IMAGINE COFFEE tomorrow morning accompanied by the steamy fragrance of a home-baked muffin, just begging for butter.
There's a sub-genus of the bread world that is faster than a speeding bullet from oven to tummy and it doesnT come in a box. Welcome quick breads to your breakfast repertoire.
Short preparation and baking time, usually under 30 minutes, means you can mix your ingredients in five minutes and spend the rest of the time taking a shower, getting dressed or attending to whatever morning duties are peculiar to your household. The warm scent of breakfast bread is also an effective family alarm clock.
Quick breads take the form of muffins, biscuits and breads that rely on the baking powder for their leavening. The rise and fall of the yeast empire takes more time than most of us have in the morning and thus is relegated to less active days.
Many quick breads are close cousins by way of batter. Here are basic ingredients and mixing methods that lend themselves to whatever additions you and your family prefer, including nuts, fruits and spices. Health fans can incorporate whole grains and seeds with the bonus of additive-free baking.
To make your quick breads even quicker, it's a good idea to set out utensils, recipe and nonrefrigerated ingredients the night before. The dry ingredients can be mixed together the night before, too.
Leftover quick breads should be stored well wrapped in plastic or foil. Most can be reheated successfully at 375 degrees for 10 minutes with a dab of butter on the surface if you fear they might dry out on the second go-round.
With commercially prepared muffins going at $1 for six and coffee cakes verging on $2, quick breads will prove more economical. They also go well in lunch boxes, as after-school snacks and for midnight forays in the kitchen. QUICK DROP BISCUITS (Makes about 12) 2 cups all-purpose flour 1tablespoon double acting baking powder 1teaspoon salt 1/4 cup vegetable shortening 1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Cut in shortening with the flat side of a spoon until mixture is in coarse crumbs. Add milk and stir until well mixed. Drop by the tablespoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
Additions: Sprinkle unbaked biscuits with one or more of the following: Brown sugar, cinnamon and sugar, coconut, chopped nuts, drained crushed pineapple, or a small amount of jelly or honey.
Or while mixing dough: 4 slices cooked crumbled bacon, 3 tablespoons deviled ham, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or chives, 1/3 cup grated cheese. QUICK MUFFINS (Makes 12) 2 cups all-purpose flour 2tablespoons sugar 1tablespoon double acting baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 cup milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare twelve 2 1/2 inch muffin cups with paper liners. Combine first four ingredients in large bowl. In smaller bowl beat egg with milk and oil, pour all at once into dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Spoon into prepared cups and bake 20 to 25 minutes.
Variations: Blueberry or cranberry: increase sugar to 1/2 cup, add 3/4 cup fresh or frozen berries with egg mixture.
Apple: Increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with flour and 1 medium apple shredded, with egg mixture.
Raisin or date nut: Add 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup raisins or dates with egg mixture.
Carrot: Increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Add medium carrot, grated, and 1 tablespoon orange peel with egg mixture.
"Health Additions": Add one or more of the following: 2 tablespoons powdered milk to replace 2 tablespoons flour, 2 teaspoons brewers yeast, 2 tablespoons wheat germ, or substitute 1 1/2 cups whole-grain flour for 2 cups regular flour. GOLDEN CORN BREAD 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup yellow corn meal 3 tablespoons sugar 1tablespoon double acting baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 egg 2/3 cup milk 1/3 cup salad oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan or prepare twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper liners. Combine first five ingredients in medium bowl with fork, In smaller bowl, beat together egg, milk and oil, add all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Bake 25 minutes, serve immediately. QUICK SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons double acting baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup sour cream 2 eggs Streusel mixture (below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-9-inch pan. Combine first five ingredients in medium bowl. In smaller bowl, beat eggs and sour cream well, add to flour misture and beat until smooth. Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle with the following: 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup chopped nuts 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
Bake for 20 minutes and serve warm.