Pecan Praline Bread is a delicious quick bread recipe with a tender crumb and a ribbon of brown sugar pecans for added sweetness and crunch!
Earlier this month, I set out to create a new quick bread recipe with holiday gift giving in mind. Cinnamon Bread has always been one of my favorite homemade food gifts to share with neighbors and friends, and I thought it would be fun to take that yummy recipe in an even more decadent direction. So after multiple (multiple) attempts, this Pecan Praline Bread was the happy result of my experiments…boyyyyyy is it good!
As a food blogger who develops recipes, I have good days and I have bad days. On a good day, new recipes work as I imagined they would, tasting delicious and turning out beautifully. On a bad day, every recipe that I make is a flop for one reason or another, and it’s back to the ol’ drawing board.
Sometimes I give up on a flop recipe after the first attempt because it’s just not anywhere near what I envisioned it to be. Other times, however, a recipe is just slightly off…almost there…and with a few tweaks, I’m convinced I can achieve perfection.
The first time I made this Pecan Praline Bread, the flavor and texture were positively drool-worthy. I loved the tiny toasted pecans speckling the bread, and the crunchy, gooey, layer of pecan praline was to-die-for.
However, the pecan praline layer, which I had intended to weave through the center of the bread, had completely sunk to the bottom. As in, all of it was at the very bottom of the pan and there was no praline through the bread. My family didn’t seem to mind…they raved about the bread and couldn’t get enough of it. But this recipe was way too tasty to be ugly, and I knew I could do better. So I decided to make a few adjustments and try, try again.
On my second attempt, the pecan praline still sunk. I gave that (again, ugly) loaf to a friend who said her family didn’t seem to notice the placement of the praline and scarfed down the whole thing. In fact, I was the only one who seemed to mind that the pecan praline was at the bottom. But that wasn’t my original plan, dangit, so off to the kitchen I returned.
After a third failed attempt, I still wasn’t ready to give up. But I did consider keeping the yummy-but-unattractive recipe as it was and just changing its name to something like Titanic Pecan Bread. I mean, it would be acceptable if the pecans were *intended* to sink, right?!
But luckily enough, the fourth try was a charm, and I finally achieved Pecan Praline Bread with a glorious layer/tunnel of goodness that didn’t sink straight to the bottom! Turns out, there were several keys to my praline layer staying put: less butter, pecans that were more finely chopped, a praline mixture that wasn’t too hot, and layering it towards the top of the bread rather than in the center.
So happy, happy day…at last I get to share this scrumptious recipe with y’all! Pecan Praline Bread is easy enough to make, and it’s quite possibly one of the best quick breads I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. In fact, it’s so good that, even if your pesky pecan praline layer decides to migrate southward, nobody will even notice or care. But let’s hope that an empty flour jar, oodles of pecans, and four recipe re-tests will prevent that issue from ever being a problem again. 😉
Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment
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- This recipe requires a large bread pan, with measurements around 9″ X 5″ X 3″. I made this recipe in my Corningware 1 3/4-quart ceramic loaf dish that’s no longer available, but it’s similar in size to this pan.
- That being said, the first time you make this recipe, place your bread pan on a baking sheet to catch any potential overflow in case your pan is a little too small. 😉
- Because of the sticky praline through this bread, you’ll want to line your bread pans with parchment paper to make sure the entire loaf comes out intact. Grease the pan (which the parchment paper will then adhere to, in order to stay in place). Then tear a long piece of parchment paper the same width as the length of the pan. Press it into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Then tear two more small pieces of parchment paper to fit the unlined ends of the pan (again, the parchment should stick since you greased the pan). The parchment needs to slightly extend above the top of the bread pan on all sides…but not so high up that it catches on fire in the oven! Then, once the Pecan Praline Bread is baked and adequately cooled, you can lift it from the pan by its parchment paper “sling.”
- The ideal temperature for the pecan praline is cooled down enough that it doesn’t sink right through the bread, but still warm enough that it can be smoothly stirred. You don’t want it to be so cool that it starts to solidify. If you make the praline and then set it aside while assembling the batter, it should be the right temperature by the time you’re ready to layer it and bake the bread.
- The praline is still going to sink a bit — because it’s simply heavier than the batter — and that’s supposed to happen. Actually, it will likely sink a bit down the center for a tunnel effect, so some of the praline will end up at the bottom and some of it will stay on the surface. Just don’t expect that this bread is going to have a big domed top.
- For the pecans that get folded into the batter, I like to finely chop them and then toast them. This ensures crunchy pieces of pecan throughout the bread. However, keep in mind that they will only take a few minutes to toast since they’re such small pieces. And if you decide not to toast them, the bread will still turn out fine.
- The pecans that get stirred into the praline should be chopped to a regular size. The pieces shouldn’t be so big that they immediately sink, but they shouldn’t be too small or the praline won’t have as much texture.
- If you decide to make this Pecan Praline Bread for holiday gift-giving, you can find some free printable gift tags here and here.
♥More homemade holiday food gift ideas…
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