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Sun, Oct. 20

Column: Use versatile homemade mix for a variety of baked goods

Versatile mixes on hand can be helpful for so many things. Here is a whole wheat biscuit mix with five choices for ways to be used. Then a banana bread mix that can beused for coffee cake, a banana bread loaf or muffins.

These offer the goodness of whole wheat as well as no preservatives when you mix them yourself.

WHOLE WHEAT BISCUIT MIX

This whole batch makes 48 biscuits. Notice each recipe amount and double if needed. Keeps on your pantry shelf six weeks or up to six months in the freezer.

6 cups all purpose flour

4 cups whole wheat flour

1/3 cup baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

2 cups shortening

In extra-large bowl stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in shortening till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place in container and store in freezer or as directed above.

To use, bring mix to room temperature. Spoon mix lightly into measuring cup; level off with spatula or knife. Continue as directed in each of variations below. Makes about 12 cups.

BASIC BISCUITS

Stir together 1 cup whole wheat biscuit mix and 1/4 cup milk just until dough clings together. On floured surface, knead dough gently 10-12 strokes. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with 2-1/2 inch biscuit cutter or glass. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 450 oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until biscuits are golden. Makes four biscuits.

DROP BISCUITS

Prepare basic biscuits, except increase milk to 1/3 cup. Do not knead, roll or cut dough.

Drop from tablespoon onto greased baking sheet. Bake as directed. Makes 4 biscuits.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

Prepare drop biscuits or basic biscuits, except stir 1/4 tsp. baking soda into flour mixture in bowl and substitute buttermilk for milk. Also makes four biscuits.

MEXICAN-STYLE BISCUITS

Prepare drop biscuits, except stir 1/4 cup well drained canned whole kernel corn with sweet peppers, 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers (2 oz.) and 1/8 tsp.

ground cumin into flour mixture in bowl along with the 1/3 cup milk. Makes five biscuits.

CHERRY AND ORANGE BISCUITS

(Good for breakfast, brunch or snacks - dinner, too with pork or chicken dishes.)

Prepare drop biscuits, except add 1/3 cup dried tart red cherries, 3 tbsp. sugar, 2 tbsp. chopped pecans and 1/2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel to flour mixture. Bake in 400-degree oven about 15 minutes or until golden (this is lower oven temperature than usual biscuit standard recipes). About five biscuits.

PESTO BISCUITS

Prepare drop biscuits, except stir in 1 tbsp. pesto with the 1/3 cup milk. If desired, also stir in 1/4 cup chopped ripe olives. Makes four biscuits. Good with spaghetti, salads, etc. (May use purchased or homemade pesto.)

BANANA THREE WAY BATTER

Most households have bananas fairly often and occasionally they can get too ripe to eat,

but make a tasty and healthy addition to these baked treats. You can also freeze too-ripe bananas for later use, adding a bit of lemon juice (optional) for the browning depending on ripeness. Then just thaw and fold in recipes.

1/2 cup soft butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1-1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about four medium or take some from freezer stockpile)

1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice

2 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. each salt, cinnamon

and grated lemon rind

1/2 cup chopped nuts

In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in mashed bananas and lemon juice. Mix together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and lemon rind; blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chopped nuts. Make one of the following variations:

COFFEE CAKE

Turn batter into greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Slice two bananas and arrange on top of cake. Sprinkle with topping of 1/2 cup packed brown sugar mixed with 2 tbsp. melted butter and 1/4 cup flaked coconut. Broil two minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

BANANA BREAD LOAF

Turn batter into greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 minutes.

Cool before slicing.

MUFFINS

Spoon batter into 24 greased 2-1/2 inch muffin cups. (Using larger size muffin cups will make fewer muffins.) Bake in 350 degree oven 15-20 minutes. You may substitute any of the following for nuts: raisins, snipped dates, chopped dried apricots, coconut, chopped dried plums, chocolate pieces, cranberries or craisins.

NOTE; Both of these mix type recipes are often easy to use when kids want to help in the kitchen (which I hope you encourage) as there is little measuring, etc., and adding things can go quickly. Sometimes they like the measuring, etc., and sometimes they just want whatever is being cooked to get in the oven so these are helpful for those times,

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