Stella’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pure cookie heaven.

Stella wanted a pure chocolate chip cookie bake up, and these fit the bill perfectly. Usually I can’t stop myself from adding nuts, oranberries, or oats …. you know what I mean! However, her request was clear …….. slightly crunchy edges, soft but chewy PURE chocolate chip cookies. These only take a few minutes to whip up, and the reward is huge. Win/Win.

INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted but not hot
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheetwith parchment paper or leave ungreased.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of you mixer add the sugars and melted butter and mix well until creamy. 
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt to the bowl and beat on low speed until well incorporated, for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the flour to the bowl and mix until crumbles form. Note that you could mix your flour with the salt and baking soda, but I don’t find that it makes a difference at all. 
  • Add the chocolate chips to the bowl and use a spatula to mix them in to the dough. 
  • You can use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out cookie balls or use your hands to roll out the dough into balls, up to you how big you want your cookies. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet. This recipe yields around 50 cookies, so if you can only bake one tray at a time, place the remaining cookie dough in the fridge until ready for the next batch. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.
  • Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until just barely golden around the edges of the cookies. DO NOT OVER BAKE. 
  • Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then transfer them to  wire rack to finish cooling or enjoy eating them.
For perfect little balls use a mini scoop and then give them a little roll.
Figuring out how to take the perfect photo for the cookies of her dreams.
Yes, the kids are helping Nana style her food photos. Looks like I can turn that job over to someone more qualified! I will just keep cooking and baking.
The cookies in the foreground are baked for 10 minutes and resulted in a very soft cookie. If you want crispier bits around the edges bake for just 2 more minutes.

This recipe came from one of my favorite websites, Jo Cooks, out of Calgary. Her recipes are almost always a winner, and so easy to complete. Stella and I found that we preferred the cookies cooked a little longer just to get the crispy edges, but if you love your cookies softer stick to the cooking times listed above.

Snickerdoodle Cake

Crunchy sugar cinnamon coating, tender and delicate crumb inside, what’s not to love?

WHAT???? Snickerdoodle cookies in cake form? A dream come true. This cake encompasses all the bits of the cookie we love, but in cake form – perfect for a dessert or just snacking.

PREPARE THE PAN

  •  1 cup granulated sugar
  •  2 teaspoons cinnamon

CAKE

  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  2 teaspoons cinnamon
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  •  1 cup granulated sugar
  •  1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  •  3 large eggs, at room temperature
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

PREP THE PAN

  1. To a small bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F.
  3. Generously spray a 9-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan with floured cooking spray (or grease the pan with shortening), being careful to cover all the nooks and crannies, as well as the center tube. Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. You will only need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cinnamon-sugar, but try to evenly coat the inside surface of the pan, including the tube.
  4. Save the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture for layering in as the filling; set everything aside. (I used less than half the remaining sugar mixture but just couldn’t bring myself to put that much of a sugar layer in a cake that already has 2 cups of sugar in it!)

CAKE

  1. To a large bowl, add the flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  2. To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer), add the butter and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the brown sugar and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed for 1 minute after each egg.
  6. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and mix on medium speed to incorporate, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add half the flour mixture, half the Greek yogurt or sour cream, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the remaining flour mixture, remaining Greek yogurt or sour cream, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  9. Turn half the batter out into the prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. The batter is quite thick and that’s okay.
  10. Evenly sprinkle the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of the batter, which creates the filling as the cake bakes. (As I mentioned earlier, use as much of the sugar mixture as you are comfortable with – I had lots left)
  11. Turn the remaining batter out into the pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for 55 to 62 minutes (I baked for 59 minutes), or until top is lightly golden brown and set, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Don’t overbake because the cinnamon-sugar crust will become overly crunchy.
  12. Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I found this recipe on a new site for me, Averie Cooks. This turned out so well that I might be hopping over to her site again to see what else she has going on.

Served for dessert with a dollop of whipping cream, this cake is also so moist and delicious on its own, it is perfect for snacking
The girls are in training to “stylize” my food photos – this is Stella’s version.
Here is Sloan’s interpretation – either one makes me want to take a bite.

Stela was quick to to make sure I saved the recipe so it could get it on the blog. Well, she asked if I screenshot the recipe and when I said I printed it out, her dad told her that was the old fashioned way of taking a screen shot.

Aloo Garlic Stuffed Naan

The best naan I’ve made …. to date anyway!

I can’t pretend to be humble when it comes to my cooking, but these naan impressed me more than I usually impress myself! The dough is very pillowy soft and tender, they were so delicious I pulled six out of the oven and they were inhaled.

This is the kind of thing you do when you have a little time on your hands, not necessarily because they are so much work, but it is important to give the dough time to rise and develop that light texture you want in a naan.

NAAN

  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar (separated)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (around 100* )
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry herbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt

In a large glass, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in the warm water and sprinkle in the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes until it is foamy.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, remaining 1 tsp sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and herbs.

Once yeast is nice and foamy stir in the olive oil and yogurt. Mix well and then stir into flour mixture with a fork. Using your hand, mix and knead in the bowl just until everything is incorporated. As soon as it is together, soft, and slightly sticky, cover it all and let it rest until doubled in size. This could be anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.

FILLING

  • 1 cup cooked & chopped up potato (could be leftover mashed potatoes too!)
  • Saute 1/2 -1 cup of minced onions in ghee, until nice and soft (amount of onion depends on your love of onions!)
  • Remove from heat and stir in one crushed garlic clove and 1/2 tsp dried coriander.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Set aside until cooled down.

(Ghee is clarified butter and most grocery stores carry it now, but you could easily substitute olive oil or butter)

Once the dough has doubled, gently punch it down and divide into 6, rolling those into balls.

Flatten each ball with your hands until they are 6-7 inches across. Divide the potato stuffing amongst the flattened dough pieces, and then gather the outer edges like you are forming a little pocket or purse.. Once you have completely encased the potato mixture press down gently until flattened and once again about 6-7 inches across.

Brush the tops with beaten egg, sprinkle with a little salt & pepper, chili flakes and sesame seeds.

Bake at 400 until golden brown – about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and rub with a little melted butter and sprinkle with minced cilantro.

Ready to flatten, you can see the bits of herb and they already smell great.
This dough was the easiest naan dough I have ever worked with – so tender and easy to flatten.
Once you have them all stuffed and flattened back out, sprinkle with beaten egg and toppings. Confession time? Somehow I got on a roll and before I knew it I had brushed the tops with melted ghee, not the egg wash I had planned on. Hmm. Still turned out so do whatever floats your boat.
Using your finger tips, flatten around the outer edge to create a bit of a border. Some of them puffed right up like a pita, and others didn’t, and either way they were delicious!
Ready for the oven
Soft potato and onion filling made these the best ever!
Next time I’m going to leave out the garlic, and try using a different stuffing …. ham and cheese maybe? They’d be great for lunches.

This naan dough originally came from an Indian Cookbook I have – Aarti Sequeira “Aarti Paarti”. I’ve loved watching her on Food Network. She added fennel and nigella seeds, and didn’t stuff them. I had something different in mind so I used this dough, and then watched endless YouTube videos on stuffing naan to come up with my own version. Have fun, play around and let me know if you come up with any other stuffings.

In making naan, I often stand over my cast iron pan, frustrated by trying to get nice char marks and yet still allowing the bread dough to be fully cooked inside without burning the outside. This often leaves me less than satisfied! This totally hands off approach yielded the softest naan and the breads were fully cooked while still having wee bits of crunchy dough around the edges and on the tops of the ones that puffed up like a pita.

Fruit Pizza for Dessert!

Spring is here!  This fruit may not be in season here yet, and I can’t wait to make this when it is, but berries and mango are often available and you can use whatever fruit you like to make this refreshing dessert.  

The perfect cookie crust is tender but firm and a little crunchy – top that with the best of seasonal fruit on a creamy pudding bed and you’ve got a fabulous dessert.

COOKIE CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 tsp baking soda
  •  1/2 tsp baking powder
  •  1/4 tsp salt
  •  3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl mix together the all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your mixer add the sugar and butter and beat for a couple minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing until the egg is fully incorporated. Add the flour and mix for an additional 2 minutes. Take the cookie dough and form it into a ball. Place it over the prepared baking sheet. Roll the ball into a round large cookie or any shape you prefer. You might need to add some more flour over your roll or over the cookie so that it doesn’t stick.The cookie should be at least 1/4 of an inch in thickness.
  • Bake the cookie for about 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden. Let it cool completely.

Make this cookie crust ahead of time – even a day ahead is fine, but be sure to let it cool down.

CREAMY CUSTARD

  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract

In heavy bottom saucepan stir corn starch, sugar and salt together. Slowly add the beaten egg yolks and milk. Stir until thickened, remove from heat and add in the vanilla. Cover the top wth plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming and allow to cool completely.

(You can also do this in the microwave, but watch it! I’ve had it spill up and over more than a few times …..)

ASSEMBLY

Spread the cooled custard on the cold cookie crust. Arrange fruit of your choice to cover the custard and allow to set completely before serving.

Sourdough Bagels! The best!

Absolutely perfect bagels. Tender inside with a light crust and so tasty!

BAGELS

  • 345g flour (AP or bread)
  • 220g water
  • 100g ripe starter
  • 1/2 tsp (4g) honey
  • 10g salt

BOILING & TOPPINGS

  • Large pot of water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Pretzel salt, etc. whatever you want!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix the honey & water to dissolve. Add the starter into the water and combine thoroughly with a whisk.
  2. Pour the water/starter/honey mixture into the flour bowl and mix by hand to combine (either with your hand or with a wooden spatula). Mix until you see no dry bits of flour. Cover and let rest for 1 hour.
  3. After 1 hour, sprinkle the salt on top and pinch it into the dough with lightly wet hands. Pull the dough around to create a smooth ball. Let rest for 1.5 hours. This dough is lower hydration, so you won’t need to build up as much structure. It’s mostly about time and letting the dough ferment.
  4. After 1.5 hours perform pull/folds all around the dough by stretching the dough up on one side and folding it back over into the center. Again, it helps to do this with wet hands. Do this on all sides until you have a smooth round of dough in the bowl. Cover and let rest for another 2 hours.
  5. After two hours have passed, it should be ready to go into the fridge for the night. No need to move it to a new container, just pop it right in. Timings will vary depending on the time of year, the temperature, humidity, strength of your starter, etc.
  6. In the morning, line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper and flour a work surface. Turn the dough out, gently press it into a flat-ish circle, & divide into 8 equal pieces.
  7. Shape each piece into a ball, pinching it up and then rolling it around a bit with the pinched/seam side down. Make little circles of flour on the parchment paper where each ball will sit, seam side down. Sprinkle a little flour on top of each dough ball, and then cover with plastic wrap, a damp linen, or place it into a giant plastic bag. Let them rest for about two hours.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Bring a large pot of water + 1/4 cup maple syrup to a low boil. Uncover the bagel dough balls and get ready to shape them!
  9. To shape the bagels, flour your hands, pick up a dough ball and press your thumbs into the center top of the dough. Press all the way through until you form a hole in the center. Then with your other fingers under the dough, gently pull the inside of the bagel toward the outside, but don’t fully inside out the bagel.
  10. Once you’ve shaped all the bagels, bring the pot of water/maple syrup to a roiling boil. Carefully place two bagels at a time into the boiling water (“seam” side down) and let them poach for 30 seconds before flipping them over and letting them poach for another 30 seconds. Remove the bagels using a spider or slotted spoon. Let the excess water drip off before you place them down on the parchment paper again, the same side up as before (“seam” side down).
  11. Prepare an egg wash by beating 1 egg with 1 tbsp of water. Let the boiled bagels cool for a couple of minutes before brushing them with the egg wash. (If you don’t have eggs or are vegan, you can brush the bagels with a bit of non-dairy or dairy milk).
  12. Brush the egg wash (or milk) generously onto all the bagels, and then sprinkle toppings on OR pick up the bagels and dip them down into a shallow bowl full of toppings.
  13. Bake the bagels for 25-30 minutes at 425F. When you take them out, they might feel hard initially but will soften up as they cool. Immediately move them to a cooling rack and let them sit for about an hour.
  14. Slice and enjoy!!

This recipe came from the blog nokneadtoworry.com and it was perfect! Lots of recipes have malt syrups or powders but this recipe was so simple and yielded delicious bagels. Paulina has lots of tips and videos to help with whatever dough you are creating.

Out of the fridge and ready to take a 2 hour rest.
I couldn’t believe how good they look already.

Lemon Meringue Pie

It’s really not spring here yet, but I can feel it’s arrival any day now, and what better way to celebrate than with lemon meringue pie. It is Grant’s favourite pie, and I just had to make it on a bright sunny day, feeling that this spring in particular is so welcome!

We were in such a hurry to eat the pie that my photo isn’t the best, and yes – I just can’t seem to get away from having the meringue weep! Still delicious….

LEMON CURD

  • 5 large egg yolks (save the whites for meringue below)
  • 1 1/3 cups of water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (yes – fresh is best!)
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, soft and at room temperature

Whisk egg yolks together and set aside.

Combine water, sugar, cornstarch, salt lemon juice and lemon zest in a medium heavy bottom saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring FREQUENTLY. Trust me, you don’t want this to burn. Once it thickens up, S L O W L Y stir a couple of tablespoons into the reserved egg yolks. Stir constantly and add another couple of tablespoons of the lemon sauce. Add the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the lemon mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. This will thicken and release large bubbles, demonstrating just how thick the mixture is. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, continuing to stir until the butter has melted.

Pour into partially baked pie crust. Set aside while you whip the meringue.

Preheat oven to 350

MERINGUE

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on medium speed just until blended. Turn beaters to high and slowly add in the sugar and salt. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.

Using a large spoon dollop meringue all over the pie, being very careful to have it reach right to the edges, and touching the pie crust. (This will help to keep the meringue from separating away from the crust, and theoretically from weeping too much but mine always weeps??). Use the back of your large spoon to create swirls in the meringue.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, watching so it is just nicely browned.

Set on the counter for 1 hour and then put in the fridge for at least 4 hours to allow the lemon curd to set.

Check out my flaky pastry recipe for the best start to any pie!
Please!! Freshly squeezed lemon juice!!
Partially baked crust, warm lemon curd and just waiting for the meringue
Ready for the oven
The only tricky part of this whole recipe is waiting for the pie to completely cool down. This pie is best the day it is made, but without any family dinners, you just know Grant and I managed to make it last a few days and it was amazing right to the last bite.

One of my favourite sources for baking recipes is Sally’s Baking Addiction, and this lemon meringue pie recipe came straight from her blog. Make sure to check it out, she has so many great tips and videos to create amazing treats.

Brownie Cookies

A little hit of salt, crinkly tops and a moist chewy interior. These cookies are so good!

Brookies??? If that isn’t a word it should be. My nephew and wife have started up Silver Star Chocolate Company, and these cookies were the perfect way for me to try out their chocolate. OMG. So so good.

  • 8 oz chopped dark chocolate – 60% recommended but their chocolate is a higher percentage so I used half semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup & 2 tbsp packed, light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350

Melt butter with chopped chocolate and set aside to cool slightly.

In a lare bowl add white sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer for at least 7 minutes. (honestly – 7 minutes). If you have a stand mixer use that – and set your timer. 7 minutes is a lot longer than you think it is if you are holding an electric hand mixer. This is what allows the eggs to create that luscious crinkly top when baking.

Mix in the melted chocolate and butter.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder salt and baking powder. Stir into egg/melted chocolate mixture just until combined.

Use a small scoop and scoop on to parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes to set before transferring to a cooling rack to completely cool.

These cookies are absolutely fantastic! Made originally for Christmas giving, now I love to keep them in the freezer for that moment when you just need a brownie!

Obviously I have trouble keeping to a straight line ……
I’m sure it is the quality of the chocolate that made these cookies extra delicious, but whatever chocolate you do have will produce a cookie you want on repeat!

Plum Torte

Or, Sugar Plum Fairy Cake as Leah called it. This is without doubt the most amazing result for the least effort! A quick cake batter that rises beautifully around the plums and your whole house smells like the closing days of summer with those purple plums and cinnamon in the oven.

All those little crevices hold delicious Italian plums!
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 12 (ish) plums, pitted and quartered
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • cinnamon (anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 tbsp depending on your love of cinnamon)
  • raw sugar (again depending on how much crunch you want)

Heat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan, by lightly spraying with cooking spray, or if like me, you don’t have one that size just use a 9 inch cake pan lined with parchment.

Cream butter & sugar together until light yellow and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time until mixture is again light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir just until combined.

Pour into prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Lay your quartered plums around the top.

Sprinkle first with lemon juice, then sprinkle cinnamon over. I didn’t even measure – just sprinkled until it looked good to me. Lastly, sprinkle raw sugar over top, covering all areas, but not so much you can’t see plums! (Of course you could use granulated sugar, but I love the extra crunch of raw sugar).

Bake about 45-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool on rack and remove from pan.

This would probably work equally well with any stone fruit, but I’ve only tried it with plums. Let me know if you do try it with another fruit.

This recipe comes from smitten kitchen.com and Deb Perelman claims that it tastes even better the next day, but we certainly didn’t let that happen …..

Look at how many plums are on there, yet the batter rose up above and hid them all!
Ready for the oven, you can see the raw sugar on top, but still see all the fruit as well as the batter.

Sourdough Pita

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Just look at those puffs!  I’m obviously a foodie weirdo given how exciting it is.

What??  Still with the sourdough posts?  I am still learning how versatile my sourdough can be, and these sourdough pitas were absolutely the best.  For the first time, with all my attempts at pita that puffed up beautifully – this recipe gave me a fantastic result. 8 pita, with 7 of them puffing up like a balloon and the 8th puffing up partially.

 

  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) active sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 240 ml) warm water
  • 2 3/4 cups (13.75 oz, 385g) bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 25g) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz, 14g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, or in a large mixing bowl, combine the starter, water, and 1 ½ cups of the flour. Mix until it forms a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30-60 minutes.
  2. If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. Add the olive oil, sugar and salt then mix to combine. With the mixer running on low, add the remaining flour. Mix until the dough begins to clean the bottom of the bowl and form a ball around the hook. If mixing by hand add flour until you can no longer stir, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface to finish by hand. Knead 5 minutes. Form the dough into a smooth ball.
  3. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature.
  4. After 30 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough and fold it into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. You’re basically turning the dough inside-out to redistribute the yeast.
  5. Cover the bowl and after 30 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure again. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes the dough should be ready.  By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature.
  6. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate overnight (see note). Remove the bowl from the refrigerator in the morning and allow the dough to come to room temperature.
  7. Preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a baking stone place it in the oven. If you don’t have a baking stone, place a baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven to preheat. If you have a dark colored baking sheet use that. A dark pan will absorb heat better than a light-colored pan, so the bread will bake faster and puff better.
  8. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll two pitas to ¼” thick and 7”-8” around. If the dough springs back too much let it rest for 5 minutes and continue rolling.
  9. Immediately place the rounds on the preheated baking stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake until they are puffed and the bottom is nicely browned, about 3-5 minutes. You don’t need to flip the bread. Remove the baked breads and wrap in a clean kitchen towel while you continue rolling and baking the pitas.
  10. The pitas are best the day they are made, but they also freeze very well.

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I did prep the night before, and this little ball of soft goodness sat on the counter for a couple of hours before retiring to the fridge for the night.

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Look at those delicate little air bubbles …… just what I was I was looking for.

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I think the secret to getting a puff is to not overwork the dough.  This amount of dough makes 8 pitas, roll each out to about 7″ and you will get the right thickness.

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I could have danced around the kitchen when I saw this puff!

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Steaming in the towel is part of the whole process.  The pita will collapse and stay ever so soft.

img_3525

 

This sourdough pita recipe came from baking-sense.com and if you want more information on how to create the perfect pita, just hop on over to that site.  I love how detailed their explanations are, complete with photos from every step.

Perfect & Quick Yeast Loaf

Sloan and Stella requested garlic bread to go with spaghetti and meatballs, and I can’t blame them.  With no intentions of running to town, I looked up a recipe for a quick, easy yeast bread that didn’t require over night resting and this one was just perfect.

img_3441

This one recipe makes two loaves, enjoy one for dinner tonight and treat someone to the other!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups warm water not over 110°F
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • cornmeal or flour for dusting
  • boiling water

Instructions

  • In a large bowl mix together the yeast, sugar, salt and water. Let this stand until the yeast is dissolved. Gradually add the flour, one cup at a time to the liquid and mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface to knead. (This may be a little messy, but don’t give up!)
  • Knead It: Fold the far edge of the dough back over on itself towards you. Press into the dough with the heels of your hands and push away. After each push, rotate the dough 90°. Repeat this process in a rhythmic, rocking motion for 5 minutes, sprinkling only enough flour on your kneading surface to prevent sticking. Let the dough rest while you scrape out and grease the mixing bowl with a few drops of olive oil (preferred) or non stick baking spray. Knead the dough again for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Let It Rise: Return the dough to the bowl and turn it over once to grease the top. Cover with a damp towel and keep warm until the dough doubles in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.
  • Shape it: Punch down the dough with your fist and briefly knead out any air bubbles. Cut the dough in half and shape into two Italian- or French-style loaves. Place the loaves on a cookie sheet generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Let the loaves rest for 5 minutes.

Bake it:

  • Lightly slash the tops of the loaves 3 or more times diagonally and lightly brush or spray them with cold water.
  • Place an aluminum roasting pan on the bottom of the oven. Fill 1″ deep with boiling water. Slide loaves onto baking stone* in a cold oven. Bake at 400°F for 35 to 45 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Alternate method:

  • For a lighter, crustier bread, let your shaped loaves rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven and roasting pan with water to 500°F for 15 minutes. Brush the loaves with cold water, place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400°F and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.  Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  • * If you don’t have a baking stone, you are welcome to try using a flat cookie sheet. Please note your bread will not have as nice of a crisp crust.

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Any project is better when you’ve got Stella helping!

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A nice crumb, and not too crusty, this bread is ideal for when you haven’t planned it out early in the day or with sourdough, the day before!

Sloan

Toasted up, Sloan thought it was delicious dipped in her soft boiled eggs the next morning.

 

I found this on a site called gatherforbread.com and it fit the bill perfectly for deciding I wanted a French style bread the same day I needed it!  No overnight resting and so quick and easy to make, the results made it seem like I had worked a lot harder!  While not a true French or Italian loaf, it is similar and we thought it was just as good for toasting the next day.