Spring is one of my favorite times of year. Luckily, spring in Seattle blossoms earlier than most regions in the states. For me spring like nature, is a time for renewal and rebirth. It’s the time of the year where I get more energy and excitement for longer days and warmer weather.
My most favorite memory of spring is to admire the cherry blossoms. I have a deep love for flowers, that roots back to childhood. Each year my earthly parents planted hundreds of flowers in beds around our yard and trees. Naturally, I gained an appreciation for flowers and what our earth produces.
Cherry blossoms are one of the most popular trees in Seattle. These beautiful white and pink blossoms burst with the sun, but sadly the petals do not stay on the trees for very long. From the University of Washington campus to Queen Anne neighborhood, Seattle rebirths with life force energy each time these trees bloom.
Sadly, with the change of the weather patterns, cherry blossoms have bloomed early the past two years. But when the petals begin to fall, the sidewalks become a carpet of pink and white petals. It's a magical experience that reminds me of the unicorn scenes in the 1980's movie, Legend with Tom Cruise. So for this recipe, the cherry blossoms were my source of inspiration.
I sat on my balcony and overlooked the pink cherry blossom tree that carelessly flowed in the wind. For some reason something with cherries, apples and almonds sounded good.
Lately, I’ve had to do all gluten free baking and find it an interesting - as it truly is a chemical experiment. I notice that using all gluten free flours can be dry or tasteless unless there is enough sweetener and using just almond flour sometimes leads to crumbly messes. (If anyone knows the secret to that please let me know!) The one thing I’ve learned living in Germany is that baking is a serious art and science. It can take a lot of trial and errors to find the right method of mixing, concocting and ingredient selections.
Well, lucky for me I know using half GF flour and half almond flour has been successful in the past. I decided to use applesauce as the main form of sweetener and frozen cherries since fresh are not available.
You can use dry cherries if you’d like. I recommend rinsing the frozen cherries with cold water. This way it’ll rinse off the juice, which will not turn the dough pink.
I wanted this bread to be pretty, just like the cherry blossom trees. I find the circle to be much more appealing as it looks like a cake. What I did is I lined a 6 in. spring foam pan with parchment paper. Next, I poured in the dough and evened out the top.
Next, I pulled the parchment paper out and then placed it on a cookie sheet to bake. I did use a spatula to push up against the sides to make sure the dough keeps it form. You can also use a regular 9x5 or 8x4 bread pan if you’d like.
Upon first bite, I fell in love just like the first time I fell in with the cherry blossom trees. Sweet, innocent and guilt-free, I hope you enjoy this beautiful combination inspired directly from nature.
Gluten Free & Vegan Apple Cherry (Blossom) Almond Bread
Prep Time: 7 Minutes
Cook Time: 40-45 Minutes
Total Time: 50-52 Minutes
1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (or use regular pastry flour)
1 cup almond flour
1 cup cherries, halved (I used frozen or use fresh when in season)
1 cup applesauce
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax meal mixed w/ 4 tbsp water)
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Optional: 2 tbsp nondairy milk
Topping: 2 tbsp almonds, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the flax egg and set aside. Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix. Place all the wet ingredients into the bowl and mix. Once the flax egg is gelatenous mix it with the wet ingredients.
Make a well into the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into the dry. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. If it seems too dry use up to two tablespoons of nondairy milk. Or you can use the milk for a creamier texture in the bread.
Next, halve the frozen cherries. Rinse the frozen cherries with cold water to remove any juice. Gently, fold the cherries into the dough. Place the dough in a bread pan that is lined with parchment paper. You can read the directions above the above photograph about how I made a circular bread.
Chop the almonds and sprinkle on top of the dough, pushing the nuts down so they stick.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. You test the bread with a toothpick or fork. The bread is done when the fork comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely before cutting.
So, what's your favorite part of spring?
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com