Whenever the holiday season comes around, I'm always in a yearning mood for a Spicy Orange Honey Quick Bread.
There is something about the aroma that fills the house on a cold night, and the combined savory and delicate sweetness of the buckwheat honey, cinnamon, star anise and the nutmeg that compliments just about every hot drink - from a cup of tea or coffee, to a cup of cocoa or even a steaming glass of sangria - to be enjoyed alone or better yet, with your friends and loved ones by the crackling fire.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 60 minutes
Makes: one 9-by-4-inch loaf
Note: You can use other spices to flavor this bread/cake - try adding ground coriander, seeds from vanilla bean, or clove to the spiced milk infusion.
- 1 cup dark honey, I used buckwheat honey
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- a pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 small star anise
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups rye flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- orange zest from 1 orange
- 1/4 cup coconut shavings and dried fruits for a top (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300F. Line one 9-by-4-inch loaf pan (or two 6-by-2-inch loaf pans) with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and star anise. Bring to a simmer, stirring to combine, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together both flours and the baking powder into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs with the spiced milk mixture, the vanilla extract, the orange zest and the butter. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Sprinkle with coconut and dried fruits. Bake for about one hour, until the bread/cake is deep golden and the blade of the knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool at least 30 minuets in the pan. Slice and serve with butter. You can store it in an airtime container for up to 5 days. This bread makes lovely bread pudding or French toast.