Friday, December 19, 2014

Eggnog Mini Loaves

       
                    Soooo there's no eggnog in this country. Well,let me rephrase that. They have what's called, Advocaat. And it's nasty. It's like a creamy custard type pudding with a strong taste of brandy and not much else. Plus they sell it on the shelves and not cold..and that creeps me out. I had the misfortune of tasting it when I first arrived here and stay a healthy 10 feet away from it now. So yeah..they have that and some say it's kind of like eggnog, but they are full of it. It's not. Don't be fooled. I've never bothered to make eggnog myself because I would be the only one drinking it and after one or two glasses I am good until next year. So since 2007 I have avoided all eggnog based recipes. 

Until now. Sometimes it takes me ages to acknowledge the light bulb that is blinking on and off inside my head frantically. Why couldn't I just swap out the eggnog for buttermilk? After all..the actual flavor of eggnog is,nutmeg,cinnamon,vanilla and a hint of rum and all recipes include most of that since I am not totally convinced you get a full on eggnog flavor without the addition of the spices and extracts. So I went for it and wouldn't you know..it tasted just like eggnog. I loved the flavor and so did the men in my family. You could add a eggnog glaze if you like but we were happy with it as is.

Eggnog Mini Loaves

2-1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
2-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda..Only if using buttermilk
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2-1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
2 Eggs
1 cup Eggnog or Buttermilk
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Butter,melted
2 tsp. Vanilla
1-2 tsp. Rum Extract..I went with one and found it to be perfect

Preheat oven to 350/180 c. Grease mini loaf pans with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl,whisk together the flour,baking powder,baking soda (only if using buttermilk),cinnamon and nutmeg.

In another bowl,beat eggs,eggnog or buttermilk,sugar,melted butter and extracts;Stir into dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for a few mins before removing from pans and allowing to cool on a wire rack.

Yield: Several mini loaves..depends on how many you have
Source: Taste of Home                








Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Take A Peek Wednesday: Today In My House..

                 

                     It's 10:30 am and it's dark outside. I should have the lights on in my house..but instead..I've got the warm Christmas glow going on. The candles are lit and the tree is bright.

             
         I've got this wonderful Christmas movie on and..

                
        
                   I've got the slow cooker taking care of dinner for me. Oh how I love this thing! Tonight we will be having THIS for dinner..but instead I am using a turkey loin. It's going to be a great day!










Monday, December 15, 2014

Double Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins

            
              Have you finished your Christmas shopping? My husband and I knocked it out of the ballpark this weekend when it came to shopping. We are done!! For us, that is a miracle. We are usually the crazy ones who are shopping up to the very last minute and then racing home like a mad person all frazzled and swearing not to do this again. But again we do it. Every single year that we've been married..Until now. We broke that crazy cycle for at least this year and we are so happy about that. I need to head to the post office today to ship a few parcels off and I can happily head home knowing I don't need to stand in lines for ages and ages.

I headed over to a candy store that has an American section and couldn't believe my eyes. They had salt water taffy!!! I haven't tasted that in,well,7 years now! I paid way to much for it but walked around smiling like a Cheshire Cat. It's the little things sometimes. You know what else I wish they would get? muffins that aren't dry and tasteless. I stopped trying all muffins at the cafe's I stop in for coffee. They are horribly dry and someone needs to leave a note stating a little buttermilk could help with that issue.

These muffins aren't dry. These muffins rock on all levels.

Double Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins

2 cups All-purpose Flour
4 TBS Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. BakingPowder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter,softened
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 400/200 c. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners.

Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl;set aside.

In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually,beat in the eggs. Add the vanilla and buttermilk and beat just until combined. Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl,as needed. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin evenly.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for a minute or so and then take them out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Manila Spoon         












Friday, December 12, 2014

Candy Cane Sweet Bread

               
                 What a wet miserable week this has been. My husband has been hanging out with me with a nasty cold he caught and judging from the sound of my two teenagers they too will be spending some time with me next week. I of course have been able to fight off the cootie bugs so far and it's honestly been years since I was sick. I can't afford to get sick..with my from scratch lifestyle there is just no wiggle room when it comes to cooking and baking.

So..last week I brought you the Santa Face and this week I am bringing you,candy cane sweet bread!! This is a lovely recipe that produces 4 breads! Keep one or two for yourself and share the other two. The taste reminds me of a cinnamon roll..yum yum. The recipe isn't hard and you can change the nuts in the filling. The original recipe called for hazelnuts and I am just not a fan of those. So I used walnuts. This weekend I am baking up another Christmas sweet bread and will be sharing it with you next week!

Candy Cane Sweet Bread

2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
3/4 cup Warm Water
1/2 cup Warm Milk
4 Eggs
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Butter,melted
2 tsp. Salt
7-7-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour

Filling:

1 cup Chopped Walnuts
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 cup Raisins
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
3 TBS Butter,melted

Glaze

2 cups Powdered Sugar
3-4 TBS Milk
1 TBS Butter,Softened or Spray Bottle filled with water
1 tsp. Vanilla
Sprinkles or Chopped Nuts for decoration

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook,dissolve yeast in warm water and milk. Add eggs,sugar,melted butter,salt and 3 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Continue mixing on speed 4,for 6-8 minutes,until a smooth and elastic dough is achieved ( you can also knead this by hand if you wish..knead for 10 minutes or until a smooth and elastic dough is achieved). Place dough into a greased bowl,turning once to coat the top. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

For filling: Combine dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Gently deflate the dough and divide into fourths. On a lightly floured surface,roll one portion into a 12x7 inch rectangle. Either brush with some of the melted butter or use a spray bottle to mist the dough lightly with water ( I actually find that the water holds onto the filling just as good,if not better than the melted butter. Use whichever one you are most comfortable with). Sprinkle 2/3 cups worth of filling onto the dough and spread it out evenly. Roll it up,starting with the long side and make sure you keep a fairly tight roll so that everything sticks together. Pinch to seal the seam. Place onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and shape the top to form a candy cane and make sure to tuck the ends under to form a good candy cane shape. Repeat everything with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled,about 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350/180. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire racks.

Combine the first 4 ingredients of the glaze in a bowl and drizzle strips over the loaves. Sprinkle with either nuts or colored sprinkles.

Yield: 4 Candy Cane Sweet Breads
Source: Taste of Home












Monday, December 8, 2014

Mint Chip Sugar Cookies

                
                    This year marks the first time since I moved here that I won't be attending a Christmas market in Germany. The last few years my husband and I have noticed a switch. It's become to commercial for our liking. We're seeing more mass produced items at the stalls than anything else and it's lost a lot of its charm sadly. That didn't stop me from pulling out my favorite Christmas market mug and filling it with coffee and peppermint mocha powdered creamer!!! That plus these cookies gave me a nice swift kick of Christmas cheer and filled the house with the most delightful mint scent.

The recipe calls for mint chocolate chips and sadly that just doesn't exist over here. You won't find any flavored chocolate chips. However, like a good hoarder,I had a bag of the andes mint chocolate chips stashed away in the freezer. It ws my last bag so when I make these again at some point I will just chop up After Eight mints and hope for the best. I'm pretty sure it will work..especially if I chop and then maybe freeze them before adding them to the batter.

If you are a mint freak like myself then you totally need to make these! they are perfect in every way.

Mint Chip Sugar Cookies

1 cup Butter,Softened
1-1/2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1-1/2 tsp. Peppermint Extract
2-3 Drops of Green Food Coloring
3 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp. Salt
6 oz Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips
6 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350/180. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer or handheld mixer for a full 3 minutes. Add eggs,food coloring,and extract. Cream for a further 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour,baking powder,baking soda,cream of tartar and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix just until combined. Using a wooden spoon,mix in the mint and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded 2 tablespoons worth of dough onto prepared pan.

Bake for 10 minutes ( cookies will take on a slightly cracked appearance and that is ok). Cool on sheet for 2 mins before removing to wire racks.

Yield: 4 Dozen
Source: Little Dairy On The Prairie 









Friday, December 5, 2014

Golden Santa Bread

                    
                   This holiday season I decided to tackle each and everyone one of my sweet bread recipes that scream Christmas in one form or another. I hope to get to each one so in order to do this I need to bake a new recipe up each and every weekend..My family is of course excited by this so I am getting lots of encouragement to go for gold and bake every single one up that I can.

First on my list was the Golden Santa Bread. I new going into this that it wouldn't look anything like the original. I went and looked up other bloggers who had made the bread and we have all one thing in common: It looks nothing like the original. I am not saddened by this at all but I say this in order for you not to feel like you did something wrong. You didn't. It's just one of those things where the original and what happens in real life are two totally different things. I am sure I could bake this up again and work out different ways to make it more santa like..but that takes away from the whole experience of just getting into the kitchen and having fun with it.

I am not going to bother typing the recipe out. I will include a link that has both the tutorial on how to make it as well as a link to the recipe on the Taste of Home website. I changed two things about the recipe and that was to add less sugar and in orange zest. The one tip I have is to go all out on the beard. To me that's the sticking point of a good Santa..and mine failed. It looked like it was going to be a great beard but the face was to thick and looking back I should have made his face longer and thinner and concentrated more on making the beard the largest part of him.

None the less this was such a fun project to do and a real winner if you have young kids in the house..or teenaged kids who pretend like it's no big deal that you are creating a santa face but laugh and smile when they see it all complete.

So here is the link and do let me know if you give a try! See you next week with a new holiday bread recipe!

Golden Santa Bread




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Take A Peek Wednesday: Tis the Season!

           
                      Yep..it's that wonderful time of the year!! We picked our tree up on Saturday as part of our tradition of buying and decorating the tree for my birthday. As always, the man laughed when he saw us and said the exact same thing he has said to us every single time we have arrived.." I always remember you since you are the very first ones to show up for a tree" and then laughs again. I adore that man. 

So it's up and I love it. I turn it on as soon as I walk into the living room and just stand there and stare at it for a few minutes. It always puts a smile on my face and warms my heart. I love Christmas and everything it should stand for. I still believe you know..The bell still rings for me,as it does for all who truly believe. You know what else has been going on?

            
             Fire!!! oh how I love this time of year! Pop in some wood,grab a cup of coffee with either peppermint mocha or caramel latte powdered creamer and kick back and smile. Life is good in my little world.

P.S. The flavored creamers were sent to me from back home. I've never seen flavored creamers here!







        



                








Monday, December 1, 2014

Orange and Cardamom Bundt Cake..and Turning 40!!!!!!!

                        
                   So guess who turned 40 today...40!!! I don't know..this number has stopped me in my tracks and really has me thinking. I don't know if it's because my 30's seemed to fly by or what but turning 40 has me in a bit of a..where do I go from here mode. 

My birthday was spent with the 3 most important people in my life and the older I get, the more I realize how special that is. I have never been the type of person who needed to be constantly surrounded by others. I am not easily impressed and have a hard time sitting in a room full of people who are all about themselves. I keep my numbers small when it comes to friends and have reaped the benefits in doing so. I'm all about the quality and not the quantity..unless it's chocolate and then I want large amounts of both!

So lets chit chat about cake.. I am not a cake person. At all. I wasn't going to bake one at all until I saw the sad faces of my two teenaged sons. If I'm totally honest, they just wanted cake. They didn't care that I didn't want any and was fine with not having one, they just wanted cake for themselves. So I got up this morning and baked a bundt cake in stead. I love a good bundt  and a quick drizzle in place of a mound of frosting suits me just fine. Orange and cardamom is quickly becoming one of my favorite combinations for the fall and winter season and to be honest,I have been on a massive orange zest kick and I've been adding it into everything I can. The cake is moist and each flavor and spice comes through perfectly. 

Orange and Cardamom Bundt Cake

3 cups All-purpose Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 TBS Baking Powder
2 tsp. Ground Cardamom
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Orange Juice
2/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 TBS Orange Zest
2 tsp. Lemon Zest
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 Large Eggs

Glaze:
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1-2 TBS Orange Juice

Preheat oven to 350/180c. Grease a 10-inch tube or bundt pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour into the pan and turn the pan around as you coat all sides with the flour..shake out any access. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl,whisk together the first 6 ingredients. Make a well into the center and add remaining ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Spoon batter into prepared pan,spreading evenly.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If the cake is becoming to brown,tent with foil.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing the cake and allowing to cool on a wire rack.

Combine the glaze ingredients and enough orange juice to reach the consistency you want. Drizzle over the warm cake.

Yield: 16 servings
Source: Cooking Light








Monday, November 24, 2014

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Honey Rolls

                     
               It was Thanksgiving at our house this weekend! Since they obviously don't celebrate that over here no one has the normal Thursday off so we've just always done it on the weekend. There is something so special about getting up early and getting things ready for a wonderful meal that will be enjoyed by your family later on. I'm pretty sure I smiled all day long.

These rolls were a huge hit. They're soft,filled with wonderful things like whole wheat flour,flax seed,wheat germ or wheat bran if you prefer,honey, and cinnamon. I whipped these up a few weeks ago and tucked them into the freezer and can say that without a doubt,they freeze well, and they will be made over and over and over again.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

1-3/4 cups Boiling Water
1/3 cup Wheat Bran or Wheat Germ
3 TBS Ground Flax Seeds
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/3 cup Honey
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 TBS Active Dry Yeast
1-1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2-1/2 to 3 cups Bread Flour

In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer,pour the boiling water over the wheat bran,flax seeds,salt,cinnamon,honey,and oil. Mix to combine and allow the mixture to cool down between 110-115 F. Add in the yeast and allow to dissolve.
     Add in the whole wheat flour and beat with the dough hook until combined. Continue mixing while adding enough bread flour to form a firm dough. Beat on speed 4 for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough into a greased bowl,turning once to grease top. Cover and allow to sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Gently deflate dough.

Turn onto a light floured surface and divide the dough into 24 pieces. Shape each into a roll and place either on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or two greased 9 inch cake pans. Cover and allow to rise until doubled,about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Bake the rolls 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove rolls from baking sheet or cake pan and allow to cool on a wire racks.

Yield: 2 Dozen
Source: Taste of Home Christmas Cookbook 








Monday, November 17, 2014

Onion French Bread

                     
                   Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving? We are going to have this weekend since that's what works out for the family. I bought my annual turkey in Germany about a month ago and then went back this weekend to pick up one more. I've decided to cook that one up early December and freeze the meat for Christmas day. I really dislike having to cook anything other than a nice breakfast that morning and figured if I got my act together way before the day arrives we should have plenty of things to nibble on.

Like this bread for instance. It will be making an appearance on both days I think. It has such a wonderful flavor from the onion soup mix and it's so easy to make! plus..you get two loaves out the deal. One for now and one for later..or one to share..or one to hog for yourself because you deserve it. I was sitting on the couch yesterday morning and I decided to try and stuff the bread before rolling it up. I had some shredded cheese and ham to use up and I can say without a doubt, this bread is awesome when stuffed. I am thinking it will be stuffed with turkey left overs at some point.

** For my Euro people: They don't sell the normal onion soup mixes like we are used to. They do however sell a dry french onion soup mix here in NL and that is what I used. I imagine they would sell something similar in Germany. It tastes just like the stuff back home and I have heard from other expats that they like to use the mix to make dip with as well**

Onion French Bread

5-5-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 envelope Onion Soup Mix..I think I used 4 TBS of my mix
4-1/2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
3 TBS Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
2 cups Warm Water
2 TBS Butter
** Optional egg wash if you want one; egg white mixed with a tablespoon of water**

In a large mixing bowl,combine 2 cups of flour,soup mix,yeast,sugar,and salt. Add warm water and butter. Beat on medium speed with dough hook attachment. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Continue to mix on medium speed until a smooth and elastic dough forms,about 3-4 minutes.
  Place the dough into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled,about 1 hour.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Punch dough down. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 4-5 times and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 14x6 inch rectangle. Starting with the long side roll the dough up. Pinch along the edge to seal into the dough and place seam side down onto prepared pan and tuck the ends of the dough under. Repeat with remaining dough and place along side the other one. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 30-40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celsius. With a sharp serrated knife,make 3- 4 shallow diagonal cuts. Brush with egg wash and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack.

** If you decide to stuff the bread at some point,sprinkle toppings onto the dough once you have rolled it out into the rectangle shape and then gently roll it up and make sure to pinch and seal everything to make sure the melted cheese doesn't ooze out**

Yield: Two Loaves
Source: Taste of Home 





Friday, November 14, 2014

Lentil and Rice Soup

                    
                   Sometimes I don't want to think about food. I don't want to think about what is for lunch and most of the time I don't even want to think about dinner. I am about to turn 40 and as I look back on my life thus far..I've done a ton of cooking. I started out young and it's starting to catch up with me. I am honestly sick of cooking and I am not sure if I am ever going to like to again.

 I've looked at it in all different ways..be thankful you can be home to make your family healthy meals..don't care right now! Be proud of yourself for getting off of 95% of prepackaged foods..don't care right now! Be ever so thankful and proud of your family for not being picky eaters and loving all the meals you make..even the most humble of dinners..Don't care..ok, that's not true. I am actually super happy about that one. My family is forever happy with whatever I place in front of them. I can plop down a huge loaf of freshly baked bread with a salad and they're happy. I'm currently on a soup kick and this one is loved by all of us. It's humble,cheap,filling,healthy,and delicious. Serve it with baked bread or rolls or maybe some crackers. The leftovers store well in the fridge and makes delicious lunches throughout the week.

Lentil and Rice Soup

3 TBS Olive Oil or Butter
2 Shallots,Diced
1 Onion,Diced
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 tsp. Dried Rosemary
1/4 tsp. Dried Thyme
6 cups Chicken Stock..plus more as needed
1-1/2 cups Lentils..red,green,orange..whichever you like
1/2 cup Brown Rice..I use the quick cooking type
Salt and Pepper to taste or any additional seasonings you might want to add..Make this recipe your own!

In a large stock pot, heat up the oil. Add in the diced shallots and onion. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes,rosemary, and thyme. Continue to cook until the shallots and onions start to caramelize.
   Add the broth and bring to a boil. Pour the lentils and rice into the boiling water. Give a quick stir. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils and rice are cooked to your liking.
  Salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to top each soup bowl with sour cream or feta or with nuts.

** The soup can become very thick while simmering and you made need additional broth if you want a less thick soup. It will also thicken when cooled down and stored in the fridge. To reheat the soup,place into a soup pan and pour in desired amount of broth to bring back the soup consistency.**

Yield: Depends on the size of the serving!
Source: The Elliot Homestead          







Monday, November 10, 2014

Malt Buttermilk Muffins with Chocolate Chips

                    
          A few months ago I came across a container of, Horlicks Malted Drink Powder and snapped it up. I have seen various cakes and cookie recipes that had that as an ingredient. Well they called for the chocolate version,not the original that I had purchased and didn't realize until I went to make a recipe with it. I refuse to be wasteful with ingredients and decided to make the recipe anyway and tweak it here and there. The muffins turned out really moist thanks to my addition of buttermilk and the malt powder gave the muffins a nice wholesome flavor.

By the way, did anyone grow up drinking this? I think our version of this in the U.S. is Ovaltine? I didn't drink it growing up but remember always wanting it after watching A Christmas Story!

Malt Buttermilk Muffins with Chocolate Chips

1-3/4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Malted Milk Powder
1/3 cup Sugar
1 TBS Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 Large Egg
1/3 cup Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celsius. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl,whisk together the flour,malted milk powder,sugar,baking powder,baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl,whisk together the buttermilk,oil,vanilla, and egg. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly among the liners.

Bake until golden brown,about 18-22 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely. 

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source: Kitchenmonki





Monday, November 3, 2014

Spelt Soda Bread

                     
                   As the weather gets cooler my need for all things comfort kick in. I am enjoying my morning coffee with a hit of Bailey's and there is usually a muffin or homemade cookie to go along with it. I am using the crock pot several times a week and there is always freshly baked bread of some kind to go along with it. 

Soda bread is basically a quick bread that reminds me of a giant biscuit. It's best served warm with butter and honey! You can jazz this recipe up by tossing in a handful of parmesan or sharp cheese into the mix or possible adding in your favorite herb. Stick with the original or mix it up..either way it's all good!

          

              Spelt Soda Bread

600 grams/1lb 5 oz White Spelt or All-purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
14 floz Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celsius. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or if you have one,pop a baking stone into the oven as you heat it up.

In a large bowl, combine the flour,baking soda, and salt..( if using cheese add it in now). Pour in the buttermilk and using a claw-like action,bring the flour and buttermilk together until everything is combined and forms a wet ball.

Turn out onto a floured surface and,using a tiny bit more flour,gently shape the dough into a round,then flatten slightly with your hands. Place your hand under the dough to give it support as you transfer it to your baking sheet. With a large knife,cut a cross into the bread which will allow it to expand as it bakes ( If baking on a stone, place the bread onto the stone,make the cut, and close the oven door).

Bake the bred for around 40-50 minutes,or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom. Allow to cool for 15 minutes or so before cutting into.

Serve with lots of butter and jam or honey or whatever you like!

Yield: One very large soda bread
Source: Bread On The Table: Baking Traditions for Today










Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Take A Peak Wednesday: One last shot of summer!

               
               Well..there you have it. My one last shot of summer. It's all fall and winter pics from here on out.

I'm ready. Are you?            




Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies

                    

                     It's Monday and if you are like me and woke up at 3:45 am to make your husband breakfast and lunch before he headed off to work, you'll need this cookie. You'll need about 5 of these along with several cups of coffee..Because if you are like me, you can't nap. Like ever. Happy Monday!

Like always, if you don't have sweet potatoes, use pumpkin puree. I used whole wheat flour in this recipe but feel free to use whatever you like. These cookies are soft,chewy,and have such a wonderful fall flavor.

I love fall..

I love cookies...

I'm tired..

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter,melted
1/4 cup Light or Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
6 TBS ( 86grams) Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Puree
1-1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour or All-purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1-1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 cup Mini Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

In a medium bowl,whisk together the melted butter,and both sugars until combined. Whisk in the vanilla and sweet potato puree until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl,whisk together the flour,salt,baking powder,baking soda,cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Cover and chill dough 30 minutes to 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll chilled dough into 1.5 tablespoon balls. Place onto prepared pan and slightly flatten dough balls because they will only slightly spread during baking.

Bale 8-10 minutes. The cookies are going to look undone, but that is ok! Allow cookies to cool about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. The longer you let the cookies sit, the chewier they become.

Yield: 18 cookies
Source: Sally's Baking Addiction 









Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beet Bread

               
                        This is,hands down, the most colorful bread I have ever produced. It's shockingly pink with red beet bits..and you know what? it tastes amazing!

I know,I know..beet bread? seriously? I am serious. It's wonderful and earthy and makes one heck of a vehicle for a killer grilled cheese sandwich. There is a slight beet taste to it but not over the top. The best way to describe it is..earthy. While it was baking in the oven it gave off an almost dirt smell. I really thought I had done something wrong but I guess that's the smell of beets while being cooked. I saved myself the trouble of dealing with beets by purchasing a jar of cooked beets. You can buy a raw one and then peel it and cook it but I honestly had visions of my entire kitchen being covered in splattered blood red juice..no thanks.

The loaf is semi dense and if you make..please try it when making a grilled cheese sandwich. It's honestly incredible when toasted.

Beet Bread

3/4 cups Warm Water
1 tsp. Sugar
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
3-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 cups Beet Puree
2 TBS Olive Oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water,sugar,and yeast. Let stand for minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients and knead on speed 4 with the dough hook for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may or may not need a small amount of flour to achieve this but only add what you need. I don't recall needing anything extra.

Place the dough ball into a lightly greased bowl,cover, and allow to rise until doubled,about 1-1/2 hours.

Remove dough from bowl,and place onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a tight ball and place onto parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes-1 hour.

Place a baking stone into the oven while the oven heats up. Preheat the oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on top,make an X with a serrated knife.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when taped on the bottom.

Cool completely on wire rack.

** If you don't have a baking stone just pop the bread and parchment paper onto a baking sheet and bake as directed.**

Yield: 1 beautifully colored loaf
Source: Tablespoon 








Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello October!!!!

                 
                So very lovely to see you..I look forward to the cool crisp foggy mornings. I look forward to the changing leaves,apple and pumpkin baking,lighting the wood burning stove,planning the holidays and sitting back and trying to take it all in. I've allowed myself way to many anxiety attacks to creep in ( they started when I moved here), and I look forward to taking a giant deep breath and trying to remember what it's all about..and today it's all about the beef stew that's bubbling away in the crock pot and the buttermilk biscuits that will be served along with it.

How are you welcoming in October? 








Monday, September 29, 2014

Monster Cookie Bars

                 
                  I am such a huge fan of cookie bars!! Like crazy in love with bars of all kinds. I actually prefer them to cookies but mostly that's because I love how thick you can make the bars. Plus all it requires is one large pan and you are done.
                     

              I've made these bars twice now and this is what I learned: You can use 2 eggs instead of 3. You can use whatever kind of oats you want. I've used both old fashioned as well as the quick cooking and found there to be no difference. These take about an hour to bake..not the 35 minutes that's stated in the recipe. If you pull them out at the 35 minute mark there is a huge chance the middle is still in the liquid state. These totally over browned..even when I dropped the oven temp down. To solve this, simply tent the top with tin foil around the 30 minute mark or whenever you see it browning to quickly. They rise like crazy in the oven and then settle down once they come out. You can add anything you want into these bars and they will taste awesome no matter what. You may not have any of these issues and sometimes using ingredients from another country can alter the final product but wanted to put those tips out there to be on the safe side.

Monster Cookie Bars

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter,softened
3 Large Eggs
1-1/2 cups Peanut Butter..smooth or crunchy
1 TBS Vanilla
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
4-1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 cup of whatever else you want..I used mini reese's pieces I had been hoarding but M&M's would also work!

Preheat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil and make sure to leave a 2 inch overhang on the shorter end side so that you can lift the bars out once they are cooled. Spray the foil with nonstick spray and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy,about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs,once a time,beating between each addition. Add in the peanut butter, vanilla,baking soda, and salt and mix until well combined. Add in the oats and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and your other one cup addition with a wooden spoon until combined.

Transfer dough to prepared pan,pressing into an even layer.

Bake..well that all depends on how well you want them done. Start checking at the 30 minute mark and if they aren't done but are very brown,cover with foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire rack. Remove bars with foil and cut into ginormous sized bars!

Yield: 24 bars if you are feeling generous..less if you aren't
Source: Just A Taste