Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bread Bowls by way of Molly's Rolls

A couple of days ago my roommate thawed Loaded Baked Potato Soup from Schwans that she had in the back freezer and I had an idea. I told her that if she wanted to wait a day that I would make bread bowls for us to eat it out of, and being the HUGE bread fan she is, she whole-heartedly agreed!

I used my tried and true "go to" bread recipe for Molly's Rolls, which I wrote about making earlier in the blog Link here, only this time I took two-thirds of the dough to make two round loaves and used the last third of the dough to make a couple of rolls. This afternoon I cut a "lid" off of the top of each loaf and hollowed them out.

I had bread crumbs left from the hollowing process, which I wish I had saved for home made bread crumbs, home made croutons or bird food, but I foolishly tossed them out. I'll remember that next time, though!

Initially after baking them I was worried that they would be too shallow, but the "soup" had more of a stew-like consistency so the bowls worked just great! I highly recommend giving this soup from Schwan's a try, and the bread bowls came out phenomenal! I got full after the soup and couldn't eat the bowl, but my roommate did and she absolutely loved it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Buttered Rosemary Rolls

I love bread, and when I found these over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks!, I had to give them a shot. I absolutely loved these rolls! They were too salty for my roommate and her boyfriend, but I thought they were absolutely perfect and so easy! This was also my first introduction to sea salt - how have I been missing such a precious thing for all of these years?!

Frozen, Unbaked Dinner Rolls
Melted Butter, Regular, Salted
Fresh Rosemary, Coarsely Chopped
Coarse Sea Salt

Spray a small iron skillet with cooking spray (or coat with olive oil). Place frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours.

After rising, brush rolls with melted butter.

Sprinkle on chopped rosemary. Brush with additional butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake according to roll package directions (usually 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes), until rolls are a deep golden brown on top.

Serve skillet on the table.

Perfect Pound Cake

This cake was amazing - I even forgot to add the eggs until towards the end (There was no mention of when to put them in, which is why I managed to miss it, until I looked at what I had in my mixing bowl and realized there was something very wrong and my mixture was far too dry. I modified the original recipe that I got from Pioneer Woman and put in when to add the eggs.) The only thing that made this superb cake better, for me, was getting a container of sliced strawberries in syrup from Safeway the next day to dump over a piece of cake - heaven!

3 sticks butter
3 cups sugar
5 whole eggs
1 teaspoon Butter Flavoring
2 teaspoons Lemon Flavoring (I found through a Google search that you can substitute 3 teaspoons lemon juice, but I ended up buying the lemon flavoring so I don't know how the substitution results would turn out)
3 cups All-purpose flour
1 cup Sprite

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream butter. Add sugar, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add butter and lemon extracts and mix well. Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add soft drink, then mix together until combined. Scrape sides of bowl, then mix briefly.

Pour into greased Bundt pan and bake for one hour to one hour ten minutes, until the cake is no longer jiggly. (I cooked mine for one hour twenty-five minutes because it wasn't done before that.)

Remove cake from oven and invert pan until cake drops out. Slice and chow down.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pastor Ryan's Monkey Bread

I can't say enough good things about this "cake" from Pioneer Woman. I brought Monkey Muffins, also from Pioneer Woman, to my family for Christmas Day Brunch and they were a HUGE hit, even with the traditionally "non-carb" folks. Both of these recipes are fantastic, but I normally make Pastor Ryan's Monkey Bread now.

3 cans buttermilk biscuits (the non flaky-ones) – I use the generic Safeway brand with the butter flakes in them and they work great
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons (to 3 teaspoons) cinnamon (I use 2 and it’s perfect for me)
2 sticks butter
½ cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (Even though the butter will coat the Bundt pan I still spray it with cooking spray to start.)

Open up all three cans of biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters.

Next, combine the white sugar with 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon. (3 teaspoons of cinnamon gives it a fairly strong cinnamon flavor. If you’re not so hot on cinnamon, cut it back to 2 teaspoons.) Dump these into a 1-gallon zip bag and shake to mix evenly.

Drop all the biscuit quarters into the cinnamon-sugar mix. Once all the biscuit quarters are in the bag seal it and give it a vigorous shake. This will get all those pieces unstuck from one another and nicely coated with cinnamon-sugar. Spread these nuggets out evenly in the Bundt pan. (I take what’s left of the cinnamon sugar and dump it over the biscuit pieces after they have been coated.)

At this point, you’re going to want to melt the two sticks of butter together with ½ cup of brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. This can be light or dark brown sugar. Cook butter/sugar mixture, stirring for a few minutes until the two become one. Once the brown sugar butter has become one color, you can pour it over the biscuits. (I just put two sticks of butter in the pan and dump the brown sugar over it; once it starts to melt I stir it.)

Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the crust is a deep dark brown on top. When its finished cooking, remove it from the oven. If you have the willpower, allow it to cool for about 15-30 minutes before turning it over onto a plate.

Streusel Coffee Cake

I found this recipe over at Real Mom Kitchen, and I made it with Country Crock margarine from the tub, that was what we had at the time, and it tasted funny to my roommate, her boyfriend and me. It probably didn’t help that I ran out of regular Bisquick and had to use the reduced fat stuff for the streusel topping, either. Based on that, though, I would highly suggest cubed margarine or butter, and let me know if it’s good after the correct ingredients? Only because…mine was an epic fail!!!

Cinnamon Streusel
1/3 cup original Bisquick mix
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons firm butter or margarine

Coffee Cake
2 cups original Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk or water (I used milk)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

Heat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Grease nine-inch round pan. In small bowl, stir streusel ingredients until crumbly, set aside.

In medium bowl, mix coffee cake ingredients until well blended. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with streusel.

Bake eighteen to twenty-two minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life"

This post is copied from my journal, I wrote this entry Wednesday 5.5.10 on paper because I don't have Internet access at home at the moment

We hear this phrase so many times in our lives but I truly feel the journey that I've taken myself on over the last couple of weeks is going to bring about an incredible change for me and finally give me the direction that I've been searching for for years. It's incredible to me that I have just discovered my love of and my gift for baking in the past two years, and that I didn't really even begin to stretch my "culinary legs" really until the past seven months or so. I started a baking blog in January, and it wasn't until then that I formulated a plan, decided that I wanted to go to culinary school and applied for and was accepted to Pima. Then after I lost my job in February, the motorcycle accident, the month long recovery period and countless job applications turned in and a failed interview, I felt completely worthless and knew I had to do something with myself. So I went down to the college, completed my assessment tests, filled out the financial aid application for the summer and the fall and signed up for math, writing and human sexuality for the summer session.All I'm waiting on now is the financial aid to go through the school for the summer, then my classes start in three short weeks...un-be-freaking-lievable! I'm so very proud of myself because this is something that I'm doing for me, and I'm absolutely hell bent on this degree and acheiving it!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

When I found the recipe for Molly's Rolls on Real Mom Kitchen, Laura mentioned in her post that she thought this dough would be great for cinnamon rolls, so I split the dough in half, using half for the rolls and half to make cinnamon rolls. I used the filling and the glaze recipe from the Overnight Cinnamon Rolls via Our Best Bites recipe that I had tried last year and had success with.

Cinnamon Roll Filling
1/2 cup (1 stick) real butter at room temperature, divided
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Take 2 tablespoons of the stick of butter, reserve. Beat remaining butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together until combines and slightly fluffy, about 1 minute.

Spread filling mixture evenly on the rolled out dough, then roll the dough up like a log, pressing the seem into the log to seal. Using a sharp knife, gently cut the rolls taking care not to squish them in the process.

Place rolls cut side up in a baking dish. Melt reserved 2 tablespoons butter and brush on top of rolls. Bake at the temperature and for the time suggested in the Molly's Rolls recipe.

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk or cream (I used milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

When rolls are baking, mix glaze ingredients to combine.

Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, spread glaze over them and serve. (I drizzled mine over them right from the mixing bowl)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Molly's Rolls

Hi all! I'm so glad to be back in "foodblog land," and with about five different yummies to show for it, too! My computer has some *ahem* virus issues so for the last couple of days I haven't been able to upload anything from my camera, and while I could have just posted recipes, well, I figured that there is no fun in that, so I just waited until I could "illustrate" as well.

Okay, so this recipe is for "Molly's Rolls" from Laura at Real Mom Kitchen, who got it from Amy at The Sisters Dish, who got the recipe from her friend Molly. Phew!

Molly's Rolls (makes about 2 dozen)

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk (I just heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds and let it sit while the yeast bubbled)
1/3 cup sugar
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 egg
flour ( I used 4 1/2 cups plus the floor on the counter for rolling the dough out)

In mixer combine yeast, sugar and warm water; let it grow until bubbly (about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix. Mix in oil and egg. Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from the side of the bowl. Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes. Form rolls as desire and place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise an additional 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees 10-12 minutes. Brush hot rolls with melted butter. I made 2 dozen with this recipe.

On shaping rolls: I wanted to make crescents out of these but I was at a lack for a pizza cutter, and the will to improvise for a pizza cutter, so I shaped my rolls like the Lion House Rolls here. I also didn't have a rolling pin, but for the record, a full wine bottle is a wonderful substitution! Laura's tutorial on muffin shaping can be found here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

One of the food blogs I follow, Joy the Baker, posted a recipe for Peanut Butter bacon Cookies back in September and given my love of both peanut butter and bacon, I just HAD to try them! In the spirit of adventure, and spreading my "baking wings," I figured it was something new and different, and worst case scenario, icky and at least I could say I tried! I also used to make bacon cheeseburgers spread with peanut butter on the buns years ago for a friend of mine and I, and we LOVED those, so it was worth a shot. But peanut butter and bacon, Desi?! (I know, I can just hear you saying it now...sounds crazy, weird or disgusting, right?)

1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter (I used Laura Scudder's Smooth Peanut Butter)
1 cup sugar (1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
about 6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and diced

In a skillet over medium high heat, fry up bacon until cooked through and let cool on paper towels until cool enough to dice. Dice up and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a baking sheet with butter (I used Pam) and set aside. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about two minutes. Add egg and baking soda and mix for another two minutes. Fold in cooked bacon. Roll into large walnut sized balls and create a cris-cross pattern with fork. If you's like, roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before making the cris-cross pattern. Bake for ten minutes, until lghtly browned. (mine took twelve minutes here in Tucson) Cool on a baking sheet for five minutes then transfer to...your mouth.

Final verdict: next time I think I will be using better quality bacon that crisps up better (I used Bar-S this time, VETO!) Also I am going to try crunchy peanut butter and not rolling the balls of dough in sugar before I "fork" them to death *laughs*

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top Secret Restaurant Recipes - Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I don't think I know anyone who doesn't just love these biscuits, which I thought until recently were some kind of major-seafood-restaurant-chain-well-kept-secret, or something. I had heard whisperings about recipes for them on the Internet that were amazing, so I hopped on Google the other night and found Top Secret Restaurant Recipes: Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits shared by Todd Wilbur, "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2," Plume Books. They were just as good, if not better, than Red Lobster, and will be one of my go-to bread recipes!

Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits

2 1/2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix
3/4 cup cold whole milk (I used 2%)
4 tablespoons cold butter, 1/2 stick (I cut mine up by tablespoons for easier mixing)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese

Brush on Top
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or large fork. (I used a fork) You don't want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix.

Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased (I sprayed mine down with Pam and it was Puh-fect!) cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop (I used my hands and made balls, eye-balling it, also Puh-fect!).

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon garlic and the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread garlic butter over the tops of the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. After buttering, add *just a touch* of the pinch of salt to each biscuit. Makes one dozen biscuits.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Starting 2010 off with a bang!

Blogging seems to be the way to start off 2010, and I am making some new, incredible changes and starts in my life, so I figure there's no better way to start than to chronicle my journey starting now and into the future.

I am currently working at a convenience store, and after lots of soul-searching and many disappointments and being passed over for promotions along the way, I decided that it's time to make positive changes and create an exciting future for myself, one that I am DETERMINED to put my all into and create a fantastic life for myself!

Tonight when I got home from work I applied to and was accepted at Pima Community College! I am going for my Associate's Degree in Culinary School, and I am looking to start in the Spring. My first love is baking, but for Christmas this year from my family I received the beginning of my "core cooking tools" - salt and pepper grinders, wooden spoons, measuring cups and spoons and a cookie scoop - and I decided that I was going to give this whole cooking this a shot, too. Then when I decided on culinary school, I figured why not limit myself to just baking? I mean, if I'm spending the money to put myself through school I may as well get the most out of it, right?

Another goal that I have set this year is to lose more weight (I have lost about 80 pounds since the summer of 2007) and though that weight came off pretty easily, my body seems to have found a comfort zone and I've been hanging out at about the same weight, give or take 5 pounds, for months now, so I decided that the way to start to achieve this goal is to walk the 1.81 miles to work every day. I did it three days last week, taking my "Friday" off (man, was I sore by that point!) and also inadvertently today off (I did something gnarly to my sciatic nerve in the last three days) but tomorrow, even if it hurts, I'm back at it!

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, my 2010 manifesto! Work, school, baking and cooking - creating, hopefully, for the most part, fantastic things from my kitchen - exercising and doing everything I can to be a better daughter, friend and co-worker to those in my life every day! Happy 2010, may you live up to your full potential and have the most awesome-tastic year that you can and do deserve!