O.M.G. Holiday Breads & Spreads Plus Delicious Recipes

holiday breads

Summer is beginning to leave us and the lovely days of autumn are moving in.  William Cullen Bryant described Autumn as “the year’s last loveliest smile.”  It beckons us all to stop and slow down a little, to watch the changing colors and enjoy the falling leaves.  It prepares us for quieter, shorter days and the coming of winter. It truly is my favorite time of the year.  Both outside and inside, I love an autumn day.  During this change of season, my cooking routine is changing too.  I love autumn foods-soups, stews, roasted vegetables and the smell of freshly baked bread.  Of course this time of the year we also begin to think about the upcoming holidays, too.  So for our next couple of times we share together, let’s talk about some recipes you can use to entertain with, or give as gifts during the holidays.  These delightful little holiday breads are three of my favorites that I hope you will enjoy making, eating and giving!

zucchini breadZucchini Bread with Maple Nut Spread

This is not your average zucchini bread.  It is a light and fluffy loaf that slices beautifully and is simply delicious.  The maple nut spread is the perfect accompaniment.

2 c sugar

1 c canola oil

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 c flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp lemon peel

1 ½  tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp baking powder

2 c shredded zucchini (squeezed dry)

¾ c chopped walnuts (or any nut you like)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 8×4 loaf pans. Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients and beat into sugar mixture.  Fold in zucchini and nuts. Divide equally among two prepared pans and bake 60-65 minutes.  Cool slightly before removing from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.  These loaves freeze beautifully!

*A lovely variation to this bread is to add dried cranberries and Macadamia nuts, for and even fancier loaf.

Maple Nut Spread

8 oz. cream cheese –softened

1/3 c finely chopped walnuts

2 T maple syrup

Combine well and store in glass jar in the refrigerator.

cranberry breadCranberry Fig Pistachio Bread with Cranberry Butter

A beautiful and festive loaf, that when sliced has all the colors of Christmas!  Pair this loaf with a little tub of the cranberry butter, a nice tea and you have the perfect hostess gift!  Tie them all in a cellophane gift bag and tie them up with a pretty ribbon and you will always be invited back.

2 c flour

1 c sugar

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tsp orange peel

2 eggs

½ c milk

½ c butter-melted and cooled slightly

¾ c chopped cranberries fresh or dried

¾ c chopped pistachios

½ c chopped dry figs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8x4x2 inch loaf pan.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Lightly stir in orange peel.  Combine eggs, milk and melted butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries, pistachios and figs.  Spread in prepared loaf pan and bake 65-70 minutes.  Cool slightly and remove from pan.  Allow to cool completely on wire rack.  Wrap and store in refrigerator.  This bread is best when allowed to sit in refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This loaf freezes beautifully.

Cranberry Butter

1/3 c dried cranberries-finely chopped

2 tsp orange peel

1/8 tsp salt

¼ c honey

1 c butter

Chopped walnuts to taste

Combine all ingredients and mash well with a fork.

lemon thyme breadLemon Thyme Bread with Lemon Butter

This bread is almost rich enough to be called cake, and actually resembles a pound cake in its texture.  It has a light and lemony flavor with just a hint of thyme.  The lemon butter spread elevates that luscious lemon flavor for an exquisite and elegant offering.  It is great with tea or coffee and is rich enough to pass as a dessert.

¾ c milk

1 T finely minced thyme

½ c butter-softened

1 c sugar

2 eggs

2 c flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 T lemon juice

1 T grated lemon rind


½ c powdered sugar

1 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Gently heat milk with thyme and let stand for 5 minutes to steep.  Cool completely. Cream butter and sugar well and add eggs one at a time.  Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture, alternating with milk mixture. Gently fold in lemon juice and lemon rind. Pour into prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and remove to wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients and mix well. Drizzle over loaf.

Luscious Lemon Butter

½ c butter-softened

¼ c powdered sugar

3 T lemon curd

3 tsp lemon zest

Juice from ½ lemon

Combine well and store in refrigerator.

I hope you enjoy these breads during the holidays.  Come back next time when we will be whipping up some fun holiday appetizers and talk about putting together a lovely cheese board for entertaining.

Copyright 2017 Christy Johnson all rights reserved

Christy Johnson, is a native Texan, transplanted to a small rural town in south central Nebraska. Married and a mother of two wonderful daughters, her motto for life is “Bloom Where You Are Planted” She loves cooking, gardening, reading and rescuing animals in need. Their farm family currently includes 1 dog, ten cats, two Quaker parrots and 10 hens. And a happy family it is!



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