Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cinnamon Bread

I love cinnamon, the taste, the smell, even the health benefits.

Did you know that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol?

Cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.

It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.

It might reduce arthritis pain in some patients.

When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.

One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.

It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

And besides that, it tastes good.

I made this cinnamon bread the other night for the boys to eat for breakfast. Luke loves cinnamon rolls, but this bread version isn't cloyingly sweet or gooey, but does impart a beautiful taste of cinnamon.

Cinnamon Bread

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, optional
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil (can replace with applesauce)

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease/flour/spray the bottom and sides of a standard loaf pan.

Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, pecans (optional) and cinnamon. Set aside.

Combine one cup of sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Then, stir in milk and oil. (Let your 8-year-old make it all nice and frothy)

Make a well in the flour mixture.

Add the egg mixture to the well. (Isn't it pretty? Like a gently poached egg?)

Stir, gently, until just mixed. Don't overmix. (Stress this to aforementioned 8-year-old). Overmixing develops the gluten in the flour, which makes your bread dense and tough. Yuck.

Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture.

Top with other half of batter. With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl the mixture together. (Luke liked making figure eights).

Bake 40 to 50 minutes (mine baked for 55) or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

Glaze (optional - I didn't do this part to avoid the gooey cinnamon-roll-likeness. Plus the cinnamon sugar makes a crispy, tasty crust on the bread all by itself)

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 T milk
1/2 t vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together and pour over warm bread.

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