Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Nut Bread

It’s really scary when you find a pan in your cupboard that you have no recollection of buying or using. It’s even scarier when it’s the exact size that you need for a recipe you are making for the first time. I found myself in this predicament as I searched through my baking pans to see if I had a second 8 ½-inch loaf pan. I was certain that I didn’t have any 9-inch loaf pans. Certain, that is, until I came across one. Looking all shiny and new, it seemed to mock me as I wracked my brain for an explanation for its presence amongst my well-known and well-worn baking pans. For what recipe had I bought it? Had I ever used it? I still don’t have any answers, but I do have a very nice loaf of nut bread thanks to the mystery pan.

I like dinner rolls with my Thanksgiving meals. Every year I try a different recipe, looking for the perfect roll: light, not too yeasty, not too dense, just dense enough to sop up excess gravy and cranberry sauce. I don’t know of a single dinner roll recipe that contains nuts or has the word nuts in the title. Since I was eschewing the nut theme in favor of mashed potatoes, I decided I would have to do without dinner rolls this Thanksgiving and have nut bread instead.

Much like the butternut squash soup, there are many variations on nut bread. And, like the butternut squash soup, after ten or twenty recipes and careful consideration, I decided on plain, old nut bread. Nothing fancy. No embellishments or chichi ingredients. I dove into my trusty old Betty Crocker cookbook and came up with a nut bread recipe so simple and basic that, with the exception of the nuts, I had all of the ingredients on hand already.

The recipe calls for finely chopped nuts, so I used nut topping. I think next time, I will go with more coarsely chopped nuts. This bread was too “crunchy”. I prefer “chunky”. I was happy that I ended up with one loaf rather than two loaves although nut bread does freeze very easily. It was nice to be able to simply give half to A to take home and enjoy.

Verdict: Yum!! This one’s a keeper!!

Nut Bread
(source: Betty Crocker cookbook)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons salad oil
1 ¼ cups milk
1 egg
1 cup finely chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or two 8 ½x4 ½x2 ½-inch loaf pans. Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl; beat on medium speed ½ minute, scraping side and bottom of bowl constantly.

Pour into pan(s). Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool thoroughly before slicing.

Recycle: salad oil bottle

Compost: eggshell

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