Bacon and Peanut Butter in an Easy Quick Bread
United States of Breadis a unassuming looking book – but the title, and subtitle – Our Nation’s Homebaking Heritage: from Sandwich Loaves to Sourdough – should give you an idea as to the breadth of content inside. Author Adrienne Kane has complied a nice assortment from quick breads, just as this recipe and her Bishop’s Bread, as well as Jewish Style Rye Bread, Amish Dill, Monkey Bread, Shaker Cornbread and Whole Wheat Anadama. She also weaves in stories such as the history of Lender’s Bagels (started by a Polish immigrant from New Haven apparently) and sidebars such as How Do I Know When My Bread Has Proofed? A good book for those just starting to bake bread and are looking for basics.
Reprinted with permission from United States of Bread © 2014 by Adrienne Kane, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
IT SEEMS THAT BACON HAS BEEN TRENDING FOR YEARS NOW—DECADES EVEN. THIS SALTY, SMOKY breakfast meat is not simply popular with hipsters and breakfast lovers; just ask Helen Corbitt. Best known for her work as Director of Food Services for Neiman-Marcus department stores during the 1950s, Ms. Corbitt had a penchant for interesting yet delicious food combinations. This quickbread is just one of those treats. In her 1957 book, Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook, Ms. Corbitt claims this bread is “nice for morning entertaining,” but I would say it’s a treat any time of the day.
The richness of the peanut butter and the salinity of the bacon makes for a scrumptious combination. Yes, the bread contains crispy, fried bacon bits, but this contributes to an overall smoky effect in the bread, not just a bacon-y one. I have updated this recipe by using crunchy peanut butter for added textural dimension, a bit of brown sugar as well as granulated sugar for depth, and just a hint of black pepper. Try to use an artisanal, thick-cut bacon; the meatiness plays off the pepper deliciously.
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¹/₂ cup (3¹/₂ ounces) sugar
- ¹/₂ cup (3 ounces) brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup (10¹/₂ ounces) crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- 2 cups (10 ounces) flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ¹/₂ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¹/₄ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¹/₂ cup (2¹/₂ ounces) lightly salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- ¹/₂ pound thick-cut bacon (about 6 slices) crisply cooked, drained, and crumbled
- 1 tablespoon sanding or turbinando sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a standard loaf pan, or lightly coat it with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter together until light and fluffy. Add the milk and egg, and continue to mix until just blended.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper together. In two parts, add to the peanut butter mixture, and mix until well-incorporated. Fold in the chopped nuts and the bacon.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading evenly. The batter will fill the pan about ³⁄4 of the way. This is fine, as the bread is rather dense and will not rise substantially. Sprinkle with sanding or turbinado sugar. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove the loaf from the pan and continue to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- Don’t overlook the sprinkling of turbinado sugar. The raw sugar flavor and crunch really add to the experience.