Tart, tangy, and succulent with a hint of cinnamon. That is the best way to describe this quick bread. Quite a juxtaposition, right? Well, to tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this recipe, but I knew that it was bound to be a different baked good than I’d made before. I’d been browsing my growing stack of books, searching mindlessly for a simple bread/muffin recipe when I saw this recipe for black currant and almond muffins.
Instead of black currants, I thought that the fresh blackberries I purchased earlier in the week would fit nicely with the almonds. I’m not a huge fan of blackberries on their own because they come off very strong but I’m always willing to try new flavor combinations in my baked goods.
This recipe comes from Fresh from the oven, a book I picked up last summer at a used bookstore. For only 5 dollars, it had a good collection of recipes that I hadn’t seen yet and the flavor combinations were intriguing, but the book got lost in that big black hole of a bookshelf only to be discovered after an impromptu cleaning session.
The recipe itself was a bit strange. No egg, and a small amount of sugar. I decided to press on but I changed the muffins into bread. But I ran into some problems after mixing all the ingredients. The batter was really dry. I mean really dry. So I threw in some sour cream to lighten it up which worked ok. Also, I sprinkled some brown sugar on top of the batter hoping to add enough sweetness to the seemingly tart bread.
I won’t lie, the results were at first disappointing. It lacked depth and flavor, and while the almonds added a nice crunch, the overall results were blah. I hastily threw the bread into my bread box, and quickly forgot about them until the next night. And I’m glad I re-found them because they were ten times better the next day.
Softer and more moist, the blackberries and almonds developed together beautifully. The blackberries and the sweet crunch from the brown sugar topping balanced each other out. Plus, the purple batter made me smile. What can I say, I’m a sucker for pretty things. I noted my adaptations and I included the directions for both the muffins and mini loaves so you can choose which direction you want to go.
Blackberry & Almond Bread
from Fresh from the oven
1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 superfine sugar (I used granulated)
few drops of almond extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh blackberries
1/4 sliced almonds
1/4 cup sour cream (optional, I added it in last minute, but you don’t have to)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray muffin tins or mini loaf pans with cooking spray or line tins with paper liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl, then stir in the sugar.
Mix together the almond extract, melted butter, buttermilk, and blackberries in a separate bowl, then lightly stir in the dry ingredients. The mixture should look lumpy.
Spoon the mixture into the loaf pans/liners, sprinkle the almonds on top and some brown sugar, and bake them for 20-25 minutes or until they have risen and golden. Carefully lift the bread/muffins out from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. The recipe yielded two mini loaves, or 12 muffins.