Monday, March 3, 2014

Chocolate Cinnamon Bread: National Cinnamon Day

Once again my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Today is National Cinnamon Day! I love cinnamon, so I was a disturbed to hear about the cinnamon controversy in Denmark that attempted to limit the use and ingestion of cinnamon. The Cinnamon controversy actually led to a great discussion in our mystery book group. There was a segue. Too much cinnamon can kill you! But how? Cinnamon can work as a blood thinner. The EU tried to stop the amount of cinnamon in Danish cinnamon baking to limit human consumption. Read more:  The Danish Cinnamon controversy and HERE.

But back to Chocolate and Cinnamon. If you frequent Starbucks, you may remember the chocolate cinnamon bread, a seasonal baked good. Not sure why it's seasonal, but I haven't seen it in awhile. So I went searching for the recipe. Lo and behold, I found the recipe on the Starbucks website. Yay! So you can make your own. Warning, this really isn't a quick bread. It's more like a cake, but that's o.k. with me. I've adapted the recipe a little. And, remember, always use the best cocoa and cinnamon! Question about Dutch processed cocoa? Go HERE.

CHOCOLATE CINNAMON BREAD
(makes two loaves)

Ingredients

Chocolate Batter
3 sticks sweet butter, room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Cocoa Spice Topping 
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Dutch processed cocoa
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup decorating (sparkle) sugar (for decorating)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pans and line bottom with parchment paper.

Chocolate Batter:
1. Cream together butter and sugar in electric mixer until light and creamy, around 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl a few times to get them fully mixed in.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, water and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, begin adding contents of each bowl to butter mixture, alternating between the two until mixture is fully blended, but not overly whipped. Split batter between the two pans. If batter is slightly uneven, you can lightly shake the pan to even out the tops.

Make your topping.
Combine sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and cloves. Then evenly layer decorating sugar over batter, followed by spice mixture.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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