Chocolate Chip Crisp Cookies

Cookies 6

Cookies are such a treat!  You can convince yourself (quite easily) that you are eating a nutritious cookie with the addition of wheat germ and rolled oats ….. (insert eye roll).

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (granulated)
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup large flake rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, set aside.

Cookies 1

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand held blender, beat the butter for 1 minute.  Beat in the sugars until the mixture is quite light and fluffy.  Scape down the sides and beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Blend well between the 1st and 2nd egg.  Beat in the vanilla and remove the bowl from the stand.

Cookies 2

You can see how fluffy the butter, sugars and eggs are – now is the time to work it by hand.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry mixture just until combined.  Stir in the oats, cereal and wheat germ.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Cookies 3

You don’t want to over mix cookie dough – stir just until combined.

Drop the batter in heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.  You should be able to get about 12 cookies on a regular cookie sheet.

Cookies 4

What are those coloured bits you ask?  I had coloured rice crisps …..

One sheet at a time, bake in the centre of the oven until set and lightly browned around the edges.  My oven took 11 minutes, but check after 9 – ovens can be so different!  Cool the cookies on the sheet, set on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing to a separate wire rack to cool completely.

The results are best if you allow the cookie sheet to cool slightly before putting the next batch on to bake.

Cookies 5

So many schools have restrictions on nuts these days – you could always replace the pecans with raisins (but not in this house) or dried cranberries.

 

 

 

Soft Dinner Buns

Buns 9

Admit it, you wish your house smelled this good right now!

 

April 1 is tomorrow, and that’s our Auntie Elsie’s birthday, or it would have been if she was still with us.  We miss her every day, and while I was busy thinking of her I felt that need to make some soft white dinner buns, the kind she used to bring to every family dinner as a treat.  This dough is soft and tasty, and the texture is perfect.  Pretty sure she would have been proud of this effort!

Buns 7

Step 1:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 6 tsp. honey
  • 6 tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and cool.

Step 2:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (not too warm, you’ll kill the yeast)
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. fast rising yeast

Dissolve the water and sugar in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit.

Step 3:

  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 6-7 cups unbleached white flour
Buns 1

Just waiting for this yeast to bloom a little more and I’ll be ready to start combining everything.

  • Mix the eggs into the first (Step 1) mixture once it has cooled to room temperature.
  • Add 1 cup of flour to this mixture and stir well.
  • Add the yeast mixture (Step 2) to the bowl and stir to incorporate.
  • Gradually add the remaining flour, cup by cup, until the dough gets too difficult to stir in the bowl.  At this point, on a floured surface (your counter), empty the dough and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  You will need to keep the surface floured to prevent it from sticking.
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and place in a draft-free warm area to rise.
buns 2

This dough is so soft, I can taste it already….

Buns 3

It’s true.  I’m that dork that has a re-usable cover for raising yeast dough.

  • Let the dough rise until doubled (about 40 minutes) and punch it down.  Repeat this process once.
Buns 4

Yes, the yeast and time has done it’s job.

Buns 5

Time to release the dough and form buns.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease two  9x 13 baking trays (the ones with the small sides).  You can use any shape of pan you want in actual fact.  Cut off pieces of dough that are approximately 1/2 cup in size (doesn’t have to be exact!) and form into buns.  I keep my fingers slightly floured and tuck the dough under as I stretch the dough to make it smooth on top, but you can use whatever technique you like!
  • Place the buns about a 1/2 inch apart on the greased pan, cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Buns 6

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Buns 8

Use this recipe for whatever you like!  Today I made mini pizza shells for the grandkids to make lunches with.  I call it the organic look when they aren’t all uniform in size and shape….

 

Buns 11

A tray of these is welcome at any dinner.

I thought I had Auntie Elsie’s original recipe, but couldn’t find it.  This recipe is from “Fraiche Nutrition” and if you haven’t been to her website, well – get on over there.  It is packed with delicious and nutritious recipes and tips.

Citrus Loaf

I love the bright citrus flavour of this loaf.  Easy to make, and easier to eat!

Citrus loaf 5

This loaf takes little more than 10 minutes to put together, and while it is baking the citrus aroma is fantastic.

  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 medium orange
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (I use salted for baking)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grate 1 tbsp peel from lemon and squeeze 1 tbsp juice, set aside.

Grate 1 tbsp orange peel and squeeze 5 tbsp juice, set aside.

Citrus loaf 1

Citrus loaf 2

Stir the wet ingredients into the larger bowl, and mix only until just holding together.  If you mix it too much the dough won’t be quite as tender.

In large bowl cut softened butter into flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar.  Stir in peel.  In small bowl beat eggs, milk and4 tbsp orange juice lightly.  Stir into flour mixture just until flour is moist.  Do not over mix!

Spoon into greased and lightly floured loaf pan, baking for 1 hour.  Test, and when you tester comes out clean, remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes in loaf pan before removing.

citrus-loaf-3.jpg

If you line the loaf pan with parchment paper it makes removal quick and easy.

 

In saucepan, heat lemon juice, 1 tbsp orange juice and 2 tbsp sugar until boiling.  Cool, stirring, for about 3 minutes.  Brush over loaf once it has cooled off a bit, but not cold.

Citrus loaf 4

Boil the juices and sugar long enough for the syrup to thicken slightly, then remove from heat.

Citrus loaf 6

Every bite is light, juicy, citrusy and that glaze over the top is absolutely divine.

 

Rosemary Cheddar Soda Bread

I’m only a 1/4 Irish, but I’m pretty sure my Irish Nana, Kathleen O’Doherty, would have been pretty happy with this Irish Soda Bread.  It takes about 5 minutes to put together, and your house will smell heavenly while it bakes.

Irish Soda Bread 4

Tender inside, crusty outside – it’s perfect.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, use 2 tsp lemon juice and fill to 1 cup milk)
  • 1 whole large egg

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly flour a non stick baking tray or spray with a non stick spray.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, pepper, rosemary and cheese.

  3. Add the egg to the buttermilk and beat until mixed.
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and lightly mix through until it becomes sticky and a ball forms.

  5. Dump the dough out onto a flour dusted work surface and roughly knead the dough into an ball shape. It may be on the wet side so have some extra flour on hand for dusting.

  6. Place the dough onto your prepared baking tray. Take a sharp serrated knife and cut an X on top of the soda bread.

  7. Season the top with some more salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes and the top is golden brown.

  8. Let cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving with butter.
Irish Soda Bread 1

Combine all the dry ingredients together, and lightly toss.

Irish Soda Bread 2

Once you’ve mixed the dry ingredients together, very lightly combine with the wet, don’t over mix or the dough will get a bit tough.  You want a lightly handled dough.

Irish Soda Bread 3

Gently form the dough into a ball, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Irish Soda Bread 5

Allow the dough to rest before slicing into it …. I know, it’s hard to resist!

Irish Soda Bread 6

Just waiting for some soft butter to spread ….

I reviewed a few recipes looking for the perfect bread to serve with my Irish Guinness stew for St. Patrick’s day, and this is a sure fire winner, it will be on repeat around here!

Check out “foodnessgracious” …. the food is fantastic.

Vanilla Bundt Cake

A perfect dessert, delicious but tasty!  This simple vanilla cake can be changed up so easily.  For this version I added some blood orange juice and zest, which worked perfectly with the fruity glaze.

Vanilla Bundt Cake 2

To create the blood orange cake, squeeze the juice from one blood orange into a one cup measure of milk, fill the remaining cup with milk.  Zest one orange and stir into the batter.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ¼ cups (315 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups (370 g) sugar1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (125 ml) canola oil
  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk

PREPARATION

  1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Generously butter and flour a 10 to 12-cup (2.5-3 litre) Bundt pan.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture triples in volume and forms a ribbon. Drizzle in the oil while beating.
  4. At low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beating just until smooth. Spread the batter into the pan.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes. Unmould and let cool completely on a wire rack.

No Knead Bread, it’s a miracle!

I’ve been studying these recipes for no knead bread, mistrusting the whole concept.  After all, generally speaking I do things the long way …. you know that, right?  I think of my kitchen time as yoga, peaceful, calming and S L O W ….. Well, this hit all those boxes except for the slow part …. but it worked so well with a late night dinner. Tuesdays the grandkids have gymnastics, and I don’t get home from taking them until after 6.  So, beef stew leftovers just cried for something special like this to elevate dinner.  The night before I prepped the dough (took all of maybe 5 minutes) and forgot about it until after gymnastics.  Pop it into the oven and you won’t believe the results.

No Knead bread 5

Craggy and crusty on the outside, delicate and textured inside.  I’m hooked.

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups room temperature water
  1. DOUGH PREP: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together until mixed. Stir in the water until a chunky, thick dough forms. If it needs a little more water, add a few more tablespoons, just enough to get it barely wet throughout. It’s gonna look scrappy and weird and you’re going to question me on whether or not this will work, but it will. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature. Overnight is ideal here, kids.
Miracle no Knead bread

That’s it folks!  Stir in the room temperature water to your dry ingredients, and let it sit.  Sure doesn’t look pretty here, but just wait …..

No knead bread 2

Look what happens after it sits overnight!  Soft dough, little bubbles all over and through it.

 

  1. PREP FOR BAKING: When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450. Stick a 6 quart enamel coated cast iron Lodge Dutch Oven (or similar) in the oven for about 30 minutes to heat. At this point, the dough should be big and puffy and pretty loose, with little bubbles in it. Gently scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface. (Remember: NO KNEAD.) Gently shape it into a ball with flour on the outside, set on a piece of parchment, and cover with plastic while your pan heats up.
No Knead bread 3

Prep …. ha ha …. today that consists of tossing a little flour onto a piece of parchment paper, and then gently turn out your dough onto the flour.  Roll it around just so that flour gets all over the surface, and under the dough.  Leave it on the parchment, and gently lift the whole package by the parchment and set it into the heated pan.

 

  1. BAKE: Remove the plastic from the dough. Lift the dough and parchment together into the pan so the parchment lines the bottom of the hot pan (be careful not to touch the pan since it’s very hot). Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 10-15 minutes to get the exterior nice and golden brown and crispy. Voila! Done. Miracle no-knead bread, you boss you.
No Knead bread 4

Just a little peek of it in the dutch oven ….. I was DYING until I could peek.

No Knead 7

Oh my …. the flavour and texture of this bread were out of this world – we loved it.

No Knead 8

Do yourself a favour, and make bread!  This really will make you feel like a boss, go for it!  I recently bought a loaf of bread from a specialty bakery.  It was $7.00 a loaf, and while we thought it was great, try this for pennies …. just as delicious!

 

 

 

 

I’ve reprinted this recipe from “Pinch of Yum” after studying these recipes for months!  Seems so strange to think of a bread that doesn’t require kneading, but this couldn’t be easier, and results in a great loaf of bread.  While the entire text portion is lifted from “Pinch of Yum” I’ve taken my own photos, and I’m hooked on the whole idea.  Thanks!

Cake Donuts with Fruit Glaze

Delish

These fun little donuts are delicious!  So easy to make, and even quicker to bake.  The toppings can be anything you like to suit the occasion.

I bought silicone donut molds to bake with, and they are so much fun!  This recipe comes together quickly, and bakes even faster.  Whatever you top them with, they are sure to be a winner.  Today I did a raspberry glaze and an orange peach glaze, but I included a few others here.

Realistically you can make any toppings you like, next time I might do chocolate with toasted nuts on top ….

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Sprinkles for decorating

Special equipment:

a 12-cavity donut pan and a piping bag

  • To make the donuts: preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Coat a 12-cavity donut pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Cake Donuts 1

    Always whisk your dry ingredients together first, that way you can use the same whisk for the wet ingredients.

  • Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and water in a medium bowl.
  • Cake Donuts 2

    Yes, I’m often a bit generous with my vanilla ……

  • Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine.
  • Fill a piping bag with the batter and pipe the batter into the donut pans, filling each cavity halfway. This could get a little messy.
  • Cake Donuts 3

    I used a ziplock bag and just snipped the end off.

    Cake Donuts 5

  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean, about 12-14 minutes.
  • Check your oven at 12 minutes, if a toothpick comes out clean, you are done.
  • Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely.
  • Cake Donuts 6

    I think I might have overfilled these a touch, as they did get a little lip on them.

  • To decorate the donuts, dip them halfway into the glaze and then allow excess glaze to drip off. Sprinkle the tops with a little fun and enjoy.

Have you seen “Girl Meets Farm”?  It is on Food Network and features Molly Yeh.  Her recipes are easy to follow, usually contain simple ingredients and I love everything I’ve tried.  This recipe is from her “baby shower” episode.

Cake Donuts 7

Here are some glaze suggestions, also from that episode:

  • Orange Glaze:

    1. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, honey and 4 tablespoons of the juice in a bowl. Add more juice little by little until the mixture is spreadable (you might not need the full remaining tablespoon). It should be quite thick yet spreadable.

    Rhubarb Glaze:

    1. Put the rhubarb, granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water into a small pot on a stovetop. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour into a blender and puree until smooth, then transfer to a bowl. Add confectioners’ sugar as needed for taste and consistency.

    Blueberry Glaze:

    1. Put the blueberries, granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water into a small pot on a stovetop and cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the berries have burst and the sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a small bowl, straining if necessary, then add the confectioners’ sugar. Whisk to combine, adding more confectioners’ sugar as needed for taste and consistency.