Sunday, June 12, 2011

Who Has Time for Homemade Bread?

Practically no one, or at least that's what I'm pretty sure 99.9% of you would say (and me half the time). I have been sampling new varieties of store bought bread recently. Not new like they've never existed before, but new to me. I decided to forego the papery, never mold versions a long time ago and now look for those that don't contain preservatives, are made right here in Colorado, and are full of whole grains. So far Rudi's Multigrain Oat has come out on top. The texture is similar to my homemade bread and the slices are heavy and thick. So when it's on sale I'll pick up a loaf and skip the bread baking to hike. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches on top of mountains are the BEST :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

For Real

So I think I'm really back. For real this time, look.
I even put on the apron again, after being convinced NOT to give it away. Thanks Lil :)

First I threw some chewy chocolate chip cookies together to take to Red Rocks for a Dispatch show last weekend, and last night I used up the last of my frozen fruit (yay for the start of growing season!) and mouth watering peach preserves. I almost forgot I had the homemade treat, made from Palisade peaches and canned by Claire and Linnea last fall, after originally eating a quarter of its contents straight from the jar with a spoon.
Yep, my mouth is watering while I type...

Anywho, go ahead and try out the recipe below. It will work at every altitude, is easy, and can be adjusted to your taste by using what ever kind of preserves, frozen fruit, and nuts you have on hand. Enjoy!

Oat Nut Fruit Bars
Makes 24

1 3/4 cup rolled, steel cut, or old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup frozen blue berries, warm rinsed and drip dried
9x13 inch pan
vegetable oil non-stick spray
large bowl
medium whisk

1. Turn on oven to 350 degrees
2. Coat your baking pan with vegetable oil spray
3. If need be, coarsely chop your nuts. I needed to because I buy mine in bulk. Hint: the less chopped they are, the cheaper they will be, hence the need to chop at home.
4. Combine oats, flour, sugar, nuts, and baking soda in bowl.
5. Whisk together until all ingredients are evenly combined
6. Add melted butter
7. Use fork to blend butter into a wet mixture until no loose dry ingredients remain
8. Remove a 3/4 cup of the wet oat mixture and set aside
9. Press the rest of the oat mixture into your baking pan, making sure it's even and the edges and corners are well covered
10. Bake for 10 minutes
11. Remove from oven and spread the preserves over the partially baked base ONLY to within 1/4 inch from the edge (you don't want them to cook out and burn on the pan)
12. Spread your blueberries evenly
13. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup of oat mixture over the preserves and fruit
14. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until you can see the top starting to brown
15. Cool pan on wire rack
16. Enjoy for breakfast, a snack, or with vanilla ice cream!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Sheep come in a variety of shape's and sizes. They can present themselves as calm, warm, and comforting. Sometimes fluffy. Baked goods also fit this description.

Wolves (the stereotype, NOT the intriguing Canis lupus so often regarded as something it's not) are complex, tricky, and conniving.

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing = Sweets!

They just look so good and make me feel like once I eat them, the present moment will immediately be better. What is WRONG with me? Am I addicted?! Multiple baked goods per day, boxes of candy, bowls of ice cream (I don't really even LIKE ice cream) and terrible guilt are PLAGuing me. So good for the heartbreak diet and blossoming yoga practice. My appetite is insatiable. I'm still too lazy to bake and have moved on from apathy to crazy person anger but all of that aside and lucky for you, this leads to more reviews.

The regionally famous WaterCourse Bakery Scout Cookie = sheep in wolf's clothing.
It looks like one big bad cookie but guess what? It's not - it's vegan AND gluten free! For those of you who say it tastes like a Girl Scout Samoa, you're wrong. Those cookies are gross and this one is WONderful. I feel like I'm eating something healthy (even though I'm not) and I get to lick chocolate off my fingers :) You can find them at my favorite coffee shop and other fun places around Denver.

No need to tell you about the Crushery's ridiculously amazing chocolate chip cookie again because the last time I went and had one, the 5 doctors I was eating with came to the same conclusion SO, case closed. Go get one. Next stop? The Pajama Baking Company just down the street. It smelled like cinnamon rolls as we walked up so after having lunch I shared and smapled 3 of their try-it sized treats with some VOC peeps.
Our taste tests revealed that the Chocolate Chip Macaroon was the best, followed by a yummy Peanut Butter Brownie and then a disappointingly mediocre Chocolate Brownie. They each cost a dollar or less and my group of 6 was able to have a taste of each one. SUPER deal. Check 'em out.

Later that same day I finally had the pleasure of experiencing the Denver Cupcake Truck.
Jamie had the Red Velvet but said the frosting was better than the cake. Isn't that always the problem with red velvet? I had the Denver Snowball and loved it. Almond cake, chocolate buttercream, and coconut. Mmmm, delicious.

And I almost forgot Flour. How could I? I returned to my beloved bakery while on an escape to Boston last month and tried 2 new items. The Maple Walnut Scone won out over the Granola Bar packed with cranberry-apricot-apple jam only because it had more sugar. What can I say. I am addicted.

Maybe this should have been several posts. Maybe I should stick to baking instead of publishing a blog full of feelings. Maybe tomorrow the reality of wolves in sheep clothing won't bother me so much. Maybe wolves should just leave the disguises behind and admit to themselves and everyone else that they have been deceptive. Deception = dishonesty. Being dishonest is the same thing as lying. Lying is wrong.