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Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

This morning, the desire to make cookies suddenly overcame me. So this afternoon I found a reliable-looking recipe, gathered my ingredients, and made these delicious cookies.

I knew I wanted to make the original recipe a little more healthy. Thus I replaced half of the AP flour with whole wheat and used Demerara sugar instead of granulated. The large crystals from the Demerara sugar give the cookies a pleasing crunch.

We had used up the last of our pure vanilla extract, so I was forced to use *horrors!* imitation. Yes, that’s a bottle of pure vanilla in the picture. I just couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of GV imitation vanilla extract.

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Then, after all of the cookies were done baking, our order of vanilla arrived.

Oh well.

They are still excellent cookies, if I do say so myself. Mom thinks they’re a little on the sweet side, and I agree with her. Maybe next time I’ll use only 1½ cups of sugar instead of 2.

And maybe next time I’ll use a full tablespoon of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract.

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:: Chocolate Chip Cookies ::

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Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups Demerara sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toasted chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are good choices)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream together the butter and Demerara sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts.
  3. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
  4. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes on pan. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers at room temperature or in the freezer for longer storage.

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We’ll be heading out to go skiing tomorrow, so things will be quiet around here for a week or so. I leave you with this recipe…

This recipe makes a moist and flavorful loaf again and again. And can you beleive it’s 100% whole wheat? Serve warm or at room temperature slavered with butter, or spread with cream cheese.

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:: Banana Nut Bread ::

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Adapted from The New Best Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) white whole wheat flour
  • 1¼ cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped coarse
  • ¾ cup sucanat, rapadura, demerara or granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3-4  large, darkly speckled bananas, mashed well (about 1½ cups)
  • ¼ cup whole plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Extra banana, for garnish, optional

1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and nuts. In a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla until well blended. Gently fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula just until combined. Batter with be thick and chunky.

3) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Garnish with slices of banana if desired. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes.

4) Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Gently loosen the edges with a knife. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes one large loaf

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1-20-09n9

A while back, when I was serving bean soup for lunch, I realized that there was absolutely no bread to be had. That’s a big no no in our house. If you have soup, you eat bread in some shape or form.

I looked at the clock – nearly 11:30. Dad would be home in half an hour. I decided to make lunch wait a while, and whipped up a batch of muffins.

Isn’t it funny how the recipes you don’t expect much from often times turn out the best? That’s what happened with these muffins. I knew that since they would be 100% whole wheat, they would most likely turn out tough and dry. Not so! To my surprise and delight, they were tender and full of flavor.

1-20-09n1

Okay, I admit it. This recipe comes from Betty Crocker. That old, tattered, well used book with a broken spine and the pages falling out. When pressed for time, I do refer to this seasoned cook.

The surprise in these muffins lies in the center: a dab of jam nestled in the muffin batter. Use whatever jam is your favorite. Raspberry works very well.

The original recipe makes 12 muffins. I like my muffins a little larger, so I made just eight. Enough for everyone to have one and fight over the last.

1-20-09n7

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:: Surprise Muffins ::

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Adapted from Betty Crocker

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour (aka soft white wheat)
  • 1/2 cup sucanat, rapadura or demerara sugar.
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Jam of choice

Directions:

1) Heat oven to 400° F. Grease or line with paper muffin cups 12 medium muffin cups.

2) In a large bowl, combine the egg, milk, butter, and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredient to the egg mixture and stir just until the flour is moistened. Batter should be lumpy.

3) Fill muffin cups 1/2 full with batter. Drop 1 teaspoon of jelly into the center of each muffin and top with remaining batter to fill 2/3 full.

4) Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm with butter.

Makes 8-12 muffins

P.S. It’s Kitchen Tip Tuesday…


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When I first discovered the world of online recipes, The Joy of Baking was a big influence. It provided clear, detailed recipes that even a novice could pull off successfully.

I spotted her recipe for homemade granola, and decided to give it a whirl. It was a daunting task. My impression of homemade granola was not quite crisp oatmeal filled with burnt raisins.

This recipe was a success from the first. I have tried several different granola recipes, but I always return to this one. For some reason, it no longer appears on the Joy of Baking website. I feel very fortunate to have printed it out before it disappeared!

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:: Homemade Granola ::

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Note: I usually make a double batch as one recipe will only get us through one breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (400 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup (50 grams) shredded or chipped coconut
  • 1 cup nuts of choice, chopped coarse
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, apricots, raisins, etc.) optional

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 300° F and place rack in center of oven. Either grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, coconut, nuts, and salt.

3) In a small saucepan set over medium low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat. Stir in the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and toss together, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the butter mixture.

4) Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every five minutes. Do not over bake.

5) Place on a wire rack to cool. You will notice that the granola is still sticky when you remove it from the oven but it will become crisp and dry as it cools. Once the granola has completely cooled stir in your choice of dried fruits if desired. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag. It will keep for several weeks.

Makes about five cups of Granola

Edited on 2/19/08: The correct oven temperature is 300° F, not 350° F.

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closewithcup

This Wednesday was Dad’s birthday. Finding I didn’t have a present, I decided to bake him some biscotti. I was a little concerned he wouldn’t like them. Twice before I have made biscotti – and failed miserably. However, this batch turned our quite well (perhaps due to the fact that I actually followed the recipe).

“Those were good,” he said the next day. “Those are good.”

I am pleased and satisfied.

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:: Chocolate & Almond Biscotti ::

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (120z) bag of chocolate chips

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325° F. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture with the mixer on low and beat until well combined. Stir in the almonds. If the dough is too wet to handle, stir in an additional 1/2 cup of flour.

3) Butter 2 large baking sheets. Divide the dough into 3-4 portions and shape into long, flattened logs on the baking sheets, about 5 inches wide and 5/8 inches thick.

4) Bake the logs in preheated oven for 27-30 minutes, or until firm and slightly browned. Transfer logs one at a time to a cutting board and cut diaganally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange sliced back on the baking sheets and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5) Line two large baking sheets with wax paper. Melt the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons butter in a double boiler. Place in a rectangular baking pan and dip the bottoms of the biscotti in the chocolate. Place the dipped biscotti onto the wax paper lined baking sheets and place in the freezer to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

alone2

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P.S. This is my entry for Eat Christmas Cookies 2. Stop by and see the roundup of delicious Christmas cookies!

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We discovered what we consider to be the best all-purpose bread recipe. We try other bread recipes, but we always return to this one.

The original recipe included walnuts and sunflower seeds, but after protests from certain parties, we omitted them. The recipe also called for over 1/4 cup of sweetener per loaf. This produces a very sweet loaf, so I reduced this amount to 2 tablespoons. I also added 2 tablespoons flax meal, which gives a more rustic look. For an extra special touch, I like to brush the top with milk and sprinkle with oatmeal.

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:: 100% Whole Wheat Bread ::

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Note: This recipe makes a very large loaf. I usually double the recipe and make three 9×5 inch loaves.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey, molasses or maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 cups (18 3/8 oz) Hard Red (traditional) or Hard White (17.5 oz) Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal, optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast


To prepare the dough:

(Hand Method) Combine all of the ingredients, and mix them till you have a shaggy dough. The dough will seem wet, but remember: wetter is better. Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes, then knead till  smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.

(Mixer Method) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine all ingredients and mix them till you have a shaggy dough. The dough will seem wet, but remember: wetter is better. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, then knead by machine until fairly smooth, about 10 minutes. Allow dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.

(Bread Machine Method) Place all ingredients in bread machine pan and set to dough cycle.

To Shape the Loaves

After the dough has risen, gently deflate the dough, shape it into a log, and place it in a lightly greased large (9×5 inch) bread pan or two small bread pans. Cover the pan with a towel or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes-1 hour, till it’s crowned about 2 inches over the rim of the pan. Preheat your oven to 350°F about halfway through the rising time.

To Bake the Loaves

If desired, brush top of loaf with milk or egg white and sprinkle with oatmeal, poppy seeds, nuts, etc. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 minutes or until it turns a deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Yield: 1 large or 2 small loaves.


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Back when peaches were in season, I devised a baked oatmeal recipe to incorporate them. I just threw a few things together and pushed it into the oven. To my surprise, it was really good. We’ve tried it with pears and apples, with the same delicious results.

Hot fruit on the bottom, sweet oatmeal in the middle, and crunchy almonds on top. This could easily be a dessert…

:: Fruit-on-the-Bottom Baked Oatmeal ::

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 1 1/2 cup thinly sliced fruit* or enough to generously cover the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons demerara, sucanat or rapadura, divided
  • 1/3 cup slices almonds

*Peaches, pears & apples are good choices. If using apples, make sure to cup them thinly or they will be crunchy.

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt butter; pour 1/4 cup into bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish. Arrange sliced fruit on top of the butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons demerara. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together milk, maple syrup, eggs, remaining butter and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour over fruit and smooth the top. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining 2 tablespoons demerara.
  4. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes, or until browned on top and fruit is bubbly. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with milk, cream or Vanilla Sauce.

Serves 6-8

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