UACES Facebook Spend More Time with Your Family with Make-Ahead Breakfast Dishes
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Spend More Time with Your Family with Make-Ahead Breakfast Dishes

Stuck in the kitchen Christmas morning while your family is having fun elsewhere in the house? Quick breads may be your answer!

Nashville, Ark. – It doesn’t matter how old your children are, when it comes to Christmas morning. If your house is like ours, Christmas morning is mayhem, even though my children are grown. Opening gifts, family members arriving, and getting to church on time all leads to a very hectic morning. The last place I want to be is in the kitchen preparing breakfast while all the fun it taking place elsewhere in the house.

            Quick breads make ahead of time are a great way for having a nutritious breakfast without spending all morning in the kitchen. They can be made well ahead of time and frozen or make just a couple of days before the big day and enjoy them Christmas morning.

            Quick breads use products other than yeast, as leavening, such as baking powder or soda. Many times your quick bread recipes will call for buttermilk, vinegar, sour cream, yogurt, cream of tartar or fruit juices. The reason for this is that these items are acidic and are needed to work with the baking powder or soda.

            Because quick breads contain no yeast, no time is spent kneading or waiting for the product to rise. Quick breads also have more of a cake like texture. They need to be tested for doneness the same way you would chick your cake, with a cake tester or toothpick. If it comes out clean when inserted in the middle, the bread is done.

            You may also test for doneness by noticing that the bread will pull away from the sides of the pan when it is done. It is best to leave the bread in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes, before removal to a wire rack to continue cooling.

            To assure that your quick breads will be perfect for Christmas morning, following directions for the recipe is the best insurance policy. Organize all ingredients before starting and re-read the recipe so you won’t miss a step. Lining up all recipes, ingredients and tools ahead of time will assure that nothing is left out, saves steps, and keeps drawer and cupboard handles free from grease or dough as you reach for last minute ingredients.

            After baking the quick bread ahead of time, you can freeze it so that it only needs to be reheated on Christmas morning. To do this, allow the bread to cool completely. Wrap with plastic wrap, then foil. Place into individual freezer bags and label with bread name and date baked. As a general rule, frozen quick breads maintain their quality for up to three months in the freezer.

            Most frozen quick breads are at their best when thawed, heated and served warm. To heat frozen bread, remove from the freezer, remove all the wrapping and let sit until thawed. Rewrap in foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes. Serve warm with fruit, coffee, juice and milk.

            If you invest a little bit of time in the kitchen today preparing quick breads for your Christmas breakfast, you can spend the morning with your family. For more information on eating healthy, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

            I want to take this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a quick bread recipe that you might want prepare for Christmas morning. It uses cranberries, which are available only during the holidays. You might want to purchase an extra bag of fresh ones and put them in the freezer to have later. It only takes a few minutes to mix this tasty bread. Pop it in the oven while you are wrapping presents!

Cream Cheese Cranberry Bread

1 cup butter, softened

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs

2 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)

½ cup chopped pecans, optional

            Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray pan(s). Set aside.

            In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

            In another bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix into wet batter until combined. Fold in cranberries and nuts.

            One greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan-bake for 1 ½ hours at 350 degrees. Four mini loaf pans-bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

            Note: I coarsely chop the cranberries before adding to mixture.

Yield: 1 loaf or 4 mini loaves

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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