Sweet honey and aromatic vanilla lend their flavors to this incredible holiday bread! Savory goat cheese adds delicious creaminess, sliced almonds add the perfect amount of crunch, and candy-like dates are spread throughout every slice. Whole-grain and naturally sweetened this unique loaf only TASTES rich and indulgent!
Where do I even begin with this recipe?
I don’t consider myself a master baker or anything like that, but I certainly like think I have some natural ability when it comes to making up recipes from scratch. Over the years I’ve learned what foods and flavors pair well together, and I try to use these principles whenever I attempt a new creation.
With that said, even I question my ideas sometimes! Yes, I certainly have an affinity for all things weird yet wonderful, but my strange craving the other day for a holiday bread that was both sweet and savory came out of nowhere! I love the holiday bread that we make at work…loaded with honey, raisins, chocolate chips, and lots of delicious cinnamon. However, I wanted something a little less dessert-like and little more acceptable to eat as a sweet compliment to a meal.
I thought about savory foods that pair well with sweet things like fruit and it finally hit me…one of my favorite combos! Cheese and fruit!
I’ve always enjoyed my grilled cheeses spread with jam and who doesn’t love cheese and fruit in salad together? So why not bread!
I racked my cupboard for ingredient inspiration and pulled out my Nektar Honey Crystals® (they come in a new easy pour bottle making them even more ‘no mess’ and convenient!), a bag of sliced almonds, and some homemade vanilla extract I got for a gift last year (so good by the way!). With these as my main flavor notes, I chose goat cheese as my creamy, savory addition.
I wrote out a recipe, said a prayer to the bread gods (they exist right?), and hoped for the best! This was my first time baking bread with crumbled cheese rather than a shredded kind (like these biscuits!), so I wasn’t sure how things would turn out.
Well, see for yourself… 😉
Honey Vanilla Almond Bread with Dates & Goat Cheese
Ingredients (1 loaf)
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese
- 1/4 cup Nektar Honey Crystals®
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- ¾ cup vanilla almond, cashew, or soy milk
- ½ cup apple sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup of small pitted dates, finely chopped
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- extra goat cheese and sliced almonds for topping
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray (spray well) or line with parchment paper.
Combine vanilla, Nektar Honey Crystals®, egg whites, applesauce, olive oil, and milk in a small bowl. Set aside.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Gently fold the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the chopped dates and almonds. Stir. Then, gently stir in the goat cheese until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly throughout.
Top with sliced almonds and more goat cheese, if desired.
Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until knife comes out cleanly from the center (this can change depending on your oven). Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool further. Serve warm with an extra sprinkle of Nektar Honey Crystals® and light spread of butter!
Hearty, whole grain, and naturally sweetened…you can’t ask for a more wholesome or tasty bread! And it truly is perfect for the holidays with its well-balanced mix of sweet and savory flavors.
The texture is something special too. Doughy and dense, with bites of creaminess, crunch, and chewiness throughout. I didn’t think it was possible to combine so many flavors and textures into one recipe…but this loaf definitely proves it!
By the way, those Nektar Honey Crystals I mentioned? Pretty much my new favorite baking ingredient! I LOVE baking with honey, but hate the sticky mess it causes. Hard to clean off of measuring cups too! The Nektar Honey Crystals have all the taste of honey and are so easy to portion out. They are a 100% natural mix of honey and cane sugar which makes them great in coffee…or even as a sweet coating for fish, chicken, and tofu too! If you want to try them out for yourself, find them easily at your local Walmart.
So whether you make this bread for a homemade holiday gift, a decadent (but HEALTHY!) addition to your next meal, or just to warm and serve at breakfast time, you’ll fall in love with its deliciousness.
After making this, I feel like a world of new possibilities has opened up for me! First off, I now know it’s possible to make high quality breads without yeast (hello quick breads!) and there are so many other sweet n’ savory combos I want to experiment with. Do you have any favorites? I’d love to get some of your suggestions as well!
What’s your favorite holiday bread?
Do you like fruit and cheese paired together?
What’s your favorite baking ingredient as of late? (If you want to try out Nektar Naturals, you can find them close to you nationwide or at your local Walmart!)Stay connected:Subscribe to Healthy HelperInstagram: HealthyHelperFacebook: Healthy HelperTwitter: @Healthy_HelperPinterest: Healthy_HelperBloglovin’: Healthy HelperTumblr: Healthy Helper BlogSnapchat: KailaProulxCheck out my travel photography on Pixels and Etsy! Shop with me on Amazon. Favorite products, fun finds, and more! Want to get FREE products for review and make money as a blogger? Check out Linqia!Vacation budget a little tight? Get a discount on your AirBnB booking!
Linking up with: Allergy Free Wednesdays,#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGood,Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Friday, Gluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Savoring Saturdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Tasty Tuesdays, Meatless Mondays,Lena’s Tasty Tuesdays, Full Plate Thursday, WNWN Wednesday!
Thanks to Nektar Honey Crystals® for sponsoring this post.