Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Holiday Bread Recipes

Next Blog - Sunday, Dec. 18

Olive-Garlic Bread & Gallery

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Below, Susie in the cold, rain and mud on the beach in Folkestone, Kent, UK, where a fellow fossil-enthusiast (met online) showed her where to find ammonites - after pussy-footing her way over ground strewn with boulders. (Like all enthusiasts, sometimes you have to be a little nuts.)

Fossiling in Folkestone
Find of the Day (Ammonite)

In the dire days of Winter 2021, Susie & I ventured out to a Gem & Mineral Show in Sanford (they were taking everyone's temperature at the door). And we shared the purchase of an ammonite that had been split down the middle and polished (never dreaming Susie would ever have the chance to find one in the wild). Alas, the light for my photo wasn't right to highlight the shining red streaks in the ammonite, but it truly is a spectacular shell. Below, my half of what we bought that day.



While Susie was in Europe, I broke my rule about not buying any more Recipe magazines. (I was tempted, as I so often am, by a magazine displayed at the checkout counter at Publix.) Sigh.

I made the Sausage Pesto Ring first, which is more of an entree than a side dish. It's not only tasty but it freezes well. I will get several meals out of it over the next few weeks. And then I did the Cranberry Buttermilk Bread. I ate two slices without stopping and quickly froze the rest, to be thawed as a new addition to our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. (Yes, it was that good.) So here they are. Enjoy!



 PREPARE AHEAD: Melt butter, rinse cranberries ahead of time & give them time to dry. [If using frozen cranberries, measure while still frozen. Thaw slightly & chop while still icy. Fold into batter as directed.] If you cannot find jars of tangerine or orange zest in the spice section of your store, you will need to grate your own before starting this recipe. (I have treasured jars of dried orange & lemon zest which I bought years ago and which still do their job.)

2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup sugar
2½ tspn baking powder
¼ tspn baking soda
¼ tspn salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
6 TBspn butter, melted
1¼ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup roasted, salted pepitas (or pistachios)*
2 tspn tangerine or orange zest**
2 TBspn sugar

*I used pepita nuts & they added the perfect touch.

1.  Preheat oven to 375°. Grease bottom and ½" up sides of an 8x4-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl stir together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk & melted butter. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in cranberries, ½ cup of the pepitas & the zest.

3.   Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Coarsely chop remaining ¼ cup pepitas. In a small bowl combine chopped pepitas and 2 TBspn sugar. Sprinkle evenly over batter.

4.  Bake about 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (If necessary, to prevent overbrowning, cover loosely with foil the last 5-10 minutes.) Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan & cool completely.

Grace note:  Yes, the bread froze well. I let it thaw overnight in the fridge, then on the counter in the kitchen for several hours before our Thanksgiving feast.




I have made a number of pull-apart breads over the years, but this one is definitely easier as you do not have to slice the biscuits into smaller pieces. Repeating what I said at the top, this can be an entree or a party snack. And like so many things made with Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits, it is really tasty.

5 TBspn butter, melted
2 16.3 oz pkg. refrigerated biscuits
    (16 biscuits total)
1/3 cup purchased basil pesto (or homemade)
1/3 cup cooked & crumbled bulk Italian sausage*
1¼ cups shredded Italian cheese blend (5 oz.)**
Fresh snipped basil or parsley
*I always used Jimmy Dean as it is pure.
**Because of my allergy to preservatives, I shred my own cheddar & add organic grated parmesan to the mix.
1.  Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 10-inch fluted tube pan (Bundt) with 3 oz. of butter. (*See Warning below.)
2.  Top each biscuit with 1 tsp pesto, 1 tsp sausage & 1 TBspn cheese. Stack four biscuits, press down gently. Turn stack on its side & place in pan. Repeat (4 at a time) to create a ring. Drizzle with remaining 2 TBspn melted butter.
3.  Bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle bread with remaining ¼ cup of cheese. Cover with foil & bake about 5 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean, top is golden brown, and cheese is melted. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Sprinkle with fresh basil or parsley. Serve warm. 

*WARNING. I found using butter to grease the pan was the LEAST acceptable of the various means I've tried for other pull-apart bread recipes. Strongly advise a heavy coating of cooking spray or lathering on Crisco. Fortunately, the ring still tastes good, even if comes out of the pan in chunks. But for company . . . ixnay on greasing with butter.

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Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

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