Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Bread

I don't remember exactly how old I was when I stopped believing in Santa or even how it happened. Did I find out by accident? Did my Mom or Dad (or one of my older siblings) break the news to me when I reached the "appropriate" age or one of the older kids on the playground at school? Even though I don't remember exactly how it happened, I distinctly remember being disappointed. There wasn't a jolly old man that magically delivered presents to good boys and girls all over the world in a single night? The Wish List I made every year was really going to Mom and Dad?? After that, Christmas just wasn't the was no longer magical.

The magic and wonder of Christmas was recaptured when I started taking care of my stepson and my 2 boys were born. I got to re-live it all through the eyes of my children. Feeling their anticipation build as Christmas approached, watching the joy on their faces as they raced down the stairs early Christmas morning to find all of the presents Santa brought piled under the tree. Hearing their exclamations as they tore the wrapping off of the toys they had asked Santa to bring when they sat on his lap a few weeks earlier.

The boys are all older now and obviously no longer believe in Santa. Although we all know Santa isn't real and that the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with a jolly old man in a red suit, we can still believe in the spirit of Santa. The spirit of giving.

Which brings me to today's post...I was recently invited to a holiday brunch and wanted to show my appreciation for the invitation by bringing the hosts a homemade gift. I happened to have some fresh blueberries in the fridge that needed to be used up so I made one of my favorite quick breads - Lemon Blueberry Bread that's brushed with a lemon simple syrup while still warm and then finished with a lemon glaze. This Lemon Blueberry Bread is so moist and delicious, packed with lemon flavor without being over powering and bursting with blueberries. It's a slice of heaven. If you can't get fresh blueberries, you can substitute frozen with the same great results making this a treat you can enjoy all year round. I hope you'll give this recipe a try and maybe even make it as a gift yourself.

Lemon Blueberry Bread with Lemon Simple Syrup and Lemon Glaze
Slightly adapted from sweetpeaskitchen
Makes one 9" loaf, serves approx 8-10


For the bread:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour + 1 Tablespoon separated
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk vanilla yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 1/2 - 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extact
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 1/2 cups blueberries, washed and dried

Lemon Simple Syrup
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (do not use the bottled lemon juice)
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 - 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350

Grease and flour a 9" loaf pan

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon zest, oil and vanilla.

Slowly whisk in the dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the 1 Tablespoon of flour. This supposedly will help keep all of the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the bread although I have found that this doesn't always work...

Gently fold the blueberries into the batter and immediately pour it into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (mine took about 50 minutes).

Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides with a knife and then remove from pan and place on the cooling rack with a cookie sheet or wax paper underneath.

While the bread is cooling is cooling in the pan, prepare the lemon simple syrup. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a simmer stirring to ensure the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. The liquid should be slighly reduced. Remove from heat and set aside.

After removing the bread from the pan, use a skewer or toothpicks (a skewer is better because it makes bigger holes),to poke holes in the top of the bread. You will need to poke a lot of holes to allow the simple syrup to soak in. Be careful not to poke all the way through the bottom of the loaf.

Take the simple syrup and brush or pour slowly over the top of the loaf allowing the syrup to soak into the bread. This should be done as soon as you remove the bread from the pan so the syrup will soak in better. It won't soak in as well if the bread is too cool. Allow to cool completely.

Prepare the lemon glaze by combining the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Make sure the glaze is the appropriate drizzing consistency. It should slowly drip off of a spoon so it will sit on the bread and slowly pour down the sides.

When the bread is completely cooled, drizzle with the lemon glaze.

This bread is so good, I made 2 loaves!
Mmm...a slice of heaven

Keep stored in an air tight container for 2-3 days (if there are any leftovers).

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