Streusel Roll

Streusel Roll with Cinnamon and Raisins |

Streusel Roll

As the winter drags on, there’s nothing like warm cinnamon raisin bread with a buttery streusel topping to start the weekend. It’s surprising that I just discovered this recipe in “The Art of Fine Baking.” I usually never miss a good recipe that involves cinnamon and sugar. In this case, the cinnamon and sugar is layered within the bread and the streusel topping becomes arguably the best part. The simple combination of butter, flour, cinnamon sugar, and walnuts create the crumbly topping that I’m now tempted to use on all many other types of baked goods.

There’s something relaxing about making yeast breads from scratch. Kneading the dough to that perfect smooth springy texture is a soothing process. I have used this basic coffee cake dough in other tasty recipes such as Apple Roll, Honey Orange Bread Twist, and even Panettone. It’s a good base recipe but like most yeast breads, it tends to go stale in just a few short days. The best solution for this is to make French toast or bread pudding out of the leftovers. It’s indulgent, I know, but this nutty cinnamon sugar bread with its buttery streusel topping may change how you feel about regular French toast or bread pudding forever.


1 recipe Basic Coffee Cake Dough
1/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup cinnamon sugar (see note)
2/3 cup raisins
1 cup finely crushed pecans (walnuts may be substituted)

Streusel Topping
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1-1 1/2 cups flour

To make streusel topping: Cream butter and cinnamon sugar. Add vanilla and nuts. Add flour, gradually stirring constantly. Use enough flour to make a crumbly mixture. The more flour added, the smaller the crumbs. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease to 9x5x3 loaf pans. Roll dough in large square, 1/4 inch thick. Brush with most of the melted butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, raisins,  and crushed pecans. Roll up jelly roll style.

Cut roll evenly into six slices. Fit three slices cut side flat into each pan, squeezing them if necessary. Press slices down in pan so that in rising, they will grow together. Let rise until almost doubled in bulk. Scatter streusel topping generously over each cake. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes or until streusel tops are lightly browned.

Makes two loaves.

Note: Cinnamon Sugar can be made by simply combining 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

Adapted from “The Art of Find Baking,” by Paula Peck.


Honey Orange Bread Twist

Honey Orange Twist

Honey Orange Twist Bread

I’m not much of a morning person. But if something tasty is waiting for breakfast, it makes waking up early a bit easier. I don’t necessarily mean eggs and bacon, or stacks of pancakes, though they can be potentially motivating as well. I find comfort in knowing that there is a simple, but delicious breakfast bread just waiting to be toasted and smothered with honey. Healthy? No. Promotes cheerfulness? Yes! Not to mention a perfect complement to that morning coffee.

There are many breads in “The Art of Fine Baking” and I hope to one day make my way through all of them. This particular Honey Orange Bread Twist, like many others, uses a base recipe that my grandmother managed to turn into many different bread and pastry variations. With its layers of orange and honey, this braided beauty struck me as a spring-ish sweet bread and a lovely light breakfast. Sliced almonds and walnuts add a slight crunch and the candied orange peel is a sweet citrus contrast to the buttery bread. Best served warm or toasted and a little extra honey never hurt 🙂


Orange Honey Filling
1/2 cup butter, softened
Zest of 1 orange
2/3 cup honey

1 recipe Basic Coffee Cake Dough
1/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup finely crushed walnuts
1/2 cup diced candied orange peel
1 cup golden raisins
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon heavy cream 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9x5x3 loaf pans. Cream together butter, zest, and honey for Orange Honey Filling.

Roll dough into a large square, 1/4 inch thick. Brush with melted butter. Spread thinly with Orange Honey Filling. Scatter crushed walnuts, candied orange peel, and raisins over dough. Roll up jelly-roll style. With a rolling pin, press filled dough down to a thickness of 1 inch. Divide flattened dough lengthwise to make three long strips. Cut in half to make 6 shorter strips. Braid cut strips together to make 2 loaves.

Fit each loaf into a greased pan. Let rise until dough doubles in bulk. Brush with egg yolk mixture and scatter almonds over loaf twists.

Bake in preheated oven about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Yield: Two Loaves


Homemade Whole Wheat Bread with Honey Nut Cinnamon Butter

Whole Wheat Bread with Honey Nut Butter

Whole Wheat Bread with Honey Nut ButterFinally a new post! I was busier than expected for most of February and though this sounds like it might be a good excuse for not posting in three weeks, I admit to have fallen victim to the is-it-spring-yet lack of motivation. There are many great winter recipes throughout my grandmother’s books but surprisingly, this simple whole wheat sandwich bread is what pulled me out of my slump. It’s hard to beat warm fresh bread and butter, even in it’s most basic form.

I’m far from an expert but I’ve played around enough with bread to know that whole wheat breads are more difficult than white breads. They often don’t rise as well, or they come out dense due to the lack of gluten. Even those with only 50% whole wheat flour can be tricky. This is why I am so impressed with this recipe. Rising/proofing was not a problem and the bread came out fluffy and not crumbly (also a potential issue with homemade sandwich bread).

I like to think of this bread and butter combination as a joint effort. This whole wheat bread recipe comes from my grandmother’s book,”The Art of Fine Baking.” While the Honey Nut Cinnamon Butter is my own recipe. I figured they would go nicely together but was surprised by such a perfect match. The bread, though rich with flavor from the whole wheat flour and a bit of molasses, is not sweet. It’s complimented by the nutty honey butter that adds both texture and that missing touch of sweetness. With such a killer combination, it’s hard not to eat half a loaf right from the oven – but that’s ok because the whole wheat flour makes it healthy, right? Let’s just pretend…

Whole Wheat Bread with Honey Nut Cinnamon Butter


4 packages of dry yeast
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons dark molasses
2 1/4 cups lukewarm milk or water
3-4 cups all purpose flour
3-4 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 recipe Honey Nut Cinnamon Butter

Grease two 9x5x3 loaf pans.

Combine yeast with salt, sugar, molasses, and milk. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Add soft butter. Knead, adding more flour if necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes.

Place dough in bowl. Flour lightly. Cover and let rise in a draft free place until it has doubled in bulk (30-45 minutes). Punch down dough and knead briefly to remove all air. Divide mixture in half. Mold dough into two compact loaves which are higher and rounder in the centers. Place in greased pans, filling them 2/3 full. Cover and let rise until dough reaches tops of pans.

While dough is rising for the second time, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake on lowest rack in oven 30-40 minutes or until loaves are golden brown. Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on rack.

Makes 2 Loaves

Adapted from the “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck.

Whole Wheat Bread





This classic Italian Christmas bread you see in those funny shaped boxes in just about every supermarket this time of year, is somewhat of a holiday staple. I’ve never been a huge fan of Panettone, but it’s hard to resist this rich sweet bread hot from the oven. It’s a fairly simple recipe that yields impressive results. In the original recipe from “The Art of Fine Baking,” my grandmother says to use the “extra-rich coffee cake dough” which calls for 12 eggs. Since I’m always a little apprehensive about recipes that use more than 8 eggs, I decided to use just the basic coffee cake dough recipe which uses a moderate 6 eggs instead. The result was perfectly satisfying- as I said, it’s hard to resist warm rich raisin bread right from the oven. Happy Holidays!


Basic Coffee Cake Dough or Extra-Rich Coffee Cake Dough
1 1/2 cups additional all-purpose flour (if using the extra rich coffee cake dough)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup black raisins
2/3 cup diced candied citron
1/4 cup melted butter

If using Extra-Rich Coffee Cake Dough, follow recipe and add enough additional flour to make a fairly firm dough. Otherwise, follow Basic Coffee Cake Dough recipe.

After dough has risen, knead in raisins and candied citron. Do not handle dough more than necessary after fruit has been added, or it will turn gray.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease Panettone holders or grease a large baking sheet. Divide dough in half. Shape each piece into a ball. Place balls into Panettone holders or space well apart on greased baking sheets and enclose with a 5-inch collar made of greased heavy brown paper. Secure collars by pinning them (if necessary).

Let dough rise until almost double in bulk. Brush with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking 30-40 minutes longer, brushing twice more with melted butter. Bake until golden brown.


Adapted from “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck.





What’s a Schnecken? Some kind of gadget souvenir? This was the thought that crossed my mind when I found this recipe in “The Art of Fine Baking.” After reading through it and then of course baking some, I came to the conclusion that these are basically small, almost bite sized, cinnamon/caramel rolls. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Schnecken, as I was, it’s a German pastry and the name Schnecken means snails – referring to the shape of these delicious breakfast treats. Apparently, Schnecken are often confused with rugelach (also German) but I don’t see much of a similarity other than that they are both rolled pastries creating a spiral of the filling.

I happen to have a weakness for caramel and cinnamon rolls and though these photos may lack the bells and whistles of a carefully styled shoot, you can see that this recipe definitely delivers on all the important aspects: ooey gooey caramel, crunchy nuts, cinnamon, and raisins. One tip: just make sure to use enough of the butter sugar mixture –  the softer and stickier, the better.


1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups well-packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon white corn syrup
1 1/2 cups coarsely broken or whole pecans
1 recipes Rich Sour Cream Dough
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup finely crushed pecans

Cream butter with 1/2 cup light-brown sugar. Beat in corn syrup. Grease regular size or mini muffin tins with this mixture, using it generously. Place 2 or 3 pecan pieces into each muffin cup.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll dough into a long rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and crushed pecans. Roll dough tightly, jelly-roll style, sealing the seam. If roll becomes much thicker than the size of muffin tins, stretch it out. If it is too thin, gently compress it.

Slice roll into pieces which will fill muffin cups halfway. Press into cups firmly. Let rise only until dough looks puffy.

Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes, or until tops of shnecken are golden brown.

Turn muffin pans upside down immediately, to remove schnecken and to permit glaze to run over sides.

Yield: approximately 7 dozen small shnecken or 5 dozen larger ones. Recipe can be easily halved.

Adapted from “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck.


1 2 3