Easy Oatmeal Bread

I love a good yeast bread. Nothing fills a house with the smell of “home” like a loaf of yeast bread baking. I suspect I am not the only one who thinks so. This bread is an easy one to start with if you aren’t friendly with yeast yet.

Easy Oatmeal Bread

3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tbsp soft shortening (do not fear the shortening!)
1/4 cup light molasses
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup warm water (not hot! 110-115 degrees F. I use my wrist like one would do with a baby bottle if bottle feeding)
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 egg
2 3/4 cups flour

Stir together boiling water, oats, shortening, molasses and salt in large mixer bowl. Cool to lukewarm. (yes, really–you don’t want to kill the yeast!) Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Measure flour. Add yeast, egg and half the flour to lukewarm mexture. Beat 2 min, medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl frequently. Add remaining flour, blend in with spoon until smooth if you don’t have a heavy duty mixer. Spread batter evenly in greased loaf pan. SMooth out top of loaf.

Let rise in warm place (85 degrees works perfectly) until batter reaches about the top of the 8 1/2″ pan or about thumb width from top of a 9 inch pa. (about 90 minutes) Heat oven to 375. Bake to 50-55 min. Test loaf by tapping the top crust. It should sound hollow. The crust will be a dark brown. Immediately remove from pan and place on cooling rack. Brush top with melted butter.

Recipe and picture from Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook, 1961.

Low Fat Bran Muffins

If you are anything like me, you need to lower the fat and increase the fiber in your life. This recipe make a pretty good start to the day and to getting the fiber you need. It freezes well and you will only need to zap one in the microwave to get your day off to a fast start on a positive note.

Bran Muffins

3 cups raw bran
1 cup boiling water
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp soda
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
2 cup low-fat buttermilk (or use 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice stirred into 2 cups skim milk)
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup raisins

Pour boiling water over bran in large bowl. Mix together flours and soda in separate bowl. Stir remaining ingredients into bran, mix into dry ingredients. Just until blended: do not over-stir. Bake in sprayed non-stick muffin pans 15-20 min at 375.

Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread

I *may* squeal once or twice, ok, three times a year “Where is my pink cookbook?” Huh is the response I generally get. What pink cookbook? The Joy of Cooking for Boys and Girls. Duh. This cookbook is special for a number of reasons. The most important part? The recipes written in “Your Own Recipes” in the back of the cookbook.

One of the recipes is from my second grade teacher–her cranberry bread or more accurately her grandmother’s FAMOUS cranberry bread. Considering the state of the recipe maybe it is a good idea for me to have it somewhere else besides the back of the cookbook.

Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 margarine
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups light raisins
1 1/2 cups cranberry, chopped

Mix dry ingredients, add margarine and egg. Add orange peel and orange juice. Stir until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.

Spoon into loaf pan. Bake at 3500 for 1 hour 10 0min until toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Remove from pan and cool.

If you choose, you can substitute cranberries for the raisins to have all cranberry bread.

Spiced Sugar Doughnuts

Spiced Sugar Doughnuts RecipeEvery time I turn around, I see another kitchen gadget for making doughnuts at home. Make your Hanukkah or Christmas bright with this easy revolutionary new donuts magic machine! My mother even once owned one of these type of gadgets. (adoringly bought by me at around age 10 from the local supermarket for a Mother’s Day gift I believe) It made a few mini donuts in a waffle iron type of contraption. You could only use their special recipes and no one in our family was a huge fan of cake donuts. I have no idea how long my mother had it before it vanished.

In any case, you don’t need a gadget at all to make doughnuts. In fact, they are incredibly easy to make at home. These are a basic version that turn out quite tasty.

Spiced Sugar Doughnuts

3 T. shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar (again I cut the sugar a bit and only use 3/4 cup in the batter)
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour (you can use up to half of this as whole wheat flour to cut the doughnut guilt)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup milk
2 tbs cinnamon

Cream together shortening and 1 cup sugar. Beat eggs, add. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Roll out 1/2 inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut with doughnut cutter. (or cookie or biscuit cutter or say…a glass–which is generally what I reach for. Fry in deep fat or salad oil heated to 375 F. 3 min or until brown, turning once. Drain on paper towel. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon. Shake warm donuts with cinnamon mixture in paper bag. (I have a flat bowl I use for this instead)

Original Recipe from The Pocket Cook Book, Elizabeth Woody, 1942

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