What is it about the smell of cinnamon bread baking in the oven that puts smiles on the faces of your loved ones? It's powerful enough to draw them out of bed earlier than they may have wanted during the holiday season. They are happy to rise and shine when they know home-baked cinnamon bread will soon be on the table.
There will be plenty of sweet breakfast breads served during the upcoming season. You can bet banana bread, cranberry nut loaf and pumpkin bread will find their way onto my kitchen table. But there's just something about cinnamon bread that answers the call of Christmas, each slice, warm and buttery with the unmistakable taste of cinnamon running through it.
Years ago while thumbing through one of my mother's recipe files, I found this recipe for her cinnamon bread, and, honestly, found it to be a little too dry for my taste. I add sour cream to most of my sweet breakfast breads, so the second time I made it, I added sour cream and have been making it that way ever since. The texture is moist and perfect with a slightly crunchy crust on the outside. When you add a little butter at the table and it melts through each slice, I'll be surprised if you have much left over at the end of the meal. But if you do, save it because this is a delicious pick-me-up with a cup of coffee in the afternoon.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
1 1/3 cups white sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream (not reduced or nonfat)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan.
Mix together 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.
Combine flour, remaining 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Combine egg, milk, oil and sour cream in a separate bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring until just moistened.
Pour or spread 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon-sugar mixture. Draw a knife back and forth through the batter to marble it, making sure the cinnamon mixture is spread thoroughly throughout but not mixed in completely.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes, then invert onto a platter and serve with butter, if desired. Even better, serve with cinnamon butter! To store, wrap well in aluminum foil.
GREEK BAKE SALE, ROUND 2
If you didn't get your order in for the November Greek bake sale, you have another chance to pick up some delicious treats from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. But you need to place your orders now at annunciationgreek.org.
Pastitsio will be available for sale in packages for you to take home, but there will also be some fresh from the oven for sale on that day as well. Follow the baked pasta with a Greek doughnut drizzled in honey and nuts and dusted with powdered sugar.
There are several things that were not sold at the November sale including karidopita, a walnut spice cake, soaked in honey, and saragli, a confection made of phyllo dough with nuts and honey.
Check it all out on the website and place your orders now to make sure you have everything on hand to serve during the Christmas holidays.