Basil Pesto Bread

Roo walked into the kitchen. “How long have you been in here?”

I looked up from the cutting board. “I don’t know,” I replied, “I’m kneading.”

“Why aren’t you using the stand mixer?”

I picked up the ball of dough and pressed it down against the cutting board. “Because I needed to clear my head.”

“This is how you clear your head?”

“Some people have moments of clarity in the shower-”

“My best ideas come from there.”

“I knead.”

Roo pulled out a chair from the kitchen table and sat. “Does this have anything to do with dinner at your parents’?”

I reopened the bag of flour sitting on the island and coated my hands.

“It’s 10 at night. And you just decided after an hour’s drive from your parents’ house to start making bread?”

“Nipples,” I muttered.

“Um, what?”

“There were so many nipples.”

“I don’t follow.”

“My mother,” I said, taking a breath, “she asked me edit a Powerpoint presentation for her breastfeeding class. And there were all these photos-”

“Of nipples?”

“Endless images of nipples. How to properly breastfeed – which is fine – but then there was a part about what could go wrong.”

“With your nipples?”

“Horrifying,” I said, leaning my weight onto the dough again.

“So -”

“I think I’m done obsessing about having children….those images set me back a good year or two.”

Roo pushed his chair out from the table and walked out of the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” I called.

“To see your mother,” Roo replied, “I need to give her a high-five.”

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Pumpkin, Molasses, Cranberry and Golden Raisin No Knead Toasting Bread

“I can’t believe you said that! Now I’m going to have to eat my feelings in peanut butter.”

“Sometimes I think you try to find things I say offensive, just so you can find an excuse to eat peanut butter.”

“……I can’t believe you said that! Now I’m going to have to eat my feelings in peanut butter!”

“Like I said.”

Roo may have a point, but I’ll never admit it.

Would you?

…Don’t answer that.

One of my favorite ways of eating peanut butter is standing by the kitchen cupboard and eating it out of the jar with a spoon.  I swear it tastes 10 times better this way.

I also love it on classics like toast.  Practically burnt toast with a dollop of peanut butter has been my breakfast for the majority of these bitterly cold mornings  (it’s 24F as I type).  This sticky, crunchy, lip smacking treat makes waking before sunrise almost bearable when paired with a hot cup of tea.

I said almost.

This past weekend I made a couple loaves of a recent favorite: pumpkin and molasses with dried cranberries and golden raisins.  It’s a great toasting bread, where the natural sugars from the pumpkin and molasses have this wonderful crunch; almost caramelized with an ever so slight, sticky chew.  It’s chock full of raisins and cranberries, but I love that the pumpkin still shines through.  Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger enhance the pumpkin’s warmth, but notes of caramel that can be tasted in the squash naturally make it a perfect partner to deep, lush molasses.

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