Monday, December 29, 2008

The Best Cinnamon Bread. Ever.

When I moved into my first apartment the fall of my sophomore year at college, I was suddenly faced with the fact that I didn't know how to cook.

Cinnamonny goodness!

Growing up, my mother hadn't spent much time in the kitchen, and I had mastered her handful of go-to dishes by the time I had graduated from high school. And yet, I wasn't entirely ready to supply myself with my every meal. I missed my old dining commons and the convenience of always having freshly prepared food waiting for me.

My friends and I began sharing our cookbooks and recipes. We would sit around and copy recipes by hand from each others books.

This cinnamon bread treat was one of our early favorites and the first one that I helped to collaborate to write. I remember fiddling with the cooking time (it needed to be longer) and playing with the amount of cinnamon (doubling, then tripling it), the same kinds of things I do with recipes these days.

I love that making this bread reminds me of those times - the real beginning of my cooking career.

The Best Cinnamon Bread. Ever.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I prefer to use freshly grated cinnamon, but the jarred stuff works too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan to cook bread in.

Sift together dry ingredients. Cream together butter and sugar.

Once butter and sugar are light and fluffy, add a third of the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Add a third of the milk and stir just mixed. Continue while alternating dry ingredients and milk until just combined.

Beat egg whites to stiff peaks in separate bowl. Fold beaten egg whites into batter. Stop as soon as eggs are incorporated so that bread does not become tough.

Pour batter into butter and floured loaf pan and bake for an hour, or until the top of the bread is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once the bread comes out of the oven, cool on a rack. The bread can be topped with a pad of butter and/or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

**When I have apple butter on hand, I often substitute out half of the butter for an equivalent amount of apple butter for an extra layer of flavor.**

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