Imagine this: leaves of red, orange, and gold rustle in the wind and dance to the ground. Delicate and fragrant, the leaves crack even at the touch of the breeze.
They feed the soil, now rich and a deeper brown like coffee before milk, where their nutrients will be held tightly through the winter for spring’s garden. The squirrels must act quickly to plant their precious hickory nuts and seeds, and the first winter finches fill the emptying branches with song.
This is the first true image of autumn. This is what it tastes like to bite into this amazing fruit & nut quick bread.
I have called this bread by many names – the most fitting being “Ode to Autumn” bread (see the description above). While you can make this bread anytime, its soul and flavorful bite are fall through-and-through.
“Bread has a soul?” – your are probably asking.
Yes. Yeast is the vital ingredient that makes bread rise, and yest is a fungus (a living organism). But all science aside, I truly believe that every living thing has a soul – energy that binds us – which is why food gives us the energy we need to carry out our bodily tasks and life. Food is a vehicle for energy, and the bread we eat is rooted in our food history.
Not to mention the seeds, nuts, and fruit that fill this quick bread all come from living organisms – trees. And in some cases bushes. These are what I imagine the winter finches eat, so that’s where I conceived the name “Bird Bread”.
For me, I like to eat with the season. That doesn’t just mean I like to eat the produce that’s in season because it’s on sale, local, and better for the environment. I like to eat foods that make me feel like I am a part of the season… and food that looks like the season.
I add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, apricots, cranberries and dates to my quick bread because they remind me of the changing colors of leaves. Buy you can change these ingredients based on your own preferences (or whatever you have in the fridge).
Around the winter holidays, I love to make this bread with pitachios, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, raisins and dried cranberries. I have also tried to mix in pecans, which is delicious when paired with dates.
College students, here’s a secret for you: Exchange the flour, baking powder, and salt for pancake mix. Seriously. It tastes just as good, if not better, and you don’t have to spend money on a tin of baking powder you’ll only use once.
Bring the taste of autumn inside. Toast a thick slice of this bread for breakfast, and enjoy it with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Cheers!
Prehead the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×2 or 9×3 inch bread loaf pan, and set aside.
Combine the fruit, nuts, and seeds in a large bowl. Coat them in brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisk together the eggs and milk, and then pour it over the fruit mixture. Combine well.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt (or pancake mix) to the wet mixture, and stir until well combined. The mixture will look more like a batter than dough, so if it looks too dry, you can add up to 1/4 cup more milk.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted cleanly. Let cool completely before cutting. Wrap in foil or place in an air-tight container and store the loaf at room temperature for up to 5 days.