Mango Mango

I don’t know about your market, but around here, mangoes have been on sale for the past few weeks. A good sale on fruit is something I can’t just walk by – note the four pints of raspberries currently resting on the second shelf of my fridge – so on-sale mangoes always make their way into my cart. The last time I was in the market, I bought five mangoes. As soon as they ripened, I ate one and used two of them to make this fresh mango bread from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking. 

Leo and Lilli

I brought this bread to Western Mass for a visit with my parents. (I also brought this double chocolate banana bread, which was a hit.) My sister-in-law had her 10-year Smith reunion at the same time, so Sylvie and Leo came up for a visit as well. Leo and Lilli had Cousin Time, where Leo’s diminutive size did not stop him getting whatever toy he wanted — even if Lilli was using it.

The bread was a big hit, so much so that there was none left for Rich, who was away for the weekend at a conference. Because I’d promised him some, I zipped home that Sunday and made the bread a second time with the remaining two mangoes. Yes, that’s right, I baked this bread twice in a four-day period.

Quick bread refers to the batter not needing time to rise like normal bread dough. But this quick bread also whips together in a flash. Sure, the baking takes about an hour and a half, but you certainly don’t need to be anywhere near the kitchen while that’s happening. The recipe calls for light brown sugar, but I used dark brown. I think it gave it a nice caramelly flavor to it.

This is a dairy-free recipe, and if you want to keep it parve, use Earth Balance instead of butter for when you butter the pan.

Fresh Mango Bread from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking

Ingredients

3 large eggs

¾ cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (packed) brown sugar

2 cups diced mango

¾ cup moist, plump golden raisins

Grated zest of ½ lime

Directions

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 ½ -x – 4 ½ inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom on the bread from overbaking.)

Whisk the eggs and oil together.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Rub the brown sugar between your palms into the bowl, breaking up any lumps, then stir it in. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, switch to a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix until blended – the batter will be very thick (really more like a dough than a batter) and not easily mixed, but persevere, it will soon come together. Stir in the mango, raisins and zest. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake the bread for 1 ½ hours, or until it is golden brown and a think knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (If the bread looks as if it’s getting too brown as it bakes, cover it loosely with a foil tent.) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

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Good Cookies Make Good Neighbors

Our upstairs neighbors got married this weekend. They’re good neighbors to have and do things like weed the front garden. They also don’t complain about Lilli, ahem, finding her voice, sometimes in the middle of the night.

Their rehearsal dinner, which they graciously invited us to, was the night before the big day, upstairs at their place.  Not wanting to arrive empty-handed, I decided to bake something for the bride and groom. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t think of making these – Mexican wedding cakes – immediately. I mean, the word “wedding” is in the name of the cookie!

Mexican Wedding Cakes

It’s a very simple recipe from Favorite Cookie Recipes by Lou Seibert Pappas. I’ve never mentioned this unassuming little book before, but it has my absolute most favorite cookie recipe – a soft, chewy gingerbread – that has yet to make it onto the blog. I’ll try hard this year to change that. In the meantime, let’s talk about these cookies.

Different cultures around the world have similar cookies. Be it Russian teacakes, polvorones in Spain or snowball cookies, they are all full of butter and nuts, topped with powdered sugar. This particular recipe says you can use hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts. I choose pecans, or, as the Southern bride put it when I presented her the cookies “pea-CAHNS.” It turns out her stepmother is of Mexican descent and had actually requested these cookies as part of the wedding celebration.

For the chopped nuts the recipe called for, I ended up giving whole pecans – purchased at Costco – a whirl in the food processor. There were leftover nuts which I stored in a plastic bag and tossed in the fridge. I’ll probably sprinkle them on top of a salad at some point this week. The dough came together very quickly in the stand mixer. Even though the recipe said to stir in the nuts, I added them using the mixer on a lower speed.

For the roll in confectioner’s sugar, I used a large Tupperware container. I choose it because it had a large, flat bottom and had sides to make it a clean toss. The step that took the longest was the shaping of the cookies into little balls, which really didn’t take very long. The result is a really lovely cookie.

Mexican Wedding Cakes from Favorite Cookie Recipes by Lou Seibert Pappas

Ingredients

½ cup butter, room temperature

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup finely chopped pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts

Powdered sugar for rolling

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Mix in vanilla. Add flour and salt and beat until smooth. Stir in nuts. Shape into ½-inch balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in 350F oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and quickly roll hot cookies in powdered sugar. Cool and roll again in sugar.