Homemade Hot Cross Buns + Two Giveaways! #GayLeaFoods

Guess what?  I have TWO giveaways for you today!

The Easter Bunny is coming this weekend and we’ll be waking up to these Homemade Hot Cross Buns, with Gay Lea butter of course, for breakfast.  Most of my family are not fans of the dried fruit peel that’s normally in Hot Cross Buns so the good thing about making them yourself is that you can add whatever you like!

Homemade Hot Cross Buns | A Sweet Baker [Read more...]

Raspberry Orange Pinwheels

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If you’re looking for a quick and delicious treat to enjoy with a hot drink then these Raspberry Orange Pinwheels are the perfect thing for you!  I wanted something to make with raspberry jam (my favorite) inside so when I saw these I knew I had to make them.

Raspberry Orange Pinwheels | A Sweet Baker  #shop [Read more...]

Homemade Ciabatta Buns

Two weekends ago my husband made an amazing pulled beef dinner and asked me if I could make some homemade buns to go with them.  When I want a bun to go with my pulled pork/beef, I want a chewy ciabatta bun.  So, I made Homemade Ciabatta Buns and they went perfect with the mouthwatering pulled beef.

Homemade Ciabatta Buns | A Sweet Baker

This recipe makes one loaf or 8 buns which is perfect when you need something quick to go with dinner.  I made up the dough at lunch time and by dinner we had fresh, warm buns on the table. While I was taking the pictures for these I couldn’t resist ‘testing’ one (warm with butter, or course) just to make sure they were going to be good!  Needless to say, these buns were the best I’ve made yet!

Homemade Ciabatta Buns | A Sweet Baker

Homemade Ciabatta Buns | A Sweet Baker

Another thing about this recipe is that you will be surprised by the dough.  It will be very runny, almost like pudding, but it will turn out perfect so don’t be worried.  I had never made ciabatta buns before so I was a little skeptical at first but my family quickly devoured them so I knew they were a hit. Soft and moist inside but chewy and fresh on the outside.

Homemade Ciabatta Buns | A Sweet Baker

Homemade Ciabatta Buns

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 8 buns

Moist and chewy Ciabatta Buns are easy to make and even easier to eat! Perfect with pulled pork or just slathered with butter!

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • 2 tsp. olive oil plus more to oil to bowl

Instructions

In a stand mixer bowl whisk together flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
Place bowl in your stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, and slowly add in the water and mix ingredients on medium speed for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, remove paddle attachment and replace with dough hook. Turn on mixer again for another 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, grab lots of flour with your hands and grab big handfuls of the dough and throw them back into the bowl. Repeat several times until you've thoroughly thrown the dough into the bowl. This step allows you to add air into the dough so your buns with have nice holes throughout.
Pour 2 tsp. of oil olive on top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and then a towel and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour. (I turned my oven on to 300 F before I began the throwing of the dough, for about 5 minutes, and then I shut it off. This is where I placed the bowl of dough for 1 hour to let rise).
Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and liberally sprinkle with flour. Set aside.
Remove dough from oven.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Pour dough out onto floured baking sheet and divide into 8 equal balls. I used my kitchen scraper for this which cut the dough perfectly. I also kept extra flour nearby to help lift the balls into place on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle dough balls with flour and bake for 30-35 minutes or until buns are golden brown and sound hollow when you tap on the middle of them.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Enjoy!

Notes

* Total time includes the one hour of rise time.

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Recipe slightly adapted from Crepes of Wrath

Coconut Rum Banana Bread

What is it with the weather lately?  All weekend it was cold, damp and rainy here.  The kids were stuck inside and were running out of things to do so we baked!  Needing a little tropical, warm weather I decided to make a tropical infused banana bread.  This Coconut Rum Banana Bread hit the spot but actually just made me want the tropics more!

Coconut Rum Banana Bread | A Sweet Baker

On Saturday night my husband and I had a date night together to attend a friends wedding.  We got all dressed up, I had my hair done and we were kid-less.  A perfect night to be all romantic and lovey-dovey!  I always get so emotional at weddings too.  They’re a great reminder of the commitment you made with your spouse and the love you have between each other.

Coconut Rum Banana Bread | A Sweet Baker

The wedding took place at 6:44 p.m. on Saturday night so there was no sit-down dinner.  Instead they had a huge assortment of appetizers.  Poutine (my fav!), pizza, pulled pork, veggies and dip, mini beef and chicken sliders and a big dessert table full of candy, tarts, cookies and a chocolate fondue.  I actually liked it way better because I got to nibble on everything I liked and didn’t get too full. It was a great idea and gave people lots of time for mingling and chatting.

Coconut Rum Banana Bread | A Sweet Baker

Coconut Rum Banana Bread | A Sweet Baker

The newlyweds are off to Hawaii this week for their honeymoon so they’ll be basking in the tropical weather that I’ve been craving.  I’ll be here enjoying my tropical Coconut Rum Banana Bread while it snows outside….at least that’s what the forecast is calling for tonight!

What’s the weather like where you live?

P.S.  Make sure to come back on Thursday because I have 2 giveaways for you!

Coconut Rum Banana Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: I loaf

A moist and flavorful banana bread with the added taste of coconut and rum! A great tropical infusion.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, slightly packed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons rum extract
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 4-5 bananas)
  • 1 & 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut (about 3/4 cup of mine was toasted previously so I just used that)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Lightly grease or line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a stand with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Gradually mix in the eggs, vanilla, rum, rum extract and mashed bananas until incorporated well.
Slowly pour in the flour mixture and blend.
Once flour is blended in, remove bowl from mixer and fold in the coconut.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 65-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from loaf pan.
Enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

Okay, I promise this will be my last pumpkin recipe for awhile!

I’m moving on to better things…..actually I’m just moving on to Halloween.  Seeing there’s only 9 days left until the big day of costumes, decorations, candy, and trick-or-treaters, I better get on it.  I have some great recipes I’ll be sharing with you that can easily be made with your kids.

Until then, enjoy this Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread on a cool, Fall day with a cup of hot tea!

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread | A Sweet Baker

This past weekend I headed outdoors with a bunch of girlfriends to attend the outdoor Bala Cranberry Festival.  The weather was that of a typical Fall day – rainy and cold.  Luckily for us we had packed our hats, mitts and ponchos.  Our ponchos kept us warm and dry but they also came in handy when we needed to find each other in a crowd!

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread | A Sweet Baker

Bala is a small town in the heart of Muskoka, Ontario. The festival is always held on the weekend after Thanksgiving as a means to extend tourism for one more week since Bala is primarily a cottage town that is busiest in the summer months. There were tons of things to do at the festival such as marsh tours, wagon rides, a midway, and of course, plenty of food vendors.   Homemade cranberry sausages, mini sugar donuts, fudge, kettle corn,  jams and jellies, and of course fresh cranberries was just some of the food we came across.  There was also vendors that featured hand-made goods such as purses, mitts, hats, ornaments and clothes.  It took us the whole day just to see everything and we didn’t even do a marsh tour.  That’s where we could have put on some hip waders and got right in there with the cranberries (next year I’m doing that for sure!).

Bala Cranberry Festival | A Sweet Baker

Despite the rain this is just one of the breathtaking views we had on our walk.

When I returned home the next day my kids almost had this whole Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread gone.  Luckily my husband stopped them and saved half the loaf for my pictures.  Thanks Honey!  It’s a common theme at my house now when my kids go to eat something out of the fridge.  They either ask if I’ve already taken my pictures or ask my husband if it’s okay to eat it.  Ah, the life of a food blogger!

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread | A Sweet Baker

Pumpkin Honey Beer Quick Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

A moist pumpkin beer bread with the added sweetness of honey. Perfect as an afternoon snack or even for breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 3 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup ground Chia & Flax seed blend
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup dark beer (at room temperature)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two loaf pans or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice and set aside.
In a small bowl combine water and ground Chia & Flax seed blend and set aside. The seed blend will absorb all the water.
In a stand mixer, combine sugar, honey, oil, beer, eggs, water and pure pumpkin puree and mix until well blended.
Add Chia & Flax seed blend to the wet ingredients.
Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
Pour batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove loaves from pans to allow to cool completely.
Enjoy!
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Recipe adapted from MyRecipes.com