Chocolate, Cherries and Almonds in a Quick Bread
We made this bread in the Test Kitchen with sliced, rather than slivered almonds. While we always tell you to make a recipe as written the first time, we were so enamored of the flavors that we had to make this bread – and all of our local stores were out of slivered! Our apologies to author Adrienne Kane. That said, the recipe from her new book United States of Breadcame out beautifully and tasted as delicious as it promised. Soaking the cherries to plump them and toasting the almonds to enhance flavor are good additional techniques; second time around we soaked cranberries in cranberry juice! We used 60% bittersweet chocolate chunks to great effect. Also check out her Peanut Butter-Bacon Bread for a saltier, more savory take on a quick bread.
Reprinted with permission from United States of Bread© 2014 by Adrienne Kane, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
AN AMERICAN FRUIT BREAD, “BISHOP’S BREAD” IS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN COINED IN THE NINETEENTH century when clergymen would visit settlers and were often fed a little something sweet to eat with a cup of coffee or tea. It has dried or candied fruit in it, making this bread often seem like a fruitcake. But it can also be studded with nuts, swirled with chocolate, and spiced with cinnamon. Because of its “fruitcake” nature, nowadays it is often thought of as a holiday treat, but I find that the ease of mixing up this quickbread makes it a wonderful treat to have year-round.
In this recipe I use it all—in moderation. A bit of bittersweet chocolate, some toasted slivered almonds, and a serving of dried cherries or cranberries make this bread a restrained treat. I favor baking with dried rather than candied fruit—I want the pure flavor of the berry. And by reconstituting the fruit, the berries plump up, making this simple bread sumptuous.]
- ¹/₂ cup (2 ounces) slivered almonds
- ¹/₂ cup (2¹/₂ ounces) dried cherries or cranberries
- 1 cup boiling water
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (6 ounces) brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¹/₂ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1¹/₂ teaspoons baking powder
- ¹/₂ teaspoon baking soda
- ¹/₂ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¹/₂ cup (2 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chunks
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the almonds on a small baking pan and roast for 15 to 18 min¬utes, or until toasty and fragrant. Remove the almonds from the oven, let them cool, and set them aside. Pour boiling water over the cherries and soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Drain well, and set aside.
- Turn the oven up to 350°F. Butter a standard loaf pan, or lightly coat it with cooking spray.
- In the bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and the brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. One at a time, add the eggs, beating until combined. Mix in the buttermilk and the almond extract. In a separate, medium-size bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Fold in the almonds, berries, and chocolate chunks.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake for approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold. The bread can be sliced and eaten while still warm.
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