By:Â Madeleine Ignon
I have just recently gotten into the Christmas mood. Strolling, window shopping, sipping hot chocolate, and finally feeling the briskness of winter air on my nose did the trick this weekend. According to anyone used to East Coast seasons, it isn’t real winter here in California, but I am a happy girl as long as there is a Christmas tree lot nearby that makes the whole neighborhood smell like a forest and more Christmas lights lining the block than you can shake a Yule log at.
Something else that makes me feel festive is baking, especially traditional Christmastime recipes. When I was in Italy for a few months a few Christmases ago, every shop I passed had panettone in the window-a gorgeous bread-like raisin cake that is light and airy and (almost) guilt-free. Toasted with a little butter, it is pure heaven. I decided to make mine a little less true to the classic Italian recipe and add a hint of inspiration from fruitcake, America’s decidedly less glamorous and often scorned Christmas cake staple. Adding a touch of bourbon and some chopped dried mango makes it a little more exotic than the average raisin bread!
Adapted from All Recipes
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (approx.110 degrees F)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1Â tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coconut flour
1/4 cup dried mango, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon butter, melted (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine yeast, water and sugar. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, or until the yeast foams. Add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well. Stir in flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough forms into a manageable ball. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until dough is soft and pliable but not sticky. Place dough in a large, lightly pan-sprayed bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled for about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray or coat in oil or butter. In a small bowl, toss dried fruit with bourbon and honey. Punch down dough in bowl, transfer to floured surface, and knead in the fruit.
- Form dough into a ball, place in prepared cake pan, brush with melted butter if desired, and bake for 45 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Photos: Madeleine Ignon
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