Baking

Summer sweets for our winter pleasure

left to right: two triangular scones, three slices of bread, five blueberry muffins on a clear plate with painted blue flowers
Rhubarb Pecan Scones, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread and Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins – July 2021

The beauty and the bane of summer bounty are the kitchen hours required to transform a morning’s abundance into delicious treats.  On blue sky, temperature-perfect days just made for hours of pleasure on my screened porch knitting the 4-Day Fireworks KAL sweater, I joined the women of ages past toiling in summer kitchens.  Admittedly, my experience was far more pleasant as my work time was spent in air conditioned comfort with good tunes coming from surround sound.  Some of the tasty delights will be eaten immediately and some will be stashed in our small deep freeze to be enjoyed on frigid winter days as a talisman against the cold and a sunny reminder that spring will come, even in the North Country.

My Sunday & Monday garden-to-kitchen yield:

  • Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins – two dozen regular-sized and 24 minis using  a recipe shared by Betty D. from Older Mommy Still Yummy
  • 16 Rhubarb Pecan Scones – an annual favorite from Rhubarb Renaissance by Kim Ode 
  • Two loaves of Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread – courtesy of Mary Ann H. and the St. Ann’s Parish Cookbook, Olmitz, Kansas; and
  • Tsatsiki – The Enchanted Broccoli Forest variety just because we have an abundance of cucumbers and it goes so well with toasted pita bread and Greek seasoned chicken-kabobs.

Bon appétit!

Baking

Altar Bread

There are those special foods that simply speak to tradition, to holiday, to holyday. 

four round loaves of bread resting on baking parchment

There is absolutely no reason that Mom’s mouth-watering Pecan Crisps could not be baked year round but we only have them at Christmas and only Mom takes on that loved-filled task to bake a double batch to be stored in the yellow cookie jar.  The same is true when making Altar Bread using a recipe from Father Fred Devett, TOR (Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular.)  Years ago, while in library school, baking altar bread was a biweekly task for Sunday Mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center shared between my friend Hedy and me.  While my grad school days are a reminiscent blur of classes, daily flavors of Babcock ice cream, and sunny afternoons on Memorial Union Terrace sitting on the iconic Sunburst chairs, this recipe holds a deep celebration of Spring.

Again, a simple recipe that could certainly be made anytime but now I only bake it for Maudy / Holy Thursday.  Not quite truly unleavened as required for Pesach / Passover, while this recipe does not include yeast thus eliminating the time required for it to rise but it does include baking powder to give a little volume and lighten the texture.  The blend of unbleached and whole wheat flour, baking powder, just a pinch of salt, milk, and honey combine for a sweet, dense communion bite. 

Happy Spring!