Quick Breads, Muffins, and Scones

It’s Time for Fall Flavors, Y’all

By Martha Foose

WITH THE LAZY, HAZY DAYS OF SUMMER IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR, IT IS TIME TO SHIFT GEARS. Back-to-school time is upon us, bringing lunchboxes, bake sales, and sign-up sheets for teacher’s lounge treats. Road trips for away games and tailgating are revving up. Dove season sends us out on field trips, and house parties abound. The days are getting shorter, and time seems to fly by when the calendar hanging on the refrigerator barely has a blank day without an obligation penciled in on it.

These quick bread recipes are perfect for all manner of autumn occasions. They are make-ahead-able, freeze-able, and keep well for days. Wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow or tucked in decorated tins, they are just the thing to present to a hostess or gift to a pal on their birthday.

HONEYCRISP APPLE MUFFINS

Heating the oven to 400 degrees and then reducing the heat to 375 degrees when the muffins go in, insures they will get a nice oven spring and rise forming the yummiest muffin tops.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unrefined granulated cane sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 1⁄4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (about 1 cup)

Spray a muffin tins well with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
   Whisk together the flour, 1⁄2 cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
   In a small bowl, using a fork, combine the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients by stirring quickly with a fork. Be careful to mix just until combined. Fold in the apples.
   Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups filling each until almost full. Sprinkle the muffin tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Put the muffin tins on the middle rack of the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. bake until the tops are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 1 1⁄2 dozen muffins.

ORANGE GLAZED CRANBERRY SNACKING LOAF

This recipe doubles well, so make two and freeze one without glaze for a last minute hostess gift. If you like, add a bit of chopped fresh rosemary to the batter to give it an autumnal herb twist.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2  teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2  teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1  cup granulated unrefined cane sugar
2  teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2⁄3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1⁄2  teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2  cup chopped walnuts
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees and place on oven rack in the center position with no rack above it. Grease and flour a 41⁄2-by-81⁄2 inch loaf pan.
   Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the egg. Gradually add the sugar, beating at medium speed until light. Add the zest, orange juice and melted butter.
   Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping the bowl as needed. Beat until just combined. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts.
   Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the loaf for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the bread begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack. Cool the bread in the pan for 15 minutes then turn the bread from the pan to cool on the wire rack.

Makes one loaf.

For the Orange Glaze

1 1⁄4 cups powdered sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon orange zest
1⁄4 cup orange juice
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice and vanilla extract. Pour the glaze over the thoroughly cooled loaf.

FROSTED PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE BREAD

Spiced with fall favorites: clove, mace, nutmeg and cinnamon, this easy quick bread travels well, making it an excellent choice for tailgate spreads and snacks for teams on the go.

3 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1⁄2 cups unrefined granulated cane sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
Black walnuts for garnish, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two (9-x-5-inch) loaf pans.
   Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the sugar, cream cheese, and butter at medium speed until well blended.
   Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the pumpkin and mix until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix until the ingredients are just combined. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. If desired, decorate the top with black walnuts. Bake on center rack of the oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans for 5 minutes then turn loaves out onto a wire rack to cool. Glaze loaves when completely cooled, if desired.

Makes two loaves.

For the Cream Glaze

2 cups powered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Whisk the powdered sugar and cream together until smooth. Drizzle over the cooked loaves.