This post marks the second installation of my Amish Friendship Bread baking challenge. As a part of this challenge, I’ve committed to baking one recipe each month using my Amish Friendship Bread Starter. For those of you that are new, Amish Friendship Bread is made from a sourdough starter and is shared in a manner similar to a chain letter. The starter is a substitute for baking yeast and can be used to make many kinds of yeast-based breads and shared with friends.
I learned an important lesson during this round of baking. There isn’t an exact science behind baking this bread—gasp! As I was chatting with my mom on the phone this week, we realized that there were several variations on the traditional recipe. Some called for two cups of the starter, while others only called for one. Some called for two small packages of pudding, while others called for one large package. For someone that embraces precision, this was hard for me to accept! Regardless, the important takeaway for you is that you can feel free to experiment with your Amish Friendship Bread.
Today’s recipe is a unique twist on the traditional cinnamon flavored bread. With the additions of chocolate pudding, cherries, and almonds, this recipe is moist and full of flavor. The almonds pair beautifully with the cherries and chocolate.
Chocolate Cherry Almond Amish Friendship Bread
Adapted from Friendship Bread Kitchen
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 small boxes instant chocolate pudding
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained
1 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
In a medium-sized bowl mix Amish Friendship Bread starter, eggs, oil, milk, and almond extract. In a large bowl mix sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour, and pudding. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in cherries and almonds.
Grease two large loaf pans and dust with a sugar-cocoa mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder. Pour the batter evenly into the pans. Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens evenly from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
If you have a problem with ingredients (think cherries or almonds) sinking to the bottom of your batter, try tossing them with a tablespoon of flour before adding to the batter. You can also try chopping them up into larger pieces. If all else fails, try reducing the liquid content of your batter. For instance, you could leave out one egg or add 2-3 tablespoons of flour.