When I worked at a coffee shop many years ago, I would look forward to this soft peach almond bread that came out every spring. I've tried to find and create recipes to replicate it, with no luck.
In the process, I've found that fresh peaches in cakes and bread spoil quickly when left on the counter. To solve this, I wondered what would happen if I replaced the peaches with the more stable dried apricots and played with an ingredient I'd never tried before: almond paste. With this combination, this apricot bread recipe was born.
What is Almond Paste?
Almond paste is used all over the world to make pastries and cookies, like almond croissants and bear claws. It has a coarse, malleable texture, producing a deeper almond flavor than using extract alone. Almond paste can be found in most grocery stores in the baking aisle, bought online, or you can make your own. Since almond paste is meant to be baked, using an egg white as the binder is not an issue.
While the almond bread recipe still didn't quite mimic the cakey bread from the coffee house, it is delicious. Drizzled with an almond glaze and smeared with a pad of good butter, it's perfect with a cup of your favorite nutty tea. This bread is more firm, like tea bread. I've been pairing it with fruit for breakfast, but it would also serve well as a teatime treat in the afternoon or evening.
Making Apricot Tea Bread
This quick tea bread comes together like many others. The almond paste gets beaten together with softened butter until it combines into a paste. Then sugar is slowly poured in while mixing until fluffy in a process called creaming. Next, we add eggs one at a time and blend together until fully incorporated.
At this point, the mixture should start looking more like a batter.
In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a measuring cup, measure out your buttermilk. I never have buttermilk on hand, so I always make a substitute by adding one tablespoon of white vinegar into a measuring cup, then filling up to the one cup line with milk. Let this sit and curdle for about five minutes before adding it to your recipe.
When your dry ingredients are mixed and your buttermilk is prepared and measured, add each component into your wet egg mixture, alternating between dry ingredients and buttermilk and mixing just until combined. Lastly, add your chopped dried apricots and stir to disperse evenly.
Plop the batter into two greased or parchment-lined bread pans, and smooth out the top. Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. I baked for 45 minutes, and it was just slightly overdone.
Allow the bread to cool before removing it from the pans. Once fully cooled, mix up your easy almond glaze and drizzle or spread it onto the bread to your heart's content.
Since it's spring, I paired my bread with Mango Apricot green tea. This blend is a light, fruity tea with a mid to low-caffeine boost from the green tea. It's delicious hot or iced.
If you prefer a caffeine-free herbal, Vista Blend mixes apricot and lavender together with earthy honeybush tea for a unique floral-and-fruity combination. Self Care Blend is another herbal honeybush blend, this one full of apricots and elderberries to nourish the soul and boost your immune response. All three of these apricot-based blends pair wonderfully with this apricot bread recipe.
Other Apricot Treats
If you are a fan of apricots, our blog has several treats for you to try.
These buttermilk apricot scones Krista made for brunch sound wonderful, and I can't wait for the scent of them baking to fill my kitchen.
Jessica's apricot lavender scones are another fun twist on apricot scones, mimicking our Vista Blend tea with its flavor combination.
For a more savory take, try out this bacon-wrapped apricot grilled chicken with goat cheese appetizers. Adding these to a spread of apricot tea bread, scones, and adorable tiny sandwiches would make for a beautiful spread. Serve it with one of our apricot tea blends for a perfect spring tea party to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
Almond Apricot Bread Recipe
- 8 ounces almond paste
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups dried apricots, quartered
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease or line with parchment two bread pans.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and almond paste together.
Add sugar in a slow stream and continue creaming together.
Add eggs, one at a time until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder.
Add dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating between the two.
With a wooden spoon, mix in dried apricot chunks until evenly distributed.
Scoop batter into the two prepared bread pans, smoothing the top.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Allow bread to cool in pans before removing.
Once cooled, mix glaze ingredients, adding less milk for a thicker glaze.
Drizzle or spread glaze onto cooled loaves and allow to set before serving.
Keep bread wrapped on the counter for several days.