Friday, November 30, 2012

Cherry Almond Bread

I always think that cherries and almonds shouldn't work together but they really do and the result is always perfect.  I think the almond flavors just really make the cherry shine as a true star.  And it's a rather holiday-like combination, so this bread seemed a perfect fit for gifting this season.  A bread with a moist crumb, dotted with almonds and sweet cherries, you'll love the smell and taste and know immediately it is meant to be shared.  Which is why I made this my treat to this month's recipient of my Foodie Pen Pal package.

The Lean Green Bean

Of course being the last day of the month means it's time to reveal what I received from my Foodie Pen Pal.  This month I sent a package, including a mini loaf of this bread, to a non-blogger named Nely and received a lovely package from another non-blogger, Natalie.  Every month I look forward to Foodie Pen Pals, a concept thought up by Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean.  Go visit her blog to learn how to join--bloggers and non-bloggers are welcome!  Each month you'll have a chance to send a box full of goodies to on foodie while receiving a box from another foodie.  It's a great way to try new things and meet new people.

Natalie sent me a pretty cool package that I dove right into upon coming home from my Thanksgiving travels.  It contained a batch of the most perfect ginger snaps I've ever had--Dave couldn't get over how perfectly round they were and we both loved these crunchy spiced cookies.  I also received a batch of homemade pepper hash, which we haven't tried yet but Natalie promises is good with green beans.  The Sweet Home Farm Maple Pecan granola has been delicious with yogurt for my breakfast this week and I'm looking forward to Captain Rodney's glaze that Natalie swears makes an excellent dip.  Looking forward to trying that as well.

Getting back to the bread, I turned this Betty Crocker recipe into mini loaves by doubling the ingredients and baking a little less.  I'm sure the glaze from the original recipe would be delicious, but I find packaging glazed breads gets tricky and is rarely worth the sticky mess.  With out without it though, these little loaves a perfect sweet treat to share for breakfast, brunch or tea time.

Cherry Almond Bread


15 ounces dried cherries
1 cups boiling water
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups silvered or sliced almonds

Place cherries in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let stand for 20 minutes, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Beat brown sugar and butter in a large bowl until fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as needed.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Then add almond extract.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring until just combined.

Stir in almonds and cherries.

Transfer batter into six greased mini loaf pans.

Bake at 325 degrees F for a hour or until tops are set and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pans slightly for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 6 mini loaves.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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