December 20, 2009

Basic Icebox Sugar Cookies

These are exactly what the name suggests, a basic sugar cookie. Slightly chewy and typical sugar cookie flavor.

Basic Icebox Sugar Cookies
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg white

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Cream butter in separate bowl until fluffy. Add sugar to butter and beat well. Add vanilla and egg white, beating well. Stir in flour mixture until well mixed.

Turn dough onto wax paper. Shape into 6-inch log. Freeze 3 hours or until very firm. Cut with sharp knife into 1/4-inch thick cookies. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until firm. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Double-Chocolate Biscotti

This is a decent biscotti, but I preferred my first version with fruit and nuts better.

Double-Chocolate Biscotti
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate chips, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, combine vanilla, eggs and egg white until well blended. Stir into flour mixture until blended. Divide dough in half. Turn dough onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray. With floured hands, shape each dough into 12-inch roll and pat to 1/2-inch thickness.

Bake 22 minutes. Cool on wire racks (off cookie sheets) for 10 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Stand slices upright onto baking sheet. Bake additional 15 minutes or until firm. (Biscotti will harden slightly while cooling.) Makes 3 dozen biscotti.

Foccacia Tiles

This is such a simple bread recipe that I easily did it with my younger cousins when they visited for a weekend. You can top the foccacia with your favorites or with the perfect accompaniment to a special meal.

Foccacia Tiles
4 cups flour (can substitute 2 cups wheat easily)
1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cup warm water between 120 to 130ºF
Olive oil
Toppings, such as toasted seeds, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, olives or spices

In large bowl, combine 3 cups flour with yeast and salt. Add water. Stir until all is moistened. Cover and let stand at room temperature 12 to 24 hours.

Line 15 x 10 x 1 pan with parchment paper coated with non-stick spray. Stir in remaining 1 cup flour with a fork. Turn dough onto pan. Spread to edges using hands or oiled spatula. Cover and let rest for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until puffy.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Using sharp floured knife, score dough into 6 or 12 sections. Press desired toppings lightly into dough and spread with olive oil. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 12 servings.

Artichoke Dip

This version of artichoke dip is still cheesy, but a bit lighter than other versions. Still got positive reviews. It's also extremely easy to throw together.

Artichoke Dip
14 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup light cream cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. scallions
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine artichokes, mayonnaise, cream cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, garlic salt, pepper, scallions and parsley. Transfer to baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Bake 2o to 30 minutes until warm. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

December 13, 2009

Lime Zingers

One of my co-workers said her favorite Christmas cookies were citrus ones. I had never made citrus cookies, but I had a couple limes in my fridge and saw this recipe. They are a nice cookie, with definite lime flavor.

Lime Zingers
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. vanilla
Food coloring if desired

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In large bowl, beat butter 30 seconds on high. Beat in sugar until combined. Beat in lime zest, 1/4 cup lime juice and 1 tsp. vanilla. Beat in flour. Stir in nuts. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. (Divide dough in half prior to rolling.) Using 1- or 2-inch cutters, cut out cookies. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake 8-10 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

For frosting, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. lime juice and 1 tsp. vanilla together until smooth. Tint using food coloring. Frost cooled cookies.

Gingerbread Cutouts

Nothing better than gingerbread cutouts to remind you of Christmas. I think next year will be a gingerbread house.

Gingerbread Cutouts
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 1/2 cups flour

Beat shortening 30 seconds on medium speed. Add sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat in molasses, egg and vinegar until combined. Beat in flour. (You may have to finish mixing by hand.) Cover dough and chill several hours.


Preheat oven to 375ºF. On heavily floured surface, roll out dough half at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake 5-6 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute and then completely on wire racks. Frost and decorate if desired.

Best Soft Ginger Cookies

My husband said these are the best cookies he's had in decades, if not the best cookies ever. He said they are even better than his Grandma's, which is a huge compliment since they were his favo

Soft Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
Additional sugar to coat cookies

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. In separate mixing bowl, beat butter 30 seconds on medium speed. Beat in the 1 cup sugar. Add egg and molasses, and beat well. Stir flour mixture into dough. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat. Place balls 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookied sheet. Bake 10 minutes. (Cookies will still be puffed.) Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets and then completely on wire racks.

November 28, 2009

Cranberry-Chocolate Chip Biscotti

This was my first attempt at biscotti, and it turned out really well. I'm hooked on biscotti and want to try different recipes.

Cranberry-Chocolate Chip Biscotti
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup flour
1/2 dried cranberries and/or dried wild plums
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix together flour, sugar, cranberries, chocolate chips, baking powder and salt together in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine oil, extracts and eggs. Add to flour mixture and stir until well blended (although it will still be crumbly). Turn onto lightly floured surface, knead lightly 7 or 8 times. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8-inch long roll. Place rolls 6 inches apart on large baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and pat to 1-inch thickness.

Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from baking sheet, and cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices (approximately 15 per roll). Place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes at
325ºF. Turn biscotti over, and bake an additional 10 minutes. Biscotti will be slightly soft in the center but will harden as they cool. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Three-Seed Epi

This bread got rave reviews from my family. It looks really pretty with the seeds and shaping, but my family loved the crisp crust the best. It was our second Thanksgiving bread.

Three-Seed Epi
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cornmeal
1 tsp. water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

Dissolve yeast in water in large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Add 2 3/4 cups flour, oil and salt and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn onto floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes) adding flour 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands.

Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat. Cover and let rest in warm place 45 minutes or until doubled. Punch down dough. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Shape dough into 21-inch rope, placing on baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. (I would recommend lining sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking.) Starting on one end, make hard diagonal cuts on one side of the loaf every two inches, cutting three-fourths of the way through dough to the other side. Carefully flip every other section to the opposite side of the loaf to form a leaflike shape. (Loaf should resemble a branch with leaves.)

Combine 1 tsp. water and egg white with a whisk. Combine all seeds in small dish. Brush dough evenly with egg white mixture and then sprinkle with seeds. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400
ºF. Bake 20 minutes or until browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and cook on wire rack. Serves 14.

Pumkin-Parmesan Scones

These scones were one of two breads I made for my family's Thanksgiving dinner. They are quite tasty, although the pumpkin flavor does not dominate.

Pumpkin-Parmesan Scones
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
2 large egg whites, divided
2 Tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. pepitas

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine pumpkin, yogurt and 1 egg white, stirring with whisk in separate bowl. Add to flour mixture, and stir just until moist.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Kneed lightly 4 times with floured hands. Pat dough into 8-inch circle on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut dough into 12 wedges, cutting into but not through the dough. Brush with remaining egg white, and sprinkle with cheese and pepitas. Press them lightly into dough.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Slice scones along score lines with serrated knife. Serve warm.

November 21, 2009

Nacho Party Slices

This was my first attempt at a savory cheesecake, and it turned out fairly well. Not quite what you expect from a cheesecake necessarily.Nacho Party Slices
1 3/4 cup crushed nacho tortilla chips
1/3 cup melted butter
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 Tbsp. flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Combine crushed chips and butter. Press into bottom of greased 9-inch springform pan.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, mayo, taco seasoning and flour until smooth. Add eggs, and beat on low only long enough to combine. Stir in chicken, cheese and onion. Pour over crust. Place pan on baking sheet.

Bake 60-70 minutes until center is almost set. Gently spread sour cream on top, and bake 10 more minutes until set.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen from pan. Cool one hour. Refrigerate 8 hours.

Prior to serving, remove edges of pan. Garnish with corn, avocado, tomato and olives if desired. Serve with salsa and crackers.

Morning Glory Muffin Squares

This recipe is a good breakfast and was a great way to use some of the carrots from our garden. It's a nice combination of flavors and tastes best warm. Of course, my opinion is all muffins and similar items should be eaten warm.

Morning Glory Muffin Squares

1/2 cup bisquick
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cold butter
2 cups bisquick
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins
2 Tbsp. sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. oil (I used walnut oil to enhance those flavors.)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In small bowl, combine first three ingredients with fork until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine bisquick, pie spice, walnuts, carrots and sugar until blended. Stir in milk, oil and egg until blended. Poor into ungreased 8 by 8 pan. Sprinkle with streusel topping.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let set at least 5 minutes prior to serving. Serves 9.

October 21, 2009

Touch-of-Grace Biscuits

My biscuits were flat biscuits, rather than gracefully touched biscuits. The flavor was good, but I think my failure to use the correct flours resulted in the failure to properly rise.

Touch-of-Grace Biscuits

1 cup flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cold vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup flour *save for shaping*
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 475ºF 30 minutes prior to baking. In medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salts and sugar. Add shortening in teaspoon-size pieces and mix until pea-sized or smaller.

Stir in buttermilk. Dough will be very soft, so let sit 2 to 3 minutes to stiffen slightly. Spread remaining cup flour in pie plate. Shape biscuits using ice cream scoop and hands to shape biscuits into rounds, shaking off extra flour. Biscuits should be roughly 2 inches wide and 1 inch high and should be placed in9-inch dish, touching each other. Brush tops with melted butter.

Place biscuits in oven and increase temperature to 500ºF and bake 5 minutes. Reduce heat back to 475ºF and continue baking 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned and doubled in size. Cool in pan 1 to 2 minutes, and then empty onto a plate.

Flaxseed Loaf

This is a hearty bread, good toasted with cheese. I imagine it would make excellent grilled cheese.

Flaxseed Loaf
2 2/3 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup pumpernickel flour
1/2 cup flaxseed
1 1/4 tsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. honey
1 3/4 cups water
2 tsp. salt

Whisk together flours, flaxseed and yeast. Make a well in the center, and add honey. With dough hook, on low speed, gradually add water. Continue mixing until all dry ingredients are moistened enough to form a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on salt and knead for 7 minutes on medium. Dough should be very elastic. Place dough into lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Shape dough into a lightly greased 9 x 5 baking pan. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let rise 45 to 60 minutes, until dough is 1 inch above pan.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Just prior to baking, slash loaf 1/2-inch deep down center of loaf. Create steam when you place loaf in the oven by placing 1/2 cup ice cubes in shallow baking dish in the oven. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Stout-Chocolate-Cherry Bread

This is a fantastic bread, combining the flavors of Guinness, chocolate and cherries. Great toasted in the oven, sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate syrup for dessert.
Stout-Chocolate-Cherry Bread
4 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
12 oz. Guinness, room temperature
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Cooking spray
1 tsp. water
1 large egg white, beaten
1 tsp. pearl sugar (optional)

Combine 2 cups flour, beer and yeast in large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and let stand 1 hour. Then add 2 cups flour, granulated sugar and salt. Stir until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes) adding remaining flour as needed. Knead in cherries and chocolate.

Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and let set 5 minutes. Spake into a 9-inch round, placed on parchment paper covered baking sheet, and cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Uncover dough, and glaze loaf with egg white and water wash and sprinkle with sugar just prior to baking. Bake 30 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack. Makes 20 servings.

October 20, 2009

Apple Rag Doll Gone Awry

This original recipe called for the dough to be rolled out, sprinkled with apples and rolled up jelly roll fashion. My dough was a sticky mess that did not roll or pat into a nice shape, and it certainly didn't hold apples and roll up nicely. So I improvised by altering the recipe. Tasted great, and my family enjoyed it greatly with ice cream.

Apple Rag Doll Gone Awry
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups peeled and chopped apples
Sugar/cinnamon mixture

Boil water and 1 1/2 cups sugar together for 2 minutes. Let cool. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix in oil, and then add lightly beaten egg and milk. Set dough aside. Pour syrup into 9 x 13 pan. Layer with apples, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon/sugar. Spread pieces of dough on top of apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. Bake at 375ºF for 40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Apple Kuchen

No one at my work could figure out how to pronounce this, but they enjoyed it. One co-worker said it ranked right up there with Little Debbie Apple Pies, which he then informed me is about good of a compliment as I could get.

Apple Kuchen
1/2 cup butter
1 package yellow cake mix
3 cups sliced, peeled apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Melt butter and mix with cake mix. Pat into lightly greased 9 x 13 pan, building up slight edges. Bake 10 minutes. Arrange apple slices on warm crust. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Blend sour cream and egg, and drizzle over apples. (This will not cover all apples completely.) Bake 25 minutes until edges are light brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

Apple Bars

Dave took these to work, and the pan was gone by noon. Pretty typical for his co-workers.

Apple Bars
Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
Topping
3 large apples, sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix crust ingredients together until crumbly. Pat into lightly greased 8 x 8 pan. Layer fruit on top of crust. Mix together brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until fruit bubbles and topping is golden brown. Cut into bars while still warm.

Cranberry Apple Bread

This is Dave's grandma's recipe, which is another great way to use my endless supply of apples. The bread is chunky with apples, cranberries and nuts. It has a wonderful fall flavor and is healthier than many fruit breads.

Cranberry Apple Bread

2 cups peeled, chopped apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine apples, sugar and oil. Add eggs. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in separate bowl. Add to apple mixture. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Pour into greased 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 pan. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick tests clean.

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins

These are not quite as healthy as the other version, but they're quite tasty.

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins
Topping
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter
Muffins
1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup apple cider (I used fresh pressed apple juice.)
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In small bowl, combine dry topping ingredients. Cut butter into mixture with fork. Set aside.

Line 12 muffin tins with paper cups. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, combine egg, cider, apple, vanilla and oil. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir until just moist. Batter will be lumpy still. Spoon 1 Tbsp. batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. topping. Fill with remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining topping on muffins. Bake 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

These are easy to make, freeze well and are great warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
1 egg
2 cups baking mix
3/4 cup, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp. oil
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease bottom of muffin tins or line with muffin wrappers. Beat egg slightly, and stir in remaining ingredients until just moistened. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake til golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Makes 12.

Red Pepper Soup

This is from my Southwestern slow cooker recipe book, and it sounded delicious. The first couple tastes were really rich and pleasing ... but then it didn't sit well with me. This is a soup that for me would only work as a small dish for an appetizer, but that's just my taste.
Red Pepper Soup
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 (15 oz.) jars roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 (8 oz.) can tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. honey
1 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Saute onion, garlic and olive oil together. In slower cooker, combine all ingredients except sour cream and cilantro. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours.

Transfer soup to a blender, and blend until mostly smooth. Return soup to slow cooker, and stir in sour cream and cilantro. Cover, and cook on high 30 minutes or until heated completely. Makes 2 to 4 servings, probably 8 appetizer servings.

Oven Roasted Green Beans

The first time I prepared green beans this way, my husband said they tasted almost like french fries. Even if they don't taste like french fries, they are delicious and a nice change of pace.

Oven Roasted Green Beans

1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cleaned
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil, and adjust oven rack to middle position. Spread beans evenly on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Distribute into one even layer. Roast 10 minutes. Stir. Roast another 10-12 minutes until beans are dark golden brown in spots and have started to shrivel. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes

I was rather intrigued with ice cream cupcakes this summer, so I made these creations for a family gathering. They were well received, and I enjoyed making the treats.

Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes

The cupcake itself is a sweet cupcake, topped with a crunchy cornflake mixture. The topping looses its crunch within a day and takes on a chewy texture. Tastes good either way, but the crunchy texture is better.

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk
Cornflake topping:
1/2 cup cornflakes, crushed
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted

First, prepare the cornflake topping by combining all ingredients except butter together in a small bowl. Mix well, and then drizzle with butter. Stir to mix in butter, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line 24 muffin tins with liners. In medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Whisk in salt. In a separate bowl, cream the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/2 the milk and the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full. Sprinkle tops generously with cornflake topping. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes, and then cool completely on wire racks.
the remaining ingredients together well. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened.

In an ideal wo
rld, I would have made my own ice cream. However, I opted for convenience's sake and used the cinnamon ice cream I found in the store that inspired these cupcakes.

Once cupcakes are completely cool, remove tops of cupcakes with sharp knife. Be careful to keep tops intact. Spoon one to two tablespooons of slightly softened cinnamon ice cream onto each cupcake. Then press the cupcake top back on the cupcake to seal in the ice cream. I found it helpful to put the cupcakes in the freezer at this point to let the ice cream freeze solid before I attempted to frost the cupcakes.

This is now one of my favorite frosting recipes, which worked wonderfully with these cupcakes. I think penuche is now my second favorite frosting (right behind peanut butter ... yum!).

Cinnamon Penuche Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat and boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and cinnamon, and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. If it is too thick, add a little hot water to soften it.

Spread frosting on top of each cupcake, sealing in all cupcake and ice cream. Since this frosting is so delicious, I don't see any reason to use a thin layer.

Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps
1 tortilla, cut into 16 triangles
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lay tortilla crisps on parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet. Brush each with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

The final step is to top each cupcake with a tortilla crisp just prior to serving. And then, enjoy!

Nutty Brussel Sprouts

I planted quite a few brussel sprouts in my garden, not quite realizing how much they would fight to be King of the Garden. So in addition to canning and pickling many quarts, I tried this recipe and enjoyed my sprouts with a bit of other flavors.
Nutty Brussel Sprouts

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3/4 lb. brussel sprouts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 oz. shaved Asiago cheese

Heat 1 tsp. oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add breadcrumbs, and cook another minute. Transfer to small bowl.

Heat remaining 1/2 tsp. oil over medium heat. Add brussel sprouts, and cook 8 minutes until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and toss with breadcrumb mixture, salt, pepper, walnuts and cheese. Serves 6.

October 9, 2009

Breakfast Bread with Dried Fruit, Almonds and Oatmeal

This is really a good breakfast bread, nice toasted to bring out the flavors a bit more.

Breakfast Bread with Dried Fruit, Almonds and Oatmeal

1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup oats
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup dried fruit bits
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Heat water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and oats. Let stand 5 minutes. Add butter, sugar, salt and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Knead in fruit bits and almonds. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Glaze loaves with egg and water wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar just prior to baking. Bake 35 to 45 minutes until loaves are golden. Cool on wire rack.

September 12, 2009

Garlic-Stuffed Beef with Chipotle

This is the second recipe I tried from a new cookbook purchased on our vacation ... combines Southwest flavors with slow cookers. Fantastic combination if you ask me. This is a spicier dish (keep in mind my mouth is a wuss), but a good change from your traditional beef done in the slow cooker.

Garlic-Stuffed Beef with Chipotle
1 (3-5 lb.) round roast
6 garlic cloves, halved
2 (10-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, unseeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. adobo sauce
fresh cilantro

Make 12 cuts into the top of the roast, approximately 1-inch deep. Insert half a garlic clove into each slit, pushing them in as far as they will go. Place the roast in the slow cooker. Add the diced tomatoes, chipotles and adobo sauce. Cover, and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.

Serve beef with tomato mixture garnished with fresh cilantro. Serves 4 to 6.

Tequila Chicken

I kept calling this drunken chicken, but of course the alcohol burns off while cooking. Really good flavor to this recipe. The adaptations I used were I created my own "margarita mix" with limeade, lemon juice and triple sec and I used chicken pieces that already were in our freezer. Turned out well that way, too.Tequila Chicken
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
3/4 cup margarita mix
1/4 cup tequila
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. cumin
3-4 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. water
4 lime wedges

In small bowl, combine oil, honey, margarita mix, tequila, basil, cayenne and cumin. Fork holes in the chicken, and put into a slow cooker. Top with the oil mixture. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours.

When chicken is cooked, remove chicken and put in oven to keep warm. Combine flour and water until well blended. Stir into the liquid in the slow cooker. Leave uncovered and turn to high. Cook 10 minutes to thicken.

Serve chicken with sauce and lime wedges. Serves 4.

August 2, 2009

Rustic Grains Bread

I made my own rustic grains mix to make this bread. Rather than making it into loaves, I made buns for sandwiches on our upcoming vacation.

Rustic Grains Mixture
1 cup rolled wheat flakes
1 cup rolled rye flakes
3/4 cup unroasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 Tbsp. whole millet
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1 Tbsp. whole flax seeds

Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container. To toast, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the mix in an ungreased, shallow baking pan. Bake 10 minutes until toasted, stirring once.


Rustic Grains Bread
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup Rustic Grains Mixture
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 egg
1 to 2 Tbsp. Rustic Grains Mixture

Heat water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast, salt, oil, sugar, cornmeal, Rustic Grains Mixture and whole wheat flour. Let stand 5 minutes. Add half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 14 buns. Shape into round buns and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Glaze loaves with egg and sprinkle with remaining Rustic Grains Mixture just prior to baking. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until loaves are golden. Cool on wire rack.

Nasturtium Dip

This was a nasturtium creation that I got one tiny little taste to enjoy ... the rest was devoured by my co-workers while I was in meetings. I'll take that as a sign that it's good. This dip looks really pretty with the flower pieces and goes well with crackers.

Nasturtium Dip
1/2 cup feta cheese
8 oz. fat-free cream cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup nasturtium blossoms, chopped

Combine all ingredients together. Garnish with additional nasturtium blossoms.

Nasturtium Pesto

What better use of nasturtiums than leaves and flowers combined together into pesto? The original recipe calls for nasturtium leaves, but I tossed in about 1 cup of flowers for a bit of color.

Nasturtium Pesto
4 cups packed nasturtium leaves
3-5 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups olive oil
2 drops Tabasco sauce
1 cup walnuts

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

Nasturtium Oil

This looks a bit odd once blended all together because the flowers lose their pretty colors. However, it is all done to share their peppery flavor with the oil.

Nasturtium Oil
2 cups nasturtiums
1 cup safflower oil (or neutral oil ... I used canola)
1 garlic clove, skinned

Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until smooth and colorful, about 3 minutes. Pour into a glass jar and let sit at least two days in a dark, cool place. You may strain and use the clean oil or stir and use with the flower petals.

Nasturtium Wine

This was one of several recipes tried with the nasturtiums from our garden. The flowers lose their colors as the wine sits, but the flavors impart into the wine. I have not used our wine yet, but I imagine it will work well for salad dressings especially.

Nasturtium Wine
1 cup nasturtium leaves and flowers
1 pint white wine

Place the ingredients into a clean, clear glass jar or bottle. Tightly seal. Let sit at least three weeks before using.

Smoked Salmon Nasturtium Rolls

This is one of several recipes sampled while trying to keep up with our garden's production of nasturtiums. They turned out fine, but I would prefer smoked salmon served with crackers to be honest.

Smoked Salmon Nasturtium Rolls
2 oz. cream cheese
2 oz. smoked salmon
20 large nasturtium leaves

Combine cream cheese and smoked salmon together well. Spoon about a teaspoon of the mixture onto the center of each nasturtium leaf. Roll up each leaf tightly, and seal with a toothpick or tie with a long-stemmed nasturtium blossom. Serve chilled.

Reese's Pieces Cupcakes

These were the other cupcake I made for my goddaughter's first birthday party. I love this frosting, and I really liked this cupcake recipe. I think I will use this cupcake recipe as a base for other cupcakes in the future. It was easy to use and didn't make my kitchen smell like burning cupcakes.
Reese's Pieces Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk, warm
1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 24 muffin tins.

In medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

Add flour and milk, alternating in three additions, ending with flour. Stir in peanut butter chips.

Evenly distribute into prepared muffin tins. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used approximately 1/3 cup crunchy because I ran out of creamy)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. milk (or as needed)

Beat butter and peanut butter together until well mixed. Gradually add powdered sugar. When mixture gets thick, slowly incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time as needed to keep frosting spreadable. Beat at least three minutes to make frosting fluffy.

Final Preparations
Frost each cupcake. Then roll each cupcake in mini Reese's Pieces, designed for baking.

Chocolate Revel Bars

These bars are good for bake sales and freeze well for individual desserts at a later date. I like them best slightly warmed in the microwave.

Chocolate Revel Bars
8 oz. butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3 cups oats
Filling:
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cover a 15 by 10 pan with foil or grease it.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Then add eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and oatmeal. Stir into creamed mixture and set aside.

In saucepan, combine chocolate chips, condensed milk, butter and salt. Heat over low until mixture is melted. Stir in vanilla.

Spread 2/3 of oatmeal batter into greased pan. Cover with chocolate filling and spread evenly. Dot with remaining oatmeal mixture (or in my case, cover completely).

Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Oreo Cupcakes

These cupcakes were a creation for my goddaughter's first birthday party. Although she had far more fun with the cake, the adults and older kids enjoyed these cupcakes. They were best eaten with a fork. I had difficulties with the cupcake recipe itself not rising properly, but I thoroughly enjoyed the cocoa nibs in the chocolate I used.

Oreo Cupcakes

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
8 oz. dark chocolate, melted
3 large eggs, separated
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 cup milk
8 oreo cookies, crushed

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 18 muffin tins.

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks. Then mix in vanilla and chocolate.

In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Alternate adding this flour mixture and the milk to the butter/sugar mixture. Then stir in oreos.

In separate bowl, whip egg whites until peaks form. Fold the batter into the egg whites.

Fill cupcake liners almost to the top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Rather than rising tall, my cupcakes oozed over the sides. They tasted fine but looked less than desirable without some doctoring and made the oven smell like burning cupcakes. Yummmm.)

Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream softened butter and shortening together. Slowly add powdered sugar and then vanilla on low speed. Once combined, cream together on medium-high until fluffy.

Final Preparations
Cut each cupcake in half horizontally. Spread a layer of frosting in between the layers to replicate an oreo. Top each cupcake with additional frosting and crushed oreo cookies.

Butterscotch Blondies

I found this blondie recipe online and modified it by adding a generous handful of chopped up butterscotch candy bars (and I mean almost a cup). My husband enjoys these bars, which work well for bake sales.

Butterscotch Blondies

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbsp. butter
1 3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 heaping cup butterfinger pieces

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 9 x 13 pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Once melted, remove fat. Stir in sugar and vanilla until combined. Add eggs, stirring until well blended. Stir in flour mixture until just blended and then add butterfinger pieces.

Press batter into baking pan and bake about 30 minute or until toothpick comes out clean.

July 11, 2009

Millet, Wheat & Six-Seed High Fiber Bread

This bread is a good bread with a lot of texture. Neither my husband or I are big fans of caraway, but the caraway is not overpowering in this bread. It's also fairly flexible for substitution if you're missing one seed. I did without the anise seeds and substituted pepitas.

Millet, Wheat & Six-Seed High Fiber Bread

1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. canola oil (I used flax seed oil.)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 tsp. poppy seeds
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. anise seeds
2 tsp. fennel seeds
3 Tbsp. unprocessed wheat bran
1/2 cup millet flour
1 3/4 cups wheat flour
2 cups bread flour

Heat water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and honey. Let stand 5 minutes. Add oil, salt, seeds, wheat bran, millet flour and wheat flour Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2-3 loaves. Shape into round loaves and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Glaze loaves with egg and water wash just prior to baking. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until loaves are golden. Cool on wire rack.

July 10, 2009

Portabella Burger


This was a Kerry-approved dinner, a grilled portabella mushroom burger topped with feta and roasted golden beets. I seasoned the portabella with garlic salt and pepper and olive oil and topped it with feta cheese, grilled mushrooms and grilled garlic. It was delicious on top of my homemade onion caraway roll.

June 15, 2009

Sunny Honey Cupcakes

This cupcake was derived from my desire to combine ice cream and sunflower seeds. It might sound like an odd combination, but try a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with sunflower seeds and chocolate syrup. The contrast of sweet and salty, smooth and crunchy does wonders. I modified a sesame honey cupcake recipe to create these.
Sunny Honey Cupcakes
1 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup splenda or sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
2 Tbsp. pureed salted sunflower seeds mixed with 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
Vanilla ice cream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup honey
Additional sunflower seeds, salted

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 14 muffin tins. Combine flours, baking powder and salt in small bowl.

Using mixer, cream together butter, sugar and honey until pale and glossy, about 3 minutes

In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and vanilla.

With mixer running, add the egg to the butter mixture until well blended. Beat in pureed sunflower seed/oil mixture. In three separate additions, alternately blend in flour and buttermilk, starting with buttermilk. Mix in sunflower seeds Fill muffin tins nearly full. (Cupcakes do not rise much.) Bake about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool completely on wire racks.

For frosting, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in honey. Set in refrigerator while finishing cupcakes.

Cut off tops of cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a spoon of ice cream, and then replace cupcake top. Frost cupcakes in spiral pattern. Before serving cupcakes, top with sunflower seeds.

Buttermilk-Fennel Seed Rye

This bread turned out well. It's nothing that jumps out in my mind as a spectacular bread, but it was another good bread.

Buttermilk-Fennel Seed Rye
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. fennel seeds
2 tsp. salt
1 cup rye flour
3 cups bread flour

Heat buttermilk, brown sugar and butter until butter melts. Cool until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add fennel seeds, salt and rye flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2-3 loaves. Shape loaves into round shapes, and place seam side down on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Three-Grain Bread

This bread calls for three-grain cereal, which is supposed to be cracked wheat, cracked rye and cracked flax seed. I made my own using cracked wheat, whole rye and whole flax seed. The bread turned out gorgeous (thanks in part to a fun baking crock) and should have a wonderful chewy texture.

Three-Grain Bread
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup 3-grain cereal
2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. softened butter, unsalted
3 cups bread flour

Pour boiling water over cereal into a large bowl. Let stand until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF, about 30 minutes. Add yeast, salt, sugar and butter. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2-3 loaves. Shape loaves and place in lightly greased baking tins (or crocks). Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until loaves are golden. Cool on wire rack.

June 14, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Bread

This bread is absolutely fantastic sprinkled with garlic salt and toasted with Parmesan cheese until it's melted! This bread smells fantastic and looks amazing. It's perfect for any Italian food and gave us the chance to have the spaghetti we were craving.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Bread
1 large egg plus water equal to 1 1/3 cups
2 tsp. yeast
1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground coarse pepper
3/4 cup wheat flour
3 1/4 cups bread flour

Warm the egg under hot tap water, and crack into a measuring cup. Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Add to the egg, and pour both into warmed mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add pesto, tomatoes, salt, pepper, wheat flour and 1 cup bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Slash the top of the loaves prior to baking. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until loaves are golden. Cool on wire rack.

Caraway-Onion Rye Bread

We needed rolls for minute steaks, and this bread recipe sounded good. Lo and behold, it was even meant to be shaped into rolls. They turned out wonderful, and I'm excited to have homemade rolls in the freezer for the next time we have hamburgers.

Caraway-Onion Rye Bread
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup rye flour
3 cups bread flour

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast, lemon juice and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, caraway seeds, onion flakes, oil and rye flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 12 equal parts. Shape each part into a roll, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350
ºF. Bake 15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Raisin Rye Bread

This bread was well received by my parents. My mom said they fought over it, so I'll take that as a good sign.

Raisin Rye Bread
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 cups dried raisins
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 1/2 cup rye flour
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add raisins, salt, canola oil, rye flour and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350
ºF. Bake 25 to 40 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Eleven-Grain Buckwheat Bread

This is a really good bread with a nice chewy texture. The molasses and raisins makes it a bit sweeter of a bread. It's good toasted with flavored cream cheese.

Eleven-Grain Buckwheat Bread

1 1/3 cups boiling water
2 tsp. yeast
3/4 cup 10-grain breakfast cereal
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. flax seed oil
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup raisins

Pour boiling water into mixing bowl, add the cereal and stir. Let stand 25 minutes or until mixture cools to between 105ºF and 115ºF. Add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, oil, buckwheat flour and and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Knead in raisins. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Glaze loaves with 1 Tbsp. molasses and 1 Tbsp. water. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Basic Wheat Bread

This bread is nothing spectacular, but it's a good bread. It was made as I worked my way through my Whole Grain Breads book. (I really need to get through this book since I have two more bread cookbooks that I haven't even started!)

Basic Wheat Bread

1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour both into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add butter, salt, dry milk and wheat flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

June 9, 2009

Pulla (Finnish Cardamom Coffee Braid)

This is something I made for brunch at work. It was a big hit, especially with those who were familiar with cardamom bread. For those cardamom bread newbies (myself included), new fans were found. It's a really pretty bread.

Pulla (Finnish Cardamom Coffee Braid)
2 eggs plus scalded milk to equal 1 1/3 cups
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 Tbsp. milk
Pearl sugar

Heat eggs with tap water. Cool the milk until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF, and add to eggs. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, sugar, cardamom, wheat flour and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add the butter and remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 3 sections. Shape each piece into a rope by rolling it between your palms and a lightly oiled surface until the strand is about 1 inch in diameter. Braid the strands together, pinching the ends to seal. Place the loaf onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Combine egg and milk. Brush loaves with egg wash and coarse sugar. Bake 15 to 25 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Orange Rhubarb Muffins

This muffin was made to use fresh (and frozen) rhubarb. Fresh orange zest is the key to a flavorful muffin. I prefer this muffin warm, which is my preference for most muffins. (Christmas wrappers are not essential, especially not when fresh rhubarb is in season.)Orange Rhubarb Muffins
1 cup flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. applesauce
2 tsp. grated orange peel (or more)
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/4 cups finely chopped rhubarb
2 Tbsp. chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line muffin tin with 12 liners. In large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir to mix evenly.

In separate bowl, combine egg whites, canola oil, applesauce, orange peel and orange juice. Beat until smooth. Add to flour mixture and stir until just moistened but still lumpy. Stir in rhubarb.

Spoon batter into 12 liners, filling each about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. chopped pecans on each muffin. Bake until springy to the touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, and then transfer to cool rack to cool completely.

June 7, 2009

Sweet Cheeks Cupcakes

This is another creation derived from Pineapple Pretzel Salad leftovers, and I really enjoy these cupcakes (although I'm so full from eating all weekend that the thought of food is not quite appealing.) I'm extremely proud of these cupcakes because I took another recipe that called for cream cheese in the batter and completely revamped it ... the only ingredients that remained the same were the baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla. These are a sweet, moist cupcake topped with an extremely sweet frosting and a pleasantly crunchy, sweet and salty pretzel.

Sweet Cheeks Cupcakes
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup graham (or wheat) flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups Pineapple Pretzel Salad
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup splenda
2 Tbsp. brown sugar splenda
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup honey
Candied pretzels (optional, but delicious)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 15 muffin tins. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl.

Using mixer, whip Pineapple Pretzel Salad until smooth. Add oil, egg, honey, splendas, juice and vanilla. Mix together well. Slowly add dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

For frosting, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in honey. Frost cupcakes in spiral pattern. Just before serving cupcakes, top with candied pretzel pieces. Makes 15 cupcakes.

Pumpkin Pinapple Spice Cupcakes

Since the Pineapple Pretzel Salad just isn't the same the next day, I decided to create something with the leftovers. One of the concoctions that came out of the oven was a simple pumpkin spice cookie I've made before combined with the pretzel salad leftovers topped with a pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting.Pumpkin Pineapple Spice Cupcakes
1 box spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin
2 cups Pineapple Pretzel Salad
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup splenda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine spice cake mix and pumpkin until mixed together well by hand. In separate bowl, use electric mixer to thoroughly blend together Pineapple Pretzel Salad.

Line 18 muffin tins. Spoon enough spice cake into each liner to cover bottom. Top each with a dollop of Pineapple Pretzel Salad. Cover each cupcake with spice cake. Liners should be approximately 3/4 full or slightly fuller. Bake 10 to 25 minutes, checking after 10 minutes. Cupcakes are done when pumpkin layer is firm to the touch.

Cool cupcakes for 5 to 10 minutes in tins, and then cool completely on wire racks. Once completely cool, frost.

For frosting, beat room temperature cream cheese until smooth. Add splenda, and mix thoroughly. Beat in vanilla and then pumpkin pie spice. Frost cupcakes. Makes approximately 18 cupcakes.

Pineapple Pretzel Salad

This really isn't a salad, but I prefer not to call it a dessert because then it's OK when I have two helpings. It's a popular dish at the baby and wedding showers in the Landwehr family, and it was created again for my sister-in-law's baby shower this weekend. The only downside to this delicious combination of sweet and salty is the candied pretzels lose their crunchiness within a day ... which will lead to my future posts.

Pineapple Pretzel Salad
1 cup crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. cool whip
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda

Combine crushed pretzels, 1/2 cup sugar and butter in 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 400ºF for 7 minutes. Let cool, and break into pieces. The pretzels can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container.

In large bowl, combine pineapple, cream cheese, cool whip and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat together well. Just before serving, stir in candied pretzels.

May 3, 2009

Monkey Butt Cupcakes

I was intrigued by the second annual Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup. What could be better than ice cream and cupcakes combined together?

Within minutes of reading about the roundup, I had my entry formulated in my mind if I could find and adapt the recipes. Peanut butter, chocolate and bananas have been a long-standing favorite flavor combination of mine. When I recently added heath bits to the mix, I knew I created the concoction worthy to enter the contest.

Here's my Sunday adventures with Monkey Butt Cupcakes. And you might be asking yourself the same question my husband did, "Why do you call them Monkey Butt?"

The answer is simple ... because I can. :-D


Monkey Butt Cupcakes

I knew I wanted a banana cupcake, so I looked online for somewhat healthier options. I found a recipe that I adjusted by adding wheat flour, using egg substitute and swapping in a portion of splenda rather than all sugar. The cupcakes turned out moist and sweet.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup splenda
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, splenda, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, blend the remaining ingredients together well. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool five minutes before cooling completely on wire racks. Makes 18 cupcakes.


In an ideal wo
rld, I would have made my own ice cream. However, I opted for convenience's sake today and used store-bought chocolate ice cream to fill the cupcakes.

Once cupcakes are completely cool, remove tops of cupcakes with sharp knife. Be careful to keep tops intact. Spoon one to two tablespooons of slightly softened chocolate ice cream onto each cupcake. Then press the cupcake top back on the cupcake to seal in the ice cream. I found it helpful to put the cupcakes in the freezer at this point to let the ice cream freeze solid before I attempted to frost the cupcakes.











I found my peanut butter frosting recipe on www.allrecipes.com, and it didn't need any adjustments for my cupcakes. I absolutely love this frosting!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used approximately 1/3 cup crunchy because I ran out of creamy)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. milk (or as needed)

Beat butter and peanut butter together until well mixed. Gradually add powdered sugar. When mixture gets thick, slowly incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time as needed to keep frosting spreadable. Beat at least three minutes to make frosting fluffy.

Spread frosting on top of each cupcake, sealing in all cupcake and ice cream. Since this frosting is so delicious, I don't see any reason to use a thin layer. This frosting recipe also will probably make double the frosting you need for your cupcakes ... unless you eat half of it while making your cupcakes.


The final step is to roll the cupcakes in a bowl of toffee bits to generously coat each cupcake with toffee. Well, that's the penultimate step. The true final step is to bite into a Monkey Butt!


Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Since I have a supply of frozen blueberries, these muffins seemed like a good option. The lemon flavor is subtle but distinct, and they are excellent warm from the oven. The original recipe called for a glaze of lemon juice and powdered sugar, but I left the muffins plain and thought they were delicious.
Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh blueberries (or frozen)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Combine together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, lemon rind and egg. Add to flour mixture, and stir until just moist. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin tins. Bake 20 minutes or until tops of muffins spring back when lightly touched. Remove from tins immediately and cool on wire racks. Best served warm (in my humble opinion).

Carrot Wheat Bread with Pecans and Raisins

Since I had some flexible carrots in the refrigerator, I decided it was time to make a bread that called for carrots again. This bread also called for walnuts and raisins ... I made do with pecans and golden raisins since those were what I had on hand. (I prefer golden raisins in breads, though, for some reason.) The dough is really pretty with speckles of orange. This is a really good, somewhat sweet, bread. Very satisfying.

Carrot Wheat Bread with Pecans and Raisins
2/3 cup water (I used water left from cooking carrots)
2/3 cup cooked carrot puree
2 tsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans

Heat the water and carrot puree until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour both into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and honey. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, oil and wheat flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Knead in raisins and pecans. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350
ºF. Bake 25 to 45 minutes until loaves sound hollow and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

April 19, 2009

Potato Wheat Bread

I'm not quite sure why the recipe calls for potatoes, but this is a really good bread. It has a nice soft texture with a slightly crunchy crust. The seeds dispersed throughout the bread add to the texture and flavor.
Potato Wheat Bread
1 cup potato water (from boiling potatoes)
2 tsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup mashed potatoes (cooled to room temperature)
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. corn oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (I substituted pepitas)

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour both into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add sugar, potatoes, lemon juice, oil, salt, wheat flour and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Knead in sunflower seeds (or pepitas). Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Wild Rice and Three-Grain Bread

It took me a while to make this bread because I had to buy wild rice, but it was a good bread. My mom particularly liked this bread. (Of course, my parents don't get to try all my creations.)

Wild Rice and Three-Grain Bread
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup rye flour
1 cup wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup cooked wild rice (drain on paper towels)

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour both into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, honey, canola oil, oats, rye flour andwheat flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Knead in wild rice. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Glaze loaves with egg and water, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Honey Walnut Egg Bread

This was a weekend project, which turned out well. Nuts toast well in the oven and add a lot of character to the overall bread. This isn't an overly sweet bread, despite the indication of honey in its name.Honey Walnut Egg Bread
2 large eggs plus water to equal 1 1/3 cups
2 tsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 cup wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Warm eggs to room temperature and heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour both into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add honey, salt, butter, dry milk, wheat flour and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Knead in walnuts. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Glaze loaves with water and egg mixture. Bake 35 to 45 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Finnish Rye Bread

This is a good basic rye bread. I'm not personally a big fan of caraway seeds, so I prefer this type of rye bread that omits that ingredient.Finnish Rye Bread
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. salt
1 cup dark rye flour
3 cups bread flour

Heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add sugar, oil, salt, rye flour and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough, and divide into 2 to 3 loaves. Shape into round loaves, and place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
ºF. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Brush loaves with melted butter while still warm. Cool on wire rack.

Light Wheat Brioche

This bread is good, but it's not as spectacular as I would expect given the amount of eggs and butter. The "light" in the title refers to the color, not to the calorie count.
Light Wheat Brioche
4 large eggs plus water to equal 1 1/3 cups
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
3/4 cup butter, softened

Warm eggs to room temperature and heat the water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour both into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add salt, sugar, wheat flour and half the bread flour. Beat well. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add remaining bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cut up the butter, and add it to the dough. Process until blended. Cover and let rise one hour until doubled.

Punch down dough, and shape into a brioche shape. Remove one quarter of the dough, and shape the remaining dough into a circular loaf. Place into a greased round pan. Gently form an indent in the center of the loaf. Shape the remaining quarter of the dough into a tear-drop shape. Place the pointy side down into the indentation. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes. Preheat oven to 350
ºF. Brush or spray loaf with water. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until loaves are golden and wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Chicken Pot Pie

This sounded like a good way to use some of our 30 pounds of frozen chicken, and it worked well to clean out a couple items from the cupboards and freezer. It turned out really well and is a recipe that goes into my cookbook of Kerry's creations.


Chicken Pot Pie
2-3 cups cubed chicken breast
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 small onion (or substitute 2-3 shallots)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can mushroom gravy
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
Double pie crust (homemade or pre-made)

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Bake bottom pie crust 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook chicken with seasonings through onion. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, add soup, gravy and mixed vegetables. Stir together well.

Pour mixture into pie crust. Top with second pie crust. Pierce crust with a knife several times. Bake at 400
ºF 15 to 25 minutes, and then cover with aluminum foil. Cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes until crust is cooked thoroughly and golden brown. Cool at least 5 minutes prior to serving. Serves 8.