Rosemary & Bittersweet Chocolate Quick Bread


My favorite baking book this year has to be Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours. The recipes are wholesome, accessible and appealing; the photography has a warm, rustic simplicity that I love. When I browse through the book I want to make – and taste – just about everything in it.

I’ve been experimenting with switching out butter for olive oil in baking, which led to Olive Oil & Cocoa Brownies a few weeks ago. I’ve also had this recipe for Olive Oil Cake from Kim Boyce’s book flagged for months, and after making it a few times I can say it’s definitely a keeper.

These are perfect little breads to give as gifts, or to snack on when you crave a bite of something not-too-sweet.


I have a special place for rosemary in my cooking, so any time I see an opportunity to highlight its distinctive piney-lemon character I jump in to explore.

The first time I baked this lightly sweet cake (to me it’s actually more of a quick bread than a cake), I threw in some freshly grated lemon zest. Lemon is a nice partner with the fruity taste of the olive oil and chocolate, but it got a little lost in there.

Next, I tried adding some ground coriander, a spice that has essential elements of citrus and balsam. You barely notice it in the background, but I think it naturally unites the slightly unusual pairing of chocolate with rosemary and olive oil.

I couldn’t help gilding the rosemary, so I sprinkled rosemary sugar leftover from my Italian Greyhounds over the tops just before putting them in the oven.

Rosemary & Bittersweet Chocolate Quick Bread

Yield: 1 standard loaf or 4 mini loaves


  • 3/4 cup spelt flour (or use an equal amount of all purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch or smaller pieces
  • Rosemary sugar


  1. Position an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly coat 4 small loaf pans (5" x 2") or one regular loaf pan with olive oil. Place the pans on a baking sheet. If using a single loaf pan, you can skip the baking sheet.
  3. Put the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and coriander in a large bowl. Use a whisk to blend the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Add the olive oil and whisk together. Add the milk and rosemary and mix again just to blend.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, stirring gently to combine. Stir in the chocolate until evenly distributed.
  6. Divide the batter among the pans and smooth the top. Sprinkle tops evenly with some Rosemary Sugar, about 2 teaspoons each, or regular sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes for small loaves; 45- 50 minutes for standard loaf or until the tops are domed and a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaves comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a rack before slicing either warm or cool.

Italian Orange-Almond Muffins

Italian Orange-Almond Crunch Oat Muffins 

I’m starting off the week with some shameless self-promotion. Check out Quaker Oats and my recipe, which recently netted me 2K! I made them today and added an embellishment of orange marmalade glaze.
These are very popular with my kids, too.
Italian Orange-Almond Crunch Oat Muffins
Makes 12 muffins 

1 cup oats, quick or old-fashioned
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh orange zest
1 1/2 cups packaged baking mix (I use Bisquick “Heart Smart”)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup crushed amaretti cookies (about 6 small cookies)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray the pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, buttermilk, orange juice and zest. Let stand 10 minutes.
Combine the baking mix, sugar and cookies in a medium bowl.
Add butter, egg and extract to oats and mix well. Add the dry ingredients, mix just until moistened.

Fill the muffins cups about 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes, or until tops are light golden brown. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place muffins on the rack over a sheet of wax paper.

Melt the marmalade and liqueur in a small saucepan. Drizzle over the muffins. Serve warm.

Passing the Meme

Lydia of The Perfect Pantry tagged me for this meme: Five Things Most People Don’t Know About Me, so here goes:1. I’m devoted to entering cooking contests.It started out as an innocent way to indulge my creative side in the kitchen, and became kind of addicting.

2. I can put my leg behind my head in this bizarre-looking yoga posture.

3. Lilacs are my favorite flowers.

4. I always arrive five minutes late for everything.

5. I cannot tolerate cooked green bell peppers. Blech!

And now I’m passing this along to:
Anna of Cookie Madness
Nupur of One Hot Stove
Kristen of Dine and Dish
Bruno of Zinfully Delicious
Janelle of Talk of Tomatoes


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