Thanks to everyone who’s contributed to the Family Foodie Holiday Recipe Exchange with your recipes for holiday Cookies! It’s been fun to see what the Foodie faithful like to make for their own families this time of year.
I’m continuing the recipe exchange with your recipes for Quick Breads–whether it’s a traditional banana bread, pumpkin bread, or something a little more unusual, like this Cherry Almond Bread. I think quick breads are the forgotten middle child of holiday treats, stuck between cookies and candies–they’re a little less sweet, but often much more interesting. And there are several good reasons to add them to your holiday baking plans:
1. If you have a friend who isn’t in possession of an enormous sweet tooth, but you still want to share the holiday spirit by baking them something, quick breads are a great option.
2. Holidays entertaining often means hosting family from far away, and quick breads are a terrific option for breakfast. If you know someone who’s housing relatives for a week, a loaf of this Cherry Almond Bread will be a very welcome gift.
3. Quick breads add visual interest to a holiday treat spread. They aren’t round or cut into cute shapes, like cookies. They aren’t small and uniform, like fudge and other candies. They’re rustic, fruity, nutty, and sometimes shaggy (if they feature a sprinkle of coconut).
It probably goes without saying, at this point, that I’m a huge fan of quick breads. This one seems particularly appropriate to the winter holiday season–I’m not sure why I associate cherries with Christmas, but I do. Almonds are an excellent compliment to cherries, but if you aren’t a fan of almond extract–some people, I know, find the flavor overpowering–you can substitute vanilla extract. You’ll get less almond flavor that way, so you might also choose to use chopped pecans rather than slivered almonds.
I made this bread with a gluten-free flour blend, but the recipe will work equally well with wheat flour if you leave out the 2 tablespoons of milk. (Gluten-free baked goods tend to be dry and always require a little extra liquid.) Either way, this bread will come out of the oven golden brown and beautiful: moist, chewy, crunchy, and delicious.
Now it’s your turn: share your favorite recipe for Quick Breads!
Cherry Almond Bread
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream
2 T. milk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. slivered almonds, 1 T. reserved for topping
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar. Add the beaten eggs and mix well. Add the extract, sour cream, and milk; stir until smooth.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine the dry ingredients. Add the dried cherries and stir to coat them with the flour. (This will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the batter.)
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in three additions, stirring just until the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Stir in the slivered almonds.
Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the remaining slivered almonds and a light topping of turbinado sugar. (This will give the loaf a nice brown color and a crunchy top. It's not essential, but it's very tasty.) Bake for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.