Special Breads Make Great Gifts

IN THE KITCHEN

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Part of my holiday baking plan includes making a few loaves of quick breads. I am opting for the packaged mixes, two of which are for pumpkin bread, my favorite. It’s hereditary I think - my 90-year-old grandfather loves the stuff.

If you have the time and are so inclined, there are some really wonderful quick bread recipes out there. Some sound so good, they are even worth making the time to bake.

Amaretto Nut Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 1/4 cups chopped nuts (either walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, or any combination)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup Amaretto liqueur

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt and spice. Add nuts and stir well.

In a large bowl cream oil and brown sugar, add eggs and vanilla and mix to fluffy consistency.

Add flour to creamed mixture in three equal portions, alternating with sour cream and liqueur, beating smooth after each addition.

The batter will be thin, pour into one 9-by-5-inch greased and floured loaf pan, or use three 6-by-3-inch loaf pans.

Bake in center of oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until top is firm and loaf pulls away from sides of pan and knife or toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to continue cooling.

Once cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let sit overnight before cutting. It will keep up to three days like this, or can be frozen for future use.

Cream Sherry - Pumpkin Bread

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1 (29-ounce) can pumpkin

4 eggs

1 cup nut oil (walnut, almond or sunflower seed)

4 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cream sherry

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine the sugars, pumpkin, eggs and oil. Beat until smooth. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Combine sugar and flour mixtures, stirring until smooth. Add the sherry and stir again until fully blended into batter.

Using three greased 8-by-4-inch loaf pans, greased and floured, fill each three-quarters full with batter.

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes or until knife or toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes, then turn loaves onto wire racks to finish cooling.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight. The loaves will keep up to four days this way, or they can be frozen.

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