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Easy Panettone Recipe

Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas bread. It is made with yeast and, depending on the recipe, can have copious amounts of eggs and butter. It often seems more like a decandent cake than bread, especially the ones you can buy in the stores. Most of the recipes I've seen online, and the one I make myself every Christmas, are more restrained, but still delicious.

This year, I wanted the familiar flavours of citrus and anise and almonds, but I was kind of busy, and I wasn't up to a session of kneading and rising and proofing and baking. The idea of making a quick bread was more attractive, all the flavour and less work! The result was this beautiful little loaf. I think I may have found a new family tradition.

Easy Panettone
This is a vegan recipe.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon crushed anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup soy or rice milk
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons melted Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Finely grated peel of 1 orange and 1 lemon

1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan, or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, place the unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and soda, anise seeds, and salt. Stir together until blended.

In a medium bowl, place the soy or rice milk, applesauce, melted Earth Balance [or other vegan margarine], the extracts, and the grated orange and lemon peel. Stir together until well blended.

Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture. Stir until blended. A fork, rather than a spoon, is handy for ensuring there are no dry clumps of flour hidden in the batter!

Finally, stir in the raisins, apricots, and almonds.

Pour this fragrant batter into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top and place the pan in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully remove the baked loaf from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool. When it is cold, wrap and store in the refrigerator if not eating it right away.

Makes 1 loaf.

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