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The first time I came across lemon bread recipe was while air travelling perhaps a decade ago. The airline’s in-flight magazine had this lovely looking citrus bread accompanied with a recipe. I jotted down the recipe on a small piece of paper super excited to try it. However, later when I got down to making it, I gave a careful thought to the amount of ingredients. There seemed to be a sort of discrepancy in the amount of ingredients. The amount of liquid ingredients seemed too less to hold against the dry ingredients and the amount of sugar also seemed too less. All excitement died down and I was in two minds whether to go forward with the recipe or not. I decided to give it a try, going against my gut feel, and it turned out to be a disaster just as i had anticipated. I set down to create my own recipe and after a couple of trials and errors, I finally came up with an almost foolproof recipe for the lemon bread.

I have yet to come across fresh cranberries here and I have to do with dried ones; not complaining coz I am okay with that. This time I found whole dried cranberries at my favorite store and I quickly grabbed a container of it. I set down to making these Pistachio Cranberry Lemon Shortbread Cookies and while I was gathering the ingredients to bake this bread, I thought of adding a handful of cranberries since I had seen some recipes with cranberries added to sweet breads. Feel free to swap them with fresh cranberries or dried or fresh blueberries. I loved the specks of black spotted with bursts of red in this bread; not just a pretty bread but a delicious one too. It looked completely in tune with the festive season:-)

For Bread

1½ C Maida (APF)

½ tsp Baking Soda (Bi – Carb)

½ tsp Baking Powder

2 tbsp Poppy Seeds

1 C Caster Sugar

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½ C Oil

½ C Yogurt (Dahi)

2 Eggs

2 tbsp Lemon Zest

3 tbsp Lemon Juice

½ tsp Lemon Essence

½ tsp Vanilla Essence

¾ C dried whole Cranberries

For Glaze

1 tbsp Lemon Juice

½ C Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)

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Line an 8 inch loaf pan with parchment paper or grease with a little oil and dust it with flour. Remove excess. Keep aside.

Preheat the oven at 170 degree C.

Sift together the APF, baking powder and baking soda. Add poppy seeds and whisk them in the flour. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the caster sugar, oil, eggs, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and both essences.

Mix in the wet batter to the dry ingredients along with whole dried cranberries until just incorporated. It is okay if the batter has some small lumps. Don’t be tempted to whisk the batter beyond this point to make the batter smooth else the bread may turn dry upon baking.

Pour the batter in the prepared tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes at 170 degrees and then reduce to 160 and bake till the bread turns golden brown or a skewer, when inserted in the center, comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bread to sit in the pan for 10  minutes. Carefully, remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

For the glaze, whisk together the lemon juice and confectioners sugar and drizzle all over the bread. Slice and serve.

Note: If you feel that after 20 minutes of baking, the top is getting too brown, cover the tin loosely with foil (without it touching the batter) and then continue baking.

Serves: 8 – 10

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