Food is the way that I care for people. I’m not always very good…err…very eloquent with my words. Especially if I have to say them outloud.
However, I’m pretty well-versed in food.
I firmly believe that things like sugar and butter say “I love you!” louder than most words that I could string together.
I made this bread for a boss’s birthday a few years ago. Since it was sort of a “free game” type of deal in the office, one of my selfish, male coworkers ate most of it. But as he choked down nearly half of the loaf, he kept remarking that it was “like, the best bread [he’d] ever had.”
His passion for the Lemon Blueberry Bread was evident. It was literally all over his face.
And I agreed. It was pretty dang good. And pretty dang easy.
I needed a snack idea. I needed it to be easy. I needed it to be yummy. I needed it to be easy to serve. And I needed it for that night.
I had all of these ingredients on hand, which is just wonderful, so Lemon Blueberry Bread it was!
Don’t get me wrong, I love blueberries, but they are so not the star of this bread. The best part of this treat actually isn’t even the bread part- it’s the lemon glaze. It’s sweet and tart and totally changes your life. Without it, this bread would be ehhhh. But the lemon, it makes it mmmmmmmm.
Lemons are one of my favorite things. They make me think of springtime and sunshine and warm days and barbecues They’re beautiful and tasty. I like lemons in my water and in my baked goods. My signature dessert is a lemon square. That is a different post for a different time. My friend Nikki told me that I should open a bakery, name it Lemon, and only serve things made with lemon. I see very few things wrong with this idea.
This recipe contains both lemon zest AND fresh lemon juice. This is a win-win.
Prepare to be dazzled.
Lemon Blueberry Bread
Recipe adapted from The Joy of Baking
1 ¼ gluten free flour (or 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one large lemon
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen ones because I’m cheap and they’re much more convienient)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk
For the lemon glaze:
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or from ½ of a lemon
Here’s how it goes:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) the bottom of a 9×5 inch loaf pan. The first time I made this, I didn’t have a loaf pan. So I used an 8”x8” pan and it worked just as well. If this is the case, please note that the cooking time will be significantly less. However, I realize that most people are married and not as poor as me so they probably have a loaf pan. I’m just sayin’.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, & lemon zest. Yum. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture to toss with the blueberries. I guess that you do this to prevent them all from sinking to the bottom of the pan while the bread cooks. What a nifty trick! Toss the blueberries in the flour mixture. If you’re using frozen berries, stick them back in the freezer so that they don’t start to melt and therefore bleed blue into your batter.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened and smoother. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Sugar and butter coming together is a beautiful thing. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix well after you add each one. Add the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Start and end with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure you’ve got it all together. Mix only until combined.
Gently fold in the blueberries with a silicone spatula. Don’t mix. You don’t want them to burst and bleed. Then you’ll have blue bread, not blueberry bread.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
When the bread is done, pierce the top of the loaf with a skewer or tooth pick. Go crazy…but be gentle.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the lemon juice and sugar. Microwave for about 30 seconds or until the sugar is dissolved. Pour/drizzle the glaze evenly over the top of the bread.
The bread will slurp it up. Cool in the pan for about a half hour, before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Pack up this bread and feed it to your Small Group or your family or your coworkers or anyone that you’re trying to impress. But eat a slice (or two) first. It will be gone before you know it.
This is a delightful dessert/breakfast item for the days in February when it’s cold outside and 30 inches of snow is freshly fallen and your back is still aching from all of that shoveling and you just really need a reminder that Spring is coming and you’re going to make it through all of this Wintery mess.
Lemons have the power to do that. They can transport you. Just let it happen by gobbling up this bread.