Moist Delicious Corn Bread

corn bread 2

Easily the quickest of quick breads, moist and tender …. this is absolutely delicious and one you must try.  Just another fantastic use for your cast iron skillet.  Serve this alongside some hearty chili or stew and you’ll have such a comforting meal.

  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and place a 12 inch cast iron skillet in to heat up while you make the batter.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl whisk up the buttermilk, eggs, and 7 tbsp of the melted butter.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 and remove the skillet.  CAREFULLY … remember it is hot.
  4. Coat the skillet with the remaining tbsp of melted butter.  Pour the batter in the skillet and place it in the oven.  Amazing to watch …. it right away starts to puff up around the edges.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm, and a tester comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
corn bread 3

This comes together so quickly – whisk up dry and wet ingredients separately and then quickly combine them.  Stir until you don’t see any lumps, but don’t over mix the batter.

Corn bread 4

As soon as the batter hits the hot pan it starts to smell amazing and I loved the way it puffed up around the edges of the cast iron.

Corn bread 1

It might be difficult, but let it sit for 15 minutes after removing from the oven.  Still warm enough to melt butter but holds together like a dream ….. try it, and I bet you love it.

Have you checked out http://www.jocooks.com ??  I got this recipe from her blog and it is most assuredly the best cornbread I’ve tried.  In fact, I think every recipe I try of hers I love!

Buttermilk Ranch Dip or Dressing

Veg

Vegetables first!  The kids absolutely love a big platter of fresh vegetables, but this ranch dressing really makes it a favourite.  Ready for them to arrive from the ski hill today and this platter will disappear in minutes.

This is the best creamy dressing to have on hand for those hungry moments. .. … or when the kids are arriving home from school or the ski hill.  In general, we prefer vinaigrette’s for salad dressing, but this is so comforting and delicious we love it too.

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (you could use regular milk but I like the tang from buttermilk)
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp each dried basil, oregano & parsley (in the summer of course fresh is best)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice (according to your own taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Give the whole thing a good mix and allow to sit long enough for all the seasonings to fully wake up and join the party.  This is perfect as a dip, for a salad dressing I would thin it out a bit with either a bit more buttermilk or even a touch of water.

 

Beer Bread

Beer Bread 1

Today I created an extra crunchy crust …… first the melted butter, then sprinkled on some grated aged cheddar, and topped with the seasoned sesame seed mixture left from the dregs of the nuts and bolts mixture I made this Christmas – Y U M

This is the easiest, simplest quick bread!  The most difficult part of making this bread is waiting for it to come out of the oven while amazing smells are drifting through the house …..

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 can or bottle of beer
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift dry ingredients together and stir in 1 12 ounce bottle or can of beer – stir just until it all comes together and turn into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  (I like to line the pan with parchment paper – it makes it so easy to lift out of the loaf pan.).

Drizzle the melted butter over and bake.

Bake for 1 hour until a tester comes out clean.

Rest for 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan, then let sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Beer Bread 2

Aged white cheddar and Italian seasoning added today.

 

You can mix this up however you like – add in herbs, grated cheese or some seeds.

My cousin Vivian used dried dill weed in the flour mix, and put olive oil on top … try it!

I’ve had people ask if you can use soda instead of beer ….. not unless you add 2 tsp (or 1 packet) of instant yeast.  It is the beer that helps the bread to rise and not be a heavy lump of dough!

Did you know that you should sift your flour, and SCOOP (using a spoon) into your measuring cup instead of scooping with your measuring cup?  This helps make your flour lighter and in turn, your bread lighter.

 

Yams with Miso Tahini Sauce

Slow roasting yams bring them to another flavour level entirely!  The skin gets lightly charred in spots, and the insides get creamier and smoother than ever.  Normally I love yams with just a simple touch …. butter, salt and pepper.  Lately I’ve been seeing recipes for a version that included a Miso Tahini dressing in place of the butter.  Given that I love all three ingredients, I decided to give it a taste test.  Instant winner – so delicious.

Miso Tahini

I had some cilantro around so tossed a bit of that over top as well.

How easy is this?  Dead simple.

Mix with a fork in a small bowl until smooth.

  •  2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 2 Tbsp. miso (I used white)
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Garnish:

  • thinly sliced scallions
  • toasted sesame seeds

Wash and poke yams with a fork.  Give them a little love by massaging them with olive oil – season with salt and pepper.  Cook yams at 375 degrees until super soft and lightly charred.  (how long will depend on the size, have you ever noticed the variance??). You could also cut them into a few irregular pieces, toss in olive oil and bake on a tray, which would be faster.  Count on at least an hour though.

When deliciously soft, split open, season again with salt and pepper – scoop on the sauce and sprinkle over the scallions and sesame seeds.  Absolutely satisfying.

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Just in time for Christmas!  I bought a small bag of crushed candy canes at Bulk Barn, probably about $2.00 worth …. thinking it would be great for decorating the sugar cookies we make every year.  Well, Sloan had a different idea and decided they should go in the cookies, so that’s what we did.  What a hit!

Peppermint cookies 1

  • 3/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup crushed candy canes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar.  When light and fluffy add in eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy and smooth.

Sift dry ingredients together and stir into butter mixture.  It will be a stiff mixture, so you may end up using your hands, we usually do.

Last, stir in the crushed candy cane.

Knead lightly until you have a workable dough, then cover tightly and put in the fridge for at least an hour.  (you can do this days ahead or even freeze it at this stage)

Roll out dough on lightly floured board and cut into desired shapes.

We always decorate our cookies before baking them, in place of the added sugar you get with decorating with icing.

I used to use raw egg, but find I get better results using evaporated milk and gel food colouring.  Just put a little milk in a cup and stir in enough food colouring to get the colour you want.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, watching carefully – every oven is different.

 

peppermint cookies 4

Get your kids involved!  Sloan is 9 and has been rolling and cutting dough for years now.

peppermint cookies 2

So many fun sugars and sprinkles available now for decorating the tops.

Peppermint Cookies 3

We do a  cooking class on Fridays – these four work so well together, and we have a great time with Pearl and Leo joining Sloan and Stella.

peppermin cookies 3

Each of the kids made their own dough & we baked up two batches – each family got to take one batch home for baking another day.

Peppermint cookies 5

Pearl has this tray ready to go in the oven, love all the vibrant colors.

Peppermint cookies 7

The most important part is taste testing ….

 

Stay tuned – more cooking classes to come!

 

 

Flour Tortillas with bacon fat

Flour tortillas 1

Sunday dinner.  Warm, fresh tortillas. Life is good.

Yes, that’s right.  BACON FAT.  So good, you will wonder why you haven’t done it before.  In Mexico pork is featured in so many ways, all good.  (Ever had carnitas??). Well, these tortillas are so darn good Stella told me that I needed to get them on the blog right away, as this is the 2nd time (in her 6 L O N G years) that she has been instrumental in the whole rolling/cooking process and if a 6 year old can do this – so can you!  Effort vs reward is huge.  Stella gets the rolling going and Sloan (at 9) is in charge of the stove and cooking them.  They both know just when to turn the tortillas with the right amount of bubbling and browning going on.

SO EASY!

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat (cold)\
  • 1 cup warm water

Stir flour and salt together, then work in the cold bacon fat with your fingers.  Slowly add the water and work until a cohesive dough forms.  Not sticking together?  Add a bit more water.  Too sticky?  Add a bit more flour …. You get it.  Knead until you have a soft but firm dough – cover and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes.  (or as long as you need it to)

Divide this into 12-14 pieces and roll into balls.  Let sit for a few minutes to allow the dough to rest – this makes it much easier to roll.  (keep covered)

Roll until super thin – and cook on a dry hot skillet.  Every stovetop is different and you may sacrifice the first couple to the frypan, but thats okay, once you realize your perfect temperature you are good to go.

Cook for approximately 1 minute on the first side and you will see bubbles form.  Only flip when you peek underneath and see brown spots appearing.  Flip it over and continue cooking until you get more of those lovely brown spots.  On my stovetop (flat ceramic) I can’t cook it higher than 5 (or medium) otherwise things burn before cooking through but experiment with your own surface.

Keep warm in a covered container as the steaming also helps with the cooking process.

This recipe serves 6.  If you aren’t feeding 6, then just keep the dough in the fridge and pinch off enough to make yourself a couple tortillas a day!

Flour tortillas 3

Stella is 6 and she’s already done this a couple of times, at her insistence this recipe is going on the blog so we all remember it.  Big sister Sloan is making the guacamole in the background before stepping over to the stove to keep the cooking going.

Flour tortillas 4

Just look at those bubbles forming – we all get excited!  (yes, I know, kitchen geeks)

Flour tortillas 2

This is exactly what you are looking for.  Heaven in a wrap.

Tonight we served carne asada with these tortillas, and it was amazing.

Honestly …. you really don’t like pork?  (sorry Meg & Amy). Use store bought lard or shortening.

Apple Crumble Muffins with Vanilla Glaze

If you are looking for a quick weekend baking project with a little sweetie, this is perfect!

Apple crumb muffins 1

Moist and delicious, these muffins are fantastic.  That crumb topping tho ….. :o)

Crumble

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour

Muffins

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped apple

Vanilla Icing

  • 1 cup powder icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Ingredients:

  1. Make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, combine both sugars, the cinnamon, and melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour. The crumb topping will be thick and crumbly. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. You may need a 2nd pan as this recipe makes up to 14 muffins, though you can always bake in batches using 1 pan. Set aside. *See note about jumbo size muffins.
  3. Make the muffins: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined and uniform in texture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, add the milk and apple, and mix on low speed until everything is combined.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into each cup or liner, filling each all the way to the top. Press a handful of the crumb topping into the top of each; crumble it with your hands to make some big chunks.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) degrees, then keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and bake for 15-17 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20-22 minutes.
  7. Make the icing: whisk all of the ingredients together and drizzle over warm muffins.
  8. Muffins stay fresh stored at room temperature for a few days– then transfer to the fridge for up to 1 week.
apple crumb muffins 2

3 year old Liv is the best helper!  So glad we could do a little baking together while she was here.

apple crumb muffins 3

How can you not love such a cute little helper?

Have you tried the website:  Sally’s Baking Addiction?  I’ve tried a few recipes and they are all great, this one came from her – let me know if you try it.  Or better yet, let Sally know!!