Thank You Baby Carrots!


So I went out of town for Christmas and whatnot (as you may have already guessed) and I needed thank you gifts for my dogsitters upon my return.  Keep in mind that it’s a bit late in the game, but I was determined to get both of them something for their efforts as I sincerely appreciated the kindness.  I wanted to give them something unique, something personal.  Of course that meant that I would be baking whatever that was.  (I’m sure they would have probably preferred the unique and personal green paper gift, but I digress.)

When I came back from eastern Washington I had carefully packed a bag of those graham cracker cookies in my carry on luggage, taking great care to not crush them into tiny bits as they went through the X-Ray machines and over thousands of miles of transfers.  Success.  All twelve of them made it back to my little enclave in Brooklyn..  where they sat…  in my refrigerator…  for a while.  Much longer than a cookie should sit for.

It took a bit of wrangling to pin down when I would see one of my dogsitters with both of our schedules, but finally I got my act together and figured out a time to meet my friend.  Which presented a problem, considering that I made those cookies on Christmas Eve.  Failure.  Nobody wants to get stale, cold cookies from halfway across the world that were made on Christmas Eve.  It was time to up the ante.

I made this carrot bread for her instead, which I gave to her with some coffee I bought from the Pike Place Market.  This cake was the perfect accoutrement to the dark and bitter blend.  I had wanted to do something a little bit different from the average carrot bread, something that stuck out in the crowd but not offensively.  It worked!  I had an extra loaf, so I divvied that up amongst friends and the resounding comments were that the spice combination on this recipe left a very pleasant aftertaste.

“A very pleasant aftertaste.”  Just what you were looking for in a carrot bread, right?  Either way, it is pretty good and a good thank you gift.  Try it out yourself!

Carrot Bread

Ingredients:

-2 cups grated carrots

-1 cup pecans, chopped

-3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped (don’t get the sweetened ones)

-1 1/2 cups flour

-3 eggs

-1 1/4 cup sugar

-3/4 cup canola oil

-1/4 cup molasses

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-1 teaspoon salt

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

-1 teaspoon ground ginger

-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

-1/2 teaspoon cloves

-zest from one orange, grated

How To:

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease two 8 inch loaf pans.

2. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.  Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, add things in IN THIS ORDER USING THE SAME MEASURING CUP FOR THE LAST TWO INGREDIENTS.  (Trust me, you will thank me later.)  Add the sugar, eggs, canola oil and then the molasses.  See how it just slips out of the measuring cup without having to scrape it out?  Genius.  Whisk everything together.

4. Add in the carrots, nuts, cherries and zest.  Stir to incorporate.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir everything together until homogeneous.

6. Divide the batter between the two pans equally.

7. Bake the loaves 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean from the center.

8. Allow the bread to cool and remove from the pans.

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