Carrot Breakfast Loaf

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Spring may be around the corner, and the temperatures are rising, but snow still covers the ground. To embrace the winter that remains, my boyfriend, Chris, and I are headed up north for the weekend to give dog sledding a try. With his love for dogs and my love for new experiences, it feels like the ideal way to get out of the house after a long, cooped up winter. 

We rented a rustic log cabin in the woods, with hopes to snowshoe along snowy tree-lined paths, relax in the sauna after the sun has set, and cuddle near a log fire before bed. The "rustic" nature of the cabin is realโ€”with an outhouse and wood stove for heat, it will be an adventure just to keep ourselves warm in freezing temperatures. Even though there are hotels nearby, I campaigned for the cabin because we will be more likely to remember this experience (for better or for worse) years from now.

Isn't that what life is aboutโ€”making memories?

With the weekend drawing near, I spent time in the kitchen baking up dishes to pack. When I was testing out the recipe for this carrot breakfast loaf, I really enjoyed how the natural sweetness of the carrot emerges. Along with the addition of raisins, coconut flakes, and walnuts, the hearty bread plays off the flavors of a carrot cake.

With a handful of granola bars and a loaf of this carrot bread, I hope to keep well fed for breakfast, with enough energy for a long day of mushing (and dog petting).

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This Carrot Breakfast Loaf is a play off of the traditional carrot cake. The sweetness of the carrot complements the warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg to create this spiced bread. Coconut flakes, raisins, and chopped walnuts are added to give the loaf additional flavor and texture. Serve each slice with a thick layer of butter and enjoy. 

One Year Ago: Oatmeal Fudge Bars
Two Years Ago: Traditional Challah
Three Years Ago: Blackberry Coconut Scones
Four Years Ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosted Cake & Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread 
Five Years Ago:  Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins, Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, & Coconut Whipped Cream
Six Years Ago: Chocolate Caramel Crispy Bars, Tropical Banana Bread, Strawberry Balsamic Jam, & Strawberry Oat Bars
Seven Years Ago: Vanilla Almond Cupcakes, Banana Pudding, Devil's Food Cake, & Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Carrot Breakfast Loaf

Yields 9 x 5-inch loaf

3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) peeled, shredded carrots
1/3 cup (53 grams) raisins
1/4 cup (30 grams) coconut flakes
1/2 cup (60 grams) chopped walnuts, plus extra for topping
1 tablespoon demerara or raw sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla until uniform. Stir in the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flours, and milk until smooth. Stir in the carrots, raisins, coconut flakes, and chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and level. Sprinkle the top with demerara sugar and additional chopped walnuts, if desired. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

The air is cold, the skies are grey. I find myself admitting that fall is here and here to stay. After several rainy days in a row, I want to wrap myself up in a blanket and drink hot tea whenever I catch a glance out of the window. The trees are just barely taking on color, the leaves not yet gathering on the ground. The air is damp with fog and humidity, not with the crispness I love and remember. With a miserable weather forecast for the next few days, including a prediction of snow, I'm happy spending my time indoors.

I wonder if fall will feel the same in this new town, as it did back home.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

When I finally let my hold on summer pass, the warm scent of vanilla and cinnamon begin to fill my kitchen. Cinnamon is the feeling of autumn for me, the essence of the season all bottled up in a single smell and taste. While pumpkin or caramel or apples may define the season for others, it is this single spice that warms my soul.

Each fall, as soon as the weather grows cold, I like to buy myself a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. Toasted, with a spread of butter, is my version of autumn happiness. This year, instead of finding my loaf of bread on the shelf, I decided to make it myself.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

The dough is made with milk to give the bread tenderness and melted butter to add a richness. While I mixed in 3/4 cup raisins, I would recommend a few more if you are a raisin lover and a few less if you are notโ€”it can be tweaked to your personal tastes. The swirl of cinnamon is what makes the bread for me. Though the cinnamon is only rolled throughout the dough, the scent and taste seems to pervade the rest of the loaf, giving a pleasant flavor to each and every bite.

Enjoy when the season beckons and cinnamon is on the menu.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread evokes feelings and flavors of autumn. Bread dough is scattered with raisins, rolled out, spread with cinnamon and sugar, and rolled together to create a cinnamon swirl. Even though the outside of the loaf may not be beautiful, it really is the inside that counts with this bread. Spread with butter, honey, or peanut butter, this bread is taken to another level and makes a perfect chilly morning breakfast.

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From the Archives: Chocolate Chip Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

From the Archives: Chocolate Chip Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

Inventing and developing new recipes has become a weekend pleasure for me. Creating wild combinations and indulging in my favorite ingredients is a perk of the job. Even though I love sharing original recipes with you, every so often I find myself looking back through the archives with nostalgia, wishing I could bring back the magic of sharing my favorites with you once more. Then I realized, why couldn't I?

With a spruced up look and a pleasant reminder, maybe you will fall in love with them all over again. While a few archived recipes may pop up from time to time, you must not worry. I do not plan to stop playing with my food any time soon.

Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

This recipe for Chocolate Chip Raisin Oatmeal Cookies was among the first handful I posted on this website. The recipe is not of my own invention, but the credit can instead be attributed to my wonderful university physics professor and his wife. As with any great recipe, there is usually a story behind it. This is no exception.

While getting my degree in physics, the physics department of the university held an annual spring picnic to bring together the students and professors for an afternoon of fun. Along with a tower of board games, there was a smoking grill and a table spread with salads, potato chips, and these cookies. Each year, rain or shine, these cookies found their way into the spread and, soon after, found their way into my heart. I would eat three or four in an afternoon's time; more than once, I wrapped one up in a napkin to take home. I had fallen in love with theses cookies and made sure my professor (and everyone there) knew it.

Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

It was the third picnic when my professor casually revealed that the cookies had a secret. The cookies, he whispered, had no added sugar. Naturally, I did not believe him at first, skeptical that a cookie could taste so positively delightful without sugar or a sugar substitute, but the truth was staring me in the face. In many ways, this simple fact made these cookies that much more precious. After prodding him for the recipe for at least a dozen times, he told me to be patient and that the time would come.

On my graduation day, he congratulated me, shook my hand, and gave me a small sheet of paper with the typed up recipe, entrusting me with cookies I treasured. Every time I make these cookies I am reminded of those spring picnics and all of the memories that come with it. By trusting this recipe with you, I hope that you will bake and share these cookies with the people you love, creating memories of your own.

Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

Chocolate Chip Raisin Oatmeal Cookies are thick, chewy, and have no added sugar. The cookies are made with oatmeal and an abundance of chocolate chips and raisins. While the batter isn't sweet, the add-ins are delightfully so. Do not fret! This cookie will please even the most sugar-happy children. The cookies are formed with a 1/4 cup measuring cup and will keep their shape while they bake; they will not spread. I adore these cookies for both their unique texture and characteristics and I hope you will too.

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