March 27, 2008

Lisa: lemon bread

I've been looking for a dessert recipe that sounded fresh and spring-y, but that would mail well so I could send a treat to my brother Jeff. A coworker suggested a quickbread, and after a little looking around, I thought lemon bread sounded perfect.

The recipe I used is from Muffins & Quick Breads, from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library (recipe after the jump).

I finished baking the bread at around midnight, and turned the loaves out on the racks to cool. I considered leaving them out all night, but after puttering around for half an hour, I decided the bread was cool enough and wrapped one up in foil and sealed it in a padded mailing envelope, and put the other one on a plate with foil over it (because doesn't lemon bread sound delicious for breakfast?). The bread smelled so good, I had to slice a piece off the second loaf and eat it right then. It was delicious. The crumb wasn't as fine as it looked in the picture in the book, but that might be because I didn't chop the almonds fine enough, or because I cut it with a dull knife while it was still warm. Anyway, thank GOODNESS I tasted a piece (and took pictures), because...the ants.

The next morning, when I came into the kitchen, I noticed a thick trail of my tiny nemeses emerging from the edge of the cabinet by the dishwasher and leading across the front edge of the countertop, directly to the foil-covered plate of lemon bread. After shouting "oh NO!" loud enough to wake up Sarah, I whipped off the foil, and confirmed my fear that my newly-baked loaf was swarming with ants. Stupid little sugar-loving bastards.

Anyway, there was some crying. Some yelling. Some detective work. Some poison spraying. But we lived, and Jeff's (antless) loaf got mailed off all right. Thanks, Mom and Blake, for your help with all of that.

Shall we remember the bread that was?

Lemon Bread


1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g) vegetable shortening
1 cup (8 oz/250 g) sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups (5 oz/155 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) chopped pecans

1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease and flour a medium (8 1/2-inch/21-cm) loaf pan.

In a large bowl combine the shortening and sugar and beat until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a medium bowl stir and toss together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the shortening mixture, along with the milk and lemon zest, and beat until blended and smooth. Stir in the pecans. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until a thin wooden skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour.

While the bread bakes, make the lemon syrup by combining the sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside, stirring occasionally; don't worry if the sugar does not dissolve completely.

Remove the bread from the oven and, using a fork, gently poke the top in several places. Stir the syrup, then slowly drizzle it over the hot bread. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 medium loaf

Cooks' note:
This recipe carries a double dose of lemon: grated zest in the batter and lemon syrup poured over the bread after baking. For a heavenly dessert, bake it in 2 miniature loaf pans, then top the slices with berries and whipped cream.

Posted by lisa at March 27, 2008 09:20 AM

It looked beautiful. I also know the terror of ants. THEY'RE HORRIBLE!! Anyway I'm really sorry about your bread. Mazeltov!

Posted by: Jeremy on March 27, 2008 06:28 PM

It really did smell awesome. And I should have been awake anyway.
Also, I don't want to bring anything too crazy up, especially while the ant horror is fresh in your mind but... lemon bread might be a good cake-in-jar candidate. Just an idea.

Posted by: sarah on March 27, 2008 11:55 PM
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