With the holidays quickly approaching, baked goods make great gifts for neighbors, teachers and friends. This week’s Cherry Almond Bread is one of my favorites because it combines two ingredients that I think are made to go together – cherries and almond.
Because cherries are out of season, use frozen sweet red cherries. They’re already pitted and work just as well. Be sure they’re frozen when adding them to the batter. If thawed, they’ll turn the batter pink.
For the almond component, the bread includes both slivered almonds and almond extract.
This bread smells absolutely wonderful while baking and tastes equally delicious when enjoyed with a cup of afternoon tea. Spread it with a little cream cheese and cut into thin “fingers” to serve as open-face finger sandwiches on a holiday buffet. Or you can bake in smaller pans for gift-giving.
CHERRY ALMOND BREAD
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup canola oil or melted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons almond extract
1½ cups frozen red pitted cherries, cut in half
2/3 cup sliced almonds, divided
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. In another bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and the almond extract to the wet ingredients and beat until smooth. Stir in cherries and half of the almonds. Spread in the loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining almonds.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans. Makes 1 loaf, about 12 slices.