Thursday, April 30, 2015

Raisin Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

Happy National Raisin Week!

What? You didn't know it was National Raisin Week? Well, from May 1st - May 7th there is a little extra raisin love going around. Jumping on that trend, I am here kicking of this sweet week with 10 other food bloggers. Be sure to check out all the links at the end of my post.

When trying to think of a great raisin recipe to share, I thought about my childhood. Sometimes growing up, but not often, a loaf of raisin cinnamon swirl bread would end up in our grocery bag. It was sweet, cinnamon-rich perfection. I loved to enjoy a slice toasted with lots of butter.

I was never one to just snack on raisins, but in certain dishes, I loved them! Besides the sweet bread, I also thought they were amazing in the bottom of my Mom's rice pudding. And my Mom's giant oatmeal raisin cookies? I couldn't get enough of them.

As I was making this bread I realized that my son, almost 2, hadn't tried raisins before. I wasn't sure what he was going to think of them - he is currently in that picky toddler phase. But, since he loves all breads right now, I hoped he would at least give it a taste test.

This bread was simple to make, in fact, I let my bread machine do all the hard work for me. I added all the ingredients to my dough pan, set it on dough cycle and went off to do other things (you can find the recipe below)

After the dough has been kneaded and goes through an initial rise in the bread machine, it is ready to come out and to be filled and rolled.

 Instead of the usual brown sugar and butter paste, I used King Arthur's Baker's Cinnamon Filling since it is much thicker. I was trying to cut down on excess moisture that might cause my roll to have gaps. Then I plumped up my raisins in a little warm water and drained off the excess before adding them to the top of my rolled out dough.

Little excess moisture and a tight roll really help this bread to form a nice solid loaf.

Then I placed my roll into a baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray to rise for a final hour.

The finished loaf came out with a nice swirl of cinnamon and raisins.

Now, I could have stopped there. I could have sliced up my loaf and had it toasted and buttered like the good 'ole days. But, no. I wanted to really have some fun with it. I sliced my loaf and then let them dry slightly on a sheet pan at 200 degrees.

I mixed up a simple French Toast batter with eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla, then dipped my slices and pan seared them to a nice golden brown. Topped with a little pure maple syrup... and a few more raisins, my Raisin Cinnamon Swirl French Toast was a big hit with the family.

Yes, even the picky toddler enjoyed a big plate of this French Toast. And you know, he picked out every raisin to eat first!

Raisin Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

Bread machine Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

(2 lb. loaf) You will Need:

  • 1/3 c. water, room temp.
  • 1 c. buttermilk, room temp.
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 4 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. gluten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. SAF yeast
  • 1/4 c. baker's cinnamon filling
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 c. raisins + more for serving
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. butter for brushing the top of the loaf

Place the first 8 ingredients in your bread machine, in the order suggested by your machine's manual. Set the machine for the dough cycle and let the dough rise once inside the machine.

When the dough is nearing the end of the cycle, place the raisins in a cup with hot water and allow them to plump up for at least 5 minutes. Prepare the cinnamon filling by mixing the Baker's Cinnamon Filling with 1 tablespoon water to create a thick paste.

Flour your work space sparingly, or use a rolling mat and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to a 12" by 24" rectangle. Smear the cinnamon filling evenly over the top and sprinkle with the plumped raisins. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Pinch the seam and place the roll seam side down in a greased loaf pan. Cover with kitchen wrap and a tea towel and let the loaf rise till it is almost to the top of the loaf pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the top of the loaf with 1 teaspoon butter. Bake the bread for 30 - 35 minutes, tent lightly with foil if the top starts to brown too quickly. Let the loaf cool completely before slicing

For French Toast

Slice the loaf of bread and allow the pieces to dry overnight or for about 45 minutes to an hour in a 200 degree oven

Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet to medium heat with a little bit of butter.

Whisk together the egg, milk, nutmeg and sugar to form the batter. Let each slice soak up a little of the egg mixture before cooking in a pan till golden brown. Flip and brown on the opposite side.

Serve with pure maple syrup and a handful of raisins.


For more delicious recipes featuring raisins for National Raisin Week, visit a few of my favorite blogs:

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