In the lead-up to the festive season, I was gifted a beautiful surprise hamper of spices in the post from McCormick. Inside my gorgeous parcel, was a large supply of every imaginable festive spice and a few delicious goodies to nibble too. Huge thanks to McCormick for this delightful treat!
I am a festive baker. I really enjoy baking at this time of year, either alone or with the kidlets. Some years I am all about doing everything from scratch and others, (like this one just gone), I have less time to get things done and rely on bakeries to fill my family's needs.
Once my hamper of seasonal spices arrived however, I knew I would have to make a thing (or six!) with my new spice range. Never a problem. There are always things baking around here and inspiration is always being sought for new bakes.
Now that Christmas has been and gone, I am back into baking more regular things with a touch of luxury to them. The pace of life is far more relaxed with the summer holidays here and with the kids about full-time, they're constantly snacking too. Baking is an essential requirement in a large family, just to keep the costs down!
|A little snippet of the summer holiday happenings so far!|
This recipe for spiced fruit and nut loaf is delicious. It is very easy to make and elegant to eat. A slice of this served alone or with a spread is packed with fibre and protein and a little goes a long way. If you're rushing around on day trips, picnics and to family events this summer, then this bake is an essential and ideal take-along option.
I have included several options to choose from below so make sure you try this basic recipe with a variety of your own preferred fruit and nut combinations. There are also directions for making this via the traditional method or by using a ThermoChef or Thermomix.
Spiced Fruit and Nut Loaf
50 grams of margarine or butter
1 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of sultanas
1 cup of EITHER currants, dates or cranberries or a combination of all
1, 1/4 cups of water
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1/2 a cup of nuts: EITHER slivered almonds, slivered pecans or walnuts (or try a combination)
Pinch of salt
1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease and line a loaf pan with baking paper and dust with flour and set aside.
To a saucepan add: Margarine or butter, sugar, sultanas, your chosen fruit (either currants, dates or cranberries), water and golden syrup and bring to the boil, simmering for 5 minutes.
If using a thermo appliance use speed 1, 90 degrees for 4 minutes.
Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl (traditional method), add the cooked fruit mixture plus the flour, mixed spice, ground ginger, bi-carb soda and baking powder, vanilla and salt. Add your chosen nuts, (either almonds, pecans or walnuts) and stir well to combine.
If using a thermo appliance, add remaining ingredients to the thermo bowl and use speed 1 for 4 minutes to combine.
Pour the fruit and nut mixture into the prepared the prepared baking tin and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 50-60 minutes. Be sure to check on the loaf's progress towards the end of the baking stage to ensure the loaf does not burn due to its fruit content.
The result is a delicious, fruity, sweet and delightful loaf with a touch of nutty goodness. This loaf is very much like the sliced versions you can buy in any café. Give it a try!