Brighten The Holidays With Happy Bread

KAY'S KORNER

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The following column was submitted by Pioneer Mills.

The smell of something sweet baking in the oven is one of life's simple pleasures, enjoyed especially at holiday time.

In between decorating, shopping and card writing, though, how do you find the time to do scratch baking too?

The answer: make quick and easy sweet breads. Surprise your friends and family this season with a new coffee cake or sweet quick bread inspired by the popular "monkey bread." This version uses ingredients most people have on hand, and you'll love the delicious taste.

Happy Bread is the perfect bread to serve at any holiday breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. The name alone will set the tone for your gathering and put people in a happy mood.

Dry butterscotch pudding mix flavors the biscuits in Happy Bread. They're made the easy way with convenient biscuit and baking mix.

"These biscuits are sweeter and richer than basic biscuits because of the addition of a bit of sugar and light cream to the dough," says Marrgi Walstrom, culinary professional for Pioneer Brand.

Happy Bread

1 package (5.3 oz.) cook and serve butterscotch pudding and pie filling mix (dry, divided)

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (divided)

4 cups Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit & Baking Mix

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups light cream (half-and-half) or milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

Generously coat inside of a bundt cake pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons pudding mix and 1/4 cup nuts. Place remaining pudding mix in shallow pan; set aside. In large bowl, stir together biscuit and baking mix, sugar and cream to make a soft dough. Turn out onto surface dusted with additional biscuit and baking mix. Knead 7 to 10 times. Divide into about 32 balls or pieces. Roll each ball in reserved dry pudding mix to coat. Place about 16 balls in prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. In small bowl, stir together butter and brown sugar; drizzle half over balls in pan. Repeat with remaining balls and butter mixture. Bake at 400 for 24 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert onto serving platter and serve. Makes 1 coffee cake (12 to 16 servings).

Cinnamon-Orange Happy Bread

4 cups Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit & Baking Mix

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated orange peel (optional)

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted

In large bowl, stir together biscuit and baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, orange peel, cream and milk to make a soft dough. Turn out onto surface dusted with additional biscuit and baking mix. Knead 7 to 10 times. Divide into about 30 balls. In small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll each ball in cinnamon-sugar. Place in a bundt cake pan or tube pan that has been generously coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon-sugar over balls. Drizzle butter over top. Bake at 400 for 24 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert onto serving platter and serve. Makes 1 coffee cake (12 to 16 servings). Visit the Pioneer Brand Web site at: www.pioneermills.com for more information.

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