Can you smell it? The fresh plastic scent of your brand new Trapper Keeper…
Can you feel it? The hot vinyl of the school bus seat sticking to the back of your thighs…
Can you hear it? The shrill shriek of the day’s first class bell…
That’s right, it’s time to go back to school. And to celebrate, this entire week on SB will be dedicated to just that – going back to school in delicious style.
Whoa. That’s me in the middle. Somewhere in Massachusetts sometime in the 1980s. Now might be a good time to review our First Day Checklist.
1. Get your hairs did. CHECK. My baby sister, B., is on the far left. B. enjoys eating Wheat Thins, running marathons, and, clearly, she too appreciates the value of utilitarian hairstyles. Points for practicality.
2. Proper equipment is vital. CHECK. That’s my Peanuts lunchbox, which preceded my ThunderCats lunchbox, which preceded my New Kids On The Block lunchbox. It seems that I was able to keep up with the trends far better than my friend there rocking the Members Only Jr. jacket and NASA lunchbox. Trend adherence is critical when it comes to proper equipment selection. Obvi.
3. Eat a good breakfast. CHECK. CHECK. Cinnamon Bread shows love. Cinnamon Bread gives comfort. Cinnamon Bread calms First Day jitters. It’s a natural. Let’s get it done.
I just love quick bread recipes like this: flavorful, simple and so incredibly satisfying.
Some people may be allergic to cinnamon, or maybe just not care for its heat. No biggie. This recipe is so versatile that you can swap the cinnamon out for the spice of your choice.
Maybe ginger? Maybe some cardamom? You’re the Spice Boss. Go for it.
Toasted nuts are an important part of this goodness – the crunch is such a lovely textural contrast to the soft bread.
And, hey, here’s another opportunity for you to flex your creative muscles. If pecans aren’t your thing, throw in some walnuts. Get it done with cashews. Keep it real with peanuts.
Just pick a nut and make sure you toast it.
This recipe makes two large loaves. Perfect. Serve one up to your Nervous First Day Students and send one off to your lovely First Day Teacher.
Score. Points. Early.
No one loses when Cinnamon Bread is shared.
Things are looking good.
Maybe this is coming out of the oven just as Nervous First Day Student is packing his backpack.
Maybe these are cooling while Nervous First Day Student is lacing up her new kicks.
Let’s finish this bread off so people can get on their way and not be nervous anymore.
Just a bit of rich, creamy glaze. No harm, no foul. Keeping things sweet and lovely.
You can lick the whisk when you’re done. I know you’re nervous too.
Don’t worry, everything’s going to be OK.
There you go. Slice, serve and soothe.
You’ve got some love on your plate there, and there should be smiles on some faces.
Just a few nerves calmed. Just a few bellies filled up and ready for the day ahead.
First Days are so sweet. First Days with fresh Cinnamon Bread are the sweetest.
Glazed Cinnamon Bread
For the bread:
1 1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
4 large eggs
3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 c. Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tsp. ancho chile, ground
1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
1 1/2 c. pecans, whole
For the glaze:
2 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
3/4 c. heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease 2- 9″ x 5″ loaf pans and set aside.
Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for approximately 8 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, salt, cinnamon, ancho, nutmeg and baking soda together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and continue beating. Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients, beating until just incorporated. Beat in the Greek yogurt. Roughly chop the pecans and fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and lightly smooth the top of each unbaked loaf. Bake for 52-55 minutes. The finished loafs will be a deep golden brown on the top and a cake tester inserted in the center should retain only a few crumbs when removed (a few crumbs are OK – the loaves continue to bake in their pans once you remove them – you don’t want to over bake this bread). Remove the baked loaves and allow them to cool before unmolding.
Meanwhile, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream together in a medium bowl. Continue whisking until the glaze is smooth with no lumps remaining.
Pour the glaze over the unmolded loaves. Slice and serve or store the finished loaves in an airtight container for up to a week.
YIELD: 2- 9″ x 5″ loaves