If you lived anywhere near the Northern California region, you probably tried to stay cooped up inside all day Friday. Huge gusts, flooded streets, and power outages plagued the area. It was the storm of the year, just as the weathermen predicted. Against, my better judgment, I attempted to head to work in the morning, and practically died on the roadways.
Word of caution, when the CHP tells you to stay off the freeway when there are wind speeds up to 65 mpg, you should probably listen. But I brushed off the advice, and headed out and boy was I stupid. Not only did I hydroplane a couple of times, I witnessed more accidents and fallen trees than ever before. By time I got to work, all the workers were fleeing the building since the power had gone out in the offices. Just fantastic.
One hour later, after being stuck in traffic due to huge big-rig accidents and 1 massive fallen-tree detour I was home. The weather was just out of this world. I felt that I was living in Oklahoma, or Texas, not supposedly-sunny California. Wet and soggy was the best way to describe the day.
Going to the mall or doing any errands was out of the question, but since the internet and phone lines were down, I had to amuse myself for my entire free day. I figured that the best way to past the time was to bake something hearty and healthy, like this oatmeal breakfast bread. I figured that if the power went out again throughout the night, at least I’d have some good breakfast nibbles in the morning.
I changed up the recipe just a tad. I used sour cream instead of buttermilk, and increased the amount to a little more than ¼ cup. I also omitted the nut topping since I was out of nuts. Lastly, I didn’t notice until I was cleaning but dishes but I accidentally used only 2/3 cup of sugar instead of the ¾ cup. Since I used less sugar, I increased the amount of raisins to about 1 cup, that way it didn’t seem bland or tasteless.
After an hour baking, my kitchen smelled of cinnamon and raisins, and the windows were steamed and toasty. Just the way I like it. The bread came out just as I wanted it. Moist and soft inside with a crunchy, sweet crust. The raisins complemented the spicy mix of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. And I didn’t feel that sugar high of baked goods past, so no guilt here. The oatmeal mix makes it resolution-safe for all of you healthy nuts out there.
Next time you are stuck in a wild storm without internet and entertainment, baking is my recommended activity. Plus, the delicious treat at the end is an added bonus.
While the winds blew and rain pelted the streets, I curled up on my couch, watching old Sex in the City dvds (my power remained on but not the cable or internet) and noshed on the heartiest chunk of bread fresh out of the oven. Kind of like the olden days, right? Well, minus the 4 girls running around the streets of New York on my television, of course.
Oatmeal Breakfast Bread- makes 12 servings
From Baking: from my home to yours
For the topping:
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the bread:
- 2 large eggs
- 1 and ¼ cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- ¼ cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 1 and 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 and ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 5 loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put pan on a baking sheet.
- To make the topping: in a small bowl, using your fingers, toss together the sugar, nuts, and cinnamon until evenly mixed. Set aside.
- To make the bread: whisk the eggs, applesauce, oil, and buttermilk until well-blended.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Remove ½ teaspoon of the mix and toss it with the fruit, just to coat; set aside. Stir the oats into the bowl. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry, and using a large rubber spatula, stir just until everything is evenly moistened. This is the case in which less is more, so don’t overdo the mixing. Scatter the dried fruit over the batter and stir to blend. Scrape the batter into the pan and sprinkle over the topping, tamping it down very lightly with your fingers so it sticks.
5. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until the bread is beautifully browned and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the bread to a rack to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the aides of the pan and unmold. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.