Move Over Banana Bread?
August 19, 2008
I have to say, I’m kind of happy to have put the whole here-are-my-photos-from-my-vacation thing behind us yesterday. It’s not that I don’t love a good round of show-and-tell. And, after last season’s Mad Men finale, I am totally on board with the whole slideshow nostalgia. It’s just that I’ve been really, really wanting to tell you about this bread—an almond poppy seed quick bread.
Actually, this bread played a minor role in my road trip. I brought along a couple slices for the ride down to Nashville. It’s a good thing, too, because after we narrowly escaped the jaws of a speeding ticket (a warning!) a mere hour into the trip, we were hungry. Turns out that I’m-Sorry-Officer-ing is hard work. That, and the baggie full of tantalizing slices of this bread was staring us down from the console between the two front seats and we barely made it past Gary, Indiana before digging in.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
I packed the bread because I was interested to get another opinion—Maggie’s—on the bread because I’d made several loaves of it and while my husband and sister had signed off, I wanted one more tastetester (and, also, an excuse to “test” the recipe one more time—a sure sign that the recipe needs no more testing and that the chief taster (me) and her waistline probably need no more testing either). Maggie approved and, even so, I made another loaf on Sunday, which has already dwindled to a half-loaf. In other words, our beloved banana bread had better watch its back.
Although we’re generally faithful to the banana bread, I do wander into other quickbread territory from time to time. I’d had almond poppy seed on my list for some time and was surprised to find a lack of recipes when I finally got around to making it (Is it in a Minnesota thing, I wonder? Because I seem to remember bakery cases there always including an almond poppy seed something.). Not to be deterred, I fashioned a recipe of my own. In the first couple incarnations, the loaf suffered from over- or under-almondiness (totally a word, in case you’re wondering) or from dryness. After several rounds of tweaks and tinkers, I think I’ve nailed it with the recipe I’m posting today.
I like this bread as a simple, rather humble loaf, perfect for a light breakfast or an afternoon snack. But I think you could easily snazz it up by drizzling it with a glaze (I’d whisk together powdered sugar, a hint of almond extract and water to thin it to the desired consistency) and scattering sliced almonds on top. Come to think of it, that gives me the perfect excuse to make this again next week!
Almond Poppy Seed Bread
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a large loaf pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites, buttermilk, sour cream and almond extract to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the whisked dry ingredients. When the mixture is almost combined, add the poppy seeds. Beat until the wet and dry ingredients have just combined and the poppy seeds are distributed throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and use a rubber spatula or spoon to smooth the top. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.