(The Best) Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

For something so simple as Irish Soda Bread, there certainly are a lot of recipes out there for making it.   Luckily for me, I have a recipe for the best ISB I’ve ever tasted and so it’s the one I keep returning to time after time.


Generally speaking, Irish Soda Bread recipes seem to fall into two categories; those with raisins and those without.  Most all of them call for caraway seeds.  Since I am not fond of caraway seeds, I always leave them out, but we love the bread with raisins.  They add just a touch of sweetness.


This recipe was submitted by a church member when we were putting together a recipe book of favorite recipes by women of our church.  It contains raisins and NO caraway seeds.  Besides the usual baking soda and buttermilk combination, this version has three eggs in it also, so it raises up nice and tall.  It will fill a 9-inch round pan to the top, with a nice high crown.  The eggs also make the texture of this bread more cake-like.


When I have this bread around I want to keep having a piece, with coffee, with tea, with just about anything.  I especially like it in the morning with some fruit for breakfast.   Making this bread only once a year for St. Patrick’s Day is way too long to wait to enjoy this wonderful bread.  Once you taste it you will want to make it much more frequently than that.  I promise you’ll be craving it all year ’round.


Butter spread on warm bread makes it just a little better!!



Yield:  1  9-inch round loaf, approximately 12 servings


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole-wheat flour)IMG_9406
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins


1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

2.  Whisk together all the dry ingredients, flour through sugar.

3.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until well combined.

4.  In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the buttermilk and combine well.


Lightly beat into the flour mixture.  Stir in the raisins.


Place dough into the prepared pan.

5.  Bake in 350* oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the bread has risen and the top is golden brown.  A knife inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean.


Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing.  Serve warm.



SOURCE:  Feeding the Flock


Swedish Cardamom Bread

Swedish Cardamom Braid

Swedish Cardamom Braid

This very popular and delightful Scandinavian sweet bread is often served at Christmas time and is often braided, but can be baked in the typical loaf form as well.

It is one of the most popular items that we sell at our annual Chocolate Fest, which is sponsored by the women’s fellowship of our church.  The Chocolate Fest is coming up on February 7, and many of the women are baking up chocolate treats, but not everything is chocolate.  Case in point with this bread.


Cardamom, a spice typically used in Scandinavian breads and baked goods, lightly seasons this soft pillowy bread.  I made up a batch last week, and we have been feasting on it ever since.  Mr. D. loves it, and has been asking me when I would make some, so I surprised him with two loaves of it.  I like to braid the loaves, making them look special with an egg wash and sprinkle of decorating sugar.


Slices of this bread can be lightly heated in the microwave and spread with butter for breakfast.  It’s great with a cup of coffee!!

Makes a lovely light breakfast with fruit and coffee.

Makes a lovely light breakfast with fruit and coffee.

I make the dough in my bread machine on the “dough” cycle, then remove it, form the braids, and let it raise a second time before baking.  The ingredients in the recipe can be mixed in an electric mixer as well and left to rise in a warm place prior to making the braids.  So if you want to make this bread, but don’t have a bread machine, no problem.. you can use your mixer, and proceed as you would when making any regular bread recipe.

Braid it before baking.

Braid it before baking.


Yield:  2 braids,  or 1 large loaf


  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature, or slightly warmed in the microwaveIMG_9084
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla, or almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom ( I use a full teaspoon.)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. yeast

Egg wash:  1 egg beaten with 2 Tbsp. milk or cream

Decorating sugar, optional


1.  In the pan of a bread machine, layer in the ingredients, according to manufacturer’s suggestion.  Set for “dough” cycle, and start the machine.  Once all the ingredients are combined, watch carefully as the consistency can be somewhat “sticky”.  You may need to add more flour in small amounts until a smooth, non-sticky ball of dough is achieved.

2.  At completion of dough cycle, remove dough from the machine, and divide in half.  Keeping one half covered, divide the other half into 3 equal balls.  Roll each ball into a long rope.  Lay the three ropes next to each other, pinch together at one end, and braid them together. Pinch bottom ends together  (Just like making a hair braid!)  Repeat with the other half of dough.


3.  Place each braid on a lightly greased baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.  Cover, and let rise for about 1  1/2 hours.  Brush braids with egg wash, sprinkle with decorating sugar (if using), and bake in a preheated 350*F. oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden.





SOURCE:        The Big Book of Bread Machine Recipes,   Donna Rathmell German

Whole Wheat, Rosemary and Tomato Focaccia

Whole wheat, tomato and rosemary focaccia.

Whole wheat, tomato and rosemary focaccia.

On the day of the “Great Blizzard” (that wasn’t), I made this Focaccia bread to go with the Lasagna soup.

Around here we love Focaccia, in fact we love homemade bread of any kind.  This one is so flavorful with the addition of herbs (oregano) and sun-dried tomatoes in the dough, and rosemary and olive oil brushed over the top before baking.  Add some garlic and parmesan cheese and Whoo-hoo, this is one fabulous bread.

I use my bread machine to make the dough, then once it has risen, take it out, roll it out thin on a pizza pan or baking stone and let it raise for about 30 minutes.  Indent the top all over with your fingers, then brush with olive oil and minced garlic,  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and crushed rosemary.   It will bake up golden brown, crispy on the outside, and soft and doughy on the inside.

This bread is so easy to make and is a great accompaniment to soup or a salad.  The use of whole wheat flour makes it more healthy (because of the fiber), and cornmeal in the dough gives it a nice crunch.  We really like this bread.  I hope you will too.


Yield:   Makes a 1 pound bread


  • 3/4 cup milk ( fat-free is OK)IMG_9055
  •  1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. snipped, sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast or bread machine yeast

For the Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary OR 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed


1.  In the container of a bread machine, layer in the ingredients, according to the manufacturer’s directions.  Select “dough” cycle.  When the cycle is completed, remove dough from machine.

2.  Spray a work surface lightly with oil, place the dough on it, and cover it.  Let rest for about 10 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease an 11 to 13-inch pizza pan, or pizza stone.  Roll out the dough to fit the pan.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until nearly double in size.

Dough rolled out on a pizza stone.

Dough rolled out on a pizza stone.

4.  With 2 fingers, make indentations all over dough.  Combine  the 2 Tbsp olive oil and garlic; drizzle over the dough.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and rosemary.

Make indentations with your fingers all over the top.

Make indentations with your fingers all over the top.

Drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic.

Drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic.

Sprinkle with cheese and rosemary.

Sprinkle with cheese and rosemary.

5.  Bake in a 400*F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm or cool.



SOURCE:   Bread Machine Bounty

Banana Cranberry Bread

I love the beginning of the New Year.  There’s nothing going on that makes demands on me.  It’s when I can slow down, do some thinking and planning, and recalibrate my brain.

Banana Cranberry Bread

Banana Cranberry Bread

Whenever I need to get “centered” I turn to my oven, and usually what I want to put into the oven involves fruit in some way.   In the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter or in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator there is usually some fruit or other that needs to be eaten or used up.   In most instances that would be several black and pretty far-gone bananas in the fruit bowl.


It’s embarrassing when someone stops by, and there are the bananas on the counter wearing their black skins, with maybe a few fruit flies visiting them.  You know what I mean, I’m sure.  Who doesn’t buy a bunch of bananas every time they go to the grocery store.  Come on, that can’t be just me.

So like everyone else in this predicament, I make banana bread.   Familiar, reliable, sweet.  It’s a home run.

My favorite recipe for Banana Bread was my starting place for this recipe.   The yogurt in the recipe, in addition to the bananas, makes a nice tender bread, plus the texture it brought to the finished bread was amazing.   I added some whole fresh cranberries for some bright spots of color and a zing of tartness amongst the sweetness.  They are still appropriate for the season.


OK, let’s take a deep breath and relax as we make this bread.  This will not be stressful at all!

We will get out flour, spices and salt and whisk them together well.  Nice fluffy flour, with no lumps.  From the refrigerator, take out eggs, yogurt and butter.


Now about the butter….why add plain butter when you can add browned butter that’s nutty, fragrant, and has an almost caramelized flavor?  Yes, let’s do that!

What else so we need?  Brown sugar and the mashed banana.   This is turning into something special in spite of myself.

Stir it all together:  flour and spices plus all that banana goodness.

Last, throw in the cranberries, pretty little gems.  This is the festive part, the bells and whistles.

It makes a lot of batter for one 9″ x 5″ pan.   This can be one tasty loaf of banana bread plus 1 or 2 banana bread muffins; or divide into 2 smaller loaf pans, one for now, and one to freeze.

Don’t even think of baking this bread without some crumbly topping.  It’s the decorative ending, or beginning, as that is what you will see first, and tempt you to sample this yummy bread.


This bread can do no wrong.  It’s moist and soft.  Perfect for breakfast and snacking.  Studded with cranberries and topped with a crunchy topping.   I think you should make a loaf as soon as you have some black bananas,  maybe next weekend?


Yield:  (1) 9″ x 5″ loaf + 1 or 2 muffins, or (2) 8″ x 2″ loaves

For the bread:

  • 6 oz. unsalted butter, melted and browned to measure just over 1/2 cup
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (make part of it white whole wheat if you like)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana ( about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1  1/2 cups whole fresh cranberries


For the crumble:

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 Tbsp. lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Spray pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper leaving about two inches of paper to hang over the long sides of the loaf pan.

2.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot pan will stop it from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt , cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.


4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and yogurt.


When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.

5.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.


Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any hidden pockets of flour.  Fold together the ingredients, taking care not to over stir.


Fold in cranberries.



6.  Make the crumble:  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. (or cut in the butter with a pastry cutter.)

7.  Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).  Sprinkle the crumble over the top.


Bake the loaf for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.


8.  Bread will last for 4 days, well wrapped at room temperature.  This loaf also freezes well.



SOURCE:    adapted from Coffee Cakes and Quick Breads




Eggnog Fruit Bread

Eggnog Fruit Bread

Eggnog Fruit Bread

Oh eggnog, eggnog, how I do love you.  You are just the ticket for smoothing out a little hootch, happily consumed on Christmas eve in the name of good cheer.   You are the perfect accompaniment to some of those Christmas cookies,  and mixed into the egg mixture, you made marvelous French Toast on Christmas morning.  But why, dear eggnog, is there so much of you left when the celebrations are all over?

Well, there’s just one thing to do…. turn you into something else.


Poof!  You are now a fruit bread.




Yield:    Makes two  7.75″ x 3.75″ loaves, or ( 1 ) 9″ x 5″ loaf


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flourIMG_8803
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. mace (nutmeg is a good substitute.)
  • 1 1/2 cups eggnog
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. rum flavoring
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup mixed candied fruits


1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 9″ x 5″ pan or two smaller pans ( approx. 8″ x 4″); or line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the long sides of the pans.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and mace.

3.  In another smaller bowl, beat the egg with a whisk, stir in melted butter, eggnog and rum flavoring.  Add all at once to flour mixture and stir with a spoon just until flour is moistened.  (Mixture will be lumpy.)


4.  Fold in pecans and fruits; spread batter in pan(s).  Bake 1 hour or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.


5.  Cool breads in pan on wire rack 10 minutes, remove from pan(s) to cool.


This bread will freeze nicely if wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil..   Thaw at room temperature.     Makes 1 large, or 2 smaller loaves.IMG_8837


The flavor of eggnog is apparent in this bread, but it is not overly sweet.  We like it lightly toasted and served with coffee.  It’s also a nice snack if served with a glass of cold milk or more eggnog.

Pear Hazelnut Bread

Pear-Hazelnut Bread

Pear-Hazelnut Bread

Quick breads often meet my need for something sweet, without a guilt trip about how many calories I’m ingesting.  Of course not all of them meet that description, but this one is a nice compromise between a little sweetness and something you feel good about eating for breakfast.  It bakes up nice and hearty, with shredded pears and chopped hazelnuts folded into a cardamom-scented batter.

This bread would be a welcome addition to a holiday brunch or just nice to have with your morning’s coffee, on an average day.  Although, in my opinion, no day is average when it starts with a home-baked bread or muffin.


Fresh, firm pears are needed for this recipe, so when they are grated you will not have a pile of mush.  I like Bosc pears but firm Bartletts work well also.  Wait to prepare them until you’re ready to put the bread together or the shredded fruit will turn brown.

While the original recipe for this bread called for 1  1/2 cups white all-purpose flour, I use a mixture of whole grains to make a total of  1 1/2 cups.  Examples are oats, spelt flour, whole wheat flour, and barley flakes.  The proportions should be about 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour, and 1/4 cup something else like oats or barley flakes.  This will give you a bread that is tender with good texture.   Toasting the hazelnuts in the oven for about 5 minutes improves their nutty flavor, but watch them carefully so they don’t get too browned.



Yield:   1  9″x5″ loaf


  • 1 cup shredded, peeled, ripe pears that are still firm (about 2 )
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (see recommended types above)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  •  1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts



1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  and line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.  Coat well with cooking spray and set aside.

2.  Whisk together the vegetable oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla together well.  Stir in the shredded pears.

3.  Whisk together all the dry ingredients,  adding in the chopped nuts also.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients.

4.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mixing just to moisten thoroughly.

Mixing wet ingredients into dry.

Mixing wet ingredients into dry.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Test carefully as the top of this loaf may brown and look done while the center is still moist because of the pears.

5.  Let cool in the pan for about an hour, then remove from pan and transfer to a rack to cool completely.



SOURCE:   Adapted from Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon

Sweet Potato Spice Bread

Sweet Potato Spice Breads

Sweet Potato Spice Breads

I’ve been spending some of my time weeding out my closets, getting rid of those oldies that I no longer wear.  Every few years I “bite the bullet’ and make some hard decisions about letting go of some favorite clothes.  Even though I loved them once, some things are no longer right because of changing fashions, changing fit, or no longer appropriate.  Ba-bye, mini skirt!

In doing this, I’ve reacquainted myself with some of my fall clothes, but strangely my jeans seem to have somehow shrunken in the closet since the last time I wore them.  Do jeans shrink from neglect?  I think so!   I’ve also rediscovered my collection of scarves.  Scarves are neck warmers and are perfectly acceptable to wear in public or at home.  Once your neck gets used to the comfort of a scarf, it feels cold without one.   I think I need a few more 🙂

Speaking of comfort and wanting to feel warm,  I’m really getting into the color orange in a big way.  Orange is such a HOT color whether you wear it or eat it.  So orange colored foods are on my wanna-eat list.  There’s no use fighting it, so let’s rediscover some old things and make them new again. Like this recipe for Sweet Potato Spice bread.  It offers a familiar comfort that I’m looking for these days.  While I’ve made this recipe many times in the past, I don’t think I’ve gotten around to sharing it with you.  This time I’ve replaced the canola oil with coconut oil, swapped out the granulated sugar for honey and some molasses and for a tad of extra spiciness I added the slightest dash of black pepper for a little mystery.  I like to layer flavors in everything I make.  Little things can make a big difference.


An added feature of this recipe is that it makes 2 mini loaves, or 1 small loaf.  Perfect for a single person or a couple.  And its also great for gift-giving.  With the holidays not too far away, this is a recipe to save for future reference.

These sweet potatoes are the first of the season, and we love them roasted, so if I’m roasting a few sweet potatoes I roast a lot.

Roast Sweet Potatoes

Roast Sweet Potatoes

They’re great for dinner with lots of butter and a bit of broccoli, they are wonderful in Sweet potato and pecan waffles, and don’t get me started on sweet potato pie.  This recipe uses only 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato, so you can easily make these loaves with just a small amount of leftover sweet potato.

What are we waiting for?   Let’s get going…..


Yield:   2 mini loaves:  5 3/4″ x 3″


  • 1 cup all-purpose flourIMG_8269
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. each,  cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten  ( vegans, use egg substitute)
  • 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts


1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Grease two mini loaf pans,  5 3/4″ x 3″ x 2″.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and pepper.

Don't forget that dash of black pepper!

Don’t forget that dash of black pepper!

3.  In a small bowl, combine the egg and mashed sweet potato, stirring well.  Add the honey, coconut oil, and molasses.   Whisk to incorporate.

Whisk together all the wet ingredients to blend.

Whisk together all the wet ingredients to blend.

4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring just to moisten.

Wet meets day.

Wet meets day.

Fold in the walnuts.

5.  Divide batter between two mini loaf pans, and bake at 350*F. for 25 – 30 minutes.

Divide batter between two small loaf pans.

Divide batter between two small loaf pans.

Test with a toothpick for doneness.  Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.




SOURCE:    This recipe is of unknown origin,  It’s an adaptation of one I’ve had forever.



(Less is More) Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

This is an  experiment in cutting back, using less, leaving out, and just generally leaving things alone.   You know that when I cook I try to cut back on ingredients that are unhealthy or not good for us, but when it comes to the “good” stuff, well…..that’s another story.  My philosophy is usually “more is better”.


Today’s baking session went something like this.   I made Blueberry Zucchini Bread, without adding bacon, without lemon zest, without ginger, without crumb topping, without coconut, without chocolate chips.   Oh, the more I mention, the more I want to put into this luscious breakfast bread.   I keep telling myself,  “no, just let it be what it is”.  So, Ok, I added blueberries to zucchini bread, but you know, a green veggie is kind of boring, and blueberries are so pretty, and good for us, (antioxidants and all).  You’ll be so glad I did all this for you.   The resulting bread is just right for breakfast, not too sweet, yet moist with tons of flavor.



Many zucchini bread recipes in my cookbooks seem to call for 1 cup or more of oil, and are also too sweet for my taste, so thinking that the moisture added to this recipe by the zucchini and blueberries would compensate, I reduced the amount of oil to 2/3 cup, and used only 1 cup of sugar instead of two cups as the original recipe called for.  Thus you have less is more.   Less of the unhealthy and unnecessary  ingredients and more of the healthy ingredients that are better for you.

Picky eaters at your house?   I’ll bet they’ll be scarfing down this one!


Yield:   2 loaves,  8″ x 4″  see accompanying conversion list for other size loaves


  • 3 cups flour  ( I used 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat, and 1 1/2 cups all purpose white flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3  cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries


1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Lightly grease loaf pans.  See conversion list for pan sizes.

2.  In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Mix together the dry ingredients.

Mix together the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar.

3.  Stir flour mixture into egg mixture and combine until well blended.

Add dry ingredients to egg mixture.

Add dry ingredients to egg mixture.

Stir in zucchini, then gently fold in blueberries.

Stir in zucchini, then blueberries.  Batter will be thick.

Stir in zucchini, then blueberries. Batter will be thick.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.   Note:  if using small pans, set them on a baking sheet for stability in and out of the oven.

Pour batter into loaf pans set on a baking sheet.

Pour batter into loaf pans set on a baking sheet.

4.  Bake at 350*F. for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

5.  Cool in pans for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  Wrap in foil to freeze if desired.


These rise nice and high.

These rise nice and high.

Perfect for breakfast.

Perfect for breakfast.


Notes from my kitchen:   Many times quick breads can be baked in different sizes than the recipe calls for.  These are some alternate size pans for when a recipe is based on 2  1/2  – 3 cups of flour.  Keep in mind that baking times will vary, so use a cake tester, and rely on color and your sense of smell.

1  ( 9 x 5) loaf pan

12 muffins

2  ( 8 x 4) loaves

4  (6 x 3 x 2-inch) mini loaf pans

1 tube or decorative mold pan




SOURCE:   I made some major changes to a basic recipe for zucchini bread that was in my files.





My Non-Cake Birthday Cake

My non-cake Birthday Cake

My non-cake Birthday Cake

Do you love cinnamon rolls, but don’t like to work with yeast dough?  I hear this from of lots of my women friends.   They love that yeasty flavor and texture of baked breads and sweet rolls, cinnamon buns included, but don’t have the time or knack for working with yeast dough.  Well here’s good news…..

These are cinnamon rolls made from dough without yeast!  In the food processor, no less.  So ease of preparation can’t be beat, and the resulting tender sweet, cinnamon rolls are luscious indeed.   The inclusion of cottage cheese and non-fat yogurt, plus a small amount of butter guarantees a tender dough.


The back story here is that my birthday occurred this past weekend, as it does every year right around Mother’s Day, and having no-one around to bake a cake for me,  I made one for myself.  Only it wasn’t really a cake.  It was these sweet rolls.  When they are turned out of the baking pan onto a serving dish, they look like a single layer cake.  Frosted with a maple flavor glaze, they are great for breakfast, but we sampled them while still warm from the oven, and had a tiny birthday party just for me.  Ha!


Yield:   Makes 12 rolls



  • 3/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, use 1/4 tsp. salt)


  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



1.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients.  Process briefly until smooth.   In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt).  Add the flour mixture to the processor bowl.  Cover and pulse to form a soft dough.


Easy so far, right?

2.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 4 to 5 times.  It comes together and feels just right.  Now with a rolling pin, roll out to a 15″ x 12″ rectangle.



Brush the dough with the 2 Tablespoons of melted butter to within 1/2-inch of edges.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the butter.


3.  Preheat oven to 400*F.   Lightly spray or grease a 9-inch round baking pan.

4.   Starting from the long side, roll up the dough like a jelly roll, keeping it as tight and even as possible.  Pinch edges to seal.   Cut dough into 1 1/4-inch slices.


Lay the slices cut-side down in the prepared pan.



5.  Bake at 400*F. for 20 – 25 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.  Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a serving plate.



6.  Make the glaze and drizzle over the rolls.  Don’t they look fantastic?  I dare you not to eat one right now!

Yummy cinnamon rolls, still warm from the oven.

Yummy cinnamon rolls, still warm from the oven.



(Not your Traditional) Irish Soda Bread

Pull-Apart Irish Soda Bread

Pull-Apart Irish Soda Bread

If you are not someone who normally bakes bread, I urge you to give this super-simple recipe a try.  It makes a densely textured slightly sweet bread with a delicious chewy crust.  It is not the typical soda  bread that includes currents or raisins and caraway seeds.  This is a round loaf of bread (or individual pull-apart servings) that includes some healthy whole wheat flour ( use white whole wheat) and buttermilk to work with the leavening agents to give it its rise.

It is delicious all on its own, especially when spread with whipped salted butter, or even better with a dipping sauce of honey, melted butter and a touch of balsamic vinegar.


Irish soda bread is so closely associated with Corned beef and cabbage and St. Patrick’s Day, that I fear it doesn’t get much attention at other times of the year.  That is really too bad!!  This bread is just great at any meal but especially with soups and stews.   It is so easy to make you can whip it up in a very short time and be enjoying it with your dinner.  We also love it toasted with corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast.


Instead of baking one big loaf of this bread, try making a version that gives individual servings as I did in these pictures.  You start by making the basic dough, but after turning it out onto a slightly floured surface, divide it into 16 equal pieces and, with floured hands, roll each into a ball.  Transfer the balls to a parchment lined baking sheet in 4 rows of 4, making sure each dough is close to the ones around it.  With the tip of a paring knife, cut a 1/4-inch-deep X on each ball.  Because these pull-apart rolls are smaller than a full loaf, the baking time is cut in half.  Try it!


P. S.  I love raisins in soda bread, so I added some to my dough by kneading them in at the end, just before forming the balls.  These turned out to be really good, and having the individual biscuits instead of a slice is a good form of portion control.


Makes 1 round loafIMG_6861


  • 1  1/2 cups regular, all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons buttermilk


1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour – brown sugar).  Add the buttermilk.  Stir to combine and form a soft dough.

3.  Turn out onto a floured surface and with floured hands, knead for  about 1 minute to further blend the ingredients.  Form into a ball and flatten slightly.

4.  Dust with a little flour, and with a sharp knife slash the top into an “X”. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.  Allow to rest 15 minutes.

Individual portions bake for about 18 - 20 minutes.

Individual portions bake for about 18 – 20 minutes.

5.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and crusty.  Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.  Serve with whipped butter, or a dipping sauce of honey, melted butter and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

So good with a smear of butter or a little honey.

So good with a smear of butter or a little honey.

SOURCE:  My Gourmet Connection