Honey Oatmeal Bread

Pssst: there’s a recipe for whipped honey butter at the end of all this
I’ve already made two loaves of this bread this week. My husband has deemed it “the best bread you’ve ever made” – hence the constant stream of this bread. We’re almost done with our second loaf and he’s already chomping at the bit for me to make another one.

It really is fantastic. It’s got an amazing depth of flavor: slightly sweet but wheat-y (not a word…) at the same time. I made the original recipe into half-wheat and instead of soaking the oats in water, I soaked them in milk.

The texture is that of a soft sandwich bread. We’ve been eating it toasted in the morning with a healthy slab of honey butter and it is close-your-eyes-and-get-lost-in-the-flavors-good.

Okay fine, here’s a close-up shot.
Sometimes I think I might have a problem given how much I love how pretty food is. But then, I get over it.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Adapted from allrecipes
Makes 1 9×5 inch loaf (you can easily double this for 2 loaves!)
1 cup boiling milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 F)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour (+ more for dusting)

For the topping
1 tablespoon oats
1 tablespoon honey

Throw in your oats, honey, butter, and salt into your boiling milk. Turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour to get some good honey oats flavor into this bread.

In a large bowl, mix your warm water and yeast and let sit for about 10 minutes or until slightly frothy. Add in your milk mixture, your wheat flour, and bread flour. Form into a rough ball and turn onto a floured surface and knead until you have a smooth ball of dough (about 10 minutes).

Move your dough into an oiled bowl and turn to coat your dough with oil. Cover and place in a warm area for 1.5-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Once doubled, deflate your dough and plop it into your ready loaf pan (lined with parchment paper or buttered). Roughly shape with your hands so that the dough fills the pan evenly. Cover again and let rise about another hour or until nice and puffy.

Note: it’s important to get a good rise here, otherwise you won’t get a good fluffy loaf, and you might end up with a denser one so go ahead and let rise!

Preheat your oven to 350F and when your rise is done, bake for about 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on.

While your loaf is still warm, drizzle on your honey and sprinkle your remaining oats to get that beautiful look!

Enjoy!

Oh wait!!

Honey Butter
Makes about 4 tablespoons
Disclaimer: these are estimates, I didn’t measure…add more honey if you want sweeter, less if you want less sweet!

4 tablespoons soft, room temperature butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip it all together! I have to tell you though, this is sooooo worth making and adding to your slices.

I’m off to eat the last slice!

 

Cherry Almond Scones

Do you think they ate these on Downton Abbey? These are traditional English scones: fluffy and barely sweet. I bet they ate these on Downton Abbey.
You know what I love? Baked goods with giant sugar crystals on top. Baked goods with crunchy nuts and chewy fruit will do the trick, too.
Scones are such a winter food and although we had just a touch of spring the past few days, it’s dumping snow outside again right now (whhhhhyyyyyy?!?) but at least I have pictures of scones to comfort me.
I loved loading these guys with giant sugar crystals. What a beautiful sight! They’re full of sliced almonds and dried cherries. To bring out the almond flavor, I added a bit of almond extract to the recipe and I’m glad I did.
After my husband and I ate some, one lucky friend got all the rest to save our winter waistlines. Side note, I replaced the cream in this recipe with 2% milk for a lighter scone.

In other news, spring you can come now.

Cherry Almond Scones

Adapted from How to Cook Everything
Makes 8-10 scones

2 cups all purpose flour (+ a little more for shaping)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1 egg 1/2 cup
2% milk & more for brushing
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Sanding sugar for sugar crystal topping

Preheat your oven to 450F
Note: I did this entire thing in a food processor (so easy!) so I will write it as such, but you can easily do this by hand.

In a food processor, pulse together your flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Throw in your butter and pulse until it looks like cornmeal.

Add in your egg, milk, and almond extract and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Wasn’t that easy? (Yes.)

At this point, transfer your dough to a floured work surface. Pile on your almonds and cherries and minimally handle the dough to fold them into the mixture. When it just starts to look incorporated and using your fingers, shape your dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick and cut into wedges as pictured above. Try not to over-touch the dough.

Transfer your wedges onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Brush with some milk and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of jam, butter and of course, a cup of coffee. Enjoy!

Variations:

1. Cut this recipe in half and make a smaller scone round to make 8 – 10 mini scones. You can you the half of the egg to brush the top instead of the milk, too.

2. Shape the dough into a giant rectangle and make adorable square scones.

Bacon Dark Chocolate!

This happened.

Why pay $4.00/bar when you can have so much more for so much less?! Fine, there’s no baking per say involved in this but there is sugar and bacon so I think it deserves to go on the blog. Salty. Sweet. Bacon. Winner.

These bacon chocolate bars used the tempering technique described in this blog post. You can always skip the tempering and add in a touch of crisco (…ehhhh) or just melt the chocolate old-fashioned but it won’t keep at room temperature. That is, unless you buy melting chocolates which already have crisco fat (…ehhh) in them. But if you’re okay with keeping the bars in the fridge then skip the tempering!

 

Bacon Chocolate

Tools:
You will need a thermometer of sorts for this candy making adventure
You will need one rubber (not wood) spatula

Detailed explanation of tempering from this blog post.

10 oz of dark chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet or milk if you so desire)
4-5 strips of bacon, cooked to crispy and broken into small pieces
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

In a double boiler, heat 2/3 of your chocolate until it reaches 115F. Once at 115F add in your remaining chocolate, remove from heat and stir occasionally until the temperature has dropped to 80F.

Reheat over your double boiler for just a minute or two or until back up to 88-90F and remove from heat.

That’s it! Tempered! Now you can make your bars and store them at room temperature.

Stir in 2/3 of your bacon into the chocolate and spread your chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle on your remaining bacon and sea salt. Pop into the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from freezer and cut into the size of your choice!

Enjoy!