The Fruit Dilemma: Apricot Chocolate Pecan Bread

It’s been a minute since I’ve honored the name sake y’all. What’s a blog and business called The Bread and Breakfast without a regular post or two about bread every now and again? A silly one. That’s what. Clearly, I had to clean up that craziness this week. 

I’m getting to that point in the year when I’m tired of being in the middle of my favorite seasons. Yeah sure, seeing the sun more often and feeling warm every once in a while would be great, but really, I’m missing produce. We’re at a time of year when it’s a bit past apple/pear craving season, but too early for peaches, apricots, melons, and berries. We’ve still got citrus aplenty (which we’ll be using in full force very sooooon), but my general fruity excitement is in a lull. So, what does a baker do when her favorite fresh fruits aren’t readily available? Go frozen, or go dried.

Dried fruit isn’t something I normally bake with in breads. Since most dried fruits are versions of berries, the pieces are small and often get lost in the mix. That is except, of course, for dried apricots. Dried apricots have a sweet taste that I almost prefer over the fresh stuff, and have a chewy texture to them that’s really noticeable due to the sizes of the larger pieces. Therefore, they were the PERFECT addition to this week’s goodie: Apricot Chocolate Pecan Bread. Not only does this bread have simple ingredients, but it also only requires a spatula as opposed to a stand or hand mixer. Let’s get started!

First, you’ll combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk those guys together and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together your egg and sugars. We’re using half white sugar, and half brown sugar here. First, the balance of the two will lead to a lighter colored bread to bring out the vibrant colors of the apricots. Secondly, because there are many flavors going into this bread already (chocolate, fruits, and nuts), having the added flavor of molasses that would come from using more brown sugar, isn’t necessary.

To your sugar mixture, you’ll add your buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Buttermilk is highly recommended here. It is slightly more acidic than regular milk, so it a) adds a tang to the bread, b) reacts with the baking soda a bit more strongly, creating a sturdy rise. To make your own buttermilk on the cheap, take a look here.

Once your wets and dries have been combined separately, you can slowly incorporate the dry into the wet, being careful not to miss any lumps of flour when mixing. 

Next up, the fillings. I went hard on these…because why wouldn’t you? Does anyone eat bread for the actual bread? I thought not. It’s all about the chunks. (I’m already regretting using that word…)

Your batter can now be poured into a prepared loaf pan, and baked at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes to an hour. Make sure to check about 2/3 of the way through for brownness on the top of the bread. You may have to tent the bread once brown, for the rest of the cooking process.  

There you have it folks, a loaf of bread that’ll remind you of the warmer months to come, when buying fruits becomes exciting once again. 

Next week, it’s time to actually honor the time of year it really is, instead of the time of year I wish it would be. We’re going citrusy, friends.

Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!

Erin 

Apricot Chocolate Pecan Bread
A simple quick bread filled with all the good things in life at the moment: chunks of dried apricot, chocolate chips, and pecan pieces!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  7. 1/2 granulated sugar
  8. 1 cup buttermilk
  9. 1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  11. 2/3 cup dried apricot pieces, halves
  12. 2/3 cup pecans, chopped
  13. 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Combine the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugars and egg, until completely combined.
  3. Add the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet slowly, being careful not to miss any clumps or overmix the batter.
  5. Fold in apricots, chocolate chips, and pecans.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean, and the surface of the bread is crusty.*
Notes
  1. Watch for browning 2/3 of the way through the cooking process and tent to prevent further browning if necessary.
The Bread and Breakfast http://thebreadandbreakfast.com/

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