Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Leader Enterprise - October 1, 2014 - Breads


Welcome October! What a lovely Indian summer we have enjoyed, don't you think? We must get ready to face another wicked winter and this sunshine sure has been welcome! Be sure to enjoy the outdoors as much as you can. The leaves will be in their glory very soon.

One never can tell what direction my foodie brain will go. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about bread, and what a wonderful product it is. I'm especially fond of toast, slathered with peanut butter for protein. (The smell of toast always reminds me and my daughter, of my mom because she had it for breakfast every morning, along with her coffee). Here's some fun facts about bread in general, found at The Southern Lady Cooks blog.


Fun facts about bread:
Bread is probably the one food eaten by people of every race, culture and religion.  

Assuming a sandwich was eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it would take 168 days to eat the amount of bread produced from one bushel of wheat.

Breaking bread is a universal sign of peace.

1,500: The number of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the average American student will have consumed upon graduation from high school. (Source: Great Food Almanac)  
Sliced bread was introduced under the Wonder Bread label in 1930.

This lovely coconut toast makes for a great breakfast or anytime snack. It can be baking while the kids get ready for school. I use to make it for my kids when they were growing up so it carries a lot of memories with the taste.

QUICK COCONUT TOAST 

1/2 c. butter, melted (no substitutes)
2/3 - 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. (unsweetened) coconut flakes
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 egg, beaten 
9 - 10 slices bread

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine butter and sugar. Stir in coconut and vanilla; then add egg, blending well. Spread over each slice of bread; (the mixture is thick so feel free to put a thick layer on each slice of bread) place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until lightly browned. 

All righty, let's talk about quick breads. I have countless recipes for them, and am always willing to try a new recipe. This summer, I enjoyed making some fantastic zucchini breads, after my friend Kate Semer from Kunkle (we both grew up in that area), so kindly shared her amazing recipes with me. ANOTHER reason why I've been thinking of bread! I'm not real fond of sandwiches, but I am truly in love with quick breads.


You can freeze quick breads for up to 3 months for best flavor or keep in refrigerator up to a week. Some quick breads will crack on top while baking. Don't fuss; it's normal. Be cautious not to over stir when mixing quick breads or they can be tough. Always spray or grease the baking pan. 


This superb recipe is my favorite of the couple I got from Kate. 

GERMAN CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD 


4 eggs
2-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
(I used 1/2 c. melted coconut oil, 1/2 c. applesauce)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. (white wheat) flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. baking cocoa
1 sm.box (4-serv. size) instant chocolate pudding
(sugar free works fine too)
3 c. grated zucchini, peeled or unpeeled
1 c. (unsweetened) coconut
1 c. chopped pecans, (toasted) optional
1 c. mini choc chips

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour 2 loaf pans, OR a 9" X 13" OR a bundt pan. (Baker's Joy spray with flour works super!)

In large bowl, with mixer, beat eggs lightly; add sugar and oil; mix well. Add vanilla. In a medium bowl, stir dry ingredients into flour (a whisk works well). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, a little at a time until well blended. 

Stir in zucchini, nuts, coconut and chocolate chips. (Dredge chocolate chips in a little flour so they won't sink to the bottom). (I saved a little of the nuts/coconut and sprinkled over the top before baking. The coconut gets nice and toasted - I think it just gives it that German Chocolate 'Flare'!).
 Pour into prepared pan(s), filling bread pans about 2/3 - 3/4 full.

 (You may have some left over to bake a small one too). 

Bake 30 - 50 minutes, depending on which pan you're using. 
Just check with a toothpick stuck in the middle - if it comes out clean, remove bread from oven, but be careful not to overbake.

Let stand in pans for 5 - 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks until room temperature. 

Kate suggests wrapping cooled bread in plastic wrap, then Press & Seal, then placing in a ziploc freezer bag. It will keep in the freezer for months.
 Dust with a little powdered sugar before serving if desired.

You probably already know I love being sneaky and 'hiding' ingredients in recipes. This one tastes much like pumpkin.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD

1 c. butternut squash puree
2 eggs
1/2 c. vegetable oil
(I used 1/4 c. applesauce, 1/4 c.oil)
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1-3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cardamom (or pumpkin pie spice)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one 8" X 4" X 2"loaf pan.
In large bowl, mix together the squash puree, eggs, oil, and sugars until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.

Stir in the dry ingredients into the squash mixture. Combine just until incorporated; do not overmix. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 55 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. 

Add any 'extras' you'd like: dark, semi sweet, or white chocolate chips, nuts, craisins, etc. Enjoy surprising your family and guests with a 'hidden' (healthy even!) ingredient!