Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Scone Bread

How good does Scone Bread sound? Scones are one of my favorite things, so it makes sense that Scone Bread would also be one of my favorite things. I’m here to tell ya that yes – this bread is just as delicious as regular scones.

Scones remind me of coffee, and when I think of coffee, I really always think of the smell in the basement of church. Grandma and Grandpa’s church, to be exact. I know – it’s a round-about way of getting to this, but the family was just reminiscing recently about that smell. My son is in a band, and they played at a fund raiser at a church. He was telling us that it had that same smell in the basement that was always in the basement of Grandma and Grandpa’s church. He’s also a blood donor, and he loves to donate at a church in a little town west of where we live. Why would he go to a small town that isn’t our own town to do that, you ask? Because the ladies who work the blood drive send the donors down to the basement to feed them bologna sandwiches on white bread and home baked bars, and that reminds him of Grandma and Grandpa. It’s the smell of the church basement (where the kitchen always is) with that smell of coffee brewing mixed with the smells of tuna sandwiches and baked sweets. They just go together. That’s nostalgia, and for most of us in this family, it’s the smell of childhood mixed with memories of beloved grandparents and great-grandparents. Our kids were so lucky to have not only known their great-grandparents, but had a loving and memorable relationship with them. You don’t see that every day. I’m so grateful for that and all the wonderful memories they have of them.

This Scone Bread does taste like a regular scone, and my husband and I took this loaf with us for a weekend at a friends’ cabin in Wisconsin. We enjoyed it toasted with butter and cherry jam AND a nice cup of coffee – heaven! Because its a lot like Irish Soda Bread, I’m sure it would also be delicious with Beef Stew, Chicken-Noodle Soup with Vegetables, or Chili.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Scone Bread

In a large bowl, combine:

3 cups flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

With a pastry blender, or 2 knives, cut in until it resembles coarse crumbs:

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

Stir in optional ingredients (I added 2 teaspoons poppy seeds).

Add to dry ingredients:

1 1/4 cups buttermilk (*I think this should be 1 1/2 cups – more on that later)

Mix lightly with a fork until mixture clings together and makes a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 times, until dough is smooth.

Shape into ball.

Place on greased baking sheet and pat into a 7 inch round.

With a sharp knife, make 1/8 inch cuts, scoring loaf into quarters.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until loaf is well browned and sounds hollow when tapped on top.

Cool on wire rack.

The recipe says it slices easier when stored in refrigerator wrapped in a damp cloth.

Variations:

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1-2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1-2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Sprinkle some seeds on top.

Again, simple ingredients = delicious!

After I mixed up the dry ingredients, I used my pastry blender to cut in the butter.

Next, in goes the buttermilk.

Using a fork works great to stir in the buttermilk.

Out onto a lightly floured surface to knead the dough. Does it look a bit dry?

This is what happened when I kneaded the dough. It was dry. Too dry. I did the unthinkable. I added another 1/4 cup of buttermilk (*this is what I mentioned above). Yes – AFTER kneading. Gasp! I wasn’t going to just throw it away – let’s just see what happens!

This is what happened. The buttermilk mixed in just fine, and while I’m sure purists will not love the texture after doing this, let’s just see.

Here it is on the pan. I might or might not have made the scoring more than 1/8″. This looks like I made it at least 1/4″.

Well, here’s the beautiful loaf after baking! Looks good to me! It does look a lot like Irish Soda Bread.

Oh my gosh – this smelled so good baking and so good AFTER baking. Yum.

Yeah – let’s just go ahead and spread on a little softened butter. Let’s just go ahead and let it get a bit melty. Uh-huh. Yep. Wow. I would also recommend putting this in the refrigerator and waiting a day – it’s a bit crumbly on top and when sliced, you lose some of those good bits. Try this with your favorite soup, or do what we did and enjoy it toasted with a nice cup of coffee. Either way, this Scone Bread is our new favorite, and it will be yours, too!

 

 

 

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Pepperoni Bread

I first made Pepperoni Bread about 30 years ago, when we lived in our first apartment. We had a black and white tv and no cable. The only channels we got on that tv were local, one being the local PBS channel. Luckily for me, there were shows on during the day (I was a stay-at-home mom with our first baby) that I was interested in – cooking shows. I don’t remember the name of the chef, but I liked a lot of the recipes he made, so I wrote down the address of where to order the recipes from, ordered the recipe card collection, sent in my check (yes – that’s how we did it back then – I used an actual envelope to send in my check!), and several weeks later, I received my recipe cards of dishes he had made on the show. I wish it would have been as easy as printing it off like we do now, or even as easy as keeping it on my phone or in my “favorites”! It’s probably a good thing we didn’t have it that easy back when we were first married and I was trying to get a repertoire of recipes together for our new and growing family – I kind of have a problem with cooking shows and cookbooks and recipes.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pepperoni Bread

2 loaves frozen bread dough (I made 2 loaves because that’s how many loaves I had in my freezer)

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 Tablespoons reserved for topping

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4-1/2 pound pepperoni

1/4 onion, thinly sliced

1/4 green pepper, thinly sliced

1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded

Roll dough out into a rectangle.

Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with oregano (dried from my herb pot), sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Roll up, pinch seam shut, put on baking sheet seam side down.

Brush top with beaten egg, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and oregano.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Take the frozen bread dough out of the freezer the night before you need to use it. Spray non-stick spray on a baking sheet, put the loaves of frozen dough on it, spray some non-stick spray on one side of plastic wrap so it doesn’t stick to the thawed bread dough. In the morning, the dough will be thawed and risen.

Get the ingredients ready before you start. I used pepperoni, shredded mozzarella, parmesan cheese, dried oregano (from my herb pot last summer), and thinly sliced onions and red and green peppers.

Roll the dough into a rectangle, then brush the dough with a bit of the beaten egg. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and dried oregano.

Next, on goes the pepperoni and then sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Lastly, on goes the thinly sliced onion, red pepper, and green pepper.

Now roll it all up as tightly as you can.

Pinch the seam together and put the roll, seam side down, onto a greased baking sheet. Then brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with the reserved parmesan cheese. Poke some holes along the roll to let steam escape – you don’t want the roll to explode!

Out of the oven and ready for slicing!

It looks like I could have rolled this one a bit more tightly, but that has no bearing on how delicious this is! It. Is. So. Good.

I think you’re going to love this Super Bowl party snack. Slice up the roll, put it on a platter, and you’re done! Yum! Your guests will all be raving about how good this Pepperoni Bread is, and no one needs to know just how easy it was to make!

 

 

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Polka-Dot Bread

I found this recipe for Polka-Dot Bread in one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. You all know what that means – it means delicious! It’s just the funniest thing – I can’t remember making ANYTHING from any of these old church cookbooks that hasn’t been absolutely delicious, and come to think of it, also pretty easy to make. This is another great treat to have with your afternoon coffee or an after school snack. I’m sure my mom and her brother would have liked this one after school. This photo of my mom looks like she would have been in grade school when it was taken. I have no idea who’s dog that was, but they look like they’re having fun after a snow storm. I love her “baseball” type jacket, her pigtails, and her fur lined boots!

She might have on wool stockings here – she used to tell us about having to wear wool stockings to school and how much she hated them. They itched! đŸ™‚ She used to take them off when she got on the bus or got to school and was out of sight of her parents, then put them back on again before going home!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Polka-Dot Bread

Combine in a saucepan:

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups raisins (I decided to use up some extra Christmas supplies and used half raisins and half dried cranberries)

Bring to a boil and then cool to room temperature.

Combine:

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 cup brown sugar (I happened to have dark brown sugar, so I used that)

2 Tablespoons salad oil (I used canola), or melted shortening

1 Tablespoon grated orange peel

Stir in:

raisin mixture

Sift together:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Add to the raisin mixture, beating well.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes or until done (Ha – here we go again!).

Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Bread is best if stored for one day. Good luck with that.

Simple ingredients – amazingly delicious! I think the dark brown sugar gave this more of a caramel flavor than if I had used the regular brown sugar called for.

This recipe is so easy.

It mixes up very fast.

It makes a great batter . . .

. . . that makes a large loaf!

I was hoping there would be more contrast between the raisins and the dried cranberries, but they looked kind of the same color. No matter – it was very tasty!

This bread was so quick and easy to make and it is really delicious with the raisins and dried cranberries that I added. My husband actually said it was the “most delicious bread” I’ve ever made. Really? The most delicious? Ok. I guess I’ll take his word for it – it was a direct quote, after all. You and your family are probably gonna like this one, too. Make a loaf of this Polka-Dot Bread and find out!

 

 

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Blue Ribbon Muffins

Blue Ribbon Muffins are good – and good for you! With all the rich and heavy food we’ve been indulging in the last couple of months, these bran muffins are a tasty way to keep things running smoothly, so to speak. This recipe came from one of Grandma’s sisters, and it’s one of those retro recipes that is just so, so good. These muffins are the kind that can be mixed up and put into the refrigerator so that you can bake them whenever you want them and bake as many as you want at a time, similar to All-Bran Muffins I’ve posted in the past. The card says the batter will last 7 weeks in the refrigerator – awesome! I remember these muffins so much from when I was growing up. Grandma always seemed to have a batch of these muffins in the refrigerator at the farm. I thought – even then – that this was complete genius! How great to be able to bake just a couple at a time, and have them warm right when you want them. I have to say, I did make a few pans of these at a time, too, and they’re delicious made ahead of time, too!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Blue Ribbon Muffins

Mix together:

2 cups All-Bran

2 cups boiling water

Let stand until cool.

Mix together:

3 cups sugar

1 cup shortening (the card says Wesson oil – I used canola)

4 eggs, beaten

1 quart buttermilk

Add to that mixture:

5 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

5 teaspoons baking soda

4 cups All-Bran

Mix well and store in refrigerator until you use it.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

She also says you could add dates, nuts, raisins, or chopped apricots – all of which would be delicious.

Makes 5-6 dozen.

These muffins are pretty quick and easy to pull together. While the boiling water/All-Bran are cooling, get the wet ingredients ready. By the time you’re ready to mix it all up, it should be pretty cool.

I didn’t know how big the bath was going to be, so I used by biggest contianer to mix it all up. First the wet ingredients, and then the dry ingredients on top of that.

All mixed together and we’re ready to bake!

I made a whole pan of muffins after mixing it up, but you can just put the mix right into the refrigerator and not make any until you’re ready! How cool is that?!!

You can see the All-Bran goodness in there!

I transferred what was left to a container to put in the refrigerator until ready. Don’t forget to put the baking instructions on there so the whole family will know how to bake these. That’s another great perk – everyone can help themselves and bake their own when they want some!

Oh my goodness. So good. Not bad with a slather of melting butter. And honey. Or jam.

I’m so glad I made a whole pan. They went fast.

These muffins are brilliant. I just love that ability to make 2 muffins, if you want, or a whole pan. That’s so great. I love having them ready to go, whether you need them for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Make a big batch of these Blue Ribbon Muffins and you’ll be good to go, whenever you need them for whoever needs them!

 

 

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Tomato Soup Bread

Oh boy, this Tomato Soup Bread is a total retro oldie! I remember people making this kind of bread in a can during holiday time back in the 1960’s and ’70’s when I was growing up, and I was always fascinated by it! This is a recipe that was in one of Grandma’s REALLY old church cookbooks. I did make Tomato Soup Cake a while back, and I always knew that I’d have to try to make the bread some day. That day is today! The recipe says that this makes a nice Christmas bread, and I’d have to agree. This bread, if left in the cans, would make a great hostess gift, a teacher gift, or a gift for any occasion, really. It’s spicy, it’s delicious, and it’s really pretty easy to make! Right up my alley!

Don’t tell anyone the secret ingredient – they’ll never guess!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Tomato Soup Bread

Cream together:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

Add:

1 egg

Mix together:

2 1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Alternate the dry ingredients with:

1 can tomato soup

Add last:

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Dates and nuts (since the recipe didn’t specify an amount for these, I added 1 cup of each – dates and walnuts)

The recipe says to put the batter in 3 1-pound coffee cans, but I used just regular vegetable cans filling them about 2/3 of the way to the top, and I buttered them first. I used 4 cans and that took all of the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. (I checked to see if the bread was done after 40 minutes by using a skewer down the middle. It was pretty gooey, so I gave it another 10 minutes – 5 extra minutes might have been enough.)

The recipe doesn’t say how to get the bread out of the can, so I tried just shaking it out and that worked – except for the inch or so that was left in the bottom of the can! I don’t care if we have to dig it out with a spoon – it’s delicious!

I love ALL the ingredients in this bread. Seriously – if you don’t tell anyone that there is tomato soup in there – no one will ever know! The spices and the dates and walnuts also help make this bread amazingly delicious.

I used cans from canned vegetables for this – just wash them out and take off the paper labels – mine did have some glue on the side that wouldn’t come off. My can opener rolls the top of the cans over, but be careful if your can opener doesn’t do that – the top edge can be sharp. I buttered the cans, divided the batter into 4 cans, cleaned the wayward batter from around the edge of the can, and then smoothed the top of the bread a bit.

To check for doneness, I used a skewer so I could test down into the can to see if the bread was done.

They are just so cute! I really can’t believe it worked this well!

I couldn’t wait (and frankly, I didn’t know when to do it) until the bread was cool to unmold it. I would wait until it was cool next time – for obvious reasons – and maybe just a few taps on all sides would help release the bread. It was just the end bit in the bottom of the can that did NOT come out. I don’t care – if you’re giving these as gifts and it’s hard to get the bread out – tell them to eat it with a spoon. Who cares how you get it out! Just get it out – so you can eat it!

Slicing it across the can shape makes perfect little rounds of deliciousness. A bit of softened butter slathered on top and you’re good to go. They’re perfect for a cookie tray or breakfast or afternoon coffee or snacking or . . . you know I could go on and on!!!

I left the bread in the can for gift giving, used cellophane to wrap the can, and tied it with a festive ribbon. This is ok for giving it right away, but if it’ll be a few days before you can give it, I’d wrap it well with plastic wrap, freeze it, and take it out to wrap and decorate just before you give it. Or you could leave it well wrapped with plastic wrap and then wrap it with craft or wrapping paper.

I think anyone would love to get this retro and delicious treat! You can see how delicious it is – with the dates, nuts, spices, and yes – tomato soup! So good and so sneaky! Make several batches of this Tomato Soup Bread, and your gift or hostess giving is complete and memorable – remember, shhhh – don’t tell them the secret ingredient!

 

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Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cranberry Orange Muffins can be made for breakfast (or for your afternoon coffee) this morning after Thanksgiving IF – and it’s a big IF – IF you have any of Abby’s 3 Ingredient Cranberry Relish left. I know – the name doesn’t use the relish in it – Abby’s 3 Ingredient Cranberry Relish Muffins just didn’t sound too appetizing. Cranberry Orange Muffins sounds so much better. I used a muffin recipe from one of Grandma’s church cookbooks – the one that has recipes for several variations of muffins like Date-Nut Muffins or Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins. You use the basic muffin recipe, but add fruit, nuts, spices – whatever your heart desires. Well, my heart desired using some cranberry relish in these muffins. Actually, a lot of people not only have turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner, but in addition, might enjoy a turkey for their Christmas dinner (our family has ham) so you could also make these muffins the morning after Christmas, or make them now (with the leftover Thanksgiving dinner cranberry relish) and freeze them for using any time between now and New Years. If you have company for the weekend who are possibly heading out for a day of shopping on Black Friday. If you’re planning on making these, you might want to keep out a half cup (per batch of muffins) from your Thanksgiving dinner relish to use in these delicious muffins, perfect for guests (or just yourself) the morning after (or weekend after) Thanksgiving. They’re great for an afternoon snack, too!

Here is the recipe as I made them:

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Put into a mixing bowl:

2 cups flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix wet ingredients together:

1 cup milk

1 egg

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola)

1/2 cup leftover Abby’s 3 Ingredient Cranberry Relish (I haven’t tried it, but I think you could use 1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries, the zest of half of an orange, and an extra Tablespoon of sugar if you don’t have leftovers, or maybe 1/2 cup of whole berry relish from the can)

Stir together dry and wet ingredients until just moistened.

Fill 12 muffin cups 2/3 full (I just divided the batter into the 12) and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

This is a pretty simple recipe. Mix together all the dry ingredients, then mix together all the wet ingredients.

I put the leftover cranberry relish right in with the wet ingredients for ease of mixing.

Mix just until moistened.

After filling the 12 muffin cups, I sprinkled on a little bit of coarse sugar – just for a little “sparkle”.

Well, you could hardly see the “sparkle” on the top of the muffins. On to “Plan B”.

“Plan B” includes making an orange glaze to drizzle on top of the muffins. I used about 1 cup of powdered sugar and enough orange juice to make a glaze. In a pinch you can use a zip top bag as your piping bag. Put in the glaze, zip it shut, and snip off one corner to squeeze the glaze out of.

The coarse sugar would have been just fine, you just couldn’t see it very well. This orange glaze is a much tastier option. Both options are delicious!

I sure hope you have some of Abby’s 3 Ingredient Cranberry Relish or at least some of whatever cranberry sauce you have left over from your Thanksgiving dinner so you can make a batch of these muffins. They are a tasty way to use those leftovers, and get your overnight guests out the door to shop on Black Friday! Make a batch of these delicious Cranberry Orange Muffins, and use up a few of those leftovers – if you have any of that amazingly tasty relish left over.

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Bread

Can you really ever have too many recipes for Pumpkin Bread? I think not. My son doesn’t think so, anyway, since pumpkin bread of any kind is his absolute favorite! I’ve made Moist Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Raisin Bread on Plenty Sweet Life – who can say which one is the best? All 3 of them are absolutely delicious! The pumpkin bread that this recipe makes is pumpkin-y and spicy and very tasty. There’s nothing easier to make for your afternoon coffee or tea, than a quick bread. This time of year, there’s nothing we all like more than pumpkin. Well, pumpkin bread is perfect – on both counts. It’s great from the beginning of September until the end of November – make a batch, put it in the freezer, and you’re good to go whenever you know you have guests coming (or even unexpected guests).

Cream together:

1/3 cup butter

1 1/2 cup sugar

Add:

2 eggs

Sift together:

1 2/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine with butter mixture.

Mix in:

1/3 cup water

1 cup pumpkin puree

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The recipe card didn’t say if this was batter for one loaf or if it was enough for two. Since it said to bake for 1 hour and 20 miutes, I decided that must mean that it was only one loaf.

Oh wow does this smell good baking!

Ugh! Man, I hate when this happens!

I just took out the pieces and put them in where they belong.

See – you can’t even tell there’s a problem on the bottom! If the pieces end up coming off when you slice the bread, just act as if the delicious crumbs were meant to come off like that!

You can see the pieces that stuck in the pan (and I so gently placed back on the loaf) coming off here on the bottom of the slices. Cook’s treat – or they just go with the slice. Yum. This bread is fragrant and spicy and so delicious – especially when slathered with nice, soft butter! You’re going to want to enjoy this pumpkin bread with a nice cup of coffee or a nice cup of hot apple cider or even a nice cup of Hot Chocolate. Who cares how you decide to enjoy it? Just make this spicy Pumpkin Bread and enjoy the fall and all the spice it brings!

 

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Cheese-and-Herb Scones

This is a recipe for Cheese-and-Herb Scones off of some ripped out magazine pages I’ve had for years, from which I’ve made several recipes: Chocolate Chip Scones, Maple Pecan Scones, and Sesame-Orange Scones. My goal is to make all of these recipes at some point, so I’m on recipe #4 and counting. I love scones, don’t you? Seriously – there’s nothing better than warm scones, fresh out of the oven, slathered in melty butter, and jam. Oh my goodness. Maybe I should go work on recipe #5 right now! Ha! Ok, ok, I’ll leave that for another day. Let’s get on with this recipe. This one’s a little bit different from your regular type of scone. It’s a savory one – not one that you’d slather with butter and jam. Well, I’d still slather it with butter, but I think it’s more the type you’d serve with Grandma’s Tomato Soup and salad instead of a breakfast or tea time treat. These scones are a lot like the Cheese Muffins recipe that my mother-in-law gave me – you should try that recipe, too!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cheese-and-Herb Scones

In a large bowl combine:

4 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Cut in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs:

2/3 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter)

Stir in:

3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Add:

1 1/3 cup milk

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Mix lightly with fork until mixture clings together and forms a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently 5 or 6 times.

Divide dough in half.

With lightly floured rolling pin, roll one half of dough into a 7 inch round.

Cut into 4 wedges.

Repeat with remaining half of dough.

Place scones, 1 inch apart, on greased baking sheet.

Pierce tops with tines of fork.

Brush tops with water and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

The savory part of these scones – the herbs added instead of sugar!

This is what it looks like when the butter is cut in – it does look like coarse crumbs.

I mixed the milk and the mustard together before adding them to the mixture.

Mix it together to make a soft dough and onto the floured surface, ready to knead.

After kneading, the next step is to divide the dough in half and roll it into a 7 inch round.

I cut the scones into 6 pieces instead of 4, just because 4 seemed like they’d be a bit large. Do this with the other half of the dough, too.

Onto the baking sheet, prick the tops with a fork, brush with water, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese. I’m sure I used more than 1/4 of a cup for the topping. How bad can it be to add even more shredded cheese?

O.M.G. These smelled SOOOOO good baking!

These savory scones would be nice as an egg sandwich for breakfast, or they’d be great with Grandma’s Tomato Soup and a salad for lunch, or they’d be awesome plain slathered with the obligatory melty butter. The cheese and herbs make them absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and I’m not even kidding. You’d better make a batch of these today, because you and your family are gonna LOVE these Cheese-and-Herb Scones!

 

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Pumpkin Muffins and Make Your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice

When making Pumpkin Muffins, you also need Pumpkin Pie Spice. Why not have your cake and eat it too? Mainly, this is necessary here because I was totally out of pumpkin pie spice after last year’s fall baking season, and I wasn’t going to buy it last year for making delicious pumpkin pie spice tasting things this year. However, I didn’t realize I was out (or I should say I didn’t remember I was out) until halfway through making these delicious Pumpkin Muffins. Well, if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, I’m famous for being out of ingredients needed to make some of these recipes and because I don’t want to take the time to run out and get said ingredient when in the middle of a recipe, I’ll just try and use something else or make my own. Hence, the recipe for making your own Pumpkin Pie Spice. It’s fall, and with the popularity of pumpkin pie spice EVERYTHING, I go through a LOT of it. Instead of running out, I’d like to be able to make my own and always be able to have it on hand. I mean, who wouldn’t? We can’t have people running out of pumpkin pie spice – what would we do? The world just might collapse. Seriously. Once I started to make these muffins, I realized that it was a HEALTHY muffin recipe. Now, I found this recipe in my mom’s recipe box, and I have absolutely no idea why she would have had a HEALTHY muffin recipe. She’s not known for making healthy recipes – she has the family sweet tooth! I have made a couple of other healthy pumpkin recipes on the blog, 2 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Muffins and Healthy Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins, but I’m always willing to try one more.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Mix together:

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

You can always tweak these amounts depending on what you like – if you like it more cinnamon-y, add more cinnamon, etc.

You can change the ratio – if you need more spice, you just make a bigger batch. You might want to make a HUGE batch to last you all the way through pumpkin pie spice season.

Use what you need and store the rest in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Muffins

Mix and set aside:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup white flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Whisk together:

3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used non-fat yogurt)

3 large eggs

1 cup turbinado sugar

Mix until just moistened.

Put batter into muffin tins (recipe says 12 jumbo muffins, but I made regular sized muffins).

Sprinkle tops with:

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Cool in pans 5 minutes.

Mix all the dry ingredients together first.

Next, mix the wet ingredients.

Now mix them together.

I made regular sized muffins instead of jumbo ones.

The aroma of these babies baking – OMG!

These muffins are so good AND good for you – you’re gonna love ’em! Your family will love ’em, too! You’re friends will also love ’em! Make a batch to keep in your freezer – bring them out when you need a quick breakfast or an afternoon snack – whatever you need them for, they’ll be ready to go. This is the first pumpkin pie spice recipe of the season – try these delicious and healthy Pumpkin Muffins!

 

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Easter Braid

This recipe for Easter Braid comes from the same cookbook that has the Hopping Bunny Rolls recipe in it. It was the Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Cookbook copyright 1970 that I got for my 12th birthday, and I’ve been using the holiday recipes in that book ever since. I make the Hopping Bunny Rolls every year – it’s now a family tradition – but I have never tried this Easter Braid. Mostly because I always make the Hopping Bunny Rolls, and we don’t need more sweet bread. Well, maybe just the two kinds. There may be a new tradition in my future. Oops – I forgot the third kind of sweet bread – Hot Crossed Buns. The more the merrier, I guess. I’m so glad I tried this bread. It kind of tastes like a Christmas bread, only strangely more like a spring time sweet bread. It must be the lemon rind that’s put in it. Whatever. I’m not going to over-analyze it, I’m just going to enjoy it.

This is an all day recipe – it takes some time, but it’s totally worth it!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easter Braid

Soften in 1/4 cup warm water:

1 package active dry yeast

Combine:

1 cup milk, scalded

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup softened butter, margarine, or shortening (I used butter)

Cool to lukewarm.

Stir in:

about 2 cups of flour

Add:

2 eggs

Mix well.

Stir in:

softened yeast

Add:

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon mace (opt.-  I don’t use mace for anything, so I don’t keep that in my cupboard – I googled it and found out that allspice can be substituted, so I used that)

1 cup raisins

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour (enough to make a soft dough)

Let rest 10 minutes.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.

Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch down; let rise until almost double (about 1 hour).

Divide and round dough into 2 balls, one for each loaf.

Let rest, covered, 10 minutes.

For each loaf:

Divide one ball in fourths

Shape 3 parts into strands 12 inches long, tapering ends.

Line up strands 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheet.

Braid loosely without stretching dough, beginning in the middle and working toward either end.

Seal ends well.

Divide remaining dough into thirds.

Shape into strands 8-9 inches long, tapering ends.

Braid loosely and place on top of large braid, tucking ends of small braid into large one.

Cover and let rise until double.

Bake loaves at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

While warm, spread with Sugar Glaze.

Makes 2 loaves.

Sugar Glaze:

Mix until well blended:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup hot water

1 teaspoon butter or margarine (I used butter)

Drizzle over warm Easter Braid.

When the dough is mixed up, put it into the lightly greased bowl and flip it over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise.

Let rise until double – about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down and let rise another 1 hour.

Divide the dough into two balls, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.

Cut each ball into 4 even parts. Roll 3 of the parts into logs about 12 inches long and braid together loosely. tucking under the ends. Cut the remaining part into 3 parts, roll those 3 parts into logs about 9 inches long, braid those loosely, and put on top of the larger braid, tucking in the ends. Cover and let rise until double.

After the loaves are baked, drizzle on the Sugar Glaze. What a perfect place for an action shot!

I don’t know – is that enough glaze? What do you think? I think it’s a good thing this recipe makes 2 loaves. That’s what I think.

I really don’t know why I’ve never tried this recipe before. It’s weird – for all the years I’ve had this cookbook. I’m just glad I decided to try this one now. I WILL be making this one again. It’s amazingly delicious and I can’t wait to try it as a sandwich with our Easter ham. This is the year –  try this Easter Braid and “wow” your family and friends!

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