I am sitting here in the den, looking at the drizzling day outside. I do like cold days. A cold day to me is a baking day! More than nine months out of a year here in Indianola, I can bake. Even some days in the summer, I do find myself in the kitchen, baking away. I always hated New Jersey for its weather. We had to have the AC on in the summer because it was just so friggen hot. I did sometimes had the AC on while I baked something. Even making a batch of ice cream in NJ was frustrating. The freezer bowl that came with my ice cream maker thawed too fast and left me with a VERY runny, thick, half frozen, creamy …thing.
It is 49 degrees, in April, in Indianola, and Lexy is mourning for the sunny day like yesterday.
What did I do today before sitting down writing this for my blog? I baked! I also made crepes for breakfast while having a couple of glasses of mimosa. Becker came over this weekend to help us chop fire wood. We had a huge Alder taken down a couple of months ago because it was leaning and rotting inside. (Thank you, Becker!) Even with the wood splitter we rented from a local rental store, it was still hard work.
I tried to make a batch of Thin Mint ice cream for the guys this morning, but it wasn’t successful. Somehow the freezer bowl did not freeze all the way. I think the freezer in the beer fridge where I kept the bowl is not working right. I didn’t realized it until 20 minutes later that I still had a VERY runny, thick, not even frozen, creamy …thing in the spinning bowl. I have to say, however, that for $50, the Cuisinart ice cream maker that I have is wonderful. It never failed …before. It comes with a freezer bowl that I find it convenient to just keep in the freezer at all times; so that when I want to make ice cream, I don’t have to wait. I, especially, like the fact that the top of the machine has an opening for adding dry ingredients to the ice cream.
The freezer bowl is moved to the chest freezer, and I’m moving on to the next thing.
I often visit Orangette. Like a lot of people, I really like her blog. I really enjoy reading the way she described how she couldn’t wait at least until October 1st to buy a winter squash because those pesky butternuts had found a way to tempt her and, eventually, won. Molly is a creative writter and a Seattleite foody. I can just spend hours reading her blog. (And no, I don’t mean that I’m a slow reader). I can’t just read one post. It’s always one entry then to the next, and next. Anyway, I came across this post of hers. She talked about her vacation, and Paris, and things you find in Paris, like macaron, falafel, baguette… (…and I miss Paris now like you would not believe). Somewhere in there, she talked about a particular brand of French granola that you can get at Monoprix. It has chocolate in it. I can’t believe that I have NEVER thought of putting chocolate in granola before. And, I LOVE chocolate! And, chocolate is good with everything! Gosh!
Well, here is my version of chocolate granola. Basically, the granola I’ve always made for yogurt, and now with bittersweet chocolate (and banana chip because Drew wanted it).
Granola for Yogurt
yields about 4 cups
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup bran flakes
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Combine the following liquid before adding to the dry ingredients:
2 Tbsp raspberry honey
2 Tbsp. oil
Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 325 for 20 minutes
Add the following ingredients after it cools down:
1/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup chopped banana chips
1/4 cup Craisins
Voila, the best granola I have ever had.
I also made two small loaves of chocolate banana bread. They came out too dry, in my opinion. I’m still getting used to baking with silicone loaf pans. I like them because I don’t have to grease the pans before I put the batter in. But, they take longer to bake than the metal ones. I never use a toothpick to test if the bread is done. When I was working at a bakery, I was taught to press lightly on top of the bread. If it bounces back up, it’s done. But, somehow, I just can’t get it right with these silicone loaf pans, yet, but there’s always next time.
Last but not least, I had given the ice cream maker one more chance. The timer is going off. It is time to go.