You wake up, do the treadmill while watching the TiVo-ed Hot In Cincinnati, shower, write for a couple hours, return fifteen emails, make a chicken sandwich, yell at the dog for eating half your sandwich, install a new bathroom fixture and congratulate yourself for doing so, purchase a head scratcher online, write six emails, yell at the dog for eating your sandal, go to the grocery store to return a furry cheese, and now it’s 4 p.m.. It’s time for a tea break.
I’ve become obsessed with the ritual of afternoon tea after a day of thrilling activity. If you read my last post, you will know that this is the second in a tea-themed series. (If you did not read my last post, you are a loser.) First, you got my Irish niece’s recipe for brown bread, and now she’s got me making Tea Bread, which is made with (as well as eaten with) tea.
This is sorta like the fruitcake my parents used to get and immediately re-gift at Christmas. (I don’t think those fruitcakes ever actually got eaten. They just kept moving from house to house until someone got fed up and threw them out.) But this is much better. You will not want to gift or re-gift, you will eat this. Think raisin cinnamon bread with a big fat upgrade.
P.S. Click here for a hot weather tea recipe: No-Bitchin’ Chamomile Mint Lemonade.
Siobhan’s Tea Bread
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup sweetened, dried cranberries
2 cups strong, cold Barry’s Gold tea (or other gigh quality tea—I used Twining’s English Breakfast)
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Butter for serving
1. The day before you bake the bread, place the raisins, dates and cranberries in a bowl and add the tea. Let the fruit soak overnight.
2. When you’re ready to bake, drain the fruit, reserving the tea. Preheat the oven to 375º. Lightly oil a standard loaf pan.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, soda and salt. Add the tea and mix just until the flour mixture is moistened, then fold in the fruit. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan and bake it for about 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
4. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about a half an hour, then remove it from the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with butter and tea.