I love biscotti! They are the perfect after dinner treat, and are a great treat in the morning to dip in coffee. These cookies are filled with dried fruits and nuts, which makes me think they’re healthy, too! I usually take my time and make teeny skinny biscotti, but these are great cut a bit thicker, since you get a mouthful of the dried fruit. Plus, it makes making the biscotti that much easier. Continue reading
Sour cherries and chocolate are an amazing combination. And muffins are a great freezer-friendly breakfast or snack. So when I bought an extra bag of dried sour cherries, I just knew I had combine them with chocolate. And I did! These muffins are great, and I made them a little healthier by using whole wheat pastry flour and cottage cheese in the batter, instead of all white flour and sour cream.
The tartness of the cherries combined with the sweet chocolate and batter is perfect. You may think you want to cut down on the sugar in the recipe, and I was thinking about it, too, but the cherries are super sour, so I was pretty sure we needed the sweetness to counteract the tart cherries. Maybe I’ll try to make these even healthier with raw sugar, agave, or even honey next time. Continue reading
The problem with making desserts for Shabbat is that we can’t take pictures of the final project…I mean, you can see the cake and how it looked right out of the oven, but you can’t see it sliced and on a plate, which is too bad because this cake was pretty. Okay, the pan is a little bit messy, but at least my counter is clean! Oh, and the other problem is that you have to make the desserts pareve. Which means no cream cheese frosting! Those who dare to eat pareve whipped topping dolloped some on top of their cake. I ate it plain and it was amazing just the way it was. Continue reading
On the rare occasion that I buy sour cream, I really need to use it before it goes bad. That means a lot of cake and muffins are baked in my house, then frozen for future breakfasts. I mean, I don’t want to waste a perfectly good ingredient. In this case, I decided to bake coffee cake, because it’s classic New York cuisine and easy to make for breakfast. I found a recipe in an old issue of Bon Appetit I had lying around, and it was perfect! A thick crumb topping and a nice moist cake.
I didn’t make these muffins “corniest,” since I didn’t have any frozen corn, and it’s the winter so I definitely didn’t have access to fresh corn. I made them even though I was missing an ingredient because I was stuck home and really wanted to bake, and had everything else handy. I also thought corn muffins would be a fun breakfast! I think omitting the corn was a mistake, because they could have used some of the moisture and sweetness from the kernels. Still, cut in half and toasted with a bit of butter, they made a great breakfast! They would make a great companion to a savory meal too. Maybe some vegetarian chili?
I still have most of a bag of cornmeal left, so I’ll try these with the corn next time and I’ll keep you updated.
I know a waffle maker is a unitasker, but I just love having people over for brunch on Sunday and serving homemade waffles!
Sometimes I add blueberries to the batter. You can also add other berries, chocolate chips, bananas, etc. I usually also make the whole batter recipe and only use half, so I can freeze the other half and have the batter ready for an impromptu brunch party!
I love baking bread. It just makes the house smell so good. And I know it doesn’t have ingredients I can’t pronounce in it. It also allows for some really easy lunches – sandwiches! Though I’ve tried many bread recipes, my go-to recipe is always Amish white bread. It has the soft texture and flaky crumbiness that just works. I try to have some slices in my freezer at all times. Sometimes, I want some variety, though. Whole wheat bread, rye bread, and sourdough bread are great, but oatmeal bread? That’s something new to me. So when I saw Alton make bread using leftover oatmeal, I just knew I had to try it. And I did, the very same day. I didn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast, though. I cooked it just for use in the recipe. It was definitely worth it.
This bread is amazing with some salted butter or fruity jam. It’s great for breakfast, and healthy, too! Put some in the freezer for fresh bread the entire week. Those oats are good for your cholesterol, according to the Cheerios commercial. This is a bread that I’ll definitely be keeping in my bread-baking rotation. I might double the recipe next time, though. It takes a lot of time to only yield one loaf. And maybe try to make it in my mixer because after being spoiled by my dough hook, kneading by hand gets tiring (though it wasn’t nearly as hard as kneading bagels).
Oatmeal Bread, adapted from Alton Brown:
Make one loaf – I got 16 slices.
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
- 11 ounces bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces cooked oats (to make this, use 3/4 cup oats and 1 1/2 cups water), at room temperature (you don’t want to kill that yeast!)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup (I used one tablespoon honey because I ran out of agave. Use both honey if you don’t have agave, or substitute with sugar)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon raw oats
- 1 egg + water, for eggwash
1. Combine yeast, flour, 1/4 cup uncooked oats, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Combine cooked oats, agave, water, and oil in a large mixing bowl.
3. In three increments, add dry ingredients to wet. Mix with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated.
4. Knead by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Add more flour if it’s too sticky.
5. Oil bowl, add dough, and cover. Let rise for an hour.
6. Punch down dough and shape into loaf. Place in greased loaf pan.
7. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
9. Combine the egg yolk and water in a small bowl. Brush the top of the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of raw oats.
10. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour (actually it took me 1 hour, 10 minutes), until the internal temperature of the dough reaches 210 degrees.
11. Cool on rack for 30 minutes before slicing.
Scones is a kind of scary word. It makes me think of really fancy tea parties that have clotted cream and loose teas. Though they look and sound fancy, they’re really simple and easy to make. They’re especially a pleasure to bake with a food processor. They’re easier than muffins! So next time you have a breakfast party or brunch guests, give these a try! Serve them with some homemade (fine, or store bought) jam, and you’re in for a really special treat!
Scones are the perfect breakfast. The outside is flaky and crunchy, while the inside is soft and moist. There are all different flavors of scones nowadays, but my favorite is definitely this classic cream one.
Cream Scones, adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking.
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I always use aluminum free)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar
1. Cut butter into cubes and refrigerate for 20 minutes – It has to be super cold!
2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of your food processor and process for ten seconds to blend well.
3. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse 5 times at 1-second intervals until the butter is cut into medium pieces.
4. Add the cream and pulse another 20 times, or until the dough comes together into a ball in your bowl.
5. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and bring it all together.
6. Pat dough into a circle about 7 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.
7. Cut it into 8 pieces (like a pizza pie!) using a chef’s knife.
8. Transfer to a silicone-mat (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet
9. Brush the tops with egg and sprinkle with the raw sugar
10. Refrigerate for 20 minutes (this step is actually not in the book, but I find that the dough can get too warm and the scones may spread. This step makes sure that this won’t happen.)
11. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
12. Bake the scones for 14-16 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack.
13. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Summer’s coming to an end, so stock up on your berries and preserve them any way you could. Our favorite way to do this is to make jam. Though freezing is probably easier, cooking and preserving the berries is a very flavorful way to enjoy our summer produce all year long. It also makes a really nice gift!
(Berries actually freeze quite well. Make sure to clean and dry them, and then store them in a zip top bag. Make sure to suck all the air out and seal it tight so that the berries don’t get freezer burned. If you want to freeze strawberries, hull them before freezing.)
Last year we made raspberry jam with raspberries we picked ourselves from a local farm. We also made strawberry-fig jam, inspired by my backyard fig tree. This summer we decided to make more mixed fruit jams, and the apricot-nectarine turned out really orange and delicious. This raspberry-strawberry-blueberry jam is an amazing deep purplish pink color. We can’t decide if it tastes better than it looks or looks better than it tastes.
Oh, we took all the photos with my new(ish) Droid-X. Pretty cool, huh?
All jam making directions and tips are from pickyourown.org and the package of pectin.
- 10 cups of unprepared berries, we used 2 pints of blueberries, 1 1/2 pints of strawberries, and 3 (1-cup) packages of raspberries (when you mash these, you’ll have about 6 cups of fruit)
- Juice and zest of two lemons
- 6 cups white sugar
- 1 package Sure Jell pectin (the yellow package)
- 1 large pot
- 2 large bowls (one for berries, one for sugar)
- Measuring cups
- 1 large pot
- Potato masher
- Mixing spoon
- Cup of ice water and teaspoon (to test jam)
- Mason jars with tops and rings
- Canning funnel
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Jar tongs
- Small pot for boiling the lids
- Pot for boiling prepared jars
- Dishwasher or large pot for sterilizing jars
If you are canning, make sure to sterilize the jars. If using a dishwasher, run it without soap. If using a pot, fill the pot with water and the jars and boil. Do not touch the inside of the jars (that’s why you have the jar tongs), because that will introduce bacteria to the sterilized jars and could result in icky jam! Do this now so it will be ready when you are. Boil the lids, too.
1. Wash the fruit. Sort through it to make sure you have no bad berries or stems, etc.
2. Chop the strawberries.
3. Add the fruit to a bowl and make sure you have 10 cups. Mash.
4. Measure out the sugar. Set aside 1/4 cup of sugar and mix with the pectin. This will allow the pectin to incorporate into the fruit better, and make sure you don’t have lumpy jam.
5. Add fruit to large pot and cook over high heat, stirring constantly. When it comes to a full rolling boiling, meaning it doesn’t stop bubbling even when you stir, time one minute. Add the pectin and stir until it dissolves.
6. While still stirring, add the sugar, a cupful at a time, until it is all incorporated.
7. Continue stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a rolling boil again. After one minute, test the jam to make sure it sets.
8. Take a spoonful of jam and dip it in a cup of ice water. If it gels, it’s ready to be jarred. If not, boil for another minute and test again.
9. Use a ladle or big spoon to fill the sterilized jars. Leave about 1/2 inch of space at the top.
10. Use the magnetic lid lifter to cover, making sure to clean the jars before placing the tops on. Screw on the lid.
11. After all the jam is canned, place in about 2 inches of water and boil for 5 minutes (or more, depending on altitude). You will hear the tops POP, either while they are boiling or after when they are cooling. If you don’t hear the pop after a while, try boiling again or just put the jam in the fridge and use it right away. It will still be good.
12. The boiled jars should last about a year (’til next summer).
This recipe made 10 6-oz jars of jam.