For several years I worked at an amazing little coffee house, and despite the fact that I had to be up at 4:30am a few times a week, I didn't really mind the lack of sleep. It meant that I had first dibs on the still-warm-from-the-oven, bakery items! My absolute favourite treat was the almond poppy seed bread. If I was lucky, there would be a pool of frosting, poppy seeds, and crumbs that had collected at the bottom of the delivery box. As soon as the loaf had been removed and sliced, I had a few minutes to enjoy the boxed remnants with a spoon, a fresh cup of "sludge" (my coma-inducing mix of espresso, hot cocoa, and coffee), and an untouched crossword puzzle.
The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
I chose almond poppy seed bread as an homage to my days as a weary barista. This bread is incredibly easy to put together, and it's extremely delicious. If, for some odd reason, the word "bread" makes it sound less appealing, please let me assure you that it's actually more of a cake. It's cake's sweet, tiny, brainy, cousin. (I say brainy because poppy seeds seem to be the bookish sort.) At least they seemed to help me fill out many crossword puzzle clues...without the safety net of a pencil.
This bread is magic.
Almond Poppy Seed Bread (adapted from allrecipes)
for the bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking Powder
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup olive oil [Note: If you prefer, you can use canola oil instead.]
1 cup canola oil [Note: If you're not using olive oil, use 1 1/3 cups of the canola]
3 room temperature eggs
1 1/2 cups milk [I used whole milk, but I think skim would be okay too.]
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
for the glaze
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter or spray two 9x5-inch loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, Whisk together the flour, salt, baking Powder, sugar, and poppy seeds; Set aside
In a separate large bowl, combine the oils, eggs, milk, and extracts. Whisk until well combined.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the wet mixture into the well. Use a large rubber spatula to stir all the ingredients together.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
Bake for 1 hour, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean. [Note: If the edges are browning before the center has baked, make foil tent over each pan.]
As soon as the pans have been removed from the oven, prepare the glaze.
Glaze: In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and both juices until smooth and runny. If the glaze appears too watery, add more sugar. If it's too thick, add a splash more juice (or water). A little bit if liquid goes a long way, so don't add too much all at once.
Invert the pans and remove the still-warm loaves (you may need to shake them a bit). Place the loaves, right side up, onto serving plates and drizzle each one with the glaze.
Cool completely before slicing.
Makes two 9x5-inch loaves