Friday, October 21, 2011

Recipe Tester's Club # 106: Fall Baking- Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Applesauce Quick Breads- The house smells so good!

The air is starting to get chilly- which somehow draws me into the kitchen to bake. The recipes below are each unique and will add wonderful options for your next family dinner or holiday party. Hope you give them a try- Let me know what you changed and how they turned out. I'd love to hear from you!
Savor. Linger. Enjoy. 

Blueberry Pumpkin Bread
The combination of pumpkin and blueberries is delightful. Molasses—a traditional thick, sweet syrup—keeps the bread moist and delicious. Toast a slice and spread with a whisper of fresh butter. It’s a great accompaniment to a cup of soup.
Yield: 2 loaves
4 c King Arthur flour
1 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1⁄2 t nutmeg
1 t salt
3⁄4 c molasses
2⁄3 c sugar
1⁄2 c unsweetened applesauce
1⁄2 c oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 c canned pumpkin
1⁄4 c apple cider
11⁄2 c fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two loaf pans.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine the molasses, sugar, applesauce, oil, eggs, pumpkin, and cider. Mix well. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers of the loaves comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool the bread in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn the loaves out of the pans onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Applesauce Brown Bread
I grew up with this bread—it’s wonderful with any soup containing legumes. This bread is steamed in a mold, or you can use empty metal coffee cans or large soup cans for this task.
Yield: 2 loaves
1 c wheat flour
1 c rye flour
1 c cornmeal
1 t baking soda
1⁄2 t salt
2 c buttermilk
3⁄4 c blackstrap molasses
1⁄2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 c currants
butter for greasing the molds
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease two 1-quart pudding molds or 1-pound coffee cans with butter.
Combine the flours, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, molasses, and applesauce. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and combine. Fold in the currants.
Fill the molds or coffee cans two-thirds full with batter. Cover the tops with foil and tie securely with a string to seal. Place the molds or coffee cans in a deep baking pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the side of the mold (there should be at least 2 inches of water in the pan). Place in the preheated oven and allow to steam for 21⁄2 to 3 hours. Check the water level after 1 hour and add more boiling water if needed. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the string and foil and allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes. Unmold the bread and serve warm.

Maple–Sweet Potato Rolls
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. They are yummy and good for you. These golden rolls are wonderful with a smear of blueberry jam or maple butter.
Yield: 3 dozen rolls
11⁄2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 T yeast
1 t Maine maple syrup
11⁄2 c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 c Maine maple syrup
1⁄4 c oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 t salt
3 c all-purpose flour
3-4 c white whole-wheat flour
4 c digestive biscuit or graham cracker crumbs
Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of simmering water until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Place the potatoes in a medium bowl and transfer the reserved cooking liquid to a large bowl.
When the cooking liquid has cooled to warm room temperature, sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup over the reserved warm liquid; stir to dissolve. Let the yeast mixture stand until it’s bubbling and foamy, about 5 minutes.
Combine the potatoes, 1⁄2 cup melted butter, 1⁄2 cup maple syrup, oil, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Purée until smooth and add to the yeast mixture. Mix in the white flour. Gradually stir in enough white whole-wheat flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, to form soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more white whole-wheat flour if the dough is sticky.
Lightly oil a large bowl. Add the dough, turning it to coat the entire surface with the oil. Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease three 9-inch–diameter cake pans. Punch down the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it again until it is smooth. Divide the dough into thirds. Cut each third into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
Mix the remaining 1 cup of melted butter and 1⁄2 cup of maple syrup. Dip each dough ball into the syrup mixture and then roll in the digestive biscuit or graham cracker crumbs to coat. Place 12 balls in each prepared pan, arranging them closely together. Let stand 15 minutes.
Bake the rolls until they are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.

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