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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Philomena Corradeno King Features Syndicate

Some friends tell me that though they do little or no baking during the year, when the holidays are approaching, these non-bakers are lured by the beautiful, tempting photos in the press and on TV. Now they’re ready to pull out the mixing bowls.

Cookies and quick breads offer little challenge because they’re so easy. Cookies may be cut-out and decorated, or they may be simple drop cookies with a little color to symbolize the season. Maraschino cherries, all red or a mix of red and green, give our Christmas bread a holiday look, and it makes a thoughtful gift. Once you’ve tasted it, you won’t confine it to the holidays.

Christmas Bread

1 jar (10 ounces) maraschino cherries

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts

1. Drain maraschino cherries, reserving 2 tablespoons juice. Cut cherries in quarters; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2. In medium mixing bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, eggs and reserved cherry juice; mix on medium speed of electric mixer until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add flour mixture and mashed bananas alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in cherries and nuts. Lightly spray a 9-by-5-by-3-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread batter evenly in pan.

3. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 1 hour, or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Makes 1 loaf, about 16 slices.

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