baking · brunch · cake · dessert · quick breads · Yummy

Cinnamon Bread and Farmer’s Market Update

Last Saturday was my first day as a vendor at a farmer’s market.

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The whole thing still feels surreal. How am I allowed to sell shit at a farmer’s market? It just seems like something that would happen to someone else. Don’t I need a more specialized license for this? Well, yes, but it wasn’t difficult to get. Of course, there are all these fucking regulations about what I can and cannot sell to the public, but I’m still allowed to sell my baked goods to the general public. That blows my fucking mind. And people bought things. That is the really crazy part.

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They bought things despite the fact that I am not a pastry chef, and despite the fact that I used to whisk egg whites into peaks with a fucking fork, and despite the fact that I once thought a head of cabbage was a head of lettuce. These people didn’t care that I learned how to bake without a mixer, or that I once made horrifically tart/disgusting raspberry coconut cookies, or that I used store-bought pie crust until a few years ago, or even that I still don’t have a clue how to properly decorate a cake. I can’t use fondant, I’ve never used a spring-form pan, and I don’t know how to adjust my ratios to properly use cake and pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. No one cared about any of that bullshit. All they cared about was eating a deliciously moist slice of freshly made rhubarb bread, baked with the rhubarb that’s taking over my friend’s yard, while soaking in a few hours of sunshine with their friends at an outdoor market. They don’t see the mistakes and hesitation behind the scenes – they just see perfectly round chocolate chip cookies with hand-chopped dark chocolate and flecks of glittery sea salt. They bought them all up and chatted with me about the neighborhood, making me feel connected and welcomed into this new space. T looked at me a few hours into the market, having just sold another few oatmeal crisps, my hand resting in my apron pocket and a smile across my face, and said, “You’re radiating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy.”

There is something so indescribably satisfying about watching people eat and enjoy the things you’ve made. And then come back to buy more! I still can’t believe I’m allowed to do this after years of wandering markets wondering who you had to be to be apart of them. I love it when something seems like magic, but it’s actually real. That’s how being a market vendor feels to me.

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I made this cinnamon bread during a last baking frenzy in my old apartment. My oven in that place was janky as fuck, and ran cold. This meant it was a guessing game with setting a timer for baking, or the temperature for that matter. I baked this fucker for a good hour and 20 minutes, which ended up drying it out. My current place has a very reliable oven, which is a fucking relief.

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I’m pretty obsessed with quick breads at the moment. They’re so easy and simple, and can be done a million different ways. Rhubarb is the best, but you won’t be getting my recipe for that anytime soon. 😉

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You’ll notice my “swirl” is just a sad line. Turns out, no one cared about that either.

Cinnamon Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking sodaIMG_20190331_172426.jpg

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the swirl/topping:

1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for coating the pans

2 tablespoons cinnamon, plus extra for coating the pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans with butter, and coat with cinnamon sugar mixture. Once the pans are fully coated, dump out excess.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In another large bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Mix well before whisking in eggs one at a time.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Always avoid over-mixing, as it develops the gluten in the flour and can make your cake dense and chewy. It took me years to learn this. Don’t be like me.

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Take half of the batter, and split it between both loaf pans. Add a layer of the cinnamon sugar mixture (reserving half), then top with remaining batter. Use a butter knife to swirl the cinnamon sugar mixture through the batter before topping with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges to loosen, then turn it onto a cooling rack. Real talk, I only got a cooling rack in the last few months. Cooling on a counter top or large plate is fine, too. Don’t listen to the snobby bakers that tell you otherwise.

As with any quick bread, slice and cover with butter to serve. Gobble it all up.

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baking · cake · comfort food · dessert · vegetarian · Yummy

Earl Grey Cake with Honey Buttercream

I haven’t moved in 7.5 years. Prior to my last apartment, I had moved every 6-18 months since turning 18 years old. But this last apartment stuck. I moved into it after spending 3 years in New York trying to “find myself,” lived there with my then fiance (my now ex-husband), started my blog there, watched my first cat suffer with cancer there, welcomed new cats into my life, reclaimed my identity after the divorce, fell into a yoga obsession, became a yoga teacher, started dating, suffered heartbreak, fell in love, welcomed a mischievous kitten into my life, and baked the whole way through it all in that tiny ass kitchen. That apartment felt like a part of my identity. It was my first true home as an adult. That being said, I was ready to move on from it. It was time. So we did it. T and I moved downtown, which is a fucking dream. I’ve always dreamed of living in the heart of the city, and now I finally have the chance.

The move itself was a goddamn nightmare, of course. I mean, it went as well as it could, but it’s a fucking huge pain in the ass to move 2 apartments in one morning. It didn’t help that we had both been at our old places for several years. Shit accumulated more than I’d realized. Fuck, we have a lot of shit. We both thought we’d have the place fully unpacked and set up within a week. We’re on day 10 and still semi living out of boxes. This adds to my stress level, which is already sky high with transitioning to a new job at work, getting all the paperwork and payment together for the farmer’s market, and being contacted by my biological dad’s sister on Ancestry. This literally all happened within the same week, which is why I couldn’t blog last week. This bitch needs some time to herself. Fuck.

I’ve literally been fantasizing about baking in the new kitchen. It’s not as tiny as the last kitchen, but it’s not gigantic. After 7+ years of cooking and baking in my old kitchen, I think I’ve earned the name Tiny Ass Kitchen regardless of where I live, but only time will tell if I decide on renaming things.

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During my last few weeks at the old place, I started a baking frenzy. I kept thinking it would be my last time baking in that kitchen. And I felt like making something fancy as fuck. Earl Grey is one of my favorite flavors. It’s really delicate, which is a sharp contrast to the dark chocolate I often prefer in my desserts. I’m not a huge fan of honey, but it works here. Lavender would also be a good addition, but plain old vanilla buttercream would also be lovely.

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I want to make this for Cortney and have it with tea and fancy dresses.

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Earl Grey Cake with Honey Buttercream (original recipe here)

For the cake

2 teaspoons loose leaf earl grey tea, separated (I used the bagged kind and just cut open the bags because I’m a lazy ass… if you are using true loose leaf tea, you’ll want to grind one of the teaspoons up a bit)

1 cup whole milk

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil (coconut oil also works well here, but you’ll want to melt it)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

For the honey buttercream

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup honey

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan over low heat add the milk and one teaspoon of loose leaf tea (not ground). Let simmer for five minutes to infuse the tea into the milk, but avoid letting it come to a full boil. Allow it to cool to room temp (feel free to set it in the fridge for a bit). Strain out the tea. Set aside. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar before adding in the eggs one at a time. Continue mixing while adding the vanilla and oil and allow the batter to become light and fluffy. I never truly know how light and fluffy these things should be, but just use your best judgement. While it is mixing, in a separate bowl you’ll want to add in your flour, baking powder, salt, and finely ground tea (or a teaspoon from a tea bag because you’re a lazy ass like me – I promise it won’t matter). The original recipe says to sift the dry ingredients together. Fuck sifting. Just don’t pack any of these things into their measuring cup/spoon, and you’ll be fine. If you want to be super accurate, you’re on the wrong food blog. This isn’t the British Baking Show. Mix the dry ingredients together before gradually adding them to the mixer while it is set to low speed. Try not to overmix. Once everything is just combined, add in the infused milk. Distribute batter into 2 greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pans (it calls for 8″, but I only have 9″ – it’s fucking fine). Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing cakes from the pans onto a cooling rack. If you lose a chunk to the bottom of a stubborn pan, don’t panic. Take it as a sign from the snack gods that you deserve a treat! And fill the hole with frosting. Everyone wins.

Make sure the cakes are completely cool before frosting. I cut my layers in half to create 4 separate layers. It’s nice to have extra frosting in the middle, but it’s certainly not necessary.

For the honey buttercream

Add all buttercream ingredients to the mixer and whip until light and fluffy, about 5-10 minutes. Frost as desired! I kept my cake really minimal. It had a really thin layer of frosting, so you can see the cake through it in some spots. I also used some extra honey to drizzle along the edges. This is pretty initially, but doesn’t hold up well. If you want to do the honey drizzle, do it right before serving.

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cake · dessert · easy · Fruit · gluten free · jam · peanut butter · quick · vegetarian · Yummy

PB & J Mug Cake

I am having a lot of life changes lately. Lots of good things, but it’s A LOT. One of those exciting things is a booth at my local farmer’s market! I decided to inquire about selling baked goods at a tiny farmer’s market 2 blocks from my apartment. I didn’t want to start with one of the big ones, as that felt really fucking overwhelming. Plus, I wasn’t sure they’d accept me being so new to the scene. So I chose the perfect, supportive little church-run market. Of course, I didn’t know I’d choose one that was run by a church when I decided on the name of my booth. I purchased the name Eat Me Bakery, LLC in January thinking it was cheeky and fun (I mean, it is).

 

When I got a call back from the person in charge of the farmer’s market last week, he was extremely encouraging in almost every aspect. Once we were winding down the conversation, and it was looking promising that I was going to be accepted, he said he had to discuss something kind of uncomfortable. He prefaced by saying that he was not the only one with concerns, and proceeded to ask if my name was “set in stone.” I was hoping my name would slide by unnoticed, since it could also be considered an Alice in Wonderland reference, but I wasn’t fooling anyone. I’m also a terrible liar, so there was no way I was going to try to convince him that it was anything other than the crude phrase that it clearly was. So I’m looking for a new name! Something rated G, but nothing too sweet. And I’ll hold onto Eat Me Bakery, since it’s still a fucking great idea. It just needs a different venue, and that’s okay. The organizer of the farmer’s market was a great sport about the whole thing, assuring me that he understood the name was just meant to be playful, but that it also wasn’t appropriate for this setting. That’s completely fair.

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Something I’d like to sell at my booth is peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies. I haven’t had time to play with the recipe yet, so I did something quick today with those same flavors. Peanut butter and jelly is my favorite flavor combination. I am baffled by the lack of options outside of an elementary school cafeteria. I mean, why aren’t there cookies and donuts and muffins full of these flavors??? And they could be done in SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS. The mind reels. So many missed opportunities. I was fucking psyched when I discovered this mug cake recipe on Food52’s website. I needed something simple and sweet today to counter all the salty as fuck meat my body has been craving for the last 24 hours. Yes, I gave into the meat for 2 meals. I’m mostly a vegetarian, but I do have my moments. Not that I need to justify myself to anyone, because I fucking don’t (I’m talking to you, Hannah). This little mug cake was the perfect fix. It’s gooey and rich, with light sweetness from the jelly. I used triple berry jam made locally, but any cheap grape jelly would work perfectly well. Pick your favorite flavor, and go nuts (ha!).

This cake is unintentionally gluten-free, too!

 

PB & J Mug Cake

4 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoons jelly/jam (any flavor)

I used a small bowl to mix everything, so I had enough room to make sure all the ingredients were incorporated well. You could opt to mix everything in the mug/jar as well. Start by mixing everything except the jelly. Stir/whisk until smooth. Add a tablespoon of jelly and swirl into the batter (without fully incorporating). My jelly was actually jam, and quite thick. I ended up kind of cutting it into the batter, so little chunks of jam remained. That way you get little pockets of jam, which is fucking delightful. Pour everything into a mug or 1/2 pint mason jar. Add another tablespoon of jam on top, pressed lightly right into the top of the batter. Microwave for 50-60 seconds. Sift a little powdered sugar on top if you’re feelin’ fancy. Let cool for a couple of minutes. Then SHOVEL INTO YOUR FACE.

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baking · bars · dessert · easy · quick · snacks · vegetarian

Blondies

The snow has been out of fucking control here in Minneapolis. We didn’t get much snow at all this winter until about 2 weeks ago, at which point it dumped all the snow we should have gotten over the course of 3 months in 2 weeks. On top of that we also had the coldest day on record since the fucking 1800’s* or some shit. I HAD ICE ON THE INSIDE OF MY APARTMENT WINDOWS.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Today the city issued yet another snow emergency, which just means the street parking situation will be all fucked up. My tiny ass Honda Fit is missing her cushy life with the retired couple that bought her new 10 years ago. She used to live in a garage for fuck’s sake. But she’s a fighter! It only took 3 tries (and a little pep talk) to get her started on the coldest day in recent history (it was a high of -15… that’s NEGATIVE FIFTEEN DEGREES).

The day prior to the icy windows day was a balmy high of -2, so I thought it’d be a great idea to walk to therapy. After all, it was only 4 blocks from the gym, which was already charging me for parking, so why pay a meter too? I layered up with my base layer first, which consisted of leggings, wool socks, a tank top, and a long sleeved t-shirt. Then I had a cheap-ass peacoat, a very warm knit hat that covered my ears, a chunky hand knit infinity scarf (also pulled over the hat), and super warm mittens. Oh, and snow boots of course. I don’t fuck around with footwear in the winter. It’s always North Face now that I’m an adult. In New York, my tiny 23-year-old brain thought discount store fashion boots were acceptable footwear in the snow. I was a goddamn moron. Clearly I haven’t learned much yet, though. Because, if you know anything about winter, you’ll know that my attire for that 4 block walk was absolutely not sufficient. My legs were literally only covered with LEGGINGS. Not even thick yoga leggings, but fashion leggings. I might as well have been out there pants-less. That millimeter of fabric was doing absolutely nothing to cut the wind. At first I thought I’d be fine, because it’s only 4 blocks. I can handle anything for 4 blocks. Halfway through the walk I realized I’d made a huge mistake. My thighs were starting to hurt, and I was getting nervous. By block 3 my thighs started to sting. Waiting for the crosswalk across the street from my therapist’s office they started to feel warm again. That’s when I really started to panic, because I had some elementary school memory flash before me of being told that was a bad sign (which is completely false, but try telling that to my anxiety). I couldn’t cross that street fast enough, and silently cursed every single car that made me wait.

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Bourdain likes to help.

I finally made it to my appointment, and even back to my car afterwards (with a stop at Chipotle to warm up). This week I opted to pay for parking across the street. Plus, it gave my car a chance to warm up in the parking ramp. She deserves it. She didn’t ask for this life.

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After therapy last week, I decided to bake yet again. I’ve been baking a lot due to the weather. Plus, it calms me down when I’m anxious or overwhelmed, which has also been an issue lately. I’m also hoping to get a spot in the local farmer’s market to sell baked goods, which means I need to practice different recipes. I’ve been feeding T like crazy, and also bringing things to work. These blondies were not heavily shared, though. I was feeling selfish, and that’s okay. Plus, the recipe only makes an 8 x 8 pan of them, which is so much more manageable than most brownie and blondie recipes.

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Feel free to mix in whatever you’d like instead of the vanilla chips and pecans. Chocolate chips would be awesome, as well as various candy and nuts. I chose vanilla chips and pecans because I wanted to keep these “blonde” rather than just making a variation of a chocolate chip cookie.

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Blondies (originally from here)

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (I used dark because it’s better)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Dash of salt

1 cup flour

1/3 cup vanilla chips mixed with chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla. Whisk well. Then with a large spoon, slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Finally, fold in the vanilla chips and chopped pecans.

Press into greased baking dish so that it’s one even layer (it will be the consistency of cookie dough). Bake for 25-30 minutes. Scoop a big bite out as soon as it’s cool enough to not burn your face off. Cut the rest into cute little squares and serve on a plate/tray so no one else knows you weren’t able to control yourself before it was fully cooled. Or don’t and own it. You’re allowed to eat blondies at any temperature you choose.

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*This “stat” was pulled right out of my ass. I believe it was the coldest day since the 90’s. Same thing though, right?

baking · chocolate · comfort food · Cookies · dessert · easy · Party food · quick · snacks · Swedish · vegetarian · Yummy

Havreflarn – Swedish Oatmeal Crisps

After more than a year of thinking about it, I finally did an Ancestry DNA test to find out more about my heritage. I’ve always been told that I’m at least 50% German, because my great great great grandparents immigrated here from Germany. Of course, no one in my family was taking into consideration that they could have immigrated to Germany from elsewhere sometime before that. Nope. We’re German, and that’s that.

Turns out that that is all a goddamn lie. My results came back last week and I am actually predominately English and Swedish, and only 15% German. While I am immensely disappointed in my lack of Norwegian ancestry (as I felt very at home in Oslo), I have fully embraced my Swedish heritage. After frantically emailing several new family members (none of which have emailed me back – fuckers), I immediately went on the search for a traditional Swedish cookie recipe. No joke, I found this recipe on Pinterest while using an elliptical at the gym. I’m not even a little sorry. I maxed out at like 20 minutes of exercise that day, and promptly ran home to start baking. I followed the recipe to a T, and my cookies still ended up looking like this:

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So I adjusted some things for the next batch. I decreased the butter by 2 tablespoons and made the cookies a little smaller. Don’t get me wrong, the original batch was still delicious. They just weren’t quite as pretty. Also, the recipe called for an entire stick of butter and it only made 6 cookies. The bowl with the dough had a puddle of butter at the bottom after I’d finished scooping it all out. It was fucking madness.

In addition to celebrating my newfound heritage, I’m also on the lookout for anyone on my biological dad’s side of the family. Not knowing who he is has never bothered me much, but now we have all this technology, so why not use it? I’m curious as fuck about this entire family that is out there waiting to be found. It’s crazy. I am the product of artificial insemination via sperm donor, so I’ve been messaging all the people I don’t know on my DNA match list (which contains over 400 people) with things like, “Do you know of any men in your family that went to medical school in Minneapolis in the 80’s and possibly donated sperm?” I’m like that lost duck in the children’s book looking for it’s mom. Except it’s my dad, and I have the internet. So I’ll just continue to message everyone on Facebook with names from my DNA list asking, “Are you my dad?” And maybe eventually someone will know something. Or at least check their fucking messages and respond even if they don’t.

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When I researched these cookies, I found out that Swedish women used to have coffee parties back in the day. At these parties they would serve seven different types of cookies. If they served less than seven, they were considered cheap asses. If they served more than seven, then they were showing off. Honestly, you’re lucky if you get one kind of cookie at my house. Who makes seven different kinds of cookies for one party? Those guests sound like a bunch of entitled bitches.

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6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 instant oats

2 tablespoons light cream (or half and half)

Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour 2 cookie sheets, as these WILL stick.

In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Once melted, lower heat to medium-low and add in the sugar. Stir until fully incorporated. Continue with the flour and oats, again mixing well after each ingredient with a wooden spoon. Finally add in the light cream. Continuously stir over medium-low heat while the edges bubble for just a few minutes. Pour dough into a medium sized bowl and set in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, or the freezer for 5-10 minutes (dough will still be warm, but not hot). Each cookie will be about a tablespoon of dough. Press each ball of dough down a little bit with the back of  a spoon. The dough should still be a bit warm, so this should be easy. It will encourage the cookies to spread, which helps make them thin and crispy. Because they do spread so much, make sure to leave lots of space between each cookie. Limit yourself to 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Recipe makes about 12 cookies.

OPTIONAL BUT AWESOME: Dip half of them in melted chocolate. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips that I microwaved for 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Place dipped cookies on parchment paper to cool.

baking · dessert · easy · Fruit · vegetarian · Yummy

Blueberry French Flan and Snoring

Fun fact: I snore. Not in the cute, soft not-really-snoring kind of way. I SNORE. Like a goddamn freight train. It’s loud and weird, and I’m far too cute to be making such noises. T recorded it per my request the other day, and it was legit like listening to an alien. How could that noise be coming out of my body?! It was truly terrifying.

I have always snored to some extent, but it has dramatically worsened in the last few months. This led to meeting with a sleep specialist last week, since T is having trouble sleeping and keeps nudging me awake, sending me into a murderous rage. She gave me the following facts about my body: my tongue and uvula are very large, my airway is very small, and my neck circumference is perfection. The first two facts make me at risk for sleep apnea, and the third fact is something I’ve never considered, but is something that I now like to throw in other people’s faces.

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So… she recommended an overnight sleep study. Not only that, but (lucky me!), they had a cancellation that very evening. Have any of y’all ever done a sleep study? Turns out it’s not actually in a room full of other snorers being watched by doctors, like it was imagined in my head. It also never occurred to me how many wires would be attached to my body. I had something like 20 electrodes attached to my head, all connected to a small machine they hung on my bed. There were also a few attached to my legs, as well as two bands around my torso to measure my respiratory rate, and various things taped to my face. It took the nurse a good 45 minutes to get me all hooked up. Then he left the room and spoke to me through a speaker on the wall, instructing me to do things like look right and left, up and down, breath deeply, and make snoring noises. There was a tiny microphone taped to my chin to catch every single noise I made.

The entire night was spent not trying to accidentally pull off any electrodes. I guess I was only mildly successful, since a nurse had to come in to reattach one in the middle of the night. I did pop an Ambien, because there was no fucking way I was going to fall asleep naturally with all that shit attached to me.

I’d post a picture, but I just can’t handle the whole internet having access to that. A few people in my life got to see it. The rest of the internet can fuck off. The whole thing was pretty horrible, but I guess I should feel lucky to have the means to do such a thing (ugh, I just want to complain about it, though!). Turns out I don’t have sleep apnea. They don’t know why I snore – probably my fucking tiny airway and monstrous tongue getting in the way. Who knows.

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I have decided to cut down on dairy, especially before bed, and make sure to eat at least 2 hours prior to laying down. That means no French flan as a late night snack. Le sigh.

I took a French baking class a few weeks ago, and learned that flan is one of the easiest things to throw together when you have “unexpected company.” This is so funny to me, because if I have unexpected company it is generally no one I’m interested in seeing, and would therefore never make them a fancy French dessert. I’d probably not even answer the door. I’d just turn the lights off and be very quiet until they fucked right off.

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Blueberry French Flan

4 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup flour

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound frozen blueberries (or fruit of choice), thawed, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs for a minute, then slowly add in sugar while continuing to whisk. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until fully incorporated. Add the melted butter (make sure it’s not too hot, so let it sit for awhile before adding) and mix well. Slowly mix in the milk and vanilla.

I used a 9″ pie pan, but you  can use any dish that is relatively the same size. Grease the pan. Toss berries with a little flour and place in the greased pie pan. Pour batter over the berries. Bake for about 45 minutes. It rises like crazy, and doesn’t look particularly beautiful, but it’s really delicious. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before serving. It will deflate during this time, and end up looking even weirder. Just trust me. Serve while still slightly warm.

Tell your boyfriend that you make delicious desserts, therefore he should just let you snore.

baking · breakfast · brunch · cake · Christmas · comfort food · dessert · easy · Holiday recipes · potluck food · quick · snacks · vegetarian · Yummy

Cranberry Orange Bread for Christmas

I struggle hard with gift giving. There are very rare occasions that I really nail it… but it’s almost never on someone’s birthday or around Christmas. This year I agonized over presents for my family. My mom always tells me not to get her anything (classic). So I’m left guessing. I know she genuinely doesn’t care what I get her, but I have to get her something. I mean, she gave me life.

I have to be very honest here… I literally almost got her nothing. This is not a proud statement for me. I kind of just threw my hands in the air on Christmas Eve and yelled, “FUCK IT,” startling my cat and probably several neighbors. But then I got to thinking about it, and I remember that not everyone is like me. Some people like knick knacks and nonsensical pretty things. So I went to one of my favorite little shops with a certain someone who was able to finally help me make a decision. I wandered through the whole store bitching and moaning (honestly, I don’t know how he was able to put up with me) that she wouldn’t like any of it. He held up shawls and scarves. I scoffed and pouted as I continually elbowed my way through the crowds of other panicked daughters. We walked into the kitchen area where he suggested a cookbook. Sighhhh. She doesn’t really cook much – not from new recipes anyway. And she’s not a new kitchen gadget kind of person. It just ends up frustrating her, and then she asks what was wrong with the way she was already doing the thing that the gadget is supposed to make easier. “How about this?” he asked, holding up a tea steeper in the shape of an adorable animal. But she doesn’t like tea. Or coffee. I honestly thought about getting her a case of Tab (yes, in fact, it is 1976), but she flies back to Florida next week. Also, seems kind of impersonal. I was about to give up when he said something along the lines of, “She doesn’t care. She’ll love whatever you give her,” while holding a pretty candle holder that had a forest pattern on it when lit, and I was convinced. The madness was over.

My love language is acts of service. I mostly want to feed people to show I care. I want to help them with a problem, support them when they’re struggling, help them paint their new apartment, or move into a new place. That’s how I show love. That’s what comes most naturally to me. Gift giving is hard because I want everything I give to be meaningful – because I really want to be of service. Turns out gift giving doesn’t have to be that serious, and I just need to calm the fuck down sometimes. Shit. Like, what’s the big deal? Buy someone a candle and move the fuck on.

Also, who are those people that purchase the perfect gift whenever they happen to find it and then hoard it until that person’s birthday or Christmas? HOW DO I BECOME YOU?

I made this bread along with some pumpkin bread to give my family as well. Because let’s be real – I’m never going to stop feeding people.

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Cranberry Orange BreadIMG_20171223_130506

For the bread:

1 cup cranberries – fresh, frozen, dried (or a combo – I did mostly fresh and a handful of dried)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg (at room temp… place into a warm cup of water for 5 minutes if you forget to set it out)

1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup buttermilk (Don’t have it? Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk.)

1/3 cup vegetable/canola/coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest

 

For the crumble top:

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into cubes

 

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice (I used the juice from the orange I “zested” for the bread)

As much orange zest as you like!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan (or several mini loaf pans!) and set aside. You’ll want to make the crumble top first and set it in the fridge, just so it’s all ready to top the batter.

For the crumble top:

Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium to small mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter in with a pastry cutter (for the fancy folks), a couple of forks (I found that to be impossible), or your hands (this is easiest!) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set in the fridge.

For the bread:

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add in the cranberries and set aside. In another bowl, mix the egg with the brown and white sugars until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing gently but thoroughly. No lumps allowed! The recipe says to not over-mix… not sure what happens if you do. Try not to fuck it up.

Pour the batter into grease pan(s) and cover with the crumble top, pressing it lightly into the batter. Bake for 45-60 minutes (the smaller pans need less time, so check them after 35 minutes).

For the glaze:

Whisk all ingredients together. Boom. Done. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan(s) and drizzling the glaze over the top.

Give these to everyone for Christmas/Birthdays/etc. Or just eat them all by yourself. Fuck it.