The other day I invited my friend Hillary over to my house for a little baking. While baking with Hillary was fun because we chatted away about this and that, I have discovered that I enjoy baking the most when I am by myself. Baking, just like working out, is my “me” time. It is meditative in a way because it makes me concentrate, and I like to be inside just my own mind.
Cinnamon Pecan Swirl Bread recipe slightly adapted from the blog Bake or Break
At first I was disappointed with the results of this quick bread. However, the day after it was baked, I thought it tasted much better. The cinnamon flavor seemed more present in the bread, and the cinnamon pecan swirl on the inside of the bread became gooey, reminding me of the gooey center of a cinnamon roll. The recipe is a keeper (I cannot resist the absolutely delicious, warm aroma of cinnamon and pecans; this bread smells exactly like a cinnamon roll!), but the next time I bake it, I will make modifications.
- I will decrease the amount of sugar in the bread batter, as I thought the bread was too sweet.
- I will use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour.
- I will try using butter instead of vegetable oil, as I think butter will give the bread more depth of flavor.
- I will only roughly chop the pecans, not finely chop, as I disliked how the itsy-bitsy pieces of crunchy pecans interrupted the softness of the bread in the middle (I liked the pecans on top.). Another idea would be to nix the pecans all together in the middle of the bread, but have the pecans on the top of the bread. If I went with this idea, I would perform the “swirling” step before the final layer of the cinnamon pecan swirl was sprinkled on top.
- The recipe directions called for the sugar to be incorporated with the dry ingredients. This direction sounded odd to me; next time, I will combine the sugar with the wet ingredients, like I would do for any other quick bread recipe.
For the bread:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (Next time, I will try 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 cup whole wheat flour.)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup white sugar (Next time, I will reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup.)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (Next time, I will use 5 Tablespoons melted butter.)
- 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk dry ingredients until baking powder and salt is evenly distributed throughout the flour.
- In a larger bowl, blend together sugar, egg, vanilla extract, milk, and oil (or butter) until well combined and smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined.
- In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients for the cinnamon pecan swirl.
- Pour half of the bread batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon pecan swirl mixture. Repeat: top with remaining bread batter and remaining cinnamon pecan swirl mixture.
- With a knife or spatula, make swirls throughout the bread.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow bread to cool in loaf pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.