Almond flour is my favorite flour to bake with. If you've been around for a while you might have already guessed this. Or browse through my other almond flour recipes on the blog at the bottom of this post.
The flour, which is nothing more than whole, blanched almonds ground to a sandy consistency, lends a delicate but substantial crumb. And it takes on whatever flavors you add. In this Pear Chocolate Almond Loaf, the chocolate, almond, and pear flavors are complimentary of each other but also individually enhanced with the addition of vanilla and almond extracts. With a stir and dump technique, use of everyday ingredients such as applesauce, maple syrup, and olive oil, and fun bites of pear and chocolate chunks, this is the quintessential hybrid; easy enough for every day cooking but sophisticated enough for a special occasion.
The holidays are fast approaching. This loaf is universally pleasing as it's naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. Hope you don’t wait too long to make it!
Pear Chocolate Almond Loaf
Makes 1 standard loaf
Notes: This is a moist cake, hence the longer baking time (~50 minutes). Recipe makes a full standard loaf pan. Standard size loaf pans hold the same volume but may come in slightly different dimensions, with some being a little wider than others. If your loaf pan is wider your baking time will be similar. Otherwise, if your pan is narrower and deeper, you might consider portioning 1/4 of the batter into muffins or a mini loaf pan to drop down overall cooking time.
2 cups (200 g) almond flour
1/3 cup (6 Tbsp./25 gr.) unsweetened cacao powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) applesauce
1/3 cup (80 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup (80 ml) maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 firm but ripe Bartlett pear
50 gr. dark chocolate (70%+) from a bar, chopped into chunks (or 1/2 cup/50 gr. dark chocolate chunks/chips)
Preheat oven to 350 F/ 176 C. Drizzle a little olive oil in a standard size loaf pan and spread with fingers or a paper towel to thoroughly coat the bottom, edges, and corners of pan.
Add almond flour, cacao powder, baking powder, and salt to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
In a medium mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric beater until frothy (30 seconds). Whisk in applesauce, olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla and almond extracts.
Pour wet mixture into dry and whisk until combined. Chop pear into chunks. Use a spatula to fold pears and chocolate into batter.
Transfer batter to greased loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry and edges pull apart from the pan.
Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for an hour. Run knife around edges to loosen and flip loaf out onto cutting board. Slice with a serrated knife. Serve as is or (my favorite) with coconut yogurt.
*Recipe inspired by Banana Almond Chocolate Cake