Here in Southern California, we can get strawberries almost anytime of year, however starting in spring and continuing through the summer, strawberries are so much more flavorful. I grow a small barrel of strawberries in my backyard for a quick pick of fresh fruit to add to my favorite recipes, but buying from a local farm stand can give you an entire flat of fun to play with in the kitchen. These naturally sweet scarlet gems are delicately juicy and I love to add them to almost anything, especially baked goods.
Strawberries are a little tricky to use in baking because they contain a lot of water. However, if you chop them up in small pieces or puree them first, they tend to integrate into a batter much easier without making the finished treat spongy. Quick breads are always nice to have on hand for snacks or sliced as a dessert and a great place to add seasonal fruit. In this bread recipe, I pureed a cup of strawberries first, then spooned it into the center of the bread for a sweet surprise. Almond flour or ground blanched almonds, mixed with all-purpose flour, adds a unique texture and healthier addition to this quick bread. The crunchy exterior is a great contrast to the fruity center and I think it looks pretty too.
1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh strawberries, washed and sliced in half
2 tablespoons sugar
(Makes 1 Loaf)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 5 loaf pan, set aside. To make Strawberry Puree – In a food processor, add strawberries and sugar, puree until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer or large bowl, cream butter and sugar on high speed for 3 minutes. Add almond extract and eggs one at a time, mixing 30 seconds between each egg. Add flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix on low for 30 seconds. Add yogurt and mix again on low for 30 seconds.
3. Spoon half of batter into loaf pan and and spread into a flat layer. Spoon strawberry puree in center of batter and top with remaining batter. Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes, then loosen edges with a table knife and invert on a wire rack.
4. Cool bread to room temperature before slicing, about 1 hour. Enjoy!