Home Cooking Recipes
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Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour

Holiday breads worth getting out of bed for

Half of the fun of getting out of bed on Christmas morning is having a slice of some sweet, fruity bread to enjoy with your coffee before the serious eating of the day begins. It is a holiday tradition at our house and so popular that we carry it on until New Years or whenever the supply runs dry.

Here are a few samples of breads so good that you may find yourself whipping them up all year long and certainly you'll tuck some of them in stockings sighted here and there as you make your cheery holiday rounds.

Orange, Date, Pecan Bread

This is so moist and tangy that it keeps exceedingly well. The basting syrup keeps it as fresh as the day it popped out of the oven.

3/4 cup shortening or butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 orange's rind, grated
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
Juice from 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons buttermilk, sour milk or sour cream
1 1/2 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup orange juice
1 orange's, grated rind
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and lightly flour 2 loaf pans or 4 mini-loaf pans. Cream together shortening, sugar and grated orange rind. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Alternately stir in flour and baking soda which has been stirred into buttermilk. Stir in dates and pecans. Divide into pans and place on middle rack in oven. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile, stir together orange juice, rind and sugar to make a syrup. While breads are still warm poke with a fork and spoon on the syrup so that breads absorb it. Store in refrigerator or freezer until needed. Makes 2 large loaves, 4 small.

Cranberry Pecan Muffins or Muffin Bread

Fresh cranberries give this bread its oomph.

1 3/4 cups toasted pecans
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 l/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 orange's grated zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cups whole milk
2 cups fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease with butter 18 muffin cups, very well. Grind 3/4 cup pecans in food processor and set aside. Chop the rest and set them aside. Cream butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar together. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In another bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt and ground pecans. By hand stir 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternately with 1/2 of the milk, mixing just to barely combine, mixture will be lumpy. Gently fold in the cranberries and chopped pecans. Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Bake until the tops spring back when touched in the center, about 30 minutes. Let cool in tins slightly before turning out onto a rack to cool. Or, eat warm. They freeze well. Makes 18.

Chocolate-Marmalade Bread

This recipe has the name of Myrtle Kraabel and when you think about it orange and chocolate are a delicious combination.

2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup orange marmalade
2 squares chocolate, melted
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups, chopped nuts

Grease loaf pan and after it is filled turn the oven to preheat at 325 F. Combine beaten eggs, butter and marmalade Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl; stir in the brown sugar and egg mixture; stir in nuts and pour into pan. Let it sit for 20 minutes while oven preheats. Bake approximately 1 hour and then cover with paper and continue to bake until it tests done. Makes 1 loaf.

Quick & Very Easy Date Crescents

An interesting use for frozen bread dough. You can either brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar, or you can make a quick glaze by combining confectioners sugar, a little butter and enough orange juice to get make an icing.

1 lb. frozen ready-to-bake bread dough
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped dates
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. water
Granulated sugar

Remove dough from bag and let soften at room temperature about 1 hour, until soft and easy to shape. Grease baking sheets and preheat oven to 375 F. Cut loaf in half. On lightly floured board, roll into two 10-inch circles. Sprinkle with brown sugar, then cinnamon and dates. Cut each circle into 8 wedge-shaped pieces; roll each wedge, starting with wide end and rolling to point. Place rolls in or on a greased baking pan bending ends to form a crescent. Brush rolls with egg white which has been mixed with water; then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Or, skip this step if you will ice them after baking. Let rise in warm place until doubled. Bake in preheated 375 F. oven for 15 minutes or longer, until golden brown.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas morn!


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