Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Beauty of Baking

I love to bake.  Cooking I can go either way with (although I do love making soups or using my crockpot, but I'll save those recipes for another post).  Baking is my release, it takes me to my happy place and seriously! is there nothing better than the smell in your home when you decide to bake that perfect dessert/bread?  Or how about sitting down with a warm cookie and glass of milk?  It just makes me smile thinking about it!  Below are a couple of the recipes I've tried and still love.  They've made the cut. I'll post some more at a later date.

Blueberry-Lemon Tea Bread

½ cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 ½ cups blueberries
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 9x5-inch loaf pan
  • In large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup of the sugar on low speed of mixer until just blended.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add alternately with milk, mixing until just blended.  Gently stir in blueberries.
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Bake 65 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool loaf in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan.
  • Prick all over top and sides of loaf with a skewer.  In small bowl, mix lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar.  Brush this glaze generously over top and sides of warm loaf.  Makes 16 servings.
I love this recipe.  It first came about when I was in high school and looking for a recipe for my 4-H project.  This recipe took me all the way to the state fair and I came home with a superior ribbon, but that wasn't the best part.  The judge loved the bread so much that she asked if she could have the recipe.  That's not something that happens everyday.  It's a really easy recipe and always turns out great.

Fudgy Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
½ cup milk
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
3 Tablespoons cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking oats

  • Combine sugar, milk, butter and cocoa. 
  • Bring to a full boil for 1 minute, timing accurately. 
  • Add salt and vanilla. 
  • Blend in peanut butter and oats; mix well. 
  • Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper to become firm in 15 minutes. 
Yield:  4 dozen

This is a fun recipe that I got from my home church's cookbook.  I've found that church cookbooks have some of the best recipes and are great because they give a true flavor to the area they are from.  This recipe is great if you need a little chocolate fix and don't feel like using the oven, in other words, it's a great summer recipe.

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