Hearty Oatmeal, Fruit and Nut Bread, by Beverly Hicks Burch

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Yes, this is the first new recipe of 2013. Happy New Year to one and all. I hope everyone had a grand holiday season. I took a self-imposed, albeit, short sabbatical after a round of illness in the family (involving surgery) and personal illness. Let’s just say it was a tidy little present all wrapped up all of us could have done without. But, we’re on the mend and looking forward!

And, in doing so Tall & Handsome and I have been back in the kitchen puttering around with some old, and some new recipes and experiments. Always a good sign!

Lately we have had a “hankering” (a mountain term I’m sure) for good solid homemade breads. Not yeast-type sandwich breads, but those dense moist tasty breads with fruit and/or nuts. So far since the beginning of the year our count is two loaves of banana nut bread (a recipe I’ll share latter) and today’s recipe, Hearty Oatmeal, Fruit and Nut Bread. We are three for three…So, for the new year, a new bread…

Today’s recipe is adapted from a William’s Sonoma recipe. Theirs had an ingredient or two I wasn’t fond of and I wanted to add something I was fond of (one that carries great health value)…NUTS! What’s a good bread like this without nuts?! I used pecans, but walnuts would work well, also.

This bread uses golden raisins (also called sultanas).

Golden raisins are produced using the same raisins that result in dark raisins. They are processes differently. Dark raisins are sun dried and golden raisins are bleached with sulfur dioxide then mechanically dried in a dehydrator. The end result is the golden finish and a plumper raisin.

I also used some dried cherries. Let me say hear…YUM! They are candy-licious! The bonus of dried cherries is the vitamin A boost that comes along with them.

Of course we all know about the benefits of oatmeal. It’s known as a good cholesterol sponge or cleaner, so it’s “heart healthy”. Another plus: instead of using a large amount of oil or butter that ingredient is kept at a minimum and applesauce makes up the difference.

There’s one other little recommendation I would like to strongly urge you to give a try! That is to freshly grate you nutmeg! I know it may seem like a lot of extra work, but it’s really not and your reward it the fantastic smell of the freshly grated nutmeg AND its taste! The job itself is easy peasy using a small hand grater design just for the task.

We have about half a loaf left. I made this Thursday after I had to get out and drive around in our Alabama snow event 2013. Yes, you would be surprised at the snow that makes it way to the sunny South! The bread is great with coffee and hot tea. We have spread just a small dab on Amish butter on top of a slice and it is heavenly. I believe some low fat whipped cream cheese would be great, or maybe even some vanilla Greek yogurt, and viola! You have a nice, hearty breakfast.

Just be prepared for your kitchen to smell wonderful while this bread bakes!

Hearty Oatmeal, Fruit and Nut Bread

1 – ¼ all purpose flour

1 cup quick cooking oats

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup chopped dried cherries (I used kitchen shears)

1/3 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 – ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 – ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup canola oil

¾ cup applesauce

½ cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9 x 5 in. loaf pan by greasing it or spraying with cooking spray.

2. In a bowl add: flour, oats, raisins, cherries, nuts, ¾ cup light brown sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix together all the dry ingredients well making sure ingredients are evenly distributed.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce and buttermilk.

4. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened, about 15 to 20 hand strokes with a spoon. Do not overmix. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

5. Pour batter into a loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar on top.

6. Place in oven and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and sides of loaf are beginning to pull away from the pan. Each oven is different. The oven in my new stove cooks different that any stove I’ve ever owned. Mine took about an addition 15 minutes to bake, so keep a watch on your time…timing may vary.

7. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes in the pan. The remove from the pan and cool completely.

Enjoy!!

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Raisins, Cherries and Nuts

The Raisins, Chopped Dried Cherries and chopped pecans

Freshly grated nutmeg

Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Oatmeal, Fruit and Nut BreadOatmeal, Fruit and Nut Bread sliced

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.