From My Mother’s Kitchen: Hot Raisin Bread

OTHER MOM-INSPIRED FAVORITES: Fried Noodles; Green Goddess Soup with Zucchini, Chard, and Cilantro; Seared Salmon with Green Sauce; Rich Chocolate Celebration Cake

My mom made us breakfast every single day while we were growing up, before we piled into the car and she dropped us off at school on her way to work. When I say I don’t understand people who don’t eat breakfast, I say this with the perspective of someone who ate scrambled eggs, pancakes, French toast, corn muffins, and hot raisin bread every morning, not just someone who ate, you know, a bowl of cereal. Later, in middle and high school, we did sometimes eat just cereal or yogurt and fruit, but even then there were occasions when we’d get the full breakfast treatment.

On one of these days late in high school, my mom made hot raisin bread. She took it out of the oven, I cut myself a wedge, and when I drove my fork down through the cinnamon-sugar crust on top into the biscuit-like interior, I remembered why this was always one of my favorites. It’s decadent in the way that Frosted Mini Wheats are decadent–a layer of sugar, in this case cinnamon-sugar and butter, bursts in your mouth, distinguishing the relative plainness of the inside. I was a junior or senior, and we had a field hockey game that afternoon against one of our rivals. The tradition was to dress up in funny outfits on game days, and I can only imagine what Phoebe and I and the rest of our teammates were wearing. Whether it was my breakfast or my outfit, I played one of my best games ever as forward, scoring a hat trick. Three goals. These days, that kind of athleticism feels like it belonged to another person completely.

Anyway, some other parent came up to my mom and was like, “What do you feed her for breakfast?!”

And my mom, I think, answered truthfully, “Well, it’s this dish called hot raisin bread.”

I wasn’t eating my Wheaties. I was eating my mom’s home-cooked food and apparently it did me better than that.

When I baked this recently, I ate it as an afternoon snack. The cinnamon-y scent filled my apartment. I cut a wedge, poured some some tea, and waited for something to happen. Sure I wasn’t playing hockey, but wouldn’t mom’s magic breakfast work in my Brooklyn apartment too? I did some work on the book, researched my summer vacation, and kept on waiting. And waiting. I haven’t found out yet if the Hat Trick Raisin Bread still makes me super athletic, but it definitely still tastes really good.

From my kitchen, where I’m wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day, to yours,



Hot Raisin Bread
Makes 1 bread, serves 6-8

from Quickbreads by Beatrice Ojakangas


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted or soft
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Combine the flour, powder, salt, raisins, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the oil and milk and mix into a soft dough.
Transfer it to the baking sheet and pat the dough into a rough 8-inch square, about 1/2-inch thick.

Spread with the butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until just golden. Cut into squares and serve hot–this doesn’t really weather well, so make it when you plan to eat.
  • Banana Wonder

    Mmmm looks like a perfect Sunday morning nosh!

  • Kate

    The best part of this, is that it is amazing hot or cold. When hot, the cinnamon topping almost slides off, and you have to fight to keep it on (or better yet, save it for last). And when cold, its crumbly and a totally different but delicious ballgame. I seem to remember that the left overs that would sit on the stove lacked any topping, chances are that the three of us had picked it all off.

    Today in my dining hall at school, something smelled extremely delicious, and as the rest of my family ate mother’s day brunch in NY, I tried to put my finger on what the dining hall smelled like (I guess I need more cinnamon, mom) but this post made it click–and reminded me why I love all things cinnamon. These were the most prized morning meals, now the recipe isn’t only mom’s! I can’t wait to make it myself.

    • Veronica

      omg! thank you for your vivid discription…i’m so hungry now! Can’t wait to try it myself!!!

  • Jessie

    Ooh, I was going to ask if it was good hot or cold, thanks Kate (we missed you today!).

    This looks delicious, but I know we wouldn’t be able to eat it in one day. Do you think I could do it as eight individual loaves instead of one big one?

  • Caitlyn

    This looks so good…I’m drolling. I can’t wait to make it!

  • Caitlyn

    And by drolling I mean drooling…although perhaps it makes me droll as well.

  • paigeworthy

    I am so excited to make this.

  • Nisrine Merzouki

    It looks delicious!


  • ChefAimee

    I can only imagine how delicious this is when sprinkled with the butter and cinnamon sugar…MMM!

  • Anna

    This recipie sounds so delicious. I would make it now if it was 10:30pm

    • Anna


  • marli

    what a great way to start every day of your childhood. so inspiring!

    i am going to have to try this bread this weekend. it looks like heaven. thank you for sharing.

  • kim b

    I made this yesterday for my fiance and some of his friends. It was a huge hit and it was sooo simple. Next time instead of raisins I’m gonna try craisins.

  • Chelsea Wire

    I made this for my husband last night, using your recipe. Total WIN. Thank you for sharing, not only the recipe but your story as well!

  • Annevandewater

    i know this is an old post but i just found your blog (which i love!) and have been trying out recipes like crazy –i LOOOVED this one! thanks for sharing so many great recipes!

  • amanda

    this is good.  we vegans substituted soy milk and earth balance to great effect.  thanks!

  • Gigimaria52

    Hey, I want to try the hot raisin bread ASAP.    Can’t wait to try it straight out of the oven.   Thanks

  • Jaime @ laviejaime

    gosh this sounds delicious!

  • Mitsukuni Haninozuka

    Literally so good AND easy to make

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