Snack Attack: Quick, Bread!

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett
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Banana bread makes the perfect argument for why no one should fear baking.

So many good cooks profess to tremble before a baking book. Sure, I wouldn’t start out making a macaron, the latest cookie trend, but so much of baking allows more leeway than we let on.

Proof? Just try the first quick bread recipe you see — banana, carrot, zucchini, pumpkin — and in short order, you’ll have something tasty. You may not produce the most stellar loaf, but it’s hard to really mess these up (though I did once find a way, when I worked in a bakery and made 60 mini loaves of pumpkin bread, only to discover when they failed to brown that I’d completely left out the sugar).

I love all quick bread, especially carrot, but banana bread wins my heart for its ability to use up my over-eager grocery purchases. Gardeners feel the same way about their over-eager zucchini, though I tend to use my baseball-bat specimens for “zapplesauce” (recipe coming this summer).

I choose quick breads that use oil instead of butter, just because they keep things truly speedy, and for a change I don’t find these suffer for the lack of butter’s flavor. After you’ve made a recipe once or twice, you may want to try reducing the oil a bit; carrot and zucchini recipes tend to be plenty moist even with somewhat less oil.

And when you need something beyond quick, just turn one of those breads into muffins, baking them for less than half the time of the bread (20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees). Sweeten them with chocolate chips, or be a responsible mom and improve them with white-wheat flour. Or be the extra-popular mom by making them into good-for-you cupcakes, topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting, plain or mixed with peanut butter for those banana gems.

Recipe: Zucchini Bread

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