I’m still in my weird, just-finished-a-book mood/funk/blues/feelings-thingy, so I’m taking the standard Rx in the form of small but doable projects that provide an experience of Easy Success…plus chocolate. This is my tried and true medicine for What Ails Me and it always works (or at least distracts me until I Get On With It). So, as Exhibit A, I offer last night’s adventure for your amusement:
I was sitting on the couch, feeling discontented, (“What are you doing?” “I’m experience malaise.” “Ah.”), when my eye fell on the white box on the top of the hutch. “That’s it,” I announced. “I’m getting down the bread machine.”
“We have a bread machine?” said Luc.
“Yes, it’s that white box on top of the hutch.”
“What white box?”
The kids have been seeing “that white box” sitting up on the hutch their entire lives, so, of course, they couldn’t see it at all. “Oh that thing,” Luc said when I finally got up and pointed at it. “I thought it was part of the house.”
I had to stand on a chair to get it down. It had literally a decade’s worth of dust on the top:
(Angry “wash me” face courtesy of Sophie.)
I purchased this bread machine at a yard sale maybe fifteen (twenty?) years ago. I did make bread with it back then, in our old house—I had even left my favorite recipe on a piece of paper curled inside, like a message in a bottle (see below for recipe)—but I haven’t touched it, not once, not since the babies were born. In fact, it’s been so long since I used the thing that when I was trying to figure out how it worked way back when I first got it (sans instructions), I didn’t look it up on the internet because back then you didn’t do that. The internet just…wasn’t the internet yet. We’re talking that long ago. Like, the Pleistocene.
But dang if it didn’t work perfectly on the first go. (After a thorough cleaning. Cough.)
You might think that pretty loaf of bread is whole wheat bread. But you would be mistaken.
It’s chocolate bread! Because remember the Rx is one part <short term, easily met goals> mixed with one part <CHOCOLATE>.
And how do we yurt people eat chocolate bread?
We put Nutella on top. OF COURSE. And rainbow sprinkles. And we drink chocolate milk with it. Natch.
Because if you can live in paradise, why live anywhere else?
Chocolate Bread Recipe:
1 1/4 cup milk
3 cups bread flour (NOT all purpose or it won’t rise as well)
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
1 t salt
1 1/2 fast rising yeast
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat the milk to around 80 degrees and put it in. Next the sugar and the salt, then the flour. Make a well in the top of the flour for the yeast. Cut the butter into chunks and put them in the corners. Don’t add the chips yet. 1.5 lb loaf, light crust, basic white bread setting.
Fire it up. Scrape the sides a bit with a rubber spatula at first to get everything incorporated. Check the dough ball at the 2:30 mark to either add a bit of water or flour, depending on what it needs to get the right consistency.
Add the chips in when it gives the Mix-in signal. The dough will be warm enough to melt the chips. If you’d rather have chocolate chip bread, wait until the very end of the 2nd knead to put them in or they will melt. You can help them last if you freeze the chips first.
I recommend going for a run while the machine does its thing because it mitigates the guilt of eating the bread all up while it is still warm.
Don’t forget the nutella. Or straight up butter is pretty marvelous, too.
In other news, I have started the next book. Thank goodness.