Vanilla-walnut quick bread

Vanilla-walnut quick bread (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff; Food Styling/Karoline Boehm Goodnick)
By Lisa Yockelson
March 11, 2009

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Makes 1 round loaf

2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar or sparkling sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Sieve the 2 tablespoons light brown sugar over the mixture; whisk it in.

3. Scatter the chunks of butter over the flour and, using a pastry blender or two blunt knives, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles crumbs.

4. In another bowl, whisk together the cream, yolk, and vanilla extract. (If using whole vanilla bean, split it and with the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from one half into the cream mixture.)

5. Pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture and scatter the walnuts on top. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture to form a dough. Knead the dough lightly in the bowl for 5 seconds.

6. On a lightly floured counter, quickly form the dough into a plump ball about 5 inches in diameter. Place the ball on the baking sheet and, using a small paring knife, slash the top with an "x." Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons granulated or sparkling sugar.

7. Bake the bread for 40 minutes or until it is firm and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Use a serrated knife to cut the loaf into slices.