Sunday, December 19, 2010

day 349: quick bread gifts

Earlier I discussed food gifts that you can make with your kids—snack mixes and fudges.

Snack mixes start here:

Fudge gifts start here:

Lastly, I wanted to leave you with a third gift idea that we have had success with—not quite as fast as the snack mixes or fudge gifts, but tasty and inexpensive. That is the gift of quick breads.

Quick breads are cake-like, non-yeast, non-rising breads. These include pumpkin, apple, applesauce, banana, zuchini, cranberry, lemon, carrot, and more. They are generally well liked, freeze wonderfully (some are better after freezing), may be embellished with nuts and fruits, and can be made in various sizes for various purposes.

When we did strictly quick breads for gifts, we used the small (think “mini”) loaf pans, popped them out, cooled them, then bagged them in decorative bags. I have seen others bake them in mini foil bread pans and bag them, pan and all in decorative bags. For larger families or larger gifts, you may desire to use full sized loaf pans. I like using the mini loaf pans and giving two of these to larger families. (That way, they all baked evenly, etc.)

Before I give you three of our favorite quick bread recipes (in the next post), I want to share with you our funny “banana bread/courtship” story…from December 2004:

“I have to relate a funny story to our practice of making doughs and batters early and keeping them in cold places until we bake them. Last year, Joshua and Lisa had just gotten engaged the day before our banana-bread-batter-making-day. Lisa pulled into the driveway to spend the evening with us when Joshua ran out of the shower announcing that we had to do something with the banana bread batter (now in what I would most accurately describe as a vat of at least a dozen gallons in the middle of the dining room table) ------because Lisa gets sick over bananas. She can’t eat them, or even smell them, he related. Well, we were filling loaf pans on the dining room table, and you have to understand that our dining room table is about six feet from every room in our small downstairs. There’s simply no escaping it. So we filled the pans quickly and baked several loaves, then promptly put the remaining vat of batter in the back of the van (to keep the cats out of it!). Of course, the banana bread smell was all through the house by this time.

The next night, Joshua was on his way up to pick up Lisa to go to a Christmas philharmonic concert when I called him and told him he had the banana bread batter in the back of his van. He said it was okay because it must be frozen; it didn’t smell at all, so he went on up to pick her up. By the time he got to her house, the batter was nice and warm from the heat of the van, and the entire van smelled like rotten bananas! (Needless to say, Joshua drove her parents’ car to the concert.) The moral of this story: Keep your batters and doughs in cold places away from cats and anybody who doesn’t like ‘banana bread batter.’ (I think that’s the moral of this story. Maybe it’s find out any complete aversions your future daughter-in-law has before immersing her in that aversion.)”

Tomorrow—recipes for banana, pumpkin, and apple breads.

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