Baked goods make great gifts.
Case in point, a girlfriend of mine made kouign-amann this weekend. And she very generously shared some with us and other friends.
(Thank you, Amy! It was amazing!)
Have you had kouign-amann? One of those incredible flaky buns? They are buttery, carmelized greatness - part croissant and part puff pastry.
Find one, and eat it. Or try to make it yourself! Apparently they aren't too hard, but do take some serious dedication in time. My friend spent about 36 hours in total (started Thursday and finished Saturday) making her terrific version.
Lemon Blueberry Bread
I'm a fan of quick breads, myself. One minute Mr. McC and I were on the couch catching up on House of Cards. The next, I decided to whip up some lemon blueberry loaves as gifts for colleagues the next day. Easy peasy.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Remove 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Place the blueberries in a separate bowl and toss the berries with the 1 tablespoon flour. This will help prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the pan during baking.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.
(A reminder I use a gluten free flour, so it looks a bit like wheat dough for that reason.)
Gently fold in the blueberries.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 60 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
To make the glaze, in a small microwaveable bowl, stir the sugar with the lemon juice. Place in the microwave for about 20 seconds or just until sugar has dissolved.
When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the top of the hot loaf with a toothpick and then brush with the hot lemon glaze. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
This bread is best served on the day it is made, but it can be stored several days or frozen. Makes 1 loaf.
Quick bread goodness. These smelled so wonderful coming from the oven.
Sadly, I have no idea how they taste because they are gifts:) I'll have to get a full report from the gals at work.
To make this recipe for one loaf into mini loaves, I used some helpful advice from The Kitchn. They suggest lowering the recommended recipe oven temperature by 25 degrees. Start checking the mini loaves after 25 minutes with a toothpick for doneness, and cook in five minute intervals until finished. Mine took about 35 minutes total to cook through.
Here's to more baked goods as gifts in the world!