When my father got remarried, my family dynamics changed, a lot. I went from having two younger brothers to having sisters, plus an additional brother. I also found myself having to learn to craft a relationship with a new parent. Over the years we’ve all had our ups and downs, but despite all my teenage angst I think I came out on the other side with good relationships with all three of my parents.
My stepmother, Jan, who I call Maddie, is a really wonderful person. Since my Dad remarried while I was in middle school I’ve incredibly gotten close with her, my step siblings, and my entire extended step family. It’s been nice, having all that additional family, and I’m so grateful that I have been able to have good relationships with them, as that’s not the case most of the time.
Something all of my parents insisted on when I was growing up was a sit down dinner every night. So, no matter whose house we were at, I sat down with some part of my family every night for dinner until I went to college. At Dad and Maddie’s house there were a total of six kids. At first, in middle school, Dad and Maddie would eat with us, we would all sit down and eat together, talk about our days. As we got older and more of us became teenagers (my sister Lauren and I are the oldest, so when we moved out there were still 4 teenagers left in the house), the conversation became increasingly focused on, well, poop and farts. That’s when the parents stopped eating with us. Though you could always hear Maddie sighing in the other room everytime someone made a particularly inappropriate comment (usually one of the boys).
This recipe, Magi Bread, is Maddie’s mother’s recipe, and is traditionally a Christmas recipe. Dan, whose family is German, said that this is similar to something his family makes. Maddie is Polish, so my assumption is that Magi bread, also known as Gift of the Magi Bread, is an eastern European treat. I’ll admit I was incredibly skeptical about this recipe, because I don’t usally like fruit breads, or pannettone. A few of my aunts and uncles on my mother’s side love it so it’s around a lot during the holidays, but I’ve never acquired a taste for it.
This bread, however, was pretty good. I was surprised when making it because it’s like 90% fruits and nuts and 10% bread, so I expected it to come out more like a very thick cupcake than a bread. In texture it resembles a banana bread, because it is incredibly moist. The flavor is somewhere between banana bread and a chocolate chip cookie, with a maraschino surprise every once in a while. I can see why it’s a holiday favorite.
Source: Jan Pigeon
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup mashed bananas
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
6 oz chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped dates
2/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup maraschino cherries
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Cream butter and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter a little at a time, alternating with the mashed bananas. Stir in the mandarin oranges, chocolate chips, dates, walnuts, cherries, and coconut.
Pour into greased baking pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour if you’re making two separate loaves and 2 hours for a large loaf.
Makes 2 small loaves or 1 larger loaf.