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Citrus-Almond Loaf with Olive Oil

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Olive oil gives this bread extra depth of flavor.

Here’s a quick bread recipe that is decidedly different, thanks to the combination of orange and lemon zest, almonds and olive oil.

“The bread doesn’t actually taste like olive oil at all, but the oil adds a depth of flavor that seems to go particularly well with the bright taste of the citrus,” writes SoNo Baking Co. owner John Barricelli in “The Seasonal Baker: Easy Recipes from My Home Kitchen to Make Year-Round” (Clarkson Potter, $35). “Flecked with bits of orange and lemon zest, and topped with crisp, sliced almonds, this tender all-season loaf is ultra-moist and perfect for breakfast, snack or teatime.”

Barricelli also makes this as big muffins in addition to loaves.

Try it with a robust Texas olive oil, such as the one produced at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard.

Citrus-Almond Loaf with Olive Oil

2 tablespoons plus 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
Sanding or coarse sugar (optional)

Set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray and 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch bread pan with nonstick spray, or generously butter with softened butter. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into the pan and tilt the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Place the pan on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and the remaining 1 cup oil to blend. Whisk in the eggs, milk and grated zests. Slowly whisk in the dry ingredients until the flour is absorbed and the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds and the sanding sugar, if using. Bake, rotating the sheet about two-thirds of the way through the baking, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean and the top is mounded and golden brown, 55 to 65 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Turn the cake out and let cool on the rack.

Tip: Here’s a trick to prevent quick breads from doming unevenly. When the bread has been baking for 20 minutes, insert a knife about 1 inch deep into the batter, and run it down the length of the batter in the pan.

Makes 1 loaf.

From “The Seasonal Baker” by John Barricelli

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