Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Brake for Bakeries

That should be a bumper sticker on my car.

Small town bakeries ... there's nothing like them.  One day a few years ago PH, oh, so patient PH, drove with me down the coast of Michigan and we stopped at every single one between here and the state line. That's love.

Yesterday I was on my way to pick up the girls from school and have a sleepover at their house and I had the whole beautiful sunshiny day ahead of me so I left home early and drove 1.5 hours to this one. (First hour is just getting from home to Grand Rapids)

We always called it the Bailey bakery because that's the little town it's in, but this is the real name.  My mom used to make holiday pilgrimages to this place to buy their dinner rolls for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  She would buy several dozen, wrap them very well and freeze them.  This place used to close after deer hunting season so you had to get Thanksgiving and Christmas rolls in one trip.   But oh, this time of year the drive is stupendously beautiful so it was no hardship.
 I bought four dozen of these luscious rolls.  Two dozen for Thanksgiving, two for Christmas. 
 I also can NEVER resist a cookie.  These small town mom and pop bakeries still use recipes like Grandma used. The cookies are big and soft and not sweet.  The peanut butter and sugar cookies were still so hot and soft she had to use a spatula to pick them up and box them. I was a little disappointed that the molasses were day old.  But she gave me one for the road on the house.
 I was also a little disappointed in the place itself.  They painted! It's spruced up!  They're getting new counters and it just won't look so...old and...small town-y and...grandma-y.   But the baked goods will stay the same. I was assured.

The pumpkin mood has hit me. So I made these chocolate chip pumpkin blondies.  I don't know who first discovered chocolate and pumpkin are friends, but in my opinion they are best friends. What a great combination!  These are cakey, not gooey, not overly pumpkiny.
 The recipe called for sprinkling the top with chocolate chips and I added pumpkin seeds (pepitas) to that.  A very good idea.

If you are so inclined, I got this recipe from The View From Great Island and Sue adapted it from Martha.  Sue is beginning to bring us one bowl wonders and this is definitely one of them.  Use one bowl. Dump the stuff in.  Go ahead.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Blondies

 Mix well together the wet ingredients:

1 cup (two sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT pie mix, use straight pumpkin)

Add the dry ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamom
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice

Fold in:
2 cups chocolate chips  (reserve about 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top of batter)

 Preheat oven to 350F

Spray a 9x13 baking pan (I used a 10 inch square) and if you want, line with parchment paper cut longer than the sides so when they are done and cooled you can lift them right out of the pan.  I ALWAYS do this.  So easy.

Turn the batter into the pan, sprinkle with chocolate chips (and pepitas if you want) and bake for about 30 minutes till slightly puffed and not wet or wobbly in the center. If you do the toothpick test it will have moist crumbs but not wet batter clinging to it.

Cool before cutting or lifting out of the pan.  Makes about a dozen, depending if you are a big or small cutter.  I am a big cutter.

1 comment:

  1. Yum, bread is a staple love of mine. I haven't met a carbohydrate that I did not admire. My recent discovery is the sour dough loaf, the one I get from my local makes all toppings taste so much better than regular bread. In fact I may be becoming a wee bit snobbish about it, hahaha. I may try that recipie though pumpkin in bakes is not a usual in Australia, though I do lie we have pumpkin scones. I think your pumpkin pies are sweeter than those over here. On another note....finished the book Luigi's Freedom Ride. I did enjoy it thoroughly! I must admit I usuually go for more gritty and angst laden stories, but this was not a light weight adventure once I read it all. It barrels along and then wham reality is there waiting. I laughed a Luigi's innocence when it came to language especially the Australian slag. There was a book written about that very thing called "They're a weird mob" which follows the trials of a newly arrived Italian migrant and his introduction to Australian life. The narrator is a bricklayer, so it's very very slang speech, as most middle to upper classes here try to sound "English" All in all I enjoyed a well written story. Thanks for the recommendation.