Happy Birthday, Nina

BY ALEX

So my friend Nina’s birthday was last week and I thought that since she is a foodie, and I am fairly broke at the minute, rather than hitting up the fancy kitchen gadget store I would make her a delicious snack. I wanted to choose something that would be doable for me but time-consuming enough that she may not take it on herself. Where do you think I went for inspiration? Pinterest, of course!

I decided on two different recipes: 5 minute prep tastes-like-restaurant bread and bread and butter pickles. While I had made bread before, this was the first time attempting this recipe. As far as the pickles go, I didn’t even know what pickling spices were two weeks ago.*

*Note: I would not recommend trying a new recipe as a gift. It can go very wrong and then you are stuck racing to Target at the last minute to buy some cute kitchen towels. (Luckily, this time it worked out for me.)

The bread was great. I followed the recipe to make wheat bread, taking away 3 cups of all purpose flour and substituting 3 cups whole wheat and 3 tablespoons molasses. I also had to use a bit more than the suggested 2 2/3 cups water to get the dough nice and wet. Check out the results.

And then the pickles turned out well, too! With these, I made a double batch to have extra for myself and Ashley to try. While I am usually a dill pickle fan, it was nice to mix it up with a sweeter and lighter flavor. This is the perfect pickle recipe if you are scared of canning (like me) because you don’t do any of that boiling-the-jars stuff. You just seal the jars tightly and they will keep in the refrigerator for weeks. They do have to be refrigerated after you make them, though, because there is no heat seal.

The results are so pretty through every step of the process.

I was very happy with how my gift for Nina turned out. And she was, too. I wrapped the bread in a flour sack kitchen towel and everything got packaged up in a big paper bag. I also included both of the recipe print-outs, though if I could do it again I would write them up on nice recipe cards. I think this is a nice touch in case gift recipients like what you made and want to try it for themselves.

Nina loved the gift and made everyone smell the bread over and over all night.

The bread did smell delicious and since I didn’t even get to try it before handing it off to Nina, I decided I should make another batch for Ashley and I to try ourselves. We went with white bread.

It tasted great! I finished baking it last night and it is nearly gone already. Not a good recipe for those of us on strict diets. This stuff is addictive.

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