The weather is finally getting cooler in the evenings and, hopefully, foretells the coming of an Autumn season with some chances of having a reason to heat up the oven and begin some holiday baking. My first baking of that season is usually fruit breads. My favorite came about when I had leftover yams and I try never to let a leftover go to waste. My husband insists that everything we eat has roots way back to the first meal I fixed for him. I like these substantial loaves full of everything but the kitchen sink that stand up to a slather of butter, toasting, or just slicing and eating straight from the oven. There is also a lot of latitude for creativity and anyone who knows me, knows that I always find a twist in everything from my sewing to my baking. My husband’s only complaint in life is that I can never exactly replicate a favorite meal or baked good as I tend to stray off the printed pages of the cookbook . . . when I use one!
Besides the yam bread, I’ve included some ideas for making several other types. And, remember, as with ‘icing on the cake’, it never hurts to put a lemon glaze to soak into a tasty loaf of sweet bread when it comes out of the oven.
2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups cooked yams
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cups coarsely chopped nuts
2/3 cup raisins (optional)
Whip up the yams until fairly smooth.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of two loaf pans, 9x5x3 inches.
Mix shortening and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs, yams, and water. Blend in flour, baking soda, salt, baking power, cinnamon, and clovers. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into pans. (If batter seems too dry, you can always add bits of juice or water but go slowly as you don’t want it runny.)
Bake about an hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove and cool completely before slicing.
Substitute yams for 2 cups of canned pumpkin.
Substitute 3 cups shredded zucchini. Blend in 2 teaspoons vanilla with the clovers. Decrease baking time to under 60 minutes
Substitute 3 very ripe, smashed (and it ain’t easy getting them drunk!) bananas
Cranberry Walnut Bread
One cup roughly chopped fresh or frozen cranberries and ½ cup toasted, chopped walnuts.