Saturday, January 16, 2010

Basic Pizza Dough and Tomato-Basil Sauce

I was really impressed with this recipe, it's very similar to the recipe I have been using for several years from Joy of Cooking. It's actually a little easier to make, which is always a winner for me!


Yeast: Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of yeast and a pinch of sugar over 1 cup of warm water. Let set for about 15 minutes.
Dough: I used my food processor, it was perfect. You can also mix by hand or with an electric mixer.
In the food processor: 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the yeast. Start the mixer and pour the yeast through the feed tube. Mix until you have a ball, about 30 seconds.

Knead about 3 minutes on a lightly floured work surface. Add flour as needed 1 tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking. The dough should be soft, smooth, and very springy. Form into a flattened ball. Place dough in a greased deep container, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let raise 1 1/2 h0urs.

I used two cans of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz. each) you can also use a 28 oz can of plum tomatoes packed in puree.
Saute 2 chopped garlic cloves in 1/4 a cup of olive oil. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let simmer another 5 minutes. Makes 3 cups. (The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days or freezer for a month.)

You can stretch the dough by hand, roll, or press out. I prefer to stretch by hand. Bake the pizza at 400 F for 15-20 minutes. Or if you have a baking stone place on the lowest rack and bake at 500 F for 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cracked Wheat Bread

This bread is delicious, it's really moist which is a hard thing to accomplish with wheat bread. 5 stars.


Add 3/4 cup cracked wheat or bulgar to 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Let stand one hour to soften.
In a small bowl sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar over 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 F)

In a small bowl combine 1 cup warm buttermilk, 1/4 cup molasses, 1 tablespoon honey, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces.

In a large bowl using a whisk or paddle attachment combine 1 tablespoon of salt, 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds and 2 cups of whole wheat flour.

Stir in the yeast and milk mixtures and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Strain the cracked wheat and add to the mixture. Add 2 1/2 to 3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour 1/2 a cup at a time until you have a soft dough.

Knead 7-10 minutes, then place in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Let raise at room temperature until doubled. About 1 1/2 hours.
This recipe actually makes three medium free form loaves. I made two large loaves in my bread pans. After shaping brush the tops with melted butter and let raise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Then brush again with melted butter.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, or until brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your finger. Transfer immediately to a cooling rack.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Spiced Applesauce Muffins

These muffins are definately a winner. 5 stars. Very tasty, and low sugar/low salt.

In a large bowl using whisk: 1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In another bowl: 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon Postum, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine wet and dry ingredients just until moistened, about 10 strokes. Fold in 3/4 a cup raisins/nuts. I used half raisins, half pecans and chopped them both well.

Bake in a preheated oven in a greased muffin tin at 375 F for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing.

Buttermilk Waffles

I was so excited to get a waffle iron for Christmas. We immediately put it to good use, and enjoyed every bite! 5 stars.

In a large bowl: 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt

In a second bowl: 4 eggs, separated, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 cups buttermilk

In the third bowl are the egg whites.

Combine wet and dry ingredients just until moistened, about 12 stirs.

Beat the egg whites until soft peak stage, then fold into the batter until there are no more white streaks.

Let rest for about 10 minutes, it helps dissolve any pockets of flour.

Grease waffle iron, then when indicator comes on spoon around 1/3-1/2 a cup, depending on the size of your griddle. Make sure there is about an inch between the batter and the edge. This prevents spilling.

Mmm, we had ours with defrosted frozen blueberries and B grade maple syrup.

Baked Apple and Pear Oven Pancake

Mmm, so good. I definitely give it 5 stars.

In a large skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium-high heat and add 2 medium tart apples (I used Granny Smith) peeled, cored and sliced, along with 2 medium firm ripe pears (I used Bartlett), peeled, cored and sliced. Saute about 2 minutes just until tender, but not too firm. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Place a 9x 13 inch pan in a preheated 375 F oven for 2 minutes. Remove and add the sautéed fruit.

In a large bowl combine 6 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups whole milk, 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Beat well, about 1 minute. Pour over the fruit in the pan.

Immediately place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until puffy and brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve immediately.

American Chocolate Bread

I had never even heard of this so I was really excited to try something new. It's delicious. 5 stars.

In a mixing bowl sprinkle 2 tablespoons of yeast and 2 tablespoons of sugar over 1 cup warm water. Add 1 1 /2 cups unbleached all purpose flour and beat until smooth. Let raise 1 hour.

Stir down the sponge and add 1 cup warm milk, 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter,
1 tablespoon salt, and 1 cup of flour. Beat until smooth, then add the remaining 3 to 3 1/2 cups of flour 1/2 a cup at a time. Knead 5-10 minutes. When you have a satiny feeling dough that springs back when pressed. Place in a greased deep container and cover with plastic wrap, raise for 1 hour.

I did this part differently then the recipe because I don't have the mini loaf pans.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Pat each one into a rectangle shape, about an inch thick. Place 1 oz (total 4 oz for my way, 8 oz. for mini loaf pans) of semisweet chocolate on the short end and roll like a jelly roll. Pinch the seam and ends and place in a 9x13 pan. Follow suit with the remaining 3 loaves.

This is what the recipe said: Divide dough into 8 equal portions and then follow the same directions for rolling. Place in mini loaf pans.

This is what mine looked like.

Raise for 15 minutes (in both 9x13 and mini loaf pans) and then brush melted butter on top and sift some powdered sugar over the tops. Preheat oven to 375 F and bake 9x13 for 30-35 minutes. 20-25 minutes for loaf pans.

Mmm, so good! I had strawberry jam on mine.

Traditional English Muffins

This is the honest to goodness truth! I have NEVER liked english muffins, those nasty pasty stale things at the grocery store or a McDonalds eggmcmuffin...ewwww
After making some from scratch I am completely sold! They are delicious! We made mini pizza's with ours, they were also tasty with butter.

In a small bowl sprinkle 1 tablespoon of yeast and a pinch of sugar over 1/4 a cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about ten minutes.

In a large bowl with a whisk or a work bowl of a heavy duty mixer:
Mix 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 large egg at room temp., 1 1/4 cups warm milk and 2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter. Add the yeast mixture, then the remaining 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour. Knead until dough is smooth and springs back when pressed. 5-10 minutes.

Place dough in a greased, deep container, turning to coat. Let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Roll dough out in a rectangle about 1/ 2 an inch thick on a surface sprinkled with corn meal or coarse semolina. Cut using a drinking glass/cup or biscuit cutter.

Preheat an electric griddle to 350 or 375 F, or a cast iron on low.Grease lightly and cook the muffins each side 7-10 minutes.

Mmm, enjoy! (Muffins may be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator or freezer)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fresh Lemon Muffins

These are super easy and soo good for breakfast!! They definately get 5 stars.

In a large bowl with whisk combine: 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, zest from 2 lemons.
In a second bowl mix together: 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of melted unsalted butter, 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional) and 2 large eggs.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients just until moistened. Probably around a 10 second whisk. Spoon into greased muffin tins. The recipe is supposed to just make 8 muffins and tells you to fill the other 4 empty spots with water, however I got 12 muffins so it depends on how big you like yours.

Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for 20-25 minutes.
I actually skipped the following step, but thought I would include it anyway.

To make the lemon glaze: 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Heat in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved, but do not boil. Pierce the baked muffins several times and pour glaze over them. Cool for 5 minutes to absorb before transferring to a cooling rack.

Variation: substitute an equal amount of orange zest and orange juice for the lemon zest and juice. Omit the lemon extract.

Cinnamon Rolls with Irish Cream Glaze

I really enjoyed this recipe, as well as the family. We had them for breakfast on Christmas morning with some wassail. The glaze called for liqueur which I don't use so I found a non alcoholic recipe for Irish cream online that during out delicious.


In a medium sauce pan boil a medium russet potato, peeled and cut into chunks. Boil about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain the potato, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. Let the potato water cool to 105-115 F. Then mash the potato with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until smooth. It should make 3/4-1 cup puree.

In a small bowl sprinkle 1 tablespoon active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar over 1/4 cup warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl: combine pureed potato, warm potato water, yeast mixture, 1/2 cup granulated OR brown sugar, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 large egg at room temp, 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of the flour. (Total flour: 5-51/2 cups) Beat hard to combine.

Add the remaining 3-31/2 cups of flour 1/2 a cup at a time until you have a shaggy dough that just clears the side of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until springy, about 10 minutes. Dust with flour 1 tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking. The dough should be very satiny.

Place the dough in a greased deep container, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and let raise 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or until doubled). Gently deflate the dough and let raise a second time until doubled in bulk, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Gently deflate the dough and divide into two half's. Roll each portion into a 10X14 inch rectangle at least 1/4 an inch thick. Cover each half with half the following filling: 4 tablespoons unsalted, melted butter, 1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 cup dark raisins or dried currants plumped in hot water for ten minutes and drained, 1 cup (4 oz) walnuts or pecans.
I used currants, dried cherries, and walnuts.

Cut each roll about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick and place on a greased 9x13 2 inches apart.

Raise for 20 minutes and bake in preheated oven at 350 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Irish Cream Glaze: 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 4-5 tablespoons of the following recipe.

Non Alcoholic Irish Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 oz. Sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. Postum/Pero
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Blend on high 20-30 seconds. Store in refrigerator.

These rolls may be frozen in heavy duty plastic bags for up to 3 months.