Makes 8 mini loaves
I’ve been pushing the loaf gospel for a few months now, but mini loaves are possibly even greater, because they offer faster baking times, portion control and that coveted adorability that we all look for in a baked good.
But why my obsession with loaves lately? I suppose I know. My 39th birthday came and went and I think that means I’m my version of an adult now. Not only do I not want all the excess of buttercream frostings, but I also just plain don’t feel like making a separate topping for my sweets. Confectioners sugar everywhere, a million dishes to do – grumble, grumble, get off my lawn. I guess I’m paring down and simplifying. Everything in one bowl and let’s get this show on the road, I got shtuff to do!
What I love about loaves is that they’re streamlined. They don’t need an icing, and they don’t seem naked without one. And unlike a muffin, they aren’t associated with anything healthy, and so you don’t expect a hemp seed to leap out and bite you on the nose (hate when that happens.) They’re homey and cozy and they’re definitely not attention seekers, unless the knowing glance from another wizened loaf-connoisseur is the attention you’re seeking. And I guess that’s where I am with my life right now. Fire places and bike trails, gardens and knit blankets. Loaves.
But simple doesn’t mean boring! I still want to have fun, and nothing says fun more than oozy chocolate and sweet jubilant cherries. Still fun, but not underwear-in-your-purse-looking-for-a-cab-at-4:15-am fun. That’s cupcake fun. Let’s have some loaf fun.
Recipe notes: I love this method of mixing applesauce with nut butter as your fat. I think I invented it so don’t steal it. (TM!!!!) It gives you fiber and protein and nutrients that oil or straight-up applesauce in baked goods wouldn’t, and it’s also great for structure, crumb and flavor. I believe if you’re following a no-oil diet then this recipe is kosher for you (although you may want to remove the chocolate chips?)
This is the loaf pan I use and I love it. It makes 8 loaves. Amazon has a similar one that gets good reviews. If you have smaller sized loaf pans, just be mindful that baking times may vary. Give about 3 to 5 more minutes for each extra loaf in your batch. If you want to use an 8×4 loaf pan then bake for about 50 minutes, up to an hour. If you want to use muffins, then 12 muffins should take about 20 minutes.
If you’re subbing for a nut allergy, try 2 tablespoons oil and one more tablespoon applesauce in place of the nut butter, or try sun or soynut butter.
Last note, I love to use chocolate chunks here because of the aforementioned ooziness. You can sub chocolate chips of course.
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup natural almond butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup almond milk (or your preferred vegan milk), at room temp
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water, divided
3/4 cup dry sweetener (any type of sugar or evaporated cane juice)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional – you can use another t vanilla)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz chocolate bar, chopped into 1/2 inch or so chunks
1 cup chopped sweet cherries (thawed if using frozen)
Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly spray a mini loaf pan with cooking spray. Also, boil some water in a tea kettle (no need to measure yet.)
Put applesauce, almond butter, milk and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Measure out 1/3 cup boiling water and pour into the bowl with the chocolate mixture, mixing quickly with a fork to make a thick chocolate sauce. Add sugar and extracts and mix well.
Sift about half of the flour, along with the baking soda and salt, into the chocolate mixture, and gently stir just to incorporate, then measure out 1 tablespoon of boiling water and stir again. Now add the rest of the flour mixture and another tablespoon of boiling water and stir just until smooth. Take care not to overmix. Fold in the chocolate chunks and the cherries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pans, about 3/4 of the way.
Bake for 26 to 28 minutes. The tops should be puffy and firm. Stick a steak knife into the center of the loaf to check for doneness. A little bit of wetness is okay since it could be from a chocolate chunk or a cherry, but the knife should come out mostly dry.
Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert pan and place loaves on a cooling rack to cool some of the way. It’s yummy when still a bit warm, with the chocolate chunks oozy and melty. Wrap extra loaves in plastic wrap to keep from drying out. If not using within a day, refrigerate wrapped loaves.
Hi, these looks so decadent that i can’t wait to give it a try. Can you suggest though a good brand of chocolate bar to use for this recipe? Thanks a lot!
Trader Joes has a couple of dark chocolate ones that are vegan, affordable and delish!
Isa, this is absolutely to die for! I honestly cant get enough of it! Ive just recently decided to be serious about eating vegan, while I really had no reservations, you make it much easier with recipes like this 😀 If you could only suggest one of your cookbooks, which one would you choose? Im thinking either VWAV or Veganomicon…
These came out amazingly rich, moist, and delicious: not too sweet or fruity, intensely chocolatey, with a nutty counterbalance from the almond butter, milk, and extract. Do not taste vegan, are irresistible, and look nice enough for company! I used sprouted spelt flour, 72% chocolate from Trader Joe’s, and this Williams Sonoma mini loaf pan: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/williams-sonoma-nonstick-mini-loaf-pan/?pkey=e%7Cmini%2Bloaf%2Bpan%7C4%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C3&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-
Cookie and Kate: Like OH MY GOD there’s a recipe out there that is vaguely similar to the one you posted! I highly doubt Isa has even seen your post so there is nothing “funny” about it. Isa is one hell of a chef. She doesn’t need to copy and/or modify anyone else’s creations. And when or if she does, you can bet your boots she will give credit where it is due.
Anyway! This looks so flipping good! I like the idea of using that nut butter/applesauce combo. Wish I had all the ingredients to try it out :-/
Hmm, is that what C&K was trying to say, that I used her recipe? I’m not sure of that, maybe she was just saying she sincerely thought it was funny? In any case, here is how I came up with the recipe (more or less from memory, I’m not going to go back and examine it piece by piece): I took my chocolate pumpkin bread recipe and modified it so that the pumpkin was replaced with applesauce, almond butter and some extra moisture. Then I added the cherries (at my boyfriend’s request!) and the chocolate chunks (because they’re chocolate chunks). I very much believe in giving credit where credit is due! If I had modified this from a different recipe that wasn’t my own, I would have certainly said so. I think that is one of the funnest parts of recipe writing, the origin of the recipe. And integrity in recipe creation is of the utmost importance to me. God knows I’ve had my share of people using my recipes without even a nod and it is so frustrating to have your hard work abused like that. Hope that clears things up! And I really really hope that it wasn’t C&K’s intention to accuse my of recipe pilfering.
OMG!!!!This sounds and looks soooo great!Thank you 4 the recipe. I will try these tomorrow. Vegan Yummy sweet-purrrfect! I ll bake them on my cupcake pan too, thx Kim for already trying that. And I will take peach or apricote sauce instead of apple sauce cuz my gf is allergic to apples. I will tell you how that worked out. And thank you especially for a recipe with no super-extra ingredients you can only get in the U.S. Most of the vegan recipes have ingredients that are hard to find here in Germany… Ohhh i ll go 2 sleep now so i can wake up and make sweet little things 🙂
Just made these and they’re CRAZY good. I couldn’t find cherries (frozen or fresh) at Whole Foods, so I bought a chocolate bar that had cherries in it and added extra chocolate. They’re super easy, gooey, and I’m completely obsessed. More mini loaf recipes would be greatly appreciated!
Cookie and Kate
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to stir up a debate about your recipe. I was just struck by the similarity of our recipes. By no means was I questioning your baking skills or your originality.
Ok thanks! I didn’t think so, but I know I’ve seen my recipes on other people’s blogs with no credit so I wanted to respond.
Samantha @ Lenten Lentils
Just ordered a mini-loaf pan on ebay – does this degree setting/timing work for all of your loaves, like your banana bread? Giving out individual loaves would be great for holidays or selling at a farmer’s market. Thanks!
Yep, it should work with most loaves!
DELICIOUS!!!! I made this as muffins, with chopped dried cherries and Ghirardelli chocolate chips, and ohhhh are they wonderful!
Is there a substitute for the Apple Sauce? I’m really keen to make them but have run outta sauce!
Hi Isa, I’m such a huge fan of yours and own a lot of your books and think they are wonderful! I made this today for an Easter treat, I do not own a loaf pan so just made muffins, and almond butter is too exp for me so I just used peanut and I also ,i made my own apple sauce as I don’t think they sell it in NZ like they do in USA. Anyway thanks and yum 🙂 I posted them onto my Facebook and credited you . Thanks for being an inspirational and delicious vegan!!!
I made this with an 8×4 loaf pan and with raspberries because I didn’t have cherries and it turned out delish! Thanks for the recipe.
I haven’t made these because I hate the chocolate + cherry combo (same goes for chocolate + oranges and chocolate + raspberries), but I had to comment to thank you for the wonderful mini loaf pan recommendation. For anyone considering buying one of these pans, I would encourage them to buy the Sur La Table version as it is far superior to any other piece of bakeware in my collection. It’s heavy and coated with silicon so no need to grease before baking. And it’s made in the USA! I just need to find people to take my old pans off my hands so I replace the rest of my bakeware.
I made this with 1/4 cup sugar, WW pastry flour, cocoa nibs instead of chunks, and vanilla extract only (that’s all I had), and it still turned out so good that my housemate and I devoured it within 2 hours of making it. Insanely good! thanks!!
This looks amazing; just the type of thing I’ve been looking for. Thank you. Can you advise me on how I could use this recipe as a basis for a vanilla raspberry version? Clearly i could make a straight swap between cherries and raspberries; by leaving out the cocoa I’m imagining that I’d need to increase the flour. Do you think that I’d need to add in a third of a cup or less than that? Finally, I don’t imagine having to replace the chocolate at all; does that sound right to you? Thanks ever do much.
I make this all the time now – always comes out perfectly! I use a bundt pan tho, sometimes mini bundts. Good job!
Just tried this as my very first attempt at vegan baking. Supermarket was out of cherries so I used fresh raspberries instead. It came out freaking amazing!!! I can’t believe the texture the applesauce/almond butter mix gave it. I gave some to two anti-vegans without telling them what it was, and they loved it, too. Hands down the best thing I’ve ever baked – which isn’t saying that much because I usually just do curries and stews. But this is decidedly on my short list of go-to recipes.
Yum!! Made as muffins because I don’t have a loaf pan (yet…); recipe otherwise unaltered. Delicious dish. Perfect dessert after takeout Massaman curry. <3
Just made these with dried cherries since I couldn’t bear to put fresh cherries in a baked good (they’re like candy on their own!). They turned out wonderfully moist, rich, and delicious! Thank you for such a great, easy recipe. I also just put in all the hot water at once instead of alternating with the dry ingredients – I’m not sure why that step was necessary?
this has become one of my go-to recipes, i make it at least every 2 weeks. scrumptious!
i decreased the sugar to 1/2 cup and subbed the cherries for chopped walnuts. perfection 😀
I printed this recipe out nearly a year ago and finally got around to making it–don’t know what took me so long. It is *GREAT*!! My mini-loaf pans must be only “small” loaf pans–the recipe filled 3 of them and they took longer to bake. Only sub: all-purpose gluten-free flour (Trader Joe’s brand). Oh, and I only had peanut butter so I used that (can’t taste the peanut). Totally delicious: moist, melty, super yummy. I’ll try them again (maybe as muffins? Or more little loaves!) with less sugar as commenters describe below. Thank you!
Could I use plumped tart dried cherries instead of chopped regular/frozen?
Is there anyway to make these gluten free? would another flour alternative work?
Just made these with all WW flour, raspberries and semisweet chocolate chips. Also lessened sugar by 1/4 cup. Tastes great!
These are cooling on my counter as we speak! Cant wait to try them!! I had to make muffins because my mini loaf pan hasn’t arrived yet, but the kids don’t seem to care 🙂
Kathy in the Wallowas
nut butter and applesauce is something we do all the time out here at the end of the road for baking, but glad you found it.
I made these tonight in muffin form and they were amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. I love the applesauce-nutbutter combination; previously I’ve been cooking muffins with just applesauce but these had a much better texture than my applesauce-only muffins do.
The most fetching thing about this (vegan) recipe, which I haven’t tried yet, is the fact that there’s no margarine in it. Margarine, let’s fact it, is horrendous, in taste and in every other way.
Yum. Nice and fluffy. I cut down to 1/2 cup sugar but didn’t have any chocolate chips and I had to used dried cranberries instead of cherries. I wouldn’t recommend reducing the sugar, like I did, unless you’re adding chocolate chips.
I just made this last minute today, ran outa almond butter so used some pb, and didnt have cherries so i subbed frozen raspberries. It was pretty damn good. I even forgot to save the extra tbsp water! But my sister freaking looooves it! So i blew her socks off, and wanted you to know. I love love love Isa Does It ♡ Ive got bindi masala on the stove right now.