Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It smells like fall in here...

It's baking time again with my loyal assistant who wants "just a pinch" of sugar when we put it in.

Do you know this cookbook? It is really excellent, and I'm not vegetarian. There's a whole section highlighting loads of different vegetables and listing what sauces, herbs, and flavors complement that vegetable. So great when you're creating a recipe with what you've got on hand.

But, this post is about fall baking. Both of the following recipes originally come from this cookbook. I've played with the first recipe quite a bit, but the second one is exactly as printed in the book. If you're looking for quick breads that'll make your kitchen smell like fall, look no further!

One of the great things about Deborah Madison's recipes is how flexible they are. This first one, for instance, is printed as a muffin recipe, but I have made it as a large loaf and as mini-loaves. You can use sweet potato, pumpkin, or any winter squash. The recipe orginally calls for candied ginger, but I prefer cranberries. I've put in all the variations, starting with what I prefer, but you can have fun.

Sweet Potato Cranberry Muffins

Mashing sweet potato
1/3 c. dried cranberries, candied ginger, raisins, dates, or chopped pineapple
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c. unsulfured molasses (I have run out of this and used honey with no ill effects)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. mashed cooked sweet potato, pumpkin or other winter squash
2 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare the muffin tins (or whatever pans you're using). Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately (fruit with the wet), then together briefly. Pour into pans. Easy-peasy! Muffins bake about 25 minutes (less in my oven), and obviously loaves would bake longer.

Not too sweet and definite crown pleasers!

Applesauce Spice Bread
Don't overfill or your cute, heart-shaped loaf won't look like a heart.

1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
Mixture of 1 c. applesauce and 1 1/2 t. basking soda
2 c. cake or all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cardamom or cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare the pans. Deborah Madison says a spray hasn't worked for her with this recipe, but it's worked fine for me. Cream butter and sugars; add eggs; add applesauce mixture. Mix dry ingredients separately and then add them in. Bake for 50 minutes in a loaf pan or less for small loaves or muffins. It took about thirty minutes for my mini-loaves, and I had them pretty full.

Wrap them up and give them as gifts or eat them up yourself!

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