Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winter is here.

Woobaby! It is cold outside! Thank the gawds that Hubby was able to fix our pellet stove, which had decided to recently pitch a fit and stop working. Well, after a stern talking to (and some oil, so I've been told) it is back up and running! I decided that baking was in order since it was so cold outside...

I made 2 loaves of brown bread, 4 loves of cranberry awananda bread and A LOT of chocolate cupcakes! I figure its better to spread out my baking instead of baking 15 things in one day, like I usually do lol. I have MANY cookies to bake so I figured I would get started with something easy like bread.

Want some recipes? I know you do :)

One Bowl Chocolate Cake
This is a Martha Stewart recipe. It is super easy, and my go-to cake recipe. I cringe over the amount of sugar used but hey, its cake! I made cupcakes for a friend's b-day and ended up with LOTS! This recipe is supposed to make 2 9 inch rounds, and for us it made 36+ cupcakes.

1 1/2c unsweetened cocoa
3c flour
3c sugar
1T baking soda
1 1/2t. baking powder
1 1/2t. salt
1 1/2c water
3 eggs
1 1/2c. buttermilk (I used yogurt, which I watered down slightly)
3/4c oil
1 1/2t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put everything into a bowl and mix until smooth. Pour into greased pans/cupcake pans and bake cake for 35-45 mins(test after 35 mns) and 25 mins for cupcakes.

Easiest Brown Bread Ever
I used to use a recipe from a dear friend of mine to make brown bread...until I found this one. OMG, it is SO simple and makes perfectly dense molasses-y bread.

2c flour(ww, white or half and half)
1c pastry flour(you must use this)
2t baking soda
1/2t salt
2c yogurt
1/2c molasses
1/2c raisins(optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, molasses and raisins. Stir batter until completely mixed. (I found it was easier to just use my hands)Dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky. Divide dough into 2 greased loaf pans and bake for 1 hour.

Cranberry Anadama Bread
This recipe is somewhat more involved, and it is helpful if you have some knowledge of baking bread from scratch. SO worth it though as it is a very hearty bread that is great as toast or as sandwhich bread.

2 1/2c water
2/3c stone ground corn meal (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/2c molasses
4T butter(I used olive oil)
2 1/2t salt

2T dry yeast
1/2c warm water
1/4c plus 1/2t sugar
1 1/2c cranberries(fresh is better, but frozen is ok too)
7-8c flour(I always use King Arthur)

Bring water to a boil in saucepan. Lower heat to medium high and slowly add cornmeal, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Cook until thickened, about 5 mins (should look like oatmeal in consistancy) Add molasses, butter and salt and set aside to cool down. (I put mine in the fridge, as I am not patient)

Disolve yeast in warm water and add 1/2t of sugar.

Process cranberries in FP with 1/4c sugar just until berries are chopped ans sugar is mixed in.

Once cornmeal mush has cooled, add it to the yeast mixture along with the cranberries. Mix well, then gradually start adding flour. Once the dough becomes difficult to stir, dump on to a floured counter and start kneading. You want to continue to add flour and knead until you get as close to 7-8c flour as possible, and the dough should not be sticky and should be somewhat elastic. If you press your finger into it, it should bounce back. This process should take somewhere around 10-15 mins, depending on how good a kneader you are :)

Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size. Then take dough out of bowl and knead it a few times to get the excess air out. At that point you can divide the dough into 2 sections(I actually did 4 and still got full sized loaves...just sayin'...) and shape into greased loaf pans. Cover pans with a towel and let them sit for another 45 mins or so, until the dough rises to the top edge of the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 45 mins, or until the tops are nicely browned and the bread makes a hollowish thud when you flick them. Cool on a wire rack.

SO worth the effort!

School is continuing along, with our December 'agenda' :) We will be starting our Holiday readings next week in prep for our holiday co-op party which will be celebrating several December traditions. We always read T'was the Night Before Xmas as well as the History of Saint Nick(great read, btw...I recommend it!) We will also be doing some *extra* crafting 'round here for gifts and such...but that will be in the next post...

Now, we are off for our first ski of the season! School is postponed until this afternoon... :)

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