Look at me! Michael would call, and Nora would catch her brother scaling up a Sycamore tree, higher and higher until she had to shield her eyes because her brother was now one with the sun.
A plastic bag with two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sat at the bottom of Nora's pink knapsack, the backpack she had asked her mother for on repeat, each time they walked by aisle 8 at the store.
At the end of the path, there sat a small cabin, enrobed in thick vines and buzzing with the wings of a thousand insects, food for all those birds. Nora left Michael because that was what happened when you climbed trees too tall for your sister to follow after. Beads of sweat tickled her nose, her hair curled from the sultry slip of the afternoon, and she waited, her limbs long and languorous.
Michael two years younger, but now stronger, bigger than her, and Nora remembered the taste of blood when she bit his baby skin out of anger all those years ago.
My own sister and I grew up with an affinity for cinnamon raisin bread. We ate it in the morning with peanut butter and jelly, we ate in the afternoon with a slather of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. My mother would bring home those loaves from Pepperidge Farm, and we would ration ourselves to 3, maybe 4 slices a day.
This loaf of bread is far better, and I only wish that my sister was here to share a slice with me. Instead, I brought a loaf to my new neighbor and to my landlord (a delightful couple who has already blessed us with fresh paint, new ceiling fans, and a tiled kitchen floor).
The unique aspect of this loaf is the combination of leavening agents. Unlike traditional yeast bread, this loaf calls for baking powder and yeast. The dough only needs to rise once, and then after being placed in the oven, the baking powder works its magic to produce a light, tall loaf.
I adapted this recipe from King Arthur's Baking Companion, a wonderful resource to have in your kitchen if you are interested in baking (which I know we all are!)
3 cups All-Purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm milk
2 TBSP melted butter
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
Cinnamon-sugar, for topping
1. In a large bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, combine your milk, butter and egg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to dough to rest for one hour. Then stir in the raisins and the baking powder.
2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a regular loaf pan (I used three mini loaf pans)
3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar on top. Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Resist the urge to slice the bread until it has cooled!
Anecdotes and Apple Cores