Sweet strawberry-filled success

Strawberry oatmeal loaf

When I’m not in the mood to tackle regular bread recipes, I opt for a quick bread. I like quick breads because there’s no rising process and I can usually find a recipe that uses ingredients I have on hand.

One of my favorite quick bread recipes is this Oatmeal-strawberry bread. The bread is sweet and moist and makes a nice treat or breakfast with a cup of coffee; not to mention it smells delicious while it’s baking. It would also make a great snack for kids.

I often have strawberries around and there are few recipes that use strawberries correctly — most breads and muffins that incorporate them end up with large soggy spots where the berries are. For this recipe, take the time to slice the strawberries so they’re thin. If you leave them in chunks, the bread will get too soggy in spots or the strawberries will sink to the bottom of the loaf. I know this from experience. Also make sure to grease the bottom of the pan well, or the bottom of the loaf will break off when the loaf is being taken out of the pan. Check the bread with a toothpick about 10 minutes before it should be done baking. If you’re at high altitude, use 1/2 teaspoon baking powder instead of a full teaspoon or it won’t come out correctly. It may need to bake longer, too.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
10 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 7-inch-by-3-inch loaf pan.

Stir together the flour, 3/4 cups rolled oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and eggs; stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Fold in strawberries. Pour into the prepared loaf pan, and sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rolled oats.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool the strawberry bread in the pan for 5 minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack.

Dessert for breakfast?

Sometimes I crave something sweet for breakfast; something other than jam on toast or orange juice or a muffin. When I have berries in the fridge and a bit of time to cook, I’ll whip up a clafouti (pronounced klä-fü-ˈtē). “The Joy of Cooking” has a Cherry Clafouti, described as a simple French country dessert, in its “pies and pastries” chapter. It’s like a baked custard. But, once in a while, it can also serve as a treat for breakfast.

I like to use fresh fruit in this recipe. I’ve made the clafouti with both cherries and blueberries, but usually use blueberries because I don’t have a cherry pitter. I find the process of cutting and pitting the cherries makes the process take much longer than I want it to.

It’s nice to have options for breakfast. Give it a shot.

4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Cognac or rum
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 pound of sweet cherries or blueberries (frozen fruit, thawed and patted dry, or canned fruit, drained and dried, can be used)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a 10-inch, deep-dish pie pan. Beat the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until frothy, about two minutes.

Add the milk, Cognac and vanilla and beat the mixture until smooth.

Stir in the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit into the bottom of the pan.

Pour the batter over the fruit and place the pie pan on a baking sheet. Bake the clafouti for 10
minutes. Reduce the over temperature to 350 F and bake until the top has puffed (it will sink on cooling) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes before serving.