In previous posts, we've put the Duplex Utility Pan to its most traditional use, frying omelets. But as the product leaflet notes, this pan was intended to handle everything from "quickie meals" and "dolling up left-overs" to baking meatloaf, loaf cake or quick bread. After a failed brownie mix experiment in our last post, I returned to the original recipe leaflet.
I assume "Knickerbocker Nut Bread" was named by the Century Metalcraft marketing department to give the recipe book neo-colonial charm—to the best of my knowledge there's no traditional bread by this name. Though Knickerbocker is a Dutch surname dating to the colonization of Manhattan, Washington Irving's satirical A History of New York (1809) was written under the pseudonym "Diedrich Knickerbocker" and became so enduringly popular that the name has graced everything from knee-pants to Hollywood apartments to the NY Knicks since that time. Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson based their 1938 musical satire "Knickerbocker Holiday" on Irving's short stories (minus Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the two for which he's perhaps best known) and gave us the classic "September Song").
On a personal note: I'm eternally indebted to Sleepy Hollow—it's Andrew's birthplace.
Knickerbocker Nut Bread
(from the Century Metalcraft/Guardian Service "Duplex Utility Pan" product leaflet)
3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract*
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chopped nuts
Sift dry ingredients. Add egg, milk and nuts. Bake in buttered Duplex Pan, allowing 13 minutes to each side.
*Note, erratum: The original recipe lists sugar twice on separate lines: "1 teas. sugar" and "1/2 cup sugar". I've substituted vanilla (optional), though I suspect the authors may have intended 1 tsp. of soda... it doesn't need it. The 4 tsp. of baking powder provide all the leavening required for this quick bread to fill the pan once completed.
Additional Notes: Begin with ingredients at room temperature. Heat 1 Tbsp. butter in one side of the Duplex Pan (in open position) until butter turns light brown.
Spoon bread batter into buttered side until almost full. Close unit, reduce heat to "low," and bake for 13 minutes.
Open the pan, butter and heat the opposite side, then close and reverse unit, baking the unfinished side for an additional 12-13 minutes (watch it—even on low heat it can burn quickly).
Unmold loaf to wire rack and allow to cool for ten minutes before slicing.
This recipe spares the fat and sugar, yet baked in the aluminum pan produces a dense, almost coffee or pound cake like consistency: a knockout served fresh for breakfast with butter and jam or cream cheese and jelly and rich enough to serve with ice cream for desert. It slices and toasts up beautifully. Wrap it in foil and it will keep well in the fridge (I'm sure for over a week... ours hasn't lasted that long). Vary with cinnamon and raisin or lemon zest and poppy seed.