December 9, 2010 at 2:33 p.m.

Quick breads for giving and sharing

Quick breads for giving and sharing
Quick breads for giving and sharing

Today it's about gifts to give family, neighbors and friends made in your kitchen. Quick breads are just that, quick, as opposed to yeast-risen breads that take more time to prepare and bake for gift giving. There are many varieties of breads to choose from, whether it be fruit breads, scones, biscuits, tea bread, muffins, corn bread, coffeecakes, even crackers. Any of these varieties make a wonderful gift, because it is something good to eat and because it is homemade, especially for that person. One of the best things about breads is they can be made ahead of time, wrapped and tucked away in the freezer to be ready when needed. So, let's make fruit breads and scones today.

Cheddar Cranberry Bread

2 c. flour

3/4 c. sugar

1-1/2 t. baking powder,

1-1/2 t. salt

1-1/2 t. baking soda

1 c. fresh cranberries, halved

1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

1 T. grated orange peel

3/4 c. orange juice

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 T. butter or margarine, melted and cooled

In a large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Stir in next 4 ingredients. In a small bowl, combine next 3 ingredients; stir into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Spoon the batter into a greased and lightly floured 9x5-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; loosen edges with knife; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap bread in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. You can make breads days ahead as after 24 hours they moisten, slice more easily and flavors blend. Note: When mixing the liquid and dry ingredients together, be sure you don't over mix as it causes a course, tough texture. This is true when making muffins as well.

Makes 14-16 slices.

+++++

PINEAPPLE NUT BREAD

1-1/3 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. baking soda

3/4 c. sugar

3 T. butter

2 eggs

3/4 c. chopped nuts

1-8 1/2 oz. can or 1 c. crushed pineapple, undrained

Topping:

2 T. sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

In a small bowl combine first 4 ingredients; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl gradually beat 3/4 c. sugar into butter until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Add half the flour mixture. Stir just until the ingredients are moistened...do not beat! Fold in pineapple; stir in remaining flour. Turn into a greased and lightly floured 9x5-inch baking pan.

Topping: Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove onto wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 14-16 slices.

+++++

ORANGE CURRENT SCONES

2 c. flour

1/4 c. sugar

2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

2 t. grated orange peel

1/3 c. butter, chilled

1 egg, slightly beaten

2/3 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. dried currants or raisins

Glaze:

1 c. powdered sugar

3 T. orange juice

1 t. grated orange peel

In a small bowl, pour enough boiling water to cover currents, or raisins. Let stand for 5 minutes; drain well. In large bowl combine first 6 ingredients. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in butter until mixture is the size of coarse crumbs. Add currants and toss to coat. Make a well in center; set aside. In small bowl mix egg and buttermilk; add all at once to flour mixture. Mix until just barely moistened. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead 10-12 times. Place dough onto a lined cooke sheet, using parchment paper, or spray sheet coated with non stick cooking spray. Flatten dough into an 8-inch circle. Frequently dipping knife into flour, cut dough into 8 wedges. Separate wedges by 1-inch. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Don't over bake...test with toothpick. Put scones on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Glaze: In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Brush glaze on scones. Allow glaze to dry before storing.

Makes 8 scones.

+++++

FESTIVE FRUITED SCONES

2 c. flour

1 T. each, sugar and baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

3 T. cold butter or margarine

1/2 c. diced dried fruit (apricots, apples or prunes)*

1/2 t. grated orange peel

3/4 c. buttermilk

1 T. milk

In a bowl, combine first 5 ingredients; mix well. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add fruit and orange peel. Stir in buttermilk until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently for 2-3 minutes. Shape into a ball. Gently roll into a 7-inch circle. Cut into 8 pieces; put on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray. Brush with milk. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm. Don't over bake... test with toothpick. If you make the scones ahead of time, warm in micro on low heat about 50-60 seconds.

Makes 8 scones.

*You can purchase a packet of mixed diced fruits at the grocery store.

TFD: Let your life be like a snowflake which leaves a mark not a stain.

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