Apricot Nut Loaf
Dorcas Annette Walker
After us children were grown and my father died my mother seldom cooked. Working full time it was more convenient for her to eat at the hospital dining hall. On the rare occasions when she had company my mother ate at a restaurant. So I was quite intrigued when chatting with my mother during one of our weekly telephone calls to hear that she was seriously considering entering a cooking contest sponsored by the Bran Bud Cereal company. My mother loved apricots so she wanted to use them with the cereal to make some kind of a nut loaf. Since I cooked and baked all the time my mother asked my opinion what ingredients I thought would work best together. Suddenly I found myself being the one to encourage and bolster my mother’s self esteem like she had done so many times for me.
Several months later my mother called me all excited. She had won first place with her Apricot Nut Loaf entry! It was the only time my mother ever entered a contest. Her winning recipe lay forgotten as the years passed with only a mention now and then about our mother’s one spot of fame. As I was browsing through my recipes I came upon her Apricot Nut Loaf recipe and decided to feature it this month in honor of my mother.
Relative to peaches apricots are one of the first signs of summer. Apricots grow golden orange skins with the fruit having a faint tart taste between a plum and a peach on small trees from May through August. In the winter apricots are imported from South America so are available fresh year round. Buy slightly soft apricots as tree-ripened fruits taste best. Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A and C, potassium, and dietary fiber. Nutrients in apricots help protect the heart and eyes and its fiber prevents constipation and digestive conditions.
Some say that apricots originally came from China spreading through Central Asia to Korea and Japan while other believe that apricots were first cultivated in India about 3000 BC. The first apricot tree arrived in Virginia in 1720, but the appearance of apricot trees in the United States didn’t become known until 1792 from seedlings carried to the west coast at Spanish missions in California. Today apricots are primarily grown in California with some in Washington and Utah.
My mother’s Apricot Nut Loaf is packed full of healthful ingredients with a fruity flavor. Her Apricot Nut Loaf makes a solid dense like bread with a nutty crunchy texture ideal as a healthy snack with a cup of coffee or tea. Variations of this recipe could be made with dried or fresh apricots- just add more sugar- and other fruits or substitute the sugar with honey. Preparation time for the Apricot Nut Loaf only takes ten minutes (not counting baking time) and this recipe makes one large loaf.
Apricot Nut Loaf
In a medium size bowl beat together:
½ c sugar
1/3 c cooking oil
1 c apricot jam
1 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
2½ c self-rising flour
1 c Bran Bud Cereal
Mix well and then fold in:
1 c chopped pecans
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes at 350º. Turn out on a rack and let cool then store the loaf in a closed container. Slice and enjoy with your favorite beverage!
Weekly tip: When baking nut or fruit loaves double the recipe and make two. You can always store the extra loaf or half a loaf in the freezer for a readymade snack!