Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Orange Cranberry Bread

What a wonderful time of year to bake for friends, family, coworkers, everybody!  This festive bread makes use of the cranberries and oranges that are abundant during winter, and no yeast which means no rising time.  Just mix and bake!  
Holiday Orange Cranberry Bread

I'll keep it short and sweet today; so many holiday things to get done!  The original recipe came from a Christmas card from a friend in junior high who must have known that I'd learn how to cook someday.  If any of you have kids in your lives I encourage you to include them in your kitchen, share recipes with them, and have them practice counting and measuring and mixing.

I made an extra loaf using applesauce from my canning spree this past fall, so I can enjoy both the cranberry goodness and my local ingredients.  

Local ingredient highlights this time are the basics:
Eggs - Clifford Farm
Flour - Lehi Roller Mills
Applesauce, homemade and canned this fall!

Holiday Orange Cranberry Bread

Makes 1 loaf

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
10 Tbsp orange juice (juice of 2-3 oranges) OR 10 Tbsp applesauce
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup cranberries (thawed)

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare a loaf pan (parchment paper or grease the bottom only).
Slice all cranberries in half.
In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
Add all wet ingredients except cranberries and mix until everything is moistened.
Gently fold in cranberries.
Pour dough into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes; use the toothpick test.
Let cool for at least 5 minutes in the pan, then finish cooling on a rack or plate.  This bread does not slice well while hot so let it cool completely before slicing.

Toothpick test: Stick a toothpick into the center and pull it out.  If it comes out with any dough on it, bake the bread for another 5-10 minutes.  If it comes out completely clean, the bread is done.  If it comes out with cranberry on it, get a new toothpick and poke it into a different place. 

Slices of fresh orange cranberry bread, ready for breakfast!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Honey Gingersnap Cookies

This year I joined the Third Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!  I'd never done something like this before and loved it!  What is a cookie swap?  Well, a bunch of people bake cookies, send them to other people, and everybody donates money to Cookies For Kids Cancer.  It's a win/win/win ending in cookies!  How could I not be a part of that?  Over $14,000 was raised this year and I already look forward to next year.  Here's what I made!

Honey Gingersnap Cookies
Before I get to the recipe, thanks to my fellow bloggers who sent me cookies!  These were delicious and I definitely recommend checking out their blogs and recipes.

Alma Cucina - Apricot Almond Birds Nest Cookies
Cupcakes and Kale Chips - Oatmeal Cashew White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Kitchenette Blog - Salted Toffee Crunch Cookies

Honey Gingersnaps on the cooling rack
My cookie choice had to be something new to me, and you all know how much I love new recipes.  I wanted something to represent Utah, which is the Beehive State, so honey cookies were the obvious choice.  I hunted for the perfect recipe that would be crunchy outside, soft inside but not cake-like, and come out beautiful.  What I really wanted was gingersnaps but with honey... then it dawned on me that I ought to make gingersnaps, with honey.  Sometimes answers are so simple if we be quiet and listen to the universe. 

One of my favorite recipe books is a short collection of cookie recipes by Better Homes & Gardens that I've had for longer than I can remember.  I love opening it up and staring at the photos.  One of those photos was the inspiration for this recipe - the photo turned out to be a completely unrelated recipe, but it guided me to what I wanted!

These cookies are soft inside, crispy outside, and absolute perfection with a glass of cold milk or hot coffee.   Rolling them in sugar is what gives them the pretty texture  This is a basic gingersnap recipe with honey in place of the molasses.  They disappear quickly so you might want to double the batch. This is a great last-minute recipe if you want to make cookies but don't have time to let butter soften - no butter! 

Honey Gingersnap cookies
Local ingredients:
Neighborhood Beekeeping for the honey
Lehi Roller Mills for the flour
Real Salt for the salt

Also thanks to OXO, a sponsor of the cookie swap, who sent me bright colorful silicone spatulas that have been a great addition to my kitchen.

Utah Honey Gingersnaps
Makes about 3 dozen

2 cups white flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil or other light tasting oil
1 cup brown sugar1/4 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
Extra sugar for rolling cookies in

1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and spices)
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil, honey, and egg.
3. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
4. Preheat oven to 375 and prepare cookie sheet (cover in aluminum foil or parchment paper to prevent sticking).
5. Using a Tablespoon as a scoop and leveling off each one, make a pile of little ball-ish shapes.
6. Roll each of the little shapes into a ball.  Roll in granulated sugar, place on a cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.  Give each cookie a bit of space, they spread out some.  A dozen at a time in the oven works well.
7.  Bake for 11 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes then move to baking rack to finish cooling.