Not Your Average Easter Breakfast

Not Your Average Easter Breakfast

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So, if I said baked oatmeal, what would you say? You know, I probably would have said the same thing at one point but then I actually tried baked oatmeal and let me tell you, it rocked my world! Baked oatmeal is nothing like it’s cooked-on-the-stovetop counterpart. Oh, no. Baked oatmeal is firm and cake-like and filled with cinnamon and nuts. Baked oatmeal could just turn your mornings upside down! I’m serious. I am NOT a fan of gloppy, gooey, oatmeal that will congeal if it sits long enough. Can you say eeew?

This is a breakfast your family would be happy to sit down to on Easter morning. You can serve it on its own or if throw in some bacon and scrambled eggs on the side. This is a hearty enough oatmeal to keep your belly full until it’s time for Easter lunch. So go on, try something new this Easter! You won’t regret it!

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Add some butter to a skillet and pop it in the oven to melt.  Keep an eye on it and take it out when it’s completely melted but not yet browned.

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Chop your nuts.  I like mine a little more chunky.  I’m using walnuts and pecans.  What can I say?  I like variety.

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Dice your dates.  If you haven’t diced a date before, beware: they’re sticky!!!

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To a small bowl, add the 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 chopped nuts, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and the cornstarch.

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Give it a stir.

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Then add two tablespoons of the melted butter from the skillet.  Stir it around until there isn’t any dry mixture left.  Set this to the side.  We’ll use it in a bit.

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To a large bowl, add remaining oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nuts and dates.  That’s a lot of stuff.  Did I forget anything?  I hope not!

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Stir this mixture up too and make sure you break up any date or brown sugar clumps that are lurking amongst the oats!

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Whisk together milk and 2 eggs!

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Pour in that delicious melted butter!  Don’t scrape it all out of your skillet, though.  I know it’s tempting to use every drop but you want what’s left to grease your skillet!

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Add your egg/milk mixture.

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It will be very wet and may look kinda funny, but I promise you that’s normal!  You want all that liquid so it can soak into the oaks and make them nice and soft!

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Pour it in your prepared skillet and smooth it out on top!

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Now add the prepared crumble to the top and smooth it around pretty evenly.

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Pop it in your oven and bake for 30-35 minutes; the edges should be starting to brown.  Beware of cooking it too long because then it may be dry.  Watch it closely toward the end!

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When you pull it from the oven it will smell divine!  Allow it to cool just a bit before slicing it into wedges.

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Slice it into wedges and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup or be creative and choose your own way to serve it!  Don’t forget to enjoy!

 

Baked Oatmeal

4 cups old fashioned oats, divided
1/2 c + 2 Tbsp brown sugar, divided
1/2 c nuts, divided (I used walnuts and pecans)
10 dates, chopped (roughly 1/3 cup)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add butter to 10 1/2″ cast iron skillet OR deep dish pie plate. Place in oven until melted, but not browned, then remove from oven and set aside.

While butter melts, roughly chop the nuts and dates. Add 3 1/2 cups of oats to a large bowl and 1/2 cup oats to small bowl. Divide nuts between the two bowls, adding just slightly more to the larger bowl. Measure out 1/2 cup brown sugar for large bowl and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar for small bowl.

To the small bowl add the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Give it a good stir until the butter is well incorporated then set aside.

To the large bowl, add the dates, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir the mixture until everything is evenly distributed making sure you break up any date or brown sugar clumps. Add the rest of the butter from the skillet and the egg mixture and stir it well. It will be very liquid but that’s okay because the oats will soak it all up! Pour the mixture back into your skillet and smooth it out on top. Add the oat/nut mixture from the small bowl and spread it around as evenly as you can.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until edges turn golden brown. Cool slightly before cutting into wedges and serving.  Serves 8-10.

Notes: Once you dish it up you can do so many things! Serve it with yogurt on the side, drizzle it with maple syrup, add a small splash of heavy cream (if you’re feeling decadent) or if you prefer a more traditional style oatmeal, add some milk and give it a stir.  This recipe can easily be adjusted to suit your preferences.  Instead of cinnamon, try some nutmeg.  Substitute dried cranberries and almonds for the dates, pecans and walnuts.  More sugar, less sugar, white sugar, no problem.  The sky is the limit here people!  Don’t let your oatmeal be boring.  Experiment! Create!

This recipe is heavily adapted from this one on thekitchn.com.

Happy Easter my friends and until next time, keep baking!

Love,

Callie

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Best Pound Cake Ever!

Best Pound Cake Ever!

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As promised, here I am with another recipe.  It seems like I don’t post nearly enough of those.  I’m working on it, I swear!  Easter is nearly upon us and with Easter comes Easter lunch.  I volunteered to bring the desert (naturally) and since we’re feeding 20 people and they all have different tastes, I’m taking a desert assortment instead of something large and impressive, which is the route I usually choose.  This pound cake is one of my choices.  The first time I made this pound cake it disappeared in record time.  It’s crispy topping is a perfect complement to the dense texture with the just the right amount of sweet and a lovely citrusy/vanilla flavor.  With Strawberries starting to make an appearance at the grocery store, it would be a shame not put them to good use as a topping for this delicious cake!  Here we go!

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First things first, preheat your dang oven!  350 degrees here.  Pretty much the standard temperature for baking ANYthing.  Next, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

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Add flavoring of your choice.  I chose to use Fiori di Sicilia, which is an Italian-inspired citrus/vanilla-y flavor I purchased from King Arthur Flour.  If you don’t have the Fiori di Sicila, you can use a combination of vanilla and almond extracts and I’m sure it would be just as yummy!

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Cream all of the ingredients together until well combined.

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Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Your batter will be a lovely yellow color and should drip off of the beater in a thin stream. At this point you’re supposed to crank up your mixer and beat on high for 3 minutes.  I did this and batter went everywhere, even with my splatter shield.  After losing what seemed like a good portion of my batter, I turned the mixer down so as to not lose anymore.  I think the farm fresh eggs I used were more on the extra-large side than large so that may account for the runniness (not a word, sorry) of my batter.

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Next, measure out three tablespoons of milk.

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Add it to the butter/egg mixture.  The milk will make it even more runny!

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If you have cake enhancer, add it now.  Cake enhancer helps a cake stay fresher and more moist for longer.  I don’t always use it but this recipe called for it and I had some laying around waiting to be used so I went for it.   Cake enhancer is totally optional.

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Now add the flour.  You can’t have a cake without flour!  Unless you’re having a flourless cake.  Oh, nevermind.  Just add the flour and beat it well.  The batter will be very thick!

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Grease your 9″x5″x2″ pan with a hefty amount of cooking spray.  You can also use butter, I’m sure, but I’m lazy so spray it is.

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Pour that thick, luscious batter into your greased pan.

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Place said pan on baking sheet just in case there is any spillage.  You definitely don’t want to clean out your oven.  I know I don’t.  King Arthur wisely assures us that as long as you use the correct size pan that you shouldn’t have any over flow but I’m not taking any chances.  Like I said, I’m lazy.

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While the cake is baking, combine sugar, water and vanilla in small bowl or measuring glass.

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Give it a good stir until it becomes syrup-y.  I really like hyphens.  Have you noticed that?

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After the cake has baked for 55 minutes, pull it out of the oven and drizzle the syrup mixture on top.  Return the cake back to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

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When you’re done, you’ll have this gorgeous hunk of a cake.  Eat at your own discretion because once you take a bite, you may not be able to stop!  Here’s the recipe from King Arthur Flour

Perfect Pound Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 oz cream cheese, softened

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

5 large eggs, at room temperature

3 Tbsp milk

2 Tbsp cake enhancer (optional)

1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour

Topping

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your pan. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter, cream cheese, salt, sugar, baking powder, and extracts.  Beat until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Once you’ve added the final egg, beat on high speed for three minutes (Warning! This part can be messy if your batter is really runny!) then reduce the speed and add the milk.  If you’re using cake enhancer add it now then add the flour gradually while mixing on low speed.  Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl along the way to incorporate all of the flour.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place pan on a baking sheet (just in case it overflows!).  Bake for 55 minutes. Once the mixture is in the oven, combine the sugar, water and vanilla extract.  Stir it until a syrupy mixture forms.  After 55 minutes is up remove cake from oven, drizzle or brush on the syrup mixture.  Return the cake to the oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cake cool for about 5 minutes then remove it from the pan, after loosening the edges, and turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes: Instead of vanilla and almond extract, you can subsitute 1/8 tsp of Fiori di Sicilia.  You don’t want to use any more because it is potent stuff.  Seriously, a little goes a long way.  I’ve had the same bottle for three years now and I’ve only used about a fourth of it.  Also, the King Arthur site has some good tips for making sure the cake is done or using other pans.  You can see those here if you’d like.

Thank you so much for reading!  I hope you all have a Happy Easter!

Until next time, keep on baking!!

Love,

Callie

St. Patrick’s Day sorta-Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick’s Day sorta-Irish Soda Bread

Top ‘o the morning to you!  It’s St. Patrick’s Day.  I’ve been wearing green since yesterday because if I don’t wake up wearing green then I get pinched first thing in the morning.  That is NOT the way to start your day.  Trust me, I speak from experience.

Today I’m bringing you a recipe for Irish Soda Bread.  You’ll notice that I called it sorta-Irish Soda Bread.  That’s because the bread that we’ve come to think of as “traditional” is not Irish at all.  There is an actual Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread and they go into all the details.  Suffice it to say that in Ireland they would scoff at what we call Irish.  Actual soda bread is very simple and consists of four ingredients: flour, salt, buttermilk and of course baking soda.  We Americans, being who we are, can’t help ourselves and have Americanized traditional soda bread by adding butter, eggs, dried fruit, carraway seeds and sometimes even nuts.  My recipe is much more Americanized because I didn’t want just a plain bread.  So sue me, I like flavor!  My recipe is adapted from Brother Rick Curry’s book The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking.

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Start with some buttermilk.

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Add one egg to the buttermilk.

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Give it a good whisking until it’s combined and a lovely yellow color.

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Combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl.

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Whisk to combine (I really like whisking things).

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Dot your butter around in the flour.

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Give it a good toss and cut it in using your pastry blender or fingers.

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Add the caraway seeds.

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Stir them in.  Notice how I said stir this time instead of whisk?

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Now it’s time to add the buttermilk-egg mixture.  I started off adding only part of it and stirring but it was too dry.  I intended to use only what I needed to make the dough come together and I would get rid of the rest but I got impatient and dumped it all in.

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I should have been more patient.  My dough was WAY to sticky!!!  No worries though! I was able to salvage it!

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GENEROUSLY flour your work surface.  Turn the dough out onto the surface and generously flour that too.

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I kneaded the dough until a lot of the flour had been worked in and I had a nice firm-ish dough.  Be careful not to knead too much though or you’ll end up with tough bread.

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Cut an X in the top.

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You can put yours in a pie plate or cake pan.  I chose to use my baking stone!  The dough was still pretty soft but in the end it didn’t matter!

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Add a little butter for flavor and moisture.

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Ain’t it pretty? 🙂

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You can see the caraway seeds throughout.  They gave the bread such a nice flavor but it wasn’t too overpowering.  Serve it up with lots of butter!

Sorta-Irish Soda Bread

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 c + 2 T sugar

1/2 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

3/4 t salt

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/2 stick butter, cold, cut into small pieces (I always use unsalted butter)

1 1/2 T caraway seeds

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk your butter milk and egg together in measuring cup or bowl.  Set aside.  In large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.  Dot the butter around on top of the dry ingredients and give it a good toss to coat it.  Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles large crumbs.  Add your wet ingredients and stir until it is well combined and a stick dough is formed.  Flour your work surface and turn out the dough onto the surface and flour the dough generously.  Knead the dough until the flour is incorporated and the dough is more firm.  Be very careful not to over-knead the dough or your bread will come out tough when it should be very tender.  Shape dough into a flat ball and cut and ‘x’ in the top.  Transfer to preferred baking pan (pie or cake pan, baking stone)  Bake bread for 45 minutes.  Check for doneness by inserting toothpick in middle.  Toothpick should come out clean.  Generously butter the top of the bread while still warm.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Notes: This dough is a very wet dough.  Brother Rick bakes his a loaf pan so the wetness doesn’t matter.  If you choose to go this route, bake for an hour.  I wanted a more traditional style loaf so I chose to bake mine on a stone.  Next time, I would reduce the buttermilk by a 1/4 cup so it wouldn’t be as sticky and wouldn’t need kneading.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!  Don’t forget to wear green.

Until next time, happy baking!

Love,

Callie