Read an Excerpt
Cranberry and Sage Cornbread
Serves 6 to 8
Freshly baked cornbread is so easy to prepare that there seems to be no real reason for the packaged stuff to exist. And, especially if you are making a cornbread stuffing for a holiday turkey, the boxed mix is too sweet. This sweet-and-savory quick bread works on its own to fill out a menu, or as the basis of a great dressing to fill your bird. If you like your cornbread on the sweet side, use the sugar, but use unsweetened cornbread for a stuffing.
1Â¼ cups yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
Â¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Â½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
Â½ cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°ree;F.
2. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, if using, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and make a well in the center.
3. Place the butter in an 8-inch square baking dish and place in the oven to melt the butter and heat the dish, about 3 minutes.
4. Whisk together the milk and egg in a small bowl. Whisk the melted butter from the baking dish into the milk mixture. Pour into the well in the dry ingredients and stir just until blended; a few lumps may remain. Do not overmix. Fold in the cranberries and sage. Spread evenly in the hot baking dish and return to the oven.
5. Bake untilgolden brown and the top of the bread springs back when pressed in the center, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into squares to serve hot or warm.
Variation Cranberry and Sage Cornbread for Stuffing: Double the ingredients, leave out the sugar, and bake in a 15 x 10-inch baking dish for about 25 minutes.
Grandma Edith's Persimmon Cookies
Makes about 2Â½ dozen
You may have heard it from friends: "I wish that I had asked Grandma for her recipe!" Happily, I have no such remorse, and I asked both of my grandmothers (and great-aunts, too) for their best recipes. Growing up in California, we had many neighbors with big persimmon trees, and there was no shortage of recipes that used the gorgeous fruit. To this day, I can't wait until persimmons hit the market in October so I can make a batch of these soft, spicy cookies.
2 very soft, ripe Hachiya persimmons
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Â½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Â½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Â½ teaspoon ground cloves
Â¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1. Position racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°ree;F. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets, or line them with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
2. Coarsely chop the fruit, discarding the calyxes and any seeds. Puree the persimmons in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender. You should have 1 cup.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Using an electric mixer set at high speed, cream the butter and sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the persimmon puree, then the flour mixture. Stir in the nuts.
4. Using 1 tablespoon for each cookie, drop the dough, 2 inches apart, on the baking sheets. Bake, switching the positions of the sheets from front to back and from top to bottom halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire cake racks and cool completely.Autumn Gatherings
. Copyright © by Rick Rodgers. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.