Cool weather puts us in the mood to bake. So why not give a friend a head start? Layer the dry ingredients from step 1 (below) for this easy quick bread into a milk bottle or 1-quart mason jar. To fit, tamp each layer well (with chips and nuts on top). Then all that's left is to add the wet ingredients and bake.
We used craft paper adhered with double-stick tape to cover the original milk bottle graphics and the lid.
Add a label on the back of the bottle for the recipe instructions. The mix keeps for two to three months at room temperature.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Quick Bread
1. In a large bowl, mix the contents of this bottle: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips.
2. In a small bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 large eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter.
3. Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients just until evenly moistened (batter will be lumpy).
4. Scrape into a buttered and floured 9- by 5-inch loaf pan (with a 9-cup capacity), and bake in a 350° oven until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Looking for milk bottles?
We used bottles from milk we bought in an independent food market, which is a good source for milk from small, local dairies. If you don't have access to milk sold that way, or you're planning to make many of the bread gifts, you can use quart-size canning jars.