Our first batch of apricots just ripened a couple weeks ago, which meant that a lot of apricots needed to be consumed quickly, as they seem to go from barely ripe to overly ripe in the blink of an eye. Needless to say, we've been blending apricots in our smoothies, chopping them up for salad, and sharing them with family and friends, but there was still a bowl sitting on the counter, ripening more and more each day and screaming to be used.
I'd been turning over ideas in my head, trying to decide what to make with these tangy-sweet orange morsels, and I finally came up with this creation. A double dose of apricots goes into this loaf; some of them are pureed and blended into the dough, while the others are chopped and folded in for added taste, texture, and color. Then, things get really exciting because brown sugar candied walnuts are added, both in the loaf and all over the top.
It was on the day that I set out to make this bread that I developed an addiction to candied walnuts. In fact, I'm pretty sure everyone who tried them was quickly lost to their sweet and nutty appeal. Self control and an iron fist kept these walnuts around long enough to make it into the bread; otherwise, they surely would have been consumed before then. It turns out that candied walnuts are in a whole different ballpark than plain walnuts. Even those of us who are not huge walnut fans (myself included) loved the candied walnuts, and it was the staunchest walnut opponent of us all who requested a second batch of the candied walnuts before the day was over.
This Apricot and Candied Walnut Bread turned out to be the perfect use for all of those ripening apricots. The loaf is somewhat on the lighter side of quick breads, with less butter and sugar than most. A bit of whole wheat flour adds to the nutty flavor, along with cinnamon and brown sugar. The end result is a lightly sweetened bread, moist and brimming with that tangy apricot taste and the sweet nuttiness of the candied walnuts.
Apricot and Candied Walnut Bread
Enjoy this lightly sweetened loaf filled with fresh, tangy apricots while apricots are in season. Brown sugar candied walnuts add a sweet, nutty flavor to this beautiful, moist bread.
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 1 9 x 5 inch loaf 1x
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter, softened (½ a stick)
- ½ cup brown sugar, loose
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pureed apricots (12-13 very small apricots)**
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup milk***
- ½ cup chopped apricots (4-5 very small apricots)
- generous ¾ cup crushed candied walnuts, divided****
- Preheat oven to 350F, and grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat in pureed apricots and vanilla until evenly incorporated. With mixer on lowest speed, slowly pour in milk and mix until combined.
- Add dry ingredients to wet and mix at lowest speed until just combined. Using a spatula, fold in chopped apricots and ½ cup of the crushed candied walnuts. Reserve the remaining generous ¼ cup for garnishing top of loaf.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top with the spatula. Sprinkle reserved crushed candied walnuts (generous ¼ cup) evenly over the top of the dough.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool about half an hour before slicing. The bread is delicious fresh from the oven, but I found that the next day I liked it better cold than warmed up. Enjoy :)
*If you don't have whole-wheat flour, just use another ½ cup of all-purpose.
**I found that the easiest way to puree the apricots is in a food processor. The more apricots you puree at once, the better they will be pureed.
***I used 2% milk. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
****It couldn't be easier to make your own candy walnuts. Here is the way I did it. Using a mortar and pestle is an easy way to crush the candied walnuts.
So tell me, what's your favorite summer fruit?