti

Head-CapBiscottiThis is the recipe used in the companion Step-by-Step Biscotti Treats post.

Coffee flavoured with added chocolate chips and spices, they make an interesting accompaniment to your breakfast cup o’ java.

This recipe was derived from as supplied by member MimiCT. Continue reading “Recipe: Cappuccino Biscotti”

Biscotti Treats

Head-BiscottiJust as a change of pace, I decided to step out of the BBA Challenge for a bit and do something a little off the beaten track. I ran across a couple of intriguing recipes for Biscotti while perusing and decided to give these Italian coffee-time cookies a whirl. They seemed like a relatively simple thing to make, were definitely a switch up from bread and looked like they’d make a festive treat for the holidays.

Two recipes were offered up by TFL member MiniCT: Cappuccino Biscotti and Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti. Although they require slightly different oven temps (350º vs 325º respectively) and times, I decided to give both a whirl together. “In for a penny, in for a pound” as they say. (OK, I’m not 100% sure that saying applies but it sounds deep, dunnit?)

You’ll find the Cappuccino Biscotti recipe here and the Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti recipe here. Both can be printed for ease of reference.

Let’s begin…

Continue reading “Biscotti Treats”

Home-made Pan Release recipe

Tired of having your baked goods stick to your pans? Are you frustrated with cakes, panned breads and cinnamon rolls ruined because they rip out, leaving half of it glued to the bottom of your loaf pan? Then this is the solution just for you!

And no, there’s NOTHING being sold here! Billy Mays is not being channeled. This is just a handy tip for all you bakers out there.

As noted in a recent post on Banana Bread that came out – or rather didn’t – of a loaf pan, here’s the excessively simple Pan Release recipe that a lot of pro bakers use.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss it, it really IS that simple!


  • one part flour (by volume)
  • one part vegetable oil
  • one part vegetable shortening.

CakeRelease1 CakeRelease2

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Place all three ingredients in a bowl and mix (by hand or with mixer) until smooth.

Yup, that’s it!
Now, put this in a lidded container and use a pastry brush to apply to your pans (cake, bread, whatever). Your fingers or a bit of paper towel will also do if a pastry brush isn’t handy, they’re also easier to clean.

This can be stored at room temp in the cupboard, lasts for 6 months.

How much to make? For the pint jar above, I used a 1/3 cup measures. I measured the flour, then the oil then the Crisco shortening (which dropped out of the now oiled cup easily). If you don’t do a lot of pan baking, try 1/4 cup of each. Total cost for that jar full: maybe 20-25¢? So even if you only use half, toss out leftovers and make a new (smaller) batch in 6 months, it’s still insanely cheap.

This is not only easy to make but a lot less costly than commercial stuff and without questionable additives (did you know some spay oils use propane as their propellants?).

The pro bakers swear by this stuff. Obviously this won’t replace spray oil when you need to mist a loaf but for keeping baked things non-stick, it’s great and a lot simpler (and less messy) than greasing and flouring. I use it to grease baking pans but also for the proofing bowls.

I have never, ever had anything stick when I use it. And it’s what I use when I want to be sure even the stickiest stuff doesn’t glue itself to my coated pans; commercial spray oil can build up on those and become gummy.

So give it a shot, if you bake you probably have all the ingredients already. Then come back and let everyone know if it worked well for you.