Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Things of which my conscience doth approve

There are certain things about my childhood that I find absolutely terrific. For instance, these costumes. (How cute are we?)

Also terrific is the fact that, when I was growing up, eating leftover birthday cake for breakfast was an entirely acceptable happening. That, I think, was an excellent call on my mom's part. Unfortunately, nowadays I have this wretched little grownup shoulder angel that disallows that kind of indulgence. Breakfast, he tells me, should be something wholesome and responsible--oatmeal, for instance.

Don't get me wrong; I like oatmeal a lot. I actually discovered that fact when I had it for the first time, in college. Yeah, college; no lie. That was the same year that I discovered bran flakes, Brussels sprouts, flax seed, and a variety of other traditionally hated things...and loved them all. Maybe it was some kind of wildly effective reverse psychology, but Mom never fed us any of that when we were kids.

Now, my own as-yet-nonexistent children no doubt WILL be force-fed oatmeal, along with all other kinds of healthy foods. (Because I love them. The kids, I mean...not the foods. Though I do love those. Different kind of, you know what I mean.) But I do like to think that compromises are a good thing at times (remember the Monster Cookies?), and if the oatmeal can come in cake form every once in a while...shoot, who am I to balk?

THIS is one of my new absolute favorite recipes: Spiced Fruit-and-Oat Bread.

The pictures I got aren't the best. Seriously, "in person" this was such a huge, pretty loaf. But, anyway...

I love quick breads for a number of reasons. They're...well, quick. They're virtually fool-proof. And there's something really warm and homey about them. comfort food, I guess. And, if we're honest, they're sort of an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. A much healthier, shoulder-angel-approved kind of cake. But cake nonetheless.

This makes a hefty loaf, and I very much recommend lining the loaf pan with parchment paper, so you can just lift it out instead of trying to turn it onto a wire rack. Also, pleasepleaseplease let the loaf completely cool before you cut into it. It's truly 35.2 times better the next day (as are most quick breads).


Spiced Fruit-and-Oat Bread
(Adapted from "Oatmeal Breakfast Bread" in Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours")
 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
 ¼ cup chopped pecans
 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
 2 tablespoons oats
 2 large eggs, at room temperature (I used an egg and two egg whites)
 1¼ cups unsweetened applesauce
 ⅓ cup vegetable oil (I used 2 tablespoons)
 ¼ cup buttermilk
 ¾ cup whole-wheat flour
 ½ cup all-purpose flour
 ¼ cup sugar (I used Splenda)
 ½ cup packed brown sugar (I used half brown-sugar Splenda)
 1½ teaspoons baking powder
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 ½ teaspoon baking soda
 ½ teaspoon salt
 ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
 pinch of ground cloves
 1 cup old-fashioned oats
 ½ cup dried cranberries and raisins (I used a crazy mix of crans, raisins, golden raisins, and blueberries)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
2. In small bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, oil, and buttermilk; set aside.
3.In large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in the oats.
4. Using rubber spatula, gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Stir in fruit.
5.Spoon batter into pan; sprinkle with topping, and press down lightly so it sticks. Bake 45¬–50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out (mostly) clean. (Don’t overbake!)
6. Cool cakes in pan 10 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.


  1. Great looking dish! Make me hungry!

  2. Great stuff here. A happy holiday season to you and your readers!