Fran’s Favorites: Lemon Blueberry Bread & Cheese Nibblers


We have a lot of visitors here at the Governor’s Residence. From business meetings, breakfast meetings to lunch meetings — guests, workers, employees, volunteers — there are always lots of people coming and going!

So we like to make sure there is always something to eat with that cup of coffee, something to munch on with that late afternoon iced tea. I’ve made my standard banana bread and carrot muffins many times, as well as our favorite maple oatmeal cookies, with and without chocolate chips.

This week, while I was looking for something new, I thought I would check out the Governor’s Residence Cookbook. It is a beautiful, historic cookbook written by June McCarthy. June was the Executive Chef for the Governor’s Residence during the Voinovich, Hollister, and Taft administrations. Her book is full of historical notes and pictures from many of Ohio’s first ladies and the guests they have entertained. It is also full of many great recipes. So this week, I picked a couple of recipes that I thought would be fun to try, and something fun to share with all my guests.

The recipe “Luscious Lemon Blueberry Bread” is a good breakfast bread, good for a treat later in the day, and it also makes a delightful little gift loaf. You can make it with fresh or frozen berries, but June warns that if you use frozen berries, make sure they are frozen when you fold them in or they will bleed. I think it would be nice with red raspberries as well.

“’Melt in your Mouth’ Nibblers” looked really good to me, too. According to June, Governor and Mrs. Taft hosted a National Governors’ Association at the Residence, and all the guests loved these. Many of the chefs even requested the recipe. The cheese makes them delicious and you can vary the toppings. They freeze well, too. So we’re adding this to our list of great things to nibble on and keep on hand for our guests!

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Blueberry Bread

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

3 tablespoons lemon zest

3/4 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Lemon glaze

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, beat oil, eggs, zest and milk. In another bowl, combie flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Fold liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Combine until the flour is moistened. Fold in half the blueberries.

Divide batter between both pans. Divide remaining blueberries over the top of each pan. Bake for about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove bread to cooling rack.

While the bread is baking, whisk together lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar. Pierce the tops of each loaf several times with a toothpick. Spoon glaze over loaves as soon as they come out of the oven. Allow time for the glaze to absorb, about 30 minutes. Remove bread from pan to cooling rack.

Cheese Nibblers

3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

2/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 egg yolk


1 egg, beaten

grated parmesan cheese

poppy seeds

sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line sheet pans with parchment paper.

Mix flour, celery salt, salt and freshly ground pepper in a medium bowl. Add butter. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until a lot of the flour has been absorbed. Add both cheeses and continue cutting in until mixture is blended and coming together in rough clumps. Add the egg yolk and bring the mixture together; form a ball. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap and flatten. Chill.

Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut in triangles to desired size. Brush with egg wash; sprinkle with your choice of sheets. Chill before baking.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Makes 5 dozen.

By Fran DeWine

First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.

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