This bread is really more like a dessert. The brown sugar and walnut topping reminds me of coffee cake, and it was much more difficult to keep myself from eating this than it was the cupcakes I had sitting around a couple of months ago.
This recipe came from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook for Muffins and Quick Breads I received as a Christmas present from my landlords at my first apartment. Even though I’ve had this cookbook for over 5 years, this is the first time I’ve ever used it. After my Irish soda bread was gone, I decided I liked having a sweet bread around to snack on. I like raisins and cinnamon and I already had all the ingredients to make this bread, so I chose this recipe. The walnuts get nice and toasted in the oven and the brown sugar and cinnamon melt together to form a sugary, delightful crust. It is definitely delicious, but tastes more like a dessert than a snack. It seems like the kind of thing you would serve at a big brunch gathering or an afternoon tea.
This recipe could have used a few more raisins. Also, I recommend tossing them in a light coating of flour so they don’t all sink to the bottom of the loaf.
When I got my box of brown sugar out of the cabinet, it was so rock hard I couldn’t even chisel pieces off with a sharp object. I did some research and learned some great tips for softening brown sugar. A good way to soften it up quickly is to fill a small bowl with water and put your brown sugar in another small bowl. Put both bowls in the microwave and heat in 15-20 second increments until your brown sugar is soft again. It probably took about 2-3 minutes total to soften mine up again. Just be careful that your water doesn’t get too hot and erupt in the microwave. This happened to me, but luckily none of it landed in the sugar. If you’re not in a hurry, you can put the brown sugar in a ziplock bag with a slice of bread or sliced apple and leave it overnight. You could also put it in a bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and leave it overnight. Seriously though, who has time to soften brown sugar overnight?
I’ve decided this bread is delicious, but evil. Divide it into 12 slices, and it still has 300 calories and 14 grams of fat per slice. I was eating it for breakfast, but it’s not very filling, so by 10:30 am my stomach was growling loudly and I was miserable and starving until lunch. If I make this or any other sweet bread again, I think I will freeze half the loaf to keep from wanting to eat it all in one sitting!
The Cons: high in calories, fat, and sugar; low in fiber (only 1g per slice); not at all filling; addictive
The Pros: Really, really, really, really, really delicious! So moist and sweet! Streusel-like crusty top.
Is it worth the high calorie content? Probably not. Am I glad I made it anyway? You bet.
Sour Cream-Raisin Bread
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used reduced fat, even though it doesn’t really make it any healthier)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (Let’s not sugarcoat it – this is a whole stick of butter)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a large (9-inch) loaf pan.
In a large bowl stir together the sour cream and baking soda. Set aside for 5 minutes. Add the melted butter, granulated sugar, eggs, and raisins and whisk until blended. Set aside.
In a small bowl stir and toss together the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the salt. Add to the sour cream mixture and stir just until blended.
Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Stir together the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, the brown sugar and walnuts. Sprinkle over the batter. Bake until a thin wooden skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 65-75 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 large loaf