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These are soda bread-for-two sort of soda breads, wonderfully rustic but taken up a notch with a touch of vanilla and an addictive Irish cream glaze. To give as gifts, wrap a couple of these in brown paper or a pastry box with a green ribbon, or in two’s in a cello bag with a green ribbon and a side packet of Irish Breakfast tea.
These muffins are extraordinary no matter how you bake them but making them using Melitta coffee filter papers put them over the top (or get those new bigger muffin baking cups). Taste? Smooth bananas, with caramel, pecans, brown sugar and vanilla –a pure bouquet of autumnal sweetness.
Luscious fall pears (Bartlett is fine but almost any gorgeous, ripe pear you come upon is as ideal) and nibs of semi-sweet chocolate enliven this quick bread. Just make sure the pears are ripe but firm for you don’t want mush as the fruit bakes and softens. Ordinarily a quick bread is homey but this combination of not-oft-used enough pears and chocolate make this elegatnt. I saw something similar in a French bakery; it was decked out in coarse sugar atop its quick-bread characteristic creviced top.
An Irish style treat in all ways - A cast iron pan makes the perfect baking pan for this rustic bread.
A mellow and classic banana bread with just enough sweetness, moistness and warm banana flavour to make it a blue-ribbon winner. The best banana breads feature extremely ripe bananas that are fork-mashed (not pureed bananas; a potato masher is actually better than a fork). Buttermilk is sublime in this recipe but you can swop in cola, coffee or orange juice - whatever you have on hand.
A muffin in a loaf? A soda bread with attitude? Just darned good!
When I first began baking with zeal, I used to bring baking, as most of us do, to the office. A real office. A real job actually! I worked for a university and was thrice, by acclamation, voted president of the coffee club. Zucchini bread was considered novel (once) and when I brought this gorgeous, moist, lovely loaf in, no one would touch it! Finally, the guy that ate everything, gave it a try. As he dove in for this third slice, the rest of the office caught on and the cake was history, way before the second coffee break of the day. They say this cake was invented to get rid of excess zucchini. I think it is the other way around. This recipe is packed with flavor and also makes very fine zucchini muffins. You can switch cranberries or dried cherries for the raisins and/or frost it with a carrot cake cream cheese frosting if you like.
These are tender and delicate and bursting with blueberries in every bite. These are really miniature coffee cakes actually. You can make these oversized, or spoon them out as muffin tops but they present, and bake up especially nicely in this version of a mini loaves or ‘baby cake’. Wilton also sells mini-Bundt pans that would work (but result in fewer cakes overall).
This is a golden, sweet buckle or fruity coffee cake with a streusel topping. It is dense with deep purple, berry freshness, slices easily, which makes it easy to serve. It is summery country elegance in its finest hour and as one of my tasters said, it is the epitome of summer. A ton of work went into this blue perfection – to make the quintessential buckle: not to cakey, nor gummy, not a muffin, nor a quick bread, not a coffee cake – just the best buckle possible.
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I love scones on day one. I still love them days 2 and 3 but I rather wish they would not dry out quite so much. This method of brushing them once, as soon as they come out of the oven, and then twice, about 15 minutes later, with a syrup of butter and honey solves the problem in a very sweet way. The scones stay wonderful and flavorful for a good 4 days and the sweetened crust is irresistible. Double berries make these special as well as using soured whipping cream. You know how you add lemon juice to milk to sour it? So that you get the benefits of a buttermilk vis a vis an exceptionally high rising scone? Ok…now you know how whipping cream makes scones extra tender? Now, imagine both attributes: high-rise and extra tender, flaky scones. That is what souring some whipping cream does. Almost any fruit would do in these, but this mix of blue/black fruit, not to mention the taste, is exceptional.