- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Chances are there have never been more reasons to bake up a loaf of quick bread for others. Whether you have new neighbors, a newcomer to the office, an office potluck, a fundraising bake sale, a friend who is recovering from an illness or surgery, or a family member coming back to town, there is always a good rationale for baking.

And this coffeecake is a dandy. It is so similar to that from-scratch sour cream loaf we used to bake when I was growing up. And yet it’s simpler, based on a cinnamon swirl muffin mix from the supermarket.

Bake the loaf with reduced-fat sour cream or splurge and use the regular. You’ll enjoy this loaf warm with a cup of coffee with friends, or the lucky recipient will savor it at breakfast, for dessert, most any occasion this fall.

Five time-shaving ways to say you care

Whether you have a new neighbor, a new co-worker or a friend who needs a little TLC, here are quick and simple ways to show you care with a gift of food:

• Bake a loaf of your favorite quick bread, such as the sour cream cinnamon loaf that follows, wrap it in parchment paper and tie with raffia. Attach a personal note.

• Cut up fresh fruit salad, place in an attractive bowl and cover with plastic wrap. It’s one step better than a fruit basket.

• Roast a chicken (or pick one up from the deli) and deliver it with a loaf of good sliced bread and a jar of nice mustard. It’s homey and helpful.

• When you’re making your favorite vegetable soup or chili this season, make extra and package it in plastic quart containers. Label as to the contents and servings, then store in the freezer until you need to bring dinner to someone special.

• Cook up your favorite pasta sauce, then ladle into 1-quart plastic containers. Label and either freeze or refrigerate. Deliver along with a pound of your favorite pasta.

Sour cream cinnamon loaf

The preparation time is 10 minutes, and the baking time is 43 to 47 minutes.

Vegetable oil cooking spray for misting the loaf pan

Flour for dusting the loaf pan

1 19.1-ounce package cinnamon swirl muffin mix

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 large egg

1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Lightly mist a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil cooking spray, then dust it with flour. Shake out excess flour. Set loaf pan aside.

Set aside packets of cinnamon swirl and of topping mix from muffin mix. Place muffin mix, sour cream, egg and 3 tablespoons water in a large mixing bowl.

Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 20 seconds. Stop machine and scrape down side of bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 1 minute longer, scraping side down again, if necessary. The batter should be well combined and thick. Pour half to two-thirds of the batter into prepared loaf pan.

Knead packet of cinnamon swirl with your fingers a few times, then open it and squeeze contents evenly over batter. With a rubber spatula, spread remaining batter over top. Place pecans, if using, in a small bowl and stir in topping mix. Sprinkle topping over loaf.

Bake loaf on center rack of preheated 350-degree oven until it springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 43 to 47 minutes.

Remove loaf pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Run a long, sharp knife around edges of the loaf and serve warm slices right from the pan, if you wish. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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