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A friend posted a picture of several loaves of Julekake that he had made and I remembered my mother making it at Christmas. I’ve been in Nevada over a month, visiting my parents for the holidays, and we have been unable to lay hands on candied red cherries, so Mom got maraschino cherries instead. I thought I would give Julekake a try with what we had on hand. It turned out delicious! I made it in a loaf pan so that it could be easily cut and toasted later.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 3-4 cups flour, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 cup mixed candied fruit and raisins

Heat butter, milk, and water together until it’s hot to the touch, but not scalding. Sprinkle yeast over and let it dissolve, stirring once in awhile. Stir orange zest into the sugar, mashing it around to get the sugar infused with the orange oil. Stir the sugar-zest mixture into the yeast mixture. Stir in about 2 cups flour, salt, and cardamom. Stir and stir and stir to build up the gluten. When it’s stretchy, start adding flour, one half-cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When it becomes too hard to stir, take it out of the bowl and start kneading on a lightly floured surface. At this point, use as little flour as possible. Knead for about five minutes. Once the dough ball is smooth and springs back when touched, press it flat. Sprinkle about a third of the mixed fruit over the surface. Roll up the dough and knead a little bit. Press flat again and sprinkle another third of the fruit over, then roll it up and knead it again. Do that one last time with the remaining fruit. The fruit should be well incorporated into the dough.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and turn the dough over so that the top of it is also greased. Let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours should do it. You can leave it longer if you don’t have time to deal with it.

Punch the dough down and shape into a loaf and place into a greased loaf pan 8-1/2 x 4-1/2. Let rise until just over the top edge of the pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once the oven has heated, place the loaf into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Notes: I used about a third cup of chopped green candied cherries, a third cup of raisins, and a third up of chopped maraschino cherries. Maraschinos have too much liquid, so I let them drain onto a paper towel and chopped them on the paper towel. It wouldn’t hurt anything to let them sit out for quite awhile to lose more moisture and get tacky.

You should be able to make this into different shapes: rings or rolls and also you can drizzle icing over, an almond icing would be great. I knew we could not eat this all while it was fresh, so my goal was to be able to toast it in the toaster later, thus no icing. It’s been really delicious toasted and slathered with butter. Yum!

This is my new favorite pizza dough recipe. I’m not a pizza crust connoisseur by any means, but this crust made me pause and ask, “Where have you been all my life?” The recipe originates at babysavers.com.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup warm beer
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzle
  • 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 cups flour (I have used both bread flour and all-purpose to great effect)
  • Favorite toppings

This recipe makes one 16″ pie or a couple smaller ones.

Mix beer, water, yeast and sugar together and let sit until foamy. Stir in salt and olive oil and 1 cup flour. Stir and stir and stir to build the gluten. Stir in more flour in half-cup increments until it’s a bit shaggy. If you’re using a stand mixer, keep mixing and adding smidges of flour until the the dough is smooth. If you’re doing this by hand, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth. Place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl and drizzle more olive oil over the top. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or so.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare your pan(s) by covering with parchment paper or lightly greasing or oiling or spraying with non-stick spray. Prepare your toppings.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ and set on your prepared pan(s). BAKE FOR 4-5 MINUTES (PARBAKE)!

Remove the parbaked crusts from the oven and sprinkle with your favorite toppings. Return to the oven and bake 8-12 minutes or until crust is golden and toppings melted.

Notes: What I liked about this was the flavor coming off of the beer. I heat my beer in the microwave until it’s warm to the touch, but not scalding hot. Don’t want to kill the yeast. The beer makes for a deeply flavored crust. My 89-year-old dad said it was the best pizza he ever had, so that’s saying something. The last time I made this I increased the ingredients a little bit because I didn’t think there would be enough pizza. I was wrong because we ended up with leftovers, but it turned out well, so now I know it works. I just eyeballed and added about a third more of everything and then made one pizza on a very large baking sheet and the other one on a smaller baking sheet. I think the key is the parbaking. It means the sauce doesn’t cause the crust to get soggy or worse, remain raw.

The topping ideas are endless: Italian sausage, pepperoni, chicken, mushroom, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple (euw), bacon, peppers, tomatoes, onion. I remember eating a kabab pizza in Sweden, but I can’t remember what constituted the kabab. It was yummy, though. Some kind of meat with some kind of white sauce drizzled over. I really love a spicy Thai pizza with chicken and sweet chile sauce and peanuts and bean sprouts. This is making me hungry.

People joke about holiday fruit cakes and I get that. But there are people who genuinely enjoy them, my father, my husband, and myself being three of them. I inherited my mother-in-law’s recipe box when she passed away on Good Friday 1991. I think I had actually started making these fruit cakes prior to that, but I really didn’t get into the swing of it, realizing that the brandy was key, until just a few years ago. In 2019 I made two batches and sent my dad a couple different loaves, soaked in brandy. Soaked. My husband and I took a loaf out of the freezer last month, and oh my, it was the best ever! So, here we go, this is what you do . . .

  • Ingredients
  • 3 oz. candied diced lemon peel
  • 3 oz. candied diced orange peel
  • 1/4 # candied chopped pineapple
  • 1/4 # candied diced citron
  • 1/2 # chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 # candied cherries, halved
  • 1/2 # raisins
  • 1/4 # rough chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 # rough chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup flour, for dredging
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 eggs, well beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup orange or grape juice
  • Apx. 3 cups brandy

In a very large bowl (mine is 32 cups), dredge fruit and nuts in 1/4 cup flour and set aside.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Prepare three 3-1/2 x 7-1/2″ loaf pans by spraying with non-stick spray and lining with parchment paper, allowing at least a 1/2″ overhang on all sides of pans. Heat 2 cups water to boiling in another pan.

In a separate bowl (I use a stand mixer) cream sugar and shortening. Add honey, then eggs, and beat well. Sift remaining dry ingredients and stir in alternately with fruit juice — beat thoroughly. Pour batter over floured fruit in the very large bowl and mix well.

Dollop the batter evenly into the pans, but do not flatten the batter down. Place pan with boiling water in the oven and also place loaves into oven. If you have the shelf space, put the boiling water pan on a rack beneath the loaves. Mine gets all crowded in there together on the same rack. No problem. The loaves do NOT go into the water. Bake at 250 degrees F for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Wrap each loaf in a cloth. Place the loaves into a shallow pan with sides (9 X 13″ Pyrex baking dish works great). Pour apx. 3 cups brandy (half of a 1.75 L bottle) evenly over the loaves in the baking pan, a bit at a time. Let sit, uncovered, for a couple days. Unwrap, slice and serve, or place into plastic freezer bags, cloth and all, and pop into the freezer. Thaw, unwrap, slice and serve. My, oh, my is that ever a rich dessert!

Yield: 3 Loaves

Well, well, well! Look what I made! I’m so pleased. All credit must be given to Andrea Slonecker over at Food & Wine whose video on this made all the difference. These probably look like croissants, but they’re not, these are bread. The bread dough is rich in eggs and butter. Please review Andrea’s video and make sure you have enough eggs (5) prior to starting.

  • Dough Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour, divided
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (2-1/4 tsp.)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk, heated to between 100 and 115 degrees F
  • 1/2 cup butter (4 oz. or 1 stick)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Streusel Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • Egg Wash Ingredients
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • A Variety of Jelly or Jam or Pie Filling

Dough: I used a stand mixer. Stir together 1 cup flour, yeast, and sugar. Stir in warm milk and let sit until bubbles form across the top of the mixture. While you’re waiting for that to happen, in a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, egg yolks, and salt. Stir the butter-egg mixture into the activated yeast mixture. Mix well. One cup at a time, stir in the remaining 2 cups flour. Let it knead on low speed for about 4 minutes, only adding flour if absolutely necessary if the dough is still tacky. Add as little flour as possible, it’s supposed to be a very soft dough. Once the dough is smooth, cover and set aside to rise until doubled, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Streusel: While the dough is rising, in a very small bowl, stir together melted butter, sugar, and flour. Set it aside so that once the butter cools and firms up you can break the mixture into a crumbly mixture to sprinkle on top of the Kolaches. For now, just set it aside to cool down.

Dough again: Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into a dozen equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball. Place the dough balls onto the prepared sheet pan, cover with a damp cloth, and let them rise until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Filling: While the dough balls are doing their rise . . . In a food processor or mixer, stir together all the ingredients (cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolk, and lemon zest) until smooth. I used a food processor and it worked well. Set aside.

Egg Wash: In a very small bowl mix together the large egg yolk and milk.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Once the dough balls have nearly doubled in size, using several fingers, make a well in the center of each dough ball about 2″ in diameter. This is where watching the video comes in handy. She really dug a spread-out center in each dough ball. Make sure not to pierce the bottoms.

Once each dough ball has a well, use a pastry brush to brush the sides of the dough balls with the egg wash.

Place one tablespoon of cream cheese filling into each well and leave an imprint for the jam filling to go next.

Place one tablespoon of jelly, jam, or whatever kind of filling you’re using into each cream cheese well.

Break up the firmed streusel topping and sprinkle it across the tops of the Kolaches.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or so. Mine took quite a bit longer than that. I waited until the edges were a dark brown.

Enjoy! These are beautiful and delicious. They weren’t hard to make.

Notes: I used bread flour, but I wonder if all-purpose would have been better. This dough is like challah or brioche, so it’s supposed to be soft. I always use salted butter, but I don’t think it matters. I used my stand mixer for the dough and my food processor for the cream cheese filling. I use extra-large eggs and I think that’s one reason it took longer to bake, because my Kolaches had more liquid. I also didn’t spread mine out as much as Andrea did in the video which I think also contributed to the longer bake time, mine were thicker. Andrea didn’t put cream cheese into all of hers, she just put jam into a few of them. It still worked great. I am so, so pleased that these turned out. I love it when I have all the ingredients on hand and it goes according to plan.

Batter breads are made from a very soft yeast dough, thus the term “batter” bread. When coffee cans were readily available, people would pour their batter into a coffee can, let it rise, and then bake it in the can, too. It would come out with a nice mushroom top. When was the last time you saw a coffee can? This recipe comes from Sunset Breads (Lane Publishing Co, Menlo Park, CA 1984). Unlike most batter breads, it requires two rises.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 can (13 oz) evaporated milk or 1-1/2 cups fresh milk
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, cut in pieces
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. caraway seed
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 3-3/4 cups flour
  • 2 eggs

In a pan, combine milk, sugar, butter, salt, caraway seeds, garlic powder, and cheese. Over medium heat, stir and heat to about 110 degrees F (butter and cheese need not melt completely).

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk mixture; beat in 1-1/2 cups flour. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in remaining 2-1/4 cup flour until batter is smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes).

Stir batter down and spoon into a generously greased 10” tube pan or two 4-1/2” x 8-1/4” loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 45 minutes).

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven (325 degrees F for glass pans) for about 55 minutes if using the tube pan or 45 minutes if using the loaf pans, or until browned. Let cool in pan on rack five minutes; then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves.

Notes: I used an envelope of brewer’s yeast instead of active dry. It took twice as long to rise, but that could be because my kitchen was on the cool side. It’s been a rainy cool summer here so far. I realized while writing this down that I shorted the flour about ¾ cup in the batch I just made. Ouch. It came out just fine, but that’s a significant amount of flour. We had Bigos for dinner and this bread was a great accompaniment.

I’m craving a grilled cheese sandwich, but have no bread. So . . . this should do the trick. The recipe is out of Suzanne Nightengale’s Electric Bread (1994, Innovative Cooking Enterprises). I first made this bread in October of 1999, back when I had a bread maker. All the recipes in the cookbook are made for electric bread makers, but I no longer have one and therefore do this my own way.

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (3 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. dry milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1/2 cup dried onions (FINALLY a use for the Costco-size!)
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. poppy seads
  • 3-1/4 cups bread flour

I use a stand mixer with a dough hook to make raised bread, but I will tell you both ways. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in powdered milk, brown sugar, salt, butter, dried onions, onion powder, pepper, poppy seeds, and 2 cups flour. Once it all comes together, let it mix on low for five minutes. If you are not using a mixer, stir for a long time to build the gluten.

If you’re using the mixer, gradually add flour and mix on low until the dough is no longer tacky or sticky. Use as little flour as possible. If you are not using a mixer, turn the dough onto a floured counter or table and start kneading. Knead until the dough is no longer tacky or sticky.

Grease a bowl and place the dough into it, then turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with cling wrap and let rise until doubled in size.

Prepare a 9×5″ loaf pan by spraying with non-stick spray or greasing. Punch the risen dough down and then shape into a loaf. Place the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Let rise until the loaf top is even with the pan top. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until it is a golden color all over and sounds hollow sound when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool for ten minutes. Remove from pan onto a rack. YUM!

The recipe says this bread, when stale, can be turned into some awesome croutons.

Yield: one loaf

This recipe is based upon one found in my recipe Bible: Sunset Breads (Lane Publishing, Menlo Park, CA 1986). The recipe is marked with the notation that I first made it on January 16, 1991 and that it was delicious. Nothing has changed. It is delicious. As I was saying the other day, we are in the midst of the great 2020 Pandemic and finding yeast has been a challenge. My husband found out that it was a difficulty, called his wine-making supply store, and voila, he had envelopes of brewer’s yeast within the hour. The envelopes seem the same size as active dry yeast, so I used one package. It worked just fine. There’s no funny taste, it’s just like normal.

I recently read an article where the author talked about the shopping uncertainty that’s plaguing us now. One never knows if what you order will be available. I want to be clear that I understand that having food, at all, is a great blessing. And I don’t take that for granted. I simply want to acknowledge that menu planning has changed in significant ways. I finally laid hands on rice yesterday. Rice. Anyway, I ordered beets last week and I got the biggest beets I’ve ever seen. Yesterday I roasted them. I pickled some with eggs, see the recipe here. I decided to make this vegetable bread with some more, but the recipe makes two loaves and I didn’t want both of them to be beet bread, so I roasted a small butternut squash and used that for the other loaf. We don’t eat a lot of carbs, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all this bread. It is DELICIOUS!

  • Ingredients
  • 1 package active dry yeast (I used 1 package of brewer’s yeast)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 5-1/2 cups bread flour, approximate
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked vegetable puree, warm*

I made this in my stand mixer using the dough hook. Dissolve yeast in warm water and stir in sugar. Let stand about fifteen minutes until it’s frothy. Stir in milk, butter, egg, salt, nutmeg and 3 cups flour. Mix until it all comes together. If you are making two different kinds of bread, then it’s at this point you remove half the dough and set it aside. To the first half-batch, knead in 3/4 cup of the lightest color vegetable puree. Once it is well-blended, set the mixer on low speed for 5-6 minutes to build the gluten. Then gradually add flour until the dough is smooth and satiny, using as little flour as possible. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn it so as to grease the top. Cover with cling wrap. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour and a half.

Prepare pans by greasing or spraying with non-stick spray. Shape dough into 2 loaves. I used 9×5″ loaf pans because I wanted the uniformity for sandwiches. I’m not real great with free-form loaves, but you do what you want. Let rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you went the free-form route, make 1/2″ deep slashes across the tops of your loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. I let my loaves stand for ten minutes, then removed them from the pans to a cooling rack.

*What you see pictured here is one loaf of butternut squash bread and one loaf of beet bread. The recipe says you can try carrot, potato, spinach (1.5# yields 3/4 cup), or tomato (6 oz. can tomato paste). It also says you can add different spices depending upon the vegetable that you use. Just make sure that you’ve either mashed your cooked vegetable or run it through a food processor, something like that.

This recipe comes out of Bear Fare, A Cookbook Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Bear Valley Elementary School, Anchorage, Alaska, 1993-94.

The recipe author calls it the Cadillac of Blueberry Muffins. I absolutely agree. It is the best blueberry muffin recipe, ever! Where it calls for a topping made by mixing 1 Tbsp. sugar with 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, I simply sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the unbaked muffin tops. I’m not a big fan of nutmeg.

  • Blueberry Muffin Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs (I use extra-large)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I use paste)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sugar
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare 16-24 muffin cups with papers or spray or grease. The number depends upon how big your cups are and what size eggs, etc. I usually overfill mine, but this time I made smaller ones (24).

In a mixing bowl beat together butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. I used an electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Slowly stir in flour, baking powder, and salt, alternating with the milk. Fold blueberries in by hand.

The batter is thick. Spoon it into the tins as best you can, no more than 2/3 full. It doesn’t have to be even across the top. Sprinkle tops with a little bit of sugar and cinnamon.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched. Remove from heat and cool in pans. These are the best!

I have made these for many years. The recipe is based on one found in an old Bear Valley Elementary School cookbook: Bear Fare 1993-1994. The original recipe calls for a streusel topping, but I’ve never added that. Too much fuss. Mostly, I make these and toss them into the freezer to eat later. The other day I had about a cup of leftover sweet potatoes, a couple old wrinkled apples, and two leftover egg yolks. I’ll give you this substitute recipe at the end, but just know that’s what’s pictured here.

  • Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (I used 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. allspice, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed or solid-pack canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups peeled and finely chopped apples
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)

Prepare 18-24 muffin cups with paper liners or by greasing. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl combine the eggs, pumpkin, and vegetable oil. Add these liquid ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fold in the apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle with cinnamon (optional). Bake 25-35 minutes until muffin tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.

Substituting sweet potatoes: I used approximately a cup of mashed sweet potato instead of pumpkin. I tried using 1 egg and 2 egg yolks, but the batter was not completely moistened, so I added a second whole egg. I’m not sure if this was because sweet potato is drier than pumpkin or what. Next time I’ll use 3 whole eggs.

So, in December I purchased a tortilla press . . . and a tortilla warmer . . . and a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina . . . and some parchment paper pre-cut into rounds. I realize I was purchasing my own Christmas present, but I’m quite happy with it. I try never to buy anything that only has one use and discourage others from buying them for me. I don’t know what got into me, but I’ve found a place to stow it so it’s all good. Both the recipes found below here are gluten-free. I guess I better say that the Sope recipe below does not require a press or any special equipment. I only used the press for tortillas.

There’s a grocery store in Palm Springs, California called Cardenas and it is like heaven on earth. You can smell the fresh tortillas from the in-store factory. I once filled up a large cooler with fresh produce purchased at Cardenas for about 17 USD and the same produce would have cost me around 100 USD here in Anchorage. Cardenas is a magical place. It reminds me of the big covered markets you see in Mexico full of sights and smells. It’s always hard for me to decide whether to get something they’ve already cooked at the Deli counter or buy the ingredients and make the dishes myself. I usually do both. It drives my mother crazy, “Why are these rice and beans in my refrigerator? What are you going to do with them?” I answer her that by the time I go back home, I’ll have eaten all of it.

My husband took this picture to show the joyous market called Cardenas.

Corn Tortillas

I used the recipe from Isabel Eats. Her tortillas get nice brown marks on them, but I couldn’t get mine to do that. My tortillas were still quite fabulous, so I’m thinking it doesn’t matter? The first two times I made these I used Bob’s Red Mill Golden Corn Flour Masa Harina. It’s very yellow with a grainy texture. The third time I made these, I ran about 1/2 cup short of Bob’s and made it up with Maseca Instant Corn Masa Flour. The color is white and the texture is fine, like cake flour. It threw me off, but I sallied forth and came up with a delicious product. A word about Masa Harina: it is ground corn that has been processed with lime (not lime fruit, but lime stone). According to web sources, ground corn is not the same and will not work the same. You need to use Masa Harina.

  • Ingredients
  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1-1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Makes 12 tortillas, about 6″ diameter. Stir the ingredients together until it’s a smooth ball. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let sit for an hour. Divide the dough into twelve pieces (about 2″ in diameter) and roll each piece into a ball. Keep the dough balls covered with the damp kitchen cloth as much as possible.

As I said earlier, I use parchment paper rounds, top and bottom, to keep my dough from sticking to the press. Most people cut slits in two gallon-size plastic bags and put one bag on the top and one on the bottom. I haven’t tried that yet. Place a dough ball slightly off-center on the parchment on the press and place the second parchment round on it. Flatten the dough ball slightly with your hand and then lean on the body of the press to flatten more. Finish off by pressing on the handle. Be mindful not to break the shear pin that attaches the handle to the body. Pushing down on the body of the press should do most of the work.

I have an old non-stick griddle and heated it thoroughly over medium-high heat. I sprayed it with non-stick spray and carefully lay the tortilla to fry. I left it for about thirty seconds and then turned it over. I do not want crispy tortillas. I want them soft and easy to manipulate.

My process was to roll a piece into a ball, press it, and put it on the griddle. While that was cooking, I’d press the next one, etc. A dozen tortillas took me about 50 minutes. I’m usually trying to do too many things at once, so it probably could have gone much faster if this was all I had to do. As they were cooked, I put them into my tortilla warmer.

The first time I made these, I used them to make Shrimp Enchiladas. What a glorious flavor! Oh my, oh my! There is just no comparison to store-bought tortillas. My second tortilla-making venture I made tacos with leftover Cuban Pork Roast and grated cheese. The third time I did this, I used more of the leftover Cuban Pork Roast and made enchiladas.

Sopes

I had bought the Sopes from Cardenas one time, but I wouldn’t know where to purchase something like that here. That is to say I did know what my end-product was supposed to look like. This recipe comes from Kristin at Yellow Bliss Road. I looked all over the web and Pinterest and found a lot of Sopes recipes, but they all called for a lot of finagling. Most of them say to press the dough, lightly fry them, then turn up the edges and deep-fry them. Oh, please. No, thank you. It’s hard enough just cooking things once! Kristin’s recipe does not require a press and she only cooks them once. While I was doing this I thought I had made a huge mistake and I would never, ever make them again. I’d have a perfect disc with a lip and then it would stick to my hand and tear. Oy! Keep your hands as wet as possible. HOWEVER, once they were finished, I realized they were darn near perfect and incredibly delicious. I WILL make these again.

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Cooking oil (My skillet had about 3/4″ in it)
  • Toppings like refried beans, shredded or ground meat, cheese, salsa, lettuce, avocado, tomato, onion, sour cream (whatever strikes your fancy)

Makes about 9 Sopes, approximately 3″ diameter. Stir all ingredients, except cooking oil, together to form dough. Heat the cooking oil over medium high heat until a drop of water sizzles when it touches. Divide dough into golf-ball sized portions and roll into ball shapes. Keep remaining dough balls covered with a damp kitchen towel while working with the others. Using your hands, press each dough ball into a disc of about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Pinch the edges of the disc to form a lip.

If you keep your hands wet, you’ll have greater success forming the discs and the lips. Place the disc, lip side up, in the hot oil and let fry for a little while. Try to get a brown spot on the bottom. Carefully flip the disc over onto the lip and let fry a little longer. I thought this would be a huge mess and fall apart, but it hardens fairly quickly in the oil and becomes easy to get a spatula underneath. You could probably even use tongs. Your goal is to have a crispy edge, but a soft center. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. I did three Sopes at a time in my frying pan and it didn’t take long at all.

These are now ready to serve, and if you’re using cold toppings like lettuce, sour cream, or tomato, you’re done. I spread a tablespoon of warm refried beans over the bottom of each Sope and then spread warm leftover Cuban Pork Roast over that and sprinkled with grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese on top. Then I popped them into the oven at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes until the cheese melted. These were heavenly delicious. I topped them with sliced fresh jalapenos and salsa. They were easy to eat by hand. I see this being a hearty game-day snack.