Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

It is a gorgeous day and looks like winter is on its last legs in NC.  Who wants to do a boatload (make it loads) of laundry, check things off the work checklist, shop, cook and drive around for a gazillion pickups and drop offs.. Right ! We sure can dream on, can’t we?.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Meanwhile reality sinks in and work beckons and just for the lark of it , I think this week calls for something special. Why so, you may ask ? Why not ? I reason . It’s special cause we want it to be , cause we feel like it and cause I am singing Pharell Williams “Happy” song.  A3 theorizes that un-birthday , birthday celebrations are cool. Therefore , mom has been summarily hinted and pleaded alternatively, to pretty please plan and throw  a “surprise” one. No amount of  A1 and A2’s reasoning that one cannot really plan for one’s “surprise” party holds water. A3 promises to promptly forget he asked for one as long as he is promised his special day. LOL. I love this kid’s reasoning !

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

I kind of agree. I guess if you really want it, then you should go for it. While the event still  has a few more weeks ( atleast 12 weeks ) to go into, I am pretty sure A1,2 and 3 will be thrilled to have a slice of this freshly baked cinnamon swirled bread . Hand it over with a tall glass of milk and wholesome fruit  to go with it. Yum ! After a long day of school and before the gym practice and meet, this is a welcome treat for them.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread: 

A welcome treat, especially after a grueling day for the kids. Flecks of cinnamon in the batter will greet you along with a ribbon of cinnamon sugar smack in the middle. Vanilla enhances the flavor subtly and you have a moist crumb when you slice the bread. If only you can wait until its cool enough to slice !

Prep time : 15 – 20 min   Cook time : 45-50 min   Serves about 10 thick slices.

Ingredients:

For making the batter base :

  • Unbleached All purpose  flour : 1 cup
  • White Whole wheat flour : 1 cup
  • Salt : 1/4 tsp.
  • Baking Soda : 1 tsp.
  • Cinnamon powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Unsalted Butter : 8 Tbsp. / 1/2 cup
  • Packed Brown sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Granulated Sugar : 3/4 cup
  • Egg, large, cage free : 1
  • Pure vanilla extract : 1 tbsp.
  • Buttermilk  : 1 cup or Milk , 2 % : 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. of Vinegar or lemon juice

For the Sugar swirl : ( whisk ingredients till combined well )

  • Granulated sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Cinnamon Powder : 2 tsp.

Method:

Note: please bring all the ingredients to room temperature before baking. The only exception for me is the vanilla extract which I take it out just when I start creaming the butter and sugar.

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 by 5 inch bread loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, scoop out  the 2 cups of flour and add salt and baking soda along with cinnamon and whisk very well to ensure thorough distribution. Alternatively sift it all together in a bowl.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in your stand / hand mixer till pale and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and whisk it till well combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract and whisk again.
  • Add the buttermilk if using or if not add the vinegar to room temperature milk and set aside for a couple of minutes and use.
  • Whisk well till combined thoroughly.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix till combined.
  • The batter would be thick and fluffy.  Optional : you can add cinnamon chips now in the batter if using. 

Layering the batter and baking :

  • Add half of the batter to the  prepped pan and smooth it.
  • Now add 3/4 of the sugar – cinnamon mix as a layer and gently pat a couple of times to get it to stick to the batter.
  • Now add the rest of the batter as dropfuls and smoothen it to get a layer like a sandwich. The reason to add as dropfuls and not add in one heapful is because this is such a thick batter , if you drop them in spoonfuls distributed along the pan length , then it is simply a matter of joining the dots.
  • Now add the reserved 1/4  of the sugar cinnamon mix on the top and pat down to let it stick.
  • Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or so or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove, cool and then slice.
  • Serve warm !

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

 

 

 

Adapted from redflycreations and allrecipes.

Kale and Spinach Masala Vada(i)

What’s your indulgence on a cold miserable day? NC brought out in full spate some miserable and grumpy days to the boot. Nagging cold weather accompanied by some rain and a weather that could not decide between holding onto winter and hopping aboard the spring train. Yikes !

Now imagine a day where the sun refused to peek out and the bare branches of the trees formed a sticky silhouette to temper the gray dull skies. The weather even managed to incite my boisterous and slightly neurotic lab to snooze . And quite a vent hugger she was. The warm draft of air from the heater vent provided the perfect huggable carpet spot for her and I could hear her stretching and yawning.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

I would have loved to take out that raggedy brown blanket, stretch out on the recliner with a hot cuppa and indulge in a book. Any book. But since kids would arrive from school and look forward to something that could perk them up.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

 

So a hot steaming cup of chai it is and a plate piled with piping hot and steaming baby kale and baby spinach masala vada(i). Chockful of these and the lentils provide much of the protein and flavors of fennel and ginger and garlic. Seriously folks, you would be missing out if you do not make these.

Kale and Spinach Masala ( Vadai)

A   plate piled high with piping hot, crispy, golden brown masala vada(i).. packed with kale and spinach and spiced with those flavors that make it extra special – protein packed indulgence and hot steaming cuppa to  make it even more better. It’s ok to indulge once in a while and it sure calls for it today !

Now what’s your excuse and what’s your indulgence?

Soaking time : 3 hrs   Prep time : 15 min   Cooking time : 25-30 min  Pieces : about 30 

Serves a hungry lot !

Ingredients:

Pulses and Cereals: Soaked for about 3 hrs or so.

  • Dry split Channa dal : 3/4 cup
  • Dry Toor Dal : 1/4 cup
  • Flax seeds : 2 Tbsp
  • Rice : brown/ white : 2 Tbsp.

Vegetables/Herbs

  • Baby Spinach : 1 cup : chopped
  • Baby Kale : 1 cup chopped
  • Onion : 1 medium size : chopped fine
  • Garlic cloves: 3 : chopped fine
  • Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped fine
  • Mint leaves : 8-10, chopped fine
  • Green chilies : 8-10. chopped fine ( adjusted to spice level)
  • Ginger : peeled, 1 inch , chopped fine

Dry Spices: ( preference can dictate the kind of spices added)

  • Fennel seeds / Saunf : 1 Tbsp
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp , adjusted to taste.

Frying:

  • Deep frying in peanut/ canola/vegetable /saffola oil of your choice.

Method:

  • Grind to a thick and coarse consistency the soaked ingredients listed under pulses/ cereals
  • The batter should not be extra fine or smooth but be ground enough to show occasional whole soaked dals with coarse consistency and done so just the little amount of water required. Do not make it too watery or mush, then the vada(i)s will soak up extra oil.
  • Add in all the ingredients listed in spices and mix well.
  • Add in the ingredients listed in vegetables and herbs and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium high heat.
  • Test the temperature of oil by putting in a tiny dropful of batter. If it floats immediately to the top and is sizzling, you can begin the process of making vada(i)s.

Shaping, Frying the Vada(i)s

  • You can use the flat side of a ziploc bag, dab it with oil and drop 2 Tbsp. of coarse batter, flatten to get a round disc and gently slide it the  oil.
  • Or the method I prefer, is to use my fingers and palms to shape the flattened discs and slide them gently in oil.
  • Fry in medium high heat about 6-8  in batch or so.  The discs are about 2-3 inches in diameter.
  • Fry these in medium high heat to a nice even brown. Do not fry in very high heat. If you do so, the outer layer will get cooked faster than the inner one and it is not something you will relish!
  • Enjoy with a hot cup of tea and the mush awaited book of your choice!