Amish Cinnamon Bread

Four slices of cinnamon bread on a white plate
Amish Cinnamon Bread

A quick version of Amish Friendship Bread
without the traditional sourdough-style starter

1/2 c. butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk (or ¼ c. buttermilk powder and 1 c. water)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cinnamon/Sugar Topping:
1/3 c. sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees conventional (Use convection setting if you have it.)

Cream butter and sugar, then add the egg and vanilla, mix well. Add buttermilk, flour, baking soda, salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon and mix until just combined. Spread half of the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top and swirl with tip of knife or finger. Gently spread remaining batter over the 1st layer and swirl with another 1/3 if the cinnamon mixture again. Sprinkle top with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or longer until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert to a rack and cool. Makes 1 loaf.

Click here for a little history on this long-loved recipe tradition.

Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

Cranberry Orange Quick Bread
Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

Healthier and low fat but you will never notice it because this is so good!
CRANBERRY ORANGE QUICK BREAD

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon fine salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 medium oranges)
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating the pan
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups cranberries, thawed if frozen and sliced in half
• 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter; set aside.

Place the flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Add the orange juice, melted butter, egg, and vanilla and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in the cranberries and nuts, if using, until evenly distributed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then turn the bread out onto the rack and cool completely before cutting. Be patient.

Makes: 1 (9-inch) loaf

Fast and easy Focaccia Bread

a flat bread loaf with black olives on top
Fast and Easy Focaccia Bread

FAST AND EASY FOCACCIA
1 frozen loaf of bread, thawed
1 t. olive oil,
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ cup Greek olives, sliced
¼ cup roasted sweet red peppers (from a jar), julienned
2 T parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp rubbed sage

Thaw 1 frozen loaf of bread dough in the refrigerator (wrapped) overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a greased baking sheet, place dough and begin spreading, poking and patting until it is about 6 inches by 10 inches. Really though, you can make it as thick or as thin as you prefer. Leave it natural and lumpy-looking, drizzle with olive oil and add herbs and your toppings. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Other topping options: sun dried tomatoes, green peppers, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, the possibilities and combinations are endless. Ingredients used here are my preferences.

 

Pumpkin Roll Perfection

a sponge cake with white filling rolled on a plate
Pumpkin Roll Perfection

PUMPKIN ROLL PERFECTION

3 eggs, separate egg yolks and egg whites
1 cup sugar, divided in half
⅔ cup pumpkin
¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt

Filling
12 oz. softened cream cheese, (Neuchatel is a good choice, and lower in fat and calories)
1 -1/2 Tablespoon butter, softened
2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Line a 15×10 inch baking pan with waxed paper. Grease and flour the pan and the top of the paper.

3. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until think. Gradually add ½ cup sugar and the pumpkin. Beat mixture until the sugar is almost dissolved.

4. In a smaller bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture.

5. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into pan.

6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 13 to 15 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched. Cool 5 minutes and turn cake onto a kitchen towel sprinkled with powder sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in in the towel starting with the shorter side. Cool completely before adding the filling.

Filling Directions
1. In a small bowl beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake and spread filling.

2. Roll up again and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

3. Can be made ahead, frozen and kept until ready to use: Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Mincemeat Fruitcake

a fruitcake made in an aglefood pan. Round with hole in middle, one piece cut out to show texture and filling
Mincemeat Fruitcake

MINCEMEAT FRUITCAKE

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 jar (28 oz.) prepared mincemeat
2 cups mixed dried fruits (apricots, pineapple, prunes, cherries, golden raisins)
1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
Honey for glaze

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch tube pan and line with waxed paper; butter again. You can also use 2 loaf pans. Use some candied or dried fruit pieces and place them in the bottom to make a decoration on top when the cake is turned out later (optional).

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, mix all the other ingredients until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture until you no longer see dry flour. Bake for 2 hours, until center springs back to the touch and the top is golden. Cool 5 minutes; turn out onto a rack and remove paper. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Brush lightly with honey while still warm. Keeps well, gets better with age.

I happen to like regular fruitcake, but not everyone does. This recipe appeals to a broader audience. Even fruitcake haters have nice things to say about this one. I find that natural, dried fruits produce a better flavor that appeals to almost everyone.

Savory Greek Yogurt Quick Bread

a white loaf of quick bread
Greek Yogurt Quick Bread

GREEK YOGURT QUICK BREAD
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 additional tablespoons ground flax seeds (for sprinkling on top)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat the oven to 375°. Line an 8×4″ bread pan with parchment paper. (I prefer heavy glass.) Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, add butter, eggs, brown sugar, yogurt and milk. using the paddle attachment, stir on low speed until well blended. Minimal mixing is best.

3. In a separate bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and ground flax seeds. Gently add the dry ingredients to the wet ones mixing on low speed to combine.

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle more ground flax seeds on top and bake for 50-60 minutes. (In my oven, 60 minutes is best.)

For a savory quick-bread, not only is this not dry and crumbly, it has a nice spongy texture and holds together well. It is the yogurt that keeps it moist and tender, but you won’t taste yogurt, only good bread. It toasts well and freezes well. Use as a dinner bread, breakfast bread, or make open-faced sandwiches.

Quick and Easy Holiday Stollen

stollen with fruits and nuts
Quick and Easy Holiday Stollen

EASY HOLIDAY STOLLEN
Indulgence alert: This is a luscious, rich, holiday treat especially good with coffee. I’ve reduced the amount of butter (the original called for another half stick of butter to be melted and poured over along with even more confectioner’s sugar). That much butter and extra sugar isn’t necessary. I also replaced candied fruits with natural, dried fruits and nuts. Other, more complicated stollens use yeast and take hours to make, but this is a terrific quick-bread method that is worthy of praise.

Easy Holiday Stollen
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, divided into 6 T and 2 T (set aside 2 T)
1 cup Greek yogurt (the thick kind)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 tsp. dried cardamom)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup mixed dried fruits: golden raisins, cranberries or cherries, dried pineapple (chopped), apricots (chopped) or your favorites.
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Topping:
2 Tablespoons melted butter
½ cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut 6 T butter into the flour mixture until the butter is in pea-sized lumps (much like you would do if making pie crust). Mix in the dried fruits and nuts.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Stir these wet ingredients into the flour and fruit mixture. Using your hands, squeeze handfuls until dough begins to stick together. Knead 4-5 times or just until it holds together.

Place dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and shape into a log about 8-9 inches long, 4-inches wide, 2-inches high. It will spread slightly while baking. Place in oven and bake about an hour or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

Remove from oven and brush with reserved 2 Tablespoons butter and dust with confectioner’s sugar. (To dust, place powdered sugar in a wire strainer and tap the edges to shake out the sugar.)

Once cool, wrap in plastic wrap. Will keep at room temperature for about two weeks—if it lasts that long. Give it a fresh dusting of powdered sugar when serving if desired.

Shaping and baking option 2: Line a loaf pan with greased parchment paper with edges up above the sides (to allow for lifting out later) and bake for 1 to 1-1/4 hrs. Finish with butter and powdered sugar.