A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf (Starbuck's Copycat)

The other day, while ordering my regular coffee drink at Starbuck's, I buckled. I decided to blow my calorie intake for the day and indulge in a slice of Lemon Poppyseed Loaf. And it was good. It made me want to try replicating it at home. As luck would have it, the very next day I stumbled upon this recipe. And while it was not a lemon loaf, nor did it have a lemon glaze, I knew it would be a good foundation upon which to adapt to my liking. Now I know that most bakers prefer to use butter in their baking for the flavor factor, and most of the time I would agree. But the fact that this recipe uses oil instead of butter caught my attention. There are certain instances in which oil can really help to deliver the moistness that so many loaves lack. And the fact that the recipe yields 2 loaves instead of one? Well, that was the final straw. I knew I had to give it a go.

The verdict?  These lemon loaves are delicious. Moist and tender, similar to a pound cake with just enough of the lemon flavor that I was craving. And easy too. You can't really go wrong here. Perfect for a weeknight dessert, or an afternoon snack. Can you guess what I'll be eating for breakfast tomorrow? And the next day...

Recipe for Starbuck's Copycat Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf
Adapted from: A Farm Girl's Dabbles

For the Lemon Loaf:
3 cups AP flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 large eggs
3 tsp. lemon extract (or you could use vanilla and add lemon zest if you don't have lemon extract)

For the Glaze:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray two 8 1/2 inch x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Mix on lowest speed until combined.

In a separate medium sized bowl, combine milk, oil eggs and lemon extract (or vanilla and lemon zest, if using). Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry with the mixer on lowest setting. Mix until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Pour into prepared pans and bake for approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes; or until toothpick inserted into the loaves comes out clean.

While the loaves are baking, make the glaze by combining the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and melted butter and whisking until smooth. Once loaves are finished baking, remove from oven and brush the glaze on both loaves until all the glaze is gone. Allow the loaves to cool for 20 minutes in the pans. After 20 minutes, loosen the loaves by running a knife along the perimeter. Turn the pans upside down and release the loaves. Turn right side up onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely, and for the glaze to harden. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bacon Jam

The stars aligned, the weather cooperated, the kids played happily (and quietly enough to dodge bed time several times). Even the dogs got along. And in the midst of all this, a dinner party was enjoyed. Outside. On a deck. Cold beers, plenty of wine, Raspberry Vodka infused girly drinks. Animated conversations amongst friends, lots of laughing, but the best part? Bacon jam, served on crostinis with brie. Yeah. Bacon. In jam form. Enough said.
Recipe for Bacon Jam
Source: adapted from Dinner with Julie
1 lb good-quality bacon
1 small onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup coffee
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar 
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard

Chop the bacon and cook it in a heavy pot until nicely browned and crisp (or to your liking). Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and drain, set aside. Pour off all but about one tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat. Saute the onion and garlic in the remaining fat for about 5 minutes, until softened and golden brown. Return the bacon to the pot, add the brown sugar, coffee, maple syrup, vinegar and mustard and cook over medium heat until thickened to the consistency of sticky jam (about 10 to 15 minutes). Refrigerate until ready to use. The jam will stiffen once chilled, and is best served at room temperature.
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