While at my parents' house over the holidays, some friends were visiting one morning and I had to scramble to bake something using ingredients from the pantry, which was pretty bare (note: by no fault of my parents, it had just been many days of feasting). Santa brought my sister a small Danish recipes cookbook where I found a recipe for "Danish Almond Bread". I didn't actually like the look of the recipe in the cookbook, but it inspired me to adjust another recipe I had to ultimately create what I was looking for - something very nutty and chewy, but sweet and satisfying. My parents didn't have almond meal on hand, so I put my niece to work picking out almonds from a mix of nuts that I then blended and, surprisingly, it worked just fine. I have since made the recipe two times and each time it has been quickly devoured.
The batter itself is more like cookie dough than bread or cake batter and is lovely sliced thin and topped with crème fraîche and berry or citrus compote and a dusting of cinnamon. I could also see it pairing well with a variety of other ingredients - sautèed stone fruit and herbs, chestnut purée and honey, fresh cherries and fennel seed... Makes one loaf that serves 8-12.
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F and grease a loaf pan.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy using a pastry blender or electric beater. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the almond meal, almond extract, and cinnamon and mix thoroughly. Blend in the flour and baking powder and salt.
Spread the batter into the loaf pan (it will be thick) and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and top is golden brown.