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.

Homemade Pita Bread

Pita bread

Pitas 3

Can you even imagine the joy when these pita’s puff up like this?  It’s a wondrous sight.

Pitas 4

Puffed, tender and delicious.  Make some hummus to enjoy or serve with dinner as a flatbread, or stuff with your own fixings.  You will be really happy you tried this.

Before you even read this recipe I have to give you full disclosure that it is copied, in totality, from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.  She has some amazing recipes, all created in her tiny New York kitchen, and if you haven’t visited her website yet, you must.  This is one of those recipes that I didn’t even have to tweak, we loved it.  

 

  • 3 cups plus a scant 1/4 cup (455 grams) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (13 grams) fine sea or table salt
  • 2 teaspoons (6 to 7 grams) instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups (295 grams) water, at room temperature
About 1 1/2 hours before shaping, or for best flavor development, 8 hours to 3 days ahead, mix the dough:
Mixer method: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients with the paddle attachment just until flour is moistened, then switch to the dough hook. Knead for 10 minutes at low/medium speed. The dough should clean the bowl and be very soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch. You can add a little flour or water if necessary, but when I use the weights above, I haven’t found this necessary.
Mix by hand: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for a scant 1/4 cup of the flour. With a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until all the flour is moistened. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together, then sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto the counter and scrape the dough onto it. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding as little of the reserved flour as possible; it’s going to be very sticky. Invert your empty bowl over it and allow it to rest for 5 to 20 minutes, then knead the dough another 5 to 10 minutes, until it’s soft a little sticky to the touch.

Let the dough rise: Scrape the dough into a large oiled bowl. Press it down and coat the top with a little oil too. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark the side of the container at approximately where double the height of the dough would be. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, or in the fridge overnight (or up to 3 days), until doubled.

Pitas 5

This little ball of dough doesn’t look like much now, but just let it sit for a while ….

Pitas 6

LOOK!  After sitting on the counter for a few hours (you can use it after an hour or so) the dough has more than doubled and ready to be turned into rounds.

To bake pitas in the oven: Preheat your oven to 475°F 20 minutes before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone, cast-iron skillet, or baking sheet on it before preheating. Do not oil the skillet or baking sheet.

Shape the dough: Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, on a lightly floured counter, with lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Cover the dough with oiled plastic and allow it to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Pitas 1

If you’ve got a 5 year old around, put them to work.  Stella did a great job forming balls and flattening them for their 20 minute rest.

 

Roll each disk into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before baking. Spritz lightly with water while resting.

Pitas 2

I don’t have a spritz bottle, so just brushed them lightly with a water moistened pastry brush.

Bake the pita: Quickly place 1 piece of dough directly on the stone or in the skillet or on the baking sheet, and bake for 3 to 4 minutes (less for small ones, longer for big ones). The pita should be completely puffed but not beginning to brown. The dough will not puff well if it is not moist enough. See how the pita puffs, then, if necessary, spray each remaining piece with additional water before baking.

Proceed with the remaining dough, baking 3 or 4 pieces at a time if using a stone or baking sheet. using a pancake turner, transfer the pita breads to a clean towel, to stay soft and warm. Allow the oven to reheat for 5 minutes between batches. The pitas can be reheated for about 30 seconds in a hot oven before serving.

To cook the pitas on the stove top: Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Lightly, very thinly, grease the surface and cook the pitas one at a time. Cook for about 30 seconds, then rotate the dough slightly (about a quarter-turn) and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes more. Small surface bubbles slowly grow to larger ones, and then eventually “find each other” merge and that becomes your big balloon pocket. Make additional small rotations if the process stagnates. The entire cooking process for each pita should be about 3 minutes.

Whole wheat variation: For a whole wheat version, use half whole wheat and half white flour, or you can make these entirely with white whole wheat flour — for this last option, you’ll need 1/4 cup extra water.

Mushroom Turnovers

Turnovers 12

One of my old time favourite appetizers, I’m not sure why I haven’t made these lately, but so glad mushrooms needed to be eaten, giving us a bite this delicious.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  • 1 8 ounce pack cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus 3 tbsp for the mushroom onion mixture
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, finely diced (should yield about 3 cups once diced)
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 egg, beaten

At least 2 hours prior to serving:

in large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer combine the 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese until smooth and well blended.

Gradually stir in the flour until just combined.  Gently knead in a bit more flour only if it is too sticky to handle.  Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Turnovers 3

I love the way this dough feels, so soft and supple that it is also very forgiving.

Turnovers 4

Any type of mushroom works with this recipe, but we were happy to put these Crimini mushrooms to good use when friends cleaned out their fridge prior to a trip.                            Thanks Keith and Jean!

 

Meanwhile, in frying pan over medium heat, melt 3 tbsp butter and saute mushrooms and onions until tender, stirring occasionally.  Allow to cool, then stir in the salt, thyme, sour cream and 2 tbsp flour.

Turnovers 5

I love these silicone cutting boards for food like onions, garlic or meat.  When it goes in the dishwasher I don’t have to worry about my next item smelling funky or carrying germs.

Turnovers 6

Cook just until the mushrooms have released their moisture, and the pan dries out a bit.

Turnovers 7

Cut your dough ball in half, and work with 1/2 at a time, keeping the 2nd ball wrapped.  On a floured work surface roll out dough to about 1/8″ thickness and cut out circles (my cutter is about 2 1/2″ across).

Turnovers 8

Turnovrs 9

When you pinch the edges together make sure you can easily do so, otherwise remove a bit so the turnovers done burst.

 

Onto one half of each dough circle place a tsp of mushroom mixture. Brush edges of circles with some of the beaten egg, fold dough over filling.  Do not overfill or they will burst during cooking and you will lose all that flavour.  With a fork firmly press edges together to seal.  Place on cookie sheet, either non stick or with parchment or silicone lining.  Brush with remaining egg yolk and prick the top with the tines of your fork.

Turnovers 10

These freeze really well (before cooking).  Once you have pierced the tops of the turnovers, put tray in freezer until the turnovers have frozen solid.  Carefully remove and store in air proof container in deep freeze until ready to serve.  Brush with egg wash right before baking, and allow them to bake a little longer.

Bake for 13-15 minutes @ 425, until golden brown and glossy.  Remove from the oven, and allow to cool (if you can) before serving.

Turnovers 11

Brushed with an egg wash prior to hitting the oven, you will be rewarded for the task by the aroma filling your kitchen.  It won’t be easy to wait for them to cool before biting in.

Gram’s Shortbread Cookies

shortbread 4

Sprinkle with a little coloured sugar, or mini decorations, to fit the season, but don’t overload these delicate little gems.  They really don’t need much of anything.

This is an age old recipe, probably handed down for generations, and all from a box of cornstarch.  I started looking for this recipe as a way to honour Gram Shirley Goldie, and posting it today, on the first anniversary of her passing, seems fitting.  What I didn’t expect in my search through recipes to find her special recipe, is that it was also my mom’s recipe, another much loved and very much missed Gram.  Our very dear Auntie Elsie used the same recipe.  This year when I made the cookies, I felt the need to work the dough by hand, no mixer needed here.  As I watched my hands in the dough, I saw the hands of my mother.  I saw the hands of my mother in law Shirley, and I saw Auntie Elsie’s hands.  I’m posting the recipe to honour them all, and in the hopes that for generations to come, this will be the “go to” Christmas shortbread recipe.

  • 1 cup Canada corn starch (really, you can use any corn starch)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (softened)

Sift cornstarch, flour & icing sugar together.  Use your fingers and work in the butter until a soft dough is formed.

shortbread

Maybe it was the Christmas season, but I found myself lost in watching my hands and thinking of the hands that taught me so much in the kitchen.

shortbread 2

Once the dough is held together nicely it should be soft and supple.  Either put in the fridge to rest at this point, or carry on with simple dough balls.

Shape into 1 inch balls and place on an uncreased cookie sheet.  Flatten lightly with a fork in a crosshatch pattern.

shortbread 3

Bake the cookies at 325 for 10 min or so – watch them, every oven is different.  Remove them the minute they show any colour.  They are very soft when they come out, so I recommend allowing them to cool on the pan so they don’t break.

It is possible to allow the dough to set up in the fridge after forming it into a ball, and use it to roll out and cut shapes.  This is a pretty delicate dough though, so don’t expect it to be as easy as sugar cookie dough.

How easy is this?

Irresistible Turtle Cheesecake

turtle cheesecake 4

Not sure how a cheesecake can be creamy, delectable and somehow light at the same time.  As an added bonus, it’s easy to make.

 

3 cups cups finely crushed chocolate wafers (or use a combo of graham and chocolate wafers)

3 Tbsp. butter, melted – use your judgement, may take a little more to get the crumbs to stick together
1/4 cup caramel sauce (plus more for drizzle)
1/4 cup chocolate sauce (plus more for drizzle)
1 cup chopped and roasted pecans
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs
I used a 9 1/2″ springform pan for this cake – depending on the size of your pan, you may need to adjust slightly for the amount of crumb.
Heat oven to 325°F.
Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 1-1/2 inches up side of 9 1/2 inch springform pan.
Sprinkle toasted and chopped pecans over crust layer, and top with the caramel sauce.
turtle cheesecake 1

I used a combination of chocolate and graham crumbs and really loved the way it turned out,

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each one, until really smooth.  Pour over caramel layer in crust.  With an offset spatula smooth the top.
I always like to bake my cheesecakes in a water bath – this makes them even smoother and creamier, as well as less likely to crack on top.
turtle cheesecake 2
TIP – Double wrap your cheesecake pan with foil, then set in large roasting pan.  Put this in your preheated oven, and ONLY THEN fill with hot water until about 1/2 way up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.
turtle cheesecake 3
When the cake is completely cooled, remove from springform pan and sprinkle reserved pecans over.  Then drizzle with both caramel and chocolate sauces.  Irresistible.
turtle cheesecake 5
You can be as creative as you like with both the caramel and chocolate sauces.  They are easy enough to make, but if you are inclined to take it easy on yourself, just buy them.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie 2

See the sauce bubbling out the side?  That’s what you are looking for.  Crust is golden, now just try and wait while it sets up a bit …. no judgement if you can’t!  I promise it is delicious.

Fall ….. it just makes me want to bake, and roast, and toast.  This chicken pot pie recipe is a staple around here.  You can make it as easy as “pie” by purchasing pre-made pastry shells or make your own – either way, this pie is flaky, tender and bursting with bites of chicken and vegetable goodness.  Serve with a tossed salad and dinner is ready.

Preheat oven to 400

  • 2 pastry shells
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (use leftovers or a rotisserie chicken for simplicity)
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • diced vegetables – your choice and about 2 cups worth of:
  • sweet peppers
  • celery
  • carrots
  • peas (not in my house, neither of us like cooked peas)
  • zucchini
  • corn
  • green beans
  • a generous handful of herbs, I like thyme, basil, oregano and parsley
  • salt and pepper

Brush one pie shell with beaten egg white, sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes, just until starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

pie shell

I find if you pre-bake the bottom crust, brushed with beaten egg white, the pastry stays flaky.  Sprinkle a little sea salt on for that extra bit of crunch.  I think you can see here that my bottom crust was in the freezer, thank you Tenderflake pastry!

In saucepan heat olive oil, then stir in onion.  Stir until just translucent and add in the garlic clove.  If celery is one of your chosen vegetables, add it now too.  Allow to saute for a few minutes until just starting to become tender.  Add the flour and create a thick paste, letting the flour cook for a minute in order to remove that “floury” taste.  Gradually stir in the chicken stock, just a bit at a time until it is all incorporated and your sauce is starting to thicken.  Stir in the rest of your vegetables, taste and season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Pour the chicken & vegetable mixture into the prebaked pie shell, and cover with the 2nd pastry shell.  If you’ve purchased pre made pastry, just squish and squiggle it around a bit and play with the edges, nobody will ever know you didn’t make it!

chicken pot pie

The top crust was a pastry shell I had in the freezer, probably leftover from an apple pie day!

TIP:  If you are vegetarian, or just feel like a vegetarian meal, this is so easy to do!  Just omit the chicken and use a LOT more veg.  Instead of chicken stock use a vegetable stock.  Your results will be ever so delicious …. you’re welcome!

Sprinkle the top with a bit more salt and pepper, some Italian herbs and either paprika or a bit of dried roasted red pepper.  (yes, we do our own dried seasonings with the surplus of vegetables in the field)

Put the whole pie in the oven (I’ve learned to have a foil dripping sheet below it…..) and cook for 15 minutes at 400, then lower the oven to 350 and cook for about 40-50 minutes, until you see the sauce bubbling out the side and the pie looks golden brown.

If your pie is looking golden brown, but not yet bubbling out the sides, loosely lay a sheet of tin foil over the pie until you see that bubbling action.

Make sure you let it sit for 15-20 minutes after it comes out of the oven, that allows it to set a bit.  Not that it tastes any less wonderful if it is running all over your plate ……..

chicken pot pie 3

See what I mean?  We couldn’t wait the 15 minutes, but it was delicious.  By the time we came back for seconds it had set up and made nice even slices.  Amazing either way!