Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fruit and Caramel Bran Bread

We seem to thrive on leftovers around here. Our house seems to keep generating bits and pieces of things - a cooked chicken breast here, half a serving of pasta and tomato sauce there, half a carton of buttermilk and the last of the Salted Caramel Sauce from a family dinner all take up a decent amount of real estate in our fridge, and (as with most leftovers) there's never quite enough to make any one of them a main component. That said, combinations of leftovers are often some of the best things to come out of the kitchen! It takes a little creativity, a little luck and (often) a little time, but the end result often answers both the dilemmas of what to make for dinner and how the heck will I get rid of x, y, and z before they start to talk?

Being the cheapskate frugal-minded individual that I am, I tend to hold onto bits of things that really, I should have tossed originally. While I had a decent amount of caramel and buttermilk left over, I had piddling amounts of apple butter, figs and camelina oil that weren't gong anywhere fast. To me,
quickbreads are the "catch-all" for stuff like that - one bowl, one spatula, one blank canvas! I had a copy of The Tassajara Recipe Book on loan from the library and spotted the basis of this recipe: Buttermilk Bran Bread. I took the idea of the recipe (and it's basic ratios) and used it to convey all the leftovers I could find - the Salted Caramel Sauce, buttermilk and homemade apple butter from the fridge, and the camelina oil, figs, dates and dried bananas from the pantry. Mixed up, popped into a pan and baked for just shy of an hour the mixture became a sweet, hearty, healthy quickbread that was a real treat both slightly warm as well as smeared with ricotta or jam the next morning!

Fruit and Caramel Bran Bread

Fruit and Caramel Bran Bread
Makes one 9x5" loaf, 10 slices
3/4 cup dried dates, chopped
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
boiling water to cover
2 tbsp camelina oil
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp unsweetened apple butter
1 egg
1/2 cup caramel sauce or dulce de leche (I used homemade)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup dried banana slices (not banana chips)
1 tsp turbinado sugar, for topping
  1. Place the dates and figs in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 20 minutes, then drain and set aside. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9x5" loaf pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the oils, apple butter, egg, caramel, buttermilk and vanilla until well combined. 
  4. Add the flour, bran, salt, baking powder and baking soda. 
  5. Stir just to moisten, then add the soaked fruit and dried banana and mix until combined, but do not beat. 
  6. Scrape into the pan and sprinkle with sugar. 
  7. Bake for 50 minutes. 
  8. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmould onto a rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 316.5
Total Fat: 7.9 g
Cholesterol: 20.6 mg
Sodium: 42.9 mg
Total Carbs: 50.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.9 g
Protein: 4.9 g