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Orange Poppy Seed Bread & Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Bread

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Orange Poppy Seed Bread

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This is one of my favorite breakfast treats because it is so moist, unlike many quick breads. It’s simple to assemble and stays fresh and delicious for several days after baking. Thin slices of this bread layered with cream cheese make a delicious tea-time sandwich.

MAKES 1 LOAF

  • 12 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (5.3 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (8.75 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 tsps. finely grated orange zest
  • 3 tbsps. poppy seeds
  • ½ cup (4 oz.) sour cream
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • ¼ cup (1.5 oz.) candied orange peel, finely chopped (optional—see Chef’s Tip)
  • 2 tbsps. orange juice
  • 1 cup (4.23 oz.) confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a large (9” x 5” x 3”) loaf pan (or grease the pan, line with parchment, grease again and dust with flour).

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluff y. Add the eggs one at a time and mix to combine. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tsps. orange zest and poppy seeds in a medium bowl. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
Add the sour cream and orange extract and mix until just combined. Fold in the candied orange peel. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55–60 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in the loaf pan.

In the meantime, combine the remaining 1 tsp. orange zest, orange juice and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack. Use a fork to prick the top of the bread all over about 1” deep. Pour the glaze evenly and slowly over the bread, allowing the top to absorb it.
Cool for at least 15 minutes, until glaze is set.

Chef’s Tip: How to Make Candied Orange Peel—Slice the ends off the orange (or lemon for lemon peel), then score the peel from one end to the other into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cut into ¼”-wide strips. Cook in large pot of boiling water for 15 minutes; drain, rinse and drain again. Remove the peels in large sections. Slice the peels into thin ¼”-wide strips. Bring 3 inches water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Place the peels into the boiling water and blanch them for 5 minutes. Drain the peels and repeat. Drain the peels again. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8–9 minutes, until temperature reaches 230–235 degrees F. Add the peels and reduce the heat to retain a simmer. Cook until the peels become translucent, about 45 minutes. If using the peels in bread, simply drain them and allow them to dry completely. If using for snacking or dipping in chocolate, drain them, then roll them in granulated sugar and allow them to cool.

Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Bread

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Chocolate and cherries have a natural affinity for each other, and are especially tasty in this rich bread topped with a hazelnut crumb mixture.

MAKES 1 LOAF

  • ½ cup (4 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 2 cups (8.75 oz.) plus 2 tbsps. all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsps. unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • ¼ cup (1 oz.) hazelnuts, peeled and chopped (see Chef’s Tip)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/3 cup (2.6 fl. oz.) canola or coconut oil
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (2.9 oz.) dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup (4.6 oz.) mini bittersweet chocolate chips (or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a large (9” x 5” x 3”) loaf pan (or grease the pan, line with parchment, grease again and dust with flour) and set aside.

Combine ¼ cup (2 oz.) brown sugar, 1 tbsp. flour and butter with a pastry blender or fork in a medium bowl. Stir in the hazelnuts and set aside.

Combine the remaining 2 cups (8.75 oz.) flour, baking soda, salt and espresso powder (if using) in a medium bowl. Combine the oil, remaining ¼ cup (2 oz.) brown sugar and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat in the egg. Add half the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix until just combined. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined. Toss the cherries and chocolate chips with the remaining 1 tbsp. flour to coat. Stir the coated cherries and chips into the batter. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the hazelnut topping evenly over top.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55–60 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pan, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.

Chef’s Tip: To peel the hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts in A layer on a baking sheet and toast until the skins are mostly split, about 8–10 minutes.
Rub the nuts with double paper towels until skins are removed.