From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I had some help in the kitchen Sunday morning. One of our neighbors was running a local marathon and wanted to keep her children occupied while she completed the 26 miles. The kids enjoy visiting with us and they are great cookie bakers, so the plan for their entertainment included some kitchen time and a batch of chocolate chips. It also ended up including several loaves of their mother's favorite honey bread, meant as a warm bouquet to soothe her throbbing feet and pounding head. This moist cake-like bread has much to commend it. It is not as sweet as the traditional cake that is eaten on the Jewish New Year and it is much easier to prepare. So easy in fact, that my eight and ten year old visitors were able to make it by themselves, and that will make it sweeter still to those for whom it was made. Honey cakes are not universally popular. They have a distinctive taste and texture that can be off-putting to many, but this one overcomes those problems and, if allowed to age a day before serving, is downright tasty. The use of honey in breads and cakes began centuries ago in Egypt, where flour and honey were mixed together and allowed to ferment for a month or so before baking. Over time additional ingredients were added and something resembling a recipe was developed. Cakes made using these early formulas were very sweet and the honey kept them fresh for a remarkable length of time. The first real honey cakes were made in Germany, but the honey bread of France, the classic pain d'epices, became the gold standard by which all others would be judged. This is not pain d'epices, but the recipe does make a nice honey cake that is fuss-free to prepare. If you let the finished loaves sit overnight, you'll find the cloying taste of honey dissipates and the flavor of the spices comes more into play. This is a nice cake that is easy to make and portable. It travels well, so it is a natural candidate for tea or a morning coffee. Here's how it is made.
Honey Spice Bread...from the kitchens of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Taste of Home magazine
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup 2% milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons 2% milk
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray an 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
2) In a small saucepan over low heat, cook and stir brown sugar and milk for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.
3) In another bowl, combine eggs, honey, oil and brown sugar mixture. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Pour into prepared pan.
4) Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
5) Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Combine confectioners' sugar and milk and mix until smooth. Drizzle over bread. Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices).
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