Excursions in baking

I’ve been enjoying our new kitchen quite a bit lately. There is enough counter space to actually work and our new Kitchen Aid mixer makes a task that used to seem complicated and messy into a pretty simple exercise. I’ve also been striving to throw less cash at the grocery store. So when in need of yummies, I’ve found I have most of the ingredients here at home! I’ve ended up baking three times already this week.

I started with some soft ginger cookies. I took some to the church picnic and also to the office and they were quickly devoured. Next, I tried something a little more unusual with these nutmeg currant butter cookies.

All growing up I never made anything but chocolate chip. It was fun to try something off the beaten path. I even ground the nutmeg fresh from a “nut” (or possibly “meg”) instead of using the stuff from the jar. I did have to procure some currants though, which thankfully only cost me $1.00 for plenty of them at the Co-op. My wife consulted the dictionary and informed me that I had been pronouncing currant incorrectly. It’s not cerr-ONT, but rather a homonym to current (as in up-to-date) and also current (of the ocean or river variety). If you’ve never had them before, they are like miniature raisins, though with not as strong of flavour.

I thought they were pretty good, though not something I would like to have that often. My son has munched through quite a few of the crumbs, since I keep handing them to him instead of (less healthy?) M&Ms when he comes into the kitchen snooping for goodies. My daughter on the other hand declared the nutmeg to be “spicy” and promptly spit out the bite a gave her. Oh well! These went not-as-quickly at the office.

Finally, last night I baked bread again. This time I used freshly-ground hard red flour from my own childhood farm in Oregon. My mother bought a bag of it to me while visiting last week. The taste of the loaf was incredible, but I still haven’t found a good recipe for whole wheat. I tried so hard to avoid a dense loaf this time that I overdid the rising and wetness of the dough. It was really light and fluffy, but fell apart when trying to slice it. I’ll keep trying.