Do you remember cherry-vanilla ice cream? The kind with dark, sour cherries and just a hint of vanilla in the sweet, thick cream? It seems that this old-fashioned combo is nowhere to be found among the ice cream flavors in my little town.
But there’s absolutely no reason we can’t enjoy those same dramatic flavors in an easy quick bread. Today’s recipe is part-quick bread and part-buttery poundcake studded with dark, rich, tart cherries. I first started thinking about the delicious possibilities when I came across a large bag of Montmorency cherries at my local club store. I grabbed a bag, thinking they’d be a great winter addition to my morning oatmeal. Then I started snacking on the intense little gems when I remembered my favorite ice cream flavor as a child — cherry-vanilla.
Yes, they are wonderful when stirred into a steaming bowl of oatmeal. But you’re going to love the result of this quick bread. After several loaves, I’ve finally given up on the hope of having leftovers long enough to make French toast. It seems that when a loaf is in the house, it never stays until the next day. If you can, give it a try with day-old or two-day-old bread and let me know how it turns out. In the meantime, enjoy the sweet goodness of cherries and vanilla again.
Start to finish: about 45 minutes, mostly unattended baking time
Yield: 10 servings, 1 slice each
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup 1 percent (or higher) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cherries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan well and set aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Stir well. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the butter, egg, milk, vanilla and cherries together. Add the combined wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just moist throughout. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool further. Slice and serve, or wrap tightly in foil until ready to serve.
Approximate values per serving: 197 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 31 mg cholesterol, 3 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 165 mg sodium.
Alicia Ross is the co-author of “Desperation Dinners!” (Workman, 1997), “Desperation Entertaining!” (Workman, 2002) and “Cheap. Fast. Good!” (Workman, 2006). Contact her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to email@example.com. Or visit the Kitchen Scoop website at www.kitchenscoop.com.