Memories in Every Bite: Glazed Lemon Loaf
When I was a little kid I used to frequently see a loaf of banana bread sitting on the kitchen counter, just out of my grasp. To me, banana bread was like candy and I would eat the entire pan if I could only touch it. We didn't have step stools, at least not to my recognition, so I would gather as much steam as possible and try a running jump onto the counter. On the rare times it worked, my fingers would slip off the counter as quickly as they grabbed it. I was going to have to wait until I was handed a slice.
After dinner, or before if I was extremely lucky, my parents would heat a slice of the light, fluffy loaf and slather on a bit of butter and hand it to me. After a few bites I would ditch the fork for my hands. It was much quicker that way and I wasn't born with patience. I'd finish the slice before my mom was finished wrapping the loaf back up and I would stare at the few crumbs left behind on the plate. Those too were gone in a manner of seconds.
One of the treats of childhood would be having some food packed for me when I was heading out for the day. If I was going to play street hockey or other games with the neighbourhood kids my mom would send me off with a bag and some water and other goodies. Almost always the bag would have a slice of banana bread or lemon loaf or some other sweet loaf and some butter spread on top. It was tightly packaged in plastic wrap and it would tempt me, usually a few feet away from whatever I was doing. I would open up the bag to sneak a peek and it would take all of the powers within me not to eat it right away.
I can remember sitting at the kitchen table watching my mom whisk away and mixing the wet ingredients. Her arm would work feverishly with a spatula folding and mixing the dry ingredients in until it was just right. Usually she'd bend down and let me take a look and occasionally let me put my finger in the batter. That was the best part of growing up. Taking a sneak peek and taste of what was to come. The wait while it was in the oven was torture but I usually had her put the oven light on and I'd pull up a seat and watch. When you're an only child growing up you can find pleasure in the small moments life hands you.
The hardest part wasn't waiting for the loaf to rise and take shape. Not at all. When the timer went off and the knife test was complete, I would be giddy with anticipation and excitement. Just when I thought it was finally going to touch down in my mouth, I was told it was too hot and needed to cool down a bit. It would burn my mouth or something. Those were the minutes that hurt the most.
These days it works a bit differently. Whenever I feel like a taste from my youth, I simply pull out the ingredients and get to work. I mix and fold until it's ready for the pan and then I stop and take a breath and remember the days that helped form these memories. I grab a spoon and a glass of milk and exhale. I pour the rest of the batter into the pan and set the timer and walk away. There will be plenty of this sweet goodness for later.
From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!
Glazed Lemon Loaf
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
- 1 tbsp. Limoncello (optional)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sugar (for the glaze)
- 4 tbsp. lemon juice (for the glaze)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and pinch of salt together until mixed thoroughly.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, milk, Limoncello and vanilla until they're incorporated. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
- Mix the ingredients with a spatula until they just come together. It should be a thick batter and slightly lumpy. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and spread the top with the spatula to smooth it out. Your should be about half full.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until it is golden brown on top with some cracking on the surface. To make sure it's done, insert a knife in the middle and it should come out clean if it's ready. Using a bamboo skewer, insert into the loaf in 10 spaced-out places.
- Next you have to make the glaze. Using a small saucepan, combine the sugar and lemon juice over medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for a few minutes until the sauce is frothy and syrupy and then remove from heat. Immediately pour it over the loaf.
- Allow the glazed loaf to cool completely in the pan. Before you remove the loaf, run a thin knife along the edges and then invert it onto a rack and lift off the pan. Turn it upright onto a platter or board to serve.