Strawberries are in season in Florida, and Strawberry Bread With Honey Butter is a good way to showcase the bounty. I bought some at a roadside fruit stand that were red through and through and the aroma was amazing.
I doubled #CookClub recipe No. 11 with no problem so I could make one loaf with nuts and one without. The strawberries give off plenty of liquid so the bread is quite moist, but I still like the idea of a smear of honey butter. The flavored spread is easily made of softened butter, honey and a splash of vanilla flavoring.
I've made fruit breads before and had trouble with the chunks sinking to the bottom of the loaf and making it soggy. Cool trick: Toss the diced berries with some of the flour called for in the recipe. (A single batch of the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour so pull out 1/4 cup of that amount to toss with the berries.)
This creates a moisture barrier between the berries and the batter, allowing the fruit to float evenly rather than sink. It worked quite well as you can see from the photo.
Here's something else interesting about this recipe. The loaf made with the nuts was much darker, and the berries were brighter in the loaf made without nuts. Not sure I know why but thought that was fun to note.
Here's the important part: This bread is delicious with or without the honey butter (or nuts). Let it cool completely and the rather heavy bread will hold together better.
Oh, what will you do to make it your own? Can't wait to see your feedback on Instagram.
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To participate online, the key is to remember #CookClub because that's how you'll want to tag everything. You'll have two weekends to make the recipe and post a photo on Instagram with your comments. The next recipe will be announced March 3 on tampabay.com.
Photos and comments of the Strawberry Bread With Honey Butter are due by 6 p.m. March 2. Some of the photos and comments will be printed in the Tampa Bay Times Taste section March 3.
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Strawberry Bread With Honey Butter
Deadline for photos and comments on Instagram is 6 p.m. March 2. Tag them #CookClub.
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pecans
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced into 1/4-inch pieces and mixed with 1/4 cup flour (see note)
For honey butter:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour (or spray with a nonstick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan.
Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until brown and fragrant — don't let them burn. Remove from oven and let cool completely before chopping coarsely.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the 1 3/4 cups of the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture (in three additions) and sour cream (in two additions), starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in the diced strawberries and chopped nuts.
Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 60 to 70 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes and then remove from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature, but the bread will hold together better if completely cooled.
While bread is cooling, make honey butter by thoroughly mixing all ingredients together with a spoon or a handheld mixer.
Makes 1 loaf.
Note: Coating the strawberry pieces in flour helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf when baking. This 1/4 cup flour is needed in the recipe.
Source: Adapted from joyofbaking.com and allrecipes.com