December 15, 2011 at 8:34 a.m.

Festive looking, delicious recipes for gifts


Many of you have your gifts purchased, and perhaps wrapped by now but if you're still thinking about what to buy for a friend or relative, I have a suggestion or two to help solve the problem. I make different kinds of quick breads in different size foil pans, add a little something to go with the bread, such as a variety of tea bags. Put individual packets in a little plastic bag, such as the snack size bag, make a little hole in one corner and tie it to the wrapped loaf of bread using the crinkly ribbon that you curl with a scissors. Your time and talents are very special to people, especially when a gift comes from your kitchen. So, it's quick bread recipes.

This bread is delicious as well as festive looking.

PECAN CHERRY BREAD

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened

3/4 c. sugar

2 eggs

2 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1 t. baking soda

1 c. buttermilk

1 c. chopped pecans

1 - 10 oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained, patted with paper towel and coarsely chopped

1 t. vanilla

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in pecans, cherries and vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured 8x4" or 9x5" loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes or until bread tests done with a toothpick (60-65 minutes if using the 9x5" pan). Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Makes one loaf or 12-14 slices. Note: you can also bake the bread in two 7-1/2x3-1/2" or four tiny foil pans with baking time reduced about 5 minutes.

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NUTTY QUICK BREAD

2 c. buttermilk

1 c. Grape-nuts cereal

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1 t. each, baking powder and baking soda

1/4 t. salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk and cereal; let stand for 10 minutes. Add egg. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients; stir into ceral mixture just until moistened. Spoon into two greased 8x4" or 9x5" loaf pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until bread tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Again you can use smaller pans, with baking time reduced.

Makes two loaves, 12-14 slices each.

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Cottage cheese is the unusual ingredient that adds moistness to this recipe.

APRICOT NUT BREAD

6 T. butter or margarine, softened

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 T. grated lemon peel (or 1 t. dried lemon peel)

1 - 12 oz. carton small curd cottage cheese (1-1/2 c.) Can use 1% cottage cheese

2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

3/4 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1 c. finely chopped dried apricots (can substitute chopped dates if you wish

1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

Grease and lightly flour two 7-1/2 x 3-1/2" pans or one 9x5" pan. Cream butter, brown sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy; beat in lemon peel and cottage cheese. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture just until blended. Fold in apricots and nuts. Spoon into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes for smaller loaves, 60 minutes for large loaf or until bread tests done with a toothpick. Cool 10 minutes in pan; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes one (or two small loaves).

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PINEAPPLE BANANA BREAD

3 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1 t. each, baking soda and cinnamon

1/2 t. salt

3 eggs

1-1/4 c. canola or vegetable oil

2 t. vanilla

1 - 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained

2 c. mashed ripe banana (5 medium)

In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. In another bowl, beat next three ingredients; add pineapple and bananas. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Pour into two 9x5" loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until bread tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Makes two loaves (about 12 slices each).

Thought for the Day: The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been kindness, beauty and truth.

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