Potato Rosemary Rolls

Potato Rosemary Rolls

 

Ever since I saw these Potato Rosemary Rolls from Two Peas and Their Pod, I just had to have them.

The only reason I waited so long to make them was because I never had extra mashed potatoes on hand—and they are a key component to these whimsical little rolls. But as soon as I got my hands on some, I was all over it!

And although my rolls didn’t turn out half as pretty as theirs (how did they make their clovers so perfect?!) they were delicious! Soft, fluffy, and slightly sweet. The only note I would make was that it took 90 minutes for the dough to double in size during the first proofing—twice as long as the recipe stated. But that always seems to be an issue I have.  :)

 

Potato Rosemary Rolls

 

You’ll just love how your home will smell when these rolls are baking. Just heavenly! And they are just divine right out of the oven—-is there anything better than hot freshly baked bread?

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Potato Rosemary Rolls
From Two Peas and Their Pod

2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup shortening
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup scalded milk
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1. In a small bowl, put the yeast in the warm water and stir with a spoon. Let sit for about five minutes or until the yeast starts to bubble.  Scald the milk and let it cool for two minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, shortening, and salt. Add the milk and stir in one cup of the flour. Next, add the yeast mixture and the beaten eggs. Add the mashed potatoes and rosemary and stir. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough comes together.

3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and let rise in a warm spot for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

4. Punch down the dough. To form the rolls, pinch off about a 1/2 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place three balls into a greased muffin tin. Continue forming rolls until dough is gone. Let the rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Bake rolls at 375 degrees F for about 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Makes about 30 rolls

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits…REDEMPTION!

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits

Man, oh man… You’re going to really want to make these. For real.

Some of you may recall a few months ago when I tried to make a knockoff of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits. They were good—but not great. And lucky for everyone, this gal was determined to find a better version. I was on a mission. And Hallelujah! I’ve found it!

Thanks to a little tweaking and edits to Cooks Illustrated Drop Biscuits, I am happy to share these little goodies with you all. Cheesy, flavorful and super easy to make. And since they’re “drop biscuits”, you don’t have to mess around with rolling out the dough.

I’m a happy camper! In fact, I’ve got to show you them again. Just indulge me, okay?

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits

And of course, these would be fabulous for any upcoming holiday festivities. :)

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Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Makes approximately 12 biscuits

Ingredients:

2 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Sugar
¾ Teaspoon Table Salt
½ Tablespoon Garlic Powder, plus 1 teaspoon to be added to the 2 tbsp melted butter for brushing biscuits
1 Cup Cold Buttermilk
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons Chopped Chives (or scallions)
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, garlic powder and salt in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Fold in cheese and chives. Using greased ¼ cup dry measure, scoop level amount of batter and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (biscuits should measure about 2¼  inches in diameter and 1¼ inches high). Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits about 1½  inches apart. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.

Brush biscuit tops with a mixture of the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter & 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Alton Brown’s “Overnight Cinnamon Rolls”

Alton Brown's "Overnight Cinnamon Rolls"

<Sigh>…….I had high hopes for these. My boy, Alton Brown, rarely leads me astray. But after a 14-hour process that included triple proofing of the dough, these rolls just fell short.

In truth, I’m not sure what went wrong. The reviews of the recipe were raving and I even watched the video. I followed every detail to the tee (something you definitely need to do when making Alton’s recipes) and used newly purchased yeast. The rolls did rise but not nearly as high as the ones from the show—despite the extra time I gave, too. And the end results were rather dense….no soft pillows of goodness as I had hoped. I did, however, like the icing as the cream cheese gave the slight tang that was a nice addition.

Will I try it again? Eh…I’m not sure. I’ve been eyeing  America’s Test Kitchen’s Cinnamon Rolls for some time now and I’m more inclined to give that one a spin before coming back to this one. Especially since there’s no yeast or proofing involved!

Sorry Alton….you’re still my Boo though. :)

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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
From Alton Brown

Ingredients:

Dough
4 Large Egg Yolks, room temperature
1 Large Whole Egg, room temperature
2 Ounces Sugar, approximately ¼ cup
3 Ounces Unsalted Butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 Ounces Buttermilk, room temperature
20 Ounces All-Purpose Flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 Package Instant Dry Yeast, approximately 2¼ teaspoons
Teaspoons Kosher Salt
Vegetable oil or Cooking Spray

Filling
8 Ounces Light Brown Sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
Pinch Salt
¾ Ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1½ tablespoons

Icing
2½ Ounces Cream Cheese, softened, approximately ¼ cup
3 Tablespoons Milk
5½ Ounces Powdered Sugar, approximately 1½ cups

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Alton Brown's "Overnight Cinnamon Rolls"A shame really as they don’t look too bad. <Sigh>…back to the drawing board!

Spiced Pear Cake for National Bundt Day

Spiced Pear Cake

 

Was it a coincidence or luck? Perhaps a little bit of both was on our side this weekend as my nieces and I prepared a delicious spiced pear cake using a bundt pan. And to my amusement as I was drafting up this post, I discovered that today is National Bundt Day!

This is the time of year when I bust out all of the warm spices (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc) and begin feverishly baking molasses cookies, gingerbreads, and other spiced desserts. YUM. I just love the aromatics and the deep warmth it brings to your home/kitchen when you’re creating such delights.

Since pears are in season and were in abundance at the market, I picked up a few Boschs with the intention of creating a cake that would be great for breakfast. (Cake for all times of the day, I say!) I also took the opportunity to try out this recipe with my nieces, Nina and Stephanie. They are turning out to be quite the whizzes in the kitchen and have refined palates for their age. And in truth, they did most of the work with this cake with me just guiding them through the process. I’m a proud Auntie.

The end results were just what I was hoping for. An extremely moist cake speckled with diced pears and perfumed with warm spices. Perfect with a huge cup of steaming coffee in the morning. With breakfasts like these (and wonderful nieces), perhaps I’ll make it through the chilly season after all.

And with that dear friends, rummage through your pantries to whip out those wreath-like pans—Celebrate National Bundt Day! (I know, I know….I’m a sucker for any “holiday” :) )


Stephanie and Nina hard at work…..Great things will come out of their kitchens in the future :)

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Spiced Pear Cake
Approximately 10 servings

Ingredients:

Cake Batter
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
¼ Cup Molasses
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
3 Cups Diced Pear

Glaze
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, melted
¼ Cup Water or Apple Juice
1 Cup Confectioner Sugar
½ Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly grease a large bundt pan.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and granulated sugar. Mix in brown sugar, breaking up any clumps. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mix in oil, eggs, vanilla extract and molasses. The batter will be quite thick. Fold in the diced pears being careful to not break up the fruit too much.

Spoon the cake batter into the greased bundt pan and spread the mixture evenly. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes before inverting on to a plate.

While cake is cooling, prepare glaze. Melt butter and slowly add confectioner sugar and cinnamon. Add apple juice (or water) and mix until combined. Strain the glaze to remove any potential lumps. Slowly pour over the cake while its still warm.

Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut Muffins

Mmmm….Doughnuts. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t love them :)

I personally prefer cake-batter doughnuts over yeast-batter doughnuts—chocolate old fashioned being the best! Yum.

I’ve always wanted to make fresh doughnuts but most of the cake-better recipes I’ve seen require doughnut pans. And as cute as those pans are, they’re pretty limited in functionality. So when I came across a few posts featuring Doughnut Muffins, I was EXCITED!

The recipe below was quite simple to follow–which was perfect since I had my niece Maya helping me. The only tweak that I made was the addition of ground cinnamon and vanilla extract in the batter. And let me just tell you, your kitchen will smell amazing when these little guys are baking in the oven. DEE-LISH!

I think these Doughnut Muffins are best right out of the oven. But if you happen to have a few left over the next day, pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them up. So yummy, you won’t regret it :)

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Doughnut Muffins

Adapted from Blue Ribbon Cookbook (via Evil Chef Mom)

Ingredients:

Muffins:
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
¾ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¾ Cup Whole Milk, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons Buttermilk, at room temperature
10 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
¾ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Large Eggs, at room temperature

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (12 cup) mini muffin tins.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and buttermilk. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Add vanilla extra. With the mixer set on low speed, beat in one fourth of the dry ingredients. Then beat in one third of the milk mixture. Continue to alternate until all ingredients are incorporated, finishing with dry ingredients. Do not over mix. The batter will be heavy, it’s ok.

Fill the prepared muffin cups just to the rim with batter. Bake until lightly golden and firm to the touch, 15-20 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

To coat the muffins: Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a paper bag. Brush each muffin generously with melted butter. Then place a few muffins in the bag with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Shake well to coat the muffins. Repeat.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Jelly Doughnut Muffins: Allow muffins to cool and use a small pastry tip to make a hole in the bottom of each muffin. Fill the pastry bag with your favorite jam, jelly, or citrus curd, and squeeze into the muffin.


Doughnut Muffins
All that’s missing is a tall cold glass of milk.

Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits….(Kind Of)

Carbohydrates, bread in particular, are easily one of my greatest vices. I’m totally a CARBOHOLIC! I’m typically one of those people at restaurants that fill themselves silly with complimentary bread that by the time my entrée arrives, I’m already full! And one American chain restaurant has the tastiest complimentary bread….Red Lobster’s Cheddar Cheese Biscuits ®. SOOOO GOOD!

So when I came across their “top secret” recipe on ABC News’ website, I HAD to give them a try! By using Bisquick baking mix ®, it was SUPER easy and can be made in any home within a few minutes.

After pulling these golden beauties from the oven, I quickly pulled one apart and popped it into my mouth. Was it good? Sure! Dense…crumbly….cheesey. Did it taste like Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits ®? Eh….not really. Yes, it was a nice biscuit but something was missing that I couldn’t put my finger on it. I did add chopped scallions to the batter for a nice onion flavor but I think if I try this again, I’ll substitute the regular whole milk for buttermilk. The extra creaminess and tang that buttermilk has may be the trick.

Still—we enjoyed them, especially with our BBQ! And although they weren’t like Red Lobster’s ®, it was still tasty!

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Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits ®
Makes 12 Biscuits
From ABC News

Ingredients:

2½ Cups Bisquick Baking Mix
¾ Cup Cold Whole Milk
4 Tablespoons Cold Butter
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Scallions, chopped
1 Heaping Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese

Brush on Top:
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
¼ Teaspoon Dried Parsley Flakes
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or a large fork. You don’t want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, scallions and ¼ teaspoon garlic. Mix by hand until combined, but don’t over mix.

Drop approximately ¼-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in ½ teaspoon garlic powder and the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Makes one dozen biscuits.

Blackberry Muffins topped with Almond Streusel

photo

I try my hardest to eat what is in season and in doing so, I find that I get the best products at the lowest price. The other day while picking up some items at my local grocery store, I came across signs for fresh Blackberries at only $1 a basket! Now that was a deal I couldn’t pass up. I quickly filled my cart with 3 cartons without any idea on how I was going to use them.

The following work day, I decided to greet my new student staff with freshly baked muffins for our early morning meeting. I had never had a Blackberry Muffin before but thought it would be a great use of the fresh blackberries I had just picked up. Plus, I recalled a recipe from Williams Sonoma that featured this combination.

After a little digging around I found the recipe and quickly began making some modifications. The recipe is SUPER easy and I think the additions I made added a great flavor profile to the muffins.

The muffin was light, fluffy, and quite moist. The large blackberries were a nice surprise when biting into the muffin and I was pleased to see that my cautious folding of the batter yielded no “bleeding” from the berries. As for the almond streusel topping, well, what’s not to love about crunchy almonds, sugar and butter? The slight crunch added great texture and it seemed to be quite the favorite component with everyone.

 

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Blackberry Muffins topped with Almond Streusel
Makes 12 Muffins

Ingredients:

Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sliced toasted almonds, roughly chopped

Batter:
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar (more if needed, depending on sweetness of berries)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blackberries


Preheat an oven to 375°F. Place 12 paper liners in a standard muffin tin. Using a cooking spray, lightly spray the cups and pan. Set aside.

Prepare the topping. In a small bowl, stir together the sugars, flour, cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in almonds and set aside.

Prepare the batter. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla extract. In a larger bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg, melted butter and buttermilk mixture. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be fairly lumpy. Carefully sprinkle in the blackberries (reserving 12 of the berries aside) and gently fold into the batter with a large rubber spatula just until evenly distributed. Take care not to break up the fruit.

Spoon and divide evenly the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Gently place one berry on top of each muffin and lightly press down with your finger until it is submerged. Proceed to cover each muffin with the streusel topping, dividing it evenly .

Bake until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Just missing a steaming cup of Joe :)

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon


One afternoon while having lunch, we caught an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they made a Pizza Bianco. It looked so easy and delicious that I stopped mid bite of my sandwich and feverishly began jotting down the recipe for the pizza dough. I was drawn to it as it almost had a focaccia-like consistency.

A few weeks later, with some more time on my hands and ambition at my side, I decided to give A.T.K.’s pizza dough a spin. True to form, like many of their recipes, it was easy. However, it was VERY time consuming. Mix this, wait 5 minutes….spin that, wait 2 minutes, flip 101 times….you get the point. But I must admit that the end result was well worth the wait.

I also opted out of their “bianco” style pizza in lieu of a tomato based sauce I created myself. To honor the Margherita Pizza, I used homegrown basil, creamy Bocconcini Mozzarella, and quickly roasted sliced tomatoes. And for that added extra punch, I topped it all off with crumbled crispy bacon. Why? Because I LOVE bacon.

WE LOVED IT! It was so savory, gooey from the cheese, bright from the basil and 95% homemade so you know where everything comes from. Incidentally, I didn’t make the cheese though I have ALWAYS wanted to try! There’s always next time. We also drizzled some of the baked pizza with some deliciously high quality finishing olive oil….very Italiano!

Word to the wise, start this recipe when you aren’t the least bit hungry. Having to wait for the dough to rise is quite time consuming and could be a monster if you’re hungry! :)

Adding the fixings

Enjoy!

Margherita Pizza with Crispy Bacon
Serves Approximately 4

Pizza Dough (From America’s Test Kitchen)
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 ¼ Teaspoon Salt
1 ⅔ Cups Water
1 ½ Teaspoon Yeast
1¼ Teaspoon Sugar
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil (extra for greasing)
2 Tablespoons Corn Meal (finely ground)

Tomato Sauce
1 32 Ounce Can of Plum Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove Finely Dice Garlic
1 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
¼ Teaspoon Dried Fennel
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toppings
12 Fresh Bocconcini Mozzarella (cut in half)
1 Plum Tomato, sliced, and slightly roasted at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
4 Slices Bacon, cooked, and crumbled into large pieces
5-6 Fresh Basil Leaves

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees for one hour before you are ready to bake the pizza (preferably with a Pizza Stone).

In Mixer using a Dough Hook, combine flour, salt, and water just to combine. Approximately 3-4 minutes. Let rest for an additional 20 minutes.  Add yeast and sugar. Mix for 2 minutes. Turn on Mixer on High Speed and mix for an additional 6-10 minute until dough is glossy & smooth. Dough should begin pulling away from bowl. In another large bowl, oil the surface with 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil Bowl. Transfer dough to bowl, add another 1 Tablespoon to the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let triple in volume – approximately 2-2 ½ hours.

While dough is resting, prepare tomato sauce. In a sauce pot, heat olive oil for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chili flakes and heat for an additional minute. Add the entire can of tomatoes with liquids to the pot. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. With the back of a wooden spoon (or potato masher), break down and crush the tomatoes. Add oregano and fennel and simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a food processor or blender, carefully puree the tomato mixture. Leave thick so that it spreads well over the dough. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover a baking pan with 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Sprinkle corn meal evenly across the pan and turn dough into pan. Lightly and gently spread dough across pan. If the dough does not hold shape and snaps back, let rest for an additional 5 minutes. Once the dough has been spread onto the pan, let it sit on countertop for another 5-10 minutes until it gets good and bubbly.

Dock the dough 30-40 times and parbake for about 15 minutes. It should be lightly brown on the top. Pull from oven and spread the Tomato sauce to cover.  Add roasted sliced tomatoes, cheese, and bacon. Put back into the oven for about 5-10 minutes until cheese is lightly brown. Add fresh basil and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cutting board. Cut with a Pizza Slicer (or bread knife) and Enjoy!

NY Times: No Knead Bread Boule

I have a confession. I have an EXTREME fear of working with yeast. AND I am intimidated with kneading doughs. Both are somewhat problematic since I LOVE carbs!

So when my sister recommended I try a No-Knead bread recipe she saw through the NY Times–I was ALL about it! Upon scanning the recipe, I was a tad skeptical of how simple it sounded but I was up to giving it a try.

True to form, it was easy to do. It just took A LONG time for the dough to rise and I’ll be honest–I am not always known to be patient. But the end results were delicious and you just can’t beat the amazing aromas of fresh baked bread as it fills your home.The bread does have a yummy flavor, great-crunchy crust, and wonderful air pockets when you cut into it.

Word to the wise, you need a lot of flour on the dough to ensure it doesn’t stick. However, you will need a heavy duty pastry brush to dust it all off when it’s finished cooling.

This recipe has made a believer out of me. :)

After the dough has fully rested.


Removing the lid before continuing to bake.


Ta-Da! You won’t need to buy bread again!

 

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NY Times: No-Knead Bread Boule


Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

Ingredients:

3 Cups All-Purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ Teaspoon Instant Yeast
1¼ Teaspoons Salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Spiced Pumpkin Loaves…Friend? Or Foe?

The abrupt change in weather this week spurred a strong need for me to keep our home warm with all kinds of tasty aromas. I decided to bake something that evoked the “autumnal” season and pumpkin bread came to mind. Those close to me will know that I am not typically a fan of pumpkin–or most squashes for that matter. I’m pretty sure I was traumatized from eating the mushy kabocha squash when I was a kid. Still, even a hater like me can’t deny that nothing screams Fall like pumpkin!

The verdict? The loaves were quite dense like a pound cake and was quite moist. My fear of the overwhelming pumpkin flavor was quelled when I tasted the finished product, as it wasn’t too sweet or “pumpkin-ie”. The cloves and nutmeg added a great spice component.

This recipe is super easy and I’ll consider adding a cinnamon sugar topping next time I make it for that great crunchy-crust texture. You could also do a very light glaze on top after the loaves have cooled. For those who prefer more of a pumpkin flavor, I would suggest adding another 3-4 ounces of the pumpkin puree and reduce the vegetable oil to compensate for the extra moisture.

Spiced Pumpkin Loaves

Spiced Pumpkin Loaves © Photo rights reserved.

Spiced Pumpkin Loaves

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
15 ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin spice, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. (Mix in chocolate chips, if desired.)

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.