I am woefully behind on my Christmas baking ... I normally bake about 20 varieties of treats (as can be seen in a display from last year) to give to family, friends, co-workers, and virtually anyone else who ventures near.
But this year has been different. I moved, and there have been some other complications with the health of loved ones. I was also sick 2 days last week ... sigh.
And so, I have only made 2 kinds of quick breads, 2 batches of cookies, and 1 kind of no-bake treats ... that's it. My reputation is on the line, here!
So on Friday night, I felt compelled to haul my kiester into the kitchen and get to work. And it's a good thing I did, because that's when the exceptional, extraordinary and exquisite treat came to life: Chocolate Almond Quick Bread.
"It's not bread -- it's cake,"according to Tom. Whatever you call it, be ready to be amazed. They turned out far better than I could possibly have hoped for -- rich, tender, moist, luscious. They were so good that, although we'd baked 3 of them to give as gifts, we're now down to 2 because we devoured one all by ourselves.
I like to bake mini loaves to give as gifts, wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with lots of curling ribbon. But you could make one large loaf and just bake it for an hour, instead.
Because I didn't have buttermilk, I debated whether to use skim milk or almond milk and then add a touch of vinegar for acidity to react with the baking soda; almond, for its flavor, won the day. I also sprinkled some crushed amaretti cookies onto the tops of the loaves, just because. They had been sent to me by Rossella -- my Foodie Exchange partner from Milan -- and had, unfortunately, been utterly crushed during their trek across the ocean. But all the better for sprinkling and adding flavor to other goodies, I say! You could substitute any kind of cookie crumbs, I would think, or even chopped nuts or toffee chips.
So, go bake! And be sure to save one loaf for yourself ... :)
Chocolate Almond Loaf Cake
(modified from a Pillsbury recipe for Buttermilk Chocolate Bread)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1-3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup crumbled amaretti
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil 3 mini loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter; add eggs and mix well.
Combine almond milk, vinegar and extract; pour into batter and combine well.
Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and divide batter among the loaf pans. (1+ cups of batter per loaf pan) Sprinkle the amaretti crumbs over the tops of the loaves.