OK I know I said that I wouldn’t have anything on the blog this week except salads. But… Well, I just wasn’t in the mood. I mean have you been outside of your house lately? Apparently, it’s almost Christmas! Carols are playing. Lights are twinkling. Decorations are EVERYWHERE. Obviously, I don’t have time to stop and think about something crazy like salads right now.
So I’ve been thinking about the holidays: about feeding the kids while they’re home, and also about what we should eat on Christmas morning. So far this delicious cinnamon bread is a pretty serious contender. The original recipe is from King Arthur Flour, and it’s really easy and pretty much foolproof. Unfortunately, it calls for cinnamon chips. Since it’s the most wonderful time of the year, cinnamon chips are actually relatively easy to find in the grocery store right now. But the problem I have is that I just kind of don’t like them. Well, the ones you have to order online from King Arthur Flour are probably good. Other brands I’ve tried, not so much.
What IS fortunate, though, is that I’m not the only person in the world with this problem. So thanks to Google, I found an alternative: homemade cinnamon “chips.” There are several variations of this recipe out there, but it looks like it was mainly invented by the genius blogger at Mind Over Batter. Her recipe calls for shortening, but I used butter instead because mmmm butter. They aren’t chips exactly, either. They aren’t waxy at all and don’t melt the way chips do. They’re really more like cinnamon blobs. Blobs that are perfect for this recipe.
I made my cinnamon blobs the day before, which gave them plenty of time to cool and dry out just enough to be easy to handle. Making them is pretty straightforward. Just throw all of the ingredients into a bowl…
Once it’s cool, use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut out little bits. They won’t be perfect. Don’t worry about it. Once they’re baked into the bread, no one will have any idea what they looked like at this point.
Your cute little cinnamon bits will work in any recipe for baked goods, and I thought they were really good in this bread recipe. With the chips, the bread becomes less like a standard (boring) cinnamon swirl bread and more like a cinnamon roll in bread form. It makes AWESOME French toast.
To get started, grab a mixing bowl and add all of your dry ingredients. The recipe calls for instant yeast and works great that way. Remember though, that you can use standard active dry yeast as long as you use 25 percent more of it (an extra half a teaspoon in this case) and proof it before adding it to the recipe.
Warm the milk a bit in the microwave or in a small saucepan. It doesn’t need to be super warm, just warm enough that it won’t delay the action of the yeast, like maybe 75 to 80 degrees. If you need to proof your yeast, I recommend using the milk for that.
Melt the butter and add it to the warm milk, along with the egg. This is where you definitely want to make sure that your milk and butter are not hot enough to cook the eggs. I just mixed everything up together in a Pyrex measuring cup.
Also, FYI, I know the picture of the ingredients has two eggs, and the recipe only calls for one. That’s because our hens are still laying small/medium eggs instead of large ones. So I ended up using like one whole egg plus an extra yolk.
Transfer the dough into a greased 8½” x 4½” or 9” x 5” loaf pan. I sprinkled a little raw sugar over the top for some extra crunch, but a little bit of cinnamon and sugar mixed together would also be nice.
The original recipe recommends a baking time of 35-40 minutes, but each time I’ve made this, it has taken about 50 minutes instead. This may be due to my oven or to some other factor, but quite a few reviewers at the King Arthur site have also mentioned a need for additional baking time. Either way, the toothpick test is the best way to determine whether or not this bread is cooked through.
You will be sorely tempted to slice this up and start eating it right away. You CAN do that (I did). The bread is much easier to slice after a few hours though. It’s delicious plain, with butter, with cream cheese, toasted, made into French toast, and there are undoubtedly a lot of other possibilities as well! I definitely have some ideas, and I will let you know how those pan out. In the mean time, well, forget salads…
- Cinnamon Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup warm milk
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup cinnamon chips (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar or mixed cinnamon and granulated sugar for topping
- Cinnamon Chips
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, instant yeast, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.
- Warm milk gently in microwave or small saucepan until just lukewarm. If using active dry yeast, warmed milk can be used to proof yeast at this time.
- Melt butter in saucepan or microwave and add to warmed milk. Lightly beat egg and add to milk/butter mixture. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover and set in warm spot for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush a 8½” x 4½” or 9” x 5” loaf pan with oil.
- Add cinnamon chips to risen dough and gently fold in to combine.
- Transfer dough to prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle top with raw sugar or cinnamon/sugar combination.
- Bake 35-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5-10 minutes until cool enough to handle, then transfer to wire rack. Cool completely for easiest slicing.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine sugar, cinnamon, butter, corn syrup and vanilla in a small mixing bowl. Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Transfer mixture to baking sheet and press into circular shape approximately ⅛” to ¼” thick.
- Bake 35 minutes until melted and dotted with tiny bubbles.
- Cool completely. Cut into small pieces using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.