Sunday, May 11, 2014

Chocolate Almond Prune Bread - A Mother's Day #SundaySupper

I know I talk about my mom a lot on this blog. The fact is, she's one of my best friends, worst (yet most constructive) critics, a psychologist, a nurse, a punching bag, a maid, an accountant, a sous chef, a taste-tester, a student, a teacher and even a classroom assistant. It's my mom that helps me study for my exams and spends hours helping stuff sheets into page protectors or colouring worksheets. It's my mom that (until she retired) would re-arrange her work schedule to be able to come with me to doctor's appointments when I didn't feel comfortable going alone. She helps us clip the cat's nails, makes me tea when I'm feeling down, and listens with never-ending patience to my rants and raves about the day at school. In short, I wouldn't be where I am today without her, in every sense of the word.

One of the things my mom has really become in the past few years (partially thanks to this blog and my cookbook reviews) is a foodie. She was always a fantastic cook, but a simple, practical one more focused on feeding two kids and a husband than branching into haute cuisine. These days she's more or less out of the "kid food" genre, but still has to contend with my equally picky stepfather who is perfectly content to just eat pasta and meat all day, every day... especially if he's not cooking it. The saving grace (and the window of opportunity we have to bond culinarily) is her weekday lunches. For the last few years, they were her work lunchbox staples - a soup, stew, pasta or stirfry over rice, a couple pieces of bread or a bagel and some homemade jam - and today she still asks if I have anything coming down the pipe to make for her lunches even though she's retired. We've traveled the world with those meals, and thankfully she's an adventurous eater (with a spice-tolerant palate!) so I really can run the gamut when it comes to ingredients.

For this Mother's Day, though, I wanted to bring it home by making something that embodied a host of my mom's favourite things. Firstly, it's my mom's favourite food in general - bread. Secondly, it's packed with whole grain "bits". Third, it's sweet and nutty thanks to almond butter and an almond/dairy "milk blend". The last two are the most obvious - the filling ingredients. Mom's been a long, long-time fan of prunes, and I've yet to find a woman who is as in love with dark chocolate as she is. I wasn't overly conscious of the fact that I incorporated all these favourites while putting the recipe together, since I basically took my inspiration recipe and tweaked it here and there to answer the questions "what do we have in the house?" and "what does mom really like?". In the end, it turned out that a slice of this loaf really is a taste of everything my mom seems to be, palate-wise and as a person: sweet, with a grown up "edge", wholesome, a little "fruit & nutty", healthy and with the capacity to get you moving when you need a push (insert prune joke here).


This week's #SundaySupper is, appropriately, all about our moms and what brings Mother's Day home for us. Whether our mothers are with us at the table tonight or always by our side in spirit, it's a special day for us all and I invite you to take a look at what we have to share as well as to join in our Twitter chat tonight (details below). That is, if your kids / parents will let you!

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Mother’s Day Breakfast:

Mother’s Day Appetizers, Soups and Salads:

Mother’s Day Main Dishes:

Mother’s Day Desserts:
Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. 
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here—>Sunday Supper Movement.

Chocolate Almond Prune Bread
Makes 1 large loaf, 20 slices
1 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup 12 grain flour (I buy mine in bulk, it has whole wheat flour, spelt flour, kamut flour, whole oats, ground flaxseed, quinoa, amaranth, barley flour, rye flour, buckwheat flour, sunflower seeds and millet)
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 ½ cups original Amoré Almonds + Dairy or almond milk
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp butter (or vegan "butter")
3 tbsp smooth almond butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Filling:
¾ cup pitted prunes (about 16), finely chopped
2 oz stevia-sweetened bittersweet chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours, cinnamon and yeast.
  2. In a jug or measuring cup, place the Amoré, sugar, butter, almond butter and salt. Microwave just until warm, almond butter is fluid and butter is partially melted (it may not melt all the way).
  3. Pour liquids into the flour mixture and knead with the dough hook for 12 minutes, until elastic.
  4. Cover and let rest 45 minutes.
  5.  Deflate dough and pat into a rectangle.
  6. Leaving one "short" third of the dough plain, sprinkle the remaining 2/3 of the dough with prunes and chocolate chips.
  7. Roll up into a log, starting from the "covered" short end. Pinch seam to seal.
  8. Place on a baking sheet, cover and let rise 1 hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  10. Bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes. 
  11.  Move immediately onto a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 160.7
Total Fat: 4.5 g
Cholesterol: 3.5 mg
Sodium: 21.3 mg
Total Carbs: 27.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
Protein: 4.5 g