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eG Bake-Off XX: Holiday Quick Breads


David Ross
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Blueberry Buckle, Banana Bread, Banana Coffee Bread, Boston Brown Bread and Prune Nut Bread.  Cornbread, Corn Fritters and Corn Spoon Bread.  Ginger Muffins, Hawaiian Muffins and Swedish Timbale Cases.  All these recipes come from my cherished 1968 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens "New Cook Book."  But the popularity of "quick breads" hasn’t faded over the decades. 

 

By definition, quick breads are basically breads that are leavened with baking soda or baking powder rather than yeast.   And "quick" breads eliminate the need for waiting hours for the yeast in traditional doughs to rise.  The Holidays are the perfect time for quick breads.  Quick breads are economical and all the well-known ingredients of the holiday kitchen work quite well in quick breads: dates, raisins, pumpkin, cranberries, candied fruits, nuts, citrus fruits, eggnog and a boozy nog too.  

 

The Holidays are fast approaching, so join in the celebration as we launch our newest Bake-Off, eG Bake-Off XX: Holiday Quick Breads. 

 

See our complete Bake-Off Index here:

https://forums.egullet.org/topic/155586-bake-off-index/

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Can I make a distinction between types of quick breads? I usually classify them into two categories: need to use my KitchenAid/don't need to use it. (I'd love to cover both types.) I usually think of a quick bread as one that can be mixed by hand; there's no need to cream the butter and sugar, no whipping of the eggs (either whole or separated), etc. Very little prep work is involved in those quick breads, yet they are tried and true and produce a very satisfying result. Then there is the second type of quick bread, a bit more involved but still quick when compared with any kind of yeast cake. The first type will produce a more dense loaf, the second type a lighter cake, usually not in loaf form. Whipping butter, sugar, and eggs helps with the leavening, but they still need baking powder or soda. Do you want to make this distinction? Or are they all fair game?

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To date my favorite festive quick bread would be the one I got from e G member, Arey, a couple of years ago when we had such a glut of apples on the farm.  He called it "Mother's Applesauce Cake (Poor Man's Fruitcake)  and we loved it.  The recipe made two loaf pans and so one always went into the freezer...although it didn't often stay there for long.  (Not the most appetizing photo...but then I am no photographer.
59f65d33866a0_Applesaucecake.thumb.JPG.ae040d43fde4ae582bfb0fc97d28bca7.JPG

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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18 minutes ago, cakewalk said:

Can I make a distinction between types of quick breads? I usually classify them into two categories: need to use my KitchenAid/don't need to use it. (I'd love to cover both types.) I usually think of a quick bread as one that can be mixed by hand; there's no need to cream the butter and sugar, no whipping of the eggs (either whole or separated), etc. Very little prep work is involved in those quick breads, yet they are tried and true and produce a very satisfying result. Then there is the second type of quick bread, a bit more involved but still quick when compared with any kind of yeast cake. The first type will produce a more dense loaf, the second type a lighter cake, usually not in loaf form. Whipping butter, sugar, and eggs helps with the leavening, but they still need baking powder or soda. Do you want to make this distinction? Or are they all fair game?

Fair game for our bake-off because you’re not using yeast. So any mixing techniques will work.

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Today was a dreary rainy day, so I had to bake something. (No, I do not notice any disconnect in that sentence.) This is a favorite that I haven't made in quite some time: Carole Walter's Dried Cherry Almond Pound Cake. It is so good. It freezes beautifully. (Although this one will be eaten!). 

cherry almond pound cake.jpg

cherry almond sliced.jpg

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19 minutes ago, cakewalk said:

Today was a dreary rainy day, so I had to bake something. (No, I do not notice any disconnect in that sentence.) This is a favorite that I haven't made in quite some time: Carole Walter's Dried Cherry Almond Pound Cake. It is so good. It freezes beautifully. (Although this one will be eaten!). 

 

YUM!!!

 

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I  always include a pumpkin bread on my holidzy sweets gift plates. It uses oil and is super moist and keeps well. I go way over on the spices so it turns outs like a moist spice bread with pumpkin backgound. 

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30 minutes ago, cakewalk said:

Today was a dreary rainy day, so I had to bake something. (No, I do not notice any disconnect in that sentence.) This is a favorite that I haven't made in quite some time: Carole Walter's Dried Cherry Almond Pound Cake. It is so good. It freezes beautifully. (Although this one will be eaten!). 

 

30 minutes ago, cakewalk said:

I

 

This looks like something I need to make!

Would you care to share the recipe?

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Yesterday it was 29 degrees when I got up, so despite it being a sunny day, I chose to stay in my PJ's and nest all day. That included baking a loaf of yeast bread and a loaf of sweet potato pecan bread. Recipe for the latter here. I doubled the pecans to 1 cup.

 

Not bad, but I would bake the next one in an 8 x 4 pan instead of the recommended 9 x 5; it was fairly flat. Definitely needed more spices. Sweet potato taste isn't nearly as assertive as pumpkin. But definite possibilities for tweaking.

 

59f7336d814ae_sweetpotatobread.thumb.jpg.971109eb73f5a1d384c9297be9080e55.jpg

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I found some chestnuts at a local store. Seems like they would be perfect in a quick bread this time of year but would any one have a recipe? What dried fruits might work with chestnuts?

 

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I think I'm going to start fairly simple by incorporating the chestnuts into a pumpkin quick bread.  Anyone have a recipe for how to make a chestnut puree?

 

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I have never worked with chestnuts at all. In fact, I don't think I've ever eaten them. (Just one of those gaps in my upbringing, I suppose.) So I am eagerly awaiting your reports. (Although I do remember being in Budapest many years ago and having chestnuts fall on my head from the trees lining the street to my hotel!!)

 

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Mother used to talk about getting roasted chestnuts after ice skating, but these are more like a fig.  They are in a vacuum sealed packet, not really dried hard but soft.

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David, if they are just vacuum sealed with nothing else, they will just kind of taste starchy and you likely won't notice them in your loaf. To make them stand out in your bread, maybe you can coarsely chop them and sort of lightly "candy" them in a pan to bring out the nice roasty flavor/sweetness?

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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You're right.  I tasted one as I was making another quick bread and they did taste starchy, but had a hint of chestnut flavor.  I knew they would be soft, not crunchy like a walnut, so I didn't want to add them to my first Holiday quick bread.  I'm still considering using them, and I like your idea of how to bring out more flavor.

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My first Holiday Quick Bread was a combination of a recipe for pumpkin bread, but I added apple cider and some pecans.  Fresh apple cider up here is only sold in large jugs, but we get it in a lot of different apple varieties.  I happened to use Fuji apple cider that I originally bought to brine pork.  I'm terrible at making basic banana bread, it always turns out dense and dry.  So my reasoning I suppose was to add the apple cider to keep the bread moistened and add additional sweetness and flavor.  I wasn't happy with adding the pecans.  I thought I needed some crunch, but this bread turned out so soft and moist I felt the nuts took away from that a bit.  Next time I'll add some currants for a softer texture that I think will enhance the bread.  The powdered sugar icing and the holiday sprinkles were just to gild the bread a bit, but it makes it look nice and the icing is delicious.  It's a great quick bread for breakfast or at a buffet table. 

 

Pumpkin Apple Cider Quick Bread-

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup apple cider

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

 

Heat the oven to 350.  In a bowl stir together the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs and apple cider until the mixture is smooth.  Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger and baking soda and mix to combine.  Add the sugar and the flour, and stir until the batter is smooth.  I used a bundt style of pan, but any loaf pan will do.  Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

I don't have exact measurements for the glaze.  I just stirred in some milk, adding enough powdered sugar to make a thick glaze.  I'd say about 1 cup powdered sugar to only about 2 tbsp. of milk.

  IMG_2539.JPG

 

 

IMG_2543.JPG

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I'm not fond of most quick breads; often they are too sweet. But I do like this chocolate loaf. It uses olive oil and not butter, and is not as sweet as chocolate cake (and I cut back on sugar routinely), with a more bread-like crumb and gets baked in a loaf pan. So I'm thinking' it qualifies as a quick bread. In my mind a quick bread should be excellent toasted with a swipe of butter, and this one is. I have no idea where it originated; it came to me at a time when I was first looking for baked goods that used olive oil. Nigella has a loaf she calls Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake (uses butter), and that one is all over the place on line. I haven't tried it yet, but I suspect it is richer than this one.

 

PERFECT CHOCOLATE LOAF CAKE            

1/2 cup sugar                             3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup light brown sugar        1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil                 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs                                          1-2 tsp espresso powder
1 cup buttermilk                         1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract                    1/2 cup chopped chocolate
1 3/4 cup flour                                         or nuts or chocolate nibs
    
Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 1-lb loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars and oil; mix to 
combine. Beat in 1 egg at a time until well blended. Add in buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix. Add in 
all remaining ingredients except chopped chocolate. Beat to combine with a wooden spoon. If a few 
lumps remain, that's OK. Don't overmix.

 

Fold in chocolate and immediately pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until 
toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely before 
running a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen. Then, turn cake out onto a large plate. Dust 
with powdered sugar, if desired. Slice and serve.  —MAY NEED LESS TIME IN THE OVEN
     
 

 
     
 

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My second Holiday Quick Bread sort of got off to a rocky start.  I found a recipe for Eggnog Muffins, I got all the ingredients out on the counter to get started.  But then I realized I didn't have any paper muffin cups, which I prefer to use in this case for the presentation.  So I figured I could just turn it into a loaf pan and make the traditional quick bread form.  I added some dried cranberries to the batter, but I think I'd prefer raisins next time for their sweetness and softer texture, and I doubled the spice measures, also adding cloves and nutmeg.  I added brown sugar to the recipe for the streusel topping and it gave it a nice crunchy texture.  The recipe called for rum extract, a mere 1/2 tsp.  That was too puny I thought, so I added two tbsp. of dark rum, which is the same ingredient we add to our homemade egg nog.  It's a nice, simple recipe.

 

Eggnog Quick Bread-

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cloves

2 eggs

1 cup eggnog, (I bought eggnog made by a local dairy co-op)

1 cup butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. dark rum or bourbon

1/2 cup raisins or currants

 

Preheat the oven to 375.  (I used the convection setting).

 

Spray a loaf pan, (I used a 8x4 small loaf pan). In a mixer bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and mix to combine.  With the mixer running, add the eggs, eggnog, melted butter, vanilla, rum and raisins and thoroughly mix the batter.

 

Pour into the loaf pan and sprinkle the top with the streusel mixture.  Bake for about 25 minutes, until the topping is golden and a toothpick runs clean when inserted into the bread.

 

Streusel Topping-

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3 tbsp. butter

 

Combine all the topping ingredients in a mini-processor and pulse a few times to combine.

IMG_2553.JPG

IMG_2555.JPG

 

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17 minutes ago, David Ross said:

I added some dried cranberries to the batter, but I think I'd prefer raisins next time for their sweetness and softer texture

How about rum soaked raisins!

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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On 10/29/2017 at 6:59 PM, Darienne said:

To date my favorite festive quick bread would be the one I got from e G member, Arey, a couple of years ago when we had such a glut of apples on the farm.  He called it "Mother's Applesauce Cake (Poor Man's Fruitcake)  and we loved it.  The recipe made two loaf pans and so one always went into the freezer...although it didn't often stay there for long.  (Not the most appetizing photo...but then I am no photographer.
59f65d33866a0_Applesaucecake.thumb.JPG.ae040d43fde4ae582bfb0fc97d28bca7.JPG

That looks amazing. Would you care to share or link the recipe pretty please? :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Three weeks ago today I suffered a terrible fall at home, shattering the bone in my upper right arm.  (Yep, I'm right-handed).  That led to surgery, a plate and 14 screws, and 12 days in the hospital.  So I've not been cooking much.  But this morning I was rummaging through the freezer looking for what I might prepare and came across my stash of huckleberries.  Every season I buy a few gallons of fresh huckleberries picked off high-mountain meadows surrounding Spokane.  A few fresh huckleberry dishes then I stoke the freezer with bags of berries to stretch throughout the year.  And then I thought I'd do a regular recipe, a "Huckleberry Buckle."  The ingredients aren't necessarily "holiday" but this would be perfect on the Christmas morning bread board.  The recipe calls for blueberries, but I think you could poach cranberries and use them instead.  The "buckle" is an old-fashioned quick bread that is basically a coffee cake with a streusel top. 

 

Batter-

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

2 cups berries

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

6 tbsp. cold butter

1/4 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

 

Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg. Mix flour, baking powder and salt then add to batter. Add milk. Spread batter in greased baking dish and top with berries.  In a small food processor, mix the streusel topping--sugar, brown sugar, flour, butter and spices.  Spread the streusel topping on top of the berries.  I spoon some of the huckleberry juice from the berries on top of top of the streusel.  Bake at 350 about 45 minutes.

 

Now please excuse the photos.  I would never post these out of focus pictures, but the arm is still in the initial stages of healing so the camera wasn't too steady today...

 

IMG_2557.JPG

 

IMG_2564.JPG

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