Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Orange Cinnamon Bread

According to the Random House dictionary, tradition is "the handing down of beliefs, legends and customs from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice." One Christmas tradition for the family in which I grew up was to have bake-your-own packaged orange cinnamon rolls for breakfast. The scent of these rolls has always meant Christmas to me, and to our now-20-something daughters.

But there's more than one way to enjoy the luscious combination of orange and cinnamon in a breakfast treat. I developed this recipe before my daughters were born and then sold the bread to a small local restaurant for more than two years.

In 1998, a version appeared in the local cookbook, This Place Called Home, A Kansas City Cookbook. I've recently decreased the amount of sugar from my original recipe and substituted whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour. The decreased sugar also seems to help compensate for the slightly 'heavier' consistency of whole wheat pastry flour.

This Christmas, I will offer the bread as an orange-cinnamon alternative. Will my family accept it as a substitute for the packaged rolls that they know and love? Only taste will tell. I'll add an extra half teaspoon of cinnamon and also may add the filling that the cookbook authors suggested (see below) or drizzle a bit of icing on top.

In the meantime, ENJOY this 'traditional' recipe during your own holiday celebrations.

Orange Cinnamon Bread
Makes 8-10 slices

6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar (VOE - when printed in a local cookbook, this recipe featured 1 cup +
                                                                                                                                  1/3 cup sugar)
2 eggs, beaten
1 orange rind, grated

1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (VOE - the cookbook recipe used all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or light sour cream)
juice of one orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan. Cream together butter and 3/4 cup sugar. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and then add to butter/sugar mixture, combining well. Add orange rind and yogurt and stir to combine completely.

Pour batter into pan and bake 1-1 1/4 hours, until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack. While the loaf bakes, combine juice of one orange and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour syrup over hot loaf. Cool completely before removing from pan. Keep refrigerated.
filling suggested in cookbook:

Combine 6 ounces of cream cheese with 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon grated orange zest. Pour two thirds of the batter in the prepared pan, top with the filling, then top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl with a knife. Bake as directed until bread is lightly brown and firm to the touch.

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