Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. I think they're woefully under-appreciated, given their humble appearance. Compared to a gooey chocolate chip cookie or a sandwich cookie stuffed with sugary buttercream, snickerdoodles aren't the sexiest dessert option. But their rumpled top and freckled cinnamon sugar batter belies a deeply satisfying flavor: warmly spiced and just sweet enough. I love how crisp and golden the edges get, while the center stays chewy and soft.
Considering those qualities, a snickerdoodle is the perfect inspiration for a quick bread. Today's recipe, inspired by one in the Simply Organic spice archives, transforms the best parts of a snickerdoodle into loaf form. The batter is made with plain whole milk yogurt (it's best to use regular yogurt, not Greek), which gives the loaf a tender crumb and wonderfully moist texture.
You'll divide the batter in half and layer the first half into your loaf pan. Then you'll top it with a heavy dusting of cinnamon-sugar before pouring on the rest of the batter. The loaf gets a final shower of cinnamon-sugar and sliced almonds before baking. That finishing touch creates a crunchy, sugary cap that shatters with a satisfying crackle when you slice into it.
Granted, there is no cream of tartar in this bread recipe, which is one of the distinctive characteristics of a snickerdoodle. However, the ribbon of cinnamon-sugar and crisp-yet-moist texture are reminiscent enough of the cookie for me to consider it in the same family. It's inspired by a snickerdoodle, not a true translation of, but regardless of the semantics it's delicious.
The bread is sweet enough to qualify as dessert, but simple enough to work for breakfast. The crumb is dense, almost in pound cake territory, but it's not as rich or decadent as that. Truthfully, it's one of my favorite recipes I've made lately. You could dress it up with a simple glaze of confectioners' sugar and milk (almond extract would be nice), or you can enjoy it plain. It freezes nicely, so consider making two loaves and wrapping one up to stash in the freezer for later.
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Call it cake, call it a quick bread, call it a cookie-in-loaf's-clothing: Whatever it is, it's a perfect recipe to master for beginner, novice, or expert bakers alike.
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