I always do a ton of baking before the winter holidays, but I tend to forget how nice it is to have homemade baked goods in the kitchen and freezer year-round. I’ve been baking a lot this month, and especially since the new semester started last week; it’s such a treat to have slices of quick bread or homemade muffins ready for sweet snacks and portable treats. This spiced citrus pecan breakfast bread is, as the title suggests, really great with a piece of fresh fruit or other breakfast offerings in the morning, but it makes a wonderful afternoon snack, too.
The texture of the bread is super moist, speckled throughout with crunchy pecan pieces. I’ve been partnering with the American Pecan Council early this winter to celebrate the many health benefits and culinary versatility of pecans, which are the only major tree nut indigenous to North America.
I’ve always loved pecans in dessert, but they work so nicely for any type of baked good or snack: their flavor is mild and sweet enough to lean either savory or sweet. They’re such a good source of nutrition, too: pecans provide unsaturated fats, protein and fiber, which can aid in satiety (making them perfect for plant-based snacking). Pecans also contain plant sterols and flavonoids,, and they boast of a mineral trio of manganese, copper, and zinc.
Fresh fruit is a little scarce in my neck of the woods right now, but it’s still a good season for citrus, and so I decided to infuse this breakfast loaf with the sweet, tart flavor of orange. I used navel oranges in the recipe, but you could use blood oranges or a combination of orange and grapefruit, if you like.
I also used a few pinches of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg in the bread—just enough to make it smell spectacular as it bakes, but not quite so much that it screams “holiday season.” It’s perfect for any time of year and especially wonderful with a cup of ginger tea.
- 1 3/4 cups light spelt or whole wheat pastry flour you can also use unbleached, all purpose flour, or a combination of AP & whole wheat
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2/3-3/4 cup coconut sugar or light or dark brown sugar to taste
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges about 1/2 cup juice
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil such as safflower, grapeseed, coconut, or refined avocado
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly oil a rectangular loaf pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour or flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and sugar. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the orange zest and juice, oil, and water. Add these wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir till they’re just evenly combined (a few clumps are fine). Fold in 1/2 cup pecan pieces. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf, then sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup pecan pieces.
- Bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and set. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan and transferring it to a wire rack. Allow it to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.
You’ll see that the amount of sugar called for has a little range; you can adjust it based on whether you’d like the bread to be more of a treat versus a morning option, and also according to your tastes. I used light spelt flour for the loaf, but a combination of flours will also work. If you’re gluten-free, you can try baking the bread with your favorite homemade GF flour blend or a store-bought all-purpose GF flour. (I haven’t tried it yet, but if you have good results, I’d love to hear which combination or flour you used!)
Another advantage of this loaf: it’s moist enough to last for a couple of days in a sealed container or wrap, which means it’s perfect for gifting. I know I’ll be enjoying it through the winter and spring, but I’m definitely planning to make a lot of it during the holiday season next year, too, and sharing it with loved ones as an edible offering. I may boost the cloves or nutmeg if I do that, or experiment with a pinch of cardamom. We’ll see.
Thank you all so much for kind words and wishes about Power Plates! It’s been a busy few days here, and I’m looking forward to a productive yet restful weekend. Wishing you all R&R and a little fun, too, and I’ll see you on Sunday for the weekend roundup.
This post was sponsored by the American Pecan Council. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!