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Shepherd’s Pie Recipe: Quick Bread

Here we are. In the thick of the holiday on-ramp. There’s pine needles, tinsel, and bits of wrapping paper and ribbon everywhere. You’ve got folks coming in a few days, an event you need a hostess gift for, and you just can’t handle another trip to the grocery store.

This is the time for that back pocket trick that can do it all, the Hail Mary type of recipe that all of our grandmothers knew by heart. Made with ingredients you almost always have on hand, you can serve it up on a lovely platter, you can wrap it up and gift it—and we promise it won’t elicit groans like Aunt Trudy’s fruitcake.

One Recipe to Rule Them All

My friend, you need quick bread in your life. A simple base recipe that can be sweet or savory and morph into any shape you like. 

Quick bread is defined as a non-yeasted bread that can be thrown together quickly—think muffins, scones, biscuits, and loaf breads like perennial favorite, banana bread. It uses baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast to help it rise and provide structure, and when the dry and wet ingredients are mixed together, it will be more like a batter than a traditional bread dough. 

Hold up…what about my nephew’s gluten intolerance? Oh, and Suzie’s girlfriend is vegan…

Don’t panic! We knew someone out there would have all the answers, and lo and behold! We found this lovely recipe by Kristin “Baker Bettie” Hoffman, trained chef and baking educator. She lays it all out for us, and no matter who you’re feeding, you can rest assured they’ll love it.

Gluten free? Yes. Egg free? Yes. Dairy free? Yes. Full-on traditional style with gluten, eggs, and milk? Yes! 

Just be sure to know whether you’re going savory or sweet before you begin, there’s a crucial step involving the sugar if you go the sweet route. Luckily, Baker Bettie walks you through everything.

The Proof’s in the Quick Bread

In the spirit of the season, we were feeling the cranberry-orange and decided to add some rosemary for a bit of extra flair.

For my version, I got to really test the versatility of the base recipe. I’ve got a gluten-free house, so I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour blend. I had almond milk on hand, so I used that too. 

For the oil, I melted my preferred baking oils, half coconut and half ghee (clarified butter). Just note that with this step, you’ve got to “temper” the liquid mixture with eggs with a dollop of the melted oil while whisking it all together, then gradually add more and more. If you don’t temper it, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs! No need to worry about this if your oil is already liquid at room temperature.

I poured half of the batter into a small loaf pan and the rest into my donut pan for a bit of fun and variety. Both baked up beautifully with a lovely texture—the small loaf pan took about 45 minutes, the donut pan about 20. 

After letting them cool, I topped them all with a simple glaze of powdered sugar and orange juice. I wrapped up the donuts to gift to a friend, and I’ve been happily nibbling on the loaf ever since. I initially worried it might be too sweet for my taste, but I found it wonderfully balanced, with the glaze adding just the right amount of holiday delight. I’m really curious to try a savory version of the recipe, so I can’t wait to give it another go. 

This recipe lives up to its promise—economical, quick, easy, versatile, and yummy. Many thanks to Baker Bettie! We hope you give it a try to help make your holiday a little easier and more delicious.

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