Saturday, January 14, 2012

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

I spotted this little bear on my Five Roses Flour and when I took a closer look I was happy to learn that they support The Missing Children's Network in Canada. Loved the slogan they are using too!

I often buy "Taste of Home" magazines because they have a great collection of easy to use and delicious recipes. Nothing too fancy or time-consuming, and always enjoyed by my family. I found this cookie in a recent edition of "comfort food" recipes and decided to bake some while waiting for my bread to rise. They were truly easy and we all loved them so much I only had enough to fill one small jar. Obviously they are especially yummy still warm out of the oven.

I love my cookie sheets- their the double layer type with air in between, and I always use a sheet of parchment paper when I bake cookies. That way they never stick and I can prepare all the cookies at once and then just slip them onto the trays.

Don't they look delicious?
This recipe makes perfect ginger cookies- all crinkly on top, 
soft on the inside and just a tiny bit of crispiness on the outside.

I had a bit of sugar leftover from rolling them so I put lots on the last tray!
Big Soft Ginger Cookies

3/4 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (I used my KitchenAid). Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls, then roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

Friday, January 13, 2012

Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread

 I finally- FINALLY- got a KitchenAid Mixer! I guess I deserved it after using a handheld one for so many years. And ohhhh boy! Is it fun to use! I love the freedom of being able to do other things while it works on its own. You can easily wash up a bowl or two while it does it's thing. One of the reasons I really wanted one was to have it do some kneading for me. I've wanted to learn to make my own bread for years but the thought of the kneading rather scared me off (I know it isn't that hard ~ I just didn't want to do it). 

My mother smelling the bread!

 Since last week I made a pretty successful white bread, I thought this week I'd try the bread I think we all should be eating- a good oatmeal whole wheat loaf. The KitchenAid comes with a few basic recipes so combined with one in a bread cookbook from the library, I 'winged it' and invented my own- Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread. It's "really delicious " according to my sweet hubby.

The ends aren't very pretty are they? The dough was definitely NOT sticky by the time I was shaping the loaves and I couldn't get them to pinch and seal. Oh well! I almost forgot to brush the loaves with a beaten egg white and sprinkle with oatmeal but luckily I remembered at the last second- good thing because they do look so much nicer that way. This was a definite winner and I'm going to make this bread again tomorrow!

Kim's Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
1/2 cup (125 ml) honey
1/3 cup (75 ml) butter or margarine
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups (1.375 - 1.75 L) all-purpose flour (I used about 5 cups whole wheat and 1 1/2 cups white bread flour)
1 cup (250 ml) quick cooking oats
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
2 packages active dry yeast (Since I bought a jar of dry yeast, I measured out 4 1/2 tsp yeast)
2 eggs
1 egg white
1 tbs (15 ml) water
and I added about 1/2 cup ground flax to the mix

Place water, honey, and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low heat until mixture is very warm (120F to 130F, 48C to 54C). Use a thermometer because you will kill the yeast if the water is too hot.

First place oats, then 5 cups flour, flax, salt, and yeast in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and  dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 15 seconds. Continuing on speed 2, gradually add warm mixture to flour mixture and mix about 1 minute. Add eggs and mix about 1 minute longer.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup (125 ml) at a time, and mix about 2 minutes, or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2  about 2 minutes longer.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise in warm place, free from drafts, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf by rolling out into a rectangle with a rolling pin then roll it up into a loaf shape. Pinch ends under. Place in greased bread pans. Cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).

Beat egg white and water together with a fork and brush tops of loaves with mixture. Sprinkle with oatmeal. bake at 375F (190C) for 30 to 40 minutes. (Mine were done at just under 30). Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

Makes 2 loaves.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Postpone No More

I know, I know ~ you thought I was never coming back!

But ~ But ~ But ~ I wanted to ~ I thought about it ~ I really did!

I have a list of excuses.... but who really wants to hear them?

Let's just get back on track and hug each other and say "welcome back dear friend".

I read this poem this morning on one of my favourite blogs ~ Shutter Sisters, and thought it was a good place to start again, especially the "postpone no more" line.

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, 
Healthy, free, the world before me, 
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. 

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, 
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, 
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, 
Strong and content I travel the open road.

Song of the Open Road, Walt Whitman
The view from our driveway