It’s cinnamon. It’s RED HOT: It's... freckle bread!

freckle-bread-cinnamon

Allow me to wax nostalgic for a moment. As the youngest of three children (and the only girl), you would have thought I would have been a “sugar and spice and everything nice” kind of child. You know, with ribbons and curls, and doted on by all. In truth, I was quite a tomboy. I wore hand-me-downs from my older brothers; and my hair was straight as a pin and short as theirs, at least until Dorothy Hamill came along and I grew mine out just a little to copy her famous haircut.

I still vividly remember being 12 years old and having someone comment to my mother about her three fine sons. Ouch! Considering the fact I was wearing earrings and a skirt, that really burned my biscuits. And it started me on the road to a more ladylike existence.

As I tried to find ways to become more feminine, and searched for elegant, drop-dead-gorgeous role models, I discovered Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall and Audrey Hepburn.  Surely with the right hair and clothes, I too could look like that! There was only one thing holding me back.  It wasn’t charm, or style, or Edith Head to make my clothing. It was something far worse, something too dark and sinister, as plain as the nose on my face. To be more precise, it was ON the nose of my face. That’s right, I had… freckles.

Not just a beauty mark or two; not just a faint spray across the bridge of my nose, but Freckles with a capital F. OK, sure, Howdy Doody had more freckles than me, and maybe Opie, but I had plenty. I even have freckles on the soles of my feet! As a young girl trying to be a femme fatale, I was doomed.

Over time, I grew to accept my freckles, and even learned to use them to my advantage. I was never going to be a tall, cool goddess, but I made a darn cute Gidget girl and had my share of admirers. Many of them professed an affection for the freckle on the end of my nose as their favorite, and so life went on. I married my true love and had my baby girl, and she has freckles on the bottom of her feet. It’s the circle of life, or at least the small dots.

Many years later, I came across a recipe for a sweet dough using crushed sugar cubes coated in cinnamon in place of the traditional cinnamon sugar swirl. It was a delicious bread, but we don’t often have sugar cubes in our house. My husband, David, loves Cinnamon Red Hots, and I always give him a big bag near Valentine’s Day.

So, putting Yankee ingenuity to work, I made the bread using the Red Hots for the sugar cubes and voilà! Freckle Bread was born. The pink spots of melty cinnamon-y goodness reminded us of my freckles after a day in the sun. And the delicious after-burn reminded me of a kiss from my sweetie on Valentine’s Day, sugar and spice and everything nice!

Let’s get started on this recipe for Freckle Bread.

The dough is a basic sweet dough and can be made by hand, in a stand mixer, or on the dough cycle of the bread machine.

img_9507.JPG

To easily make lukewarm water and milk, start with HOT water, and cold milk. The end result mixed together will be just right: lukewarm.

Add the egg, and whisk well. If your egg is at room temperature, the mixture will stay lukewarm.

img_9514.JPG

Add the rest of the ingredients to the machine and program for the dough cycle, or mix and knead by hand or stand mixer as usual.

img_9516.JPG

At the end of the dough cycle, remove the dough and gently deflate it. Pat the dough into a rough rectangle.

img_9518.JPG

When using add-ins, like chocolate chips or nuts or cinnamon bits, a good rule of thumb is 1/2 cup of add-ins for a typical 3 cup flour recipe.  Too little, and you won’t get the enough flavor. Too much, and the bread won’t rise properly.

img_9520.JPG

Add about 1/3 of the Red Hots.

img_9527.JPG

Gently fold the dough up and over the cinnamon candies.

img_9528.JPG

Knead with the heel of your hand, pressing the dough together over the candies. Continue until well incorporated.

img_9522.JPG

Add another 1/3 of the red hots. Repeat the kneading step above.

img_9523.JPG

After two additions, you’ll begin to see the cinnamon candies showing under the skin of the dough, and some poking up near the surface. Add the last of the candies, and knead those in.

img_9529.JPG

Beware the “pocket” effect. If the candies are not well distributed they’ll form a pocket and push through the dough. Gently knead until they’re well dispersed.

img_9525.JPG

Shape the dough into a loaf, and place it in a well-greased loaf pan. If you’re concerned about the candies sticking, you can use parchment in the pan. Allow the loaf to rise, covered.

img_9531.JPG

If you prefer your freckles on buns, you can divide the dough into 9 pieces.

img_9532.JPG

To shape the buns, tuck in any loose candies, and pinch the bottom of the dough together to form a round ball.

img_9533.JPG

Turn the ball of dough over, so the seams are on the work surface. Cup your hand around the side of the ball and move in small circles to tighten the skin of the ball. For those of you who drive a stick shift, this is nearly the same as gripping the ball at the end of the shift, but looser.

img_9535.JPG

Evenly space the buns in a well-greased or parchment-lined 9″ x 9″ pan. Cover and allow to rise.

img_9537.JPG

Back to the loaf. It’ll look full and rounded. You can see the streaking where the dough rose around the candies.

img_9540.JPG

The buns will look full, puffy, and will be barely touching one another.

Bake the bread or buns in a preheated 350°F oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 190°F. Due to the high sugar content of the bread, you’ll most likely need to tent it with aluminum foil to keep it from over-browning.

I highly recommend placing a “drip tray” under the loaf to catch any dribbles of melting candy. I use an old cookie sheet lined with a used piece of parchment. Easy clean up!

Be aware of hot sticky sugar from the melting candies as you turn the bread out of the pan.

img_9551.JPG

Freckle lovers unite! Notice the melty, gooey spots of cinnamon and the crisp spots on the outer crust. A delightful contrast of textures to tease the tongue.

img_9558.JPG

A simple vanilla glaze becomes the icing on the cake. Er, bun.

So, for all you freckled Fannies like myself, celebrate that which makes us unique with this sweet and spicy bread, and be sure to share a slice with the one who lights your fire!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Freckle Bread.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. David

    I’m going to try this right away, but a clarifying question:

    The recipe and the photo seem to indicate 1/2 cup (total) of red hots.

    The text of the post says: “a good rule of thumb is 1/2 cup of add-ins for each cup of flour in the recipe”. Given the recipe has 3 cups of flour (which would be 1.5 cups of red hots), is the correct amount a total of 1/2 cup or 1.5 cups? I’m guessing 1/2 cup since 1.5 cups seems like a lot!
    Hi David,
    Thanks for asking. The total for this recipe is 1/2 cup. I will fix the text, thanks for catching that. Enjoy the bread!~MaryJane

    Reply
  2. M J

    I have fond memories of my Grandma putting red hots into her homemade applesauce. Of course all of us grandkids loved it because it made the applesauce turn pink and it tasted really yummy. I’m going to make this for her and see what she thinks!

    What a neat idea for applesauce. I have also seen Red Hots added to maple syrup for pink cinnamon-y syrup. Hope your Gram likes the bread. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  3. Aubrey

    This recipe looks so yummy and very tempting. I can’t wait to try it and am having a hard time choosing between the loaf or the buns to make. Either way I don’t think I will be disappointed. Thanks for all the great tips, tricks and awesome recipes you post on here.

    Reply
  4. luv2cook

    At first I thought it sounded kinda gross but after I read through it I thought yum! I think this would make my BIL very happy as he adores hot stuff and I may need to send him a loaf. Thanks for a great idea I could never ever have thought of! :)

    Reply
  5. Mike T.

    Loaf… Buns… Loaf… Buns…

    Oh what the heck! Mini-loaf and buns! The best of both worlds! I’ll bet it’s great toasted with butter too!

    Reply
  6. Kathleen

    What a great idea. I would never have thought of something like this. I know I’ll have to try the buns with a nice white glaze on them. Yummy

    Reply
  7. Elaine

    From one fellow “Freckled” Fannie to another this bread looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try it myself. Who needs Lauren Bacall anyway?

    HI Laineybug! I’m so tickled to see your comment. The bread is really good, and makes FABULOUS French toast.
    Hope all is well with you and the family. Long Live Freckles! xo ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. Catherine

    How would you use the crushed sugar cubes in this recipes? I’m intrigued by that idea. A 1/2 cup crushed sugar cubes that have been dusted with cinnamon in place of the red hots?
    Your outside the box thinking is great! I think 1/2 cup of crushed sugar cubes should be about right. I would use about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, I think. You could use more or less to taste. have fun with it. Mary @ K A F

    Hi Catherine,
    The original recipe which inspired me is Fresian Bread in Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Bread. For the sugar cubes, you put them in a plastic bag and hit them with a hammer, and then shake with cinnamon. They are tricky to knead into the dough, but the results are great! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. HMB

    We had leftover red hots in the house since my son had used them to decorate Valentine’s cookies he baked for his friends, so this recipe was just the thing for our Sunday afternoon coffee. I made the buns, and they were tender and tasty. I just love recipes that give me new ways to use up odds and ends I have in my kitchen. If it hadn’t been for this recipe, those red hots probably would have been sitting in my pantry until Christmas or next Valentine’s Day!
    If you think that’s good, keep your eyes peeled for the Gingerbread house blog or “how to use up your Easter candy! ” Thanks for posting! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. Jesurgislac

    As a butch baker *g* I learned from my teens to develop a crisp, routine reply to rude people concerned that my gender wasn’t obvious; “Are you a boy or a girl?” – “Which are you?”

    I find that settles them. of course few people worry about the gender of a person who has presented them with a delicious baked treat, and these look too good for anyone who ask rude questions of the baker…

    I found that I can buy Red Hots in the UK in minute quantities (a box of 60 pieces – 37g) from a website called Everything Cinnamon, for £1.05. I don’t think this would be even a quarter-cup, and I haven’t yet found out where I can get them in larger quantities. As a guideline, could you tell me how much half a cup of Red Hots weighs (in grammes or ounces: I can convert).

    Must this bread be served hot? Does it also work cold? (Does it matter, I ask myself: freshly-baked, the problem would be to get people to stop eating it, not cold leftovers…)

    Hi there,
    Your “which are you” answer sounds a lot like my “Please tell why would you like to know” answer! That one’s really good for the “how much do you earn” questions.

    As for eating the bread cold, I like the buns better cold and the bread better warm. Same recipe but it’s just one of those personal perferences. For the weight of the Red Hots, 1/2 cup weighed in at 4 ounces. Hope that helps! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. Marcy

    It is not okay to substitute the candy “HOT TAMALES” for the red hots! that is unless you want “pimple” and not freckle bread. And I thought I was being so creative!

    Reply
  12. Pat Kachold

    This recipe will be great for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    Can’t wait to try it I have a friend who loves red hots and
    he will be one of the first to get a loaf or buns.
    It’s also nice to find something new for this years holiday
    baking.
    Thanks again.

    Reply

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *