December 30, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

I love lemon anytime of the year but especially at this time, nearing January-I think it's the anticipation of spring. I know, it's a long way off! It seems like making anything citrusy reminds me of warm spring days......tea parties.....and gardening! Wishful thinking! The recipe for this delightful lemon bread will make one 9x5 loaf. I almost always bake quick breads in a mini loaf pan. I was thrilled to find the USA Pans in this size! They're perfect to wrap up and brighten someone's day, with a little note tagged along! I doubled the recipe and was able to get 7 nice loaves. It also called for 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds, which I love with lemon, but inevitably seem to get lost in my freezer! I usually discover them after my bread is done. :( If you love even more lemon flavor, like I do, the glaze is a must!

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon zest, or 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon poppy seeds, optional
2-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

Lemon Glaze and Lemon Butter
1/2 cup (4 ounces) lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2/3 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt (only if using unsalted butter)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice, beating until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, beat together the buttermilk and eggs. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk together to mix evenly. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar/oil alternately with the buttermilk mixture, scraping the bowl at least once. When everything is evenly combined, pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. (If using mini pans, check them after 30 to 35 minutes). Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a rack. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove and leave on rack to cool. For the glaze, combine the lemon juice and sugar in a microwave-safe container and microwave on high for 30 seconds to dissolve the sugar. Brush half of this mixture on the bread as it cools, if desired. For the lemon butter, heat the other half of the lemon glaze in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Simmer the liquid until it has a syrupy consistency. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Mix the syrup with the softened butter and salt, if using. Chill; spread on lemon bread.

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