Friday, December 26, 2014

Earl Grey Tea Bread

 Merry Christmas, my baking munchkins! I've been missing for the past month, mostly because I had seven concerts and two college auditions, among a million rehearsals to go to and applications to fill out. It rounded out what has been by far the busiest year of my life.
Whenever I feel like I need to take a minute to breathe and relax, I make myself a cup of tea. This is partly because I'm an old lady at heart, but also because tea is basically the lifeblood of any singer. Earl Grey is my favorite, and my love of it in desserts has been well-documented on here (hello chocolate chip cookies, eclairs, and ice cream). I love the flavor it brings to sweets, which is both complex and comforting.
This bread is perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast, or for that 5-minute mid-afternoon break between school and rehearsal. It's putting a sweet, creamy cup of tea in snack form, and I can't think of anything better than that. Go crazy and have it with a warm mug of coffee or tea, because why not? Caffeine is a good thing, my friends.
While I keep promising myself that my schedule will start to clear up and I'll have some time to slow down, I know it's probably not true. Which is okay, because in addition to being the craziest, the past year has been the most exciting ever. I can't wait to see what 2015 brings.

Earl Grey Tea Bread
(adapted from Food Network)

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup cooled strong Earl Grey tea, divided
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; coat well with cooking spray.
Whisk together the dry ingredients and orange zest.
Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, followed by 3/4 cup tea. Fold in the dry ingredients.
Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.
Whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup tea and the honey. Pour over the bread while still warm.
Let cool 1 hour, then remove the loaf from the pan and transfer to a rack to cool completely.