Since moving out on my own, the little holiday traditions I would share with my family or friends have changed. The rituals I enjoyed are evolving and taking on new forms. I am learning to rediscover these holidays, to make them my own in a small way. When I was younger, I imagined how the holidays would change as I grew older with my own family, but this middle ground, where I am neither a child nor a grown adult, has proven an adventure. A good adventure, but an adventure all the same.
Usually these little holidays make for a good excuse to raid the candy aisle, I've found.
The Super Bowl was one of those small celebrations my family shared together. Even though none of us cared much for football (we were lucky to catch a single game in a year's time), we made a big deal out of it just the same, turning an ordinary Sunday into something a little special. My mother would make mini sausages and a large pot of chili, leaving them to simmer on the stove until the smell drove us to the kitchen brandishing bowls and spoons. The game would be on in the background, secondary to the time we spent with one another. It was a simple tradition we shared together, but it was one I looked forward to as each new year approached.
In trying to find my own way to celebrate the Super Bowl this year, I've already stashed half a loaf of this Bacon & Chive Beer Bread into the freezer to emerge on game day. Paired with a hearty chili, I believe this will make for a good start for my own tradition. I may not know who is playing, or who will entertain at the half-time show, but there is no way that chili-soaked beer bread could ever be a let-down.
Bacon & Chive Beer Bread is exceptionally simple to make, requiring only a bowl, spoon, and five minutes of your time. The bread is infused with bacon and chives, which elevates the classic beer bread to a new level. Melted butter is poured over the loaf before baking, which soaks deep into the bread and gives it a wonderfully buttery crust. I suggest using your favorite beer for the loaf because the flavor will be quite pronounced; that said, I would shy away from sweet or fruity beers because it would fight the saltiness of the rest of ingredients.
Yields 1 loaf
3 cups (380 grams) bread flour (all-purpose will work in a pinch)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
2-2 1/2 ounces (55-70 grams) cooked bacon, crumbled (about 15 thin slices)
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces (355 ml) beer (choose your favorite!)
1/4 cup (57 grams) butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, chopped chives, salt, and crumbled bacon. Pour in beer and mix until just incorporated. Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan. Pour melted butter over the top of the dough.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is browned. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.