Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pear-Hazelnut Quick Bread

Who doesn't love quick bread? It's bread. More quickly. My mother has been lusting after this flavor combination for some time (don't ask me about a certain pear-hazelnut cake that I have promised to make her), but this quick bread was able to mollify her for the time being.

It's ridiculously simple and open to plenty of variation. Being the lazy cook I am, I refused to peel the hazelnuts, even after I toasted them. I don't think it took a thing away from the overall bread. If anything, I think it made it nice and "earthy".

The hazelnuts on top are also a good touch, both for eating and viewing purposes.

Makes either one large loaf or 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or whole-wheat flour)
1 cup all purpose (plain) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 large eggs
1 cup nonfat/lowfat buttermilk
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups diced peeled pears (about 2)
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts, plus more for topping


Preheat oven to 400 F for muffins and 375 F for a large loaf. Coat pan with cooking spray.

Combine the first eight ingredients in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar, butter, oil, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients bit by bit, stirring until just combined. Add pears and hazelnuts. Stir until just combined (don't overmix).

Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Top with additional hazelnuts, if desired.

Bake until golden brown, until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 22-25 minutes for muffins, about 1 hour for the large loaf. Let cool in the tin (15 minutes for muffins, 45 minutes for a loaf) before turning out onto a wire rack.

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