From sweet to savory, quick bread recipes—those that use quick-rise leavening agents like baking soda instead of slow-rising yeast—abound. The most popular lean to the sweet side and contain some fruit or veggie along with other goodies like chopped nuts, chocolate chips or spices. Think zucchini or banana bread.
Because March can be a challenge for the Midwestern locavore, this quick bread recipe takes advantage of what fresh produce remains at the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market in these dwindling days of winter. Behold the miracle of the March carrot, which retains its sweet flavor and crisp texture five months after its harvest.
In my opinion, carrots, walnuts and maple create a perfect trifecta of flavor. And while whole wheat flour is used, the texture remains light and tender. (If you have reservations about using whole grains in a sweet treat, click here for motivation.) The whole food ingredients make this bread nutrient dense so serve it for a quick, healthy breakfast or an after-school snack. Beware, however, that it is still calorie dense so don’t eat the whole loaf as you may be tempted to do. (Or is it just me that finds the flavor of maple syrup irresistible?)
- DRY INGREDIENTS
- 3 cups of all-purpose or pastry whole wheat flour
- 1 t salt
- 1 t baking soda
- 3 t baking powder
- 1 t *cinnamon--optional
- WET INGREDIENTS
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup oil
- 1 cup brown *sugar, packed
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 3 cups grated carrot
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- GLAZE TOPPING
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Grease two loaf pans. Place parchment or waxed paper at the bottom for easiest release. Preheat oven to 350◦ F.
- In a large bowl combine the “Dry Ingredients” using a whisk to make sure they are thoroughly combined.
- Next, beat the “Wet Ingredients” together in a mixing bowl.
- Add the dry to the wet ingredients and stir until combined—DO NOT OVER-STIR!
- Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350◦ F for about an hour. Insert a skewer in the center to check that the interior is done before removing from the oven. The loaf is baked if the skewer comes out clean or with few crumbs.
- Once baked, remove from oven and cool on a rack for 10-20 minutes. Next, remove bread from the pan and cool further on a rack.
- Whisk the confectioner's sugar,maple and vanilla until completely smooth. Drizzle maple glaze over the warm bread. It will set once cooled.
**This recipe is very flexible, I have left out the sugar altogether and reduced it by half with still great, fluffy less-sweet muffins.
Because whole wheat flours include the germ, they contain oils. These oils can go rancid easily and cause a bitter, unpleasant flavor. According to the Whole Grains Council, whole grain flours kept in an air-tight containers should last for 3 months in the pantry and 6-12 months in the fridge or freezer.
Cooking with Kids:
Because baking requires little-to-no knife work, I always include the kids. It allows them greater autonomy and participation in the cooking process as I’m not hovering over them making sure they don’t cut their finger. We’ve baked together so often, that the girls know how to properly measure flours by spooning them into the dry measuring cups and leveling them. They know how to crack eggs. They can essentially do everything…except read, but we’re working on that. My goal in including them is to not only create healthier eaters but also contributing members of the family that can make me a quick bread sometime in the near future while I relax.