On Baking Bread

Anne and I didn’t get engaged with rings. Instead, we exchanged meaningful gifts with one another so that we could choose our rings together. I gave Anne a genealogy chart of both of our families dating back to the mid-1800s, and Anne gave me a KitchenAid stand mixer–a symbol of ingredients mixing and coming together to form something greater than themselves.

(Here’s me and “Pistachio.”)

Over the weekend, I decided to give my new dough hook a try. I’ve always wanted to bake bread from scratch, and what better time than now? The KitchenAid came with a booklet of staple recipes, this being one of them. I gathered the few ingredients and set out on a bread making quest. Our apartment smelled like a bakery, and I can officially say that I am “hooked” on baking bread. The loaves are soft and moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. Brushing the pans and top of the dough with olive oil gives the baked bread a hint of an olive taste. You might as well be sitting in a restaurant in an Italian piazza.

Rapid Mix Cool Rise White Bread (via KitchenAid)

Active time: 25 minutes | Bake time: 40 minutes | Yields: 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups very warm water (120°F to 130°F)

Place 5 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and butter in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 20 seconds. Gradually, add warm water and mix about 1 1/2 minutes longer.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and a towel [or blanket]. Let rest 20 minutes.

Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll each half into a rectangle, approximately 9 x 14 inches. Starting at a short end, roll the dough tightly. Pinch to seal the seam. Pinch the ends and turn them under. Place the dough, seam side down, in two greased loaf pans. Brush each loaf with olive oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 to 12 hours.

When ready to bake, uncover dough carefully. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Puncture any gas bubbles which may have formed. Bake at 400°F for 35 to 40 minutes until golden. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

from Scissors & Sage

(Fresh and steamy out of the oven)

These ingredients certainly did create something greater than their individual selves. They reacted to one another and the elements surrounding them, changing their chemical makeup to grow and expand into something delicious.

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Moroccan Chickpea Soup

I don’t think that I’ve mentioned this on Scissors & Sage before, but beyond my work as a music therapist, I’m also part-time at a home and garden store outside of Philly called terrain. I was hired as a seasonal nursery associate, and have been really enjoying my time there.

Over the weekend, terrain had its holiday open house–a huge event that kicks of the season with festivities for all. I decided to enter myself into the employee soup competition with an original recipe for Moroccan chickpea soup. Although it didn’t win, I do think that it’s worth sharing here. Many people enjoyed it for its spicy kick and flavorful ingredients. It’s a recipe that I know I’ll come back to several times this winter.

It’s worth noting that this recipe happens to be vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. Perfect for most any food restriction! I hope that you enjoy it, and that it warms your bones. It just got really cold in Philly.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Moroccan Chickpea Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour | Yields: 4 quarts

Ingredients:

  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup liquid from a can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground coriander
  • 64 oz vegetable broth
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and garlic, and sauté until cooked. Add spices and toast, stirring continuously. Deglaze using one cup of vegetable broth.

Add carrots and potatoes, and cook for five minutes. Add liquid from the chickpea can, and cook for five additional minutes.

Add diced tomatoes and cook for five minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add remaining vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cover for 15 minutes.

Add chickpeas and lemon zest, and simmer for a final 5-10 minutes. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to five days.

From Scissors & Sage 

Spooky Sinner Cider Cocktail

This post comes courtesy of Anne Kenealy, Scissors & Sage’s number one fan and frequent behind-the-scenes editor. This isn’t her first post on the blog, although her last how-to was much more technical than the cocktail recipe that follows. She’s made this drink for many a guest, and everyone always seems to enjoy it. Make it at your next gathering, and it’ll be a crowd-pleaser!

From Anne: Every autumn around apple-picking season, this cocktail returns to our regular rotation here at the international headquarters of Scissors & Sage. Its sweet-tart zing makes it an almost irresistible tonic when the weather begins to cool, and it’s great in big batches for Halloween (hence its name) or Thanksgiving.

Non-alcoholic ginger beer has been a favorite cocktail mixer of ours since Moscow mules came back into vogue. Its snappy heat and carbonation allow it to blend well with neutral liquors like vodka and to balance stronger, smokier whiskeys. When we mixed it with fresh apple cider, the sweetness of the cider was cut by the spice of the ginger, and we knew we’d found a perfect match.

Spooky Sinner Cider Cocktail

Ingredients for two cocktails:

  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 6 oz. fresh apple cider
  • 4 oz. ginger beer (We use the non-alcoholic Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew.)
  • Two handfuls of ice
  • Two thin slices of apple (for garnish)

Add a handful of ice to a rocks glass and slip a slice of apple down the side of the glass, so that it’ll be visible when the drink is poured. Add 1.5 oz. vodka and 3 oz. apple cider. Top with 2 oz. ginger beer and stir to mix.

From Scissors & Sage 

Enjoy!

ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ANNE KENEALY

Olive Oil & Sea Salt Brookies

There’s a new brookie on the block, and I can’t say that I mind. They’re some of the most delicious cookies ever (although what cookie isn’t delicious?), that I’d recommend you drop whatever you’re doing to bake them. The fudgy, gooey inside earns them brownie points, but it’s the crunchier outside that deems them cookies. Hence: brookies. (See my last brookies here.)

This recipe comes straight from Katie at Butterlust. Her blog has a really wonderful array of sweet treats recipes. Go check her out!

Olive Oil & Sea Salt Brookies (via Butterlust)

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 10 minutes per batch | Yields: 42 brookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Using an electric mixer, combine olive oil and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix well between each one. Next, add the flour, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Beat until the batter thickens, 3-4 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine hot water and baking soda and mix until dissolved. Add this, and the vanilla, to the batter. Beat until fully incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips using a spatula. Cover and refrigerate the batter for 30+ minutes (or overnight).

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a spring-loaded scooper to form solid mounds of batter, leaving 2 inches between each. Sprinkle with sea salt, and place in the oven. Be sure to refrigerate the batter between batches.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges set. Let cool completely before transferring to a wire rack. Store brookies in an air-tight container for 3-5 days.

From Scissors & Sage

Cozy Fall Favorites

I’ve always said that fall is my favorite season, but it wasn’t until this past week that I pinpointed exactly why it’s my favorite season. For starters, I love the transition from long, hot summer days to slightly shorter, crisper fall days. Trees begin to change, and these vibrant colors are some of the best out there.

Fall is the season where we start our migration back into our homes after going out and being explorers for the summer–explorers in our gardens, towns, cities. We quiet ourselves as we embrace this change, and learn from nature just how beautiful a time of transition can really be. We indulge in simple pleasures, and refocus on what’s important. It’s our chance to turn over a new leaf.

When I write posts like this one, I tend to look outward for inspiration. This week, I thought I’d look inward. Scissors & Sage is two years old now, and I have a lot of really fun blog posts to show for my time here! Below, you’ll find a few of my favorite projects and recipes that embrace fall in all its cozy glory.

Nothing says fall like this trio: hot tea, ceramic mug, and knit coaster. Coziness is just oozing out of this picture! Learn to knit this coaster here. It’d make a beautiful gift set.

Looking to knit something wearable, instead? This cowl is a quick project with big results–perfect for fall layering.

It’s now okay to turn the oven back on. Wahoo! These mile-high coffee cake muffins are a real crowd-pleaser, and will provide a nice transition back into baking again.

Snuggle up with one of these homemade soy wax candles. They’re perfect for any room of your home.

Believe it or not, Halloween season is almost upon us. These spooky chocolate cake doughnuts are festive and pretty tasty.

It’s a perfect time to check-in with your recipe box. Mine, from Rifle Paper Co., fills me with a lot of joy. Start simmering those stews, people!

Let fall colors guide your crafting this season. These DIY leaf flowers make a beautiful centerpiece, and are a definite conversation-starter.

Felt is a great crafting material for cooler months. I made this two-pocket cell phone sleeve using gift packaging from Madewell!

There are a few more things on my mind this week:

  1. I recently discovered a company called Parachute. Have you heard of them? Their website and blog focuses on all-things sleeping. From selling luxurious bedding hand-crafted in Italy, to blogging about how to choose the right pillow, they’ve got it covered. And they cover it well.
  2. It’s time to try something new. I’ve got a few new crafting techniques and projects I’m interested in testing out soon, and I’m really excited about them. Our new apartment is the perfect blank canvas! Are you hoping to start a certain project soon?
  3. I don’t usually drink caffeine, but settling into a good book or knitting project with a chai tea latte sounds pretty excellent right about now. My favorite is Oregon Chai’s powdered mix.

What are you doing to get ready for fall? Are you excited, or are you already missing summer?