I am not sure I have the words to describe this bread, other than to say I loved it. A lot! First, there is the incredibly moist sweet potato bread, with a flavour that is so unique and such a nice change from pumpkin. Add to that a caramel drizzle and sweet and spicy pecans on top and it’s pretty much perfection.
Move over pumpkin. There’s a new fabulous Fall bread in town. This sweet potato quick bread recipe has a caramel drizzle and sweet and spicy pecans on top.
And just to be clear, when I say “spicy”, I don’t mean cinnamon (although there’s a bit of that in there, too). I mean cayenne, as in heat. Just a bit, but the combination of heat with the sweet of the pecans and the caramel drizzle is the real winner here. As for the caramel, normally I might be all about making my own, but since you really only need a bit here – just enough to give the pecans something to stick to, store-bought is a quick and easy solution. I’m thinking if you wanted, you could even reduce some maple syrup (to make it thicker) and use that, as well.
I’m not going to lie though. This bread is a wee bit more work than say, pumpkin bread, since you need to roast off your sweet potatoes first. But … the sweet potatoes bake up just like regular baked potatoes, so you just throw them whole in the oven and let them cook for an hour. After they bake, the skin slides off the potato so neatly and easily.
The other bit of work is making the Sweet and Spicy Pecans ahead. The pecans are delicious and the recipe below will make more than you need, but I’m sure you won’t mind having the extras to munch on! (For Canadians, if you’d like to save a step and you have a Bulk Barn handy, you could pick up their Spicy Glazed Pecans instead of making your own.)
This bread kept amazingly well. I actually kept it in the fridge and it was still great several days after baking. I froze the last few slices.
- Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans:
- 3 Tbsp. dark-brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Decent pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 egg white, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon water
- For the Sweet Potato Bread:
- 1 pound sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable or canola
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups dark-brown sugar
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour (*See Note below to make your own)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- For Topping:
- 3 Tbsp. homemade or store-bought caramel sauce or dulce de leche
- 1/4 cup chopped Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pecans
- Make the Sweet and Spicy Pecans: Preheat oven to 300° F. In a small bowl, mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside. Beat the egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add the pecans to a bowl and drizzle with about half the egg white mixture and stir to coat evenly. (*Note half should be enough to coat the pecans. If not, add a bit more. You can discard any left-over egg white mixture). Sprinkle nuts with the sugar mixture and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and separate nuts as they cool. Allow to cool completely then set aside (place in an airtight container if making ahead).
- For the Sweet Potato Bread: Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease an 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line with a piece of parchment paper that covers the bottom, the long sides and extends an inch or so over the long side edges. Set aside. Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until soft and cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Scoop out flesh into a blender or food processor; discarding the skin. Add milk and purée until smooth. Scrape the potato mixture into a medium bowl and return 1 1/3 cups of the mixture to the blender. Add eggs, oil, vanilla, and dark brown sugar and purée until smooth. Scrape into a large bowl.
- Lower the oven to 325° F. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three batches to avoid overworking the flour. Make sure batter is fully mixed.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in oven, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 2 hours.
- Run the dull side of a bread knife along the ends of the loaf pan. Un-mold the bread and drizzle with caramel. Sprinkle with chopped Sweet and Spicy Pecans and press down lightly so they stick in to the caramel.
- *Make your own cake flour for this recipe: measure out 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour. Remove 3 1/2 Tbsp. of the flour. Add 3 1/2 Tbsp. of cornstarch. Sift together 3 or 4 times to ensure it is well combined.
Candied Pecans Adapted from Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country via Smitten Kitchen / Sweet Potato Bread Adapted from Bon Apetit September 2014