Archive for the ‘Breads – Quick Breads’ Category
Pumpkin definitely benefits from the use of a little spice. On its own, pumpkin is slightly sweet with a relatively mild flavor. It is good, but it doesn’t necessarily stand out strongly when used on its own. AS a result, we tend to use spices to keep pumpkin a little more interesting and give it a little more complexity. Now, pumpkin and spice are so intertwined that you rarely see pumpkin without at least a few spices to keep it company, and there is a spice blend dedicated to pumpkin pie and pumpkin desserts in the spice section of the grocery store.
This Pumpkin Spice Bread is intended to highlight the spices, leaving the pumpkin as a nice backdrop to tie them all together, to create a fragrant loaf that is a great choice for cool autumn or winter baking. It’s a bit like gingerbread, but without any molasses so it has a lighter overall feel. It uses cinnamon, ginger and cloves, which are all commonly paired with pumpkin. It also includes cardamom and allspice. Cardamom brings out a bit of brightness from the pumpkin, and the allspice ties in really well with the rest of the spices. The result is a moist, tender and spicy bread that is a little more complex than your average pumpkin loaf.
One other thing to like about this loaf is that it keeps very well for a couple of days when stored in an airtight container (or when well-wrapped with plastic wrap). The pumpkin keeps the bread moist, and the spices blend together as the bread sits, mellowing the individual spices into a nice overall combination. This bread is sweet enough to stand in for dessert if you want something simple, rather than a big cake, but I like it anytime, served with tea or coffee. It also holds up well to toasting and is tasty with butter or cream cheese at breakfast.
There are two schools of thought on cornbread. One says that cornbread should be a hearty and savory bread, and that a plainer cornbread is better for soaking up the flavor of chilis and sauces. The members of the other school prefer a sweeter, cakier cornbread. I am definitely in the latter school of thought and I like sweeter cornbread. I like the softer texture and it seems to be a little bit more versatile to me, since I can serve it up with chili or bbq, or simply slather it with butter and eat it for a snack.
This Sweet Olive Oil Cornbread walks a nice line between sweet and savory, just leaning a little into the sweet side of things. It has a fluffy, tender crumb with just a bit of texture from the cornmeal. It isn’t sweet enough to turn into a cake, but the sugar in the recipe highlights the natural sweetness of the corn and the fruitiness of the olive oil. As with most recipes that include olive oil, it is a good idea to use a flavorful olive oil that you enjoy on its own for the best results in the recipe.
I baked this cornbread in a 9-inch round cake pan and cut it into generous wedges to serve. You can bake the same bread in a 9×9-inch square pan with about the same baking time, if you prefer square cornbread pieces. Serve this alongside a spicy chili to cut the heat a little bit, or smear it with butter and drizzle it with honey to sweeten it up even more. I think that this cornbread is best when served slightly warm, but leftovers will be just as good in a day or two if the cornbread is kept well-wrapped.
Quick breads are breads that are made without yeast, hence they are “quick” to prepare. You probably think of banana bread or pumpkin bread when you think of a quick bread, as sweet quick breads are a brunch staple, but there are many savory quick breads out there that make a nice addition to other meals – like this Cheddar Onion Quick Bread. The bread mixes up in a few minutes and bakes in less than an hour, which means that you can even fit it in on a busy weeknight to have fresh, homemade bread along with dinner.
This bread could not be any easier to make, and the resulting loaf is delicious. It has a light, but moist, crumb and packs in a lot of flavor. The onions cook right in the bread, so you get a very sweet onion flavor in the finished bread, which compliments the cheddar cheese nicely. Both sweet onions and regular onions will work beautifully. I tend to use sweet onions, but use what you have on hand. The cheddar also adds a few streaks of orange here and there in the loaf for color as well as flavor.
This recipe could be easily adapted to use other types of cheese – pepper jack would be something spicier, for instance – to suit your preferences and what you have on hand. However you make it, it goes well with all kinds of savory dishes – and since it is so easy to throw together, there is really never a bad time to whip up a loaf. I like to keep it simple and serve it with soups and salads. Classic tomato soup and gazpacho are two of my favorite pairings with this bread. It is good plain and even better when you smear it with a little bit of butter. The bread can be sliced and toasted, as well, to add a little crunch to it.
It’s always nice to have an easy banana bread recipe on hand, and it doesn’t get much easier than this One Bowl Banana Bread. The bread is mixed up in one bowl in just a few minutes, and uses a more streamlined mixing approach than most banana breads do. I like this kind of recipe because it makes the bread seem very accessible: it requires very little prep and can be stirred up in less time than it takes to preheat the oven.
The bread is soft, with a tight and dense crumb. It has a very good banana flavor, and the cinnamon and vanilla just highlight it even more. The biggest “wet” ingredient in this quick bread is the mashed banana, which is not only flavorful but keeps the bread moist. Bananas can vary in size, so if you have two large bananas you will probably have plenty even if you don’t have exactly 1 1/4 cups of mashed banana. A bit more or a bit less won’t throw off the recipe. The loaf is delicious plain, but can hold up to being toasted and slathered with butter or peanut butter, too. It is perfect when cut into generous slices and eaten for breakfast.
I should also note that this is not the fanciest looking banana bread that you’ll ever see. In fact, it’s a plain loaf that isn’t all that tall, even after baking. This is a banana bread for whipping up when you want a treat for yourself, not for when you want to bring something out to impress a crowd. Of course, after a bite or two anyone will definitely appreciate this easy to make banana bread, even though it comes in a plain package.
Plain biscuits are a dinnertime favorite for many. The flaky biscuits are perfect for sopping up sauces, and are just as good topped off with butter or jam. Although we pair them with many flavors, most of the time the biscuits themselves are quite plain. It can take your biscuits to a whole new level to infuse a little flavor into them directly. These Rosemary Orange Biscuits are an easy to make variation on your basic biscuit for a sweet-savory side.
The biscuits get their flavor from rosemary, fresh or dried, and from orange zest. The rosemary works well with all kinds of flavors and gives the biscuits a distinctly savory note. The orange zest adds some sweetness into the mix. The biscuits can be served with just about any entree and are delicious when drizzled with honey, too.
I make these biscuits by hand, cutting the butter into the flour mixture to create a sandy meal (just as you might do for pie crust). Kneading the biscuit dough briefly after it has been made leads to a slightly flakier – and higher rising – biscuit. I cut these into squares just for a change of pace, but you could cut the dough with a regular round cutter, as well.