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Archive for the ‘Breads’ Category

Cheese Straws

cheese-straws

Difficulty: Easy

This is an adaptation from Giada and an easy addition to any meal. Whip ’em up in no time thanks to modern food advances, namely the dough. Thank you Pillsbury.

Ingredients
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 (11-ounce) container refrigerated breadstick dough
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with silicone baking sheets or parchment paper. Set the cheese mixture aside. Separate the dough strips. Using a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife, cut each dough strip in half lengthwise to form thin strips. Working with dough strip at a time, coat each strip with the cheese mixture, pressing very gently. Twist each cheese covered dough strip and place onto prepared baking sheets. Season with S &P.

Bake until the breadsticks are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the warm breadsticks to a basket and serve.

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Bride’s Biscuits

brides-biscuits

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

This recipe comes from Cook’s Country and is my answer when I need yummy, light and fluffy biscuits in a relatively short amount of time. They use yeast, baking soda and baking powder to guarantee a fluffy texture every time. “The use of three rising agents also explains why these biscuits are sometimes called “bride’s biscuits”, as even a novice cook (or a new bride) can make light and fluffy biscuits on the first attempt.

Makes 16

Ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
8 TBS shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
2 TBS butter, melted

Directions: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 200 degrees. Maintain temperature for 10 minutes, then turn off oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir buttermilk and yeast together until dissolved. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined. Add shortening and mix until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Slowly mix in buttermilk mixture until dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Fit mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until dough is shiny and smooth, about 2 minutes.

On lightly floured surface, knead dough briefly to form smooth ball. Roll dough into 10-inch circle, about 1/2-inch thick. Using 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (or drinking glass) dipped in flour, cut out rounds and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Gather remaining dough and pat into 1/2-inch-thick circle. Cut remaining biscuits and transfer to baking sheets. Cover dough with kitchen towels and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Remove baking sheets from oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Once oven is fully heated, remove kitchen towels and bake until biscuits are golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter. Serve.

Food Processor Method: In step 2, process flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until thoroughly mixed. Add shortening and pulse until only pea-sized pieces of shortening remain, about 6 one-second pulses. Add buttermilk mixture in steady stream and pulse until dough comes together, about 6 more pulses. (Dough will be very sticky.) Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead until shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. Continue recipe with rolling out dough as directed in step 3.

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Banana Muffins

Difficulty: Easy

Who doesn’t love banana bread? This recipe is pure banana, no yogurt, milk, or sour cream to dull the ripe flavor. For a ultra smooth batter I use my food processor to combine all of the ingredients. I don’t care for lumps of banana in my bread. For a twist try my sour cream glaze. Very yummy! It will moisten the tops of your muffins, so eat them fast and I wouldn’t recommend topping the bread with the glaze if you will store it for more than one day but a nice drizzle is just as nice. And this isn’t a healthy bread by any means!

Makes approximately 3 loaves (Or 2 loaves and 12 muffins)

Ingredients
4 large ripe bananas, pureed or mashed well
2 1/2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups chopped walnuts, optional

Directions: Grease and flour bread pans, place cupcake liners in muffin pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in medium saucepan or large microwave safe bowl and add the sugar, mix for a few minutes. Stir in eggs, vanilla and pureed bananas. (If using food processor, combine melted butter and sugar and pulse for 1 minute. Add eggs, vanilla and bananas. Pulse another minute.)

In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir into butter mixture or add to food processor bowl and pulse until combined. Stir in walnuts if using. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes for loaf pans and 12-15 minutes for muffins. You may need to use a cookie sheet underneath pans to ensure the bottoms don’t get too dark while baking. Unmold breads as soon as possible and let cool on a cake rack.

Sour Cream Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS milk
1/3 cup sour cream

Combine milk and powdered sugar, add sour cream and stir until smooth. Add more sour cream to taste if desired. (I don’t like to taste the powdered sugar, just the sweetness.) Spoon over cooled bread/muffins and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.

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The Ultimate French Toast

Difficulty: Moderate due to a few extra steps that are soooo worth it!

Want to make the best french toast ever? My husband considers himself¬†to turn out a mean toast, well, I kicked his trash with this recipe. As soon as he cut into it’s crispy outer crust and bit into the creamy center he declared it the best french toast ever. And it is. And you will never think of french toast the same way again. This requires a few more steps than the usual dip and griddle. A good weekend breakfast or special occasion meal.

It gets it crisp outer shell from sizzling in the oven with a bit of oil and has a caramelized, golden exterior thanks to a mixture of brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Heaven! The cooking method is from Cooks Country and I adapted the ingredients to suit our fancy. We love sourdough bread and I find it cuts down the sweetness of this recipe so your teeth aren’t aching.

Serves 4 (2 slices each)

Ingredients
8 slices good quality, thick sour dough bread or white bread
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 TBS vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake bread on rimmed baking sheet until dry, about 8 minutes per side. Let cool 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees.

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, milk, and vanilla until combined. Soak bread slices until just saturated but not soggy, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to wire rack and let drop off excess and repeat with remaining bread.

Pour oil onto rimmed baking sheet, turning sheet to coat. Transfer to oven and heat for 4 minutes. Using fork, combine brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon in small bowl until it resembles wet sand.

Arrange soaked bread on hot baking sheet and bake until golden brown on first side, about 10 minutes. Flip bread and sprinkle evenly with sugar mixture. (Pinch off pea-sized bits) Cook until sugar is deep brown and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Cool toast on wire rack for 2 minutes and serve immediately.

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Difficulty: Moderate (only because they are cinnamon rolls and the instructions are wordy but I think they are Easy, under one hour!)

From Cook’s Illustrated but I have altered the icing

1 TBS melted butter, for pan

Cinnamon-Sugar filling
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1 TBS melted butter

Biscuit Dough
2 1/2 cups flour, plus add’l for work surface
2 TBS sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 TBS melted butter

Icing
4 TBS cream cheese, softened
2-4 TBS buttermilk
2 cups powdered sugar
 
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 425 degrees. Pour 1 TBS melted butter into 9-inch nonstick cake pan or 8×8 glass pan, brush to coat pan.

To make cinnamon-sugar filling: Combine sugars, spices and salt in small bowl, add butter and stir with fork until mixture resembles wet sand. Set aside.

To make biscuit dough: Whisk dry ingredients together in large bowl, whisk buttermilk and 2 TBS of the melted butter in measuring cup or small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir until just combined, dough will look very shaggy. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter top and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy.

Pat dough with hands into approximate 12×9 inch rectangle. Brush dough with 2 TBS melted butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar filling, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Press filling into dough. Loosen dough with fingers or bench scraper from counter and roll dough, starting at the long side, pressing lightly to form a tight log. Pinch seam to seal. Cut evenly into 8-9 pieces, pinch bottom of roll with fingers to seal and keep filling in place. Place in pan. Brush remaining 2 TBS melted butter over tops of rolls.

Bake until edges are golden brown, 23-25 minutes. Loosen buns from pan, place large plate over pan and invert buns onto plate. Then place cooling rack over plate and invert onto rack. Cool 5 minutes before icing.

To make icing & finish buns: While buns are cooling, whisk cream cheese and buttermilk in medium bowl until smooth (will look like cottage cheese at first), add powdered sugar and stir until well combined. Ice buns and serve gooey, delicious buns immediately with tall glass of milk!

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Banana Bread

Difficulty: Easy

2 cups ripe bananas, (4-5 medium)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large egg whites
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsps cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
cooking spray

Optional:
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray 2 bread pans with cooking spray.
2. In bowl of food processor combine first 5 ingredients. (You can also do this with an electric mixer, the food processor just gets the bananas super smooth, no lumps.)
3. In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Add combine wet and dry ingredients until just moist. If using nuts and nutmeg, add now. Spoon batter evenly between both pans.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove and let cool.

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Blueberry Muffins


Difficulty: Easy

Adapted from Cook’s Country

These muffins are best served warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container overnight. Microwave one muffin at a time until warm, about 10 seconds, before serving.
Makes 12 Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 additional tablespoon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled
3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries

Topping
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons water

1. For the muffins: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl.
2. Whisk eggs and brown sugar together in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Gradually whisk in melted butter, then buttermilk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla until well blended. Fold into dry mixture with rubber spatula (a few streaks of flour should remain). Remove blueberries from freezer and toss with remaining tablespoon flour in small bowl. Gently fold blueberries into batter, being careful not to break berries.
3. Distribute batter in muffin tin and bake until light golden brown and toothpick or skewer inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
4. For the topping: Cool muffins in pan 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons sugar, lemon juice, and water in small saucepan over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Transfer muffins to wire rack, brush tops with lemon syrup, and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon sugar.

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