Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cinnamon Apple Crisps

Today I wanted to make an apple pie....infact, I wanted to make a apple green chile pie with cheddar crust and walnut topping but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I have been trying to not indulge in too many sweets lately in an effort to drop some of those good old lbs and get healthy.  So I had the apples out on the counter all ready to go but the thin reasonable Chelly was much stronger than her evil twin today.  Since I have been wanting to bake up some apple chips I thought that this would be a good and healthy alternative to the calorie laden pie.  I am so glad I did.  These were really tasty and everyone really enjoyed the healthy snack.  These are really easy to do and if you are smart...double the recipe!


Cinnamon Apple Crisps

Monday, January 16, 2012

Milan Cookies

I thought these cookies would be nice and crisp and instead they turned out chewy with a crisp edge.  I am very disappointed.  One is lemon with a white chocolate raspberry ganache filling and the other is coconut with a chocolate ganache filling. They were fairly easy to make.  I am not the greatest at had to pipe to cookie on the cookie sheet and it is difficult for me to get them all the same size.  I probably should have a template like you see them do for macarons.  I got better as I went along so the coconut cookies were much more uniform in size.  I guess it just takes practice!  They tasted really good.  I loved the lemon and raspberry combination but it was a little sweet for my taste.  The coconut-chocolate combination was good but the coconut did not shine through like I thought it should.  I didn't use the coconut extract because I didn't have any, that probably would have made the difference.

Well was worth a try.  Perhaps I will try them again and maybe one day I will be able to make them as pretty as they look on Baking Obsession
You can find the recipe there.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jalapeno Cheese Bread

I am obsessed with baking bread lately.  I love the smell as it wafts through the house and I like getting my hands into the dough and kneading's very therapeutic for me.  This loaf is delicious.  Next time I will add more jalapeno.  I like seeing bits of cheese and peppers in the bread and there really isn't any evidence of any cheese or peppers in my loaf.  I am thinking that my kitchen aid blended it too time I will do everything by hand and see if that makes a difference.  I could still taste both cheese and jalapeno, and it was really a beautiful loaf with nice taste and texture. 

Jalapeno Cheese Bread
Servings: 30
8 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups hot water
3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.In a very large bowl, combine 7 cups of flour, cheese, jalapenos, 7 tablespoons sugar and the salt; mix well.
2.In a separate bowl, combine the water, yeast and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Let sit about 10 minutes; stir until all yeast is dissolved.
3.Add the oil to the liquid mixture, stirring . Add half of the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Mix with hands to moisten flour as much as possible. Add remaining liquid mixture to dough and mix until flour is thoroughly incorporated.
4.Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic to the touch, about 15 minutes, gradually adding only enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking.
5.Place in a large greased bowl and invert dough so top is greased; cover with a dry towel and let stand in a warm place (90 - 100F) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down dough.
6.To Make Bread: Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Form each into a ball, then stretch out dough with both hands and tuck edges under to form a smooth surface. Pop any large air bubbles by pinching them. Form into loaves. (Note: I like to use a rolling pin and roll out dough, which pops all bubbles easily and quickly.) Place in 3 greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans. Cover with towel again and allow to rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
7.Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) until dark brown and done, about 1 hour, rotating the pans after 25 minutes for more even browning. Remove from pan as soon as bread will easily lift out, after about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool about 1 hour before slicing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Homemade Oreos??

Being in between jobs has put so much time on my hands.  I don't know what to do with all my extra time.  So I bake!  I used to bake and bring in all the goodies to where I the hubs workplace gets the goods...only this time the hubby didn't want to share.  He kept these cookies all for himself!
They don't taste like Oreos, but they are really quite good.  I probably should have used dark cocoa powder.   Next time I try these, I think I will
give that a shot.  So now, I have a cookie jar full of cookies and I am trying my best not to eat them....holy crap, I hope I find a job soon!

 I used the recipe from Bake At 350.  Hers turned out darker than mine, but I assume that is because I used regular cocoa powder.  They are fun! 
Give them a try! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Braided Loaf

I made a big pot of bean soup today and wanted some nice crusty bread to go along with it.  I pulled out a cookbook that I have had for quite awhile now but have never tried any of the recipes.  The Ultimate Low Fat Baking Cookbook is a beautiful cookbook and I especially like it because it has a picture with every recipe.  As I flipped through the pages I came across a Braided Loaf that looked easy and beautiful.  So I got out all my ingredients and made a really nice loaf of bread.  I was trying to do the 5 strand braid but I think I got it all!  I was still happy with the results.  This was quite delicious for a low fat bread....a nice crispy crunch on the outside and warm soft goodness on the inside.  I will surely make it again!

The soup didn't turn out so bad either!!  It was a warm, comforting dinner!


Braided Loaf
Serves 10 
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 c lukewarm skim milk ( I used unsweetened almond milk)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups all purpose flour ( I used 1 1/2 c. all purpose and 1 1/2 c. whole white wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon skim milk, for glazing. (I forgot that step :( )
  1. Combine the yeast, honey, milk and butter, stir and let sit for 15 minutes to dissolve
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt.  Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture .  With a wooden spoon, stir from the center incorporating flour with each turn, to obtain a rough dough.
  3. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in a clean bowl, cover, and let rice in a warm place until doubled in volume. about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces.  Roll to shape each piece into a long thin strip.
  5. Begin braiding from the center strip, tucking in the ends to conceal them.  Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the bread in a cool place while the oven heats.  Brush with glaze and bake until golden, 40-45 minutes.  Set on rack and cool completely (or not!!) before serving.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

ABC: Nut-Crusted Chocolate-Banana Swirl Cake

We are bringing in the new year with a new book to bake from!  This month's ABC challenge is from Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge.  I am not a big fan of banana cake and even though this one was a bit sweet for my taste it was still very delicious (I liked the chocolate swirled in it).  I do think mine turned out a bit too dense, perhaps my baking powder is getting too old??  Not really sure what might have happened....anyway, I will be sure to buy some new baking powder the next time I am at the store! (not having much luck with bundt cakes lately...haha!)  This recipe was fairly easy.  And though it is not instructed, I do think you need to cream the butter and sugar before you add in the bananas...I had a hard time getting the butter to incorporate.  I also had to bake it longer than 40 minutes....nearly 55 minutes!  I liked the nut-sugar crusting on the outside, it added a nice little crunch.  It also is very versatile, it can be eaten would be great for breakfast, as a snack or a dessert....whatever you choose!

You can go here and see what the other bakers did...there are some amazing bakers in this group....sometimes I feel as if I am not worthy!  Lol!  Next time we are going to bake Glazed Cinnamon Rolls...can't wait!  Go check them out and give this recipe a try!  Fine cooking has the recipe here.

Happy New Year!
And as always...