Monday, December 19, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread & Chubby Hubby Truffles

My bread machine broke this weekend so I went out and got another one because I have a ton of holiday baking to do this coming weekend. So, I had to test it out. I had some wheat flour to use up so I tried this recipe. It was good. Did not rise as much as I would have liked, but definetely a good bread.

Honey Grain Bread
From Oster Bread Machine Manual
1.5 pound loaf
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 and l/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 and 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
l/2 cup quick cook oats
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
(I also added 1 tbsp vital gluten)
1) Measure and add tiquid ingredients to the bread pan.
2) Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan.
3) Use your finger to form a welt (hole) in the flour where you will pour the
yeast. Yeast must NEVER come into contact with a liquid when you are
odding ingredients. Measure the yeast and corefully pour it into the well.
4) Snap the baking pan into the breadmaker and close the lid.
5) Press ‘Select” button to choose the Whole Wheat setting.
6) Press the “Crust Color” button to choose light. medium or dark crust.
7) Press the “Start/Stop” button.

I also tried these Chubby Hubby Truffles. I knew Jeff would love them with the pretzel/peanut butter combo. They were very good and very easy to make.

Peanut Butter-Pretzel Truffles (a.k.a. Chubby Hubby Truffles)
Yield: About 18 truffles
Prep Time: 20 minutes Chill Time: 1 hour, total

1½ cups pretzel pieces
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1. Put the pretzel pieces into a resealable plastic bag and crush into very small bits (a rolling pin works great for this).
2. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Stir until all of the ingredients are completely blended and smooth. Add the pretzel bits to the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar and mix until completely combined.
3. Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop, or about 2 teaspoons worth of peanut butter mixture, gently shape into a ball with your fingertips. Place the ball on the wax paper-lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. When ready to dip the truffles, microwave the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening together in a small bowl at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth.
5. Working one at a time, dip one peanut butter-pretzel ball into the melted chocolate and use a fork to roll it around, ensuring that it is completely coated with chocolate. Let any extra chocolate drip off and place back on the wax paper-lined sheet. Repeat with all of the peanut butter-pretzel balls.
6. Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator and again chill for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with a drizzle of melted peanut butter and crushed pretzels, if desired. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Buttercream & Challah

Not together - two separate recipes. This weekend I made a buttercream recipe for my cutout cookies that was given by Wegmans. For those of you who don't know, Wegmans is a grocery store. This dried hard enough that you could stack lightly, but I would not stack too many on top. It worked excellent for decorating. I don't like using the Crisco in my frosting or the merainge powder and this frosting was a good replacement for the traditional "crusting" buttercream - maybe not quite as "crusting" but good enough and tasted better. The cookies came out wonderful.

4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp vanilla
approx 3 tbsp water (or to reach your desired consistency)

Mix all in mixer until smooth and fluffy.

I've been trying to find a recipe that matched rolls that I get at another grocery store. The bakery calls them "egg" or "bulkie rolls". So, I tried challah as I know that is a type of egg bread. This bread came out wonderful. Pretty close to the store - but maybe not quite there yet. Perhaps if I add some sugar to the recipe and divide into rolls, I will be there. I'm still searching.

Bread Machine Challah (Egg Bread)
Adapted from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook
Ingredients: Make sure you place the ingredients in the order given.
This recipe is for a medium loaf which for my bread maker means 1½ lb (680g) loaf
¾ cup water
2 large eggs
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp gluten
½ tsp salt1¾ tsp SAF yeast or 2¼ tsp bread machine yeast (my choice)
1 tbsp poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling

Directions:1. Place all the ingredients IN ORDER into the bread machine. Select dough setting.
After finished, take out and divide into 3 logs approximately 12 inches. Spray baking pan with spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Braid the logs and cover and let rise for 45-1 hour until double in size. The recipe says do not let rise too much or it will collape in the oven. Then I beat an egg and brushed it on top. You then sprinkle with the seeds although I did not use them. I baked at 375 for 30 minutes (the recipe says 35-40, but mine didn't need it). When the loaf is finished you should be able to tap it and it should sound hollow.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Strawberry Bars

Made these last night to freeze for christmas. I used strawberry preserves and I added a glaze to the top, powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk. They were very good and very easy.

Delicious Raspberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars
From: Allrecipes
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil.
2. Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Rub in the butter using your hands or a pastry blender to form a crumbly mixture. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam.
3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well, I tried a new recipe yesterday as Jeff was intrigued by the whole bacon chocolate chip cookie recipe. These came out ok, they tasted ok, but they remind me of why I don't bake cookies with all butter. They came out flat and crisp! Not sure I would make again, but they were fun to try.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
For Caramelized Bacon
10 Strips Bacon
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
For Cookies
1 Stick Butter, plus 2 Tablespoons
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/ 8 Cup Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Heaping Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
Caramelized Bacon (above)
For Caramelized Bacon
Pre heat oven to 380FLine a baking sheet with tin foil and lay strips of bacon on top.Sprinkle bacon with half the brown sugar.Bake for 5-7 minutes and flip the bacon.Sprinkle bacon with the rest of the brown sugar.Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until a deep brown color.Make sure the bacon does not burn!Remove from oven and cool.Once cooled, chop bacon into small pieces.

For Cookies
Pre heat oven to 350F and grease baking sheets.In a small bowl whisk together flour and baking soda and set aside.In a large bowl beat together butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, slowly and mix until combined.Mix in chocolate chips and caramelized bacon.Place small tablespoon sized balls of dough onto greased baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a light golden color.Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicken Fajita Pasta, Apple Yeast Bread, Eggnog Cookies

I liked this pasta but the kids did not. I think it was a "good dish" but nothing spectacular. I didn't think it had much taste and was pretty bland. Next time I think adding some fajita seasoning might actually make it even better. But it was a nice change from traditional pasta. I also put the cheese right into the sauce. I would make this again.

Chicken Fajita Pasta
6 oz penne or fettuccine pasta
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 white onion, sliced into strips
1 Green bell pepper,sliced into strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
chicken breast sliced into thick strips
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese
Cook the pasta according to the package while preparing the sauce.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over med heat. Add the onion and pepper for 3 mins, or until softened. Add garlic and chicken and sauté for 3 mins or until chicken is mostly cooked. Sprinkle the cumin,oregano,salt, and pepper over chicken.
In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch. Pour over the chicken and veggies and cook for 2 more mins, or until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
Add the cooked pasta,chopped tomato to the pan. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with the cheese.

These cookies are really good. I did not make the frosting but instead dusted with cinnamon sugar. I also replaced the nutmeg with cinnamon. These are not a really pretty cookie, but definetely great tasting!
Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Icing
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup eggnog
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
5 Tablespoons eggnog
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Then add the eggnog and mix again.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and nutmeg. Then turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until everything is just combined. Cover the dough and chill it for at least two hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Drop dough by the round teaspoonful onto lined cookie sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
4. To make the icing stir together the confectioners’ sugar, eggnog and nutmeg. Icing the cookies when cooled.

This was really good. I halved the recipe. I also added some dried cranberries in the center. I made it into 3 smaller loaves. Definetely a good sweet bread. One side note, it needs more rise time then specified in the recipe.

Walnut Apple Bread
From Healthy Cooking Magazine
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup reduced-fat butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped peeled apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons reduced-fat butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider or juice
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, milk, butter, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
For filling, in a small bowl, combine apples and walnuts. Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon; stir into apple mixture. Punch dough down. Roll into a 14-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Spread butter to within 1/2 in. of edges; sprinkle with apple mixture. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Cut in half. Pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under.
Place loaves seam side down in two 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, make eight shallow slashes across top of each loaf.
Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over bread. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).