Orange Poppy Seed Bread

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Do you understand the idea that the radio can kill a song?  It's played over, and over, and . . . Then without notice the song disappears, rarely to be heard on the radio again.  And one day, you walk into a coffee shop and the song is playing.  I forgot all about this song!

Sometimes I feel that way about recipes.  Everyone makes spinach dip or buffalo wings when there's a get together.  I love those things but after a while you want something different.  And sometimes you forget about those recipes.

For me this happened with lemon poppy seed muffins.  They were always a sure thing for breakfast or snack and just became mundane.  This week I was looking for a lemon recipe and happened upon one for a poppy seed bread with orange glaze.  Well, that was a bit of a change.  Enough to capture my interest.

The recipe needed some sprucing up.  I swapped the oil for melted butter; this trick works great for baked recipes.  Butter is so much more flavorful and natural {I know, oil is naturally occurring.  It just seems so unnatural to use a whole cup in something you'll eat} and gives a beautiful golden color to baked goods.  The batter is enough for two loaves or a loaf and some muffins.  Or a loaf and some small cakes, mini bundt cakes precisely.

The third change was a must for the orange flavor.  The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of orange juice in the glaze.  The orange flavor in the finished bread was indiscernible.  But the bread was luscious.  With the second go-round I took zest from two oranges and stirred it into the sugar.  The sugar will absorb the oils from the orange zest, which is where much of the flavor is, at least concentrated flavor.  Put the orange zest and sugar together in a jar; stir and shake.  Let sit for at least ten minutes.  I've started doing this and leaving it over night.  It makes a huge difference in the flavor of the bread.

I feel like I have rediscovered a lost song, one that is bright and cheery and makes my toes tap.  Only, it's a recipe.  And my taste buds are singing it's sweet and happy tune.

Orange Poppy Seed Bread
1 c white sugar
zest from two medium oranges
1 c brown sugar
1 c {2 sticks} butter
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c milk, room temperature
1/4 c poppy seeds

Stir zest and white sugar together.  Allow to set for at least ten minutes.  Melt butter; let cool.
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease pans {2 loaf pans or 12 large muffin/cakelette pans}.

In large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add orange~sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, eggs and milk.  With mixer, blend on medium speed for two minutes.  Stir in poppy seeds.  Divide batter evenly between pans.  Do not fill muffin/cakelette cups more than 3/4 full to avoid spilling.  Bake loaf 45-55 minutes, until golden and inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Bake muffins/cakelettes 25-30 minutes.

While loaves are baking, make glaze.  Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Whisk together.  When loaves are removed from oven, pour glaze over loaves while in pan.  Let cool completely, in the pan.  For muffins, let cool for 10 minutes in pans.  Remove and drizzle glaze over top of muffins.

If using large muffin tins or min cake pans, don't over fill.  Use about 3/4 cup of batter so that the batter doesn't spill over while baking.  The muffins can be glazed after they are removed from the pan.  The loaf should be glazed in the pan and allow to cool completely before removing.

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Catching my breath. Be back ASAP.