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Oatmeal-Golden Raisin Bread

As the most common dried fruit used in baking, raisins provide intense bursts of flavor. Dark raisins are made by sun-drying grapes, most commonly seedless Thompson grapes. Golden raisins, also known as sultanas, are made with the same grapes as dark raisins, but instead of sun-dried, the grapes are bleached with sulfur dioxide and then mechanically dried in a dehydrator, which produces a plump result. Store both types of raisins in covered containers at room temperature for up to a month or in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins, or a mixture of golden raisins and dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup almond oil or canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar (optional)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, oats, raisins, the 3/4 cup brown sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, oil, applesauce and buttermilk. Stir until just evenly moistened, 15 to 20 strokes. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the batter evenly with the 1 to 2 Tbs. brown sugar.

Bake until the top is well browned and firm, the edges pull away from the pan sides and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then unmold the loaf onto the rack and let cool completely. Cut into thick slices to serve. Alternatively, wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 4 days. The loaf slices best when cold. Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf.

Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, Edited by Chuck Williams (Oxmoor House, 2009).