Archive for Breakfast

Banana Bread

Happy Almost 2011!

I wish I had the time or the energy to really sit down and reflect on this past year at this moment but the past few days have been filled with snowboarding aka falling down a lot and being sore a lot. The good news, however, is that I think I finally have it down so I can at least reasonably go down a mountain with less than a dozen falls and less than half of those as actual falls. (I often sit down as a way of stopping but since this is purposeful I don’t see it as falling per se.. Go with it.) So it’s actually been good but my entire body hurts more at this point in time than it has ever hurt before. Is it strange that I’m proud of having beat up my body sufficiently enough to inflict such pain on myself?

In general though it’s been a great year. I started this blog and have met some wonderful people on it. I’ve pushed myself harder than ever before and I’m excited to see what the new year brings to Small Town Oven.

My blog resolution for 2011: Create a new recipe each month to share on STO.

Let’s hope I keep it!

In other reflections, I started my final year of medical school, began interviewing for residency positions (meaning a job), went to several weddings of people I love and adore, took a trip to Vegas, vacationed in London and Ireland, got a Kindle, and had some great times with some great people.

It was a good year but I’m ready for the new one to begin.

But not without my banana bread!!

This banana bread is a completely fantastic way to use up those bananas you have sitting on your counter getting older and darker by the minute. It’s soft, banana-y, and creates a wonderful crust (for your 93-year-old grandmothers who enjoy the burnt parts). It’s great for breakfast, mid-day snacks, or midnight munchies. Bring it to friends’ houses, family gatherings, or eat it all yourself and don’t tell a soul. I won’t tell. You have a little under 12 hours before that New Year’s Resolution hits. Just enough time to bake, eat, and hide the evidence!

Banana Bread
from Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger via Food Network

Makes 1 9″ loaf (or an 8″ loaf with lots of crust).

2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 over-ripe bananas
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease loaf pan however which way you like (I used butter).

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the milk and ground cinnamon. Set aside. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until well combined. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Then add in the banana mixture and combine. Stir in the flour mixture until the flour just disappears. Pour into loaf pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out (or keep it in the pan which is what we do).

See you in the New Year!

Everyday Cinnamon Rolls

How was everyone’s Christmas? I hope you shared some gifts and some love and some laughter!

I’m sure many of you had cinnamon rolls these past few days, or maybe you haven’t caught on yet and are looking for a way in.

So I’ll help you out and show you the ones I made yesterday! Because yesterday, this happened:

There’s somewhere over 2 feet of snow out there. It all started at 11am and let up overnight or maybe early this morning, I’m not quite sure. On Christmas Day my family went to our annual Christmas Part 2 party and late that night we all managed to get sick. So being snowed in the day after was quite welcome. It meant a day of recovery and rest but also a day of me and my brother on the couch watching tv, laptops in front of us, hanging out while my parents and grandmother hibernated in their rooms. There was little eating due to the previous night’s events but at some point in the afternoon I needed some sustenance.

Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of food to be had since we hold the Christmas Eve party (Christmas Part 1) and there were quite a few leftovers. But.. I wanted something warm, fresh from the oven, full of cinnamon, and covered in sweet glaze.

I had to have cinnamon rolls.

As I’ve shared before, I’m in love with the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls and apparently snow = cinnamon rolls in my mind because it snowed back then too. The only “problem” with that recipe is that it has to rest/rise for a long period of time, makes a TON of rolls, and involves a good amount of butter/oil. (Is too much butter really a problem? My heart says no. My thighs say yes. Help.) So I was in search of an easier and more figure-friendly recipe.

And here it is.

From Our Best Bites, this recipe can be baking in a little over an hour and only have a 1 3/4 sticks of butter in it! Plus it only makes 12, perfect for everyone to have their fair share without clogging too many arteries. (Trust me, I’m a doctor.) The rolls came out wonderfully soft and airy. Just enough cinnamon to be present but not overpowering. A tiny bit of glaze as a perfect “cherry on top”  but they’re not drowning (which, admittedly, I do sometimes want). These are excellent “everyday” cinnamon rolls. They’re not over-the-top but they fit the bill for any cinnamon roll craving.

You know you want a bite!

Everyday Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Our Best Bites, originally from AllRecipes

Makes 12.


For dough:

  • 1 c milk, divided
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 1/4 – 3 1/2 c all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c white granulated sugar
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 egg

For filling:

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

For glaze:

  • 1 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For dough: In a microwaveable bowl, heat 3/4 c milk and butter for 90 seconds. Stir, add remaining milk, and let cool until lukewarm. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or large bowl for a hand mixer, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Once milk has cooled to lukewarm, begin pouring milk into flour mixture while mixing constantly. Add in the egg and beat until well combined. Slowly add in the remaining 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 c flour and mix until the dough just barely leaves the sides of the bowl. Switch to a dough hook or knead by hand on a well floured surface for 5 minutes. Allow dough to rest on a well-floured surface for 10 minutes.

For filling: Mix butter, sugars, and cinnamon until well combined.

For assembly: Butter or spray 9 x 13″ baking pan. Roll out dough to 12 x 18″ rectangle. Spread filling over dough using the back of a spoon as needed. Roll the long sides and pinch the ends closed. Score and cut out 12 rolls, placing them in the prepared pan. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, covered with a clean towel. (I did this by heating my oven to 200F then turning it off, placing the rolls in, and leaving the oven door ajar.) Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

For glaze: Mix sugar, milk, vanilla, and butter together until smooth. Adjust with extra sugar or milk as needed. Pour over warm rolls.

Friends, I got a Kindle for Christmas from Boy. (I know. He’s a keeper!) Do you read? If so, any recommendations?

New York-Style Crumb Cake

I am currently sitting in a hotel room in between an interview I had today and the dinner for my interview I have tomorrow.

I am tired.

I cannot wait to be done with interview season.

Especially so I can bake this cake again because it is the one and only thing my dad has outright told me I must make again. It’s that good.

One of my interviewers today saw that my personal statement had mentioned my love for baking (since I couldn’t think of anything else to write about besides cupcakes). She asked what my favorite thing to bake was and then what was my favorite bakery.

I could have very easily said Baked in Brooklyn since I’ve now tried making their brownies and this cake. But perhaps that wouldn’t be truly honest since I’ve never actually made the trek over to spend actual money there. (Have you? Did you like it?) So, instead, I picked Two Little Red Hens. Their cupcakes are the perfect size and are absolutely delicious. I haven’t sampled their other items quite yet but I’m happy munching on their red velvet!

Anyway, back to this cake. It’s moist and the crumble on top is the quintessential dense, chunky, and just perfectly sweet topping to this delicately flavored cake. The whole thing really just melts in your mouth probably due to the butter content but it’s nearly sublime. If you’re a fan of coffee cake at all, especially New York-style with it’s big topping to cake ratio, this is the cake for you. I’m sure of it. This is also perfect if you’re attending any holiday brunches or afternoon teas! (If you actually attend afternoon tea, please invite me because I love afternoon tea.)

New York-Style Crumb Cake
from Baked Explorations

Makes 1 9×13″ cake.


For Topping:

  • 1 c firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted but still warm
  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

For Cake:

  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For Crumb Topping: Whisk together sugars, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk in the melted butter until combined. Then fold in the flour until absorbed and set aside to dry. Drying creates the big crumb chunks.

For Cake: Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and ribbonlike, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds. Add sour cream and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts and beat until just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Then take a handful of the crumb mixture and make a fist. The topping should hold together. Break off chunks of this and sprinkle all over cake. Continue until all the crumb is distributed. It will look like a lot but trust me (and the friend over at Baked). Bake for 45-55 minutes, rotating twice, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes prior to serving.


What’s your favorite bakery?

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread + GIVEAWAY

See that? There’s no beautiful crust on the end of that sizable chunk  of pumpkin bread.

Why, you ask?

My grandma ate it. That’s right. She went around the entire perimeter of my beautiful chocolate pumpkin loaf and ate all the good parts.

Hence, no lovely pictures of the entire loaf. I apologize for that. So does my 93-year-old grandmother.


I somehow scored the week off since I have no interviews scheduled. That means lots of blog things happening! I haven’t gotten time off to really spend on this blog since it began (chalk that up to the perils of medical school) so I’m quite excited to try out a few new things in both the kitchen and here on the internets.

First up, this chocolate pumpkin bread. Ooooooh baby is this good! I’m making B.Flay’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding for Thanksgiving and started with making the pumpkin bread yesterday. But then I felt guilty that I made this wonderful pumpkin loaf and had to tell everyone that it was not for eating! So.. another pumpkin loaf was born with a few adaptations because why the heck not? I’ll be posting the regular recipe with all its glory soon but for now please please please try this recipe out. It’s fantastic. Half the loaf was gone in a matter of minutes. The other half will likely not make it through the day.

Secondly, I received a lovely email asking if I would like to be a part of a list of 100 blogs for students a few weeks ago. Of course, I said yes! My first little bit of press out there and I’m ecstatic about it. I’m featured at the wayyyy bottom of the page under Student Bloggers. Also featured are lots of other blogs I happen to read so please visit the website here and give some love!

I am holding my very first giveaway here at small town oven! Wooooooo!! Up for grabs is a $35 gift certificate from CSN Stores which features a ton of products including kitchen/dining things such as the apple peeler I reviewed last month, decorating items, and even little holiday gifting ideas for your loved ones (which may or may not be yourself I won’t tell)!

Here’s the deal.

1. You comment, you get an entry.

2. You subscribe to the RSS feed, you get an entry. (For Google Reader, you can click here.) Comment again for another entry.

3. Post about the contest on your blog, facebook, twitter or what have you. Comment with a link to the posted link for another entry.

Contest ends in one week: MIDNIGHT, NOVEMBER 30TH.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
adapted from Bobby Flay

Makes 1 9″ loaf.


  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • scant 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c water

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9″ loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or extra butter.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and oil on high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. Add pumpkin puree and blend well. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Then, on low speed slowly add the dry ingredients and the water. Mix until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing and eating!

Note: I also folded 4 oz of chopped white chocolate at the end but as you can tell by these pictures they melted away. If you want to add a handful of white chocolate chips I think they could go great but I might cut back a little bit on the sugar.

Look for updates including a longer blogroll and a new Facebook page coming soon!

Happy Turkey Day to you and yours. Sharing is caring so try not to eat all the “good parts” (ie the crust on this loaf) on your own!

Green Tea Doughnuts

So the final course of Boy’s birthday dinner was the lychee coconut sorbet and GREEN TEA DOUGHNUTS!

I was really excited to try making doughnuts for the first time. They’ve been on my “to try” list for awhile and so when the October DB challenge came out I was overjoyed. To make it fit into my Asian-themed dinner, however, I made a few adaptations to the original recipe and added some green tea to the mix. I also chose to add a green tea glaze to the doughnut holes as an experiment. They came out a bit ugly but the glaze definitely added some extra green tea flavor so I highly recommend it!

I originally tried to make the yeast doughnuts but, alas, they did not rise very well for some reason (the yeast was not cooperating that day!) so very last minute I made the cake doughnuts instead. They were much easier, didn’t require a rising time, and were done start to finish within an hour which made my day a lot better. In the time it took to heat up the oil I had the doughnuts all set and ready to go! Definitely a plus for a recipe. If you’re afraid of making doughnuts, these cake doughnuts are a breeze. And if you’re afraid of the oil, I’m pretty sure you can bake them as well but these are NOT oily by any means. At the perfect temperature of oil, the oil doesn’t actually soak into the doughnuts so you don’t feel like a total fattie by eating more than one (or two.. or five).

Boy said I should sell these they were THAT good. And then he wanted me to make these in lieu of a birthday cake when we went out to dinner with all our friends last weekend. Um.. no. (I made the full-sized version of the Black Pearl Cupcakes I posted about a few weeks ago and it was well received by all.)

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Green Tea Cake Doughnuts
adapted from a Daring Bakers recipe

Makes approximately 15 doughnuts and 15 doughnuts holes.


  • 3 inches of vegetable oil in whatever vessel you are using
  • 1/4 c sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 3 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 c + 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

* also need frying thermometer

Heat oil to 375F.

Heat sour cream until just warm in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and matcha. Make a well in the center and sprinkle yeast into the well. Pour the warmed sour cream over the yeast and allow to sit for a minute or so.

Pour the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla into the well. Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, working in a little bit at a time until completely incorporated. It will be quite sticky!

Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour. Sift a layer of flour onto a work surface, scrape dough onto the surface, and sift more flour on top. Pat dough into an even 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out the doughnuts and holes using cookie cutters, glasses of different sizes, piping tips, or what have you. Place cut-out doughnuts and holes onto a floured surface. Continue gathering, patting, and cutting.

When ready, drop doughnuts into the hot oil. Take care not to overcrowd. They should only cook 20-30 seconds per side or until golden brown. As they finish, transfer to a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.

For green tea glaze on the doughnut holes in the first image, I didn’t exactly measure things out but it was approximately 1 tsp matcha powder, 1/4 c powdered sugar, and a couple tbsp of milk whisked together until thick.

Blueberry Pancakes

REMINDER: CUPCAKE HERO JULY [COCONUT] ENTRIES DUE JULY 17TH!! Email me at smalltownoven[at]gmail[dot]com!

onto the entry..

I have to tell you a secret.

I didn’t always like breakfast.

Oh come on! Sit down! Don’t leave! I LOVE breakfast now!


Okay so let me explain. In my house growing up breakfast was never a big deal. Sure we had fried eggs on the weekends sometimes with some fried rice (oh how I adore my dad’s fried rice!) and maybe if we were lucky my mom found some sausages in the freezer. On rare occasion we ate pancakes or french toast but it would always be a mix or something frozen.

They don’t do breakfast in the Philippines like they do breakfast here. How was I supposed to know?

In high school, when I started hanging out with people at IHOP, I finally understood.


These days all I seem to order at the diner (I’m from Jersey. We go to diners. Don’t judge me.) is breakfast. The french toast calls my name. The waffles with ice cream make my tummy growl. And the pancakes? Don’t even get me started on the pancakes.

When I make breakfast at home it’s usually simple. Oatmeal or yogurt with granola are my usuals. They don’t involve a pan that needs washing and can be made quickly. I’m a mover! I gotta move! No time to sit around mixing batter!

But the second I found time on my hands and blueberries on my counter, I knew I had to do something about it.

Hence the first pancakes I’ve made in a long long time.

And ohhhhhh were they winners!! They actually only took a few minutes to whip up, literally the time it took to preheat my pan. They were light and airy and everything a pancake should be. And for me, pancakes are all about the butter on top. Butter IN the pancake? Even better. I highly recommend these. Thanks, smitten kitchen!

Blueberry Pancakes
adapted from smitten kitchen; originally from Martha Stewart’s Original Classics Cookbook

This is a half recipe and I ate it for breakfast for 3 days. Not sure how many that made.

2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt, or slightly less table salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the griddle/pan
1/2 c blueberries, fresh or frozen/thawed


Prepare griddle or, if you don’t have one like me, heat a frying pan with 1/2 tbsp of butter so that it browns a bit (I find butter makes pancakes brown better than anything else).

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter, and whisk to combine. The batter should have small to medium lumps.

If using a griddle, Deb says to test it by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If the water bounces and spatters, the griddle is hot enough and 1/2 tsp of butter can be brushed on with a pastry brush. Wipe off the excess with a folded paper towel. Personally, I just assume I’m going to throw out my first batch anyway and I go for it.

Ladle about 1/2 cup for a 6-inch pancake into the pan, pouring the batter in pools 2 inches apart. Arrange a handful of blueberries over the cooking pancake, pressing them in slightly. When the pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip them over. If any batter oozes or blueberries roll out, push them back under with your spatula. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

Repeat with the remaining batter. You can keep the finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven at 175°F. Serve warm.

I topped mine with leftover mint and white chocolate whipped cream from my winning cupcakes. Oh yum.

Loves it!

– Sharlene