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Tag Archives: vegetarian

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns

14 Dec

The holiday season seems to bring out the breakfast in people.  The holidays grant us special mornings when the family can sit down for breakfast together in a more leisurely manner, rather than the usual rush-off after scarfing down a bowl of cereal.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 2

A hot breakfast or brunch is actually my kids’ favorite meal year-round, but we don’t always have time for it.  We try really hard to have hot breakfast as a family at least on the weekends.  This is why I am often scouting for easy but delicious ideas for that first meal of the day.  These Pull Apart Sticky Buns are just that… so easy and delish.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 3

I love these phenomenal cinnamon rolls, which are the best ones we’ve had and totally unparalleled, at least in our book.   If you taste those, you’ll be entering the hooked category.

But sometimes we just need something in a pinch.  These Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns are one of the quickest solutions towards enjoying a tasty breakfast treat.  It’s perfect for holidays like Christmas morning, when the kids and family are calling for your attention away from the kitchen.  It’s equally great for any day of the year, when you just want a quick morning treat that is assembled in minutes.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns

All you need is a couple tubes of buttermilk biscuits, and you’re good to go.  I like to use the natural (no artificial stuff) biscuits for mine.  Your favorite brand will do.  I use pecans in mine, but if you have nut allergies, just go without nuts.  This literally takes minutes to assemble.  We all love recipes that are super easy to pull off, yet wonderfully impressive.  Nobody has to know you didn’t slave for hours over these fabulous sticky buns.

Easy Pull Apart Sticky Buns 4

Yummy, yum, yum.  Said my beloved peeps.  This one’s a keeper for sure.

Now you have an excuse to sit down and enjoy a morning treat.  With minimal effort and lots of “mmm’s” coming your way!

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RECIPE (1 bundt pan)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tubes of large buttermilk biscuits
3 TB melted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
powdered sugar for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375.  Generously grease a nonstick bundt pan.  Whisk together the melted butter and maple syrup in a bowl.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts until incorporated.

Pour half of the syrup mixture into bottom of greased bundt pan.  Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top.  Gently lay one biscuit at a time into the pan, overlapping them (like tilted dominoes.)  Use enough biscuits to form a ring of overlapping biscuits (I used 1 1/2 tubes.)  Top with rest of the syrup and brown sugar mixtures.

Bake on medium-lower rack for 20-22 minutes, or just until golden brown.  Cool a few minutes in pan.  Invert carefully onto serving plate, and serve immediately while still warm.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, slightly adapted from stamps4fun, via Pinterest

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Double Chocolate Biscotti Cookies

10 Dec

Is anyone else in the heartland feeling the sudden freeze?  The frost has definitely found us in MN.

To all my beautiful Californian family & friends:  I love you dearly and miss you more than you know…but I just can’t read any more Facebook posts about your “weather” out there.   Because it makes me want to cry and go stare longingly at my collection of flip flops.

I need cookies.  Double Chocolate Biscotti cookies to the rescue.

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I know many people in our current Midwestern stomping ground who are enjoying the sudden blanket of heavy snow today.  True, I do enjoy how pristine and beautiful fresh snow can be.  To say the kids were excited is an understatement.  They immediately donned their rugged snow gear and threw themselves into the thick white powder, and “helped” Daddy shovel.

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But some snow days (today) are semi-crazy.  When huge snow plows can’t keep up, when too many cars are stuck on the side of roads, and when people (Hubby) spend all of Sunday clearing the driveway… well, that’s not such great fun.  Semi-crazy days like today are good for staying in.  Ok, we didn’t really stay in…not at all.  But it would have been a good day for it.

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For those mornings or afternoons when you can stay in and sip on a hot mug of coffee or tea… bring in these double chocolate Biscotti cookies.  They are the perfect dunking cookie.  I used to think Biscotti would be tricky to make from scratch, but I started making these a few years ago and fell in love with homemade Biscotti.  They are pretty straighforward, extremely flexible (any fave add-ins would be yummy), and best of all?  They keep so, so well.  Biscotti is classically crisp in texture (dunking perfection) and they stay nicely crunchy at room temp for days.  Or frozen for much longer.

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This recipe will make enough Biscotti to give away as yummy Christmas treats, or you can keep some in the freezer for a quick morning or afternoon treat when you need it.   In fact, I just made a batch to give to my girlfriend’s lovely family.  There was enough leftover to go with Hubby’s coffee at breakfast.  And kids’ afternoon snack.  And my breakfast + snack.

To make it Christmas-y, I added dried cranberries.  They are a perfect addition for a holiday breakfast/brunch or cookie exchange.  Enjoy these cookies, stay warm, and romp a little in the snow.  If you’re lucky enough to get snow 🙂

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RECIPE (approx. 40-50 cookies)

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup canola or light olive oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
4 large eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In another large bowl, mix oil and sugar until well blended.  Add vanilla extract, almond extract, and eggs.  Beat until well incorporated.  Gradually stir egg mixture in with the flour mixture.  Mix in cranberries and semi sweet chocolate chips by hand.  Dough may be sticky; place in fridge for 30 minutes to help with stickiness.

Divide dough into equal thirds (using wet hands here will help with sticky fingers.)  Form each third into logs, about 12×3 each, on the parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake 35-40 minutes on middle rack, until lightly brown and mostly firm to the touch.  Place light cloth over logs and cool for at least 30 minutes or until they are almost room temp.  Turn oven down to 275F.

Carefully cut cooled logs on diagonal, into slices that are a little less than 1 inch thick.  Depending on your knife, you might either press down very gently to get clean cuts, or you might use a gentle sawing motion.  I use my sharp bread knife.  Lay Biscotti onto their sides, on parchment covered baking sheets.  Bake 10 minutes.  Flip and bake 10 minutes more.  Biscotti is done when they feel dry.  Cool on cooling racks.

Melt white chocolate in small bowl in microwave, in approx. 30 second increments, until smooth and melted.  Transfer melted white chocolate into a plastic baggie, cut a very tiny hole in bottom corner, and drizzle over Biscotti.  Happy dunking!

By: Chewoutloud

Note:  If desired, you can do an egg wash over the dough logs before baking.  Just beat 1 egg with 1 TB water and brush onto logs.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread

3 Dec

Bread just might be one of the very best edible creations ever.  Around here, we find nearly impossible to refuse soft, chewy, yummy bread.  When I’ve got a bit of time to spare, I work out my issues by making all kinds of bread from scratch.  Kneading and punching down dough is like therapy, but cheaper.  Our all-time favorites include rosemary garlic bread and those “famous” breadsticks.

Ok, but what if one is short on time?  Something’s gotta give when I’m in a time crunch and my beloved peeps are hungry for a hearty bread to go with their pasta.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread

Enter this super easy, cheesy, garlicky bread.  Cheese + garlic + crusty bread = Scrumptious.   How can that trio not be perfect together?  This cheesy garlic bread is chock full of savory garlic, butter, and cheese.  It’s tender and soft on the inside, and crisp on the outside.  This garlic cheese bread comes together in a pinch, so you can easily pop it in the oven at the last minute for tempting oven-fresh bread.

Easy Cheesey Garlic Bread 2

Try to use a large, thick, and crusty bread loaf, which will provide that hearty texture.  And, though eight cloves of crushed garlic may sound like a typo, rest assured that it’s correct.  Once it’s all thrown together, the garlic flavor actually tends to get lost, so the herb formula here is:  the more, the merrier.

Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread 3

Y-U-M.  Serve up your cheesy garlic bread with any pasta, soup, or salad dish.  It’s fabulous to use for soaking up broth, if you’re making a dish with savory broth to spare.  This bread is definitely best served warm, right out of the oven, so enjoy it immediately.

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RECIPE (1 large loaf)

INGREDIENTS
1 large, thick loaf of crusty bread (i.e., a rustic Italian or French loaf)
8 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 TB regular butter
4 TB good olive oil
1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
fresh parsley, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine the crushed garlic, garlic powder, butter, and oil in a saucepan and heat over low for several minutes, until incorporated.  Set aside.

Split loaf in half, lengthwise, and place on foil-lined baking sheet.  Brush bread generously with garlic butter mixture.   Bake bread 5-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Remove bread and sprinkle evenly with cheese and parsley.  Adjust oven to broil, and broil bread about 1 minute, or just until desired level of golden brown is achieved and cheese is melted.  Watch carefully and remove bread as soon as it looks done.

Cut into thick slices, wrap in clean cloth, and serve immediately.

By Chewoutloud

Best Buttery Pound Cake

23 Nov Buttery Pound Cake

Ever tried making pound cake from scratch?  I have tried a few times.  Sometimes the flavor was on, but the texture was just a bit off.  Other times the texture worked but the flavor didn’t so much.  Who knew producing a really good classic pound cake could be so tricky?

Buttery Pound Cake

When I was a kid, my mom used to just buy pound cake.  We all loved the stuff, whether for breakfast or dessert.  I eventually felt compelled to try homemade recipes that would rival those bakery ones.  After several “decent” results, I moved on and forgot about pound cake.

Buttery Pound Cake

But then one day Hubby tells me that his sweet mom made the best ever homemade pound cake from scratch.  My gentle mother in law is no longer with us and nobody knows where her recipe is.  Hmm.  Of course that is when my obsession with finding the best homemade pound cake recipe became stirred.

Buttery Pound Cake

This pound cake is a classically rich, dense cake.  It is the best tasting pound cake we’ve had, full of melt-in-your mouth buttery goodness and real vanilla.  Pound cakes are not meant to be fluffy like birthday cakes or layer cakes.   This pound cake is tender and plush inside, with a golden and slightly crumbly exterior,  just as it should be.  The wonderful buttery-ness is what brings this cake over the edge… so, so good.

Buttery Pound Cake

You’re just 6 ingredients away from this delightful breakfast-slash-dessert.  It’s a yummy hostess gift, anyone gift, or self gift – Enjoy!

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RECIPE (one 9×5 loaf)

INGREDIENTS

16 TB unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, chilled
3 large eggs + 3 large yolks, room temp
1 TB vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (7 oz) cake flour
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) white sugar

DIRECTIONS

Place chilled butter pieces in bowl of stand mixer; let stand at room temp for 20-30 minutes to just slightly soften the butter.  Butter should not get warmer than 60 degrees (if butter is too warm, cake will be too flat and dense.)

In a separate bowl, use a fork to beat room-temp eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla.  Set aside at room temp.

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat to 325F.  Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.

Using the paddle of stand mixer, beat butter and salt at medium high speed until it’s shiny, smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and very gradually pour in sugar, about 1 min.  Once all sugar is added, increase speed to medium high and beat until mixture is light and fully, 5-8 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.  Reduce speed to medium and gradually add egg mixture in a slow steady stream, about 1 min.  Scrape down bowl and beat at medium high until light and fluffy, 3-4 min.  Remove bowl from mixer and scrape down.

Sift cake flour over the butter-egg mixture in 3 separate additions.  Fold gently with rubber spatula until combined after each addition.  Be sure to scrape bottom of bowl to ensure all batter is combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.  Bake cake until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Start checking at 1 hour.  Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes, invert onto rack and let cake cool completely before serving.  Keeps well in airtight container.

By chewoutloud, adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

6 Nov Panko Mozzarella Sticks

If you are a cheese fan and enjoy a good crunch, you’ll really appreciate these Panko Mozzarella Sticks.  They are absolutely the perfect finger food.  These cheesy snacks will be snatched up in a wink if you serve them up for Game Day… or any day, really.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

Gooey warm Mozzarella is encased by a beautifully crisp exterior – thanks to Panko breadcrumbs, in lieu of traditional bread crumbs.  Panko is definitely in.  Thankfully, a bag of Panko can easily be found in Asian aisles of most large grocery stores these days.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

If you’ve never worked with Panko before, it’s only fair to warn you that you just might become addicted to the stuff.  It is extremely versatile.  Panko can be used to coat anything from these cheese sticks to seafood to chicken.  Just use them in place of your standard bread crumbs, and be prepared for an extraordinary crunch that surpasses the old stand by.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

The hubby and kids were all over this crispy, tasty finger food.  It’s so much fun to be treated to one of our favorite appetizers without setting foot in a diner.  Not to mention these mozzarella sticks are tastier, crunchier, and meltier when you do them at home!  But, do serve them up while still hot, so the yummy cheese is savored while it’s still very melty and delish.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks

Most of us won’t have a problem devouring these while still fresh and warm.  Chances are, they won’t be sitting around very long at your party.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (makes 32 pieces)

INGREDIENTS

16 sticks of mozzarella string cheese
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups Japanese Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp fresh black pepper
1 TB dried oregano flakes
oil for frying (peanut oil is great for frying)
Marinara sauce for dipping

DIRECTIONS

Place flour in a small dish.  In another bowl, mix together the eggs and milk.  In a third bowl, combine panko bread crumbs with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and oregano.   Cut mozzarella sticks into halves.

Roll a piece of mozzarella in flour, dip into egg mixture, and roll well in Panko mixture.  Press crumbs in place so mozzarella stick is fully coated.  Continue until all pieces are well coated.  Place coated mozzarella sticks on a wax-lined baking sheet and put in freezer for at least 30 minutes.  (The flash-freezing is important in keeping cheese from falling apart in hot oil.)

Pour oil to fill a third way up to halfway up in a heavy sauce pan.  Using a thermometer, keep oil steady at 365F.   Remove frozen mozzarella sticks and fry a few pieces (don’t crowd) at a time, keeping oil temp at 365F throughout frying process (you’ll have to play with turning heat up or down as needed.)  Fry about 25-30 seconds, turning sticks until they are an even golden brown, and drain on paper towels.  Try not to let cheese leak, but a few tiny bubbles are fine.  Continue until entire batch is made.  Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and do eat these while hot!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook

Favorite Pumpkin Scones with Spice Glaze

30 Oct Favorite Pumpkin Scones

We’re finally gearing up for a little Halloween fun here.  We’ve totally procrastinated this year, with so much else going on.  I have yet to check that all the pieces to my kids’ costumes are existent and intact.  I barely had time to make sure we have enough candy to hand out to all those trick or treaters.  A little last minute, right?  With some exceptions, Halloween is lucky to get a courtesy nod amidst the fall/winter holidays.  As one child in my son’s class proclaimed in disbelief, “We don’t even get the day off school?!”

Better Than Bakery Pumpkin Scones

Yes, the 31st will come and go, we will have a sugar overload, and then everyone will be eagerly anticipating the next major holiday.  At least, we carved out all the kids’ pumpkins last weekend and read our annual Pumpkin Story while we yanked and threw out out all the yuckies inside the huge round gourds.

Better Than Bakery Pumpkin Scones

Seriously, I could barely bend my fingers after carving all those pumpkins.  And our kitchen was an orange mess.  Yet…the memory making, the kids’ excitement, and the Pumpkin Story make it all worth it.  And now there they are, four smiling squash, adorning our porch and ready to shine tomorrow night.

Favorite Pumpkin Scones

In honor of pumpkins everywhere, I’m sharing the best Pumpkin Scone I’ve ever had.  In fact, it may well be one of the best tasting scones of any flavor.  This scone is not your everyday, average scone.  This pumpkin scone is amazingly delish, and I think you’ll love the recipe as much as I do.

Favorite Pumpkin Scones

This Pumpkin Scone is tender and moist on the inside.  It’s packed with yummy spices, giving it a delightful holiday flavor and bringing out the pumpkin.  What everyone loves in this scone is the addition of cinnamon chips and white chocolate chips.  Cinnamon chips can be found at many grocery stores, especially seasonally.  Be sure you pick up a bag before they’re gone.  I love including pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds), which are readily found in the stores right now.  The pumpkin seeds give this scone a fantastic texture and delicious flavor.  Pepitas seem to be selling like hotcakes right now, so grab some on your next grocery trip.

Enjoy this special morning treat. 🙂

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RECIPE (12 scones)

INGREDIENTS

2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 – 1/2 cup white sugar, depending on whether you like it sweeter
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup cinnamon chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup Pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
coarse sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling on top
milk for brushing on

Spice Glaze
1/2 cup powder sugar
1 TB whole milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Directions

In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Work in cold butter (I use my fingers) just until mixture is unevenly crumbly; some larger chunks of butter that remain unincorporated are fine.  Stir in cinnamon chips, white chocolate chips, and Pepitas.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs until smooth.  Add pumpkin egg mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir until all is moistened and holds together.  If dough is sticky, just scrape it into a ball and wrap with cling wrap.  Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes or until dough is cold enough to be workable.

Line two plates with squares of parchment paper (parchment should extend past the plate) and sprinkle some flour on parchment.   Divide dough in half and place each half on a separate plate.  Pat each half into a 6 inch circle, about 3/4 inches thick each.  Carefully slice each circle into 6 wedges.  Separate wedges so there is at least 1/2 inch space between them.  Brush each wedge with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar/cinnamon.

Place the plates into freezer for 30 minutes (this helps the texture and rise.)  White scones are chilling, preheat oven to 425F.

Transfer parchment paper with scone wedges onto baking sheet.  Bake scones 18-19 minutes on lower middle rack, watching to make sure they don’t over bake.  Once they are golden on top and a toothpick comes out mostly clean (a few tender crumbs are fine.)  The edges should look baked, not wet or doughy.

While scones are baking, make Spiced Glaze.  Mix together all glaze ingredients and whisk to incorporate well.

Remove scones from oven and cool a bit.  Drizzle with spiced glaze and serve warm.  Wrap any leftovers in airtight container and keep at room temp.  Do not put in fridge.  Glazed scones keep well for a day or two.

By Chewoutloud, adapted from King Arthur Flour

Basil ‘n Lemon Pesto

10 Oct Basil Pesto

My beloved basil plants have just completed their season here.  If you’re lucky enough to grow herbs in a climate where it’s still warm, you’re probably not seeing the sad demise of your plants.  Alas, mine are pretty much seeing the end of their days.  I salvaged what was left of my basil plants, brought them indoors, and stuck them in water until I could figure out what to do with them.  I thought about blanching and freezing the leaves.  Or drying them for future use.  In the end, I decided to whip up a batch of pesto, which I know will keep in the fridge awhile and comes in handy for all those weeknight meals.

Basil Pesto

We usually have fresh lemons around, so we make lemon-basil pesto.  It is so refreshing, and gives the pesto that perfect lemony tang.  If you prefer plain basil pesto, just omit the lemon.

Basil Pesto

Pack in those basil leaves.  Goodbye, garden, until next spring!

Basil Pesto

Of course, good extra virgin olive oil.

Basil Pesto

Voila!  That’s it!  Now we’ve got a nice reserve of beautiful pesto, ready to go when needed.

Basil Pesto

Pesto is awesome in so many pasta and chicken dishes.  It’s supposed to be good in some fish recipes, too.   I used to avoid pesto, for some reason.  I suppose I thought it was greasy…probably from less-than-ideal  restaurant experiences.  What a difference when you make it yourself!  Pesto is actually pretty healthy when I get to put in my own fresh ingredients.

Basil Pesto

No need to ever buy jarred pesto sauce.  A little goes a long way, and this keeps nicely in fridge awhile.  I am generous with the salt in my pesto, because once it marries with all that pasta, the richness of the sauce thins out and becomes lighter.

The great thing about pesto is how versatile and flexible it is.  If you don’t want to use pine nuts, other nuts can often work nicely.  Sunflower seeds are a decent alternative, if you’re allergic to nuts.  You can make it more or less garlicky, depending on how much close social contact you’re expecting to have in the next 24 hours 😉  If you’d like the color to be greener, simply add some flat leaf parsley to the mix.

Here’s our favorite basic (and easy!) pesto recipe.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
3-5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 1 small lemon (or half of a large lemon)
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (only add upon serving)

DIRECTIONS

Put basil, garlic, and nuts in food processor and pulse several times until chopped.  Add olive oil and lemon zest with juice.  Process until smooth and well blended.  Transfer pesto to large bowl and season with kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste.

If using immediately, add in Parmesan cheese and mix together well.

If saving for future use, just transfer pesto to airtight container (if desired, divide into 2 separate containers) and drizzle with bit of oil on top or place cling wrap directly on pesto to seal out air.  Simply thaw and mix in the Parmesan cheese when you want to serve it up!

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

5 Oct Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Recently, I felt compelled to obey that bread-making compulsion that comes calling now and then.  Everyone knows the fall season is synonymous with a sudden onset of baking activity.  For me, that includes bread.   Armed with a craving for rustic bread, an addiction to garlic, and a fondness for the heady aroma of rosemary, I decided to bake the Best Rosemary Garlic Bread ever.  If such a thing can be decided 🙂

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

I was super thrilled that this actually resulted in the Best Rosemary Garlic Bread we’ve ever had.  It’s most definitely a family favorite now.  The mouth watering aroma from the oven is one big ridiculous temptation.  Seriously, we all sooo wanted to tear into this loaf the minute it came out.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Needless to say, once the dinner bell was officially rung, the bread lasted maybe seconds.   Oh-So-Good.  The exterior has that artisan, rustic texture – a gorgeous golden crisp crust.  The inside?  Everything I’d want in a hearty dinner bread… it’s chewy, soft, yet robust… delicious.  The roasted garlic and rosemary are absolutely meant for one another.  The seasoning flavors this bread perfectly.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

I always make homemade bread by hand, only because I’ve never purchased a bread maker.  I’ve thought about getting one, but so far it’s been fine without; if you don’t have a bread maker, no worries.  You can absolutely make this fab bread at home with a little extra elbow grease.

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread

Plan ahead to allow time for rising.  Depending on the temperature of your room, it could take a couple of hours for the dough to double.  I like to put mine in an oven that has been slightly warmed up, which helps the rise time go a bit faster.  No doubt, this bread is so worth it.   You’ll be one popular baker at the dinner table.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (makes 1 loaf)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 110-115F
2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp fine salt
3 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 TB dried rosemary
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 head of roasted garlic
extra olive oil for brushing on top and serving
coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top
balsamic vinegar for serving
clean water in spray bottle

DIRECTIONS

In large bowl, Sprinkle yeast into 1 cup warm water.  Mix in the sugar and salt.  Let sit for about 10 minutes or until it foams.  Add in olive oil.  Add flour and knead (by hand or stand mixer) for about 10 minutes.  Add rosemary, black pepper, and oregano.  Knead another 5 minutes.  Finally, gently knead in roasted garlic by hand, about 1 minute.  Dough should come together well at this point; slightly sticky is fine.  Place dough ball in well oiled bowl, turning dough a few times so that dough surfaces are protected by oil.  Tightly cover bowl with cling wrap.  Place in warm, draft-free area to rise until dough is doubled, approx. 1 hour, depending on room temp (if your room is cooler, it could take 2 hours.)

After dough is doubled, punch it down and shape into a rounded loaf.  Using sharp knife, make a criss-cross design on top.  Place rounded loaf on greased baking sheet.  Cover up loaf with large mixing bowl inverted over it.  Make sure bowl is large enough that it gives your loaf room to rise.  Let rise until doubled again, approx 1 hour.

After dough has doubled again, gently brush with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and a bit more rosemary.  Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, spraying loaf with water once during the middle of baking.  Bump oven up to 425F and spray loaf with water again.  Watch carefully – bake just until top is a  nice golden brown, taking care not to over bake.

Serve bread fresh and warm, with your favorite blend of good olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and balsamic vinegar!

by chewoutloud, adapted from Jo’s Rosemary Bread

Pan Grilled Flatbread, Like Naan

28 Sep Grilled Flatbread Like Naan

Weeks ago, I shared my favorite recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala, which was a huge hit with everyone who has tried it.  I’ve been so busy with fall that I just now realized this fabulous naan-like recipe has been waiting for its turn in the spotlight.  It very well could steal the show.

Grilled Flatbread Like Naan

Grilled Flatbread

Like the Chicken Tikka Masala, I have tried numerous times to create a decent flatbread that reminds me of the naan I’m so used to ordering from my favorite Indian eateries.  I even tried a popular “naan” recipe from allrecipes that looked promising.  Unfortunately, none of the recipes worked out well enough to write home about.  Until…you guessed it…now.

Grilled Flatbread Like Naan

This could well be the closest I’ll ever come to making Asian flatbread akin to Indian naan.  I’m very okay with that, given the happy results of this delicious flatbread.  In all truth, it’s extremely difficult (maybe next to impossible) for most home cooks to make authentic naan bread.  That is because most of us do not happen to have a home kitchen adorned with a traditional clay oven, which can get up to 900F.  At least, I don’t. 🙂

Grilled Flatbread Like Naan

Grilled Flatbread, similar to Naan

This scrumptious flatbread turned out soft, tender, and flavorful.   These came out with lots of nice, airy bubbles when they finished cooking.  I made the naughty mistake of covering them up with foil after cooking.  The warm condensation caused my big, pretty bubbles to flatten.  I share that tidbit so it won’t happen to you 😉   Regardless, none of my eaters cared or noticed – these were gobbled up as soon as they were released.

Overall, this tasty flatbread is a bit thicker and chewier than traditional naan, but it has made a worthy name for itself – every last bit of the bread was scraped up.  No leftovers means no experiments with reheating could be conducted this time.  Guess that’s a good thing.

Grilled Flatbread Like Naan

The only part that takes some time is, of course, the rising.  The rest of it is simple and straightforward.  You just have to stay patient while cooking them because, unless you have multiple cast iron skillets and uncanny hand-eye-speed coordination, you will probably be cooking them 1 at a time.

You’ll have to bat away all those hands trying to grab the bread before you’ve officially rung the dinner bell.  Good thing these cook up fast!  Do be sure to serve these up while still warm and fresh, so cook them up right before you’re ready to nosh.  Enjoy!

RECIPE (8 flatbreads)

INGREDIENTS

1 package (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup (1 3/8 oz) whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups (13 3/4 oz) bread flour, plus more for dusing
1 cup room temperature water
1/4 cup plain whole yogurt
1 TB olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
4 TB melted butter for brushing on flatbreads
kosher salt to taste
garlic powder to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a standing mixer, combine yeast, sugar, salt, whole wheat flour, and bread flour in the bowl of mixer.  Mix with paddle attachment until blended, about 15 seconds.  Add water, yogurt, and olive oil.  Mix on low until a shaggy dough forms, about 30 seconds.  Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead the dough on medium speed until smooth and glossy, about 8 minutes.  Add more flour, only 1 TB at a time, if needed in order to get a dough that clears the sides of the bowl.  Be careful not to add too much dough.  It should still stick to the bottom of the bowl.   (If mixing by hand, knead dough until smooth and elastic, 12-15 minutes.)

Transfer dough ball to well oiled bowl.  Turn dough in bowl, so surfaces of dough are protected by oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in draft free, warm spot until dough has doubled in bulk.  About 1 hour.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.  If sticky, sprinkle lightly with flour.  Cut dough into 8 equal portions.  Roll each portion into round ball.  Roll or flatten each ball into a 4 in. circle, always keeping other dough balls covered while working. It helps to set them on wax or parchment paper, to prevent bottoms from sticking.  Let the 4-inch circles rest for 10 minutes.  One at a time, with lightly oiled rolling pin, roll each into 6 inch circle.  Keep others covered as you work on each one.

5-10 minutes before cooking, heat a heavy cast iron pan over medium high heat.  Working one at a time, gently lift a dough circle, stretch it about 1 inch larger, and place in skillet.  You can also press it into a better circle quickly right after you put it into the pan.  Cook until small bubbles appear on the surface of the dough, about 30 seconds.  Using a large, flat spatula, flip the bread and cook until bottom is speckled and deep golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes.  Flip bread over once more and cook until bottom is speckled and deep golden, 1-2 minutes.

Transfer bread to a wire rack and cool for a couple of minutes.  If desired, brush bread lightly with butter and lightly sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and/or garlic powder to taste.  You can cover loosely in clean towel to serve warm.  If you do have leftovers, wrap bread tightly in foil and reheat at 300F for 15 minutes.

by chewoutloud, adapted from Baking Illustrated

Blueberry Spice Breakfast Cake

18 Sep Blueberry Spice Breakfast Cake

Is summer officially over?  According to the almanac, we still have a few short days left.  Fall officially takes over this Friday.  But in this territory, fall has already crashed our party with a quick and sudden bang.  One 20 degree drop in as many hours, and that’s the way it’s going to be from here on out… temps will fall without abandon, and we’ll all look insane in our attempts to bravely sit through the kids’ soccer games with our chattering teeth and blue lips.

Speaking of blue, I’m rebelling against nature with my little post on blueberries 🙂  They’re still plentiful and plump at the supermarkets, albeit imported.  No matter, because they are delicious and still available.

Bluberry Spice Breakfast Cake

Bluberry Spice Breakfast Cake – hello, Brunch!

Plump, juicy blueberries are the feature in this scrumptious breakfast cake.  Add brown sugar and fall spices, and you can’t go wrong with this hearty morning treat.

Blueberry Spice Breakfast Cake

Blueberry Spice Breakfast Cake, from sweet Auntie Polly

Auntie Polly is the one to thank for this yummy blueberry breakfast cake.  Auntie Polly isn’t actually my aunt or my cousin or even related to me… but my boys call her Auntie.  In our culture, all of mommy’s friends are fondly referred to as Aunties.  All of daddy’s friends are proudly titled Uncles.  I love the casual familiarity of those titles.  Auntie Polly is actually a very dear friend of mine, going way back to those carefree days of BK life (remember, Before Kids?)

Bluberry Spice Breakfast Cake

Blueberry Spice Breakfast Cake

Auntie Polly has a reputation for being super creative, and her artistic designs are amazing.  She is also known to bake up some tasty treats, and this recipe is no different.  Blueberry spice breakfast cake is chock full of berries, making every bite moist and richly satisfying.  I added a bit of oatmeal and flax into this yummy cake, and subbed whole yogurt for the sour cream (do you see a trend here?)   I will feel extremely good about serving something called “cake” at 9am 🙂

Bluberry Spice Breakfast Cake

Blueberry Spice Breakfast Cake

This blueberry spice breakfast cake isn’t one of those light, fluffy varieties.  I enjoy light and fluffy also, but there are times I prefer something more substantial, especially to start my day.  This cake is beautifully moist, tender, and dense all at the same time.  I suppose that’s why it’s a breakfast cake and not a dessert.  Though I’d absolutely eat it for dessert.

Blueberry Spice Breakfast Cake

Blueberry Spice Breakfast Cake

Why, oh why, do I insist on making myself hungry by writing about and staring at yummy edibles at night?  The exact time we’re taught not to even think about ingesting a morsel of anything.  At least I usually know what I’m having for breakfast the following day!

Get your sweet blueberries before they’re gone!

RECIPE (makes one 9 or 10 in round)

INGREDIENTS

Cake
1/2 cup or 1 stick softened (not melted) butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 TB vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temp
2/3 cup whole plain yogurt
1 1/2 cup flour, divided
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB ground flaxmeal, optional
1 3/4 cup fresh blueberries (if you must use frozen, do not thaw)

Topping
6 T chilled butter
3 T sugar
3 T brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Other
Coarse sugar, such as Turbinado, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Mix topping ingredients together until crumbly.  Set aside in fridge.

Place oven rack to lower middle and preheat to 350F.  Grease a 9 or 10 inch Springform pan.

Use a mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy and very pale yellow.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix together until smooth.  Add the yogurt and mix well.  Add flour, reserving 2 TB  set aside.  Add baking soda, salt, and flax meal.  Mix batter until smooth.  Carefully toss blueberries with the 2 TB reserved flour.  Gently fold berries into the batter.

Transfer batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle chilled topping evenly over cake.  Place a large pan under Springform pan to catch drippings.  Bake for about 45 minutes if using 10 inch pan.  If using a 9 inch, you may need a couple more minutes bake time.  Bake just until toothpick comes out with a few chewy crumbs still stuck to it.  Remove cake and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar on top.  Cool on wire rack.  Cake can be made the night before and kept in the pan, covered with foil, until ready to serve.  To serve warm, reheat at 300F for about 12 minutes.  Remove sides of Springform pan and serve in wedges.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by my friend Polly

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