If you aren’t familiar with Amish Friendship Bread, it is a sort of “chain letter” of the baked good variety. Traditionally, you begin with a sourdough starter that you can use to bake a whole host of different kinds of breads. You use one cup to make a loaf of bread for yourself (like Amish cinnamon bread!), while keeping another cup to start a new chain letter-like cycle (or freeze to bake later), and give the remaining two cups to friends or family members so they can do the same.
You can create a starter from scratch, if you happen to have several days to tend to it, maintaining it with sugar, flour, and milk. I, however, do not; nor do I have any interest in even attempting to create and maintain my own starter. In fact, I don’t know of many people who would embark on that particular kind of baking journey — even if they are doing a year-long baking project.
A friend of mine, who once adamantly (and vocally) disliked baking, has begun baking more since I started this project. I’m a good influence like that, and I’m willing to bet that her family (those who benefit the most from her baking excursions) would agree. As each week goes by, she sends me links to recipes she has made while attempting to guilt me into mailing her baked goods so she doesn’t have to bake her own. Too bad it isn’t working. Anyway, last week she sent me the link to an Amish Friendship Bread alternative. Get this: Amish cinnamon bread made in about an hour without a starter. Yes, please!
There is a lot of sugar in this bread. A lot. Nearly 3 cups of sugar, in fact. Amish cinnamon bread is a lot like pound cake meets coffee cake. It is thick, very moist, and definitely a dessert (or super sugary breakfast) kind of bread. Yet despite the amount of sugar it contains, it doesn’t taste overly sweet.
The recipe for this bread makes two loaves. I suppose you could bake it all up, keep one of the loaves for yourself, and share the other with a friend because sharing is awesome and all that. Or you can do what I did: bake both loaves and keep one plain and experiment with flavors in the other. My second loaf not only contained the thick swirl of cinnamon sugar, but also raisins, and this turned out to be the loaf my fiance finished off first in just a couple of days. I also think it would taste really great with chocolate chips, but that’s expected being the big, huge chocolate-lover I am.
This bread was a huge hit in our house. My fiance has, on more than one occasion, asked me to take it away from him because he couldn’t stop eating it. It is that yummy. And considering it’s a copycat recipe, or alternative, to traditional Amish cinnamon bread that can take upwards of several days to make, you cannot get any better than this.