Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Berry Quick

I meant to make muffins over the weekend – something sweet and bready for my morning coffee breaks at work all week. I even pulled a bag of frozen local raspberries from the freezer to thaw.

But I didn’t get around to baking any such thing on Sunday, and by the time I got home tonight and saw that bag of soggy raspberries in their own watery juice slumped in the refrigerator, I knew I’d better work fast.

After dinner, I flipped through a trio of favorite baking books in order to find a muffin or quick bread recipe that would accommodate berries and juice. Passing up several that required a thicker liquid (milk), I decided to tweak a recipe for Walnut-Strawberry Bread found in the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.

As I scanned the recipe, I hauled out the ingredients and started tossing things into mixing bowls while I had a lengthy phone chat with the Gentleman (who has become quite the chatterbox since he moved into a place of his own!): flours and other dry ingredients in one bowl, and a puree of the raspberries, juice, yogurt, egg, vanilla, canola oil, and maple syrup in the other.

The batter appeared to have just the right light but thick consistency, even once I added a generous handful of chocolate chips, so I scraped it all into a greased loaf pan and popped it into the oven.

Less than an hour later, I pulled out the loaf to cool, and before bed, I had sliced the end off to sample the bread before packing the next day’s lunch.

Perfect! Moist, tender, not too sweet, this bread had everything I wanted in a break time snack… not to mention an abundance of local ingredients and a healthy use of whole grains and less refined sweeteners. And to top it all off, it was easy and quick to throw together.

I’m sure it will disappear just as easily and quickly, too!

Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Quick Bread

You’ve probably noticed that I pick up a number of recipes from King Arthur Flour, whether through their web site, the Baker’s Catalogue, or one of their cookbooks. I don’t always use their flours but I do regularly buy special ingredients from them, and I’ve almost always found their recipes to be well-structured, easy, and tasty. And then I go and change them to suit myself. So there’s my disclaimer. Vary this as you will, with different berries or even replacing the chips with nuts or other dried fruit.

1 c unbleached flour
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c pureed raspberries and juice
1/4 to 1/2 c plain nonfat yogurt
1 large egg
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl or blender, whisk together berries, yogurt, egg, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until well-blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan at least 15 minutes, though I let mine cool an hour or two before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf


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