This recipe is great to make over the holidays, not only because it tastes fantastic (with maple, walnuts, and cranberry, how can you go wrong?), but because of its versatility and the multiple roles that it can play:
- If you don't want to deal with the complication and time involved for a dinner roll recipe, yet you don't want to go the store-bought route, this is a great option for Thanksgiving dinner. The bread takes mere minutes to mix together and its sweetness will be a complement to all of the savory dishes on the table. You can keep it in loaf form, or make 12 individual muffins, perfect for a buffet-style feast.
- This recipe can be made up to two weeks ahead of time and frozen, and then defrosted at room temperature. Make a triple-batch and store extra loaves for future dinners, brunches, or to give as homemade gifts. Mini-loaves are great gifts as well (and much more economical!).
- Use one of those extra loaves to make a sweet and savory cornbread stuffing. Cut the loaf into 3/4 inch cubes and let the bread dry out first. Use it as a base for your favorite stuffing recipe. Check back at Peanut Butter and Julie over the next few weeks, and I'll post a few of my favorites.
- Toast leftovers for breakfast or for serving with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (November 3rd post). Spread the slices with some good butter or maple cream.
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus more halves for topping
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and spray a 9X5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Whisk the flours, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, maple syrup, eggs, and extract together in a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in the walnuts and cranberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and, if desired, arrange 8 to 10 walnut halves down the center. Bake until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean--about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Tent the loaf with foil if the top browns too quickly. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes and then turn out onto the rack and let cool completely. Yum!