Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

Chocolate, sourdough and zucchini. At first I wasn’t sure those three words belong together, but after making this chocolate sourdough zucchini cake on repeat…they do! After baking and sampling with dollops of the ethereal chocolate whipped cream, I kept coming back throughout the day for just one more nibble. I couldn’t stop after just one piece. This chocolate sourdough zucchini cake is rich with a deep chocolate flavor and has a perfectly moist crumb (thank you zucchini).Top it with chocolate whipped cream and it’s pretty much perfection.

Jump to Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake Recipe

Sourdough Discard

If you’ve followed my site for long, you know how much I love sourdough. I have many favorite sourdough recipes using sourdough starter. This Babka or my favorite no-knead bread are, well, favorites. This zucchini cake benefits from the leftover sourdough discard that I almost always have hanging out in the back of my fridge. I don’t like to waste the excess flour/water from feeding my sourdough starter. Instead I find ways to incorporate discard into baked goods. The older the discard (the longer it’s been sitting out), the stronger the sourdough flavor. I typically prefer a mild sourdough flavor in sweet baked goods, like this sourdough blueberry crumb cake or these brown butter sourdough chocolate chip cookies. I don’t mind as strong of a flavor in these discard rolls or these amazing sourdough pretzel bites. Whatever your preference, this is the perfect cake to add some sourdough discard. It is moist, fluffy and delicious.

Zucchini

We love zucchini at our house. I make this favorite zucchini bread often and we love sautéd zucchini as a side for our dinner many weeknights. When we want to use zucchini in a dessert, though, this chocolate sourdough zucchini cake is it. I love that this recipe has you shred the zucchini and immediately toss it into the batter—no squeezing out excess water required. It definitely makes it super quick to throw together. And don’t worry, zucchini is the perfect vehicle to increase the moistness of the cake. If you shred it finely on a box grater, you (or your picky eaters) won’t even know it’s there. Promise!

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is my favorite in all forms, but this chocolate whipped cream topping takes it up a notch. While this chocolate zucchini cake can definitely stand on its own, the chocolate whipped cream is absolutely amazing. It is the perfect deep chocolate flavor, not too sweet and so good you won’t mind the extra step of pulling out the beaters and licking them clean! We love to top each slice of cake with a scoop of chocolate whipped cream for an extra decadent bite.

9 by 13 pan

My favorite pan to bake this zucchini cake in is a 9 by 13 pan. I love this USA pan (affiliate link), because it is non-stick and bakes the cake so evenly. I typically like to bake desserts in smaller pans (too tempting!), but this one is worth the larger pan. It is perfect for a crowd and I can even trick myself into thinking this is healthy…it’s mostly vegetable, right?!

If you’re looking for the perfect way to use up zucchini and sourdough discard, this chocolate sourdough zucchini cake is it. Perfect to serve at a family gathering or just for fun, it is worth picking up some zucchini and starting up your sourdough starter again just for this cake. Chocolate sourdough zucchini heaven!

Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I substitute for sourdough discard?

If you want to make this recipe without sourdough discard, you can increase the flour to 1 1/2 cups and increase the buttermilk to 3/4 cup.

Can this sourdough zucchini cake be made in a smaller pan?

Yes. This recipe works well in an 8 by 8 pan, (affiliate link). Just cut the ingredients in half and bake at the same temperature. Check for readiness of the zucchini cake a few minutes early. The smaller size may bake a bit quicker.

Should I squeeze out the liquid from my zucchini?

Some recipes call for squeezing out the excess liquid and water in zucchini, like this zucchini bread. Zucchini has a very high water content (over 90%) which can affect the texture of some baked goods if not squeezed dry. This is a very moist zucchini cake and one of the benefits of it is not having to wring dry the shredded zucchini (though you can if you want to).

What are the best recipes to use sourdough discard?

Sourdough discard (the byproduct of sourdough starter) can be used in small quantities in most baked goods. I don’t like to waste food or discard, so I add it to many of my recipes. Some of my favorite discard recipes are these sourdough discard rolls or pretzel bites. This sourdough discard blueberry crumb cake is delicious too. It’s so easy to add some discard to pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Sourdough discard works especially well in these sourdough cheddar biscuits with a nice hearty soup.


Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

Amy
Chocolate sourdough zucchini cake is rich with a deep chocolate flavor, perfectly moist crumb and topped with a downright delicious chocolate whipped cream. The perfect cake for a party or family gathering.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 9 by 13 cake

Ingredients
  

Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk see recipe notes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or any neutral flavored oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard see recipe notes
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour about 5 oz
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups finely shredded zucchini

Chocolate Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 by 13 pan, affiliate link, by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Finely shred the zucchini on a box grater until you have 2 cups of shredded zucchini. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the buttermilk, oil and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine. Pour in the sourdough discard and vanilla extract. Whisk until completely incorporated and smooth.
  • In a small bowl, use a fork to incorporate the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Fluff with a fork until completely combined.
  • Pour the dry ingredients on top of the liquid ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the shredded zucchini and mix together until just incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Stick a knife or toothpick in the middle of the cake to check for doneness. The cake will be very moist, rise and spring back lightly when touched with your finger. Once baked through, allow the cake to cool.

Chocolate Whipped Cream topping

  • Using wire beaters, whip together the heavy cream, cocoa powder and powdered sugar until thick and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Dollop on top of each slice of cake.

Notes

Buttermilk Substitution: Mix together 1/4 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup milk and replace for the buttermilk if you don’t have it on hand.
Sourdough Discard: The discard I use is 100% hydration. I prefer using discard that has not been sitting long in my fridge in this recipe for less sour undertones. You can also substitute sourdough starter for the discard.
Flour: When I measure flour, my 1 cup weighs about 5.3 ounces.
Keyword beginner sourdough, chocolate cake, chocolate zucchini, sourdough discard, sourdough zucchini cake,, zucchini cake

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Hearty Bread Bowls

I think one of my all-time favorite foods when I was growing up was clam chowder in a bread bowl. I spent my teenage years in the San Francisco area and I loved the delicious seafood and sourdough, especially the chowder in a bread bowl. Recently, my daughter planned to make soup for dinner and I decided to whip out these bread bowls to complement our soup. While they are not sourdough like the bread bowls of my childhood (I’ll be working on that recipe soon, I promise), they definitely gave me a nostalgic feel for my favorite hearty and chewy bread bowls that stand their own against a delicious soup.

The Best Hearty Bread Bowl for Soup

These hearty bread bowls are perfect to hold a delicious soup. I wouldn’t recommend this recipe as a normal roll recipe. They have a bit more flour than I normally like and are not quite as light and tender as a regular roll. Light and tender is actually not what you want when making a bread bowl because they will tend to disintegrate into the soup leaving you with gummy bread in your soup. That is NOT this recipe. The combination of whole wheat flour and bread flour makes these bowls extra hearty and perfect to stand up to a cup of soup. The soup softens the bread a little and makes for the perfect bite of soup with bread. The bowl itself doesn’t get soggy and has the perfect crumb and chewy exterior which complement the soup so well.

Refrigerated or Overnight Rise

If I know ahead of time that I want bread bowls for soup, I will mix up the dough in the morning and then stick the dough in the fridge to rise throughout the day. This extra refrigeration step adds flavor to the bowl, promotes a chewier crumb (which is perfect for bread bowls) and has a better color crust. If you don’t have time to refrigerate the dough, you can proceed with the recipe but for best results, refrigerate for the first rise for 8-12 hours. Then shape the bowls, let them rise again and bake them.

Shaping Hearty Bread Bowls

This recipe makes six good-sized bread bowls. I shape my bread bowls in a similar way to how I shape rolls. I take the dough and push the edges down around the center, pinching them together and then circling the dough on the counter to form a tight, round shape. You can watch a video of that below.

Scoring and Cutting the Top of the Bowl

Once the dough has risen for a second time, score the top of the bread bowl with a bread lame or sharp knife. Bake the bowls and then let them cool completely before cutting into them. Once the bowls are cooled, use a sharp knife to cut into the bowl like you would a pumpkin. Cut at an angle creating a circle in the bowl. Use your fingers to scrape out the middle of the bread bowl until you have a nicely sized cavity for about a cup of soup. Serve the bread bowl with or without the top.

When I pulled out these bread bowls the other night, my kiddos didn’t even care that there was broccoli in their soup! They gobbled it right up and had so much fun getting to eat their bowl. It makes me think that I need to make bread bowls for soup a lot more often! I hope you enjoy them too.

Hearty Bread Bowls

A hearty bread bowl with chewy crust that is the perfect complement to any soup.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 28 mins
Rise Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Bread, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/4 cups milk warmed, temperature of baby's bathwater
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4-4 1/2 cups bread flour

Instructions
 

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the warm milk, instant yeast and granulated sugar. Let sit until foamy and you smell the yeast activating.
  • Add the olive oil, salt, whole wheat flour and 4 cups of the bread flour. Knead together, adding a little more flour at a time as needed. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be tacky but not overly sticky. Knead for 8 minutes (set a timer and let the mixer do the work for you, or knead for 10 minutes by hand). The kneading time is very important because it develops the gluten, creating good structure, chewy crust and a tall bowl to hold the soup in.
  • Lightly oil a container and transfer the dough to the container for the first rise. Let the dough rise until doubled or tripled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. For more flavor and chewy texture, stick the dough in the fridge to rise for 8-24 hours. Then proceed with the shaping and follow the recipe.
  • Once the dough has risen, cut the dough into six pieces. Shape into large round spheres, pulling the dough tightly into a large round ball. Watch how I shape rolls here. Place rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet (affiliate link). Cover and let rolls rise for about an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Once rolls are puffed up, score the top with a bread lame or sharp knife.
  • Toss a handful of ice cubes into the preheated oven and immediately put the pan of bread bowls into the oven. Bake for 25-28 minutes until crusty and golden. Top immediately with melted butter if desired.
  • Let bread bowls cool completely before cutting a hole in the center and using your fingers to pull out the interior of the bread bowl. Fill with your choice of soup and enjoy!

Notes

Bread Flour: This recipe works best with bread flour. If you need a substitute for bread flour, add a Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour to increase the protein content. 
Refrigerated Rise: For more flavor and an extra chewy crust, let the dough rise in the fridge for 8-24 hours. Shape, rise and bake.
Keyword bread bowl, soup

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Family Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve been making these rolls for many, many years every Thanksgiving.

You may be wondering why I am sharing a cinnamon roll recipe right before the week of Thanksgiving. I should be sharing my favorite pie or telling you about this roll recipe that is perfect for your turkey leftovers. But instead, I am waxing poetic about cinnamon rolls. The best cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon rolls that I have been making and perfecting for many, many years. These rolls are tender, fluffy and filled with an ooey gooey cinnamon mixture then topped with a delicious “light on the cream cheese” frosting that is absolutely amazing. These cinnamon rolls are our family favorite and I have been sharing them with family and extended family every year over our Thanksgiving holiday.

Jump to Our Family’s Favorite Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Missing this view this year! We’ll be back next year 🙂

My extended family has been going to the coast of Oregon for Thanksgiving every year for the past 50 plus years. We enjoy pot-luck style feasting for many days, lots of family time, long walks on the beach and I especially love making new and favorite recipes fit for a crowd. These cinnamon rolls are a part of our family Thanksgiving week every year. I sometimes make these rolls twice during the week…we love them so much. The dough is substantial, yet soft. The middles are gooey but baked through. The icing takes these rolls to a whole new level of glorious cinnamon rolls. Basically, our whole family loves these cinnamon rolls. 

Because of Covid this year, Thanksgiving looks a little different and my little family isn’t going to the Oregon Coast. It’s been a tough year for so many and I’ll be honest and say, writing out this cinnamon roll recipe has been hard but good if that makes sense. It’s hard to know we won’t be there to carry on this tradition this year but also good because I love looking back on the many memories I have of cinnamon rolls shared and consumed for so many years. 

Enough of the walk down memory lane…Let’s get to the details. Here are some of my pro tips for my family’s favorite cinnamon rolls.

The Dough

This dough is a dream to work with. I like to use a stand mixer (affiliate link…but check your local Costco for a good deal if you’re looking for one) or Bosch mixer but you could also make this dough kneading by hand. Just knead for about 10 minutes…until your arms are screaming at you to be done. All the butter and eggs in the dough enrich it, which can make it take longer for this dough to rise. To help combat this issue, I use instant yeast in the dough. This is my favorite yeast (affiliate link). It doesn’t need to be proofed and it helps an enriched dough rise a little more quickly.

Filling Cinnamon Rolls: Cinnamon-Sugar Paste

Throughout the many years of making this recipe, I’ve learned a few tips that have upped my cinnamon roll game. Many cinnamon roll recipes will have you spread butter over the dough and then add the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Instead, I like to mix together softened or melted butter in a bowl and mix cinnamon, brown sugar and a little bit of flour into the butter. Then I spread the cinnamon-sugar paste over the roll dough. I think this gives a more even flavor and that little extra flour helps keeps the rolls from gaping open when baked. If you want to add nuts or raisins into your rolls, you can add them right on top of the cinnamon-sugar paste and roll them right up. I sometimes top some of the cinnamon rolls with toasted pecans. Yum!

Shaping Our Family Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe makes 12 large cinnamon rolls. I roll out my dough on the counter, spread on the filling and then roll up, pinching the seam together. To cut out the cinnamon rolls, you can use a sharp knife, bench cutter or even dental floss. If you have any wispy cinnamon roll ends, go ahead and tuck them under the roll so they don’t come loose during the bake. I also prefer baking these rolls six or eight to a pan because they rise a lot on the pan and in the oven while baking. I do know that’s not always possible or ideal (especially when I’m doubling this recipe to feed a crowd), so you can cram 12 to a pan if you want, though they may not rise quite as much.

Add A Little Heavy Cream

One other tip that ups the ooey, gooey factor in a cinnamon roll is the addition of warmed heavy cream. I like to take ¼ cup of lightly warmed heavy cream and pour it over the tops of the cinnamon rolls right before baking. You want the cream a little bit warm so it doesn’t impede the rise of the rolls. This little addition keeps the rolls extra tender and gooey, while still being baked through.

Just drizzle the warm cream right over the top of the risen rolls. Yum!

Baking the Cinnamon Rolls

A word of caution on baking the rolls. Ovens all bake differently. Some ovens bake hotter in the back and cooler in the front. If you want an even bake on your rolls, rotate your pan 180 degrees after the first ten minutes of baking. This will keep half of your rolls from getting too dark and the other half being too light. Check the center of one of the cinnamon rolls once the pan is baked to make sure that the middle isn’t raw. Sometimes you need to let them go a minute or two longer just so they are completely baked through.

The Best Cinnamon Roll Frosting

The frosting on these rolls is amazing. There’s no other way to describe it. I’m not a huge fan of overly “cream cheesey” tasting frosting, and the ratios on this icing are just perfection. More butter than cream cheese, all whipped together take these rolls to an ethereal level. I also highly recommend adding in the maple flavoring that really give a unique flavor to the entire cinnamon roll. It is just divine! Whip the frosting until it is thick and creamy. Let the cinnamon rolls cool about 5 minutes before spreading a large dollop on each roll.

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls Ahead of Time: A Few Options

  1. Mix up the dough, fillings and frosting the night before. Stick the dough in the fridge for the first rise and let it rise overnight. The next morning, shape the cinnamon rolls, let rise and bake. This would probably be my first choice if I wanted the freshest cinnamon rolls for a special morning breakfast.
  2. Make and shape the cinnamon rolls. Place them on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge. Pull the rolls out the morning of and let them come to room temperature and puff up a bit before baking and frosting. You may have a little bit of leakage from the cinnamon sugar mixture, but they should bake up well and taste delicious.
  3. Make the cinnamon rolls completely without adding the icing on top. Freeze them in ziplock bags. Warm them up and add icing on top when serving.
  4. Make the dough and increase the amount of yeast to 1.5 Tablespoons of yeast. Shape the cinnamon rolls and freeze them immediately. When ready to use, pull them out of the freezer, let them warm up to room temperature and puff up a bit and bake. The freezer can kill off a small amount of yeast in un-baked dough, so you add more to counterbalance this.

Have I convinced you yet? You need these cinnamon rolls in your life. And your family does too. I usually double this recipe to feed a large crowd at our Thanksgiving celebrations. This year I wasn’t planning to make these cinnamon rolls but my kids looked at me with those sad eyes of “too much has been cancelled in the name of COVID” and this mama has a hard time saying no right now, so I made them. And guess what? I am grateful I did. For the memories. For the traditions. For the look on their faces. And for the amazing gooey deliciousness that is sitting in my kitchen right now. I hope you love them too! Enjoy!

Family Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

All the cinnamon-sugar goodness rolled up in a tender, light & fluffy roll and covered in practically perfect icing. These cinnamon rolls are ooey-gooey perfection and our family's favorite treat.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 rolls

Ingredients
  

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 2 cups milk warmed (2% or whole milk works best)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter very soft or melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream or half and half can also substitute milk in a pinch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions
 

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • Warm the milk in the microwave (about 1 1/2 minutes full power) or on the stove. To the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the warmed milk and melted butter. Feel the mixture with your finger (make sure you feel in the center of the milk/butter mixture) and make sure it is not too hot. You want the temperature to feel like a baby's bathwater. If it is too hot, let it cool a bit before proceeding.
  • Add the sugar and instant yeast to the milk/butter mixture. Stir. Look for the yeasty smell that tells you the yeast is activating (should happen within 10-20 seconds) and then proceed with the recipe.
  • Add the eggs, salt and a cup of flour. Turn on the dough hook on in your stand mixer and continue adding the flour a cup at a time until you have added 5 cups of flour. Knead for 1 minute until all the flour is fully incorporated. Check the dough by rolling it into a ball in your fingers to see if you need more flour. If the dough is too sticky to roll into a ball, continue adding flour 1/4 cup at a time, kneading for 1 minute after each addition. This process will make sure you don't over-flour the dough. Once you can pinch off a piece of dough and roll it into a ball with just a little sticky residue on your fingers, you can stop adding flour. Knead for a total of 5-7 minutes.
  • Lightly oil (or spray with cooking spray) a large container and dump the dough in the container. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise. I like to turn my oven into a "proofing box" with the oven light turned on. This is a nice warm spot for my dough to rise and speeds ups the process a bit. Make sure the oven is NOT turned on during this process.

Cinnamon Filling

  • While the dough rises, make the cinnamon filling.
  • To a small bowl, add the softened or melted butter. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Mix together until fully combined and set aside.

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

  • While the dough rises, whip together the butter and cream cheese until fully mixed and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, maple extract and salt. Whip together using a mixer until light and fluffy. Set aside.

Assembling the Cinnamon Rolls

  • Prepare two half sheet pans (18 by 13 inches) and cover with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, move it from the bowl to a clean space on the counter. The dough will be soft and not overly sticky. Pat the dough out into an approximate 18 by 12 rectangle.
  • Spread the cinnamon filling all over the dough with your fingers, making sure to cover up to the edges of the cinnamon roll.
  • Starting with the dough closest to you, roll up the cinnamon roll and pinch together the seam. Flip the cinnamon roll over, seam side down.
  • Cut the long log of cinnamon roll dough into 12 equal pieces.
  • Place the cinnamon rolls on the parchment paper, six or eight to a pan, leaving plenty of space to rise. Full disclosure, I often cram twelve to one pan, but I think they bake up better and have a better rise if they are placed six or eight to a pan.
  • Cover the rolls again and let rise for thirty minutes to an hour (depending on how warm your kitchen is).

Bake and Enjoy

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Once the rolls have puffed up and almost doubled in size, they are ready for the oven. If you want an extra gooey cinnamon roll, warm up some heavy cream and drizzle it over the top of the cinnamon roll before sticking in the oven. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 10 minutes. Then rotate the pan and bake for another 8-10 minutes until just starting to brown.
  • Check the middle of one of the cinnamon rolls by using a butter knife to pry up a bit of the roll and make sure it is baked to your liking (the center will tell you if it needs more time or is perfectly baked).
  • Let the rolls cool for 5 minutes before covering with frosting.
  • Freeze any extra frosted cinnamon rolls in a ziplock bag. To re-heat, place on a plate and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds (time will vary depending on microwave) and enjoy!
Keyword cinnamon roll

Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread, like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook or follow me on Pinterest for more baking ideas.

Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake.

Applesauce Bread

Our favorite local orchard is open until the end of the month. While the apple picking days are over and these fried apple pies with freshly picked apples will have to wait until next year, we are still able to buy their delicious cider by the gallon. We’ve been enjoying some late fall outdoor playtime with beautiful weather and, of course, apple cider. This applesauce bread is perfect to whip up for a fall day. It has the iconic fall spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice that you find in apple and pumpkin pies and is full of fall flavor. It includes one full cup of applesauce, delicious apple cider and is the perfect snack for this time of year.

This recipe makes one loaf, but I always double it because it freezes so well and I have a lot of kids to feed.
Jump to Applesauce Bread Recipe Below

My One-Bowl Method

One of the things I love about quick breads, is how easy they are to mix. I have a few favorites on my site: zucchini bread, banana bread and these pumpkin muffins. One thing they have in common is that I love only using one bowl. Most recipes will have you mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. My kitchen is usually so full of dishes on any given day that I always favor one-bowl recipes. I don’t want to wash another bowl if I don’t have to. The key to these recipes is adding the liquid ingredients plus sugar to the bowl first and mixing them together well. Then adding the salt and spices to the liquid ingredients and mix. Last adding the flour on top without mixing and then the leavening (baking soda/powder). I lightly fluff them together with a fork, my fingers or using my mixing spoon before completely incorporating them in with the liquid ingredients. This way those dry ingredients get a light mix (and don’t go flying out of my bowl when I start mixing) and I don’t have to wash two bowls. Win-win.

Apple Flavor and Whole Wheat Flour

This applesauce bread packs a punch of apple flavor with the applesauce and apple cider. It is possible to substitute the apple cider for apple juice, though the apple flavor won’t be as strong. If you want even more apple flavor and texture in your bread, dice up about ¾ cup of some of your favorite apples and add them to the mixture after the dry ingredients. I always use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour in this recipe and it turns out great. My kids don’t even know they are are eating whole grains. I think this recipe would also be a great one to substitute gluten free flour (my favorite here) if you need to make a gluten-free version.

The Perfect Bake 

One of the keys to getting a beautiful loaf of quickbread is to bake the bread at a high temperature for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature and continue the bake for a longer time. This high heat helps activate the rising agent (baking powder/soda in this case) and forms a beautiful dome shape and crust on the bread. I bake this bread for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325 and continue baking for another 40-50 minutes.

Parchment Paper Yes or No?

I found that this bread did not need a parchment sling if you have a really great non-stick pan (shameless plug for my favorite bread pan ever, affiliate link). If you are adding diced apples to the batter,  you will definitely want to use a parchment sling. A tutorial is found here. If your pan tends to stick, I’d liberally grease it or use parchment paper. There’s nothing worse than making a beautiful loaf only to have it fall apart when you go to turn it out (I’ve done that one too many times).

This applesauce bread is just delicious. It makes for a great after-school snack, morning breakfast or would be amazing as a dessert with a little drizzle of glaze on the top. I would mix a Tablespoon of apple cider with half a cup of powdered sugar (add a little more or less depending on the consistency you want for a glaze) and drizzle it over the top for a special fall dessert. However you choose to eat it, I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does. Enjoy!

Applesauce Bread

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Bread, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 8 Tablespoons butter, unsalted melted
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce if you use a sweetened version you may want to reduce the sugar in the recipe a bit
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or allspice if preferred
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour half whole wheat/half all purpose work well here too
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • To a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, applesauce and apple cider with a wooden spoon. Incorporate each egg by mixing quickly. Add the sugar and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  • To the center of the same bowl, add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Mix to combine.
  • Add the flour to the middle of the bowl. Don’t mix! Add the baking powder and baking soda right on top of the flour and lightly combine with a fork or using the same wooden spoon. Then, using the wooden spoon and a light hand, mix together until just incorporated. This helps make sure you don’t over-mix the batter resulting in a tough bread.
  • Lightly grease a bread loaf pan (my favorite here) or use a parchment paper sling.
  • Pour the mixture into the bread pan and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 40-50 minutes.
  • Stick a toothpick in the middle to check for doneness and then let cool to room temperature before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

If you want even more apple flavor, add about a cup of diced apple to the mixture for a delicious flavor and texture.
I use a combination of all purpose and 100% whole wheat flour and the bread turns out great! (¾  cups all purpose, ¾ cups whole wheat flour)
This bread freezes very well. I like to slice my loaves and freeze for quick and easy breakfasts.
 
Keyword apple bread, applesauce bread, quickbread

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Mummy Dogs

Growing up, one of my favorite Halloween festivities was the fun spread of food my mom would throw together on Halloween night. Whatever it was we were eating was always turned into some “spooky” name: “witches brew” (soup), “blood and guts” (spaghetti and meatballs), “skeleton fingers” (carrots); and we always, always had a delicious “cat bread” that my mom would make. This was a basic bread recipe that my mom turned into the shape and face of a cat. She would bake it up and then add whiskers out of dry pasta noodles and a cute face. One day, I will recreate that cat bread. Today I’m sharing my own family’s tradition, one my kids love and look forward to every year: Mummy Dogs. They are delicious, easy and a crowd pleaser.

Jump Directly to Mummy Dogs Recipe

Our Halloween Dinner Now

We don’t always have our Halloween dinner on Halloween night. In recent years we almost never eat it on Halloween night because we enjoy having a friend party before trick-or-treating on Halloween. Instead, we pick one night leading up to Halloween and enjoy a spooky dinner. This almost always includes Mummy Dogs (along with other frightfully fun foods). Mummy Dogs are basically hot dogs wrapped up in a delicious breadstick dough with ketchup or mustard for eyes. They are fun for kids to make and super, super simple. I mean, you could technically buy some dough at the store, but you won’t need to with how quick and easy this breadstick dough is…perfect for wrapping up those hot dogs and turning them into “Mummy Dogs!”

Instant Yeast

These mummy dogs will take you less than an hour to make. Yes! Less than an hour! With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a super simple and super festive fun dinner on your table for your family to enjoy. The key to this quick rise time is in the instant yeast (my favorite linked here, affiliate link). One of the beautiful things about instant yeast is that it technically doesn’t need two rises. You can throw the yeast in, shape the dough and let it rise once before baking. This is a huge time saver! These breadsticks benefit from the use of instant yeast because you mix up the dough, give it a short ten minute rest and then wrap up your hot dogs, mummy-dog style. After a quick 20-minute rise, they are ready to bake. Easy peasy!

A Little Extra Butter

Liberally butter your pan for a delicious buttery crust

Preparing the pan with a little extra butter gives these mummy dogs a crispy and delicious breadstick texture. You will be asking yourself when you can make them again…the bread is so good. Light and fluffy with a buttery crust. Soften or melt about 4 Tablespoons of butter and coat the two pans with the melted butter before wrapping each mummy dog and placing on the pan to rise.

Mummy Dogs for a Crowd

I love this recipe because it is great for a crowd if you’re having people over for Halloween dinner. Sometimes I make half the hot dogs (8) and turn the rest of the dough into “breadsticks,” just twisting them up and laying them on the baking sheet instead of making 16 total hot dogs – the dough is so good for making breadsticks.

If you’re looking for a last-minute, delicious dinner with basic ingredients that you most likely have in your pantry, look no further than these mummy-dogs. They are delicious and perfect for a special dinner or to snarf down before trick-or treating.

Mummy Dogs

A light and fluffy breadstick dough wrapped around hot dogs make the perfect Halloween dinner!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Rising Time 30 mins
Course Bread, Main Course
Cuisine American, Halloween
Servings 16 mummy dogs

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups warm water (as warm as baby's bath water)
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil or any neutral-flavored oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5-6 cups all purpose flour
  • 16 packaged hot dogs
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened or melted for the baking sheet

Instructions
 

  • To a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the warm water (as warm as a baby’s bathwater so as not to kill the yeast).
  • Add the instant yeast, granulated sugar, oil, salt, garlic powder, basil and oregano.
  • Using the dough hook, add the flour a cup at a time until the dough comes together in a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Take a pinch of dough and roll it into a ball. It should leave a little residue on your fingers but roll it into a ball. If it doesn’t roll into a ball, continue adding flour a Tablespoon or so at a time until it does. If you over flour the dough, you can add a little bit of water back in and mix it, though this should be a last resort. Check out this post for readiness of the dough if you have more questions.
  • Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
  • After resting for 10 minutes, separate the dough into 16 equal pieces and open a package of hot dogs (you need 16 total).
  • Butter two large baking sheets (my favorite here, affiliate link) with 2 Tablespoons of softened butter per sheet. I just plop it down on the sheet and use my hands to coat the pan in butter.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a long rope. Take a hot dog and starting at the end of the hot dog, wrap the dough around the hot dog, leaving a small gap for the eyes. Pinch the dough together at the end of the hot dog and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 15 hot dogs.
  • Cover the mummy dogs and let rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes for a quick rise. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • After twenty minutes, bake the mummy dogs in the oven for about 15 minutes until lightly golden on top.
  • Add two dots of ketchup or mustard for the eyes and enjoy immediately.

Notes

I often halve the number of hot dogs used in this recipe and make 8 mummy dogs and 8 breadsticks. Twist the breadstick dough, place on a baking sheet and bake for the same amount of time. Sprinkle with cheese or extra melted butter when they come out of the oven.
Keyword Breadsticks, Halloween, Hot Dogs

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Masa Butterhorn Rolls

I love making dinner rolls. As a kid I was always partial to butterhorn rolls, usually a dough enriched with milk, butter and eggs and then more butter added on top of the dough before rolling up in a crescent shape. What’s not to love about a really buttery, delicious dinner roll? It even made me look forward to eating my vegetables, so I could have another roll. These masa butterhorn rolls are made in the same way as my childhood originals, but with the addition of a masa pudding that gives the rolls a little more depth and makes for a little bit sturdier roll…perfect for dunking in soup, eating with some leftover Thanksgiving turkey or sopping up the gravy from your leftovers. Now I just have to decide which roll recipe I’ll be making for Thanksgiving…these are definitely in the running! Masa butterhorn rolls are sure to be a hit at your next family gathering. 

Jump Directly to Recipe for Masa Butterhorn Rolls

Masa: What it is?

Masa flour is a finely ground corn flour that you can usually find in your local grocery store. It is a very soft flour that is traditionally made from dried corn that has been pre-soaked. Masa flour is traditionally used to make corn tortillas, tamales, sometimes to thicken soups and even make special drinks in Mexico and Central American countries. If you have some masa flour (I’m liking it here, but I recommend buying it from your local grocery store for much cheaper) lurking in your pantry, now is the time to pull it out and use it in this roll recipe. 

Make a Masa Pudding

The way the masa flour is incorporated in the rolls is a little unique. You begin by warming up milk and adding the masa flour to the milk. Continue heating the milk and masa mixture together until it thickens and forms a pudding-like texture. I liked doing this process in the microwave, though you could also warm it on the stovetop. If you are using a microwave, heat the mixture about a minute at a time until you notice thickening happening around the edges of the bowl. Then mix the rest of the ingredients in with the pudding except for the yeast and flour. Make sure the mixture is warm to the touch (not hot) before adding the yeast, so it doesn’t kill the yeast. Then add the flour and knead to form the light and airy dough.

Shaping Masa Butterhorn Rolls

One of the unique things about these rolls is the addition of butter before rolling up crescent roll style. Please don’t skip this step. It adds a delicious buttery flavor to the rolls. Shaping the rolls couldn’t be easier by rolling half the dough out into a circle and then using a pizza cutter to cut the dough into eight slices. Roll the dough up from the edge of the dough to the center to form a beautifully shaped crescent roll. If you want to make them as a standard roll, that is also possible with this recipe. Forgo the extra butter, cut the dough into 16 pieces and shape into small rolls. Bake for about 14 minutes.

Perfect for a Family Dinner

Masa butterhorn rolls are the perfect roll for a special occasion. They are substantial enough for the leftover turkey sandwiches from your Thanksgiving meal but are just as good with a little schmear of jam. We like to eat a more traditional Sunday dinner and these would be great to add to our lineup of bread recipes that grace our table. This recipe makes 16 rolls. It doubles well for a larger group and these rolls freeze well after baking. I like to let them cool, then transfer to a ziplock bag and freeze. When I want to serve them again, I’ll defrost a bit and warm them in the microwave. However you choose to eat them, I hope you love them as much as we do! Enjoy.

Masa Butterhorn Rolls

Tender, buttery and delicious, these Masa Butterhorn Rolls use masa flour in the dough and are rolled with extra butter to form the perfect roll for dinner.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 11 mins
rise time 2 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 16 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup masa flour
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter plus 4 Tablespoons softened and reserved for shaping
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 3/4- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

Instructions
 

Roll Dough

  • Warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove (medium heat) until bubbles form around the edges but the milk is not boiling. If using the microwave method, use a large liquid measuring cup (my favorite is this one, affiliate link), and microwave for 1 minute, check for bubbles around the edges. Continue warming in 30 second to 1 minute increments to check for readiness.
  • Once the bubbles have formed, add the masa flour to the milk and whisk together. Continue warming the masa and milk together in the microwave (one minute at a time), whisking in between minutes. If using the stove, stir continuously until the mixture thickens and forms a pudding-like texture.
  • You are looking for the mixture to thicken around the edges in the microwave. Once this happens (usually after a minute or two), whisk the masa/milk together until it forms a thick “pudding-like mixture.” If mixing on the stove, continue heating over medium heat and whisking until it forms a pudding-like mixture.
  • Cut the 3 Tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add to the warm masa pudding mixture, whisking it in until fully dissolved. Reserve 4 Tablespoons of butter and let it come to room temperature on your countertop to be used when shaping the dough.
  • Add the sugar and salt. Whisk together.
  • Add the egg. Whisk quickly to make sure the egg tempers and fully incorporates.
  • Pour the masa mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • At this point, check the temperature of the masa mixture (I use my finger…if it feels cooler than a baby’s bath water, you are good to go. If not, whisk a bit more and allow to cool down a bit). Once the mixture is lukewarm, add the yeast.
  • Start the dough hook and add a cup of flour at a time, reserving the last half cup of flour to add in increments as needed. You will know to stop adding flour when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer and you can take a pinch of dough and roll it into a ball in your fingers with just a little bit of dough sticking to your fingers. It’s okay for the dough to be a little bit sticky. See how to check for readiness of the dough here.
  • Knead dough for about 5 minutes. Then cover and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Shaping the Dough

  • Once the dough has doubled in size, lightly flour a countertop.
  • Pour the dough out on the countertop and cut it into two pieces.
  • Roll the first piece of dough into a large circle. Cover completely with 2 Tablespoons of softened butter.
  • Using a pizza cutter (or sharp knife), cut the dough into 8 pieces, pizza-slice-style.
  • Starting with the largest part of the dough, roll it up until it forms a crescent-style roll. Continue rolling the rest of the rolls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Repeat this process with the other piece of dough.
  • Cover the rolls and allow to rise for about an hour until doubled.

Baking

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Bake rolls for 11-14 minutes (we like ours around the 11 minute mark, but you may want yours a little darker on top). Eat immediately while warm. Enjoy!

Notes

Shaping: You can also shape the dough into traditional rolls. Cut the dough into 12-16 equal pieces. Shape into a ball, let rise and bake 12-14 minutes at 375 degrees
Keyword rolls

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Three Days in Brown County, Indiana

Oh 2020. What a year! We’ve had so many cancelled plans, trips, adjusting to a “new normal” and slower pace of life while trying to stay home as much as possible. This year has taken a toll on everyone, I think. My husband, Jeremy and I were looking at each other a few weeks ago and realizing that we really needed a little couples trip.

My parents decided somewhat last-minute to come out and visit during the kids scheduled fall break. Since our original fall break plans were cancelled this year and we had willing grandparents to watch our kids, we decided on a quick two night trip. Truthfully we didn’t care too much where we went. Anything would have been a nice break but we did have a short list of criteria: keep it short (our son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this spring and we still don’t feel comfortable being away from him for long periods of time), socially distant, good food and fall colors (if possible). 

As much as I love to bake (one of my favorite pastimes), I also love to travel and plan travel (planning is half the fun of the trip in my opinion). I immediately scoured Tripadvisor, VRBO and googled places that had availability. We found a cute little cabin that was only a 2.5 hour drive away in Brown County, Indiana. After googling a few photos of the area and checking out a few local menus, we booked our cabin and were set to go. The kids were so excited to have alone time and be completely spoiled by their grandparents. We were excited to have some quiet alone time after being “on call” for seven months of a stressful pandemic. It was high time for a little couples getaway.

Brown County, Indiana  

Brown County State Park, the largest Indiana State Park, is located right outside the small town of Nashville, Indiana. The state park is home to over 15,000 acres of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, picnicking and much more. Brown County has beautiful winding roads for country drives, craft markets, antique shops and a very cute downtown Nashville. It is especially known for beautiful fall leaves and is the perfect destination for anyone wanting some peace and quiet. It is the perfect spot for a two-night fall getaway.

Here’s Our Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Brown County

After driving for two and a half hours through fields of horses, cows and barns and watching the trees changing into beautiful hues of yellow, green and red, we stopped for brunch in the cute little town of Story, Indiana. I’m not even sure I can call it a town as it is basically an Inn and restaurant with a few little houses, all oozing with charm. We poked around a bit and enjoyed a delicious brunch at the Story Inn (the dinner looked wonderful as well) with local lettuces from the backyard garden. Definitely worth a stop for a good meal. We loved meandering around the gardens afterwards. 

After our late afternoon meal, we drove to pick up the keys to our little cabin. We originally found the cabin on VRBO, but with a quick search we found it cheaper on the cabin’s rental website. It is often cheaper to book with the cabin directly, so keep that in mind when planning or booking a trip. We picked up our keys and headed to our cute little cabin in the woods.

Stonehead Ridge Log Cabin

This was the perfect cabin for a couples getaway. It was a bit big for us with two bedrooms and a large living area. We would have booked something smaller but didn’t have as many options as we were booking about a week before arrival. The cabin had a large kitchen and was decorated with fall decor. It was impeccably cleaned and they even left us masks, encouraging us to social distance while there. Stonehead Ridge Log Cabin was very private, and we enjoyed soaking in the hot tub surrounded by beautiful trees and nature. A perfect spot to get away from it all. 

Stonehead Nature Preserve

After relaxing and settling in, we went for a short walk at the Stonehead Nature Preserve that was literally a stone’s throw from the cabin. This is not a place that I would necessarily go out of my way to go to, but if you happen to stay in a cabin nearby, it is worth a visit. Quiet, peaceful and beautiful trails, it was the perfect spot for a little walk as the sun went down. Neither of us were hungry for dinner with the memory of our very filling late brunch on our minds, so we headed back to our cabin and stayed up late watching a movie. 

Day 2: Nashville and Brown County State Park

Brunch in Nashville, Indiana

After a leisurely morning and sleeping in for the first time in many months (no four-year-old to wake us up at 6:30 AM), we headed into the cute town of Nashville for another amazing brunch. We enjoyed our Eggs Benedict with fried green tomato gravy and breakfast burrito at the Bird’s Nest Cafe. Everything on the menu looked delicious. After brunch we poked around the cute town of Nashville with all of the craft shops, boutiques, candy stores and fall decor. It was such a cute little town and we definitely could have spent more time window shopping.

Brown County State Park

We picked up some “make-your-own” charcuterie at the local grocery store before heading into the park, as there aren’t many food options there. The fee to enter the state park is $9 for out-of-state guests. If you are an Indiana resident, it is only $7. It is nice to note that you can come and go as you please throughout the day, just show your receipt to get back in the park.

Vistas

Throughout the park, you can pull out to see beautiful views and the park advertises its “7 Vistas Challenge” where you can earn a sticker for taking and posting pictures at each vista. One of our favorite spots for a view was Hesitation Point. Picnic tables abound, so bring a lunch to enjoy an extended time at one of these vistas. We also loved seeing all of the playgrounds for kids scattered throughout the park and the fun mountain biking trails. We are already planning a return visit with the kids.

Ogle Lake

We spent most of our time hiking around the beautiful Ogle Lake. The fall colors were exquisite and the lake itself provided beautiful views. We hiked trail 7, 4 and 5 making a large loop through a nature preserve and around Ogle Lake. It was breathtaking and definitely worth a visit. With younger kids, I would probably only hike trail 7, but with older kids and adults you could definitely add in the larger loop. No swimming is allowed in Ogle Lake, but we did see people fishing on the banks and enjoying being out in nature.

Scenic Driving

We enjoyed some scenic driving around the rest of the park after our hike and stopped at a little lookout to enjoy some of the snacks we had purchased earlier in the day. After spending a good 4-5 hours at the park, we decided to head out of the park and come back later for the beautiful sunset. We wished we had brought bikes to bike some of the amazing mountain biking trails. Trails range from easy to difficult. This park looks like a great spot for mountain biking. We will be back!

Hot Caramel Pumpkin Sundae

By this point in the day we had worked up an appetite for something sweet, so we headed to Fearrin’s Ice Cream shop for a hot caramel pumpkin sundae with nuts, whipped cream and a cherry on top. It was basically all of the best things fall has to offer in one beautiful cup. Plenty of hot caramel and absolutely delicious pumpkin ice cream. I’m still dreaming about it. Apparently they offer this sundae year round, so don’t miss it if you are passing through Nashville, Indiana.

Sunset at Hesitation Point

After a little nap back at the cabin (no kids meant we got to nap!!!), we headed back to Brown County State Park to enjoy the sunset. Hesitation Point didn’t give us a direct view of the sunset, but we could still see the beautiful colors of the light from the setting sun against the fall leaves. It was the perfect end to a relaxing, nature-filled day.

Day 3: Checkout and Drive Home

Bean Blossom Covered Bridge

We woke up late, again (vacation) and were checked out by around 10 AM. We didn’t want our trip to end yet, so we took a little drive up north of Nashville and drove through the rustic Bean Blossom Bridge. The setting was idyllic and this beautiful bridge built in 1880 was full of history and charm. Definitely worth a little stop if you are passing through.

Lunch at Farmhouse Cafe and Tea Room

We continued our drive through more beautiful fall foliage and came to our last foodie experience of the trip, the Farmhouse Cafe and Tea Room. This little cafe is set outdoors in a beautiful flower and herb barn. We sat outside on the cute little patio with eclectic chairs and tablecloths. It was the perfect fall morning and we enjoyed a fizzy herb barn lemonade (milk lemonade that was absolutely delicious) along with fresh garden salads and yummy fried green tomatoes. After our beautiful lunch we walked through the gardens and greenhouse area. Such a little gem and definitely worth a stop for lunch or dinner. 

Then it was back to grown-up reality! We drove the 2.5 hours home feeling refreshed and excited to see our kids (and bring them back here one day) and ready to get my hands into some sourdough. Nashville, Indiana and Brown County State Park would be a fun getaway any time of year, but fall is just magical with the changing of the leaves. If you live within a couple hours drive and are looking for a little getaway, this should definitely be considered!

What are some of your favorite fall getaways? I’d love to hear in the comments.

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Crispy Pumpkin Waffles with Pumpkin Syrup

Every year when fall rolls around, I get excited about all things pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pie (my favorite is from Costco…what’s yours?). Even though I love the flavor of pumpkin in baking, I do have one teeny, tiny complaint about this seasonal ingredient. It softens everything up (which can be good in some recipes, but not when you want something crispy). Is it too much to ask for a crispy pumpkin cookie? Or a crispy pumpkin scone? How about a crispy pumpkin waffle? Every year I get excited about making my kids pumpkin waffles for breakfast and time and time again…disappointed in the texture. Well, guess what? This year, the search is over! Ten crispy pumpkin waffles coming right up! These waffles have nice and crispy edges with a soft, light, pumpkin flavor and texture on the inside. Top it with some hot pumpkin syrup and you have yourself a little piece of fall on a plate.

Jump to Recipe for Crispy Pumpkin Waffles and Pumpkin Syrup

A Little Less Pumpkin Puree Keeps These Pumpkin Waffles Crispy

One of the awesome properties of pumpkin is the amount of moisture it brings to baked goods. This is perfect for these one bowl pumpkin spice muffins where you want a light, fluffy, perfectly moist muffin. Unfortunately this doesn’t bode as well when you are going for a crispy texture. I decreased the amount of pumpkin usually called for in a waffle recipe to half a cup. This still gives the pumpkin flavor but lends to a soft interior while still getting some crispy edges on a waffle. 

Key Ingredient: Cornstarch

Cornstarch is one of those ingredients that seems unassuming but can give you the biggest bang for your buck texture wise. I highlight the importance of cornstarch in these crispy sourdough discard waffles, too. Cornstarch is the key in making these waffles super crispy. The combination of baking these in a waffle iron activates the cornstarch to help give you that really crispy texture as soon as your waffle iron beeps done. Cornstarch also has an added benefit of softening up the waffles so you get both: super soft pumpkiny middle and crispy on the outside.

Drizzled with Pumpkin Syrup

One of my favorite tricks to making a flavored syrup is so simple. Use syrup you already have in your pantry. We use pure maple syrup and have recently started using sugar free as well thanks to having a child with type 1 diabetes–all that to say this trick works great for any kind of syrup you have on hand. Pour about half a cup in a little in a microwave-safe jar. Add in whatever flavor sounds good to you. For blueberry syrup, add a handful of crushed blueberries. For pumpkin syrup, add a tablespoon of pumpkin (and a little sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice). Heat it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, mix it up and you have a delicious flavored syrup. 

Freeze a Batch

My kids are always excited when waffles are on the menu for breakfast. I will often double this recipe because they freeze well. I stick leftovers in a gallon-sized ziplock and freeze them for a month or two, though they never last that long. To thaw, pull them out a few hours before you need them or (more likely) just give them a quick defrost or re-heat in the microwave (they won’t be crispy) or toaster (this helps them crisp back up) and you have a quick and delicious breakfast on hand. 

One Last “Crispy” Waffle Tip

One of the most important aspects on getting a crispy waffle is cooking the waffle to the recommended time on your waffle iron. We have some inexpensive waffle irons that produce yummy waffles. I don’t think the brand of your waffle iron is a key factor in crispy waffles. Just make sure you cook them until the light goes off and eat them hot for the most crispy edges and soft middle. Waffles that are left to sit out will lose some of their crispiness. You can always re-heat them in the toaster to help bring back the crisp if you aren’t able to eat them right away. Enjoy!

Crispy Pumpkin Waffles with Pumpkin Syrup

A crisp, pumpkin-flavored exterior with a soft, light inside make these the perfect waffles to eat this fall. Top it with some hot pumpkin syrup and you have yourself a little piece of fall on a plate.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 10 waffles

Ingredients
  

Crispy Pumpkin Waffles

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice see recipe notes for substitution
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree canned pumpkin works best (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil coconut oil works here too
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk see recipe notes for substitution
  • 1 cup milk

Pumpkin Syrup

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup any favorite kind of syrup will work
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Instructions
 

  • Plug in waffle iron to preheat.
  • Using a whisk, mix together the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Add brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together.
  • To a different bowl (or the same bowl if you don’t like to dirty two bowls like me), add the wet ingredients. Add the pumpkin puree, melted butter, vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk, milk and vanilla extract.
  • Whisk together until fully combined. If batter is too thick, add a Tablespoon more milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. This batter will be a little bit on the thicker side.
  • Using a measuring cup or ladle, pour about ⅓ – ½ cup of waffle batter onto hot waffle iron. Bake according to the directions on your waffle iron. Ours usually take 2-3 minutes per waffle.
  • While waffles bake, mix up pumpkin syrup. To a small jar add ½ cup syrup, 1 Tablespoon pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Heat for 10-20 seconds and mix together with a fork or spoon until smooth.
  • Serve waffles hot, drizzled with pumpkin syrup.

Notes

Buttermilk Substitution: I prefer using buttermilk, but when I don’t have it on hand I will often substitute equal parts greek yogurt/milk or sour cream/milk. Mix it together before adding to a recipe. 
Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitution: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, try substituting: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.
Keyword pumpkin, pumpkin waffles

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