A few days ago, I went on a mission. My mission? Baking Cinnamon Pecan Swirl Bread, but adding my personal swirls. My first experience with the quick bread was so-so. While the sweet, cinnamon-y, pecan-studded bread was quite tasty, I was not satisfied with the overall outcome: I wanted a bread that was more wholesome, dense, and bready.
I was pleased with the outcome of my version of Cinnamon Pecan Swirl Bread, better named Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Cinnamon-Sugar Pecan Topping. I made the following modifications to the first recipe I used: 1) I reduced the total sugar by 1/3 cup, yielding a just right, subtle level of sweetness. 2) The addition of whole wheat flour (and a teaspoon of baking soda, I think) to the batter resulted in a less spongy, more dense and bread-like bread. However, because whole wheat flour is a bit heartier, it caused the bread to be a little drier than the previous batch. I will continue to experiment with the amount of flour and amount of milk in the recipe. 3) Swapping the oil with butter did not cause a significant flavor change; however, knowing I used butter made the bread feel more warm and cozy (which I loved). Still, I do believe that oil yields a moister bread, so I will continue to experiment with this modification. 4) I used roughly chopped pecans in the topping only; I did not use them in the swirl. I liked the bread more without the interruption of pesky little pecan pieces, but I still enjoyed their crunch on the top. 5) I combined the sugar with the wet ingredients instead of the dry ingredients; perhaps, like the addition of whole wheat flour (and baking soda), this caused the bread to be less spongy, more dense and bread-like. I would also like to try alternately adding the dry ingredients and milk to the wet ingredients to form the bread batter. I still have a lot to experiment with :)
Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping recipe adapted from the blog Bake or Break
For the bread:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/4 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, sift or whisk together dry ingredients.
- In a larger bowl, blend butter and sugar until smooth. Add in egg and vanilla extract, stirring until well combined with the butter and sugar mixture. Gently stir in milk.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined.
- In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon swirl.
- Pour half of the bread batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Swirl bread with a knife or spatula.
- Add pecans to the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture; toss pecans to coat in sugar and cinnamon.
- Pour remaining bread batter in loaf pan. Top with cinnamon-sugar pecan topping. Gently push down on topping to insure that the topping “sticks” to the bread.
- Bake for 40-50 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.