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Bran-OatMuffins1

I’ve made these for years and years. I don’t remember where the recipe came from. They are super simple to make and take no time at all. Many times I combine the dry ingredients in a bowl the night before, prepare the muffin pan with papers, and set my oven to come on at 375 degrees fifteen minutes before my morning wake-up alarm goes off. Then in the morning I add the three wet ingredients, distribute the batter into the prepared pan, pop them into the oven to bake while I shower, and have a tasty breakfast all ready for the day.

I’ve probably used every kind of dried fruit imaginable in these, and quite a few different frozen fruits, too. Today’s batch I threw in a handful of dried cranberries and a handful of frozen lingonberries. Yum!

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup bran cereal FLAKES (NOT All-Bran)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
Optional: handfuls of dried, frozen or fresh fruit

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin by greasing or using paper liners. I use liners for easy clean-up. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl stir together the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir until just combined. Batter will be thick and lumpy. Fold in optional fruit. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-23 minutes, until they spring back when lightly touched. Makes 12. These freeze very well.

Bran-OatMuffins2

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This recipe is based upon one found at foodess.com. They are a nice, homey fall treat.

The Dough:

3/4 cup milk, warmed
2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup + 1 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 cups flour
Oil, for the bowl

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment add milk, yeast, and 1 tsp. sugar. Stir it around a bit with a long spoon. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in remaining sugar, butter, eggs, and pumpkin puree. Add about 3 cups flour and run the mixer for about 5 minutes to build the gluten. Add flour in 1/2 to 1 cup increments, running the mixer in between additions, until the dough comes away from the side of the mixing bowl and forms a ball. It should spring back when touched and it should not be sticky. Don’t add too much flour or your bread will be dry and crumbly. Experience teaches you how it should feel at this stage.

Recipes always tell you to put the dough in an oiled, or greased, bowl and turn the dough over to make sure the top is also greased so that the cover will not stick to the dough while it is rising. I never do this. I just remove the dough hook and leave the dough in the mixer. I pop a cover (either plastic wrap or usually a silicone cover) on it and let rise. Prepare the filling while the dough is rising by mixing together the brown sugar and spices.

The Filling:

1 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Let dough rise until doubled in volume, a couple hours. Punch dough down. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick.

Prepare 2 9×13″ baking dishes by spraying with non-stick oil or greasing them.

Spread the dough with softened butter, to the edges of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar spice mixture.

Roll the dough from the long edge to form a log. Cut the log in half, then cut each half into 15 even-sized pieces. Place 15 pieces into each baking dish in three rows of 5. Cover each baking dish with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, another hour or so.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently remove covers and brush rolls with milk. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, but still soft.

The Icing:

4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4-6 Tbsp. buttermilk, or milk

Beat all ingredients, except buttermilk, until fluffy. Add buttermilk a tablespoon at a time until you get a good consistency for spreading. Ice the rolls however you like to do it. Pictured here I daubed each roll with a bit of icing.

Of course these finished rolls are best if served while still warm and the icing just oozes. Oh my goodness!

Note that I fit a slab of nine of these rolls into a freezer bag one time, before I frosted them. They froze well and were re-warmed deliciously.

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RaisinBread1ONE

Recipe:

1-1/2 cups milk

1 cup raisins

1 cup water

2 pkg active dry yeast (4-1/2 Tbsp.)

½ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

½ cup butter, melted

8 cups bread flour

2 Tbsp. milk

¾ cup sugar

2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp. melted butter

Warm the 1-1/2 cups milk until it just starts to bubble (either microwave or stovetop). Stir in the raisins. Let this start cooling while preparing other parts.

Warm the water and stir in the yeast and the ½ cup sugar. Let sit while the yeast activates and it froths. I do this in my KitchenAid mixture. Mix in the eggs, salt, and butter. Stir in the warm, not hot, milk with raisins. Add about 4 cups of flour and run the machine to build the gluten for about 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour until it’s smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a very large greased bowl and turn it over so that the top of the dough is greased and the plastic wrap won’t stick to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface about 1/2 inch thick. Moisten dough with 2 Tbsp. milk. Mix together ¾ cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle across top of moistened dough. Roll up lengthwise tightly; so it’s about 3 inches in diameter.* Cut the roll into thirds. Tuck under the ends. Place rolls into greased 9×5 inch loaf pans with the seam at the bottom. Spray the tops of the loaves lightly with oil (or don’t). Let rise again for an hour.

Bake at 350 degrees (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when knocked. Remove loaves from pans and brush with melted butter. Let cool before slicing.

*Note: As you can see from the pictures, my loaves split. They still had that beautiful swirl for each slice and tasted great, but I believe a looser roll might have alleviated the splitting problem. Next time! And next time I’ll try to remember to snap a picture of a slice.

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Warm the 1-1/2 cups milk until it just starts to bubble (either microwave or stovetop). Stir in the raisins. Let this start cooling while preparing other parts. Warm the water and stir in the yeast and the ½ cup sugar. Let sit while the yeast activates and it froths. I do this in my KitchenAid mixture. Mix in the eggs, salt, and butter. Stir in the warm, not hot, milk with raisins. Add about 4 cups of flour and run the machine to build the gluten for about 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour until it’s smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a very large greased bowl and turn it over so that the top of the dough is greased and the plastic wrap won’t stick to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

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Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface about 1/2 inch thick.

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Moisten dough with 2 Tbsp. milk. Mix together ¾ cup sugar and 2 Tbsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle across top of moistened dough.

RaisinBread5FIVE

. Roll up lengthwise tightly; so it’s about 3 inches in diameter.* Cut the roll into thirds. Tuck under the ends. Place rolls into greased 9×5 inch loaf pans with the seam at the bottom. Spray the tops of the loaves lightly with oil (or don’t). Let rise again for an hour.

RaisinBread6SIX

Bake at 350 degrees (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when knocked. Remove loaves from pans and brush with melted butter. Let cool before slicing.

RaisinBread7SEVEN

*Note: As you can see from the pictures, my loaves split. They still had that beautiful swirl for each slice and tasted great, but I believe a looser roll might have alleviated the splitting problem. Next time!

Hummus & Pita

The hummus recipe is based upon one found here.

Hummus Recipe

1 16 oz can garbanzo beans

1/4 cup liquid from can of garbanzo beans

4 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain garbanzo beans and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from garbanzos. Blend for a few minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

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Place in serving bowl, and create a well in the middle. Pour a small amount of olive oil into the well.
Serve with pita bread.

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The pita bread recipe is based upon one found at Under The High Chair.

Pita Bread Recipe

1 tablespoon yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
3- 3 ½ cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add salt and 1 ½ cups flour. With the dough hook, beat well to make a batter. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. Let it knead for about 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if it is too sticky. The dough will rise AFTER you’ve formed the flat loaves. Go straight to forming now.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into six pieces for large pitas or ten for smaller. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin into ¼ inch thick discs. Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them puff. Note: Do not roll out on parchment paper or let them rest on parchment paper in an effort not to use too much flour. They stick! Flour is the way to go. Flour them.

Let rest on the floured surface 30-40 minutes until slightly puffy. By the time you are finished forming the last one, you may be quite close to starting to bake the first one. Get your oven going. It takes time.

Preheat oven AND baking sheet to 425F. Let the baking sheet sit inside the hot oven for about ten minutes after the preheating is finished. That baking sheet needs to be HOT! A high-quality (thicker) baking sheet will retain heat longer, but will take longer to heat at the beginning. I could totally be making that up, but I believe it.

With a large spatula, flip a well-floured round of dough upside down on the dry baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until it’s puffed and light golden. I baked mine one at a time letting the baking sheet heat thoroughly between batches. I think two at a time would work, too.

If you have children or adult science buffs in the room, be prepared! Watching pita bread puff in the oven is really, really cool! A crowd could gather if you have a window in your oven door. Just sayin’. Learn to shout, “Step away from the oven now so I can remove the pita before it burns.”

I’m not telling you how to save your leftovers because these are so amazingly delicious that you will not have any leftovers.

Slice in half cross-wise and stuff with yummy sandwich ingredients or pile gyro ingredients on the top or slice into pie-shaped sections to serve as an appetizer with hummus. It’s all good!

Irish Soda Bread

Well, I’ve missed an entire month! Life happens. Here is one of my all-time favorite breads, based upon Sunset Breads (Lane Publishing 1984). I should have posted it at St. Patrick’s Day as that is when I usually make this, but life interfered then, too. Ha!

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

4 to 4-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

3 tsps. Baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ cup sugar

1/8 tsp. cardamom or coriander (optional)

¼ cup firm butter

1 egg

1-3/4 cups buttermilk

In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and cardamom (if used) until thoroughly blended. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until crumbly, In a separate bowl, beat egg lightly and mix with buttermilk; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth (2 to 3 minutes).

Divide dough in half and shape each half into a smooth, round loaf; place each loaf in a greased 8” cake or pie plan and press to make dough fill pans. With a razor blade or sharp floured kife, cut a 1/2” deep cross in top of each loaf.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven (350 degrees for glass pans) for 35 to 40 minutes or until nicely browned. Makes 2 loaves.

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Stir dry ingredients together, then cut in butter. Mix in liquid ingredients. Remove to flour-covered board and briefly knead.

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Divide in half and place into two greased pans.

Cut a cross in the top of each loaf with a floured knife.

Cut a cross in the top of each loaf with a floured knife.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until nicely browned. Served warm, it's awesome!

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until nicely browned. Served warm, it’s awesome!

 

HamburgerBuns

I split and toasted these with butter, then piled on the pulled pork with barbecue sauce and sauteed sweet peppers. Oh, yummy!

Hamburger Buns Recipe

1 Tbsp. yeast (1 pkg)

1 cup warm water

2 Tbsp. oil

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. salt

3 cups bread flour (apx)

Egg Wash (1 egg yolk mixed with 2 Tbsp. water)

Sesame seeds

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir in egg, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir and stir and stir. Gradually add enough flour to make a dough stiff enough to handle. Knead well. Once it is smooth and elastic, place into greased bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled. Remove from bowl and cut dough into 8 equal pieces. If you are making sliders, cut into 15 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten. Place on greased baking sheet (I fit all of mine onto one sheet, but I should have used two.). Let rise until doubled. This second rise will take about an hour. Carefully brush each bun with egg wash. Sprinkle buns with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sliders should take about 10 minutes.

Hamburger Buns

These are the fluffiest, most delicious dinner rolls. The recipe is based upon one found in Taste of Home’s Oct/Nov 2000 issue. The original recipe calls for using a 15-oz. can of cut sweet potatoes, drained and mashed. I use a fresh sweet potato, cook it, and then let it cool a bit before adding to the recipe. I just eyeball the sweet potato to decide what would fit into a can.

Cook a sweet potato (steam, boil, bake, whatever) and let cool a little bit.

2 packages yeast

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg

1-1/2 tsp. salt

5 to 5-1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast, let stand 5 minutes. Beat in sweet potatoes, sugar, shortening, egg, salt, and 3 cups flour. Add enough flour to make stiff dough. Knead. Place in greased bowl. Let rise until double. Punch down.

Divide into thirds.

Onto a floured board, roll each out into 12” circle.

Melt 3 Tbsp. butter and brush each round of dough with  butter.

Cut each circle into 12 wedges. I use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter.

Roll up from wide end and place, pointed end down, 2” apart on greased baking sheets (or parchment covered, as seen here).

Cover and let rise until double.

Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until golden.

Makes 36 rolls.

This recipe is from Sunset Breads, Step by Step Techniques (Lane Publishing, 1984). It is my bread making Bible. Most of my favorite bread recipes are found here. I’ve made this Molasses Pumpernickel Bread many times throughout the years. One lasting memory is when I pulled these loaves from the oven and then a couple friends stopped by. They started picking at one of the loaves and by the time they left, nearly a whole loaf was gone! I like to serve this bread with soup or German-style foods.

Molasses Pumpernickel Bread

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cups milk

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)

2 pkgs (4-1/2 tsp) active dry yeast

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1-1/2 cups whole bran cereal (All-Bran)

3 cups rye flour

About 4-1/2 cups bread flour

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp. water

Warm milk with butter until butter just melts. Stir in walk and molasses. Set aside.

In a large bowl (or mixing bowl with dough hook) combine water, yeast, and brown sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let stand until bubbly (about 15 minutes). Then add milk mixture, bran cereal, rye flour, and 2 cups bread flour. Beat until well-blended. Using mixer, let it go about 5-8 minutes medium speed. Stir in about 1-1/2 cups more bread flour. Continue kneading or mixing until smooth and satiny, adding flour to prevent sticking.

Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1-1/2 hours).

Punch dough down, divide into two equal portions, and knead each portion briefly to release air. Then shape each into a smooth ball; flatten slightly.

Place each loaf on a baking sheet at least 10 x 15″, which has been greased and sprinkled with corn meal to prevent sticking. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 40 minutes).

With a razor blad or sharp floured knife, make 1/2″ deep slashed on tops of loaves, forming a ticktacktoe design. Brush tops and sides with egg yolk mixture.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until bread is richly browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to racks and let cool. Makes 2 round loaves.

Popovers

I have tried several different popover recipes and I’ll give you the one that works best. I’m still on the hunt for a better one, though. This is based upon a recipe by Ina Garten (2001 Barefoot Contessa Parties). Popovers are a little like puffs (think cream puffs), in that they are egg based. In a perfect world I suppose that you could quickly remove your perfectly rounded popovers from the oven, slice off the tops, and fill the popovers with Chicken a la King. I have never been so lucky. This does not detract whatsoever from how good they are. The recipe calls for room temperature eggs and milk. I am never so advanced in planning. One trick I do use is to preheat the muffin tins for 2 minutes before pouring in the batter.

Whisk together 1-1/2 cups flour, 3/4 tsp. salt, 3 extra-large eggs, 1-1/2 Tbsp. melted butter and 1-1/2 cups milk. I use a 4-cup measurer as a bowl so I can pour the batter into the muffin tins without a mess.

Place buttered, greased, or sprayed muffin tins (18) in 425 degree oven for 2 minutes exactly. Fill each hot muffin cup half full of batter and bake for 20-25 minutes. DO NOT PEEK!

Remove from oven. Don’t they look crazy! Serve as quickly as possible. They fall very fast. Have your guests open with a fork, being careful not to burn themselves, and spoon Chicken a la King over the top. Delicious!

Popovers Ingredient List

1-1/2 cups flour

3/4 tsp. salt

3 extra-large eggs at room temperature

1-1/2 Tbsp. melted butter

1-1/2 cups milk at room temperature

Whisk all together. Makes 18.

Banana Muffins with Mascarpone Frosting

Based on a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis on Food Network, this is a delicious and super easy breakfast/dessert.

Set the oven to 325 degrees. Chop 1/2 cup walnuts. Place the walnuts in a pie pan or oven-proof saucer and then into the oven while it preheats. Give the walnuts a shake every once in awhile so they toast fairly evenly. Watch that they don’t burn. Remove from heat once toasted and set aside.

Stir together the dry ingredients: 3 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 2 cups sugar. Set aside.

Mix together the wet ingredients: 1 cup oil, 3 eggs, 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract. Peel and mash 4 ripe bananas.

Mix together the dry ingredients, the wet ingredients, and the mashed bananas. Stir until evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Divide batter among 24 prepared (either paper liners or greased tins) muffin cups.

Bake the muffins at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or when tops are golden brown and bounce back when lightly pressed with a finger. Remove from heat and let cool, either in the pan or out, doesn’t really matter. (The missing muffin was delish, BTW.)

While the muffins are cooling, stir together 3 oz. cream cheese, 6 Tbsp. butter, and 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, all at room temperature. Stir in 3 Tbsp. honey. Spread a dollop of frosting over each muffin and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Dig in!

What kind?