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I made this Apricot Banana Almond Bread to welcome a friend into the Neighborhood. A house was being constructed right across the road, and I was thrilled when I discovered the owner was in my Pilates class. Although it took me a while to extend even this simple hospitality, I was very excited to have a wonderful new neighbor and am looking forward to many opportunities for wonderful sociability in the future.

APRICOT BANANA ALMOND BREAD

apricot banana bread

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup uncooked oats

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped, dried apricots

1 cup mashed, ripe banana

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Heat oven to 350F. Coat a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Coat bottom of pans with flour, tap out excess.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add apricots, mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk together bananas, buttermilk, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and almond extract until well blended. Add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir just until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan, sprinkle with almonds.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove bread from pan. Cool completely on rack.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, February 2003

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/

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