I feel the transition happening outside, summer to fall, and it is so welcome. The nights are getting cooler, the breeze is coming in, and I swear I can smell it. (Yes, autumn has a smell, I can’t describe, but I recognize it.)
Here comes the season of apples, squashes, hot meals and baking — when turning on the oven is actually welcomed and comforting, comforting like a freshly baked treat, cooling on a windowsill. Speaking of baking, I have a not-so-secret confession.
I can’t get myself to follow directions when baking. Does anyone else have this problem? I’m not alone, right?
I’ve had great intentions to follow a recipe exactly as is, but once in the kitchen I can’t explain what happens… A little whole wheat white flour here, a little almond meal there, a little agave here, some coconut oil there… ta da!! I have no problem eating someone else’s baked treats with white sugar and white flour, but my conscious won’t let me do it myself.
Especially when I have an arsenal of substitutes that, to me, taste great. Sometimes my substituting ends in disaster: too flat cookies, too dense bread, too sweet desserts, and some, not sweet enough. But other times, it’s just right.
And this time, I think it’s just right. This bread turned out with the right texture, moist and perfectly sweet. Bake this and set it out on your windowsill to cool.
Feel the cool air, smell the deliciousness and smile. Once cool, slice and enjoy with a cup of tea.
Lemon Poppy-Seed Bread
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (if you don’t have this, you could use more butter, but the coconut is good!)
1/2 cup whole wheat white flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup sucanat (or brown sugar, or sugar in the raw)
1/3 cup agave (or honey)
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9″x5″ loaf pan. In a medium bowl whisk together: flours, almond meal, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds.
In a large bowl, beat butter, coconut oil, sucanat and agave until creamy (this could take a while to dissolve the sucanat). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla, milk and lemon zest.
Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, a little at a time, and mix gently until well incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, around 45-50 minutes.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna has a Masters in Writing through Depaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.