This last week or so I have been able to bake quite a bit. I usually bake something yummy for our Friday night church gathering, and then over the weekend my son Alex and I like to try a new recipes. And of course, there are the staple items that get baked throughout the week: breads, granola, etc. Although I could certainly consider cookies staple items!
For cookies this week, I baked up a batch of Amish Sugar Cookies found on Our Simple Homestead's site. These really are the best sugar cookies! We have been making them for a few years now, and I love how simple they are to whip up. My son Alex and I had found a recipe for Madeleine's on King Arthur Flour's site. This is a cookie that he and I had been wanting to try and bake for awhile. They were surprisingly simple to make and so delicious! We both thought that the sugar dusted ones were better than the chocolate dipped ones. So, next time we would skip the step of dipping the Madeleines in chocolate. I did use the leftover chocolate to frost the sugar cookies. Now that was yummy! Either of these cookies are a perfect match with a cup of coffee or tea.
One more recipe to share with you is my granola. Granola is such an easy breakfast cereal to make at home. There are probably a thousand permutations of granola and a million more recipes to pair with that. But it really is quite simple...add what you like and omit what you don't like. Granola is much like soup. I never make the same batch twice. And while no two batches are the same, I do follow the same formula each time I make it. In a large bowl, I place 3 cups rolled oats, a 3 cup mixture of nuts and seeds and 1 cup of melted fat and sweetener (for 7 cups total). You can add any combination of nuts and seeds to your granola: almonds (chopped/slivered/etc.), shaved coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, really whatever you want or have on hand. Once you have these all tossed in a bowl, you need to add some sweetener and fats. Again, here is where you can use what is in your pantry or what you prefer. You can use butter, coconut oil, or a light liquid oil (like canola or safflower). If you use a solid fat, you will need to melt it first in order to incorporate it into the granola. For a sweetener, I typically use a combination of honey and maple syrup. I add 1/2 cup of a fat melted with 1/2 cup of a sweetener. I will heat these together in the microwave or on the stove top before adding to the oat mixture. Other things you can add to your granola would be a dash of salt, cinnamon and/or vanilla. All of this gets stirred together and poured out on a large jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. But again. the temperature really can flex. If you have something else baking in the oven at 375, throw in the sheet of granola with it. Just stir it more frequently and know that it won't take as long to bake. Pull the granola out when it is toasted to a color brown you like. Let it sit on the counter to cool and then store in an air tight container. If you like dried fruit in your granola, stir that in before storing it in the container. If you are looking for something beside cookies to give to friends and neighbors this Christmas, homemade granola would be a good choice. Just make sure to save some for yourself!
Here's a simplified example of the granola I make:
3 cups rolled oats
3 cups total nuts/seeds
1/2 cup fat, melted (butter, coconut oil or light liquid oil)
1/2 cup sweetener (honey or maple syrup)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Stir dry ingredients together. Add in liquid ingredients and stir to incorporate. Pour granola onto a large baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes. Granola will bake for about an hour, or until desired color is reached. Allow to cool on baking sheet before storing in a container.
What have you been baking in your kitchen this week?