Again mother nature is checking us, making sure we aren’t getting too comfortable in the sunny, warm weather. I guess we shouldn’t be overlooking the fact it’s not exactly summer just yet. Not sure about elsewhere but just about as I was to walk to the gym in the A.M. it started to rain. Not just rain though, the sunshine was pushed aside for another day and cold weather once again hit the area. To tell you the truth, I was good even though that little voice in the back of my head was screaming to not go in the rain to the gym but I’m thankful that I did get to my speed training this morning.

Once I returned, I couldn’t get the idea of baking out of my head. My life lately has been cooking atop a camp stove outside or having his lordship toss something on the trusty barbie. Secondly, my adorable neighbors just got back from Jordan and not only did she bring tons of goodies such as Holy Water from Jesus’ baptism location, mud from the Dead Sea but also dried figs. If that doesn’t scream World’s Best Friend of the Year award I don’t know what does… So not knowing what to bake I thought I would try some cinnamon raisin bread but without the raisins and add in the figs. Something different is always appreciated, right? So I followed along this Caramel Cinnamon and Fig Loaf Recipe http://www.cookrepublic.com/recipe-archive/caramel-cinnamon-and-fig-loaf/ and came up with a vegan concoction that will make just about anybodies’ mouths water. The recipe really isn’t the same anymore but if you aren’t vegan, you might appreciate the original too.

As for the results, truly amazing!  After the first ten minutes of baking, the house smelled just like a sweet honey, fig factory.  Seeing as the figs were from Jordan, I really did not expect much of a scent from them but was astonished and left speechless in my sweet scented house of bliss.  It was such a pleasant smell that I shamefully opened one of our house windows just to make others jealous.  Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have proclaimed that though…  ah well.  After the complete 50 minutes, lets just say I was about to devour the entire thing myself without sharing with anyone.  My only dislike with this test recipe was that it didn’t make quite as much as I had hoped it would make – it just didn’t grow like I had intended.  It was only around three inches in height instead of the intended 4-5 inches.  Seeing that it was moist inside though made me overlook this minor detail.  If you like dried figs, I highly suggest making this recipe.  The figs just melt in your mouth as you eat the bread and it is definitely has the “wow-factor” when someone comes into your house and catches that first sniff of sweet homemade goods.

½ c vegan butter (I used Earth Balance-Soy-free)
½ c white sugar, unbleached and organic
2 tbsp flaxseed mixed with 6 tbsp water (Let thicken in a separate bowl for a few minutes)
½ c whole wheat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 c white flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free)
1 tsp baking powder (I used aluminum free and gluten-free)
2 tsp ground cinnamon, ground
¼ c maple syrup (or 1/8 c agave syrup)
¼ Soy Yogurt (I used Trader Joes Vanilla Soy Yogurt)
1 c sliced dried figs (Mine were from Jordon – I believe they are considered Turkish figs)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease (1) 8×4 inch loaf pan.

Mix all liquids together in large bowl. Add everything else and mix well.

Pour it all into the prepared baking pan and bake for around 50 minutes. Let it cool completely before you slice the bread.

*Note: I used golden dried figs from Jordan but if you don’t have a loving friend that just came back from there then I’m sure Black Mission Figs (grows in California) will work just fine.  Or if you have some raisins, dates or other on hand, go for it!

**Note 2:  You can also add some extra protein in the form of walnuts or any other nut.  I used yogurt and whole wheat grains that contain plenty of protein so I didn’t bother with them this time.  It would make an extra crunch that I’m sure would be appreciated.  (I I didn’t have any in the house.)

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