Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Almond Loaf Breads (or Cakes???)

"This is exceptional!" Extraordinary? Exquisite? In all honesty, we can't remember exactly which "e"-word Tom used to describe the treats I baked on Friday night, though we're leaning towards the first one. But really (she says with as much modesty as she can apply to such an immodest statement!) each of them applies.

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
2 eggs
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.

Bake for 35 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool, then wrap and give to loved ones.

Makes 3 mini loaves.

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Miriam said...

WOW! The name of it alone makes me want to make it too :). Take care, Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Unknown said...

Cake or bread, either way, I'd love one of those mini loaves right now!! Oh, yea, I'd eat the whole loaf too, no sharing!!! :)

Cranberry Morning said...

Glad to hear you are feeling better. Those loaves sound and look...(can't come up with an adequate adjective here, and I'm getting tired of using the short-of-the-mark 'amazing.') extraordinary, as Tom said. I love the idea of using almond milk. Great choice. I just filed this recipe under 'cake' and hope to make it soon. Unfortunately,I'll have to wing it on the crumbles from Milan. ;-) Thanks for the recipe, Mary.

Unknown said...

A slice of this sounds so good right now to go with my cup of coffee.

jhester said...

Mmm... this looks delish! Stopping by from Mingle Monday!

Candace said...

I was reading this wishing that I had a slice right now with a hot cup of tea. Looks incredible! I am behind on my baking as well since the move...and since I have no stove. I'm going to have to get creative this year. Have a great week, Candace

Carol E Wyer said...

Hi! I've hopped from Megs Mingle Monday. I love people who can cook and give me the assistance I truly need...this cake looks divine. I have added myself as your newest follower/admirer on GFC .
Please drop by and maybe follow me if you fancy a laugh. I'd be delighted to welcome you.
Friendly wishes
Carol from – the blog that gives you laughter lines. (Has that put you off?)

Casey said...

Hi! Visiting from Mingle Monday, love the blog! That Quick Bread (or cake) looks amazing! I'm the resident baker in my little community too and I've been totally off the wagon this year also. Don't beat yourself up...

I noticed in your banner you're not a sushi lover. Me either, and I've tried. I really have.

Jessica said...

Stopping by from Mingle Mondays. Wow... that recipe looks amazing, and good luck with keeping up that reputation! :P

Anonymous said...

Seeing the final results I'm in love. Any bread-cake that's got three descriptors beginning with "exceptional" is a must have. Are you making this Tom guy fat? How could he resist all these goodies?

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are an expert in this field, you really got some great points there, thanks.

- Robson

Rachel Cotterill said...

Mmm, yes please! That looks great :)

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