Sunday, October 11, 2009

Carrot Almond Brown Sugar Bread

The picture below shows my cats, Chester and Lulu. Chester is the brown tabby and – though you can’t make out the extent of his girth from this picture – the fat one. We would like to restrict his diet, but he gobbles up food quickly, and we are worried that LuLu, our thin cat, would be unable to obtain adequate nourriture were we to further limit their kibble rations. Please don’t suggest that we separate them and feed them at different times or in different rooms. I’m far too lazy, and Chester derives so much enjoyment from food that it would be cruel to further curtail his appetites. Also, it clearly takes a lot of fuel to power such sweetness.

Chester is not a Manx. He was found wandering on a college campus with a nasty bite wound on his tail, and it had to be amputated. We took Chester as an “emergency foster” from the shelter where I volunteer and ended up keeping him because, despite his character flaws, he is precious.

Chester is a master at ferreting out unsecured food. If I leave cat food on the counter, he will claw through the plastic and scatter kibble all over the room. If I forget to rinse the lid of his wet food, he will hop on the counter and lick it. He meows and whines and constantly begs when I’m cooking anything cat-pleasing, such as eggs or cheese. He is insatiable.

Because he is so obviously underfed, right?

I had decided to make carrot bread in the morning and had set out a half stick of butter and vanilla yoghurt the night before, so they would be room temperature when I got up.

I’ve done this lots of times before, but I won’t be doing it in the future. Because Chester, voracious beast that he is, apparently hopped up on the counter and started licking the butter.

I didn’t witness this atrocity. My husband reported the carnage and came downstairs to ask if I wanted to throw out the butter. I presume he was being rhetorical. In the future, I guess I’ll have to hide butter under a bowl when I need to bring it to room temperature. Or something. My Chester’s gluttony is a monumental force, and one with which I must continue to contend. Needless to say, I chucked that butter and softened a fresh quarter cup in the microwave. I don't think it really makes a difference in this recipe.

This is another recipe inspired by the Quick Breads, many versions, in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food. As per usual, I have completely customized it. I change the leavening to avoid the sunken middle of failure and add a few more flavor boosters.

The ingredient list may look long, but this comes together very quickly. You could also omit many of the things I include and still come away with a perfectly tasty, perfectly serviceable quickbread.

Carrot Almond Brown Sugar Bread

2 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (half a stick)
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup (if you don’t have it, use 7/8 cups brown sugar)
zest of one orange (lemon would also work)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons malted milk powder (optional)
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1 6-oz. container vanilla yoghurt
1 cup shredded carrot, from about 3 medium carrots peeled and grated
2/3 cup toasted almonds (you can substitute pecans or walnuts in a pinch)
2/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon whiskey (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In larger bowl, cream together butter, sugar, syrup, orange zest, vanilla, and malted milk powder.

Add eggs and stir until incorporated, then add yoghurt and stir until smooth. Add carrot. Place raisins in small bowl or cup with whiskey. Cover and microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute, until plumped. (You can skip this step if you want, but it adds nice flavor.) Add raisins and almonds to wet ingredients.Stir in dry ingredients.Turn into a greased 9 x 5” loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then turn onto wire rack and cool completely.This is a really nice quickbread. It’s different from the usual banana-pumpkin-cranberry bread rotation but still sweet, savory, and flavorful. It tastes like carrot cake’s cousin, but it’s much healthier and much easier to whip together. I actually forgot to include the cinnamon and nutmeg this time around, but it’s not lacking in flavor. Carrot Almond Brown Sugar bread is definitely worth adding to your recipe queue.

Printable recipe at here.


  1. Hi there,
    We baked this bread this afternoon and loved it :)
    Thanks for sharing the was the first thing we baked together as a married couple too! Couple of changes - we used walnuts instead of almonds, and soaked the raisins in Jamaican Wray & Nephew rum cream, and left out the orange zest since we had no citrus on hand. We love poetry and baking too - so will probably keep dropping by here. Happy Holidays and wish you the best for 2010.

  2. I hope it worked out for you! Happy holidays and welcome! We are also fond of science in my house (husand = physicist), so I'll keep an eye on your blog as well. :)