Fruity Yogurt Muffins

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Although bananas don’t have a best before date printed on them it’s hard not to notice when they’re about to expire.  No bananas today but the best before date on my little tubs of blueberry yogurt was clear…they were about to expire.

Throwing them out was certainly not an option.  It didn’t take long to locate a good recipe requiring a whole cup of yogurt and even better, the recipe seemed super easy to make.

Can’t think of a better way to have used the blueberry yogurt and don’t anticipate any problem with yogurt on the brink of expiration in the future.

Great results, soft, tender crumb. tasty, not too sweet and with the addition of a few fresh berries on top or mixed in makes a delicious blueberry muffin.  Now to take care of those little tubs of strawberry yogurt sitting in the fridge.

Not to worry, I know exactly what to do with them!

Fruity Yogurt Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon. salt

1 cup plain or flavoured yogurt, thinned with a little water to make it runny

1/4 cup canola oil

1 large egg

fresh blueberries to add in or put on top of muffins (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together together yogurt, oil and egg.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients gently stirring with a spatula adding blueberries after a few strokes if using.
  5. Mix the batter just until blended, over-mixing will make your muffins tough.
  6. Fill your prepared muffin cups almost to the top and bake for 20–25  minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Makes 1 dozen muffins.
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Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

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Add yogurt, egg. oil into a bowl and…

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…whisk together until smooth and well combined.

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Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients gently stirring with a spatula adding blueberries after a few strokes if using.

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Fill your prepared muffin cups almost to the top and…

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…bake for 20–25  minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • The original recipe instructs to thin out the yogurt with a little water. Instead, I added 1/4 cup more yogurt.
  • Four 100 ml. tubs of yogurt added up to 1 cup, I just added a fifth tub instead of thinning out the yogurt with water.
  • When a recipe states the yield of muffins to be 12, making 7 or 8 instead turn out lovely large muffins with great muffin tops.  If making larger muffins add a few minutes to the baking time.
  • I added some fresh blueberries on top before baking, next time they will go right into the batter.

 

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Banana Orange Muffin Bread

 

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The overly ripe bananas sitting on my counter were destined for a good old- fashioned banana bread but bananas pair well with many other flavours so why not make things a little more interesting and flavourful.

Chocolate, pineapple, honey and coconut are just a few flavours that compliment  bananas but today these bananas were ready for a citrus twist.

Bananas and oranges, something I had never put together in banana bread before but  sounded good to me… very good.

Not too sweet with a sprinkle of light streusel on top, bold banana flavour and a lovely orange scent throughout!

Think these two flavours get along very well and will be best friends forever!

Banana Orange Muffin Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)

1   egg

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (measure then melt)

2  teaspoons orange zest

1/3 cup orange juice

Streusel

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon orange zest

  1. For streusel, combine butter, sugar, flour and orange zest in small bowl; mix with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a 9 x5 inch loaf pan with vegetable oil.  For easy removal of loaf place a strip of parchment paper on the bottom of loaf pan.
  3. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl, add orange zest.
  4. Into a blender add bananas, egg, melted butter and juice, mix well.
  5. Add banana mixture to dry ingredients; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  6. Place batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle streusel over top.
  7. Bake 40-45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on rack.
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For streusel, combine butter, sugar, flour and orange zest in small bowl; mix with pastry blender until…

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… mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

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Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.

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Add orange zest.

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Add bananas, egg, melted butter and juice into blender and mix well.

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Add banana mixture to dry ingredients; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.

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Place batter into prepared loaf pan and.
sprinkle streusel over top.

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Bake 40-45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on rack.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • The loaf I made was ready in 30 minutes, perhaps because a slimmer, longer loaf pan was used (11 x 4 inches). If using a 9×5 inch pan check at 30 minutes then bake longer as needed.
  • The batter seemed a little thick so I added about 3 tablespoons more orange juice. Perhaps another 1/4 cup of banana would have worked as well.
  • Don’t need a loaf?  Then make muffins instead, decrease baking time time to 15 to 20 minutes, check if done at 15 minutes then continue to bake if necessary.

 

Affogato

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Well, this post is not really about Affogato but rather my new recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream. I couldn’t think of a better way to showcase it other than to drown it in dark rich espresso making it in the Italian language Affogato or drowned.

Yes, I do have… or did have a favourite Vanilla Ice Cream recipe but after so many years this new recipe has taken its place. The ease of making it and excellent results in creaminess far surpass the previous recipe.

The only excuse for not making homemade ice cream is not having an Ice Cream Maker and you know that’s not quite true if you’ve made the Lemon Ice Cream recipe previously posted.

Many ice cream recipes require making a custard or bringing the milk, cream and sugar to a boil then cooling it down and refrigerating it until very cold.

The new Chocolate Ice Cream recipe posted several weeks ago just requires mixing the ingredients together and refrigerating until cold. I can’t express in words how creamy and delicious it is.  Curiosity got the better of me today and I just had to try making vanilla flavour hoping for the same creamy results as the chocolate.  My ice cream bowl lives in the freezer and is always ready for action so no delay.

I did however switch the whole milk for ten percent cream which certainly added to the creamy texture but for the minimal effort and ingredients to make this ice cream it beats any store bought, even the all-natural.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk  (or 10% cream)

2 cups whipping cream (35%)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 2 to 3  tablespoons pure vanilla extract)

  1. Make sure your ice cream freezer bowl is frozen solid, always keep in the freezer if possible ready to churn ice cream.
  2. In a bowl or large measuring cup mix together 10% cream or whole milk, whipping cream 35%, sugar and vanilla.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold.
  3. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions remembering that the colder the mixture the faster it will freeze, refrigerating overnight is best.
  4. Place ice cream in plastic freezer container in freezer until ready to enjoy.
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In a bowl or large measuring cup mix together 10% cream or whole milk, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold.

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Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions remembering that…

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…the colder the mixture the faster it will freeze, refrigerating overnight is best.

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Place ice cream in plastic freezer container in freezer until ready to enjoy.

Affogato

  1. Add 1 or 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream into a cup or glass.  ( For presentation Affogato looks best in a clear cup or glass.)
  2. Pour hot espresso over ice cream to fill cup or glass.
  3. Serve immediately.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions.

  • Although Affogato is generally made with espresso coffee any strong brewed coffee should be good. (Perhaps even a flavoured coffee?)
  • Vanilla bean paste is very thick with the vanilla seeds mixed in.
  • If you’re in a hurry and don’t want to refrigerate mixture overnight place in the freezer for about 1 hour or until it’s very cold.
  • Affogato can serve as a light, tasty dessert after a large or heavy meal, especially in summer weather.
  • The weather today wasn’t much like summer but I enjoyed the Affogato just the same.  I was the only one home to eat it immediately as recipe instructs…delicious!
  • Of course you can make it with store bought ice cream!

 

Fettuccini Alfredo

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Fettuccini Alfredo is certainly not on the dinner menu very often and for good reason.  A plate of pasta smothered in heavy cream, butter and cheese is a little too rich to be served often no matter how delicious it is.

Recently I came across a recipe that could make this dish a little more calorie friendly but just as enjoyable… so they said.

The recipe suggested that cream should never be an ingredient in an Alfredo Sauce, instead, the result of an emulsion between the grated cheese, melted butter and starchy pasta water.  In my opinion it was going to be hard to beat the richness of heavy cream that makes this dish so indulgent.  But if I didn’t try I would never know.

Could this recipe possibly be good enough to replace the heavy cream Alfredo Sauce I currently make with something healthier and lighter but just as good?  Not totally convinced, I halved the recipe the first time I made it just to experiment.

Try it…you’ll like it!  We loved it!

Fettuccini Alfredo

12 ounces (about 340 grams) homemade fettuccini or other long pasta

salt

¼ cup unsalted butter

¾ cups finely grated parmigiano cheese plus more for serving

freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente, drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.
  2. Transfer 1 cup of the cooking water into a large skillet, bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Whisk in butter a piece at a time until melted.
  4. Whisking constantly, gradually adding cheese making sure it’s completely melted in before adding more.
  5. Add pasta and toss to coat adding more pasta cooking water as needed until sauce completely covers noodles.
  6. Plate noodles and serve with freshly ground black pepper and additional grated cheese.  Serve immediately.
  7. Makes 4 medium size servings.
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12 ounces (about 340 grams) homemade fettuccini or other long pasta.

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Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.

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Measure out the 1/2 cup butter cut into small pieces and 3/4 cups finely grated parmigiano cheese.

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Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.

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Transfer 1 cup of the cooking water into a large skillet, bring to a gentle simmer.
Whisk in butter a piece at a time until melted.

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Whisking constantly, gradually adding cheese making sure it’s completely melted in before adding more.

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Blend well and while slowly simmering…

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…add pasta and toss to coat adding more pasta cooking water as needed until sauce completely covers noodles.

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Plate noodles and serve with freshly ground black pepper and additional grated cheese.  Serve immediately.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Alfredo sauce better adheres to the rougher surface of homemade fettuccini.  If homemade not available, store bought fresh pasta or dry egg noodles would be the next best choices.
  • For home made pasta recipe check here.  One batch makes approximately 7 ounces of noodles.  You will need 2 batches of pasta recipe to use the Alfredo Sauce measurements above.  Although the recipe calls for 12 ounces of pasta a couple of ounces more or less shouldn’t make too much difference.
  • This Alfredo Sauce would work very well over chicken tortellini.

 

If you think homemade pasta is too hard to make…think again.

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This was his second time making it…and he took the pasta home to his mom…her favourite kind!

And this was her first time at 22 months old…

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Pasta 101 at Nonna’s

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls

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I’m somewhat partial to recipes that require rolling up, sweet as well as savory.

These rolls were high on my list of recipes to try out and today I took a little time out of a very busy week to relax and bake.  This may sound contradictory, but baking has a way of creating a break from a sometimes-stressful day and is most times followed by a well- deserved reward.

I have to confess, it’s take two on this recipe only because the combination of cream cheese and raspberry filling was just too good to forget about.

On the other hand the dough left a little too much to be desired since it wasn’t as soft and fluffy as I would have liked.  The tops didn’t brown well and the rolls looked under baked even though they were cooked through.

Soft, fluffy and golden, sounds like the Cinnamon Roll dough I’ve made time and time again with much success.  Why not?  I didn’t think the delicious filling would notice or even mind being wrapped in a different dough.  What a difference the switch made in  texture and overall appearance of the rolls.

These rolls are delicious, especially if enjoyed slightly warm from the oven.  A perfect dough wrapped around a not too sweet cream cheese filling dotted with tart, flavourful raspberries best describes them.

I truly enjoyed my reward today…now back to the rest of the week!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls

1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup warm water

1 package active dry yeast (1 tablespoon)

½ cup warm milk

¼ cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons softened butter or shortening

1 egg

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

Melted butter to brush on top of rolls

Cream Cheese Raspberry Filling

4 ounces cream cheese softened (1/2  8 ounce package)

2 tablespoons butter, softened

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup frozen raspberries

1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch

  1. Dissolve the  teaspoon of sugar in the warm water then add the yeast, stir and let stand until frothy.
  2. Into a bowl add lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, butter, egg and yeast mixture.
  3. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and beat with an electric mixer until dough begins to come together.
  4. Gradually stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. (start by adding 3/4 of the remaining cup of flour stirring it in with spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. Turn onto a floured board and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and springy. (Add remaining 1/4 cup of the flour while kneading if needed)
  6. On a lightly floured surface cover dough with plastic wrap then a tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. In the mean time place cream cheese, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and beat together until smooth..
  8. Roll dough into a 9×12 inch rectangle spread cream cheese mixture evenly over dough.
  9. Place frozen raspberries in a wire mesh sieve and sprinkle with corn starch shaking off excess.
  10. Sprinkle raspberries evenly over cream cheese layer.
  11. Starting at the shortest end of the dough, roll tightly and pinch edge to seal.
  12. Cut roll into 9 equal pieces and place almost touching in a greased 12 inch round pan or an 11×7 inch rectangular pan..
  13. Cover and let rise until doubled (1 to 1½ hours.)
  14. Brush tops with melted butter.
  15. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
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Dissolve the teaspoon of sugar in the warm water then add the yeast, stir and let stand until frothy.

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Into a bowl add lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, butter, egg and yeast mixture.

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Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and beat with an electric mixer until dough begins coming together.

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Gradually stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. (Start by adding 3/4 of the remaining cup of flour stirring it in with spatula or wooden spoon.)

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Turn onto a floured board and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and springy. (Add remaining 1/4 cup of flour while kneading if needed)

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On a lightly floured surface cover dough with plastic wrap then a tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.

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In the mean time place cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and …

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…beat together until smooth.

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After 20 minutes.

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Roll dough into a 9×12 inch rectangle and…

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… spread cream cheese mixture evenly over dough.

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Place frozen raspberries in a wire mesh sieve and sprinkle with corn starch shaking off excess.

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Sprinkle raspberries evenly over cream cheese layer.

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Starting at the shortest end of the dough, roll tightly and pinch edge to seal.

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Cut roll into 9 equal pieces and…

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…place almost touching in a greased 12 inch round pan or an 11×7 inch rectangular pan.
Cover and let rise until doubled (1 to 1½ hours.)

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Brush tops with melted butter.

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Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Half the Cinnamon Roll dough recipe was used to make these sweet rolls instead of the original dough recipe.
  • These Cream Cheese Raspberry Rolls are not too sweet and a light drizzle of glaze can be a good addition if desired. Add enough milk to 1 cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar to make a smooth glaze.
  • Raspberries are highly perishable and usually quite expensive to buy so minimal waste is always preferred.  When only a few berries are left over or after picking out those overly soft or less than perfect berries (not the moldy ones) , even if there are only 2 or 3 freeze them individually on a small tray.  When frozen add them to a small freezer bag.  Before you know it you’ll have enough to use for a favourite recipe.  I did!

More Roll-Up Recipes (I wasn’t kidding)

Pinwheel Cookies

Cinnamon Rolls

 Ice Cream Roll,

Raspberry Coconut Dark Chocolate Scones

Apricot Scone Wreath

Chicken Thigh Roll Ups,

Beef  Steak Spiedini

Chicken Spiedini

Polpettone al Sugo

Stromboli

Chicken Thigh Roll Ups

Apple Pie Scones

Peach Rolly Polly

 

 

 

 

Apricot Scone Wreath

 

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I haven’t purchased a food or baking magazine in years and the ones I have are at least a decade old if not older, you can tell by the price printed on the cover.  When the total amount I paid was less than what is paid in tax alone for some magazines these days then we’re talking old!

Occasionally, I like going through the magazines I’ve accumulated over the years and checking out the little pieces of paper poking out of the top obviously  saving the pages of recipes I intended to make but never got around to making.

After checking, I was still interested in trying he same recipes I had bookmarked years ago, particularly the Apricot Scone Wreath.  Back in those years I had never made or likely didn’t even know what a scone was.  My love of scones has only blossomed within the last few years and this recipe puts a new twist on them.

This one had possibilities, a good recipe to have on hand for a special breakfast or brunch if it tasted as good as it looked.  Turns out it’s delicious enough to make every day!

The bonus for me was those little scraps of paper I used to mark the pages. Not realizing at the time, I was leaving myself little memories of years gone by, notes to self, appointment dates and parts of envelopes with memorable return addresses.

Soon I shall revisit that shelf to check out more scraps of paper peeking out from those magazines for more good recipes…and perhaps more sweet memories.

Apricot Scone Wreath

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup cold butter cubed or grated

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg for dough

1 egg to brush over wreath

½ cup apricot jam

½ cup toasted walnuts finely chopped

Glaze

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice

  1. Draw a 9-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper. Place pencil side down on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Cut in cold butter cubes or cold grated butter into dry ingredients tossing to coat.
  4. In a small bowl whisk buttermilk and one egg together.
  5. Add to flour mixture stirring with a fork to make a ragged dough.
  6. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface an press together with palm of hand folding dough over itself until it comes together.
  7. Roll out into a 12 by 8-inch rectangle and spread jam over top leaving a ½ inch border with no jam at one of the long sides of the rectangle.
  8. Sprinkle with walnuts and roll up pinching edge to seal.
  9. With palms of hands roll the log gently until the log elongates to 16 inches in length.
  10. Using serrated knife cut into 16-1-inch slices and arrange overlapping pieces around the 9-inch circle.
  11. In a small bowl beat remaining egg and brush on wreath.
  12. Bake in a preheated 400-degree F. oven until golden, about 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.
  14. In a small bowl mix together confectioner’s sugar and orange juice until smooth and drizzle over warm wreath.
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Draw a 9-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper. Place pencil side down on a baking sheet and set aside.

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Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

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Cut in cold butter cubes or cold grated butter into dry ingredients tossing to coat.

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In a small bowl whisk buttermilk and one egg together.

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Add to flour mixture stirring with a fork…

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…to make a ragged dough.

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Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and press together with palm of hand folding dough over itself until it comes together.

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Roll out into a 12 by 8-inch rectangle and spread jam over top leaving a ½ inch border with no jam at one of the long sides of the rectangle.   Sprinkle surface with walnuts.

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Roll up dough…

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… pinching edge to seal.  With palms of hands roll the log gently elongating it to 16 inches in length.

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Using serrated knife cut into 16-1-inch slices and…

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…arrange overlapping pieces around the 9-inch circle.  Brush with beaten egg.

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Bake in a preheated 400-degree F. oven until golden, about 15 minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.

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In a small bowl mix together confectioner’s sugar and orange juice until smooth and…

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…drizzle over warm wreath.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Didn’t have any Apricot Jam, used home made Peach Jam instead.
  • Will try coconut instead of walnuts next time.
  • Strawberry or Cherry Jam sounds good as well.
  • With only 2 tablespoons of sugar in the dough the thin layer of jam and light glaze give these scones just the right level of sweetness.
  • Don’t be afraid to improvise when trying a new recipe, you just might come up with a better way of doing things. It wasn’t going to be easy to roll the scone dough into a 16 by 10 inch rectangle as instructed in the original recipe.  The dough would have become too thin and difficult to roll up into a log.  Rolling it out into 8 by 12 inches instead was more manageable and easier to roll up into a log. then gently rolling the log with hands, elongating it to the required 16 inch length.

 

Peanut Butter Fingers

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Quite often while searching for a recipe in one of my cookbooks I come across an almost forgotten old favourite I used to make back in the day when the kids were growing up.  My life in those days basically revolved around home and school.

I end up totally forgetting which recipe I was originally looking for and decide to revive some old memories instead.

My children loved finding these Peanut Butter Fingers in their lunch bags during their school years.  Of course, this was before the peanut allergy alert forbidding any peanut product from coming to school took effect.

One of the great flavour combinations… peanut butter and chocolate and one of my favourites I confess.

I always made sure to cut an even number of pieces, wrapping them up in twos making sure each child received an equal portion.

After baking, the crusts were neatly cut off and set aside just to make each peanut butter finger look neater.  Perhaps that was just an excuse because those crusts were my portion!

Today I got a whole piece to myself!

Peanut Butter Fingers

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter or (hard) margarine

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Glaze

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons peanut butter

3 to 5 teaspoons milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9X13 inch pan.
  3. Whisk together flour, rolled oats, soda and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl beat together butter or margarine, sugars, peanut butter and vanilla until creamy.
  5. Beat in egg until well mixed.
  6. Stir in dry ingredients.
  7. Turn mixture into greased pan and with a water dampened hand pat down until evenly distributed.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.
  9. Spread chocolate chips over surface and wait 5 minutes before spreading evenly over entire surface.
  10. Drizzle with peanut butter glaze.
  11. Cool completely before cutting.
  12. Makes approximately twenty four 3X1 inch bars.
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Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and rolled oats.

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Combine butter or margarine, brown and granulated sugar, vanilla and peanut butter then…

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…beat in egg.

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Stir in dry ingredients until well mixed.

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Turn mixture into greased pan and with a water dampened hand pat down until evenly distributed.

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Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.
Distribute chocolate chips over surface and wait 5 minutes before spreading evenly over top.  (Oops! forgot to take a picture after spreading chocolate but it’s easy to imagine right?)

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Mix together confectioner’s sugar and peanut butter.

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Add milk and stir together to make glaze.

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Drizzle over top.  Cool completely before cutting.

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Cut crust (edges) off and cut into approximately twenty four 3X1 inch bars.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • These taste just as good without the drizzle.
  • Make sure to add the chocolate chips immediately after removing pan from oven and wait the full 5 minutes before trying to spread.
  • The word teaspoon in the glaze ingredients is written in bold for a good reason. I misread it as tablespoon and ended up with peanut butter soup!  Don’t make the same mistake.
  • Chocolate, peanut butter and chewy…delicious!
  • Found a new use for the crust…crumble it and use as a topping on ice cream…also delicious!

 

Cinnamon Crunch Bread

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There‘s something to be said about a bowl of rising yeast dough snugly tucked away in a warm corner of the kitchen.

Placing a little ball of dough into a bowl to rise and coming back to something twice or triple its original size ready to be transformed into something delicious brings a certain satisfaction that can’t be explained.  You must experience it for yourself.

Some warm water and a little sugar is all it takes to wake up the dormant yeast making it ready to help the rest of the ingredients rise to any occasion.

Crusty Artisan Bread has become the norm coming out of my oven once or twice a week depending on what’s for dinner or if company is coming.  Going back to store bought bread is no longer an option.

Today the dough rising in the covered bowl will not make a rustic loaf.  Instead, the yeast is rising a silky smooth, slightly sweet dough ready to be transformed into fragrant Cinnamon Crunch Bread.

Just when you think nothing could be more aromatic than rustic bread baking in the oven this recipe will prove you wrong.

Cinnamon Crunch Bread

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 teaspoon sugar (for yeast)

1 1/4 teaspoons yeast

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/4 cup butter (softened)

Sugar Cinnamon Coating

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Add yeast to warm water with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and allow to activate until mixture foams.
  2. Stir together flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Add egg, softened butter and yeast.
  4. Stir until dough starts coming together.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 7 to10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  6. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 3 pieces.
  8. Roll each piece into a 15 inch log and brush with melted butter.
  9. Roll logs in cinnamon sugar mixture until well coated.
  10. Place logs on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet.
  11. Pinch the tops of the 3 logs together, braid and pinch the ends when done.  Tuck both ends under.
  12. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture over the braid.  Lightly cover and allow to rise 1 hour.
  13. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 23 to 25 minutes until golden.
  14. Cool loaf on wire rack.
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Combine granulated and brown sugars and cinnamon

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Mix yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in warm water until activated and foamy.

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Mix together flour, sugar and salt.

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Stir in yeast mixture, softened butter and egg…

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…and mix until the dough starts coming together.  Place on a lightly covered surface and…

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…knead for 7 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover…

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…and allow to rise for 1 hour.

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Cut dough into 3 pieces.

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Roll into logs 15 inches in length.

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Brush logs with melted butter.

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Roll logs in sugar cinnamon mixture.

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Place logs on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet, pinch the ends together.

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Braid the logs, pinch the ends and tuck them under.  Generously sprinkle sugar mixture over top of loaf.   Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

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Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 23 to 25 minutes until golden.  Cool on wire rack.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • The quantity of sugar cinnamon mixture was too much therefore it was saved for making cinnamon toast.
  • When making this loaf next time, after brushing with butter and rolling the logs in sugar mixture I will give it a second coat of butter and roll again in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

 

Chocolate Ice Cream

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February is usually not the month that inspires trying a new ice cream recipe but the 500 ml. carton of whipping cream with a best before date quickly approaching prompted me to find a recipe in which to use it.

I suppose it didn’t have to be ice cream but a recipe saved a while back for Chocolate Ice Cream came to mind and the quantity of whipping cream required was the exact amount I needed to use up.

I always had my doubts about this recipe since it seemed too easy to produce a smooth, creamy ice cream.  The usual heating of ingredients or making a custard was not required so I was expecting something a little less than creamy.  And yet it was time to give it a try.

On the contrary, this was one of the creamiest ice creams I have ever made!

Home made ice cream is not hard to make and with the ice cream freezer bowl always ready in the freezer to churn another batch it makes you think twice about picking some up at the grocery store.

Enjoying homemade Chocolate Ice Cream in February… a sweet reminder that summer is on the way!

Chocolate Ice Cream

1 !/2 cups whole milk

2 cups whipping cream 35%

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 teaspoons espresso instant espresso powder (optional)

  1. Combine cocoa powder and sugar.
  2. Stir together until well mixed.
  3. Gradually add milk stirring  until blended.
  4. Gradually blend in whipping  cream.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold.  Keeping it longer in the fridge allows the cocoa to become fully hydrated by the milk and cream improving the texture and flavour.
  7. Gently stir the ice cream mixture again before freezing according to the directions of your ice cream freezer.
  8. Churn until thick and creamy.  ( It will depend on your ice cream freezer. Mine took about 20 minutes.)
  9. Place ice cream in a cold container, cover and place in freezer.
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Combine sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso powder if using.

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Stir until well mixed.

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Gradually stir in milk then cream…

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…until mixed

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Cover and refrigerate until very cold several hours or overnight.

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Churn until thick and creamy.

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Store in the freezer in a covered container freezing until firm.

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Scoop!!

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder intensifies the chocolate flavour.
  • Make sure to use the best cocoa available it will make all the difference.
  • I used the milk on hand which was 2%.  Using whole milk just might take this ice cream over the top!

More Ice Cream!

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

https://bayberryst.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/strawberry-cheesecake-ice-cream/

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Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream

https://bayberryst.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/apple-cinnamon-ice-cream/

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Peanut Butter Ice Cream

https://bayberryst.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/peanut-butter-ice-cream/

pyes

Coffee Ice Cream

http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/search?q=ice+cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/search?q=vanilla+ice+cream

Lemon Ice Cream

http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/search?q=lemon+ice+cream

Peach Ice Cream

http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/search?q=peach+ice+cream

 

Sugar Donuts (baked)

 

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After about fifteen years the donut pans I purchased on clearance have come out of the box and made their first donuts.

I don’t usually wait that long to use any new baking pan, my intentions were good but those pans remained in the box, made the move with us to our new house and were put on another shelf for an additional seven years.

Today I went looking for them.  The time had come.

Baking with my grandchildren is an activity we all enjoy.  After making everything from cookies, cupcakes, yeast rolls, focaccia and pizza together as well as homemade pasta I needed something new and exciting to make with them.  It turned out to be new and exciting for me as well.

Since I had never made these donuts before, a trial run today was necessary just to make sure of successful results.  Very much to my surprise six soft, fluffy, tasty, good looking donuts popped out of that pan!

I’m ready for another great baking event!

Easier to put together than a batch of muffins and only 25 minutes to make from start to finish including baking time they are really worth making.

These pans won’t be going back into the box!

Sugar Donuts (baked)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

3/4 sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Sugar Coating

1/4 cup granulated sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray donut pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs and sugar until well mixed.
  5. Stir wet ingredients into dry mixing until smooth.
  6. Fill donut pans about 3/4 of the way.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes until toothpick inserted into donut comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, remove from pan, cool on rack and while still slightly warm roll donuts in sugar.
  9. Makes 6 regular size or 12 mini donuts.
  10. Best eaten same day or store in covered container up to 2 days.
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Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg if using.

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Whisk together butter milk, oil, eggs sugar and vanilla…

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…until well blended.

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Add wet ingredients to dry and…

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…whisk until smooth.

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Spray donut pan with non stick spray.

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Fill until 3/4 full.

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Bake for 15 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Remove and cool on rack.

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While still slightly warm roll in granulated sugar.

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Yum!

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • The original recipe did not call for nutmeg but nutmeg is a classic donut spice and works well in these donuts.
  • Recipe was for 12 mini donuts but I made 6 regular size instead.  Interesting that they were done in the same time that was stated for the mini donuts.  Every oven is different, make sure a tooth pick inserted in the donut comes out clean before taking them out of the oven.
  • Using a piping bag with a round tip makes filling the donut cavities super easy as well as helping distribute the batter more evenly.
  • Donuts are best eaten the same day as they’re made, don’t worry, there won’t be any left for tomorrow!
  • A 6 cavity donut pan is definitely not enough, will have to get another pan.
  • Please note:  The 6 cavity donut pan I used making donuts for this post was purchased many years ago and makes donuts a little larger than the Wilton brand I recently purchased.  If using a Wilton pan I would suggest making 8 instead of 6 donuts.

Now, don’t ever say I didn’t give you anything for Valentines Day!

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And here is where you’ll find the recipe…

https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/baked-chocolate-donuts/