Sunday, December 14, 2008

Operation Christmas Spirit: Phase Four

I've started my Christmas baking. Nevermind the fact the only thing I've managed to bake so far is poppy seed bread because it's insanely easy, but I've started.

Growing up, we made the same four things every year: peanut clusters, almond bark cookies, decorated sugar cookies and poppy seed bread. I still make those now, and if I'm feeling ambitious, will add gingerbread men and peppermint bark to the mix.

Our poppy seed bread is unusual because 1) we make it with almond extract rather than lemon and 2) it's baked in soup cans, so it's round.

But it's oh so delicious, especially with the orange juice/sugar/butter/almond extract glaze that soaks in the first 1/8" of the bread and then makes the yummy sugary crust. We've already gone through one loaf and are quickly making our way through the second.

Poppy Seed Bread

3 c flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
2 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c milk
1 1/8 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 T poppy seeds
3 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 t almond extract

Generously spray at least 6 (16oz) soup or vegetable cans*. Beat all ingredients until well blended. Fill cans half full (do not overfill or cans will run over when baking). Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Roll bread in glaze while still warm. [to remove bread from cans, wait until cans are cool to touch. Gently remove bread by tapping sides of can with hand and sliding the bread out.]

3/4 c sugar
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 t almond extract
2 T melted butter

* Do not use the vegetable cans with the white enamel coating inside. The soup cans with the self-remove lids don't work well, either, because the opening is too small to let the bread out once it's done baking.

I think I'll go have another slice. Yum!

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