A perfect day, a perfect treat

Father and son skiing on a perfect mild winter`s day

Sunday was a perfect day. Fresh powdery snow, mild temperatures, bright blue skies. Somehow we haven`t really managed to fit skiing into our winter this year. Perhaps the snowshoes that get us around our land so effortlessly have made the preparation required for a ski less attractive, perhaps the really cold days we experienced when we could ski put us off. I`m not sure, but it doesn`t matter.

This past weekend, we made up for it with a wonderful ski outing on a local trail in the most perfect conditions. Our youngest, chronically tired this year, went shooting off ahead of everyone. He tired for the return trip but not before enjoying the peace and quiet of gliding through the woods and a few fun hills along the way. His grumbling disappeared as we finished up our circuit, ready to head home for a well earned snack.

Cross country skiing in the woods

Teen in skiing gear on a warm winter`s day

I wrote recently here about comfort food (not my first post on that topic, and definitely not the last), including a brief reference to a cinnamon breakfast loaf. I promised to come back and post the recipe, and today is the day.

My baking older son, pictured here, made the original version of this recipe from the hilarious and tasty cookbook, Bite me. I`m providing the original, very indulgent recipe first, followed by the more nutritious but still deeply delicious version that I concocted last weekend.

Cinnamon Swirl Breakfast Bread, from the cookbook Bite Me

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Cinnamon Swirl
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp melted butter


1) Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2) For the batter cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt just until moistened and the flour has disappeared.

3) For the cinnamon swirl, in a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon.

4) Spoon half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour remaining batter over the top. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar and drizzle with melted butter.

5) Place the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drippings. Bake for 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm.

Healthier Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Breakfast Loaf

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cottage cheese (but sour cream, low-fat yogurt or ricotta would work equally well)
1 cup pumpkin puree (I actually used roasted squash)
2 cups spelt flour (I love spelt for its high fibre content and it`s much less gloopy than plain whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Cinnamon Swirl
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely ground nuts (walnuts are a good choice)

The method is pretty much the same as in the original recipe, but with the additions and changes noted above, which really come down to reducing the butter and sugar, swapping out the plain flour for fibre rich spelt, and adding pumpkin or squash puree, as well as ground nuts to the topping.

I was very interested to see what my older son thought of this version, having first tasted the butter and sugar laden original. I was thrilled when he gave it two very enthusiastic thumbs up, declaring it ‘absolutely delicious’. For our after-ski snack on Sunday I paired slices of it with apples sauteed with cinnamon. Generally, I think this combination – particularly with the sauteed fruit – makes this a much more appealing option for breakfast (empty carbs aren’t really a great idea, as we know) or tea-time.

Pumpkin cinnamon swirl loaf

16 thoughts on “A perfect day, a perfect treat

  1. Sunday was the perfect day! We went snowshoeing for the afternoon followed by a good cup of hot cocoa and a big bowl of soup. Your perfect treat looks delicious. I agree – spelt is a nice choice of flour and reducing the butter and sugar is always a good thing.

  2. Yum. I’ve bookmarked this one – your healthy version looks like it would be perfect for school snacks too. Love your skiing photos – your eldest looks so chuffed, as do you! The ski trail looks absolutely gorgeous.

    1. Thanks! Yes, it does very well as a school snack too, so that is a great idea. The few groups of people that we met on the trail were all grinning from ear to ear – I think we were all feeling overdue for a bright, sunny day, and the fact that it was perfect snow for skiing made it pretty amazing (we’ve had a lot of ice this winter)!

  3. Oh, I have said it before, but I will say it again – I sit here and envy your wintery world! It looks like it was the perfect day 🙂 And thanks for posting the healthy version of this delicious recipe. We are trying to go wheat-free in our home and this is definitely one that is going on the list to try.

  4. Oh, it’s so refreshing to see your beautiful snow! It’s so hot here today, I have to go out and water down the chicken run every couple of hours or our feathered friends will fry!! That breakfast loaf looks absolutely delicious!

    1. Oh my goodness, that does sound very, very hot! Thank goodness your chickens have you taking such good care of them. It’s amazing to think of your heat as we bundle up to deal with the windchill today (unfortunately not every day is as nice as the one I captured in this post)!

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