Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup apple cider or water
2 cups (1 smaller can) of pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Mix everything else in a large bowl and then gently add flour mix. Do not over mix. Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake at 350 for one hour. If you use a baking dish, just keep an eye on the time – since it will bake more quickly.

Blueberry Buckle

Many of the old quick breads have funny names – one of my favorites is Blueberry Grunt. But they all feature fruit in a tender bread and are amazing served with tea or coffee.

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk or eggnog

Blend together liquid ingredients well.

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Blend together dry ingredients.

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Put the flour mixture on top of the milk mixture and blend very gently, just until it’s all moistened. Then carefully fold the berries in, and put it in a 9×9 baking pan. Top with dollops of the following mixture:

3 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is a treat I have always looked forward to on St Patrick’s Day – since my friend Cathy is Irish and makes the most exquisite Soda Bread.

I’ve now made this bread so many times and in so many places it’s kind of my signature dish. You’d think I’d be sick of it, but there is something about that first bite of warm bread with a little butter melting on it that is indescribable.

For me, the interesting thing about this recipe was a note that it was from Rania Bratberg (from the Internet).  I was so thrilled to find a recipe on the Internet – what an astonishing idea – but of course that was long, long ago!

4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp caraway seeds

Blend in a large bowl.

1/4 cup softened butter

Cut butter into the flour mixture with a fork or knead it in gently with your hands.

1 box currants (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Add the currants to the flour mixture, and stir to break up any clumps.  Blend the buttermilk and egg well. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and blend oh so gently until everything is moist. Do not overmix this!

Turn out the dough onto a floured tray, and knead gently adding flour as needed for 2-3 minutes. (Or you can just flour your hand and gently knead the bread right in the bowl.) Form an oval on a baking pan and flatten it to no more than about 2″ thick. Slather the loaf with buttermilk and cut a couple of shallow horizontal slashes with a sharp knife.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with a clean, dry towel. Serve with lots of fresh butter.

Note: if you want, you can make two loaves – just bake them for 30 minutes.

Good, Simple Bread

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups flour  (I use Pillsbury unbleached)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil

Mix water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Let is sit for several minutes in a warm place until it is nice and bubbly. Add salt and stir well. The add the flour and stir until it all comes together.

Pull the dough out and sprinkle flour on a cutting board or counter. Knead the bread for a couple of minutes. Then put a little oil in the bowl, and put the bread back in. Cover it with a towel and let it rise for an hour or so in a warm place.

Remove it from the bowl, and form it into an oval on a baking sheet. Brush it with olive oil, and sprinkle a bit more salt on it. Then carefully slash three horizontal lines across the top. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Fresh Peach Muffins

This recipe is from Stephenson’s Apple Farms – a wonderful restaurant in Kansas City that is no longer open.  I lost the recipe for 10 years and was thrilled to find it again.

1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix in a bowl.  Add:

2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking soda

Mix the flour and soda on top of the liquid before gently stirring into the liquid.  Mix very gently – it will still be lumpy.   Add:

1 cup chopped fresh peaches

Gently fold the peaches in.  Do not overmix this!  

Pour into muffin cups and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Variations:

Banana-Pineapple:  substitute 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk 2 Tbsp drained crushed pineapple and 1 cup crushed bananas for the sugar, milk and fruit.

December 2011, Blueberry – graham cracker: my daughter Maya substituted a cup of blueberries for the apples, left out the cinnamon and sprinkled with a cup of crumbled graham crackers before baking.  Delish!

(Just noticed – someone added in 1/4 cup Love into the list of ingredients.  True enough, I suppose!)

peach muffin page

You can always tell the best recipes because they’ve been used so often they’re splattered!