Quick breads, muffins and scones

Honey sage cornbread

From The unexpected upsides of unemployment

From Epicurious.com, this is without a doubt my favorite cornbread recipe and gets rave reviews whenever I serve it. The original recipe included an additional 12 whole sage leaves that go into the skillet and you pour the cornbread batter on top, like an upside-down cake. I’ve left them out because I found that they never stay put and when I arrange them prettily on top and serve, everyone tends to pick them off anyway.

Makes 12 servings

  • 1 cup cornmeal (preferably whole grain, medium grind)
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup honey  (I use an amber honey or one that is very flavorful)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat heavy 10-inch-diameter ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron) in oven 10 minutes.

Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Whisk milk, honey, and egg in medium bowl to blend. Remove skillet from oven; add 1/2-cup butter. Swirl until butter is melted. Pour all except 2 tablespoons butter into egg mixture.

Add wet mixture to dry, and stir until just combined (do not over mix; batter will be wet and runny). Pour batter in skillet. Bake until browned around edges and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Cool in skillet 10 minutes. Invert onto platter. Calories: 200 calories per wedge.

 

Chocolate Stout Soda Bread with Dried Cherries

Makes one loaf

This is nice with just some butter or jam

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3 TBSP sour cream (lite or regular, not non-fat)
  • 1 cup Guinness, chocolate stout or your favorite stout beer (I used chocolate stout from Trader Joe’s and it works nicely – why waste a good Guinness?)
  • ¾ cup dried cherries
  • 1 TBSP melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush a 9-inch cake pan with some of the melted butter.

Sift the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Take a ¼ cup of the dry mixture and toss with the dried cherries (this will keep the cherries from sinking to the bottom of the batter when added.)

In a smaller bowl, beat the egg with the sour cream and sugar until well mixed. Add the stout and mix together until incorporated. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix just until there are no dry spots (don’t over-mix), then fold in the dried cherries. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and even out. Brush the top of the bread with the remaining melted butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Cut into 8-12 wedges, slather with butter, and enjoy! Total calories, 1850, or 155-230 per wedge.

Chocolate Stout Beer Bread

Makes one loaf

I love this with some goat cheese or a nice sharp cheddar

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 12 oz. chocolate stout (or other stout beer)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 TBSP sour cream (lite or regular, not non-fat)
  • 4 TBSP brown sugar
  • Zest of a large orange
  • 1 TBSP butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush an 8-inch loaf pan well with some of the melted butter.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt into a large bowl. Wisk in the orange zest. In a medium bowl, beat the egg, sour cream and sugar together, then add the beer and mix.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until no flour is visible – don’t over mix. Pour into prepared loaf pan and brush top with remaining melted butter. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until tester inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool on rack 10 minutes. Calories: 1900 total, or about 160 calories per slice (12 slices).

Bubbe’s Irish Soda Bread with Sour Cream

From Happy St. Paddy’s Day, Bubeleh

Makes one generous loaf, as moist as the Emerald Isle itself.

  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups raisins (I like dark and golden raisins, so what goes in is based on what I have in the pantry.)

Preheat oven to 350ºF and butter and flour an 8” or 9” cake pan.

Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk in a large bowl. Add the raisins and mix so they are well-distributed. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg and whisk with the sour cream. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined.

Add the batter to the pan and spread out evenly (wetting your fingers or the back of a spatula makes this a little easier. It’s very sticky dough). Bake for 45 – 55 minutes or until tester inserted in middle comes out clean and top is golden. Cool for 20 minutes before removing to a rack.

Serve with a little (or a lot) of butter. Keeps well wrapped for about a week (as if it would last that long), is terrific toasted and freezes very well. Calories: 3100 per loaf, or about 210-250 per slice (12-15 slices).

Mini Pumpkin Corn Muffins with Fresh Cranberries

From Moose Muffins

Makes 24 mini muffins

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 TBSP grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 TBSP canola oil (or other flavorless vegetable oil)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole cranberries, chopped fairly fine

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray mini muffin pan with nonstick spray. Whisk the first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. Add all of the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and whisk until they are well blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined (over-mixing makes tough muffins.) Fold in the chopped cranberries.

Fill the mini muffin pan with 2TBSP portions of the batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan after 6 minutes. Remove the mini muffins and cool on baking rack. Calories: approximately 65 each.

Pumpkin Biscuits

From Hiking the High Road

These are wonderful just as they are with a little honey, butter, or cranberry sauce. You could make these up to adding the wet ingredients in a food processor, but they are so easy by hand, why get something else dirty?

Makes 12-14 biscuits 2 ½” biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 TBSP cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup cold whole milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add in the orange zest and whisk so it’s well distributed throughout the flour. Add the chilled butter, and ‘cut’ in using a pastry blender or a fork until the butter is about the size of peas. Whisk the milk and the pumpkin together until fully incorporated, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix together with a fork until the dough just comes together (careful not to over mix). Dump out onto a floured surface and pat together to a rough rectangle about an inch thick. Fold the dough in half and pat down again. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Once the dough has rested (it will have risen a bit), roll out to about ½ to ¾” thick. Cut out biscuits using a juice glass or 2 ½”biscuit cutter. Don’t twist the cutter or you will crimp the edges and they won’t rise as well.

Bake on a parchment-lined sheet for 12-13 minutes. Calories: 100 per 2 ½” biscuit.

Hunk-a Hunk-a Burnin’ Loaf (Sorry…I couldn’t resist) Makes 1 loaf (10-12 slices) 

From You want some cheese with that whine?

This is a peanut butter quick bread with a little banana inside and on top. And if you really want to go crazy, feel free to fry up a slice in butter. Elvis would…

  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 cup shaken buttermilk
  • ½ a ripe banana, mashed (about ¼ cup)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter chips
  • 2 TBSP roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP banana chips, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, cream the brown sugar and peanut butter together. Add in the banana and beaten egg and mix well.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet (it will be a little dry – don’t worry, the buttermilk will loosen it up to a more batter-like consistency). Add in the buttermilk and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the peanut butter chips. Pour the batter into greased loaf pan. Mix the chopped peanuts and banana chips together, and sprinkle top of loaf.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester inserted in middle of loaf comes out clean. Remove from pan and cook on rack. Calories: 210/slice for 12 slices, 250/slice for 10 slices.

Pumpkin ginger scones (adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s “Recipes for Health” column at NYTimes.com) Makes 12 scones

From The unemployment 20

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1/4 TSP ground ginger
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/2 TSP baking soda
  • 4 TBSP cold unsalted butter (half a stick), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée, well drained
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or butter and flour sheet). Sift together the flours, salt, ginger, baking powder and baking soda. Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse 3 or 4 times to mix the dry ingredients. Add the butter to the food processor, and pulse several times until it is distributed throughout the flour. The mixture should have the consistency of coarse cornmeal.

TIP: if you don’t have a food processor you can do this by hand using a pastry blender or two knives to ‘cut in’ the butter’. Even easier is to freeze the ½ stick of butter, and when you are ready to add to the flour mixture, grate it on the holes of a box grater and mix into the dry ingredients. The point is to get little pieces of the cold butter throughout the mixture.

Beat together the pumpkin purée, buttermilk and maple syrup in a small bowl, and scrape into the food processor or bowl. Add the ginger, and process or mix just until the dough just comes together. (Over-processing makes tough scones, and tough scones make the Queen angry.) Scrape onto a lightly floured surface, and gently shape into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into six squares, then cut the squares in half on the diagonal to form 12 triangular pieces. I sometimes brush the scones with a little milk, cream, whichever is handy, and sprinkle each lightly with a pinch of raw sugar for a little crunch – doesn’t really add more than a few calories/scone. Place on the baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: 12 scones. These will keep for a couple of days well wrapped or in a cookie tin and freeze really well too. Calories: approximately 145-150 calories per scone.

This recipe is VERY adaptable to whatever you’d like to put in it. If you don’t like pumpkin and ginger, below is a variation I came up with. Want to change it up a bit? Use orange zest and dried cranberries instead of lemon zest and currants. Or substitute the cranberries with chocolate chips. It’s like the ‘little black dress’ of the scone world!

Lemon currant scones

  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ TSP salt
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • ½ TSP baking soda
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 ½ – 2 TBSP)
  • 4 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ pieces
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried currants

Follow the directions for the pumpkin ginger scones above, adding in the lemon zest to the dry ingredients before pulsing or whisking so the zest is evenly distributed throughout the mix before you add in the wet ingredients.

Brew up a pot of tea, get out your favorite jam, and Bob’s your uncle! (FYI, I made these lemon scones at 5AM, switched on the BBC and watched Wills and Kate on their big day…. a bit daft, perhaps, but I’m just a shoe-lovin hopeless romantic!)

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