Monday, August 1, 2016

My Favorite Sweet Breads!

Sweet breads are a tradition in our home. And there's only one way I bake them: with fresh ground whole wheat flour! So of course, I brought my wheat grinder, and whole grain white wheat to Taiwan! However, after arriving on island, I found Taiwan has awesome whole wheat flour, so that made sweet breads an interview treat tradition in the mission:)


2 eggs                                                            ½ tsp. cloves                       
½ cup oil                                                       ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin                                              ½ tsp. cinnamon
1½ cups sugar                                               ¼ tsp. baking powder
1½ cups flour (I use whole wheat)               ¾ tsp. baking soda
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)                 ¾ tsp. salt

I generally 3 times the recipe because a large can of pumpkin is approximately 3 cups. However, during Halloween I would decorate my front porch with extra large fresh pumpkins, then puree them in my Vitamix after Thanksgiving and freeze the pulp by the quart. This I did my first Halloween in Taiwan, and the pumpkin lasted 18 months! For holiday baking, 4 times the recipe is a lot easier to measure out:

8 eggs                                                            2 tsp. cloves                       
2 cups oil                                                       2 tsp. nutmeg
4 cups pumpkin                                             2 tsp. cinnamon
6 cups sugar                                                  1 tsp. baking powder
6 cups flour (I use whole wheat)                  1 Tbsp. baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips (optional)                 1 Tbsp. salt

Beat eggs. Add oil, pumpkin, sugar and mix well. Add dry ingredients and beat well. Grease pans or muffin tins with cooking spray. Bake in oven preheated to 350F for 50-60 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Makes 4 large loaves.

  • This bread will stay moist for over a week. To freeze, wrap well in plastic wrap; freezes for several weeks.
  • If adding chocolate chips, they tend to sink to the bottom and stick to the pan. When removing the bread from the pan, you’ll end up with holes in the bottom of your loaf. Solution: spray sides of baking pans. Line bottom only of pan with parchment or wax paper. Your loaf will remove easily, then peel off the paper to cool!
  • Amazing Pumpkin Bars: just bake in a pan! Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting!
  • Killer Cream Cheese Frosting:

          8oz. (1 cup) cream cheese, softened
          4 oz. (1 stick) butter, softened
          1 lb. (4 cups) powdered sugar
          ½ tsp. vanilla

          Cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. 
          This frosting can't dry out because the only liquid is vanilla!


One year I bought a huge Costco bag of fresh cranberries for Thanksgiving dinner and then had tons left over. So when quarterly interviews approached, I hunted for the perfect recipe to use them up. I love the combination of chocolate and tart was a hit!

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I use whole wheat flour!)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (I always use powdered when baking)
1 cup whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup chocolate chips (I usually cut back to 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Follow the tip for lining the baking pan with parchment paper under the Pumpkin Bread recipe.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Whisk cocoa powder into the butter while it is warm, making sure to fully dissolve it. Allow butter to cool for several minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter mixture and the sugar. Whisk in the egg and the vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Add in the remaining flour mixture and stir until just until all the dry ingredients are combined and no streaks of flour remain. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips. Pour into prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan and onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf; serves 12.


With a banana tree in the backyard of the mission home, about twice a year, we'd have a huge bunch of bananas that would ripen all at the same time. what to do? Bake banana bread!

6-8 bananas, ripe, mashed
2 sticks butter, softened                       
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
½ cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour (whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1½ - 2 cups chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup nuts (optional)

Beat eggs, butter, sugar, and bananas. Mix in milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat well. Grease pans or muffin tins with cooking spray. Bake in oven preheated to 350F for 50-60 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Makes 4 large loaves.

Again, line pans with wax or parchment paper if adding chocolate chips. For our final round of mission zone conferences, I baked whole wheat banana bread in half sheet pans and frosted with Cream Cheese frosting for our dear, dear missionaries:)

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