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A Handmade Season of Giving - Sweet Bread Loaves

Michelle Burke

After deciding last year to give as many handmade gifts as possible this Christmas, I started looking for ideas right away - I was happily surprised at how many great ideas I was able to find. I also decided I would share my handmade gift ideas in this, A Handmade Season of Giving blog series so that you may also be inspired to give handmade gifts! Today's handmade gift idea isn't a sewn item, but a baked item - sweet bread loaves!

I made two different recipes of sweet breads to give away - one that I have made for years and love and the other is a new recipe to me. Glazed Lemon Bread has been one of my favorite sweet breads to make (and eat) for years. It is always very well received as a gift too! Pumpkin-Pecan Bread is a new recipe to me, but one that I think is very good. I have included both recipes at the end of this post!

I made both loaves in small (3" x 5") loaf pans - a good size for gifts. The Glazed Lemon Bread recipe makes 3 small loaves and the Pumpkin-Pecan Bread makes 6 small loaves.

I baked some of the loaves in pans that are decorated for gift giving. These pans can be expensive unless you buy them at an after-Christmas sale where I have found them last year for between 50 cents and one dollar. I also baked some loaves in small loaf pans that I have and then removed the loaves from the pans once they had cooled. Either way, I used clear cellophane "treat" bags to wrap the loaves. 

I put together gift baskets (or really boxes) that included a loaf of each type of sweet bread, a couple small jars of homemade jam, and one of my handmade embellished dishtowels. These were fun gifts to give to my friends (yes, my friends already received these gifts) and they were well received! These breads would also be great to make for holiday guests to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning or as a snack later in the day. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed making most of the gifts that I am giving this year! I was afraid it might be more stressful making gifts rather than buying them, but I found it was actually more relaxing - I was able to be creative and do things that I love doing. I also wasn't part of the holiday buying rat-race that adds much more stress to the holidays than necessary! I am looking forward to making more gifts to give for Christmas next year!

I hope you have a great holiday season! 

Glazed Lemon Bread

This bread has a wonderful lemony flavor and the glaze makes it very moist.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup salad oil (I use canola oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar

In a large bowl, stir together flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg, then beat in milk, oil and lemon peel. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and stir until just blended. Pour batter into a greased and floured 5"x9" loaf pan (or three 3"x5" loaf pans). Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes for large loaf pan or 30-35 minutes for the small loaf pans, until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

While bread bakes, make the Lemon Glaze:  In a small pan combine the lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

When bread is finished baking, use a long wooden skewer to poke numerous holes all the way to the bottom of loaf/loaves. Drizzle Lemon Glaze over the top of the loaf/loaves so that it slowly soaks into bread. Let bread cool in pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack and let cool completely. 

Note: I have had this recipe for so long and transferred it from its original form onto the computer many years ago, so I regret to say that I do not know where this recipe originated from - I wish I did!

Pumpkin-Pecan Bread

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Beat first 11 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 3 minutes or until blended. Add 2/3 cup water, beating until blended. Stir in pecans. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9"x5" loaf pans (or six 3"x5" loaf pans). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes for large loaf pans or 1 hour for small loaf pans or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack. Note: Bread may be frozen up to 3 months.

This recipe is from "Southern Living Our Readers Top-Rated Recipes"

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