Monday, December 28, 2009

delicious christmas

Pretty loaves all in a row.

It should come as no surprise to any who know me that majority of the presents I both give and receive at the holidays are food-based. I also have a thing for homemade presents, whether edible or just delicious-looking. This year, Christmas for my family was a little homemade box of breakfast treats, perhaps a bit less ambitious than my original plan, but satisfying to give nonetheless.

A festive box, tied up in green ribbon, with two tasty loaves and two tiny jars. The loaves - lemon poppyseed and cranberry walnut; the jars - honey butter and vanilla cream cheese. Unfortunately, since my stove was only turned on two days before Christmas, (Merry Christmas to me!) my plan for some homemade orange marmalade didn't come through. Well, there's always next year.

And of course, for the receiving. Not just one, but two people gave me knives this year. A really cool Kyocera ceramic paring knife from Brother #2. I've always wanted a ceramic knife. And these beauties from my honey J-Cat; knives more lovely than I ever thought I'd own. A 3-piece set of Shun Classic knives. So pretty that I hardly dare to use them, except that I want to use them on anything and everything. Dicing onions is a dream.

And of course, as always the very best thing under the tree has her own set of knives built in, and can do plenty of slicing and dicing if provoked.

Happy Holidays to all, and to all two recipes for bread after the jump!

Adapted from

3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Lemon Syrup:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of 4 1/4-lb mini loaf pans. If the pans are not disposisble, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and butter and flour the paper. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds until combined. Add the softened butter and half the egg mixture and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating about 30 seconds after each addition.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You may have to cover the bread with buttered foil after about 30 minutes if you find the bread over browning.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the sugar and lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaves all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaves with the hot lemon syrup. Store at least overnight before serving to allow the lemon syrup to distribute throughout the loaf.

Makes 4 mini loaves.

From, November 29, 2009

Non-stick cooking spray
4 cups cranberries
2/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
2 eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose white flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375°. Coat 6 mini or 2 regular size loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups of the cranberries by hand or in a food processor; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, buttermilk and eggs. Whisk in the melted butter.

In a separate large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir with a fork until thoroughly mixed.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined; do not over mix. Gently add the whole and chopped cranberries and walnuts. Mix just enough to distribute them throughout the batter.

Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pans. Prepare the topping by mixing the cinnamon, cardamom and sugar in a bowl; sprinkle over the top of the loaves.

Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean - 30 to 35 minutes for mini loaves, about 45 to 50 minutes for standard loaves. Let cool on a wire rack.

No comments: