February 7, 2011

Spiced Carrot and Walnut Loaf

Not brussel sprouts.

This is not the recipe you were going to get this week. You were supposed to get brussel sprouts. Which you may get next week, depending on how they turn out tomorrow (I've never had them before, so it's kind of a crapshoot). But this week, instead, you get this dense, spiced carrot and walnut loaf. It's rich and slightly sweet, really just a couple steps away from cake, but you can totally feel justified eating it for breakfast. You are welcome.

Also, please no one warn my boyfriend that I'm making brussel sprouts. I would like for him to come home from work tomorrow.

Anyway. I was settling in to do homework when I stumbled across this recipe that would use the carrots and buttermilk that have been  threatening to go bad in my fridge, as well as the walnuts I've been ignoring ever since I used 1/8 of the container for pesto two weeks ago. For the sake of not wasting food, homework obviously had to wait.

Roughing up the nuts.

I then proceeded to dirty about ninety dishes, because I decided about halfway through that I wanted basically everything to be completely different. Why would you use plain old white sugar instead of dark brown? And two cups is too much entirely for something I plan on eating for breakfast, so I actually measured as I removed some from the bowl. A mashed, ripe banana brings some sweetness back and adds a touch more nutrition and general deliciousness.

A small sample of the kitchen carnage.

There are a couple other teeny tweaks that make it healthier and tastier, and things turned out delightful. It's not quite dessert (although if you slathered on some cream cheese that you'd whipped with maple syrup, it easily could be), but it's a great midnight snack and a helluva breakfast. Nicely spiced and perfectly moist, it's great smeared with butter and perfect for those cold, gloomy, do-I-really-have-to-get-out-of-bed mornings I hear you guys are having up north. And for the record, in my opinion, you do not. Feel free to quote me to your boss.

Spiced Carrot and Walnut Loaf
Adapted from Serious Eats
Makes 2 loaves

1 pound carrots, sliced
1 cup walnuts
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 very ripe banana, mashed*
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil or melted butter
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Butter two 9x5 loaf pans and set aside.

Cook carrots until very tender, either in a steam basket or covered in simmering water, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast walnuts in dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Remove both from heat and let cool slightly.

Mash carrots with a potato masher OR run through the food processor until mostly smoot h(small chunks are fine). Chop walnuts to your liking (mine, for example, were teeny tiny because the boy thinks he doesn't like nuts in things.)

In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, banana, vanilla, and honey. When fully incorporated, beat in oil and buttermilk.In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Stir carrots into egg mixture, and beat in flour mixture on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared pans and smooth tops. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the loaves pull slightly away from sides of pans and a toothpick comes out clean. In case of toothpick shortage, the Interwebs suggested a piece of uncooked spaghetti, and it worked just fine. Enjoy!

*My banana was barely ripe at all. I just sliced it and sauteed it with the honey (including 1 additional tablespoon) until nice and mushy.

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  1. that sounds delicious. except for the banana. do you think i could leave that out? i don't like bananas in things. especially bread. please re-post with modified recipe.

  2. You're just like Erik. You think you don't like things only because I don't tell you what's in anything I make. You like banana in breads, trust me.

  3. I want this with some of the amazing amish butter we got at Jungle Jims awhile ago. *sigh*

  4. I actually don't like bananas in things, either. I only like bananas as bananas, one day past green.

  5. The original recipe calls for a half-cup of honey, so you could go that route, instead. BUT, you also don't taste banana at all in this (I just got a bite to make sure I'm not lying). It just adds sweetness and moisture.