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Monday, January 3, 2011

Maple, Walnut and Fig Bread



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Continuing with the theme of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, I've selected a quick bread to represent the "new" portion of my quartet today. The bread, which comes from a newly revised edition of the cookbook, Amy's Bread, is made with maple syrup, walnuts and figs. The book and the bread are both new to me and thus met the criteria I'd established for classifying a recipe as new. For better or worse, I've developed the habit of perusing cookbooks at the library before buying them. If a book has at least 10 recipes that I find interesting, I'll bring it home and test 2 or 3 of the selections I've made. If they work to my satisfaction, I'll buy the book. Otherwise, I return the book and move on to greener pastures. The approach has saved me a fortune in cookbook costs, and I highly recommend the practice to those who share my love of cooking and the books that expand our horizons. As it happens, while I really liked this bread, I didn't buy the book. It is much like other books already available in a saturated market and it didn't open new doors for me. I'm also beginning to sense that the bread craze, like the cupcake craze before it, may be coming to an end. There is only so much variation possible with flour, yeast and water and there are a lot of angels dancing on the head of the proverbial pin right now. Save for lining the pan with parchment paper to prevent the loaves from sticking, there are no tricks to making this quick bread. It is easy to make and delicious, though the cost of its ingredients quickly mount up and that expense may be off-putting to some. Those of you who like nut breads will love this one. Here's the recipe.

Maple Walnut and Fig Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Amy Scherber, Toy Kim Dupree and Aimee Herring

Ingredients:
2 cups dried figs, diced
1/2 cup warm water (85º to 90ºF)
2-2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-2/3 cups cake flour
1-3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-2/3 cups maple syrup, divided use
1-1/3 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups toasted walnut pieces

Directions:
1) Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 9x 5-inch loaf pans. Line bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2) Place diced figs in a medium bowl. Add warm water and let soak until softened.
3) Whisk all-purpose flour, cake flour, oats, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
4) Combine maple syrup, milk, eggs, egg yolks, and oil in a medium bowl, stirring until combined.
5) Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stirring with a spoon just until all of the flour is moistened. This should be a wet batter. Oats will absorb a lot of moisture during baking.
6) Fold walnuts and figs into the batter (figs need not be drained). Divide the batter evenly between two prepared pans. Bake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean. (If your oven bakes unevenly, rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time.)
7) Remove the pans from oven and use a pastry brush to glaze tops of the loaves generously with reservered 1/3 cup maple syrup. Set pans on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn the loaves out of the pans and set them on the rack to cool completely before serving.
8) Wrap any leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. They may also be frozen, wrapped first in aluminum foil and then in plastic wrap or a heavy-duty freezer bag. Yield: 2 loaves.

You might also like these recipes:
Vanilla Bean Banana Bread - Baking Bites
Cardamom Crumb Cake - A Whisk and A Spoon
Best Apple Bread - You Made That?
Apple Cinnamon Bread - Two Peas and Their Pod
Black Walnut Pumpkin Bread - Never Enough Thyme
Quick Bread Round-Up - One Perfect Bite
5 Quick Breads for Holiday Food Gifts - What's Cookin Chicago?

This post is being linked to:
Smiling Sally - Blue Monday

69 comments :

Monet said...

Yum. The ingredients in this bread sound perfect. I've also perused that cookbook, and like you, I decided not to buy it. Isn't the library a wonderful place? I have visited Amy's Bread though...and it was delicious. I hope you had a lovely weekend. Please have a happy and joyous week!

Ginny said...

This looks like a meal in itself with either a glass of cold milk or a cup of coffee, great on a cold night.

Jeannie said...

Looks so moist and delicious! Would love a slice for lunch right now:D

TLN said...

That looks delicious. :) May need to shop for a few ingredients. Yum!

SmilingSally said...

Anything made with figs would be delish!

Happy Blue Monday, Mary.

Anna A. said...

I'm such a sucker for quick breads and this one really appeals to me with the copious amounts of maple syrup and fig. Will be making this soon! Yum! Thanks Amy :)

Red Nomad OZ said...

Haha! You'll know from my blog that I love ANYTHING from (or that could have come from!) a bakery!! Great tip about the cookbooks - libraries are worth their weight in gold!!

Happy 2011!!

All That's Left Are The Crumbs said...

Perfect timing. I just happen to have some dried figs in my cupboard waiting to be used. This sounds wonderful. I'll have to see if my local library has this book, or maybe I will look through it at the local B&N.

Pie said...

Yummo!

My Blue and Mellow Yellow Monday.

alwayswinner786 said...

Love it looks delicious!
Wishing you Happy New Year, May you always keep in your heart the special beauty and cheer of New Year
Love Always
Sutapa

Alessandra said...

It is a very good idea to check the cook books out at the library before, silly to have cookbook that you never use, especially now that there are so many recipes on the net :-).

In saying that... I have to admit that it takes a lot of thinking in writing a book, but you have to focus on your market, and never hope to please everybody.

You know that in NZ there is a beautiful system in place where authors get a little (very little but better than nothing) royalty for the books that are lent out?

They use a sample 50 libraries from around NZ, count how many of your books are borrowed, and then pay you.

Lovely bread, Love walnuts, and maple syrup, and figs!!!

ciao

Alessandra

penny aka jeroxie said...

a yummy combination. have to save this recipe.

☆Mama Ko☆ said...

What a delicious recipe to share for new year, it looks moist and sweet

http://www.jnjmilestones.com/2011/01/box-tv-princess.html

Priya said...

Elegant and excellent bread..

Cherine said...

A wonderful bread, looks so moist and delicious!

Chele said...

Oh that bread looks lovely. Its going on my must bake list!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

That looks just amazing, Mmmmmm. Diane

imriz said...

i could have a whole loaf of this!

iamclarizze said...

loved walnuts...i envy that you can bake one that looks moist and crunchy at the same time.

eileeninmd said...

What a great idea to check out the library buying before buying the cookbook. This bread sound delicious. Happy New Years to you and yours.

Rachana said...

A wonderful bread with great flavours.

The Blonde Duck said...

This sounds so wonderful.






Dr.Sameena Prathap
said...

Hey,

Amzing bread dear....:)

Dr.Sameena@

http://www.myeasytocookrecipes.blogspot.com/

Jenn said...

Oh that bread looks so tasty and hearty! YUM! That's a great idea on testing out cookbooks too... for some reason I never thought of that!

Design Wine and Dine said...

I do love nut breads and am always looking for new ways to use figs!

This bread looks like a beutiful one to make on a Sunday morning and then enjoy all week! Thanks Mary!

From the Kitchen said...

This type of bread has been a staple in my freezer for at least two decades so I don't think it will fall to the wayside where we're concerned. The breads are so delicious with a salad or soup lunch, for those rare tea times and have traveled with me to many get togethers. This recipe sounds delicious and a bit different from my current recipes.

I've left a few smudges on library cookbooks myself!!

Best,
Bonnie

Claudia said...

I hear year after year predictions about the demise of the cupcake but it is still going strong. I wonder if the bread craze is just beginning - the more people stay home - the more they discover what they can do for themselves? The bread is a warm, welcome addition to my winter home. I agree that there is so much you can do with yeats - but then find myself intrigued by everyone's variations.

Martha said...

I have everything to make this bread and will try it -- it has all the flavors I love -- fig and maple and walnuts!!!
And I like that it makes two loaves -- one to use and one to freeze or one to use and one to give. Looks like an excellent tea or coffee bread as well and I'm always looking for new flavors for my tea nosh!

LV said...

I love figs. In would not matter, what you used it would be good. You are starting us off right with this recipe. This would be wonderful with a cup of coffee.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Happy New Year Mary...this recipe has a mixture of everything that I like...delicious!

CaSaundraLeigh said...

Sounds like such a wonderful pairing for a bread!

aipi said...

That is one amazing, beautiful and delicious looking bread..love the use of maple and figs..

Have a great n prosperous 2011 Mary!!
Good luck and lotsa hugs :)

US Masala

Tasha said...

Even if the cookboook itself didn't necessarily wow you, this bread certainally seems impressive. The combo of maple, figs and walnuts sounds delicious.

gengen said...

Looks yummy yum yum...Happy blue Monday.

lostpastremembered said...

I love AMy's bread in NY, especially the cinnamon rolls! I always eat them and never try anything else. You have inspired me to try a little variety! I do love figs and the recipe looks great!

Chef E said...

I am leaving this open to make...hubby brought my favorites back from AZ, from Date-town...wondering if I could substitute, but I will let you know how they turn out!

Chef E said...

Oh also did not get to say-

Happy New Year Mary! hugs...

lena said...

i believe the state libraries over at my place here have very limited cookbooks, the bookstores at the mall have much greater range..we cant borrow that of course so one way is that people just sit and slowly analyse the book before buying it, i've also seen people copying down the recipes from the book instead of buying them.

Jen_from_NJ said...

Mary, I love your tip! I recently started visiting the public library again and I will use your advice to make wiser cookbook purchases. Your bread does look fantastic!

Suzanne said...

Mary your bread looks so moist and delicious. Thanks for including me in your links your the best. Happy New Year!

Anette said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog! This bread sounds delicious, I can almost feel the taste of it by looking at the photo :) Lots of hugs from Anette :)

Faith said...

This lovely bread is absolutely full of goodies, Mary! I bet it would make a really lovely breakfast!

shopannies said...

love how you incorporated the blue check into the picture very pretty the recipe sounds great as well while I am not a fan of figs the recipe does sound great and I believe would help to make it come together and tast great

PeggyR said...

This looks wonderful!

Donnie said...

That recipe sounds really good. Love the blue checked cloth- it would compliment my blue checked placemats if you ever get tired of it...lol...Happy Blue Monday.

teresa said...

i like your philosophy for buying cookbooks. i unfortunately have a few on my shelf that haven't been used a single time. i'll have to try it your way.

this is such a beautiful bread, i love that it's made with figs!

Nancy and Vijay said...

Happy New Year Mary :) This looks delicious. I've never baked anything with figs in it before, now I am intrigued.

Emily Z said...

Yum, I love walnut in breads! I need to pull my breadmaker back out, it has been a while since I have made some yummy bread! And don't worry about using the wrong name on your comment to me! I think it was here on your blog that I accidentally posted anonymously not too long ago! ;)

Katerina said...

What you do with the cookbooks is so smart. I am sure your library consists of books really worth buying. This bread is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack.

Choclette said...

Oh Mary, you make so many delicious things and this bread sounds so good - I love all of those ingredients.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy new year.

momgateway said...

Such a hearty and perfect bread!

JG said...

Mary, I like your approach to cookbooks. I do likewise and also with sewing project books. Libraries are wonderful resources!

Recipes using old fashioned oats are great and this sounds very tasty! Thanks! Happy New Year to you & your family!
~Judy

A Year on the Grill said...

I just love the looks of this bread... so filled with stuffings... No hint of ingredients, there they are!

great photos and post

michelangelo in the kitchen said...

Lovely, lovely bread. Looks almost like a fruit cake but better! Just love the maple and fig! I'll have a perfect bite with this and a cup of tea!
Happy New Year to you!!!

scrambledhenfruit said...

Hooked me with maple and reeled me in with walnuts and figs. :) It sounds marvelous!

Kim said...

It is so true what you say about books. Anyway, this bread looks really good. I like the combination of flavors!

The Food Hound said...

I would make this and hoard it all to myself on one condition-- I make it with dates instead of figs :) Love dates... not as in love with figs :) But that is the beauty of dried fruit! Interchangeable!

Victor said...

Any recipe that requires maple syrup is good for any Quebecer. I never thought of putting figs, I will give it a try!

You know what, I almost do the same trick as you when purchasing a cookbook. In my case, I take pictures of few recipes that I like. Make it a home, if I really love it, I'll purchase. The bookstore never complains ;)

Joanne said...

I love waking up to a good quickbread and the flavor combination in this just can't be beat.

Regina said...

Delicious!
Happy New Year Mary.
Cheers and regards.

Sushma Mallya said...

Wish you and your family a very happy new year Mary....bread looks awesome....

My Little Space said...

You have just reminded me of some quick bread which I left out long ago. I love the chunky fillings on yours. Thanks again for sharing.
Cheers, Kristy

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Mary - I've also been to Amy's bread stores and everything is delicious there. I love the combination used in this fig and walnut bread and definitely will be trying it.

High Plains Drifters said...

The only problem with this recipe is that I'll have to decide between it and your Hawaiian banana bread, which has become my go-to weekend item whenever we have company. Decisions, decisions ...

Jamie said...

Oh, Mary, what a fabulous bread. Yes, bread is bread but this one with these perfect flavors and the textures that come with the nuts and figs is one that I'd so love to have on my table. Beautiful!

Wishing you all the best for 2011, health, happines and joy! xoxo Jamie

FOODESSA said...

Everything needed for this cake is in my pantry. This week, I'll be making it for sure. Thanks Mary, for this yummy bite ;o)

Flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Jana said...

This looks wonderful, I can not wait to make it for my family. I wanted to personally thank you for visiting my blog today and leaving me such a kind comment. I can not tell you how much I appreciate your input, especially coming from you. Many Blessings to you as well, Jana

Sue said...

The bread looks wonderful! I don't think I've ever tried figs, but I love maple syrup and walnuts. I love your method of deciding whether to purchase a cookbook or not, it is a wise one!

That Girl said...

This sounds like a very sweet bread.

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