Rich, soft, tastes-like-a-slice-of-cake apricot almond streusel bread. Sticky, gooey pieces of apricot. Lightly sweetened, buttery streusel and golden toasted flaked almonds. Is it time to put the kettle on yet?
When it comes to bread making, I’ve noticed that people shy away at the mere mention of the word yeast. For some reason the idea of working with this ingredient is scary to people (it’s really not – I promise!)
I will be sure to share some yeasted bread recipes in the future, along with tips and tricks I’ve learned, but the good news with this recipe?
No yeast required!
Quick breads, which were thought to have originated in the USA at the end of the eighteenth century (thanks Wikipedia!) are a completely different type of bread baking experience. They get their soft, rich cake-like interior from raising agents such as bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) or baking powder – no yeast here!
They are also, as the name suggests, quick. A lot of the preparation time in bread recipes is actually spent simply waiting for the yeast to do its thing. By using a leavening agent such as baking soda, the bread is ready to be baked as soon as the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.
Quicker to make + quicker to bake = ready to be eaten sooner?
A big win in my book!
I’ve been hooked on making quick breads for a few years now. As a lifelong fan of anything that involves working with flour, eggs, butter and just a little sugar (and the end result!) I’ve spent many happy hours in the kitchen eyeing up a bowlful of ingredients, adding a spoonful more of this, a splash more of that, in order to perfect my go-to quick bread recipe.
Once I was happy with the base recipe, I began experimenting with different flavour combinations. The first adaptation became my hazelnut chocolate chip quick bread.
For this recipe, I added pieces of dried apricot to the quick bread batter, flavoured it with almond extract, and topped the whole thing with a layer of oaty streusel and flaked almonds.
The crumbly streusel topping isn’t crunchy, instead more a soft, buttery oatyiness – if you prefer more crunch you could always try sprinkling some demerara or turbinado sugar with the flaked almonds.
It’s a soft, rich loaf which lends itself to all sorts of occasions – try a slice spread with apricot preserves for breakfast, mmm, cake for breakfast…
Where was I…
Ah, yes, quick bread…Concentrate, Justine…
As usual, I’ve focused on keeping the sugar levels low, as well as using lots of ingredients that we already have. One aim of this blog is to show you how many new and delicious ways you can create dishes using a well stocked store cupboard.
The last recipe I posted used dried apricots. Accordingly, I had half a packet left over, hmm, now what to use them in…
You see what I did there?
You could almost think I planned this…
No, I know, you’ve got me…it’s true…I didn’t plan this. Planning ahead is about as low on my life skills list as writing a short blog post….
Dried (preferably unsulphured) apricots are a classic pairing with almonds. To get a true depth of almond-iness, I’ve layered the flavour throughout the bread – extract in the batter, ground almonds (or almond meal) in the streusel, and flaked almonds sprinkled on top.
Almond extract can be eye-wateringly strong, less is definitely more when you are adding it. If it’s simply too much for you? Try swapping the almond extract for vanilla for a more subtle flavour – in this household, the vanilla-almond bread disappears fast…
As for storage, the bread freezes well (if you have any left!) I usually freeze in slices between sheets of greaseproof paper so I can take out just what I need at a time. Otherwise, it will stay soft in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
If like me, you have half a bag of dried apricots stuck in the back of your pantry that you’re wondering what to do with?
Can I offer you a warm slice of apricot almond streusel bread?
It’s what afternoon tea break is made for!
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (50g) rolled oats
- ¼ cup (15g) ground almonds
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons (30g) cold butter, cubed
- 1 cup (125g) plain wholemeal flour
- 1 cup (125g) plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (80g) dried apricots, chopped
- 1 large egg, at room temperature *
- ¼ cup (50g) molasses sugar **
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 and ¼ cups (300ml) buttermilk, at room temperature *
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (vegetable oil or melted coconut oil can also be used)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract ***
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (350F degrees). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf tin with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Prepare the streusel first: In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, ground almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon until combined. Using a pastry blade or knife, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until it roughly resembles breadcrumbs, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the two flours, bicarb and salt until evenly mixed. Stir in the chopped dried apricots.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and the two sugars until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk, oil and almond extract. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until there are no pockets of flour left. I use a silicone spatula to scrape around the bowl and gently fold the ingredients together without over-mixing them.
- Pour half the batter (it should be fairly thick and almost puffy looking) into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle with half the streusel. Pour the rest of the batter on top, sprinkle with the remaining streusel and the flaked almonds.
- Bake for 25 minutes, cover with foil and continue baking for another 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the bread comes out cleanly.
- Cool completely in the tin on a wire rack before slicing.
- The bread freezes well - up to 2 months. I usually cut into slices before freezing, so I can defrost a slice (or two!) at a time. Otherwise keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 - 5 days.
** If you don't have molasses sugar, try using the darkest soft brown sugar you can find.
*** Depending on the brand, this stuff can be pretty strong, so adjust according to your preference.
Recipe adapted from my hazelnut chocolate chip quick bread.