Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chewy Whole Wheat Molasses Cookies


Given of the appearance of these warm, spicy cookies you might assume that I love fall, and I am eagerly anticipating crisp mornings, changing leaves, and the beginning of school. However, while these cookies would not be out-of-place nestled beside a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a juice squeeze box, I have to make a confession.

I hate fall.


Fall is the season that people who don't really like to be outside claim to love. They don't love summer, because it is virtually a crime against nature to hide from the outdoors in the air conditioning when the warm air is like a welcoming, sunny embrace and the sky makes a better ceiling for your world than any house.

They don't like winter because of the bitter chill that even cuts you when you turn the heat up (and truthfully, I don't know how ANYONE really likes winter, unless they ski...Christmas was invented to make winter palatable). 

They don't like the hesitating, joyous toddler-like steps of nature in the spring, yearning for new life...this again demands you come outside...so people who hide from the outdoors say they like fall by default.


Admittedly, the nicer days of fall can be quite memorable.  And I love the smell of fall.  (Alas, the smell of burning leaves are a distant memory because they are illegal fire hazards, much like the satisfying clinks of closing a metal lunchbox, which are now banned because they can be used as deadly weapons).  But nice fall days can be counted on your fingers and most of fall usually alternates between soggy cold damp evenings when it's too warm to turn on the heat and too cold to go sleeveless...and warm afternoons that taunt you with the dying promise of summer.
Flickr: staciecmorris

Fall for me is a season where there is a chasm between the real and the ideal. I am a summer girl: I like the confidence of good weather, running outside, and the fact that the heat and beauty of nature pushes me to take new risks with my body and life. Summer commands your attention and challenges you, fall encourages you to hibernate, and the dreary weather provides you with constant excuses not to move forward...

The difference between the real and the ideal is also manifest in the promise of school, which also begins around this time. I'm old enough so that I was able to pick my own garish school supplies, and didn't go with my mother to K-Mart armed with a list written by a Monk-like superintendent of wet wipes and mandatory black notebooks.  I loved buying a yellow Snoopy lunchbox, glitter pencils, a Trapper Keeper with a horse on it, and a Garfield notebook.  But by October, the Keeper was a snarl of half-done homework and I was once again reading unassigned Judy Blume books behind my math textbooks, paying no attention to the teacher in front of the chalkboard.
Flickr: Zellaby

I remember I was one of two kids who could read when she was in the first grade, and my teacher would give me thick collections of stories to read and give reports on--I would read the book in an evening (the texts were far below my level) and my teacher never believed that I could read that fast and still put addition marks on the wrong side of equations. If I was a school, my motto would be: "Disappointing and confusing people for 37 years and counting."  I wonder how you say that in Latin?

Fall in my area is also hurricane season, and I am not-so-eagerly anticipating the coming of Hurricane Irene as I write this.

While your oven still works, make these and give them to your children in their safe, approved soft nylon lunch sacks.  They don't contain nuts, and they are made with whole wheat flour and are relatively low in sugar. Or serve them as an after-school snack.  Please, don't serve your kids creamed spinach like my mother used to when I came home from school, or cut-up carrots and celery. That makes the fall even worse.

Chewy Whole Wheat Molasses Cookies

yields approximately 28-30 cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon allspice)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or paprika
1/4 teaspoon table salt

12 tablespoons soft unsalted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown or white sugar for topping

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Sift flour, baking soda, spices, and salt
3. Cream butter and sugar together, add egg yolk, molasses, and vanilla. When well-incorporated, scoop flour mixture into the wet ingredients
4. Scoop batter into 1-tablespoon servings, roll in a bowl filled with the additional sugar
5. Leave as 'balls' (no need to flatten) and bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through.  Cookies will be soft.  Do not overbake. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets, then remove.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

(Don't) Hit the Road Jack Monterey Jack Cheese Quick Bread

Emily Dickinson may have died for beauty, but it's said that my paternal grandfather died for cheese.

According to my father, when he was growing up it wasn't unusual to have pastito (a kind of Greek lasagna with white sauce, cheese, nutmeg, and ground lamb) AND cheese pies for dinner.  The doctor told my grandfather: "if you don't stop eating cheese you're going to die" and my grandfather John did die of a heart attack.  According to my father, his own cholesterol was in the 400s when he was a young man.  That can't be right, can it?  I mean, the numbers don't go that high.

Flickr: psalakanthos


As a very little girl, I don't remember engaging in many EX-Treme cheese indulgences. As an adolescent, however, I grew up in the late 80s/early 90s. If the 'naughts' are the era of bacon, the previous era was clearly the Age of Cheese, and I am old enough to remember when there was only one flavor of Doritos (the coolest salty snack to have in your lunch) and to have heralded in the era where cheesing it away with pizza-flavored Combos was one's birthright as an American.  And cheese fries. With double cheeseburger or cheese-topped hot dogs.

Flickr: Pahz

The deep-fried mozzarella sticks I consumed at NJ diners are likely still lodged in my digestion system, somewhere.

My adult relationship with cheese as been somewhat manic-depressive, alternating between total absorption and total abstention. When I was living in the UK, I had a particular fondness for the jacket potatoes sold by street carts .

My favorite potato dealer, er, vendor was located in Convent Garden. He had a coal-fired oven that would leave the potatoes scorched on the outside yet the interior was always soft and creamy, with the very center of the potato almost like a mash.  I would usually order it topped with Cheddar. The cheese was tossed on unmelted, but the heat of the potato would quickly soften it to the perfect consistency--pliant but not rubbery.
Flickr: tomylees

"These are the best potatoes," I told everyone until one day I noticed why the cheese was so creamy...

In addition to the shredded cheese, there was also a large clump of butter melting beside the cheese.  Butter.  Cheese.  Butter.  Cheese.  Like the buttery goodness of every cheese sandwich squared several thousand times and stuffed into one perfectly cooked potato.  I had to shift to Shapers diet lunches from Boots, the popular English pharmacy.  Part of me wished I never learned The Secret.



Flickr: ben p







In the interests of lightening up cheesiness, here is a tasty, whole-wheat bread that is kind of a 'Son of' my last post about cheese bread. It's made with olive oil, whole wheat, and skim milk, and if you really wanted to, you could use low-fat Monterey Jack cheese (although I used the full fat variety). It would be great paired with a nice spicy, Southwestern salad. Unless you're like my mother, who used to order a tough steak from the American menu in Mexican restaurants and look with horror even at my extremely unspicy choice of chicken enchiladas.


Monterey Jack Cheese Quick Bread

Look at all of those cheesy, oozing hunks of yumminess!


Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch of salt (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
1 pinch of black pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil (with extra oil to grease the pan)
1 cup skim milk
1 beaten egg
4 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese, cut into cubes

Optional

I didn't use them this time, but 1/2 cup diced jalapeno peppers or sun-dried tomatoes would compliment this bread well.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Oil a 9x5 or 8x4 pan.
2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper
3. Mix together the oil, milk, and egg, fold into the dry ingredients.
4. Slowly add the cubes of cheese (and other add-ins, if you are using them) to the batter.
5. Bake for 45 minutes.  Cool for 5-10 minutes, remove from pan. Cool for another hour before cutting. Best served the day it is made

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's the cheesiest (Whole Wheat Three-Cheese Quick Bread)

I always get kind of annoyed when people try to label themselves.

Personally, I think that labeling is a an excuse more than a useful description.  Like people who say: "I can't help it, I was born late," to excuse the fact that they keep their friends waiting for 40 minutes. I'm sorry, but unless you're Judy Garland, epic lateness is rude, not a cute, bohemian quirk.


Even positive self-labeling can be pretty limiting: "I'm a braniac" or "I'm a perfectionist" can be a way of staying in your comfort zone, and cutting yourself too much slack about trying something new that doesn't use your over-developed verbal skills or might force you to take a messy but potentially life-altering risk.

I know so many people who are excellent cooks who won't even attempt to turn overripe bananas into a bread.  "I'm a great cook, but I am not a baker."

One woman I know insists that she doesn't bake because her late dog Eddie hated the rattling sound of her oven heating up.  So Susan honed her grilling abilities over the years, and proudly proclaims she even grills in the winter, regardless of the temperature. In flip-flops.

In terms of stereotype-busting, I am delighted to know a woman like Susan who does not feebly hand over the grilling fork to her husband while she shrinks away from the flame and makes a salad indoors. But surely, Eddie would have grown less sensitive to the noise of the oven over time?  Or maybe he just liked the meat Susan made on her grill and learned that if he growled and barked at the oven, he was more likely to get grilled meat than dog food?

I may be giving too much credit to canine intelligence. Then again, another friend of mine has a dog, a little fluffy white and black dog named Oreo, who was being terrorized by the dachshund of my friend's new housemate. Gentle little Oreo seemed no match for bossy little Fritzie.  Until my friend came home from work to find all of the dog toys in the house in a pile on her bed with Oreo sitting beside them. The dachshund, too short to jump up, was sitting in misery at the bottom of the bed in a crazed, exhausted heap.  "How could a nice little Oreo like you thwart my beautiful wickedness!" whimpered the dachshund as he bemoaned how his favorite squeaky toy was so near...yet so far. Supposedly, dogs are incapable of plotting and manipulation, but I wonder...

There is another explanation besides Eddie for Susan's Fear of Baking. Some people have a vendetta against sugar.

My mother, for example, raised me so that at sixteen I still had no idea that you could make cookies, cakes, brownies or even pancakes WITHOUT using a mix.  A friend of mine came to the house and asked for sugar in her tea.  We had no sugar. Sugar in my mother's eyes was White Death and later I joked that she'd probably rather I come home with white, powdery crack cocaine on my nose than refined sugar on my lips.  (Never mind the fact that we had a pantry with Special K, Miracle Whip, ketchup, commercial Worcestershire sauce, and bottled salad dressing, all of which are filled with high-fructose corn syrup).

Once, I asked for a box of sugar to feed to some horses I often saw by the side of the road in a paddock. My mother relented, but after discovering ME eating the cubes of sugar FROM THE BOX in secret, her expression was so horrified at my vice even I was revolted by my compulsion.  The cool explosion of sweetness against my tongue was so nice, though....

Arguments against sugar aside, that's no excuse not to bake. Not everyone likes sweet things, but the 'savory' side of the baking world--breads, crackers, rolls, scones, focaccia--are just as tasty in their own right. And in baking's defense, no matter what, you're always more assured of being able to find a recipe with less sugar in it compared with the pre-fab stuff you'll find on most shelves.

So Susan, this is a great savory quick bread--no yeast, no proofing involved--and it's totally sugar-free.  Just glorious cheese, cheese, and more cheese.  It's dump and stir, no fancy ingredients, and it's pure comfort food. Cut a hunk off of this bread and curl up in bed with a good book and ignore everything and anyone that might want to spoil your bliss.

Whole Wheat Three-Cheese Quick Bread

Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe


Ingredients

1 cup finely grated Parmesan Romano cheese blend (use real grated cheese, the kind you get in your deli or supermarket 'cheese section' or grate your own)

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/4 cups  milk (whole milk was suggested in the original recipe, but I used skim)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 large beaten  egg
3/4 cup sour cream (I used full fat)

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese cut into cubes (or torn into pieces, if using sliced cheese--regardless, use real, not processed cheese, and the highest-quality you can find or afford)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter the crap outta that pan (this isn't a sweet recipe, so I can curse). Sprinkle half of the grated cheese mixture into the pan.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.

3. Mix the milk, butter, egg, and sour cream together in a separate bowl.

4. Incorporate the wet and dry mixtures.  Fold in the hunks of cheddar cheese.  Pour into the prepared pan and top with the remaining grated cheese mixture.

5. Bake for 45-50 minutes.  Cool for at least an hour before removing and slicing (the bread was still warm after two hours when I made this).

Monday, August 8, 2011

Zucchini carpaccio with avocado

Recently, in a yoga class I did a sequence of poses designed to heal the practitioner of gout. I've never suffered gout (nor were there any sufferers in the class, it was mainly designed as a 'detoxifying' thing) but given that my main areas of interest in English literature are 19th century Victorian novels and Shakespeare, I've read about quite a few sufferers of gout. 


Apparently, gout has become trendy in the 21st century, given that more and more people are able to eat like Falstaff and the sort of characters in Dickens who used to box orphans' ears, send the children off to the poorhouse with pots of gruel, and stuff themselves with tasty roasts, followed by sweets and aperitifs.

 This is rather impressive in the eyes of anyone who has ever read a multi-course Victorian Era menus. Although their portion sizes were likely far smaller than ours, it's hard not to gasp at the sheer volume of meat and cream consumed by the very rich, and the terror of vegetables, which were boiled for hours into feeble submission.  Apparently, fast food has fast-forwarded our bodies back to sweetmeats, butter and sugar on toast, and ale.

Eating habits clearly change from era to era--I remember as a wee, tubby child going to the best local pizza parlor in my area and ordering a pepperoni pizza with my mother and father--and THEN because it was 'bad' not to eat a vegetable, getting an antipasto with said pizza. Yes, there were a few squiggles of lettuce with the salami, provolone, ham, and olives, but basically it was a pre-meat and cheese course before meat and cheese.  I can't imagine eating that much, or that way today.
Flickr: freakgirl

The recipe for today--zucchini carapaccio--is more of a composed salad. Its name suggests that it is a kind of vegetarian version of traditional meat-based raw carpaccio, but I'm not going to lie to you and say that the zucchini is the new pepperoni and pistachios are the new bacon. Perhaps it's the fish getting to my brain, but I'm getting less and less enchanted with the concept of 'fake meat' in general (I don't consider tofu and seitan fake meats, just their 'own thing' since they are sometimes served WITH meat).  Few wake-up calls have come online, but the one thing I have changed my mind about came as a result of an Internet argument. One poster listed the ingredients in a fake chicken veggie burger, which were just as long and incomprehensible as those of processed chicken nuggets.

So just enjoy this salad for what it is.The original recipe suggests serving this as an appetizer, but personally I think the salad is too wet (particularly the avocados) to use as finger food. I'd suggest it for a light lunch salad or perhaps a dinner salad with some nice, flaked tuna in olive oil or garbanzo beans for a totally vegan version. I've also adjusted the seasoning and the portioning a bit from the original to suit my tastes.  Hopefully the great Patricia Wells will treat me more kindly than the schoolmaster did his charges in David Copperfield, or Mr. Bumble did poor Oliver in Oliver Twist.


Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado

Ingredients

1 large or 2 small zucchini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
1 peeled and sliced ripe avocado
1/4 cup salted pistachio nuts
4 springs thyme
1 pinch of salt
Zest of one lemon
Added oil and/or white balsamic vinegar to taste

Procedure

1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise in thin strips.  Marinate in a shallow dish with the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and salt for 30 minutes-1 hour
2. Alternate the slices of zucchini with the avocado. Top with the pistachios and crumbled thyme.
3. Mix the additional salt and lemon together, sprinkle on the salad. Add additional oil and vinegar if desired.  (I 'finished' it with about a tablespoon of extra white balsamic).



Saturday, August 6, 2011

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts: Whole Wheat Lemon Olive Oil Bread

Food and furniture share two striking similarities: when you need them, nothing is more welcome.  However, when you don't want them, nothing is more abhorrent.

When I'm experiencing a blood sugar meltdown and I wander into a convenience store and see a bag of salted cashews for sale--in other words, snack food that is satiating and doesn't contain lots of sugar and weird ingredients--it is like manna from heaven in my eyes.  Conversely,  when I am on a train and the person in the seat beside me whips out two pizza slices to slurp down, I find myself wondering: "do I attract people who order extra garlic?"  and "how is it possible to eat only two chairs away from a public restroom?"

A number of years ago, when I was away, my father showed up on my mother's doorstep with a full bedroom and dining set in a van. My stepmother was getting new furniture and my father "didn't want to let the old things go to waste because they were perfectly good."  The idea that the least 'wasteful' thing to do would be to keep the furniture didn't seem to occur to anyone. My mother, careful as always not to vex her ex-husband, accepted the offer.

The bed was enormous. It was so large it filled the entire expanse of the largest bedroom in our home. It was clearly made for a much larger and extravagant home.  Perhaps in some 1970s Austin Powers-style film having a bed as large as an entire room looks cool and swingin.' But since this bed had a fluffy dust ruffle and a headboard, the effect was more 'my furniture ate your room' than Goldfinger.

Why do I speak in the past tense?  It is still sitting in that room, in the house that passed from my mother to myself...

The black lacquer dining set started attracting dust literally as soon as it touched down in the dining room, and clashed so hideously with the carpet that when I was getting replacement windows several years ago the CONSTRUCTION dude asked me: "what were you thinking when you got that set?"  When a guy wearing flannel, a hammer, and a camouflage jacket filled with lottery scratch-off tickets is horrified by the aesthetic sensibility of a piece of furniture, you know it's bad.

Hopefully, tomorrow, after many years, I will have found an organization to take this furniture, so it can find its home in the charmingly decaying Miss Havisham-like mansion it deserves as its final resting place.

However, I really can't blame my father and mother entirely for giving it to us, since my father seems to have a strange compulsion to collect.  A few years ago he was getting a moldy shower door replaced, and asked me if I would like it to replace my perfectly functional door with his cast-off door. He also asks me if I would like his old National Geographics, a magazine he perplexingly subscribes to but never reads.

His work station is filled with the most cutting-edge electronic gear--all of which he understands and can install with ease, I should add, and he's put in a number of grounding devices and installed electric plugs in my home.  But he also has some odd, wood-paneled devices from the 1970s he can't bear to throw away.

My father isn't a 'hoarder'--everything is clean, dusted, and perfectly organized--all of his bills, instruction manuals, and car wash detergent and termite killer from 1963 in the garage. When he runs out of organizational space, he tries to move the stuff on to others--my mom, when she was alive. Since my mother was also incapable of throwing out anything--we had three non-working computers set up that could run Word Perfect and one dot matrix computer in the house when she passed away, I would always shudder a bit whenever my father began a sentence with the words...."do you want...."

I suppose I should admire my parent's thrift a bit more. And I hasten to add, I do agree 'they don't build 'em like they used do.'  The water heater in my home lasted 20 years, the old stove lasted even longer.  The washing machine died when it was 32.

However, it is very easy to become trapped in old ways, trapped by possessions, and trapped by the sheer magnitude of stuff when you cling too much to things.

In honor of my Greek father, here is some olive oil and lemon bread, a very Mediterranean combination.  It's tasty and it will go quickly.  When I gave it to my father he said he was worried he wouldn't finish it and it would go to waste. It's gone by now, but the tube of Pillsbury dough from 2001 remains in his storage freezer.

Whole Wheat Lemon Olive Oil Bread


Ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large beaten eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil (additional oil for greasing pan)
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup walnuts


Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9X5 loaf pan with oil

2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together


3. Combine the eggs, milk, and oil. Zest in the lemon. Fold in the dry mixture, then add the walnuts after lightly flouring the nuts to prevent 'sinkage.'

3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes





Monday, August 1, 2011

Prize-Winning Whole Wheat Pumpkin Crumb Bread

The guy who runs my NCAA basketball 'pool' is an alumni of the University of Kentucky, and he likes to point out that his school only hangs the titles of its winning banners from the tournament. By his logic, if you're not number one, you are second best. And I can understand that sentiment.  Because nothing feels worse than 'winning' a crummy little ribbon that honors your participation in a sporting event. Those little ribbons just scream: "you're such a loser we don't even think you can take losing like a champion, so we're giving you this bookmark ribbon to assuage your fragile little ego." As the recipient of many such ribbons, I know what I'm talking about.

I've won a few small academic scholarships in my life, first prize in a magazine poetry contest when I was thirteen, some Broadway tickets in an Internet competition, but I wouldn't describe myself as particularly skilled or lucky.  I've had some good luck at local fairs--as a kid I won some of those medium-sized stuffed animals by putting my coin (back then it was a quarter or a dime) on the right number, name, or letter.  But the best thing I ever won wasn't for myself.

I was seventeen and it was the last time I would attend my local fair before leaving for college. It was also the last day of the fair, so many of the booths had pretty poor pickings when it came to prizes--I put a coin, without thinking, on the table of a booth that was showcasing t-shirts for sports teams.  The ticker of the wheel spun wildly, then slowed and slowed...

"I won," I said, not even caring that I didn't see the names of any of my favorite teams on the shirts. I picked a Duke basketball t-shirt, because a friend of mine loved the team, and that was better, I thought, than selecting the shirt of a rival of one of the teams I did root for (even then, when I cared much less about sports, I wasn't going to pick a Red Sox or Mets shirt).

Like most New Jersey teens of that era, my friend and I naturally gravitated to the Inkwell after the fair.  The Inkwell is a coffee shop located by the Jersey shore that used to sell mugs of oddly sweet and spicy yet weak coffee festooned with piles of real whipped cream.

Its main attractions were that it was so dingy and unsanitary no adult would ever set foot in it, and it was open all night.  I saw my friend, the Duke fan, on her way out, as I was walking in.  She told me that her father had died, after a long struggle with lung cancer.

I knew of course, immediately why I had won the shirt and gave it to her.  It obviously isn't a traditional thing to give to someone who has experienced a loss, but it felt right--especially since her father was a teacher and a coach, a limber and athletic man, the kind of dedicated and generous coach who could actually do the things he asked his team to do on the field himself. (Today, incidentally, is the anniversary of his passing).

So you understand why I love fairs, and when the Monmouth County Fair had a baking competition this year, I just had to enter.  I won third place in the 'quick bread' category for this entry.  I guess that makes me the 'second best loser' according to University of Kentucky logic.

But if that cute little bunny is second-best of the bunnies, I don't want to be first!

I feel that to call this 'prize-winning' pumpkin bread, it should have some secret ingredients, like ketchup or ginger ale.  But it doesn't.  It's just good bread, and sometimes that is enough.


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Crumb Bread



Ingredients

Topping
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Bread
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
4 large beaten eggs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
15 ounce canned pumpkin (1 small-sized standard can)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8 or 9-inch loaf pans
2. Mix the ingredients together for the topping until crumbly, set aside
3. For the bread, sift the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and sugars together
4. Mix the eggs, melted butter, pumpkin, water, and vanilla extract together
5. Slowly spoon the dry ingredients into the wet, until fully incorporated
6. Lightly flour the walnuts and cranberries to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the bread
7. Fold in the dried fruit and nuts
8. Pour the batter into the two loaf pans, top with the crumble mixture (there may be some left over)
9. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick can be extracted, clean. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from loaf pan and transferring to a cooling rack.