November 26, 2013
It’s that time of year again, the season when I cannot seem to refrain from posting recipes to my political blog, apropos of absolutely nothing. What can I tell you? I love to cook and bake, and I especially love to do those things in the winter, for the coziness. It warms up your house, it makes everything smell good and there are few things more comforting than the first piece of bread from a loaf you’ve just pulled out of the oven, dripping with butter and hot to the touch.
This oatmeal bread recipe has been kicking around my repertoire for years. It’s a batter bread, so it’s easy to make (no kneading, no rising) and it’s DELISH. Everyone loves it, and they will love you when you feed it to them. If you’re looking for nice homemade gifts for the holidays, just give people a loaf of this bread and a nice jar of jam, and you are done.
On second thought, maybe not quite. Because now I’m imagining you taking this scrumptious bread and slathering it with, like, Smucker’s Strawberry or something and it’s stressing me out. I mean, what kind of jam do you have in your fridge right now? Would it pass muster with me? I’m rather picky. Just to be on the safe side, I’m throwing in the recipe for my hands-down favorite winter jam, Spiced Blueberry. It’s got all the yummy holiday spices—cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg—and when you make it your kitchen will smell like December.
BTW, I’m looking for a good bar cookie recipe, so let me know if you have one. What do you like to bake at the holidays? Hit me up in the comments!
Crazy Good Oatmeal Bread
• 3 cups flour
• 1 1/4 cups quick rolled oats
• 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 1 tablespoon butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease well and dust with flour, one bread pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking powder, salt
3. In a separate bowl, using a rotary beater, lightly beat wet ingredients: egg, honey, milk, until just combined.
4. Using a wooden spoon, combine contents of two bowls. Do not overwork; the resulting mixture should be lumpy, not smooth.
5. Pour into bread pan, bake for about 1 hour, or until top is crusty and tester inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Pour melted butter over hot loaf, wait five minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool.
Spiced Blueberry Jam
• 3.5-4 lbs. blueberries
• ¼ cup water
• 2 sticks cinnamon + ½ tsp. cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. cloves
• ½ tsp. ginger
• ½ tsp. nutmeg
• 4 cups sugar
• juice of 1 lemon
1. Wash and pick over the blueberries.
2. Add berries to pot, smashing a few in the bottom of the pan. Add water and cinnamon sticks; bring to a low boil and stir until berries soften and begin to burst.
3. Stir in sugar, lemon juice and remaining spices, then boil gently, keeping a close eye on it and stirring on and off, for another 20-30 minutes, until it begins to jell.*
4. Remove jam from heat. Discard cinnamon sticks and adjust spices to your taste. For freezer jam, ladle jam into sterilized ½ pint jars—it will keep in the fridge for at least a month, or the freezer for up to a year.
*Testing for jell: Before you start cooking, put two saucers in the freezer. When you’re ready to test, place a small spoonful of the jam on a saucer, then place in freezer for 60 seconds. Drag your finger through the jam on the plate; if it’s still liquid, cook a bit longer. Jam is ready when the stuff on the plate forms a skin and crinkles when you run your finger through it.