Sweetly Spiced Sweet Potato Bread

Why is it that everything that is made with yam is actually called sweet potato? Sweet potato fries, sweet potato loaf, sweet potato salad etc. I think it is partly because it just sounds more appealing than yam. Yam sort of sounds like yak – not so appealing. Sweet potato sounds sweet – way more appealing. In reality, yams are the better tasting and the sweeter of the two.

WAIT! I just learned something. Both are actually sweet potatoes! I was going to say that yams are sweeter, moister and more orange while sweet potatoes are less sweet, dryer and more yellow. However, I just learned that what I think of as yams and what are generally sold as yams are in fact just a different variety of sweet potato! True yams are not even related and have a very dark skin and can grow up to SEVEN FEET!!  (see this site  and this one if you don’t believe me!)

So now at least I can call this sweet potato bread without lying to you (I figured I had used yams)! Anyways, if you like pumpkin bread, or carrot cake, or zucchini loaf (bread vs cake vs loaf – let’s not go into differentiating those today! I already lost one battle) then you will love this loaf – or rather bread! It is sweet and moist and deliciously spiced. The picture doesn’t really do it justice (and I only took a couple, late at night!) Enjoy!

baking 2013 051

Sweetly Spiced Sweet Potato Bread
(adapted slightly from this recipe by loveveggiesandyoga.com)

  • 1 1/2 cup orange sweet potatoes (likely labeled at the grocery store as yams!) – peeled, cooked and mashed (I boiled mine but you could steam them or cook them however you prefer)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (or yogurt or sour cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tb molasses
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tb cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tb coarse sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. To bowl containing mashed potatoes, add eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in sugars and molasses.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt (not the coarse sugar).
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (it may still be somewhat lumpy – don’t overmix it!)
  5. Pour evenly into a greased or parchment paper lined loaf pan. Sprinkle with coarse sugar over the top.
  6. Bake 55-65 min or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out cleanly.
  7. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes in the pan before removing it to cool completely on a rack.
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Cranberry Burst Pumpkin Cookies

It is time for some fall recipes! Pumpkin & spice and other delicious goodness! I recently made some oatmeal cookies with fresh blueberries in them, which got me thinking about putting other fresh fruits in cookies. Why do the rules say “dried fruit only in cookies”? There is no reason to not put some freshness into them! So just before Thanksgiving (at least the Canadian Thanksgiving), I realized that pumpkin cranberry cookies would be perfect for the season and a great opportunity to try  fresh cranberries in cookies!

Sure they are tart, but the fun ‘burstness’ of these cookies make for a perfect fall cookie! Yes, a new word was required for these cookies. The cranberries added such a bright punch of flavour and colour that it could only be described as ‘burstness’! Anyways, between the burstness, the tartness, the pumpkin’y softness and the spice, these cookies turned out delicious!

Cranberry Burst Pumpkin Cookies

adapted from Best-loved Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer or with a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla and beat until well mixed.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the wet ingredients while mixing.
  4. Stir in cranberries & cinnamon chips.
  5. Scoop with a cookie scoop or use a spoon and drop onto prepared cookie sheets. I like to do both big cookies (about 4 Tb) and small cookies (1.5 Tb). The bigger ones take about 16 minutes to bake while the small ones take about 12 minutes. The should be set in the middle but they will still be soft.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Loved-Cookies-Nestle-Toll-House/dp/0696205548


Biscoff Ice Cream

It is one of the questions that I have never liked: what is the best gift you have ever recieved. I hate it because I never really had a good answer. I really loved this one doll I got when I was 5 or 6. She was a bigger doll that was more supposed to resemble a toddler than a baby. She was pretty great but this year, I got something better. And I now have an answer to the troubling question.

I got the Ice Cream Maker Attachment for my Kitchenaid!!

A couple of my close friends went together and bought it for my birthday. One of them bought it just after Boxing Day last year. My birthday was in July. Not only did she keep it a secret from me for over 6 months but she also had to trust her instinct that I would wait for it to go on sale again & not buy it myself before then! Amazon.ca has it for a great deal for the week after Christmas (it was $58) but the rest of the year it is around $90 (most places in Canada sell it for around $120). I had been saving the free Amazon cards I sometimes get at work for doing surveys to get it but was only at $45 so far. I figured I would be waiting until Boxing Day this year in order to get it but I didn’t have to wait!!!! They bought it for me!!! Best gift ever!

My first batch of ‘ice cream’ was Raspberry Frozen Yogurt. It was quite good but it isn’t the recipe I want to share as my first homemade ice cream! The one I want to share is the Biscoff spread Ice Cream. AMAZING. Beyond amazing really. I first heard about this Biscoff spread around the blogging world but immediately realized that it was definitely not something I could get in Canada. That is ok because I go to the States frequently. But I couldn’t find it still! Finally I found the Trader Joe’s version (Cookie Butter) and loved it immediately. I don’t think I used that first jar for anything besides eating it by the spoonful. I might have put some on pancakes. Otherwise, it was all by the spoonful. This stuff is amazing. Basically it is just a spice cookie pulverized to crumbs and mixed with a little coconut oil to make it into the texture of peanut butter (but there are no nuts in it). I don’t know how to emphasize how perfect this stuff is. Seriously. It is perfection. I did eventually find the original Biscoff version. It is also delicious (and what I used for the ice cream) but I think I like the TJ’s version best.

Ok, so I made ice cream with it. It was delicious. Creamy. Spicy. Perfection. If you have an ice cream maker, you need to try it. You will love it. My only regret is that I didn’t take pictures until it was almost gone so it had been in the freezer already a few days (homemade ice cream is really best the first few days… then it gets ice crystals. Maybe I just need a better container to store it in.)

Biscoff Speculoos (Cookie Butter) Ice Cream (adapted from here)

  • 1 cup Biscoff Spread + 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 3-1/4 cups cold Half & Half (or 1 1/4 whole milk + 2 cups whipping cream)
  1. Using either your stand mixer or a bowl and beaters, cream together 1 cup Biscoff spread and sugar.
  2. With the mixer on low, start to add the half & half SLOWLY. I did it too quick and it didn’t blend as well as it could have.
  3. Pour the Biscoff mix into your ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions. I churned my ice cream about 20 minutes on low.
  4. Scoop the ice cream into a airtight container and spoon the extra 2 Tb of Biscoff spread onto the top. Stir it up but don’t actually mix it fully in. The swirl is the BEST part!
  5. Freeze for 4-6 hours. My friend and I ate it within about 2 hours and it was still pretty soft. Still delicious though!