Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cranberry~Blueberry Bread

One of the best smells in the world is fresh baking bread.  I wanted to make a good sandwich and toast bread so I added some dried cranberries and blueberry infused cranberries to it.  I can highly recommend it for ham and turkey sandwiches.

Cranberry & Blueberry Bread
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil

3 tbsp nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup dried blueberries (or blueberry infused cranberries), chopped

Combine warm water, sugar and yeast and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Add in olive oil before adding to the dry ingredients in your mixer bowl.   Pour in yeast and water mixture and mix with your dough hook until it kneads for 4 minutes.

Place dough in a clean bowl with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil rubbed on all sides and allow to raise until it has doubled.  Lightly punch down and shape to fit into a greased bread pan.  Allow to rise again.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350°.  Remove from oven and brush on 1 tbsp of butter.  Return to oven for an additional 2 minutes.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Orange Pizzelles

These Italian cookies are nice, crisp wafers that you can leave flat or roll up to use as a cannoli shell.  I flavored them with orange zest and extract.  Originally I was going to do lemon but I wanted to try orange for a change.  

Orange Pizzelles

3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp orange extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp Orange liqueur (optional)

Beat eggs until they are light.  Add in sugar, melted butter, orange zest and extract.  Fold in dry ingredients.  Drop by teaspoonfuls into the center of your heated pizzelle maker.  Close the lid for about 30 seconds.  Carefully remove the pizzelle and place on a wire rack.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Soup

It's that time of year for soup and the cold weather seems to have hit earlier than normal.  I was planning on another meal with chicken but decided to warm up with some creamy soup that comes together in less than an hour.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Soup

1# chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
32 oz chicken stock
1 tbsp celery flakes
1 cup long grain & wild rice
1 cup milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven or soup pot.  Cut up chicken into bite size pieces and add into the heated oil.  Stir often so all sides cook.  While that's cooking, microwave the carrot slices for a couple minutes so they cook faster.  Add in the carrots, chicken stock and celery flakes and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the rice and cook for 12 minutes.  Add in the milk and cheese and cook until the cheese melts.  Serve with additional cheese and bacon on top.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Light and fluffy biscuits that are perfect with jam for breakfast or with a bowl of stew later on in the day.  You can whip with use in no time once your butter and cream cheese have softened.   I like making biscuits because it gives me an opportunity to use my grandmothers antique biscuit and cookie cutters that I have displayed in a clear glass cookie jar.

Cream Cheese Biscuits

3 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
In a medium bowl, sift together the following
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt

Cut in the softened butter and cream cheese.  When the mixture is crumbly, pour in 2/3 cup milk.  Stir until dough sticks together.  Knead on a floured surface until it’s no longer sticky.  Roll out to a ½” thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with milk and bake for 10 minutes at 450°.

Makes 14 biscuits.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus

A hint of lemon, Parmesan cheese and creamy garlic for a healthy dip for veggies or Pita chips.  This dip can be made within minutes (after you roast the garlic).  I happened to have Meyer lemons on hand so I used the zest and juice from one of those but put the measurements in the recipe for using a regular lemon.

Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus

6 cloves garlic (roasted for 1/2 hour at 350° wrapped in aluminum foil)
1 can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
zest from 1/2 of a lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp water
pinch of sea salt

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy.  Place in a serving dish and top with a tsp of extra virgin olive oil and some Parmesan flakes.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rocky Road Cookies

It's cookie baking season and I decided to try putting together a new cookie.  Who doesn't love chocolate, nuts and toasted marshmallows?  I took a generous cup of mini marshmallows leftover from another Christmas treat and put them in the freezer for a couple hours so they wouldn't melt as fast in the cookies and turned up the oven heat so they would bake faster (8 minutes - no longer or your cookies will burn and the marshmallows turn into liquid mess at the bottom of the pan).  Lost one pan experimenting.

Rocky Road Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 oz pecans, chopped or pieces
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 generous cup mini marshmallows, frozen

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in egg, egg yolk and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.  Scoop out the cookie dough using a small cookie scoop and place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Press a couple of the frozen marshmallows on top of the dough.  Bake for 8 minutes at 375°.  Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 48 cookies.