Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon-Ribbon Bread
I have six other recipes for cinnamon bread on my site. But this one’s different. Really, it is.
It has a cinnamon-sugar crust that’s so good. I find myself wanting to eat crust and that never happens.
Normally I am not into crust or crusty breads. Although I like texture, I prefer soft and fluffy to crusty and hard. I would never cut off the crust like a 7 year old, but I don’t go out of my way to eat it, either.
But this crust is like shingles of sweetness on a big fluffy white house, flaking off in big chunks that are so nice to nibble on. It’s reminiscent of streusel topping, which I enjoy picking off unsuspecting coffee cakes and muffins.
The bread is so fast and easy to make and comes together in 5 minutes with a whisk, in one bowl. I love it when I don’t have to drag out my mixer because it would seem to defeat the purpose of calling a bread a ‘quickbread’ if the ingredients need to be creamed, creating mixer dishes. Nothing quick about that.
The same cinnamon-sugar mixture that’s sprinkled on top before baking is also sprinkled into the batter, creating a cinnamon-sugar ribbon in the middle of the loaf.
The only way to create that thick, delectable, wall of sweet crust on top is to sprinkle cinnamon-sugar generously over the surface before baking.
Not all of it adheres to the bread and you’ll have to remind your kids and husband to ‘Please, eat over your plate.’ And remind yourself, too, so that you’re not recreating a sandy beach on your kitchen floor with the stray cinnamon-sugar granules.
The crust reminds me of sweet bark that’s slightly hardened, firm, and full of intense flavor.
After peeling away the bark, the soft, light, fluffy interior is revealed thanks to the buttermilk. If you don’t normally keep buttermilk on hand, you can cheat and make some with regular milk by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk and waiting for about 10 minutes.
A bit of oil is used for softness because oil produces softer, springier cakes, muffins, and breads than butter. And this bread sure is bouncy soft.
As to not miss any buttery flavor, I used a little butter, too. While baking, the butter and brown sugar caramelize, creating subtle caramel undertones.
The ribbon of cinnamon-sugar that floats through the interior provides another pop of flavor. It’s a bit like Cinnamon Swirl Bread, minus the work of kneading or rolling the dough into a cylinder.
The cinnamon flavor is present and notable, but it’s not overwhelming. Feel free to add more if you’re a true fiend.
The bread is flavorful enough that it doesn’t need butter but if you’re so inclined, toasting it and smearing liberally with butter takes it from really good to gobble-the-whole-loaf supremely good.
Our toaster got a workout and has the cinnamon-sugar bits stuck in the crumb tray to show for it.
Such an easy bread to make with great resutls, no kneading and no fuss.
From start to finish, this should go from cupboard and into your mouth in under an hour.
What are you waiting for?
Edited to Add 4/9/14 – Recipe has now been made and tested as muffins and they turned out beautifully
Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon-Ribbon Bread
The cinnamon-sugar crust is like sweet bark that encases the moist, light, soft and fluffy bread. A ribbon of cinnamon-sugar floats through the interior, providing another pop of cinnamon flavor. The batter comes together quickly and easily in this no-fuss, no-knead, easy and very flavorful loaf.
Yield: one 9-by-5-inch loaf
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 mintues
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside (don't use an 8-by-4-inch pan; it's too small)
- In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar with the cinnamon and stir to incorporate; set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. After the butter has cooled momentarily (so you don't scramble the egg), add the egg, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk and whisk to incorporate.
- Add the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don't overmix. Batter will be thick and lumpy. Don't try to stir the lumps smooth.
- Pour half the batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Sprinkle three-fourths (75%) of the cinnamon-sugar mixture (just eyeball it), distributed evenly over the surface of the batter. This creates the cinnamon ribbon.
- Top with remaining half of the batter, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture, distributed evenly over the top. It looks like a lot, but it's necessary to form the crust, and not all of it aheres.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (mine took 50), or until top is set and firm, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before inverting.
- Invert bread over the sink or a paper towel to catch some of the non-adhered cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle it back on the bread. Place bread on wire rack to cool completely. Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or may be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes wonderful toast.
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Cinnamon or cinnamon bread fan? Crust-eater?
I’m a huge cinnamon fan. More is better. It’s rare that I make something and don’t use at least a pinch of cinnamon.
I like texture, but normally don’t like most bread crusts because that’s not what I call texture. Most of the time it’s like chewing on dry, tasteless cardboard. Why bother. Until this bread.