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Here are the tastingspoons players. I’m in the middle (Carolyn). Daughter Sara on the right, and daughter-in-law Karen on the left. I started the blog in 2007, as a way to share recipes with my family. Now in 2021, I’ll still participate, but the two daughters are going to do more posting from here on out.

We participate in an amazon program that rewards a little tiny $ something (pennies, really) if you purchase any books recommended (below), or buy products occasionally mentioned on the blog with an amazon link. 

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BOOK READING:

No question, the most quirky book I’ve read of late, a recommendation from my friend Karen, West with Giraffes: A Novel by Lynda Rutledge. The book IS a novel, but the event is true. Back in the 1930s a small group of giraffes were brought across the Atlantic from Africa to New York, destined for the then-growing San Diego Zoo. On the voyage the ship encounters a hurricane and several giraffes are lost, but two young ones survive. The story is of their journey across the United States in the care of two oh-so-different people, both with a mission. A young boy (barely an adult) becomes the driver (his only goal is his desire to go to California), with the zoo’s delegate (a middle-aged man with a past), and it’s the story about these two misfits and their caring for the giraffes, feeding them (that’s a laugh – onions play a big part). No freeways existed back then, and the mental picture of the vehicle they used (basically a small truck) with the two giraffes confined within two tall boxes precariously strapped to the truck, and their driving and carrying-on getting under bridges and over rivers is just a hoot. I so wanted this story to be true – parts of it ARE true. Worth reading if you enjoy such animal stories. The giraffes survive, thankfully, and they both lived to a ripe old age at the zoo!

Also a kind of quirky book by Beth Miller, The Missing Letters of Mrs. Bright. Picture a middle-aged woman, slogging through life with a not-very-attentive husband, grown children, and one day she decides to leave. Completely. Maybe she had a bucket list of sorts, and she knew none of those places would ever happen in her life if she stayed put. She sets off to find a long-lost girlfriend. The book is about her journey. Her travels. Friendships, and lost friendships. Everyone can probably empathize with Kay Bright as she examines her life. And yes, there are letters and chapters with her daughter, Stella. Cute book.

Katherine Center’s book, Things You Save in a Fire: A Novel is certainly vivid. There aren’t very many women firefighters out there in the world – this is about one. A novel, however. About her work life and the harrassment she endures (some of it’s with love, some not) and about her relationships. The pros and cons of transferring to a different fire station (just like any job move, not always smooth). Good read.

Riveting story of post-WWII- Japan in Ana Johns novel, The Woman in the White Kimono: A Novel. About a young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American serviceman. Such relationships were fraught with problems from the very strict Japanese families who resented the American presence in their country, to the American military higher-ups who made it impossible for the servicemen to marry Japanese nationals. Could hardly put it down. Yes, it’s a romance of sorts, but not in the typical sense of today’s novel-romance-writing. There aren’t always happy beginnings, middles or endings, but the in between made for very interesting reading.

Also read Rishi Reddi’s novel, Passage West: A Novel with a very different take on the migration of Indians (East India) to the California agricultural lands east of San Diego during the 1920s and 30s. Wow. What an eye-opener. Of their small but loyal family enclaves, the hard-scrabble lives they led, the near poverty level of farming. I’d never heard that any Indian migrants were a part of farming here in California. Obviously they made up a very small percentage of the immigrants who settled there.

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but the Mary Morris book, A Very Private Diary: A Nurse in Wartime tells the true day to day life of a young Irish girl who becomes a nurse, in England, France and Belgium in the midst of WWII and immediately after the war. Fascinating glimpse into the hardships not only for patients (the war-wounded) but for the underappreciated and hardworking staff at various hospitals (even a tent one in Normandy where she worked for many months after D-Day). She meets her to-be husband and even that is fraught with difficulty from many angles.

Could hardly put down Krueger’s book, This Tender Land: A Novel. My friend Ann recommended it. I was gripped with the story within the first paragraph, and it never stopped until I turned the last page. Tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Odie, (and his brother Albert) who became orphans back in the 30s. At first there is a boarding school, part of an Indian (Native American) agreement, though they are not Indian. Some very ugly things happen at that school. Eventually they  escape, and they are “on the run.” With a few others with them. If you loved Huckleberry Finn, you’ll have a great appreciation for this story as they use a canoe to get themselves down river. Never having very much to eat and getting into trouble way too often, and authorities on their tail. Well, you just have to read the book to find out what happens.

Just finished Kristin Hannah’s latest book, The Four Winds: A Novel. What a story. One I’ve never read about, although I certainly have heard about the “dust bowl” years when there was a steady migration of down-and-out farmers from the Midwest, to California, for what they hoped to be the American Dream. It tells the story of one particular family, the Martinellis, the grandparents, their son, his wife, and their two children. The book is heartbreaking, but one of those that everyone should read. The hardship, the hunger, the dirt and dust, the failed crops, the lack of rain, then the story picks up again in central California, back in the day when the wealthy growers just used up the migrants. I don’t want to spoil the story. So worth reading. Hannah really knows how to weave a story.

Brit Bennett has written quite a book, The Vanishing Half: A Novel. It’s a novel, yet I’m sure there are such real-life situations. Twin girls are born to a young woman in the South. Into a town (that probably doesn’t exist) that prides itself on being light-skinned blacks. The father was very dark, but he plays no part, really, in this story. Growing up, the girls leave home at 18 to find their way in New Orleans. Suddenly, one twin disappears (her clothes and suitcase all gone in the wink of an eye). Her twin left behind has no idea what’s happened to her. As the story reveals, with divided paths, one twin continues her life as a black woman, and the other twin, the one who left, is able to pass as a white woman. She marries well, has a daughter. Well, let’s just say that there are lots of wicked webs woven throughout the story, starting from the girls’ mother who never wants to speak again of her lost daughter. But you know where this is going, don’t you? Things are found out. The author does a great job of weaving the story apart and then back together.

What a book. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict. A novelized biography of Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress. She was a brilliant mind, and a beautiful woman. It tells the story of her coming of age, how she navigated the world of acting back in that time period (she was Austrian, and Hitler was in power). The writing was very well done – to tell Hedy’s story with detail and poignancy. Eventually Hedy made it to the U.S. and her life story changed, but still had its difficulties. I loved the book, beginning to end. She should have become an engineer as she invented several war related bomb tools. Very much worth reading.

Also read The Secret of the Chateau: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction with a mystery at its heart by Kathleen McGurl. There are two stories here. The historical part is just prior to and up to the French Revolution, when aristocrats were chased and killed, guillotined in many cases. There is a young couple (part of the royal court) who escape to a remote small castle owned by his family, located on the edge of France and Italy, hoping to wait out the revolution and hoping the villagers love and care about them. Then jump to current day as a small English group of close friends decide to retire somewhere on the continent, and settle on a small abandoned castle in the remote hills of France along the Italian border. Got the picture? The historian in the group is quite interested in the history of the home, and clues are revealed (in the tower) that lead her and the group on a quest to discover what happened to the couple who used to live there. There was a fire once upon a time. There’s an pesky ghost. There’s also a very old child’s doll/playhouse on the grounds. Plus there’s a small graveyard. It is VERY intriguing. Very interesting. I love historical novels like this, and this one in particular does have quite a mystery involved, too.

Also finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s recent book, The Book of Longings: A Novel. It is a book that might challenge some Christian readers, as it tells the tale of Jesus marrying a woman named Mary. The story is all about Mary, her growing up, her scholarly pursuits, and then from the moment she meets Jesus as a young man. The story follows along to and beyond his death on the cross. In the time of Christ it was extremely uncommon for a man not to marry. It was almost unseemly. Fraught with suspicions, I’d suppose. Although scripture, as scripture, does not play a very strong part here, if you’ve read the Bible you’ll see many of the stories of Jesus’ life through Mary’s eyes. I loved the book from the first word to the last one. The book is believable to me, even though the Bible never says one way or the other that Jesus ever married. It’s been presumed he never did. But maybe he did?

Jeanine Cummins has written an eye-opener, American Dirt. A must read. Oh my goodness. I will never, ever, ever look at Mexican (and further southern) migrants, particularly those who are victims of the vicious cartels, without sympathy. It tells the story of a woman and her young son, who were lucky enough to hide when the cartel murdered every member of her family – her husband, her mother, and many others. Her husband was a journalist, and his life was always in danger because he wrote the truth, and that was taking a risk. The story is about her escape, with harrowing chapters as she makes her way north from Acapulco, with various major detours, one step, or sometimes nothing more than a hair’s width ahead of the cartel minions trying to find her. I could NOT put this book down. The author is not Hispanic, and some have criticized her for that, but she did her research, and many authors write about places and people they are not. I have nothing but respect for her having told this story. You need to read this.

Also read JoJo Moyes’ book, The Giver of Stars. Oh gosh, what a GREAT book. Alice, living in an English home which lacks much, leaps to agree to marry a visiting American. It was an escape for her. He is a man of some family wealth, and she travels from England to Kentucky, during the 1920s. Once settled into the family home, she discovers married life is not what she had expected. Affection is lacking, and she must share the home with her tyrannical father-in-law, the owner of mines in the deep mountains. And with the ghost of the deceased mother-in-law. The family cook won’t tolerate Alice’s help in the kitchen. Alice is terribly lonely and unhappy. The town doesn’t much like this English woman with her funny way of speaking. But then, she meets a woman who encourages her to join the Horseback Librarians. With trepidation, she begins traversing the remote hills, through unbelievable weather, to deliver old, battered and tattered books to the remote inhabitants of the area. She makes friends, wonderful, loving people from all walks of life. There is tremendous tension from the danger of the mines, the unions trying to get a foothold, plus the unraveling of her marriage, including the dreaded father-in-law who feels she should answer to him, behave as he wants. Uh, no. Alice goes her own route. Her new friends become her family, and, oh, what love. There has been much criticism of Moyes’ possible plagiarism of another book regarding the Horseback Librarians. I read the other book – but I didn’t feel remotely as intrigued by that story as I was by Moyes’ version. A feel good story, but it takes some while getting to that “feel good” part, nearly to the end.

Frances Liardet has written a blockbuster tale, We Must Be Brave. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Although the scene is WWII England, this book is not really about the war. It’s about the people at home, waiting it out, struggling with enough food, clothing and enough heat. It’s about Ellen. Her early years, under much hardship. About her teens, some of it as an orphan. Then a young adult, which includes marriage, a marriage blanc, which I didn’t understand until you learn the meaning. Then a child enters the picture, a child that will become a focus for the remainder of the book. Through the war, and beyond. I cried several times, as will you, I suspect. What’s a constant is the descriptions of the place, a town called Upton, near Southampton. About the hills and dales, the flora and fauna, the rain, the mud sometimes, the flooding sometimes. But throughout, it’s about neighbors caring for neighbors, and about love. A must read. Would make a really good book club read.

William Kent Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace. From amazon: a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God. It’s a coming of age story.

Best book I’ve read recently. Not new. Called Follow the River: A Novel by James Alexander Thom. This one is also based on the history of a woman (married, pregnant) who was captured by the Shawnee, during the early settlement days east of the Ohio River, about 1755. And her eventual escape. I stayed up all hours to keep reading. The book was written from the many journals and writing compiled by her children. Her name: Mary Ingles. And it chronicles her 1000-mile trek in treacherous weather and over uncharted ground. What an amazing woman, and what a story.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America. This book is the story of her life. The people she met, the men in her life, her children, and always about her indefatigable energy for life. Always hoping to return to Jamaica.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This is a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, the son of a farming family, who sabotages everything in his being regarding going to school and leaves as soon as he is able (probably about 8th grade, I’d guess). And becomes a shepherd. And at night, he read literature that he accumulated from his grandfather. And then what happens to him as he grows up. Riveting.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Breads, on December 3rd, 2007.

bishops bread slices

I’ve been waiting for months and months to give you this recipe. Since I only make this at Christmas-time, I didn’t think it appropriate to share it when the temps outside were in the 90’s. Although this is not my original recipe, I will tell you I’ve been making this for about 40 years, and this is one of those recipes – if you’re a regular reader of my blog – that I say – “now, listen up! I’m about to share something important.” Hence it is. Important. My mother’s friend Mary gave me this recipe, back in about 1969 or 1970. We had a group of us – 4 women: my mother, Fay, and two of her friends, Esther and Mary, both near her age. And me. We played the Japanese version of Mah Jong about every 2 weeks or so, and one of us provided lunch. It had to coincide with when my daughter, Dana, went down for her nap, so more often than not, it was at my house. After eating the repast we’d then play the game for a couple of hours.

So, Mary brought this, one Mah Jong day, when it was close to Christmas. My mother (and dad both) liked fruitcake. But I never did. Still don’t. I’ve been known to try a nibble, with somebody’s prized recipe, thinking that maybe my taste buds have changed, that I’ve matured somehow. Or that somebody has found some unique new way to make fruitcake palatable. Sorry. No. I still don’t like fruitcake. I detest citron, and anything close to it. So, when Mary brought this over, explaining that it was something like fruitcake, I was suspicious. However, she quickly said she didn’t like fruitcake, either. Oh good. I became a bishop’s bread convert from the first bite. SO:

• I do like maraschino cherries. Certainly I don’t eat them 11 months of the year. I mean, where do we ever even SEE maraschino cherries anymore except on some caterer’s platter or in a Shirley Temple. I went through a stage in the 1970’s when red dye was an anathema, but that didn’t keep me from making bishop’s bread, I’m sorry to say. So much for my dedication to the shrine of a healthy body! But now they don’t use the bad red dye (supposedly), so I hope that since this is only consumed by me for these few, short weeks, maybe I’ll live another day.

• And, I like chocolate too. You all already know that. You can use Nestle’s chips, or cut up your own, or use some other brand. The better the brand the better the bread. You could use milk chocolate too, I suppose.

• And, I like walnuts.

• But, I don’t like fruitcake.

• Enter, ta da: Bishop’s Bread!

So, on to this recipe. If you’re going to be a stickler for detail, I suppose this does bear some resemblance to fruitcake – it has a similar consistency – chunks of goodies glued together with a basic cake recipe. Kind of like pound cake. But, instead of citron and dried fruit (lemon, lime, orange, red candied cherries, dates, figs, etc) this has nothing but chocolate chips, walnuts and maraschino cherries. The cherries maintain their moistness, and you combine them with walnuts and chocolate, and it’s a marriage made in heaven, I say. Yes, it’s a bread-like shape, and you slice it like fruitcake, but it isn’t. I promise. On my honor.

Here’s how it’s made:
bishops bread mixThere’s the walnuts, chocolate chips and masarschino cherries all mixed with all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt). The sugar goes into the egg mixture, which is added next.

bishops bread eggsYou add in the eggs and sugar mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until everything is well coated AND you can’t see any white flour bits anywhere.

bishops bread in pansThere’s the raw batter spooned into the pans – this time I used pretty paper pans, so I didn’t have to use the buttered waxed paper on the bottom because you tear off the “box.”

bishops bread baked 540There they are, just baked and cooled. They make lovely gifts for people at this time of year.

You can bake it in bread pans, so you’ll have just one loaf using the recipe below. Or, if you’re a Bishop’s Bread lover, then you bake in large quantity. Today I made a quadruple batch. It would make 4 bread pans full, but I had some smaller, cute little cardboard ones that are perfect for giving away (picture above). I made seven of them and one loaf pan. I’ll keep the loaf sized one and very judiciously give away the others. Only to very special friends. You can interchange nuts if you’d prefer something different. And if you don’t like maraschino, then substitute apricots, perhaps, or dried cranberries maybe. But it won’t be the same.

bishops bread fruitnuts closeup

Over the years I’ve tried to find out the history of this bread/cake. The internet hasn’t been of much help other than to give me several similar recipes (purportedly dating to the 1950’s) with candied cherries, sometimes almonds or pecans, chocolate, and dates. I did see a couple with maraschino cherries, so this must have been somebody’s interpretation. Obviously, the way-back origin must be religious in some way with the word “bishop” in the title. I did find this, though:

Any purchased or homemade cake decorated with the bishop’s name and a tiny mitre can be used on the feast of a bishop-saint, the traditional cake is Bischofsbrot or “Bishop’s Bread.” (this was from a Catholic Church website)

It probably did have candied cherries in it at one time. Whatever it is, I adore this bread. And if you’re a regular reader of my blog, and you like my recipes, then I sincerely request that you make this bread. Post Haste.
printer-friendly CutePDF
Files: MasterCook 5+ and MasterCook 14 (click link to open in MC)

Bishop’s Bread

Recipe: a dear friend from the 1970’s, Mary Wilfert
Servings: 20 (slices)

FLOUR MIXTURE:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
CHOCOLATE, NUT & FRUIT MIXTURE:
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups walnuts — chopped
1 cup maraschino cherries — drained, halved
1 cup sugar
3 whole eggs

NOTES:  You could also make these in smaller pans (and bake a shorter time) and give as gifts to friends and neighbors. The proportion of nuts, chips and cherries can vary to your taste. If you don’t like maraschino cherries, substitute dried cranberries, for instance. Prefer pecans? Or maybe macadamia nuts? The original recipe I was given also included dates.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a bread pan and line the bottom with waxed paper (yes, it’s important). Sift dry ingredients (this is to make certain the baking powder and salt are evenly distributed) into a large bowl. Add chocolate chips, walnuts and cherries and stir to coat the items, particularly the cherries.
2. With an electric mixer combine eggs and sugar and beat until thoroughly mixed, then add to fruit-flour mixture and stir gently, but well, until combined. You don’t want to see any pockets of flour. Pour into prepared pan(s) and place on middle rack in the oven. Reduce oven temp to 325°F. Bake for 60-75 minutes, testing in center with an instant read thermometer, until it reaches about 210°F. If you use a toothpick to test for done-ness, and the tester goes into a chocolate chip, it’s hard to tell it’s done. Continue baking as needed and test at 5-minute intervals. Remove pan(s) to a rack and allow to cool in the pan. When cool, remove from pan, remove waxed paper from the bottom, then wrap well in plastic wrap and foil, or preferably in plastic bags and refrigerate. Slice about 1/4 inch thick. Eat with gusto. [Makes 1 regular sized bread pan loaf; more if using miniature bread pans .]
Per Serving: 255 Calories; 13g Fat (42.8% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 32mg Cholesterol; 82mg Sodium.

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  1. ThursdayNext

    said on December 4th, 2007:

    I cannot get over this recipe…it sounds like the perfect dessert for Christmas. It also seems versatile and I am seriously wondering how this would be in a simple trifle – layered with some vanilla pudding in a trifle bowl and then topped with chocolate shavings. Or would this pair better with ice cream? Thoughts? I am scheduled to make a trifle for Christmas day and want to break away from my usual…would this work?

  2. Carolyn T

    said on December 4th, 2007:

    Hmmm. I don’t know about the trifle idea. If you can picture using a dense kind of bread (well, like date nut bread, for instance), that kind of heaviness, then it might work. If you sliced the bishop’s bread quite thin it might work. And I wouldn’t make the vanilla pudding/sauce all that sweet – under sweeten it, I’d think. You could always add more sugar later if you took a taste of the bread with the pudding. And some whipped cream to cut the richness? Just a thought.

  3. Anonymous

    said on December 5th, 2007:

    This bread is the best!!! I am so lucky to be a recipient of the few loaves my mom makes, I wish I had taken two loaves. This is the best. I don’t like fruitcake either.

  4. Book Group Friend

    said on December 17th, 2007:

    This is a great recipe. I served it recently and got rave reviews. It looks so pretty thinly sliced on a Christmassy plate. If you have any left overs, it stays moist for quite awhile. So make sure to save some for yourself!!

  5. Carolyn T

    said on December 17th, 2007:

    I still have one loaf left. I think I’ll keep it hidden in the refrigerator until awhile after Christmas. I’m already on food overload with the parties, dinners, etc. we’ve been going to. But I agree, it’s good stuff!

  6. Anonymous

    said on December 26th, 2007:

    You don’t always have to make it as an actual bread loaf shape. My mother has been placing the batter in cupcake tins for years. It cooks faster and is perfectly portioned.

  7. Arlene

    said on February 13th, 2010:

    I’ve been looking for this recipe for YEARS !!! A friend used to make it and I loved it. Wondering if I should add dates ??? Have you ? I don’t want to ruin it. Thanks

    Yes, absolutely you can add dates. I’m not overly fond of them, but I believe they were in the original recipe given to me. . . hope you enjoy the bread! . . . carolyn t

  8. Rev Beth Casey

    said on December 5th, 2010:

    I want to just add a memory to this bishops bread. My mother made it when I was a kid.. however she did something I have done and works quite well. She would make hers in a 9×13 pan and sprinkle white sugar on the bottom of her pan after she greased it. she would rinse her cherries and place them accordingly. Then pour her batter which only carried flecks of the cherries and nuts in her batter. When she flipped the bread after it was cooled the sugar sparkled like glitter..very pretty and impressive.
    I now do this with my loaf pans.. I also chop my cherries and chocolate and nuts very fine and only put a small amount in the batter.. it looks so pretty when you cut it and still very good..the larger fruit and nuts are all at the bottom of the pan and its in the flipping that you get the right effect.. try it, you might like it too!

    What an interesting idea, Beth. Thanks for the suggestion. I may have to try it that way just because it’s different. . . carolyn t

  9. mary lynn reed

    said on December 14th, 2010:

    I have loved and made Bishop’s Bread for years, for my family and for presents. It’s a universal hit.

    For a fictionalized biography of Katherne Swynford, one of my all time favorite books is “Katherine” by Anya Seton. It’s very well researched and well crafted for historical fiction of the 1950s. It was reprinted in 2004. I highly recommend it.

    So happy to find a kindred spirit as far as BIshop’s Bread is concerned! And yes, I read Seton’s “Katherine” probably 30 years ago. Loved it! . . . carolyn t

  10. Anonymous

    said on December 30th, 2010:

    I have been making this bread for many, many years. I received the recipe from a neighbor (currently 96 years old). This recipe calls for dates, walnuts, brazil nuts. We also put in red and green maraschino cherries with the juice.
    This neighbor of mine told me that her ancestors told her that in the 1300’s this bread was made special for when the Bishop of the Catholic church would come for a visit. He was the only one who could eat of it. Eventually as time went on, other church officials were allowed to eat it. This day and age, everyone gets to eat it no matter what religion you are. It originated in Germany. I am sure there could be a lot of truth to this.

    I did do some internet research at one time about the history of the bread. I was never able to find any recipe that was quite like this one, but you’re right about the making of it for the Bishop; hence it’s name. In the time of the Middle Ages, nuts and dried fruits were precious, so to serve that to the Bishop certainly would have been a big “treasure.”

    I don’t use the juice from the cherries because it colors the batter. I prefer a regular creamy colored bread part. And this year I didn’t dry them off enough so some of the juice did leak out into the bread. But it tasted the same, and always good! I also don’t use dates, although they were in my original recipe. I’m just not all that crazy about dates. Out of hand, fine, but I don’t like them much in baked goods – taste too much like citron, I suppose. Thanks for stopping by my blog .. .. carolyn t

  11. Jaie

    said on November 13th, 2011:

    I was reading “Pat of Silverbush” written in the 30’s and your recipe came up in a search. I now must try it!

    Ah, is the bread mentioned in the book? I’ve never heard of the book – do let me know as I’ve always wanted to know more about it and there is just about nothing on the internet about it. Let me know what you think. I’ve just finished baking a new version of it (using a different batter, but the same hard stuff – chocolate chips, maraschino cherries and walnuts). It will be posted within a week or so. . . carolyn t

  12. Tee Vee

    said on December 7th, 2011:

    My grandmother and mother have been making Bishop’s Bread for YEARS!!! It is a great recipe and a huge surprise to anyone and every one who tries it. I use pecans rather than walnuts (more flavor!)and half the amount of cherries (other half dates); OTHERWISE, STICK TO THE RECIPE. Surprise your friends and family!!!

    The trick is getting non-fruitcake people to even TRY it. But, I agree, it’s delicious stuff. . . carolyn t

  13. Nancy B.

    said on December 9th, 2011:

    I got a similar recipe from a friend’s Mom over 25 years ago and I make it every Christmas. Everyone loves it. There a 2 differences. The first – use candied cherries instead of marashino. Also, when cooling the loaves, put the tines of a fork into the loaf in about 6 or 7 spots about a 1/2 inch down. Then spoon over the brandy over those spots.
    FABULOUS!
    Sounds wonderful, Nancy! I may have to try it! . . . carolyn t

  14. Ruth Youngstrum

    said on November 12th, 2012:

    Help -I made this but it was so thick and dense that it broke apart -do I need to add some more liquid due to our altitude?? I live at 5280 ft. Still tasted great. Thanks.

    I don’t THINK altitude would play much of a part in this because there is no leavening in it (baking powder). Is it possible the loaf got too hot (meaning the oven was too hot)? I never do add any liquid to it. I did, however, make a newer version of this bread – look on my blog for Golden Bishop’s Bread. I haven’t gone to look up the differences – a reader sent me this other version – and I liked it a lot. But I’m not sure it had any other liquid in it either. I’ll have to look further. I live at sea level, so don’t do much about high altitude cooking, obviously, and I don’t even remember what changes have to be made. I’ll go look at that too and I’ll email you. . . carolyn t

  15. Marcia

    said on December 4th, 2012:

    My mother made this Bishop’s Bread every Christmas and I helped from the time I was about 5 or 6. I am now 65 yrs ago. I am not motivated to make it but sure would love to taste it just once!! Does anyone volunteer to make one large loaf and send it to me? I have paypal and would pay for the labor and ingredients. Thank you.

    Marcia, it’s so EASY to make? You should try it. . . carolyn t

  16. Suzy

    said on December 7th, 2012:

    I got my Bishop’s Bread recipe from a co-worker who brought it to work every December. My recipe includes chopped dates. It is my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie.

    If you read my write-up about the recipe, mine (that came from a friend of my mother’s) also contained dates, but I don’t overly love dates, so I left them out of the recipe from the beginning. Do go read my Golden Bishop’s Bread recipe too, that I acquired last year
    https://tastingspoons.com/archives/7584. . . carolyn t

  17. Valarie

    said on May 3rd, 2013:

    They make this bread in the cutest ABC Family Christmas movie (12 Dates of Christmas) and call it cherry chip loaf. I looked all over the internet for a recipe for cherry chip loaf and this looks perfect. Besides the fact that I’m pretty sure I didn’t cook it quite long enough, it turned out great. It is so good! Thank you for sharing a bit of the history and the real name.

    I’ve not heard of the ABC Family Christmas movie or the 12 Dates of Christmas. Will have to ask my Tivo to record it later this year! Am glad you found the recipe. It’s one of my all-time favorite recipes and except for one year I think I’ve made it every December since about 1970! Long, loooooong time! . . . carolyn t

  18. Judi Uvick

    said on December 12th, 2013:

    Is there no shortening in this bread? With 3 eggs, it shouldn’t be dry, but you can never tell!

    No, there’s no added fat in the bread. As you can see from the photos, it’s mostly the “fruit,” – the chocolate chips, the maraschino cherries and the nuts – with the batter just kind of holding it together. The eggs add all the binder it needs to hold together. It doesn’t need anything else. You can take a look at my other Bishop’s Bread (the “original” one). It’s an even more basic batter: https://tastingspoons.com/archives/215/. I can just tell you from years and years of experience, it works just fine without any butter or shortening. . . carolyn t

  19. Glen

    said on December 12th, 2014:

    Hi Carolyn… looks yummy. Going to try it this weekend. Noticed the recipe does have baking powder. So, should I use plain flour or is it ok to use AP or whatever I have on hand? Always look forward to your post. Thanks.

    All-purpose flower doesn’t have any leavening, only self-rising flour does. So yes, just use ordinary flour. It plays a minor role in the bread anyway, just some kind of glue to hold together all the goodies. . . carolyn t

  20. Kate

    said on December 24th, 2014:

    Hi Carolyn, I came across your blog this past Thanksgiving because I misplaced my recipe card for bishop’s bread, and it was too late at night to call an aunt for it. Our family has made bishop’s bread for years, passed down by my Granny, Helen. She told us that she had come up with the recipe by accident, I’m not sure what year exactly but it would’ve been sometime in the 50’s- early 60’s, when she was living in the Chicago area. She was baking a batch of fruitcake, when she inadvertently switched to another recipe, which happened to be for a chocolate chip quickbread. It was a hit with the kids, so she documented the hybrid recipe and dubbed it Bishop’s Bread. Her version was made with fruitcake components, the recipe we pass along in the family has the same quantities you have here except that she used just says 5 cups of mixed fruit and nut- i esp. like to use (dried/plumped in brandy) apricot, cranberries etc with chopped walnuts and pecans. We all traditionally make it on Thanksgiving, and I like to make it for Christmas too. I plan to make your version of this recipe this Christmas season. My Granny was an amazing and beautiful lady and it’s so wonderful to see how far her legacy has reached. God Bless!

    That’s really interesting. My research about Bishop’s Bread goes back into ancient history in Europe, but the bread wasn’t made with chocolate chips, of course, but with nuts and fruits of the season, most likely. Thanks for commenting. . . carolyn t

  21. Ann

    said on December 12th, 2015:

    My grandmother got this recipe sometime around 1910 from one of her Swedish neighbors. She, and then my mother, made this every Christmas and it was always a hit. Her recipe uses red and green candied cherries and chopped dates. It was only made at Christmas time because the candied cherries were expensive and could only be found in stores around the holidays. You should warn your readers that this is a very stiff dough. It contains almost no liquid ingredients (no oil, butter, milk, water etc) except for the eggs. It’s not the kind of quick bread dough that can be poured into the loaf pans, it needs to be spooned.

    Yes, my original recipe called for dates (I’m not fond of dates in breads, so I eliminated them) and my friend who gave me the recipe didn’t like candied cherries (I don’t either) and she substituted maraschino cherries and I was in LOVE with the bread from the first bite. My batter may not be quite as stiff as yours, but I agree, it’s not a standard kind of pour-able batter! Thanks for stopping by . . . carolyn t

  22. Susie

    said on December 13th, 2015:

    Hi, I have loved this bread since 1971 and only make it at Christmas. Sadly no one but me likes it so I have to eat the whole thing by myself…sigh.
    I lost my recipe last year and I thought just maybe I could find it. Thanks!
    My recipe called it Chip and Cherry Cake and does have cut up dates in it…but don’t mind leaving it out 🙂
    Thanks! I am ready to make it.

    I haven’t yet made my bread this year. Maybe this week. You could add dates to it – your choice, for sure. I just don’t happen to like dates in bread, very much, so I left it out way back when, when I started baking this bread. I’m glad you found my recipe. It’s a good one! . . . carolyn t

  23. Sharon

    said on December 21st, 2015:

    our family has also made this for years, passed from my grandmothers family, Huston’s hailing from Allegheny. Like Ann said December 12th; we use green and red candied cherries and the dates and so only make it at Christmas time. When I make some for gift baskets I will double the batter, tastes as good and makes 3 little loaves. We called it ‘cherry chip bread’ but Bishop bread sounds best, everyone is gone now so no one to ask. Thanks all, enjoy.

    It’s amazing how different the bread can be. I wouldn’t eat it if it had candied fruit in it – just because I don’t like the stuff – but the maraschino cherries? Oh yes. In years past I’ve made big batches of it to give as gifts – not so much anymore since I’m a widow and none of my friends appreciate the bread as much as I do. My kids like it, though. Thanks for commenting . . . carolyn t

  24. Sarah

    said on January 6th, 2017:

    I made a loaf using my mother’s recipe today and was inspired to google a bit looking for the origin. This site is the first I stumbled on that uses the same basic recipe (I do walnuts, dates, candied cherries (though i’ve also done dried–delicious!). Now that I see all the comments above, I wonder if my family is alone in eating it with cream cheese on it? Just sliced with a layer of plain cream cheese. SO GOOD!

    Oh, that sounds wonderful, Sarah! In case you didn’t find it, I also have another recipe here on my blog for a Golden Bishop’s Bread – https://tastingspoons.com/archives/7584 if you’re interested in seeing a variation. It was good too, but I prefer my old tried and true one and go to that each and every year. I gave away one of the two loaves I made but I ate the entire 2nd loaf all by myself over the course of December. I love this stuff. Only one December in the last 45+ years have I not made this bread. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah. . . carolyn t

  25. Kris Allen

    said on February 10th, 2017:

    Thank you!!! My sister passed last year & I didn’t get her cookbook. Been looking for this recipe for ever. It seems to be the same as she made. Thank you do much for sharing.

    You’re so welcome. Happy memory-making. . . Carolyn t

  26. mush

    said on December 11th, 2017:

    Thank you for bring back the memory of my sister. She made bishops bread for years and of course I never got the recipe. She has passed away years ago and finding this recipe brings her back to me. I am looking forward to making my first batch today. Thank you again.

    You’re very welcome. Do note that my original recipe included dates, but I’m not much of a fan of dates, so have never used them. You can mix and match your favorite kind of fruit and nuts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Let me know – I’ll be interested to hear if it’s like you remembered. I made a 2-loaf batch this year and am trying not to have a slice every day! I want it to last into January!. . . carolyn t

  27. Sarah Campo

    said on December 11th, 2017:

    How many loaves does this recipe make. Assuming one but wanna make sure.

    It makes 1 loaf of a regular bread pan size. You could use the smaller pans and it would make probably 3, maybe just 2. I always make it in the traditional bread pan, 8″ size. Sorry if that’s not clear in the recipe. . . carolyn t

  28. Margy Mc

    said on November 7th, 2018:

    I used to make this bread and send it to my husband in 1968 when he was serving with the Marines in Vietnam. What a wonderful find to see it again!

    It’s such a winner of a quickbread. It’s almost the season for it again. Yeah! . . . carolyn t

  29. michelle

    said on November 9th, 2019:

    We have made this bread for years. We use candied cherries (red and green), Dates, walnuts, pecans, and candied pineapple. The chocolate is the bonus the Bishop Bread.

    I’m just gearing up to be making a couple of loaves for the holidays. I simply can’t make it other times of the year or I’d be eating it too often! If you read my post, I don’t like candied fruit, hence this version is right down my alley . . . thanks for writing . . . carolyn t

  30. Mary

    said on October 11th, 2020:

    We were given this in the late 70s, from a dear friend just before we moved away. We have stopped using maraschino cherries or candied cherries and have started using dried cherries. I have been known to soak them in an alcoholic drink overnight. A small amount of Amaretto… Yes, we also use a cream cheese spread. Our next door neighbor dislikes sweets, but loves this! I usually quadruple the batch, it goes so quickly. I also cut the sugar by a third to half. The best chocolate makes better bread!

    We’re kindred spirits, then. Yes, you could certainly use dried cherries. I still prefer the Maraschino. Soaking them overnight in Amaretto is a splendid idea, though! . . . carolyn t

  31. Marla Hill

    said on December 6th, 2020:

    My mother’s name was also Faye, and she made this every Christmas. I was looking at recipes to see if there was a suggestion for a moister version, and I found this recipe, which is exactly the one Mom used. 🙂

    Hi Marla – isn’t that interesting! Especially since I changed the recipe (no dates). I just made a loaf two days ago, and have enjoyed two slices – I limit myself to one thin slice a day during December. Thanks for writing. . . carolyn t

  32. Andree

    said on December 13th, 2020:

    I am from Quebec, Canada. My grand-mother was Acadian, from New-Brunswick, and we have family in the USA’s. My grand-mother found this recipe in an American magazine in the 50-60-70’s? I don’t know when. She started to make this recipe at Christmas and later, my mom made it too, it’s our tradition. I’m 41 now, my mom and grand-mother are gone, but I make « Pain de l’évêque », as we call it in french, every year. It’s the best. ??

    I’m so glad to hear this story! So it may have become known and popular a decade or two before I had it in the early 70s. And yes, it’s been my tradition for all these decades since then. Thanks so much for writing, Andree. . . carolyn t

  33. Linda Czuba

    said on December 24th, 2020:

    This has been my favorite Christmas bread since the 70s! And I also don’t like fruitcake! My mother-in-Law’s best friend, Louise, made this every year and sent it along with other goodies at Christmas. I always looked forward to having it for Christmas breakfast and, such as “Pavlo’s Dogs,” I craved it each time I stepped into her home! Louise, eventually sent me the recipe and I have continued making it every year since. My recipe calls for the dates and candied cherrie, with walnuts and chocolate chips. I found Nestle’s Chocolate morsels gave a Dark Chocolate chips along with the Semi Sweet, so I used those this time. It is really good! I think I will try the Maraschino cherries next time…that sounds delicious! Thank you!

    My original recipe called for dates also, but the friend who gave me the recipe had substituted maraschino cherries for the candied cherries. Otherwise, this recipe is the same. Thanks for writing, Linda. . . Carolyn T

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