Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Carrot Molasses Bread
About a month ago, I was running early in the morning--yes, it's another running story--and I suddenly saw the outline of a guy heading towards me. He was holding a lit cellphone in one hand, and had his shoes slung over his shoulder by the shoelaces. Since I live near a college, I assumed he was a college kid and walking barefoot in the middle of winter is something that college kids just do.
So I was kind of surprised when he looked at me and said "help me."
There was something in the manner that he said "help me" that took me aback. He looked at me straight in the eye as if challenging me. My mind began to race: is his car broken down? There is a gas station two blocks away and he is walking in that direction. He has a working cellphone, anyway? Why doesn't he call a towing place.
I kept running. "Hey, asshole, didn't you hear me say help me? " he shouted.
"What do you want?" I shouted, still running away.
"Help!" he shouted.
"Tell me what you want and I'll help you," I said, still running.
"Oh my God, what if I was dying? What an asshole!" he shouted after me. "I said help me!"
I continued running away, my mind still a jumble of thoughts. I couldn't understand, if he was 'legit' what I could help him with--I had no supplies to aid him if his car was broken down (the gas station could do a better job in getting him assistance) and if a friend of his was sick, he'd be better off calling 911 on his cellphone than calling out to me. I kind of had a feeling he wanted money, but I had none. Why was he carrying his shoes? Why wouldn't he say what he needed me to help him with--if he really needed immediate help, why didn't he say why.
Still, the incident disturbed me. I felt guilty because the fact is I do hate having to stop and give people assistance when I'm running--even directions. I hate having to smile, stop, and give people directions to the beach/garage sale/ nearest ATM. When he first said 'help,' my first emotion was annoyance--followed by a deep sensation in my gut that I should get the **** away from him.
I talked over the incident with a few of my friends afterward, and eventually concluded I did the right thing not to stop. Sometimes, you do have to go with your gut instinct.
Which is pretty much how this recipe for carrot bread evolved. I wanted something that was flavorful, but a bit lighter than the usual neon orange concoctions of oil and cream cheese frosting that I love but which I really shouldn't be eating everyday. This bread is flavorful with molasses but relatively lower in sugar and fat than its cake counterparts. It was adapted from multiple sources, but is as close to a 'guilt free' carrot cake as you can find, without sacrificing flavor or texture.
Carrot Molasses Bread
--makes one large 9x5 loaf or two 8x4 loaves--
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 beaten large eggs
1/4 cup molasses (mild, not blackstrap)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cups dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line loaf pans or pans with parchment.
2. Incorporate butter, yogurt, eggs, and molasses together. Stir in carrots.
3. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar together, followed by spices.
4. Incorporate dry ingredients into wet, add dried fruits.
5. Bake for 55-60 minutes if using a large loaf pan until toothpick can be extracted clean (smaller pans will take slightly less cooking time--test after 40-45 minutes for doneness).
6. Cool, remove from pan, and slice.
Note: Although this bread was good fresh from the oven, its flavor improved after a day or two, as is often the case with spice breads and cakes.