Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lemon Loaf. Y-U-M.

This is one of our favourites, and was my husband's choice today over Chocolate Zucchini Loaf and Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf. (I guess I'm the chocolate lover in our family!)

The recipe is originally from the Muffins and More (Company's Coming) cookbook, which is my absolute go-to cookbook for quickbreads. It's got cheesy sayings on the pages and isn't pretty - especially the best-loved recipes, which are slightly gooey - but the recipes are tried and true, and oh, so good. I strongly recommend this book, even if you only buy it for this recipe and the AMAZING Best Cheese Biscuit recipe that is so, so good with chili. Totally worth it. You can find it in weird places like WalMart and Canadian Tire, or online at Amazon, or the Company's Coming website directly.

I modify it to be eggless (yeah, I'm still on the eggless kick, eight months later). So if you're like me and have egg issues, instead of the 2 eggs, you can use any of these:
  • 2 tsp chia seeds in a scant 1/2 cup (just a little less than half a cup) of water. Let it sit a minute or two, and stir with a fork to break up any clumps. The chia seeds form a gel! You can use white chia seeds if you don't want visible specks in your loaf.
  • 4 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 6 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup tofu (puree this with the milk in the recipe before adding)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce or mashed banana (this will change the flavour of the loaf, of course, but yum!)
  • store bought egg substitute (I found this finally at Bulk Barn, in a box. It's a powder you mix with water.)
Okay, on to the Lemon Loaf recipe.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (or whatever)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs one at a time while mixing, then mix in the milk.
In a medium bowl, combine the remaining four ingredients. I like to use a whisk to do this as it does a thorough job and fluffs up the flour, too.
Pour the dry mix into the wet, stir only to moisten (over mixing quickbread batters will cause them to become tough - it activates the gluten in the flour), and pour into a greased loaf pan. The recipe calls for a 9x5" pan, but I use an 8.5x4.5" one, no problems.
Bake at 350F for an hour or until a tester comes out clean. I find with eggless recipes, they are a little more moist and often need a bit more time. So if you've gone the eggless route, don't worry if it takes an extra 8 minutes or so (check every few minutes).

When the loaf is almost done, prepare the glaze. You absolutely must glaze this loaf. Because this is the secret to its magical deliciousness.
  • the juice from that lemon you grated the peel from
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Mix these together (in a pourable, microwave-safe bowl or a Pyrex liquid measuring cup). 30 seconds in the microwave helps to dissolve the sugar.
When the loaf comes out of the oven, pour the glaze all over it. The edges of the loaf pan should contain the glaze, but you might have to go slow as it soaks in some. Let it cool in the pan. I just leave it in the pan and slice as needed right in there!
This is seriously delicious. No need to top your slice with anything - it is moist and flavourful as is. If you need some extra sweetness, homemade strawberry jam is pretty yummy on there. Cream cheese (fresh, please, not the plasticky Philadelphia stuff) is good, too.

OH, and the glaze is really just a lemon-flavoured simple syrup - I've made lemonade with it (add water to taste); you can use it in mixed drinks to add a wonderful sweet-sour lemony flavour. Or pour over crushed ice for a lemony snow-cone. Or add a couple tablespoons to ice and top with sparkling water for a delicious fresh soda. Bonus!

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