Flavorful quick breads can rise to any occasion

By Sharon K. Ghag

The Modesto Bee (MCT)

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 15 2013 3:45 p.m. MST

On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing only until the flour just disappears. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Scrape the bowl up from the bottom and fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Transfer to prepared pans.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until loaf is well browned and a knife inserted emerges clean from the center. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning out.

— "Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple," by David Muniz and David Lesniak (Rizzoli, $29.95)


Makes: 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

11/2 cups finely chopped, peeled Granny Smith apples (¾ pound)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 1/2 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for 6 to 8 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 4minutes.

Beat sour cream and the next three ingredients on low speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until blended. Stir together the flour and next three ingredients. Add to sour cream mixture, beating just until blended. Stir in apple and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Spoon batter into a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Lightly press pecans into batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil after 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Remove from pan to wire rack.

Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil 1minute. Remove from heat, and spoon over top of bread.

— "Southern Living Home Cooking Basics: Great Food Made Simple" (Oxmoor House, $29.95)


Makes: 1 loaf

12 ounces hardwood-smoked bacon, coarsely chopped

1 ear corn, husked

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1¼ cups whole milk

3 large eggs

2 cups grated sharp white cheddar, divided use

1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives

Salted butter, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat for 8 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels. Brush loaf with bacon drippings from the pan. Set aside 1/2 cup of bacon drippings to cool.

Slice the corn kernels off the cob. You should have 1 cup.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper in a large bowl to blend. Whisk the milk, the eggs and reserved bacon drippings in another large bowl. To this stir in the bacon, 1 1/2 cups cheese, corn and chives. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle tops with remaining cheese. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve with butter.

If baking these as muffins, bake for 18 minutes.

— "Relaxed Cooking With Curtis Stone" (Clarkson Potter, $32.50)

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