Monday, May 14, 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons....

... make Lemon Loaf!

My mother-in-law has an abundant lemon tree and last week she was nice enough to bring us a huge bag of lemons - correction - another huge bag of lemons. I love baking and cooking with lemons. It is such a versatile fruit - savory or sweet - delicious either way. 

Last week was also Teacher Appreciation Week. Those things are always off my radar somehow but a few co-workers mentioned it and I thought it would be nice for us to show Drew's day care teachers how much we "appreciate" (and worship) them dealing with Drew on a daily basis. 

I found a good recipe (fail-proof Williams-Sonoma!) and then have messed with it a bit over time. What is the fun of baking if you can't mess with things and make them your own?! As I mentioned before, I love baking with lemons but one of the things I frequently find is that the actual lemon in a recipe is pretty minimal. To make a loaf of banana bread you have to have 4+ bananas... but for lemon anything, you usually need only one. Until now!

My massive bowl of Lemons!

The finished batter tucked nicely into their greased/floured pans

Right out of the oven - beautiful!

The glaze takes this loaf from good to AMAHZING!

Lemon Bread
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest... or more!
Top Secret Ingredient: I add 3-4 drops of yellow food coloring. I have to admit there is something about yellow lemon loaf that is just plain exciting. My mouth starts to pucker with anticipation of the sour-sweet of the lemons!

For the Lemon Syrup:
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 1-lb. loaf pan.

In a bowl, stir and toss together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture along with the milk and lemon zest.
Beat until blended and smooth, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon juice. Set aside, stirring occasionally; don't worry if the sugar does not dissolve completely.

Remove the bread from the oven and transfer the pan to a wire rack. Using a fork, gently poke the top in several places. Stir the syrup, then slowly brush it over the hot bread. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto the rack, top side up, and let cool completely.

Makes one delightful loaf. 

Note, I doubled this recipe for Teacher Appreciation; it works fine to double - no need to do separate batches. Yay! 

I wrapped these up nicely and gave them to Drew's teachers with some home-made Strawberry Jam and they were very excited. I am pretty sure there is nothing better than home-made treats.

Cheers to the Cook!

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