Beyond holiday cookies and show-stopping desserts, there are the times when a slice of quick bread is the perfect choice for a gathering of a few friends or a quiet break on your own in between the rounds of merrymaking. To mix things up beyond the classic banana, this bread offers a fresh taste of orange combined with an optional swirl of chocolate—a great combination.
This recipe by chef and caterer-to-the-stars, Serena Bass, which appeared in Real Food, spans the day. She often makes it plain and has a slice with her morning coffee or adds the tart glaze and serves it for visitors around teatime. “In my recipe book, I have this listed as The Best Orange Quick Bread In The Whole World. A bold claim, but I guarantee you will agree,” says Serena.
To get very luxurious, she adds the chocolate ganache. Orange and chocolate are a favorite combination, and because some of the chocolate sinks into the quick bread, it is a wonderful gooey surprise and can be served with vanilla or chocolate ice cream for dessert.
If you’d like to give quick bread as a gift, Serena, who prefers not to have aluminum foil touching any foods, suggests the first layer when wrapping a quick bread should be parchment paper, sealed neatly and as airtight as possible. Next comes the label with the name of the quick bread and the date it was made. To gift a bread, follow with festive wrapping paper or a chic, utilitarian brown paper and rustic string.
When freezing a quick bread, wrap in paper towel then in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place in a zip-top bag to avoid ripping the foil. The paper towel will keep the bread fresh (and mop up any juices seeping from a bread that may contain dried fruit). A crispy crust will be a thing of the past, but you can always bring it back by heating a slice or two in the oven or, judiciously, in a toaster.
Orange Quick Bread
Makes 6 to 8 slices Per 8-inch loaf
2 c. flour, Heckers or King Arthur
3⁄4 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
11⁄2 c. sugar
1⁄2 c. milk
1⁄2 c. fresh orange juice
1⁄2 c. vegetable oil
3 extra large eggs
11⁄2 tbsp. grated orange zest
1⁄3 c. heavy cream
1⁄2 c. Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
11⁄2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. orange zest, finely grated
2 to 3 tbsp. fresh orange juice, strained
1. Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch loaf pans.
2. For the ganache: Heat cream until small bubbles appear around edge. Remove from heat, add chocolate chips, and shake pan to level chocolate. Set aside for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and set aside.
3. For the quick bread: Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl.
4. In a small, deep bowl, whisk together milk, juice, oil, eggs, and zest. Add to dry ingredients. Quickly fold and stir in until just combined.
5. Divide batter equally into pans. Bake 15 minutes then open oven, pull out rack without jogging too much, and quickly dribble about 1⁄4 cup ganache over batter in each pan. (If ganache has become too firm to dribble, set bowl in a bowl of warm water for a few seconds to melt. Stir to smooth again.)
6. Gently slide rack back in and bake 20 minutes, until quick bread is slightly shrinking away from pan.
7. For the glaze: Mix together ingredients. While bread is still warm, poke several holes in it with a skewer and slowly pour on glaze.
8. Cool bread completely before removing from pan. Will keep, wrapped in the refrigerator for 1 week and will freeze well without glazing for 2 months.
Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 242 (81 from fat); Fat 9g (sat. 2g); Chol 40mg; Sodium 248mg; Carb 37g; Fiber 1g; Protein 4g