Gray

The holidays were made especially fulfilling with a wonderfully long visit from the “kids” and grandson Gray.

With 22 month old Gray’s mamma wisely preferring to to delay serving him sugary treats, we found an opportunity to develop some holiday cookies that we could make with him that involved no sugar at all (if you don’t count the fruit). We made Fruity Pie Crust Cookies! (Click the link to watch the video)

Gray making Pie Crust CookiesOk, so the real purpose of this post is to show off Gray, but it just so happens the pie crust cookies were really good and scarfed in a rapid heartbeat.

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Dear Fellow Loafers,

This aught to make you laugh…

 

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Saturday whole grain loaf — made w/ 2/3 (about 2cups) whole spelt flour, 1/3 (about 1 cup) miscellaneous whole grain flours from our refrigerator (mostly Kamut, Eric thinks) w/ the coarse bran sifted out of those misc. flours. Added a dollop of sourdough starter, 12 oz. water, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, mixed up no-knead style. The crumb was predictably dense, like you would expect of a whole grain loaf, but not the brick we like to avoid. Really good flavor. Proofing in the cooler Fall temps encouraged a sourdough tang.

Spelt Sourdough

Baked in Oblong La Cloche

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Pumpkin Ale Bread Last week we found an interesting recipe for Pumpkin Ale Bread on the web and we were intrigued. Hey, it’s Fall. Pumpkins are out there. Were people making beer from them and selling that? What if a good quick-bread could truly be made with the resulting pumpkin ale? Could we find said ale locally, or would we have to resort to a less seasonal variety? What if we could make it healthier than the recipe we found so that we could feel slightly less guilty about consuming great quantities? We set about to answer these pressing questions.

The result was this DARN GOOD recipe — nearly all whole grain and half the sugar of the original recipe. It still satisfies like a dessert should, without being a glycemic nightmare.

Blue Moon Pumpkin AleYes, we did find Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale at our local grocer. (And it was on sale!) I think it added great moisture, flavor, and some leavening value.

We made both the currant version and the chocolate chip version (pictured here). We could have baked it longer so that the rise held as the loaf cooled, but we are a bit impatient. It was still really great. (Make sure you insert the testing toothpick down through the center of the loaf for a more accurate reading.)

The loaves went fast at the party we took them to, so it’s not just us. This loaf will definitely be added to our regular holiday goody list!

Healthier Pumpkin-Ale Bread
Yield: One 9-inch loaf (About 12 servings)
Time: 1¼ hours

Oil or butter for greasing the pan
1¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cardamom (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup pumpkin purée
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin ale
½ cup chopped pecans
OPTIONAL: ⅓ cup dried currants  OR ½ cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan. Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice in a large bowl.

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat (or in a medium bowl in the microwave). Remove from the heat. Stir in the pumpkin and brown sugar, then stir in the eggs. Finally, stir in the pumpkin ale. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Add pecans and other optional ingredient, then transfer the batter to the greased pan.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool thoroughly, then slice and serve. (Leftover pumpkin bread can be wrapped in foil or plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to a few days.)

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