By Lyndsey Fought
With the holidays quickly approaching, many of us are either expecting guests or will be the expected guests. Sometimes you have to prepare yourself to make plenty of offerings, like a dish or two. Holiday quick breads are a delicious, easy way to do that.
The recipe is a base and can be improvised for different tastes, including pumpkin, banana, apple cinnamon, ginger yam, or even an updated fruit cake. Once the bread cools, you can wrap it in foil, bag it, and freeze it for later, or you can wrap it in tissue paper, tie it with a ribbon, and give it as a gift. Personally, I keep a few different types frozen in case I get stay-over guests around the holidays, take them out either the night before or when you get up in the morning, and thaw it a few hours for a nice breakfast.
Sweet Quick Bread Base Recipe
- 1 ¼ cup cake flour (I use Swans Down. If you only have AP flour, that’s fine to use in a bind.)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar (I sometimes use half white, half dark brown. Brown sugar lends moistness and a deeper flavor)
- Banana bread: 1 ¼ cup mashed extremely ripe bananas (About 3-4 large)
- Pumpkin Bread: 1 ¼ cup canned pumpkin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Apple Cinnamon Bread: 1 ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce, 2 teaspoon cinnamon, dash of nutmeg
- Ginger Yam Bread: 1 cup canned yams, mashed well, 1 teaspoon maple extract, ¼ cup molasses, 1 teaspoon ginger
- Updated Fruit Cake: ½ cup canned pumpkin, ¼ cup crushed pineapple drained, ¼ cup mashed mango, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon rum extract optional (See Fruit Cake add-ins**)
Choose one or more:
- ½ cup toasted nuts (I use a mixture of pecans and walnuts in the banana bread)
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips (my choice for the pumpkin bread)
- ½ cup butterscotch chips (my choice for the apple bread)
- ¼ cup diced candied ginger (my choice for yam bread)
**Updated fruit cake add-ins:
- Soak ½ cup dried fruit of your choice in ¼ cup of rum or brandy, I use apple, golden raisins, cherries, cranberries, and apricots. Drain the liquid if there is any left after an hour, set aside.
- Toast ½ cup pecans and ¼ walnuts. Chop roughly.
- Optional: Zest of one orange and zest of one lemon.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a regular size loaf pan. Set aside.
- Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together.
- Whisk eggs and vanilla together in a bowl.
- In a mixer beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the egg mixture in, beat well, your mixture should look fluffy and light.
- Beat in your chosen flavor base. Turn off your mixer and using a spatula stir in the flour mixture. Finally add any addition add-ins here.
- Bake your loaf for 55-65 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the middle of the loaf comes out nearly clean.
- Cool 30-40 minutes. Serve with butter, crème fraiche, whipped cream, or lemon curd.
- Will keep indefinitely in the freezer, up to two weeks in the fridge, or wrapped will on your counter up to a week. Though it will definitely be devoured within a day or two!
Fruit Cake Note: Add all fruit and nuts to the batter, this cake may take slightly longer to bake than the other mixes, when the cake comes out cool slightly and brush the leftover brandy on the top. For the faint of heart you can reduce the alcohol and brush the reduced liquid on it (this effectively removes much of the alcohol).
Additional notes: When I know I am going to freeze the breads I will wrap in foil while it’s still very slightly warm, this ensures it will be moist when you thaw it.
I have too many interests and I get easily distracted, so I haven’t completed a single thing in my life. Yay, hyperboles! I have been to culinary school and I like baking cupcakes. I write the beginnings of too many novels. I am driven by ambition and delayed by perfectionism.
I would like to travel the world, learn from others, write some best sellers, and have a restaurant or bakery someday. I am a Slytherin. I like the tenth Doctor best (followed by ninth). I am too obsessed with Downton Abbey and the whole etiquette of that era. I never forget to be awesome!