There are certain things that I just always seem to have on hand at my apartment. There are the things that you might expect a frequent baker to have, like a few rolls of parchment paper, a cupboard full of sprinkles in every color, and two or three (or four) pounds of butter. There are things that you might expect a food-lover to have on hand that you probably won’t find, like basic snacks or munchies (I can’t buy potato chips… I’d just eat them all in the first day of purchasing them) or pretty much any kind of meat. Then there are the things that I not only have on hand, but I have in a huge (and probably weird) abundance, like Rust-Oleum spray paint in “Heirloom White” (for all my recent DIY projects) and multiple 2-liters of my latest beverage addiction, Canada Dry Diet Green Tea Ginger Ale.
Another one of those items that I’m constantly stocked up on are breakfast foods. Evan’s latest kick has been breakfast trail mix, but there’s also a plethora of powerbars, granola bars, fruit bars, and oatmeal that are readily available to munch on in the morning. All of these options are great for Evan and I, especially on busy weekday mornings. However, when we have out of town guests, like we did this past weekend, I like to have something homemade to offer them as well. I wanted to create a (somewhat) healthy treat that combined all of the best qualities of my favorite breakfast bars in one yummy and home-y loaf.
I tried to make this recipe as healthy and protien-packed as possible by using whole wheat flour, oats, nuts, and lots of fruit. I used a combination of sugar, splenda, and honey as well as margarine instead of butter. This breakfast bread is delicious, satisfying, and a great way to start the morning.
Fruit, Nut & Grain Breakfast Bread
Inspired by: Fruit, Nut & Grain Granola Bar
Adapted from Jennifer Appel’s “Apple Pecan Quick Bread,” The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
¼ cup dried cranberries ¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup raisins 1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup peeled, chopped apple ½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped pecans 2 eggs
½ cup quick oats 1/3 cup margarine, melted
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour 2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup granulated splenda 2 tablespoons honey
-recipe yield: 1 large loaf or 2 mini loaves of bread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Bring about a cup of water to a boil and transfer hot water to a mug, along with raisins and dried cranberries. Allow dried fruit to sit in hot water for about 5 minutes, or until plumped and re-hydrated. Drain the fruit, discarding the water, and in a medium bowl, mix together the rehydrated fruit, chopped apple, chopped pecans and oats. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, splenda, sugar, baking powder and salt using a whisk. Once dry ingredients are thoroughly combined and are lump-free, create a little ‘well’ in the center of the dry ingredient bowl. This is where the liquid ingredients will be poured and mixed in to create the batter.
In a small bowl, lightly break apart eggs with a fork. Whisk together melted, cooled margarine, orange juice and honey in with the eggs. Pour this mixture into the ‘well’ of dry ingredients and gently stir until just homogeneous. Do not over-mix the batter or the finished bread will be dry and tough instead of moist and airy. Carefully fold the fruit, nut and oat mixture into the batter. Pour batter into lined loaf pan and place pan on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the bread comes out with a few moist crumbs. Do not overbake. Allow bread to cool in loaf pan on wire rack for 30 minutes before slicing or removing bread from loaf pan.