The Shopper Kitchen: A Simple Treat for Thanksgiving Month

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By Angela McRae, Special to The Shopper

A few weeks ago, my Sunday School class prepared a meal for a member who was recuperating from surgery, and it was my happy task to make the sweet potato casserole. I love the people the casserole was going to, and I also loved the fact that I would get to sample a bit of the casserole ingredients beforehand, as of course you can’t just send off a casserole without making sure the thing’s up to par.

Have you noticed how sweet potatoes have been having their fifteen minutes of fame? I first observed this trend when sweet potato fries began popping up in commercials for fast-food restaurants. This summer, I was in South Carolina one weekend and was following up on a friend’s recommendation for a great barbecue place to check out. I got the brisket as advised, and it was delicious, but my goodness, who knew it came with sweet potato fries dripping in honey and powdered sugar? They were heavenly! I’m just glad this place is several hours away, or I’m afraid those decadent sweet potato fries would be a regular treat for me.

And treats are on my mind this month. Like many people, I always like to have a little something sweet around the house, but in November, I’m busy thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas treats. My sister and I have our family Thanksgiving menu down to a science now, and I am thinking of trying to add something new this year, like a caramel tart, perhaps. Then, there’s the list of which Christmas cookies I want to start baking and popping in the freezer for gift giving.

So the November treat for my everyday enjoyment needs to be something simple, and nothing is easier than a quick bread, one that doesn’t require yeast—or lots of preparation time. This quick bread is my variation on one I found in Food Network magazine years ago. It’s made with sweet potatoes and pecans and is chock full of ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. It’s a spice-filled treat perfect with a cup of hot coffee or tea, and its simplicity is something I’m thankful for.

Sweet Potato-Pecan Bread
1 cup pureed sweet potatoes (2-3 medium)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, oil, brown sugar, water, eggs and vanilla. Mix well using a wire whisk. In another medium bowl, add all the dry ingredients and stir. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, greased or lined with parchment paper, and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 1 hour before removing loaf from pan.

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