Portuguese Honey Loaves

Portugese honey loaf
Agh!! I am drowning in lists over here. They look something like this:

  1. Pray.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Take vitamin.
  4. Make honey loaves for Wyatt and Loretta's teachers.
  5. Go to Costco for baking supplies and try not to hate Christmas while I'm there. (Send Yancey instead?)
  6. Finish workshop design for client.
  7. Copy, cut, stamp, and stuff Christmas cards.
  8. Keep deliberating about which cookies to make on Saturday. Throw old lists out, make new ones.
  9. Stay off Facebook.
  10. Finish workshop design for client.
  11. Make a truckload of granola.

Clearly, I shouldn't be here, writing about honey loaves. But there they were this morning, all forlorn, needing some attention from the camera.

I wanted to make something for the kids' teachers that was still a treat, but not Sugar Overload. Seems like I usually settle on bread. This one, from my trusty (green) Gourmet cookbook, is particularly Christmasy. Molasses, honey, dried fruit, walnuts, port. It's slightly dry, slices beautifully, and is divine for toast. And makes six small loves!

Wherever you are in your list-making, I hope the lauded peace, joy, and goodwill are sneaking in through the cracks.

Portuguese Honey Loaves
I'm not a big candied fruit fan (unless I make it myself, which I don't have time for due to all my time-wasting on Facebook), so I just subbed more dried fruit for the candied and added the zest from a big orange. The original recipe called for mild molasses, but I like the full-flavored kind better. Use whatever you prefer or have on hand. The recipe calls for both yeast and baking soda--that's because honey and molasses are very acidic, when can affect the leavening. The soda neutralizes the acid.

1 1/2 c. mixed dried fruit (I used apricots, cherries, and cranberries)
finely grated zest of one large orange
1/4 c. port
1 Tb. active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 1/4 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 c. molasses
1/2 c. honey

Preheat oven to 325 and butter six mini loaf pans (6 x 3 1/4 x 2 inch).

Combine dried fruit and port in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.

Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Combine flour, salt, soda, spices, and walnuts and set aside.

Beat together butter and sugar in an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 4-6 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add one third of the flour mixture and mix at low speed until combined. Add molasses and mix until incorporated. Add half of remaining flour mixture and mix until combined, then add honey and mix until incorporated. Add yeast mixture and remaining flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in dried fruit mixture.

Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops. Bake until a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted in center of loaves comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove loaves from pans and cool completely on rack.