Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fresh-baked cookies and bread

Have you noticed the price of a loaf of bread these days? We're talking at least $4 here in Tucson for a loaf -- 16 oz. -- of some-kind-of-grain bread. When a loaf of bread or a gallon of gas costs $4, something has to give.

I already boycott Walmart -- haven't stepped foot in one since 1994. Now I embark upon a similar embargo of bread and other baked items. In other words, expect to see a lot more bread and cookie recipes here.

Carly (my daughter) and I began baking this morning right after the breakfast dishes were cleared. We started with chocolate chip cookies, but doctored them up with a little Muesli. The smell of the baking cookies filled our kitchen and great room and attracted Bill and Liam pretty quickly. They magnanimously volunteered to "test" our wares. I am happy to report they were both satisfied with the results.

Trina's Chocolate Chip - Muesli Cookies

These cookies not only taste good, but they are chock full of high fiber Muesli cereal, containing uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts. We used Bob's Red Mill brand Muesli.

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Muesli
1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips; I prefer Nestle's

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients. Stir in the Muesli and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. I use three and keep them in rotation.

Bake for 9 minutes in preheated oven. They smell great when baking. If I could bottle this scent, I'd be a millionaire. In any case, cookies should slide right off the parchment. Allow cookies to cool before storing. Makes about 4-5 dozen.

We also had a plethora of aging bananas sitting on the kitchen counter. Five to be exact. Three of them were smaller and fairly well past their prime. Two others were of medium size and slightly old, displaying only a few black spots on their skins. I mashed them all together using our potato masher and had about 2 cups -- enough to make two loaves of Banana, Nut and Muesli Bread. This recipe will make 2 loaves of bread in 9" x 5" loaf pans. Since the oven was already set to the correct temp for this recipe, I made the batter up while the last of the cookies were baking. Once the cookies were out of the oven, the banana breads went in, continuing that wonderful scent of fresh baking.

Banana, Nut and Muesli Bread

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups bread or all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Muesli
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 9" x 5" loaf pans.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sour cream with the sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the bananas and vanilla.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Beat into creamed mixture. Stir in Muesli and nuts. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

2 comments:

Sandy said...

I'm SO with you on the bread and baked goods thing! I've had to buy higher end bread and baked goods forever because the mid-to-lower end costing items are using High Fructose Corn Syrup. And this isn't me jumping on the pick on HFCS bandwagon. HFCS has bothered me since I was in high school- in the late 70s! Anyway, last year I was looking into bread machines, didn't want to buy el cheapo as it wouldn't last. Guess what? Found a Breadman brand machine at our Humane Socioty Resale Shop for $10.00 - that sure beats the $100.00 I was willing to spend. I figured $10 bucks? WTH, we spend that eating crap at a fast food place we shouldn't be eating at anyway,and if it doesn't work good good, at least it will have been for a worth while attempt. Well that puppy WORKS!!We have cut the baked goods cost down drasticlly! 5lbs of unbleached bread flour, 2 jars of yeast and a bag of wheat gluten (for whole wheat breads) costs me about $10.00, and I get several loaves. Add in every 3 months a bag of wheat and/or rye flours and it's another $6.00 or so. I make my own cinnimon raison, rye, whole wheat and French (which looks like Italian as it's short and squat!) It also has settings for quick breads and jams!! I have saved A LOT of $$$. I have a farm, though I lease out 90% of it. I keep 5 chickens- I have eggs coming out my ears. I plant my veggies and freeze about 80%. Never have to buy them either. This allows us to spend the $$ on good quaity meats. Meats without the "Enhanced for flavor with a 15% solution of..." WTH do you need to enhance the flavor for? To me, that's just a way to raise the weight of the meat- and rip us off! Ever look at how much H2O comes out your chicken when you roast or grill it? It's NUTS!

Btw, so glad your health has made a better turn. I hope it stays.

Karla said...

Sandy

I'd love to read how you grow your veggies. What you use to mulch and how you choose to water to make it as efficient as possible. Also I plan on getting 2-3 chickens. Would love to know how much work they are and what you keep them in. I only have an acre, so I have to be smart with my use of space...