Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: Deliciusness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good.

Mariska Hargitay

With fall begins the baking season, my first indulgence is always a chocolate dessert. It’s not that I quit eating chocolate in summer, chocolate ice cream remains the ultimate comfort food. But the delight of baking cookies, cakes and brownies with chocolate as the main ingredient, has an inseparable connection to other happy memories of a cosy home, mom’s cooking, reading detective stories in bed and cuddling with the cat.

This easy to bake, mix-everything-in-one-bowl, chocolate almond bread is a satisfying chocolate experience. Serve it slightly warm with peanut butter for breakfast, as a snack with afternoon tea or with a scoop of ice cream after dinner. Almonds add a delicious crunch to each bite and also I love the two aromas mingling. You add nuts of your choice, walnuts and pistachios taste great too or skip nuts if you are allergic and add dried fruits instead for a richer texture, dates, figs, raisins, black currents are few of my favourites.

For Chocolate Almond Bread :
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped almonds, plus a little more for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla essence

This Is What You Do :
Heat oven to 175 degrees C.

Lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl add sugar, butter, milk and egg. Mix until well blended.

Stir in the dry ingredients and almond extract.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle generously with chopped almonds.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before taking it out of the pan and slicing.

Makes 8-9 slices

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