Saturday, July 17, 2010

Caribbean Walnut Raisin Cinnamon Bread for "the Project"

This post was almost called; "Rainy Days and Mondays always make me Bake"

And I almost used this photo -

But, I made this on a Friday, although it was raining, and besides, I am posting it on Saturday.  But, mostly I suspect that many of you have never even heard of the Carpenters (the second best brother/sister singing group of all time) or the song.

But any chance to embed a Karen Carpenter video should not be passed up.  Say what you want about them, if you are a certain age, you know every word.

And back in my day, by gum, you would never catch Karen Carpenter in the Yankee's locker room, wearing nothing but a bra... By gum! Ya young whippersnappers ya... Get off my lawn!

But I digress...

Look close at the bread... Notice anything???

Notice the limited number of raisins?  Sure, they are there, but in addition to raisins, I made this bread with ...

Sun-Maid Tropical Trio

I found these in the same aisle as raisins.  I have heard from stateside friends that they are indeed available in your local grocery store (at least the large ones stock em).  They are kind of al dente dried fruit.  still soft and moist on the inside, but the outsides are dried out enough to travel well and cook well.  No added sugars, just a little extra juices added.  I used these in Cookies last week (amazing), and next time I make my famous carrot cake, I will be adding these in that.  I even pop a few in my mouth like candy on occasion.

Good stuff...

So, armed with these, and a handful of raisins, here's what I did...

3 1/2 cups Flour
4 tsp Sugar
1 1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Instant Yeast
1 1/4 Cinnamon
1 large room temperature Egg, slightly beaten
2 TBS room temperature softened Butter
1/2 cup room temperature Buttermilk
3/4 cups Water
4 ounces (@1/2 cups) Raisins

6 ounces (@3/4 cups) Sunmaid Tropical Trio
1 cup coarsely chopped Walnuts

To make the swirl, you also need...
1/2 cup Sugar
2 TBS Cinnamon

To add flavor and presentation topping...
1 TBS Butter
2 TBS Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon

  • Whisk together - Flour, Sugar, Salt, Yeast and Cinnamon
    Slowly add the Egg, Butter, Buttermilk and water
    I mixed by hand, but feel free to break out the Kitchenaid to mix to form a ball of dough
  • But, you should knead by hand.  10 minutes at least to get the dough completely hydrated. Work on a floured surface, but be careful to not use too much additional flour.  The more flour you add, the tougher your bread will be.
  • During the last 1/3rd of your kneading time, start adding the Walnuts and Tropical Trio/Raisins.  Continue kneading til well mixed.
  • Lightly coat a bowl with oil, roll the dough in the oil, cover and allow to raise for @2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size...
  • Divide the dough into two equal balls (this recipe makes two loafs).
  • Now, it's time to add the swirl.  This step is optional, but very dramatic...
    Spread the dough into a rectangle 8 inches long by 5 inches wide and about 1/2 inch thick.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture and roll up into a loaf...
  • If you don't do the swirl, form into the shape of a loaf of bread and put into a greased loaf pan.  Mist the top with a spray oil and cover,  Allow a final rise for about 90 minutes, until the dough rises above the lip of the pan.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Or, use a remote prob thermometer and baking til the internal temperature is 190 degrees.
  • Remove from the pans and allow to cool for at least an hour before serving.
  • For one final presentation accent, rub a bit of butter on the top.  then roll the buttered top in a final mixture of sugar and cinnamon...

It was still raining when the bread had cooled.

Nothing I could do but soak a couple of slices in a beaten egg and heavy cream mix, fry the eggy bread (ok, I made  French Toast of it), top with a few slices of ham, some cheese, a little scrambled egg and settle down with my lunch (a really fancy take on a Croque Madame)

And for the 5 among you who admit to knowing who the Carpenters were, and especially for the 2 of you who actually admit to liking their "sound", here's a nostalgic blast from the past, with an introduction from John Davidson.  I will admit to being one of the two, and admit to being just a little excited by the boots, more than a little creeped out by the eyebrows... 

But mostly saddened by the fates.

What might have been, sigh.

But I betcha in 40 years no one will be humming a Lady Gaga tune.

Rainy days and Mondays indeed.



  1. I know the words to every single Beatles song. Does that make me older than you? :-) Dave this bread looks amazing. Great photos too. Makes me sad to see Karen Carpenter...terrible untimely loss. I can't remember who John Davidson is, I'll have to Google him.

  2. No one will be singing lady gaga...except for me. Because after hearing it so much this past year, I don't think I'll EVER get it out of my head. unfortunately.

    Oh that bread...that amazing bread. I need to pick up that trio and make it. Imminently.

    I'm so sorry to hear about Donna. So sad.

  3. Count me in, I think we even sang Close to You in choir in school. I am happy that Karen Carpenter makes you happy! :)

    Your bread looks awesome. I like the addition of the Tropical Trio - nice you could call it Caribbean that way! lol! I wish I could bake bread...maybe I'll give it a shot on the next rainy day!

  4. I love your bread. You have really become a cook this past year. I must also say I absolutely love this post, Dave. I know the Carpenters and enjoyed their music. I can add nothing to your comments about Lady Gaga :-). Cultural phenoms are like hurricane - they come and go and hopefully don't leave too much damage behind them. Have a great day. I'm off to slay some dragons...Blessings...Mary

  5. Your bread is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. Love the photos, too. I NEED a warm slice right now, slathered with butter to enjoy with my mornin' cuppa joe...(and Karen and Richard).


  6. I think I'm way (WAY) too young to know all the words, but I do anyway. My aunt had a Carpenters cover CD that we used to listen to. My favorite was a woman with a really strong Asian accent covering 'top of the world'. It was so pretty. Sorta like this bread. Yum!

  7. I was a fan of the Carpenters as well, I agree with your Gaga comment too.

    That Bread looks fantastic, I have had some fun making Banana Bread, Zuchini Bread, and Rhubarb Bread, so this is my next bread project.

    Bravo on your blog, I am a first time visitor but will not be the last.

  8. Rainy days and Mondays has always been a favorite and the first thing I think about on rainy Mondays.
    Your bread looks awesome. And to think you started this blog because you love to grill. You have branched out in so many directions. The cul de sac will celebrate your return.

  9. I would love to have a slice of this bread, lightly toasted, with a pat of butter, with my coffee in the morning. Raisin bread is a fav for breakfast, this one is even better by far. The Carpenters, John Davidson, too funny. Yeah, I remember the words to them all too.