In this week before one of the holiest days of the year, we must be sure we’re prepared for the Christmas season. Have the Christmas cards been mailed? Are the gifts purchased and wrapped? Have we thought of those who have less than ourselves? What have, or can we do, for them? One of the things I’ve always done for Christmas is give out food gifts to my friends, family and those in need. But, being a foodie, and one that has in her genetic makeup the need to feed people, the other key question is “Is there enough food?” Lately there’s been more than enough food in my refrigerator and freezer with all the holiday cooking and baking I’ve been doing! But since I’m such a cooking and baking affeciando, it’s hard to pass up a good recipe that I think my husband, family or friends would like. And some of the easiest things to prepare in advance and have on hand for the holidays are quick breads. Easy to make in a multitude of sizes, and easy to store, quick breads make wonderful gifts for a hostess, your friends, family, the postperson, or anyone! Wrap them up in either a pretty holiday bread bag with a shiny twisty tie and ribbon, or just in aluminum foil topped with a pretty bow! However you present your gift, I’m sure it will be appreciated! Because, honestly, who wouldn’t love a sweet breakfast treat (or midnight snack) like one of this duo of delicious quickbreads?
Organic Applesauce Cranberry Bread
This first recipe is one I adapted slightly from Paula Deen. I used organic apples to make the applesauce and substituted dried cranberries for raisins. Moist and very good, this quick bread is easy to put together. It’s craggy appearance adds to it’s appeal. This is delightful toasted for breakfast!
Diff: Easy Prep: 10 min
Bake: 60-65 min. Makes: 1 loaf
½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¼ c dark brown sugar
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ t salt, kosher or celtic
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t allspice
1 t vanilla
1 c applesauce, organic
2 large eggs
1 c dried cranberries
½ chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8 X 4 X 3 inch loaf pan.
Cream the butter and brown sugar.
Add remaining ingredients except for raisins and nuts. Mix well until blended.
Stir in cranberries and nuts. Pour into loaf pan.
Bake for 60-65 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes, then tip loaf out of pan.
Let cool before eating. (If wrapping, let cool completely).
This recipe can easily be doubled. This made my kitchen smell so good while it was baking! But then, I made this next quickbread….
Double Chocolate Buttermilk Bread
This is seriously dangerous bread. Maybe just for me, since I’m a confirmed chocolohic, but I don’t think so! If you make this, make sure to make one just for yourself. Or maybe make a bunch of mini-loaves and throw a chocolate party with your friends! This is elegant enough with just a dusting of confectioner’s sugar that it could have a place at your Christmas brunch or even be one of your Christmas desserts, served with a dollop of whipped cream. As well, this rich and satisfying bread is perfect to have with a cup of coffee or tea anytime!
Diff: Easy Prep: 10 min
Bake: 45-50 min Makes: 1 loaf
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
¾ c cocoa powder
¾ c sugar
1 ½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt, kosher or celtic
1 c semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 c buttermilk
½ c Greek yogurt
¼ c butter, melted
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips, making sure they are well coated with the flour mixture.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the buttermilk, yogurt and melted butter and stir to combine.
Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix just until combined. Do NOT over mix the batter.
Spoon batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you bake in mini pans, as I did, decrease the oven temperature to 325 F and bake only 30-35 minutes. (I was lucky enough to have batter left over for a small 8 X 4 loaf. Yahhh!
Remove bread from oven when done. Let pan cool for 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack before tipping out the bread. Just look at the detail on the second picture, kind of makes you want to dive right in, doesn’t it?
Cool completely before dusting with confectioner’s sugar! (Sugar will melt, as I found out…) Slice only after bread has cooled, if you can wait that long!
ENJOY! YUM YUM YUM!
I hope you enjoy these yummy breads, both which are which are soooo good! As I mentioned before, these store well, and also freeze well, so you can make extra and have them for a little New Year’s Eve celebration; or even after the holidays!
As we head into the last days before Christmas, I’m hoping that most of your Christmas shopping is done, your cards mailed and your gifts wrapped! Be sure to take some time for yourself, have a cup of hot chocolate and relax. You so deserve it! Until next week, wishing you and your family all of God’s blessings, good health and happy eating!