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Sweet breads bring back some sweet memories

Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit faster than a home filled with scents of warm, spicy, homemade sweet breads – sometimes called quick breads. While perfect as seasonal gifts, the breads can be enjoyed anytime during the year, especially for spring teas or summer garden parties.

A favorite childhood memory, I grew up enjoying the small loaves of goodness that are more like cake than bread. But my best memories come from years ago when a former neighbor, Gerrie, baked what seemed like every kind of sweet bread known to man during the holidays. Her home was always filled with comforting smells of warm brown sugar and cinnamon.  Gerrie was a nurturer and gift giver, always taking care of people by delivering small loaves of her homemade breads.

Today’s recipes include some loaves perfect for fall and winter – think taking coconut, cranberries, carrots, prunes, pumpkin or sweet potatoes while spicing things up a bit with favorite flavors.

Julie Terry Cartner, writer and retired English teacher, shared with readers her mom’s fresh pumpkin bread recipe combined with sweet memories. Julie grew up in a beautiful, old farmhouse with a large, warm and sunny kitchen. Her mom, Loraine Terry, took great pride in the white, billowy curtains that hung in the windows throughout her home. Julie remembers how the curtain would softly blow in the breeze, gracefully brushing across the kitchen countertops – a special recollection.

Loraine was a fantastic cook who enjoyed trying new recipes and tweaking them to make original recipes. When Julie would get home from school, she’d find freshly baked goodies cooling on wire racks in front of the window. When fall arrived, the treat was often Pumpkin Bread –always accompanied by sweet scents of fresh pumpkin and cinnamon that filled their home.

When I close my eyes – I can see and smell both – curtains just a blowin’ in the wind and whiffs of homemade bread lingering in the air.

You’ll want to sample a little smear of the Cream Cheese Spread on your sweet breads.

Oh, so delicious.

CINNAMON SPICED LOAF

2 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar

¼ cup softened, salted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ cup salt

1 cup sour milk

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add butter and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder, soda, and salt while alternating with sour milk. Mix well. Pour half of the batter in a greased loaf pan. Add the cinnamon and brown sugar together. Sprinkle batter with half the sugar mixture. Add remaining batter and top with remainder of sugar mixture. Swirl a knife through the batter to distribute cinnamon mixture. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until done.

CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD

1 beaten egg

1 cup sugar

¾ cup orange juice

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 grated rind, orange

1 cup quartered or chopped cranberries

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a mixer bowl, beat egg. Add sugar and mix well. Add orange juice and vegetable oil and mix well. Add flour, soda, and salt. Mix well. Fold in orange rind, cranberries, and nuts. For 3 small loaves, bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until done. For 1 large loaf, bake 45 minutes- 1 hours until done.

LORAINE TERRY’S FRESH PUMPKIN BREAD

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups fresh pumpkin (or 1 can)

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup golden raisins

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon together. Then add sugar and brown sugar and mix well. Mix the fresh pumpkin (or canned), vegetable oil, and 4 eggs. Add to dry ingredients. Mix well. Fold in chopped nuts and raisins. Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans, in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

APPLE AND RAISIN BREAD

4 beaten eggs

2 ½ cups sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup vegetable oil

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

3 cups chopped, unpeeled apples

½ cup raisins

½ cup chopped nuts

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add flour, baking soda, powder, and cinnamon while alternating with vegetable oil. Fold in apples, raisins, and nuts. Mix well. Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour. Cool on racks.

GERRIE’S SWEET POTATO BREAD

3 beaten eggs

3 cups sugar

1 cup oil

1 cup water

3 ½ cups self-rising flour

½ tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp cloves

2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup chopped nuts

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add oil and mix well. Add flour, soda, powder, salt, and spices while alternating with water. Mix well.  Fold in sweet potatoes and nuts. Mix thoroughly. Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans in a 325-degree oven for 1 ½ hours.

RUM RAISIN QUICK BREAD

2 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

6 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 ½ tsp. rum extract

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. baking powder

2 tsp. salt

2 ½ cups whole milk

1 cup raisins

In a mixer, beat eggs. Add sugars and mix well. Add oil and extract. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder, and salt while alternating with milk. Fold in raisins. Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

PRUNE BREAD

4 beaten eggs

3 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 cups self-rising flour

1 ½ tsp nutmeg

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

2-4 ½ oz. jars prune baby food

1 cup chopped nuts

In a mixer, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add oil while alternating with flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix well. Fold in prune and nuts. Mix thoroughly. Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans in a 350-degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Cool on racks.

FRESH CARROT BREAD

3 beaten eggs

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

2 sticks softened, salted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add butter and mix well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix well. Fold in carrots and nuts. Mix thoroughly. Bake in a large, greased and floured, loaf pan in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Cool on rack.

SWEET COCONUT BREAD

1 beaten egg

1 cup sugar

¼ cup softened, salted butter

½ tsp. coconut flavoring

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup milk

3.5 oz. flaked coconut

In a mixer, beat egg. Add sugar and mix well. Add butter and mix with coconut flavoring and vanilla. While alternating with milk, add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Fold in coconut and mix thoroughly Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan in a 350-degree oven for 50-55 minutes.

MARASCHINO CHERRY BREAD

1 beaten egg

¾ cup sugar

2 tbsp. melted, salted butter

1 ¼ cup cherry juice from jar plus milk to equal

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chopped maraschino cherries

¼ cup nuts

In a mixer bowl, beat egg. Add sugar and butter. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder and salt while alternating with cherry juice and milk. Mix well. Fold in cherries and nuts. Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan in a 350-degree oven for 60-70 minutes. Cool on rack.

HOLIDAY FRUIT & NUT BREAD

1 beaten egg

½ cup sugar

3 cups Bisquick

1 ¼ cups whole milk

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chopped, mixed candy fruit

In a mixer, beat egg. Add sugar and mix well. Add Bisquick while alternating with milk. Mix well. Fold in nuts and fruit. Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Cool on rack.

LEMON NUT BREAD

2 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar

¼ cup salted butter

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

3 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 cup chopped pecans

2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add butter and mix well. Add flour, baking powder and salt while alternating with milk. Fold in the nuts and lemon peel. Mix well. Bake in a large, greased and floured, loaf pan in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

CREAM CHEESE SPREAD FOR BREADS

Softened cream cheese

Whipping cream

Confectioners’ sugar

Take softened cream cheese and thin it a little with fresh cream. Sweeten slightly with a little confectioner’s sugar to taste. Slice bread loaf and spread with cream cheese spread. Enjoy. Also, you can add another slice of bread on top and cut into finger sandwiches.