There is such a feeling of accomplishment when we learn to make bread. We might not want to start with yeast breads, but even an amateur baker can learn to perfect quick breads.
I remember how happy I was when I made my first banana nut bread. The texture was so moist and the flavor was definitely a treat for the palate. Since that time, I have experimented with many flavors of quick breads. I like to make miniature versions of them to give as gifts. This same batter can be used for muffins, which would be great for Halloween treats.
One of my favorites is sweet potato and apple butter loaf. I recently was looking through some recipes my niece, Marcella Adams, shared with me. Among those I found an interesting quick bread using pumpkin purée. I know that it is no secret that I prefer sweet potatoes to pumpkin, but the recipe made with pumpkin purée actually sounds delicious. For this one, I prefer to use brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. I also like to use a little more sugar than called for in the recipe (maybe about 1/2 cup), especially if the apple is not sweet.
For a special treat, you might want to add a little cocoa in Cherry Pecan Bread. After all, chocolate and cherries are a flavorful duo. Another suggestion would be to add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.
CHERRY PECAN BREAD
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (10 oz.) jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Cream together the sugar and butter. Add eggs and beat. Combine flour and baking soda. Stir to mix and add to creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Add vanilla and mix. Stir in cherries and pecans. Spoon into pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of loaf. Remove from pan and cool on rack.
PUMPKIN APPLE BREAD
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1 cup low fat buttermilk
1 apple peeled, cored and grated
1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir to mix well. In small bowl, beat the egg. Add buttermilk, apple and pumpkin purée. Pour over the flour mixture. Stir just until blended (do not overmix). Spoon into pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of loaf. This should take about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool about 10 minutes in pan on a rack. Remove from pan and cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont has won more than 30 national cooking awards and written several cookbooks, including, “Simply Southern and More.” Write her at email@example.com or visit www.prudencehilburn.com.