Wednesday, January 26, 2011


adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes:
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm (105° to 115° F) water
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tbsp melted vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 cup bread flour
3 1/2 cups bread flour
Combine the water, yeast,and 2 1/2 tsp sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shortening, the 1 1/2 tsp. sugar, salt, and cup of bread flour. If using a stand mixer attach the bowl at this time as well as the dough hook with the mixer on low gradually add the rest of the bread flour.
Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let rest, covered, 15 to 20 minutes.
Punch down the dough (it won't have risen very much) and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 inch rope tapering the ends. Wet the ends to help seal and form into rings, stretching the top end over and around the bottom end and pinching them together underneath. (like a snake eating its own tail) Or alternately, roll each piece of dough into a ball. Stick your thumb through the ball to make a hole. Stretch the hole out about 2 inches. Let rise, covered, on a floured board about 15 minutes, until puffy.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bring to a boil in a large pot:
4 quarts water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Drop the rings 4 at a time into the boiling water. As the bagels surface, turn them over and cook about 45 seconds longer. Skim out and place on an ungreased baking sheet coated with cornmeal.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

hot cocoa mix

As soon as the weather turns cold I like to have a warm drink in my hand as often as possible. I don't really drink hot chocolate much because the commercial stuff is so nasty. Its so overly sweet and gets all clumpy when you try and stir it. I was really excited when my mom suggested that we should make our own hot cocoa mix and give it to people for Christmas. Mostly cause I knew I would get to drink the left overs. This stuff is great. It's not to sweet, its got lots of chocolate flavor, its smooth and creamy and there's nothing weird or scary in it. It's the perfect treat for a chilly day. It's best mixed with a fuzzy sweater and a roaring fire if you can get it.

Best-Ever Hot Cocoa Mix
(adapted form cooks country)
3 cups nonfat dry milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon Salt
MIx ingredients in large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until the white chocolate is finely ground. Store in airtight container such as a ball jar for up to 3 months. To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 cup of this mix into 1 cup of hot milk or my personal favorite, coffee.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lemon Madeleines

I have good news for you all. I got photoshop and a new camera lens. So the quality of my pictures should improve a lot. I also got a madeleine pan for Christmas so of course that was one of the first things I got around to making. To be honest I was a little afraid of making these little cakes. They're French so I instantly assumed they would be hard, but I'm happy to report that they aren't hard at all. There's hardly any measuring, No elaborate techniques, but you will need a little patience because you do need to chill the dough for three hours. I have to bad habit of not reading recipes all the way through before I start them which is why I was baking off these cookies at 10PM. They were well worth it but don't be like me always look ahead.

Lemon Madeleines
(adapted from Savory Sweet Life)

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, zested
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Combine flour and baking powder. Attach the whisk attachment to your stand mixer put it on medium high speed and beat eggs and sugar until thickened and lightened in color, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Add in lemon zest and vanilla. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold-in dry ingredients, and then melted butter. Cover batter with plastic wrap and Chill for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spoon batter into the molds, filling them almost to the top.

Bake on the center rack for 8 to 11 minutes. Remove the madeleines by gently running a paring knife around the edges of the cookies and then invert the pan over a cooling rack. Makes about two dozen.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

French Bread

I love making bread probably because I love eating bread but also because once you learn to work with yeast its fairly easy, especially this recipe. I think my love of bread making also comes from the women in my life. My grandmother was famous for her dinner rolls. When I was little she would make parker house style rolls but she would put cinnamon sugar mixed with butter into the fold before she baked them. My gram (aka. my paternal grandmother) is famous for her Christmas breakfast it's always a huge spread of sweet rolls. There's everything from orange rolls, to a cream cheese coffee cake. My mother is famous for her dinner rolls like her mother before her but everyone loves her cinnamon rolls and loaf bread as well. With roots like that how could I not love making bread. This recipe is one of my favorites its easy to put together, delicious with a crusty outside and a fluffy inside, and best of all it makes two loaves so there's one for the dinner table and one for the freezer. This is the prefect recipe for a lazy Saturday, throw it together in the morning, let it rise while you relax and have it ready for the table in time for dinner. What could be better than that?

French Bread
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 1/2 cups room temperature water

In the work bowl of your electric mixer combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water and place the work bowl on the stand, attach the dough hook and beat the dough for a bout 12 minutes until it is soft and stretchy with out being sticky. Place the ball of dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and place in a warm spot. Leave the dough to rise until doubled in size, about two hours. Punch down the dough and then divide it into two smaller balls. Take each ball and form it into a long thin loaf by rolling it back and forth under you palms. Place the two loaves on an oiled baking sheet and cover back up with the towel and leave to rise for about 30 minutes. After they rise slash the loaves with a chefs knife or a bread lame. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a cake pan filled with 1 cup of hot water steaming water on the bottom rack of the oven and then place the pan with the loaves on the center rack and bake them for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 30 more minutes. You can tell the loaves are done when you tap the bottom and it sounds hollow. Place on a wire rack to cool. Wrap in tinfoil to store. If you're going to freeze the bread freeze it after its baked and then just place it in a 350 degree oven until its thawed and crispy, about 15 minutes.