Archive for: quick bread
I often add fresh blueberries to quick breads and muffins when the berries are in season and have a lot of flavor, but blueberries in the off-season can sometimes be disappointing and not deliver the rich, jammy flavor that you want to get from a perfect blueberry. This Blueberry Swirl Bread is an easy to make quick bread that packs in a lot of blueberry flavor thanks to a flavorful blueberry swirl running through the center of the loaf.
The base for this quick bread is a tender, vanilla-scented batter. The batter is made with the “muffin method,” meaning that it is made with melted butter and requires no creaming. It is a fairly thick batter that also has plain greek-style yogurt in it. The yogurt keeps it moist and tender, and the thick batter is able to support the weight of the blueberry preserve swirl. The vanilla and blueberries go very well together and the bread has a slightly sweeter flavor than similar breads made simply by stirring whole blueberries in – although if you do have very sweet, ripe blueberries on hand, you might want to stir a handful in along with the swirl!
I used Bonne Maman’s Wild Blueberry Preserves, which is packed with whole wild blueberries. Preserves, as opposed to jellies or jams, typically have chunks of fruit in them and you will get the best results in this recipe if you start with good, flavorful preserves. I recommend only swirling the preserves in slightly so that you get a dark, good looking swirl – but be sure to put a little effort into it, because if you don’t, your preserves may sink to the bottom of the loaf.
Pears are one of my favorite fall/winter fruits. A perfectly ripe pear is juicy, sweet and just about irresistible (especially if you have some good cheese around to pair it with). Pears often get overlooked for baking purposes in favor of heartier fruits, like apples, because pears are quite delicate and don’t hold up to baking as well as some other fruits do. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use them, however, and if you worth with a little bit of care you can get some spectacular results when baking with pears.
This Chai-Spiced Pear Bread is a wonderfully spiced quick bread that is just as good for dessert as it is for breakfast or brunch. It has plenty of fresh pears in it, as well as some toasted pistachios that add a little crunch. The trick to using pears is that you want to work with fruit that is just barely ripe – not so tender that it starts to fall apart when you pick it up. A pear that is a little bit firm is easier to peel and slice, and won’t fall apart as your loaf bakes. I used comice pears, but any pear that you like can work in this bread. I recommend using fresh pears instead of canned or jarred pears because they will be firmer and a bit easier to work with.
The bread has a good balance of sweet and spice to it. I used a combination of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and allspice here, which gives the bread a spicy chai tea flavor to it. The juicy pear really stands out and I cut my pears into large (1-inch) pieces to make sure they had an impact. The pistachios also work very well with the pears, and add just one more flavor element to this loaf, though walnuts would be a good choice too.
Granola is a food that usually stands on its own, as a snack or as a breakfast cereal, but it can be a great addition to other recipes because even a very basic granola has a lot of flavor. Granola is usually made up of oats, fruit, nuts and seeds that are lightly sweetened and baked until they’re crisp. Some variations include shredded coconut, crisp puffed rice or other grains, but all mixes can be very tasty. This Granola Quick Bread is an easy to make loaf that incorporates a lot of heart-healthy granola into a completely different – yet still very tasty – form.
I like big, chunky granola for snacking, but most granola is broken up into smaller pieces and that is what you’re going to want to use in this quick bread recipe because it is easier to incorporate. My granola included oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnut pieces, almond pieces, dried cranberries and raisins. The bread uses quite a lot of granola and it will get most of its flavor from there, but I also added more shredded coconut and some extra raisins to highlight the sweetness of these elements, which didn’t stand out in the plain granola.
The loaf bakes up to be a little but dense, yet tender, and very flavorful. The nuts and the nutty flavor of the toasted oats really come through, but the bread is a little bit sweeter than the plain granola thanks to the addition of brown sugar in the recipe. The loaf is good when it is sliced and served plain, and it is excellent when toasted and served with some butter or cream cheese. The bread keeps very well for several days when stored in an airtight container, too (the flavors meld a bit more), so it can be made in advance and enjoyed a slice at a time for several days.
Fresh cranberries can be a great ingredient to work with, and not just when you want to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner. The berries have a vivid red color and a bright, tart flavor that goes well with all kinds of different flavors, from chocolate to toasted coconut. People don’t seem to reach for cranberries as often as blueberries, raspberries and other popular berries, but I definitely try to take advantage of fresh cranberries in the fall and winter when they’re widely available.
Double Chocolate Chip Cranberry Bread is a great recipe for fans of chocolate and cranberries. The bread has a good chocolate flavor, a soft and slightly cake-like crumb, and plenty of zesty cranberries scattered throughout to liven up each bite. There are also a generous number of chocolate chips in this bread, so you get a double dose of chocolate. This is a great bread to serve at a brunch with coffee, but it is so simple to put together that it is a good recipe to make without a special occasion just to enjoy at home.
This bread keeps well for several days when stored in an airtight container. It is very good served at room temperature, but becomes quite decadent when you warm up a slice slightly (10 seconds or so in the microwave is usually enough) because the chocolate chips become melted and the bread turns into a rich dessert! I prefer using fresh cranberries in this bread when I have them, but frozen berries will work too. Frozen berries should not be defrosted before adding them into the recipe and the bread may need an extra minute or two in the oven.
As nice as a cold beer can be on a hot summer evening, there are other great ways to put it to use and one is beer bread. Beer bread is a type of quick bread that uses – you guessed it – beer as the main liquid in the batter. Beer gives a very nice, yeasty flavor to the finished loaf and you get a bread that is much more flavorful than you’d expect for something that only took a couple of minutes to put together.
Most beer breads I’ve had are savory – beer and cheese, beer and herbs, beer and garlic – but this particular bread is sweet because I started out with a sweet, light beer. I used Blue Moon Brewing Company‘s Honey Moon Summer Ale, which has definite notes of honey and a hint of citrus, and turned it into a cinnamon raisin bread. The bread uses a whole bottle of beer (the alcohol bakes out, so not to worry if you’re not a big drinker) and ends up with a great yeasty flavor that is slightly sweet, slightly spicy and studded with juicy raisins. It is very moist, and has the slightly dense-but-tender texture that you find with other quick bread loaves, so it makes for a very satisfying slice.
The bread is good plain and toasts up well. I liked it best when spread with a bit of salted butter, but it would also stand up to cream cheese or other more strongly flavored toppings. It actually goes very well with slices of cheese because of the beer notes and would make a neat addition to a cheese plate. Otherwise, serve this bread with breakfast or with dinner, because it’s a sweet and savory loaf that is easy to make and easy to eat any time of day.