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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red Hot Cinnamon Bread

 Hey, friends.  Happy Valentine's Day.  I've got some love for you.

You remembered to stock up on red hots, right?  If not, run out and hunt some down - in some places, this is the only time of year you can find them! 

Why do I need them, you ask?  Well, for starters, there's Cinnamon Candy Cider and Red Hot Red Velvet Whoopie Pies.  They also make great sugar cookie decorations, pancake add-ins, or soak them in hot water to make Cinnamon Tea for a tea party, hello.

And, natch, there's this bread.  I just love fun bread.  Because once you eat your fill warm from the oven, you can always use what's left for toast, French toast, or bread pudding.  You cannot go wrong with great bread.  This one is studded with fabulously red Red Hot candies, which melt into cinnamon gooey goodness while it cooks.  Amazing!
 Red Hot Cinnamon Bread (print recipe)
Makes 1 loaf or 9 buns (I have two loaves because I doubled it)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup softened butter
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup cinnamon Red Hot candies

1.  Combine all dough ingredients except candies and mix and knead together - by hand, mixer or bread machine - until you have a soft, pliable dough.

2.  Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes to one hour or until full and round.  To test, poke dough with index finger approximately 1/2 inch deep.  If the impression remains, the dough has sufficiently risen.

3.  Gently deflate the dough, and pat into a 8" x 10" rectangle.  Knead in the cinnamon candies in 3 stages, using about 1/3 of the candies each time.

4.  Shape the dough into a loaf and place in a greased or parchment lined 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.  Tent the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for 40 to 50 minutes.  Dough should just crest the top of the pan.

5.  If making buns, divide the dough evenly into 9 pieces and shape into smooth, round balls.  Place buns in greased 9x9" square pan.  Tent the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap.  Allow to
rise for 30 to 40 minutes.  Buns will be full, puffy and barely touching one another.

6.  Bake bread (or buns) in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes (20-25 for buns).  If bread browns too quickly on top, tent loosely with aluminum foil.  Place pan over parchment or foil lined cookie sheet to catch any drips of hot candy.  Bread is done when internal temperature reads 190 degrees on an instant thermometer.

7.  Remove bread from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Place rack over a piece of parchment to catch any drips of hot candy.  Candy will set as bread cools.
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Don't feel like cinnamon for Valentine's Day?  You could also try:
French Toast Baked in Honey-Pecan Sauce (from my sexiest cookbook!) 
Strawberry Flip Cookies
Red Velvet Cookies

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