You don’t have to ransack an open field, dripping strawberry blood with your fellow walkers, running amok (or shall I say walking) in a scene from The Walking Dead in order to rush home to a strawberry bake-off with yourself but it sure does help.
I was possessed. I needed to make something out of the boxes of strawberries that took up all of the space in our kitchen.
Aside from the gorgeous red fruit everywhere, it wasn’t a pretty look. I’m talking blood (fruit blood, take it easy), sweat (my scented sweat recipe another time) and tears (I was asking for it when I made one batch with hemp seeds and had to watch cringing faces tell me “it tastes really healthy”. Seriously?! In my book, if healthy isn’t delicious, it ain’t healthy).
But batch after batch led me to my new recipe that’s been a hit among my critical tasters (including a group of picky kids), even the ones who wouldn’t voluntarily eat anything sweetened only by pure fruit (just like my naturally sweetened banana muffins).
I also learned one way to make my kitchen and adjacent area smell like the world outside is nothing but a sweet, comforting, scrumptious, embrace-never-let-go childhood memory (or yummiest bed-and-breakfast aroma as you walk downstairs after an 8-hour night. You pick). Which is a lot to accomplish these days. It’s crazy out there, so if you want to feel like our world today is filled with love and hope, even for a fleeting moment of escape, cook fresh strawberries in coconut oil. You don’t even need to eat it.
A Lot More than Just a Berry Good Bread
Trust me. Close your eyes and inhale deeply. Imagine…You can stop now or you can continue to bake this sweet, nutty, satisfying, healthy, versatile bread, which happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free. A hefty slice can function as a highly nutritious breakfast smeared with any nut butter and a side of Greek yogurt but it can also serve as your yummy, healthy dessert topped with chocolate and/or paired with ice cream of your choice. Or you pack a slice (or two, or three) as an on-the-go energizing, wholesome snack.
I use Cuisinart Smart Stick because it’s compact and can be put away rather than take up counter space, not to mention that though small, it conveniently fits all blended ingredients in this recipe. Oh and it comes with other parts too, so you can also whisk, grind and chop but my favorite part is the hand blender, which serves me exclusively in making my pureed soups.
A note about consistency: You don’t have to use xanthan gum if you’re interested in baking with strictly “real” ingredients. I tried with and without and although xanthan gum (it’s really safe to use and I have researched it extensively) acts as an excellent binder, the bread is delicious either way, just make sure you use a very sharp knife when the loaf is completely cool and avoid cutting thin slices so your bread doesn’t fall apart on the way to being serve.
Oh and since you only need a 1/8 a teaspoon for a loaf, do yourself a favor and don’t buy the overpriced 8 oz bags, unless you bake for the masses. Kiva makes the least expensive and most conveniently packed xanthan gum I found. It’s small (3 oz) and comes in a spice jar with a shaker top. Expires in two years which means I will have to bake way more than I plan to in order to use it all while it’s still fresh.
Wow, I do talk a lot.
Strawberry Nuttiness Bread
Prep time: 15-20 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 40-45 mins
Yield: One Loaf
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I like organic, virgin/extra-virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed like this one but any coconut oil will do. While we’re at it, here are 31 incredible uses for coconut oil)
- 1 ¼ cup fresh strawberries (cut them in half)
- 3 medjool dates (cut to quarters)
- ¼ cup unsalted cashews
- 2 tablespoons walnuts
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- (Optional) 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum for better consistency
- 2 eggs (or 1/2 a cup of unsweetened applesauce for a vegan version)
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F (176°C) and lightly grease a loaf pan with coconut oil. I use unbleached parchment paper for easier cleaning and removal.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook strawberries and dates in coconut oil until sizzling and soft. Remove from heat.
- Mash berries and dates thoroughly in the skillet with a potato masher.
- Grind cashews and walnuts in your blender.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until they all lose their individual qualities and come together…
- Pour batter and berry “jam” into your loaf pan and mix them together until they become one.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a fork/toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing. Bread can be kept fresh in room temperature for up to 2-3 days, as long as you keep it in an airtight container. You may also choose to refrigerate (up to a week) or freeze (up to several months). Serve as a snack or as part of your breakfast or dessert. Our family prefers it warm but cold on-on-the-go works well too.