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Soft Dinner Rolls

I am always trying to perfect my rolls.  I’ve tried a few recipe that are still pretty good but still not quite the texture I was looking for.  So I scour the internet, trying to find something that I like better.  I keep coming across this Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe all over and there are just different variations.  I actually tried the original recipe and then tweaked it a few times with different proportions and that’s how I came up with this one.  The bread is just so soft and the texture is so fine.  It’s still soft the day after!  I love this bread and so does my family.

Soft Dinner Rolls

200 grams bread flour

50 grams cake flour

3 grams salt

4 grams instant yeast

60 grams sugar

1 egg

75 ml milk (i used 2% but any will do)

75 ml heavy whipping cream

Directions:

If you have a bread machine, you can actually just put all the ingredients into your bread machine and just follow the instructions for your machine.

Put everything into a mixer bowl and start the mixer.  The mixture will be quite sticky and looks more like batter than dough in the beginning.  You might have to scrape the side of the bowl in order to get all the flour incorporated.  Let the mixer do it’s thing for about 40 mins, after that time you should see it come together into a ball and look more like dough.  Once the dough is thoroughly mixed, put it in an oiled bowl and let it proof for about 2 hours.  Once it has doubled in size, turn it onto a floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds.  Take a section and roll it into a ball and put into a baking dish.  Let it rise and double in size again, about an hour.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.

Look at the texture! Really soft and yummy!

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Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite holiday cookies!  I have made them almost every Christmas since I found the recipe.  It’s a great recipe and really easy to make.  These were a hit during Christmas and by the end of the night, there wasn’t a single crumb left!

Snickerdoodles by Gale Gand

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cookie dough:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

To make the cookie dough, stir together the dry ingredients.

In a bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the sugar and continue to mix, then add the eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Chill dough 1 hour if it’s sticky or difficult to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll balls of dough about the size of a walnut then roll them in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place on an un-greased sheet pan 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until puffed up and the surface is slightly cracked. Let cool on the sheet pan a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Turtle Brownies

For Christmas this year, I wanted to do a big spread of different desserts and one of them was a brownie.  I’ve already done a peppermint brownie for Thanksgiving so I didn’t want to do that again.  Since my hubby loves caramel, I’ve decided to do a turtle brownie.  I went to one of my favorite site, Joy of Baking and found a recipe that looked yummy.

The recipe included homemade caramel sauce.  I’ve never made it from scratch before so I decided it try it out.  It was actually pretty easy, but be careful because it really does sputter and steam on you.

It looked really good but I found it to be a bit too sweet.  It could’ve been the caramel sauce that made it too sweet or it’s just meant to be a really sweet brownie.  The brownie did come out very chocolatey and more cakelike than fudgey.  I also substituted walnuts for the pecans since that is what I had on hand.

Turtle Brownies from Joy of Baking

Brownies:

3 ounces (90 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) (170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 large eggs

1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Caramel Topping:

40 Kraft caramels (10 ounces) (280 grams), unwrapped

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream

2 cups (200 grams) pecan halves, toasted

or

Homemade Caramel Topping:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) light corn syrup

5 tablespoons water

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups (200 grams) pecan halves, toasted

Ganache Topping:

2 ounces (55 grams) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch (23 x  33 cm) rectangular baking pan.
Brownies: Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and set aside while you make the brownie batter.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugars until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract and then the melted chocolate mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and, on low speed, beat in the flour and salt.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or just until the brownies are barely firm to the touch. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Caramel: Place the unwrapped caramels and cream in a saucepan and melt, over low heat (stirring frequently), until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted pecans, making sure all the pecans are coated with caramel. Spread the caramel topping evenly over the still warm brownies and let cool to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate brownies for about an hour or until the brownies are firm.
If making Homemade Caramel Topping: In a three quart heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, stop stirring, and cook the mixture until it turns a golden caramel color, about 10 – 12 minutes. (Swirl the pan as needed so the caramel cooks evenly.) Remove from heat and carefully add the cream and vanilla (the mixture will sputter and steam so be careful). Stir in the pecans and immediately pour over the still warm brownie layer, spreading evenly. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate brownies for about an hour or until the brownies are firm.
Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat (alternatively, heat the cream in the microwave). Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
Remove the brownies from the refrigerator and, using a fork, drizzle the Ganache over the brownies in a zigzag pattern. Cover and refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Using a sharp knife, cut the brownies into 48 bars.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days, or in the freezer for longer storage.
Makes about 48 brownies.
Note: To toast pecans – Bake in a 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.

Peppermint Brownies

Yummy goodness...

So my favorite holiday treat is a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks.  They also make a peppermint brownie that’s really yummy.  I couldn’t really pick a dessert to make for Thanksgiving so I asked Brian to pick one.  We went through Tastespotting for some ideas and came across a few that looked really good.

We finally decided on a peppermint brownie that we saw on this site.  Since I love peppermint brownies, I thought it was perfect.  I didn’t try the Katherine Hepburn brownies that was featured on TWD, instead I found a recipe on King Arthur Flour that looked pretty good.

It turned out great!  I like my brownies more on the fudgy side and not cakey and these were perfect.  The peppermint filling was great as well, it wasn’t too sweet and it had the perfect amount of mint flavor.  These were a hit!

Notes:  I had to make more mint filling since it didn’t seem to fill up my brownie pan.  Make sure you let the brownie layer cool completely before putting on the mint layer or else it’ll melt the icing.

Fudge Brownies from King Arthur

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan

2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the bakedbrownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Mint Layer adapted from Cooking Light
MINT LAYER:
  • 2  cups  powdered sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 2  tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon peppermint extract

Chocolate Ganache Icing from King Arthur

2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips or chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream or whipping cream

In a microwave-safe bowl, or in a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat the cream till it’s very hot. You should see wisps of steam beginning to rise from it, and some very tiny bubbles around the edge. Add the chocolate to the cream, and stir till smooth. Don’t panic—at first, the mixture will look disarmingly soupy, but just keep stirring. Very shortly it’ll become a rich brown, thick, shiny spreadable icing. Yield: 2 cups icing.

Once brownie layer has cooled, spread mint layer over the top of the brownies.  Now you can have as thick of a layer as you like but I prefered mine to be a thin layer.  Spread the layer of ganache over the brownie mix and let cool.  You can put it in the fridge to set if you like.  Cut up and enjoy!

Chocolate chips in the brownie batter gives it more texture....

Mixed Berry Cheesecake

Mixed Berry Cheesecake

Last year I had seen a special on the food network that featured Ina Garten’s Mixed Berry Cheesecake.  Ever since I saw that, I’ve always wanted to make that yummy looking cheesecake.  So for thanksgiving this year, I decided to go for it.  My family isn’t big on pumpkin pie so I didn’t bother with any desserts that had pumpkin in it.  I thought this cheesecake would be perfect because they all love cheesecake.

This cheesecake was delicious!  My hubby and father in law couldn’t get enough of it!  The texture of this cheesecake is a lot lighter than most cheesecakes I’ve made.  I really love the texture, it was light and fluffy and didn’t feel like you were just eating a block of cream cheese.  Although it is a bit more work, it is so worth it!

I love Ina Garten.  She’s one of my favorite chefs on the food network.  So far, all of her recipes that I have tried have always turned out great.  You really should give this a try!

Ingredients

For the crust:

nocoupons

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

nocoupons

  • 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

nocoupons

  • 1 cup red jelly (not jam) such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry (I used strawberry)
  • 1/2 pint sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss berries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Fresh fruit really does make a difference

No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread

So I’ve heard alot of about this no knead bread recipe that’s been going around, seems like everyone’s making it!  I love bread and have been baking lots of bread recently.  I’ve never made an artisan type of bread before and thought it would be a bit complicated.  This recipe has got to be the easiest recipe ever.  I don’t think I’ll be buying my bread from now on!  I made this last week and served it along side with lasagna and we pretty much ate up the whole loaf!  Let me tell you, nothing taste better than a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven.  The only thing is that the proofing time takes a bit of time but you really don’t have to do much while it’s just sitting on your counter.  I highly recommend this bread and once you try it, you’ll never buy bread again!

I saw this recipe on Steamy Kitchen and it was titled, No Knead Recipe so easy a 4 year old can make it!  It had pictures of her son making the bread step by step you should definitely check her page out!

No Knead Bread Recipe from Steamy Kitchen

No Knead Bread Recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman of NY Times who got it from Sullivan Street Bakery. When the recipe first came out, it was the blogging community who took the bread to new heights, especially Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Bread Bible. I followed Rose’s experiments through the weeks and learned from her recipe adjustments and the why’s of how this bread works.

Yield: one 1 lb loaf

3 cups bread flour (I like Harvest King bread flour)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
1 1/2 cups warm water

Covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel…something that can go into a 450F oven.)

1. Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on countertop.

2. Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Generously dust a cotton towel (not terrycloth) with flour. Set dough seam side down on top of towel. Fold towel over the dough. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you’ve got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven.  Holding towel, dump wobbly dough into pot. Doesn’t matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes. Best way to eat it? Smear a warm slice with some good butter (Kerrygold and Lurpac are both found in your grocery stores, usually on top shelf)

Loaf

Texture is great..chewy crust, soft interior.

Texture is great..chewy crust, soft interior.

The nice big holes are the results of the long proofing time...yum!

The nice big holes are the results of the long proofing time...yum!

Lasagna

Lasagna

One of my husband’s favorite meal is lasagna.  He was craving it last week so I told him I’d find a good recipe and make it for him.  I happen to stumble across Pioneer Woman’s site and she had a recipe titled Best Lasagna Ever.  I’ve tried her recipes before and they have all turned out great so I was excited to make this for Brian.  Her webiste is awesome, she has step by step instructions with pictures so it was really easy to follow.  I already had most of the stuff on her ingredient list anyway so that worked out even better for me.  She did use cottage cheese in her lasagna and even though she said that you couldn’t tell a difference, I was still hesitant about it.  I was going to just go with it but changed my mind.  I just used ricotta cheese instead.  I also didn’t use the breakfast sausge.  We had bought some bottom round while it was on sale awhile ago and just grounded that up.  I also couldn’t find slicked mozzerella cheese so I just used the shredded kind.  I must say, this was one of the best lasagna I ever made!  It was very hearty and rich and Brian loved it!  Next time, maybe I’ll try using the cottage cheese instead and see how it would turn out.  I’m sure it would be just as great!

Lasagna by The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (I used 3 lbs of ground bottom round)
1 poung hot breakfast sausage (omitted since I didn’t have any)
2 cloves mince garlic
2 14.5 cans of whole tomatoes (I just used one 28oz can)
2 6 oz can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of dried parsely flakes
2 tablespoons of dried basil (I ran out so I used part Italian Seasoning)
Salt (I used kosher salt)
One 10oz package of lasagna (I just used 8 noodles)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cubs lowfat cottage cheese (I used 24oz of Ricotta Cheese)
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese
4 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 lb sliced mozzarella cheese (I used 16oz shredded mozzarella)

In a skillet, combine ground beef, sausage and 2 cloves minced garlic.  Cook until brown, draining off half the fat.  Pour in cans of whole tomaotes and tomato paste, dried parsley flakes and dried basil, and 1 tsp. of salt.  Mix together thoroughly and simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes stirring occassionally.

In the meantime, boil the lasagna noodles.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil to water.  Cook the noodles “al dente”.  When noodles are finished, drain, rinse with cool water, and lay the noodles flat on a sheet of aluminum foil.

While meat and noodles are cooking, mix lowfat cottage cheese in a bowl with 2 beaten eggs.  Add 1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese, 2 tablspoons dried parsley flakes and 1 teaspoon salt.

Set up your “assembly line”; meat mixture, 1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese mixture, and cooked lasagna noodles.  Lay four cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan, overlapping as you go.  Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.

Then lay 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese slices on top of the cottage cheese mixture.

With the spoon, make a line through the middle of the meat mixture so you’ll distribute it evenly.  Spread a little less than half of the meat mixture over the mozzarella cheese slices.  Spread it around until evenly distributed atop the mozzarella cheese slices.

Repeat the layering process…being with another layer of four lasagna noodles top with the remaining half of the cottage cheese mixture, top the cottage cheese mixture with another 1/2 pound of mozzarella, and finish with the rest of the meat mixture.

Top generously with Kraft Parmesan cheese.

Place in a 350-degree over for 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Alternately, you could cover and freeze it, unbaked, at this point.  Or cover and refrigerate, unbaked, for up to two days.