Nailed it or Failed it: Almond pudding loaf

few months ago, I got a call from someone who said, like me, she clips and saves recipes.

She did not provide her name, but told me she was cleaning out things and was going to get rid of her stash of recipes and wondered if I would like to have them.

When I said sure, she told me she’d leave them at The Winchester Sun office and I could pick them up whenever it suited. When I stopped to pick up the recipes, I was surprised to find them neatly filed in two accordion-type binders, and filed by category.

I’d had the recipes for a couple of months before I sat down to go through them while Brad was out of town for a week. It was fun to see some of the recipes the person had saved were some of the same recipes I’ve saved over the years.

Some of her recipes were torn out of magazines and newspapers, and others were hand written. Overall, it took several hours to look at every recipe. In doing so, I found one right off the bat that I wanted to try: today’s recipe for almond pudding loaf.

The recipe was torn from an unknown magazine, but it was included in an advertisement for Bisquick.

I needed something to take to another potluck at church and this seemed like the perfect thing. It called for Bisquick; and you might remember I received a huge box of Bisquick from a friend a while back. With this recipe I could make a dent in the box full of baking mix. And I love things flavored with almond extract (our wedding cake was a white almond-flavored cake with raspberry filling — it was so good).

Saturday afternoon I measured the almonds (I used slivered almonds because I didn’t have whole ones). I was able to crush the pieces into fine bits with a food chopper.

When the almonds were crushed, I greased a loaf pan and patted the almond bits into the shortening, coating the sides and bottom of the pan.

I decided to use my stand mixer and poured the remaining almonds into the large bowl then added all of the other ingredients for the loaf. I scraped the bowl down as the mixture moved around in the bowl for the first 30 seconds.

After turning the mixer to medium, I scraped down the sides a couple more times. After three minutes, I was ready to pour the batter into my prepared pan.

I scraped every last drop of the batter into the loaf pan and placed it in the preheated oven to bake.

When the timer sounded after 50 minutes, the skewer I inserted into the center didn’t come out clean. I let the loaf bake another five minutes, and still the skewer didn’t come out clean. The loaf was what I considered done after 15 more minutes.

I removed the loaf from the oven and thought to myself, “Boy, that thing really did rise.” I believe it is the tallest loaf of bread I’ve ever baked.

As soon as the loaf was out of the oven, I ran a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the loaf then turned it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

That evening I mixed the glaze ingredients. Of course, I opted for almond extract and added two tablespoons of milk to the powdered sugar. I stirred until the mixture was smooth and then poured it over the cooled loaf.

The consistency was perfect and the loaf looked like something out of a magazine. I just hoped it tasted as good as it looked.

Sunday morning before we headed to church, I sliced the loaf to save the church fellowship committee members the trouble of doing it later.

We left the house with potluck items in hand. I also took baked beans, and molasses cookies – I’ll tell you about the cookies next week.

At the potluck I tried the almond pudding loaf and thought it was just OK. A friend of ours, Marsha, had a piece and told Brad she thought it was good. There were a few pieces left and Brad took those to work to share with a few friends. When he got home, he said he heard good things about the loaf.

To me, the best part of the loaf was the glaze, probably because of the almond flavor.

I thought the loaf was a little dry and that’s probably because I baked it longer than the recipe stated.

I guess I could say this recipe is a nailed it and a failed it. I nailed the glaze, but I failed the loaf.

Overall, even though people liked this recipe, I’m going to say it wasn’t a success because it had to bake longer than the recipe said it would and because I didn’t think the actual loaf had much flavor.

This recipe won’t make it to my self-made cookbook, but at least I used up some of that Bisquick.

Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.

Almond Pudding Loaf

INGREDIENTS

— 1-1/3 cups toasted and finely chopped Whole Almonds

— 2-1/2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix

— 1/4 cup sugar

— 1 package vanilla instant pudding and pie filling

— 2/3 cup milk

— 1/4 cup vegetable oil

— 4 eggs

— Creamy Glaze (below)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees, and generously grease 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the almonds over bottom and sides, pressing if necessary.

Beat remaining almonds and remaining ingredients except glaze in a large mixer bowl on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, for approximately 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally for three minutes.

Pour into pan and bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.

Immediately remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Spread with Creamy Glaze. Garnish as desired.

For the glaze: Beat one cup powdered sugar, one teaspoon rum extract, almond extract, or vanilla extract and one to two tablespoons milk, until smooth and of desired consistency.