Snow Day Bread

Okay, it’s officially a snow day as school was cancelled! It’s only the first week of class and I’m already getting a 4-day weekend. Pretty crazy. What started as a steady stream of snow yesterday morning as I walked to class, continued just about all night and by the time I woke up this morning, they said that there were about 19 inches on the ground. I’m really starting to think the snow God’s just have it out against us, I mean, there has been snow on the ground since December! My first reaction upon hearing the good news of class being cancelled was to go straight back to sleep, but upon failing to get out of school wake-up mode, I decided to get up and start my day by making, you guessed it, bread!!

As I’ve said before, I have really been wanting to make bread for ages and given that the chances of going anywhere in the next 24 hours seemed slim to nill, this seemed like the the perfect opportunity. This basic bread load was incredibly easy to make and actually took so little hands on attention that I was almost a tad disappointed. It didn’t need that much kneading by hand and only stayed in the mixer for about 7 minutes. Once it came out of the loaf pan, it was ready to be sliced. Needless to say, given the weather and the bread, we turned the occasion into a lovely feast of bread, cheeses, soup, and grapes. It was a wonderful dinner on a cold winter evening.

SNOW DAY HONEY OAT BREAD

(Adapted from Pictures and Pancakes)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 tbs kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:

1) Combine 2 cups warm water, yeast and honey to the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir, allowing yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes, until it begins to bubble. Add flour, oats and butter to the yeast mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon, cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes.
2) Attach the bowl and the bread hook to the mixer. add salt and mix on medium for about 6 minutes or until the dough slaps around the sides of the bowl without sticking. If the dough is sticking at any time, add one or two tablespoons of flour. The dough will be soft, supple and slightly tacky.
3) Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let it rise for about 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.
4) To shape the dough, scrape onto a lightly floured work surface. press down, working into a square shape and depressing any air bubbles. Fold the dough down from the top to the middle, then up from the bottom to the middle. Next, bring the newly formed top and bottom edges together and pinch the seam in the middle, sealing the seam with your fingers.
5) Pinch the sides together and roll the shaped dough back and forth, plumping it so that it’s evenly formed and about the size of your loaf pan. Place the dough in a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and press it gently into the corners of the pan. Cover and let it rest for about 1 hour or until dough rises to half it’s size or puffs up over the edge of the pan.
6) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The loaf is ready when the top crust is dark as molasses and the bottom crust is dark brown. Give the top of the loaf a thump to see if it sounds hollow. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool for at least 2 hours on a baking rack. (Or enjoy straight out of the over ;-))
7) Enjoy!!
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Double Chocolate Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

It’s snowing once again in New York. I don’t think it snowed last year for the first time until February and now it only the beginning of January and we’ve already gotten almost 30 inches of snow this winter. Crazy! It’s a good thing I don’t have anywhere to be today, because I don’t plan on leaving the house.

I would love to say that I plan on staying tucked in my bed all day, but given the extreme heater that I have no control over, my room is actually boiling hot, making it necessary that I get out of bed. It’s insane how hot my room gets. It used to be an actual sauna, but the steam seems to have been turned off, thank goodness! No matter the heat in my room, as the idea of cold snow outside still makes me just want to bake.

These cookies pack in a few of my favorite ingredients – pumpkin, oatmeal, and dried cranberries. With the addition of both regular and white chocolate chips, these cookies are a sure crowd pleaser for every taste bud. I didn’t actually have enough of either dark or white chocolate chips, so I just decided to mix them both in instead of just white. I’d say it was a good idea. These were the perfect treat to make on a day stuck indoors. I almost thought I was going to run out of sugar, but luckily had enough, as I would not have been a happy camper going outside just for a cup of sugar.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN OATMEAL COOKIES

(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
  • Dash of allspice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt.  Whisk to blend.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the egg and vanilla.  Beat in the pumpkin puree until well incorporated.

4) With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Beat in the oats until combined.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries until evenly mixed.

5) Drop in small scoops (about 1½-2 tablespoons) onto prepared baking sheets, spaced 2-3 inches apart.

6) Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.

7) Allow to cool on the sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

8) Enjoy 🙂

5 Minute Cup of Heaven

You know that feeling when it’s 10:30, you’re in the midst of a mound of homework, it’s cold and snowy outside and you just must have a piping hot cup of hot chocolate/something incredibly chocolatey or else the world might just stop? Ya, I know you know what I’m talking about. Somehow, I find myself in this situation often and that was exactly where my roommate and myself found ourselves this evening just as the start of what is hopefully going to be an epic snowstorm begins.

Instead of turning straight to the Swiss Miss box, like we usually do, I opted instead for a microwavable cake. No, not the kind you buy in the box at the store like a Lean Cuisine, but an actual, homemade microwave chocolate cake. Within ten minutes of taking the initiative to eat cake, my roommate and I were sitting in bed eating cake. I decided to add some white chocolate to counter the dark and as my roommate so aptly put it “it was like a guilty pleasure in a poodle mug.” Make sure you keep an eye on the microwave, because it will puff up quickly if you’re not careful. This is now my go to treat when I don’t want to labor at baking a more elaborate treat, and need a quick fix.

5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

(Adapted from Not Quite Nigella)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coffee powder (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil (Opted for melted butter instead because I was out of oil)
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (I used white chocolate)
  • A small splash of vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1) Mix dry ingredients together.

2) Pour in the egg, milk, oil, chocolate chips or flakes and vanilla extract and mix well.

3) Pour batter evenly between two microwave safe mugs.

4) Do one mug at a time. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 1 minute on medium heat. Let rest for a few moments. Then microwave for another 30 seconds on medium heat.

5) Check on the consistency-it should be cooked but still moist and gooey. If it is still not cooked, microwave on another 30 seconds on medium heat. Remember, it will cook further on standing.

6) Allow to cool a little, then enjoy 🙂