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Shopping left you stumped? Try gift breads

Homemade breads are a way to personalize gift giving this holiday season. Alexandra Floersch / Forum News Service

FARGO — Black Friday has come and gone and some of you are well-into checking off items on your Christmas list. Others are in a white-hot panic with no clue what to get anyone. No matter which category you fall into, you might want to consider homemade gift breads. They're a fairly economical way to add an extra homestyle touch to store-bought gifts, and they're an easy standalone gift for those still stumped with shopping.

I've seen gift breads all over Pinterest, but never seen anyone go quite as crazy as my friend Kathy Leingang. I got to know Kathy this year as she helped us produce our commemorative Honor Flight book, "In Their Honor: WDAY Honor Flight 2007-2017." (Yes, this is a shameless plug but another great gift idea!)

Kathy bakes dozens of loaves of bread every year for friends, family and clients of Forum Communications Printing. This year she says she has made 156 loaves during just one weekend.

"This year, the oven was on for about 27 hours!" she says.

She usually bakes two types of breads — one of them being zucchini because she says, "my dear cousin always supplies me with shredded zucchini."

Kathy was nice enough to share recipes for three of her favorites. (Look for the Pistachio Sweet Bread and Poppy Seed Bread recipes on my blog, thegreatindoors.areavoices.com.)

Here, I'll share her recipe for Pina Colada Zucchini Bread that many friends requested. The bread was moist and tender and seemed very festive with the little green strands of zucchini strewn about the batter. Kathy makes the breads in mini-loaf pans and tops them with covers and assorted decor. It's super cute, super yummy and — boom — there's one more thing you can check off your list!

Pina Colada Zucchini Bread

Yields: 3 mini loaves (12 slices per loaf)

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 eggs

1½ cups canola oil

1 teaspoon (each) coconut, rum and vanilla extracts

3 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained

½ cup chopped walnuts or chopped pecans (I chose to leave these out)

Directions

Line the bottoms of three greased and floured 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with waxed paper and grease the paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, combine the eggs, oil and extracts. Stir in dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the zucchini, pineapple and walnuts. Transfer to prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Gently remove waxed paper.

Recipe courtesy of Kathy Leingang, Forum Communications Printing

Tracy Briggs

‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs appears every Thursday in The Forum. For more information go to her blog at thegreatindoors.areavoices.com.

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