Posts Tagged ‘oatmeal’

A cozy loaf

Baking in the winter is great for two reasons.  1) the oven warms the house. 2) the activity warms your body.  Ok…3) you get to eat the results!

And yeah, yeah, pies, candies, cookies, the holidays…but is there really anything more yummy, more satisfying, more…more…heavenly than eating slice after slice of your own homemade bread with a smear of butter and jam?

I have a distinct childhood memory.  My cousin and I were at Grama’s for the night.  Grama made this bread.  We ate this bread.  We ate more of this bread.  I think we came close to finishing the loaf.  I’m pretty sure I forgot to save room for dinner.  And it’s funny how a single memory can bring back so many more.  I also remember sneaking into the back bedroom to watch Michael Jackson’s Thriller video on MTV.  Oh, and eating red jell-o…not exactly eating it, but swishing it between my teeth until it liquified…we were making “medicine”…ahhh, the memories!  And I also remember dunking Oreo cookies in Grama’s coffee until the soggy cookies fell to the bottom, turning her brew into a cloudy, crummy mess.  What a great Grama!  To sacrifice her coffee!

Anyway, if you’d like a great loaf of really versatile, delicious sandwich bread, I’d recommend this one.  It’s a moist loaf with a touch of sweetness and frankly, I love it!

Whole wheat-oatmeal sandwich bread adapted from great-Grama Akre’s recipe
yields one loaf

Feel free to play around with sweet aspect of this bread.  I use honey, but you could also use molasses, brown rice syrup, brown sugar (in this case, add another 1/4 cup), or even barley syrup.  Next time I bake, I’d also like to experiment with using bread flour rather than all-purpose.  If you get to it before me please, let me know how it goes!

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) dry active yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the oats and the 2 cups boiling water.  Stir to moisten, and add the salt, butter and honey.  Stir again, and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup lukewarm water with the yeast and white sugar.  Stir to completely dissolve and add to the above, cooled, mixture.

Add the all-purpose and whole wheat flours and mix on the lowest speed until the dough begins to come together.  Then turn the speed up to medium-low and knead for 10 minutes.  The dough will remain a bit sticky.

Turn the dough out into a well-greased, large bowl, cover, and allow to rise until double in size (approx one hour).

Preheat the oven to 350º with the oven rack in the center-most position.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and punch down.  Knead a few times, then fold the dough like a business letter (tri-fold) so that it fits into the loaf pan.  Allow to rise again until the pan is full, 30-60 minutes.

If you’d like a shinier crust, you can brush the top of the loaf with a bit of milk, or milk mixed with egg before it goes in the oven.  I like the very rustic look of the matte-finish, so I leave it plain.

Bake the loaf for 60-65 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 200º.

Allow to cool completely before slicing. (or as long as you can hold out!…that being said, slicing a warm/hot loaf of bread results in a gummy crumb, so it truly is best to let it cool nearly completely before slicing).





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These became the best stale cookies I’ve ever eaten.


Let me explain.

I made these cookies for the first time on July 28th.  That was a Wednesday.  Scott and I nibbled more than we should have for a day-and-a-half, and then…

I went into labor.

That was a Thursday.  (I’ll never forget it!)

And so the remaining uneaten cookies sat, lonesome-as-can-be, in the house until we got home on Saturday.

And let me tell you……..

There is nothing tastier than a stale homemade cookie when you’ve been eating hospital food for two days!

Oaty chocolate chip cookies barely adapted from Staff Meals from Chanterelle by David Waltuck and Melicia Phillips
yields about 32 cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Set an oven rack in the center-most position, and preheat the oven to 375º.  Prepare 3 baking sheets by lightly buttering them or lining them with silpats.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add both sugars and the butter.  Mix on low speed until combined, then mix on medium for about 60 seconds, until light and fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and sprinkle in the baking soda and salt.  Again, mix well on medium speed for about 15 seconds.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.  Scrape down the bowl.

Add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing to thoroughly combine before adding the second cup of flour.  Scrape down the bowl.

Add the oats, one cup at a time, mixing to thoroughly combine before adding the second cup of oats.  Scrape down the bowl.

Dump in the chocolate chips all at once, and mix until they are fully incorporated.

Drop 2-Tablespoon sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each ball of dough.  Bake the cookies, one tray at a time, for 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies have started to turn golden on the edges and are still slightly soft in the center.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.

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Not so hum-drum

Pardon me sir, but do you have any prunes?  Yes prunes.  I prefer them with pits.  That way, you can gnaw at them and coax the bits of fruit out of the craggy pits with your tongue for hours.  Ahh, glorious.

Well, the other day I was following a recipe that required prunes to be soaked in tea.  So I brewed myself a pot of Earl Grey and soaked my prunes.  But the recipe suggested that I pour out the liquid!!!  (Sacre bleu!)  Heavens no!!!  I dutifully saved that sweet elixir and cooked my steel-cut oatmeal in it the next morning.  ‘Twas a lovely pot of oatmeal.  And oatmeal just ain’t oatmeal without a pat of butter, a spoonful of brown sugar and a generous pour of milk.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal Cooked in Prune-Sweetened Tea
yields one huge bowl or 2 average-sized bowls

To make the prune-sweetened tea, simply brew a large mug of your favorite black tea and  dunk in a handful of pitted prunes. Allow to steep for about 30 minutes.  Strain out the prunes and nibble at your leisure.

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups prune-sweetened tea
  • small pinch salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • milk for topping
  • sugar for topping

In a small sauce pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the oats and stir until they begin to smell slightly toasted.  Add the tea and simmer very gently until the oats are tender but toothy, about 15 minutes.  Stir in a small pinch of salt.  Pour into a bowl and top with yummy toppings.

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Day of Lunacy

It’s just a Saturday thing.  I call it my “crunch” day.  It’s the day with the fewest free hours and the most projects.  I do this to myself.  I know I do.  And I seem to be unstoppable.  It’s a problem.  Really.  But I do get a lot done!  And I rejoice in that!

See, I work Friday nights.  I don’t get home until 1 AM and rarely will you find me asleep before 2:00.  But then I’m up by 8:00 for a little coffee pow-wow with my curly-haired lover-boy.  Then, a trip to the farmer’s market, hoping to get there early for a good parking spot.  A trunk-full of restaurant-bound produce later, and totally inspired by the bounty, I plan the next three hours.  And somehow I manage to pack more into those three hours than I can normally do in a full day.  Really, I’m not sure how it happens.  But as I drive across the Bay Bridge, reflecting on my morning, I find myself wondering how I possibly managed to weed the vegetable patch, bake cookies, scrub the bathroom, wash dishes, vacuum, and take a 30 minute nap in only three hours.  (The nap is key!)…

And then it hits me.  I’m almost at work, then sun has warmed and lulled me and I realize that, despite the 30 minute  nap, I’m really tired.  And I’m about to stand in a hot, high-energy kitchen for nine hours making snap decisions and trying to remember lessons I learned in Psych 101 to get seven different people to produce what I need.  And I know that the night will be long.  But there’s a reward, you see.  (Well, many actually.) Because I was smart enough to make cookies!!  And, “no there aren’t any nuts”, and, “yes, there are enough for the bussers too”, and, “WHO LEFT THE SLICER RUNNING?!!”, and, “what?  Oh, well, I’m glad you like them!”

And so it goes.  My Saturday.  My Day of Lunacy.  And tomorrow’s Sunday, which will probably be about the same, except that we seem to have run out of cookies…


Crisp and Salty Oatmeal Cookies adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
yields 24 cookies

  • 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 14 Tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter slightly softened
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the oven rack in the center postion.  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper, and set them aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars.  Beat on low speed until  combined, then turn to medium speed until it becomes light and fluffy (about 1 minute).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla, and beat on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined.

Turn the mixer back down to low speed and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the flour is just incorporated.  Then add the oats and mix until they are fully incorporated.  Finish the last few stirs by hand.

Using a #30 cookie scoop or a 2-Tablespoon measure, scoop the dough into round balls and drop them on to the cookie sheet.  Each cookie sheet should hold 8 cookies, with 3 cookies along the long sides of the pan, and 2 cookies in the center rows.  Using your fingertips, gently flatten the balls of dough so that they are 3/4-inch tall.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt evenly over the tops of the cookies.

Bake one sheet at a time for 14-16 minutes.  Remove from the oven when the cookies are golden brown with crisp edges and the centers yield to slight pressure when tested with your fingertip.  Place the cookie sheet on a baking rack to cool, but leave the cookies on their baking sheet.

Enjoy your moment of peace and serenity.

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