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66 posts categorized " 05) Baking Bread, Quick Breads & Muffins"

08/18/2017

~ Nice & Easy No-Nonsense Quick-Mix Apple Bread ~

Nice and easy, no-nonsense, quick-to-mix. One bowl, a whisk and a spatula -- no mixer required. Yep. Those words accurately sum up this recipe, and, the end more than justifies the means, meaning: it's hard to believe something this easy can taste this divine. While apple bread isn't the the most photogenic (brown food in general isn't), don't let its monochromatic appearance fool you. It's dense but not heavy, has a delicately-moist crumb, and, it's bursting with apple flavor -- perfect for any Fall breakfast or brunch buffet table. Me? I love it toasted (on the rack of my toaster...... View full recipe for "~ Nice & Easy No-Nonsense Quick-Mix Apple Bread ~"

06/09/2017

~ How to: Cut, Form & Bake Small Pie Pastry Shells ~

Equivalent to a very generous slice of pie, everyone loves a small sweet or savory pie or quiche all to oneself or to share with our significant other -- especially those of us who love to nibble on the crispy crust. When it comes to desserts, more specifically pies, tarts and cheesecakes, for special occasions, individual sweet treats are just more fun -- they make people smile. While a bit more labor-intensive up front, they're well worth the "fussy" extra effort. Why? They're perfectly-portioned and require no slicing. Serving them is 100% mess-free and stress-free. This post refers to shells...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Cut, Form & Bake Small Pie Pastry Shells ~"

05/07/2017

~ Sweet Potato, Pecan & Butterscotch Chip Muffins ~

With a grilled steak, I enjoy a baked Russet potato. With a grilled pork chop, I require a baked sweet potato. On our deck, if we're "baking" potatoes on the grill, we always put an extra one or two on the grids. With a cup or two of leftover baked and mashed Russet potatoes, I typically get out my skillet make pan-fried potato cakes. With a cup or two of leftover sweet potatoes, I often get out my muffin tins. If you didn't know that sweet potatoes (like pumpkin and zucchini), make great muffins or quick bread, you do now,...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Potato, Pecan & Butterscotch Chip Muffins ~"

04/30/2017

~ Five-Minute Food-Processor Cream-Cheese Glaze ~

Everyone loves cream cheese frosting sandwiched between the layers and slathered on the sides and top of an applesauce, banana, carrot, coconut or pumpkin cake -- meet my short list of layer-, sheet-, or cup- cakes that require cream cheese frosting. That said, certain quick breads and muffins (which traditionally don't get frosted), many bundt cakes, cinnamon rolls, pastries and even an occasional cookie, benefit from a smooth, drizzly, glaze, and, the tang that cream cheese adds to the classic confectioners'-sugar-and-milk mixture is: a perfect finishing touch. I've decided, in tandem with a few professionals, that making the ultimate smooth,...... View full recipe for "~ Five-Minute Food-Processor Cream-Cheese Glaze ~"

03/21/2017

~Bierock: A Savory Meat, Cabbage & Onion Turnover~

In the case of the Eastern European bierock, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Unlike pizza, hot dog, hamburger and taco, the word bierock conjures up no image in the mind of many foodies. It's worth mention there is no mention of it in The Food Lover's Companion or The Oxford Companion to Food. There's more. Even if you did grow up in or around an Eastern European household or community (I did), there is a good chance you have no idea if a bierock is animal, vegetable or mineral (I didn't). The reason is: the rather obscure...... View full recipe for "~Bierock: A Savory Meat, Cabbage & Onion Turnover~"

03/11/2017

~ Irish Eyes are Smilin' on Mary's Irish Soda Bread ~

My Irish soda bread recipe was given to me 20-25 years ago by my close friend Mary. Mary Teresa Howe and her husband Joe hailed from Buffalo, NY, then moved to and raised their family here in Happy Valley, PA. For almost two decades, my husband Joe and I had the pleasure of sharing many good times with them. From football tailgates to holiday cocktail parties and all sorts of family celebrations, the Howe's enjoyed entertaining and being entertained. Mary and Joe were of proud Irish heritage and every year on St. Patrick's Day, all of us in their inner...... View full recipe for "~ Irish Eyes are Smilin' on Mary's Irish Soda Bread ~"

02/20/2017

~ All-American Presidents' Day Gingerbread Cake ~

Say "snack cake" and folks my age think "Twinkie" or "TandyCake". Interestingly, snack cakes have been in America since Colonial times. Recipes for gingerbread, both the hard cookie and the soft cake or loaf, came to the us with the English and German settlers. Gingeroot was delivered by boat to the pilgims -- they used it fresh, dried it, and, made syrup from it. Ginger beer, made by pouring boiling water over brown sugar and pounded ginger combined with yeast proofed in warm milk was bottled and served as a refreshing beverage on hot days. The first recipe for gingerbread...... View full recipe for "~ All-American Presidents' Day Gingerbread Cake ~"

02/14/2017

~ How to Make Whole Buttermilk & Crème Fraîche ~

Once upon a time here in Happy Valley, circa the 1970's and into the 80's, crème fraîche wasn't an item one could find in the dairy case of any market. Why? Most folks had no idea what it was except for schooled chefs and those of us who scoured French cookbooks and/or read magazines like Bon Appétit, Food & Wine and Gourmet. Yes indeed -- foodie life was very different pre- Food Network and the information superhighway we refer to as the internet. A bit about crème "fraîche" (pronounced "fresh" and meaning "fresh cream"): In technical terms, it's a French-invented...... View full recipe for "~ How to Make Whole Buttermilk & Crème Fraîche ~"

02/12/2017

~ Powdered Buttermilk: What it is & How to use it. ~

Once upon a time, buttermilk was something I kept on hand. As a cook and baker for our family of five, I used it regularly to make quite a few things: pancakes, waffles, biscuits, scones, coffee cake, pound cake, fried chicken and salad dressing. To breads and cakes it adds tangy flavor and volume and produces a fine, soft crumb. Its acidity when used as a marinade is a natural tenderizer for poultry and meat. There's more. It does all this without adding a lot of extra fat. Times change. Our children grew up and left the nest. That left...... View full recipe for "~ Powdered Buttermilk: What it is & How to use it. ~"

01/22/2017

~ A Plain, All-Purpose, No-Nonsense Muffin Recipe ~

Who bakes plain muffins and why? I do and here's why. I enjoy a lot of treats unembellished -- doughnuts, cake doughnuts, cream cakes, crumb cakes and coffeecakes to name a few. Heck, I even like plain cheesecake. That said, for those who prefer their muffins chocked-full of goodies (fresh or dried fruits, berries, nuts, chocolate- peanut butter- or cinnamon-chips and/or toffee bits), having a basic muffin batter recipe in your back pocket takes the guess and stress out of making all sorts of muffins exactly the way your family, friends and you like them -- simply by adding a...... View full recipe for "~ A Plain, All-Purpose, No-Nonsense Muffin Recipe ~"

01/20/2017

~ The Differences Between: Cupcakes and Muffins ~

Cupcakes and muffins. Past their shape and portable-foodness, they have less in common than one might think. The fast, simple generic answer is: Cupcakes are fancy little cup-sized cakes and muffins are plain little cup-sized quick-breads. Served with an ice-cold glass of milk or cup of piping hot coffee, rare is the person who would take a pass on either. That said, I will always choose a muffin over a cupcake. Sorry cupcake -- this post is going to be a bit biased. Shape. They're both baked in multiple-cupped pans, to produce individual-sized, portable portions. Prior to the invention of...... View full recipe for "~ The Differences Between: Cupcakes and Muffins ~"

01/18/2017

~ Go Bananas: Banana-Nut Chocolate-Chip Muffins ~

Go bananas or gone bananas -- an idiom implying one is or has gone mildly crazy. When it comes to well-made muffins, I am not mildly crazy about them, I am certifiably crazy about them. I prefer a muffin to a cupcake, and, to be clear, I personally would choose a banana-nut muffin over a banana chocolate-chip muffin. That said, it's not always about me: some folks dislike or have a bona fide allergy to nuts, and, unlike me, many others just love and crave chocolate. "Let's meet for coffee." (Said by me never.) "Let's meet for coffee." It's something...... View full recipe for "~ Go Bananas: Banana-Nut Chocolate-Chip Muffins ~"

12/31/2016

~ Finger Food: Eggnog Brioche French Toast Sticks ~

Finger foods for breakfast? Heck yea. Well-seasoned tailgaters and football fans do it all the time. New Years -- 'Tis the season to gather together for bowl parties -- no knives, forks or spoons required. Appetizers and snacks commonly found at our early-morning finger-food pub-grub buffets are mini-quiche tartlets, bacon wrapped shrimp, hot crab dip, sausage balls, deviled ham and/or salmon spread with bagel chips, and, a big plate of French toast sticks with a bowl of warm maple syrup sitting in the center for dipping. It's always the duty of the host to prepare "the sticks" and deliver them,...... View full recipe for "~ Finger Food: Eggnog Brioche French Toast Sticks ~"

12/28/2016

~ Eggnog Breakfast Brioche in the Bread Machine ~

Eggnog bread -- most folks associate it with quick bread (like banana, zucchini and date-nut). It's referred to as quick bread because it's a quick to mix together loaf that is leavened with baking powder and/or baking soda instead of yeast -- it rises as it bakes in the oven. It's semi-dense texture is very similar to a muffin or a poundcake and it's usually topped with a sugary glaze of some sort before slicing. It's easy to make and it's quite delicious too. That said: I make an eggnog brioche that most folks don't know exists. A bit about...... View full recipe for "~ Eggnog Breakfast Brioche in the Bread Machine ~"

07/15/2016

~ My New England Top-Split Brioche Hot Dog Rolls ~

The first time I encountered a top-split hot dog roll I was standing on the hot asphalt on the grounds of the New York World's Fair at Flushing Meadows Park in 1964. As a 9-year-old, I gave great consideration to NOT eating my hot dog that day because I didn't trust the shape of the roll. I was a very cautious child foodie. After a healthy dose of discipline from my mother, I ate my hot dog (mostly because I wanted that Belgian waffle I was promised), and, by my fourth and last visit to "The Fair" in 1965, I...... View full recipe for "~ My New England Top-Split Brioche Hot Dog Rolls ~"

06/14/2016

~ Flatbread in a hurry? Easy No-Yeast Indian Naan ~

From biryani to vindaloo, whenever I cook Indian fare, I can't, in good conscience, serve it without flatbread. My Indian girlfriends have all explained to me the integral role their many varieties of flatbread (and crepes) play in their very diverse Indian culture and cuisine. Every Indian cook knows how to make their family's traditional breads, and, every Indian cook serves one or more types every day with almost every meal. Not making it is not an option. That's that. India is very complex culturally, geographically and religiously. Over the centuries, Indian food has been influenced by many foreign cuisines...... View full recipe for "~ Flatbread in a hurry? Easy No-Yeast Indian Naan ~"

05/05/2016

~ Deli-, Bakery-, & Coffee-Shop- Style Crumb Cake ~

If you're under the impression that "coffeecake" and "crumb cake" are words that can be used interchangeably, you haven't spent much time in the delicatessens, bakeries and coffee shops of the Northeast, namely: New York, New Jersey, and here in Pennsylvania too. We take our crumb cake seriously. Simply stated: it is a medium-textured buttercake with a coarse-grained, flour-based cohesive-crumb layer on top. Confusing it with other types of crumby cakes (which sometimes contain fruit or nuts and get topped with a sort-of similar-looking but looser streusel topping), is easily avoided -- once you taste a crumb cake, the difference...... View full recipe for "~ Deli-, Bakery-, & Coffee-Shop- Style Crumb Cake ~"

05/02/2016

~ Come on Over for Coffee & a Classic Coffeecake ~

Thanks to post WWII advertising campaigns by the American Coffee Bureau, by 1950, America was a country of coffee drinkers. In the workplace, the 15-minute coffee break was born, and, if you were a housewife, once you got your husband off to work and the kids off to school, you likely participated in a daily, weekly or occasional mid-morning "coffee klatch" with neighborhood friends. The term "coffee klatch" comes from the German word "kaffeeklatsch", meaning "coffee chat" -- a casual gathering for sharing coffee and conversation with close confidants. Literally translated: kaffee = coffee, and, klatsch = gossip. I like...... View full recipe for "~ Come on Over for Coffee & a Classic Coffeecake ~"

02/11/2016

~ Back to Basics, Plain & Simple, Date & Nut Bread ~

I found myself chewing on some dried, pitted dates yesterday. Nothing unusual in that. We were visiting my parents and my mom stepped out to go to the hairdresser. I volunteered to organize her refrigerator and freezer for her while she was gone. That might sound odd, but, I like to organize everything and my mom gives me carte blanche to organize whatever the h*** I want when I'm there. I found dates in the her refrigerator. The mind works in mysterious ways. Dates yesterday, a vintage date-nut quick-bread recipe today. Recipes for Date & Walnut Bread started being published...... View full recipe for "~ Back to Basics, Plain & Simple, Date & Nut Bread ~"

12/02/2015

~ How & Why to Make: (French-Style) Breadcrumbs ~

Buying store-bought breadcrumbs is like buying a store-bought pie crust. It's an all-too-convenient time-saver in a very busy world, but, when you get down to brass tacks, there's no tasteful way to compare the two. Economically, the cost differential is comparable to spending a hard-earned dollar vs. finding a shiny penny -- it's extreme. While, whenever I need them, I always make my own fresh breadcrumbs in the food processor, up until a few years ago, I was a full-blown buyer of dried, seasoned and unseasoned breadcrumbs -- Progresso or 4C. These are good products. I am not criticizing them....... View full recipe for "~ How & Why to Make: (French-Style) Breadcrumbs ~"

10/31/2015

~ My A-1 All-Purpose Bread-Machine Pizza Dough ~

A great pizza starts with a great crust, but, finding a pizza dough recipe to suit your requirements is not as easy as the ingredients list indicates: flour, water, salt, yeast, and sometimes sugar and/or olive oil. Cooks who take pizza making seriously have more than one pizza dough recipe in their repertoire because certain pizzas require a certain type of crust -- there's no getting around it. Beyond that, within each type, everyone who takes pizza making seriously, professionally or at home, makes their dough a bit differently. Pizza dough and pizza is personal -- there's no getting around...... View full recipe for "~ My A-1 All-Purpose Bread-Machine Pizza Dough ~"

10/28/2015

~ For the Times When You Gotta Have Garlic Knots ~

Garlic knots always remind me of the movie Saturday Night Fever (even though not a single knot got eaten in the movie). That said, in the opening scene, when Tony Manero grabbed "a couple of slices" and did his famous disco-stroll down 86th street, every lover-of-disco who had occasion to travel to Brooklyn wanted to make a pilgrimage to Lenny's Pizza -- including me. I almost made it too. An October ice storm caused us to cancel our plans, and, soon afterward, the couple we were traveling with moved to Connecticut. Eileen and I had worked together in a Happy...... View full recipe for "~ For the Times When You Gotta Have Garlic Knots ~"

10/21/2015

~ Cinnamon Rolls made w/Food Processor Dough ~

Yes, if you ask me really nice, "pretty please", I will bake you fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and, I won't be getting up in the middle of the night to do it either. I will mix my dough in the food processor in less than 5 minutes, then it'll take me another 20-25 minutes to roll the dough out, top it with the sugar and cinnamon mixture, slice 'em up and put 'em in a baking dish. Sans the two dough risings (about 2 1/2 hours) and the baking time (about 30 minutes), the actual hands-on time it takes...... View full recipe for "~ Cinnamon Rolls made w/Food Processor Dough ~"

10/13/2015

~ Papo Secos: Portuguese Dinner/Sandwich Rolls ~

What I do not know about Portuguese food is a lot. What I've learned has come from cookbooks, not hands-on experience. Back in 1986, cookbook author Jean Anderson wrote The Food of Portugal. It won the IACP Tastemaker Award that year for Best Foreign Cookbook. Then, in 1993, Carol Robertson wrote Portuguese Cooking: The Authentic and Robust Cuisines of Portugal. Since then, other Portuguese cookbooks have been written, but, these two trail blazers, still available on Amazon, have stood the test of time in my library. They are full of need-to-know information and reliable recipes that work in the American...... View full recipe for "~ Papo Secos: Portuguese Dinner/Sandwich Rolls ~"

10/10/2015

~ Make the Batter ahead: Buttermilk & Bran Muffins ~

We all agree that a muffin is at its best as soon as it can be eaten -- as soon as it has cooled enough to pick it up with your fingertips and pull it apart. For me, a warm muffin with a slather of softened butter or cream cheese is the ideal breakfast. That's all comfy-cozy sounding, but, even I don't have the time or desire to get up early enough on any given morning to mix a batch of muffin batter. That's why, over the years, I've collected a few muffin recipes that allow me to make the...... View full recipe for "~ Make the Batter ahead: Buttermilk & Bran Muffins ~"

10/07/2015

~ It's an Apple, Raisin & Pecan-Streusel Muffin Day ~

I have a love-hate relationship with muffins. I love them for for breakfast, especially the muffins that I bake, and, I even love muffins that a few of my friends make, but, I hate most store-bought or bakery-made muffins. Why? I find that most commercially-made muffins contain too few goodies (fresh or dried fruit, chopped nuts, a grain, or, a fragrant spice) and way too much sugar. Their cloying sweetness gives me a headache -- a real head-banger of a headache. Similar to the low-key and friendly "welcome guests to your kitchen" ambiance of a coffeecake, to me, muffins are...... View full recipe for "~ It's an Apple, Raisin & Pecan-Streusel Muffin Day ~"

09/08/2015

~ Caraway-Seeded Salt-Crusted Kummelweck Rolls~

Nothing is more important to a well-constructed sandwich than the bread or roll it gets served on -- the shape, texture and taste all play a role in the production, and, all affect the end result. While it's not against the law to make substitutions, name one kid that wants their PB&J served in a pita pocket. The thought alone brings tears to my eyes. When it comes to run-of-the-mill family-friendly sandwiches like the patty melt, club, sub or sloppy Joe, we all know exactly what bread product to buy, and, we have zero trouble finding it at our local...... View full recipe for "~ Caraway-Seeded Salt-Crusted Kummelweck Rolls~"

08/28/2015

~Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls~

I made dinner rolls today because I had buttermilk leftover in my refrigerator. I wish they'd sell buttermilk like cream, in one and two cup cartons -- a full quart is usually about twice as much as I need. For example: On Friday of last week, I used one cup to make my ~ Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~, to use as a dip for my ~ Seriously E-Z & Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Wings ~. One week later, I still had three cups of buttermilk lollygagging around in my refrigerator. Happy ending: These dinner rolls will make...... View full recipe for "~Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls~"

07/21/2015

~ Dehydrated Pie Cherry & Pistachio Zucchini Bread~

You show me your recipe for zucchini bread and I'll show you mine. Everyone who has ever planted a zucchini seed has a recipe for zucchini bread -- every last zucchini-growing one of us. This is my homegrown version and I only make it once or twice, at this time, each year. Why? 'Tis the end of the sour cherry season and the beginning of the zucchini season. While it's common to find dried fruits and nuts added to zucchini bread, I happen to think mine, made with my own dried sour cherries, plus toasted pistachios, is is one uniquely...... View full recipe for "~ Dehydrated Pie Cherry & Pistachio Zucchini Bread~"

04/01/2015

~ Macadamia-Mango, Coconut-Rum Banana-Bread ~

From the day I got married, I began celebrating two Easter holidays. One for Joe's loud, Italian-Catholic family and one for my quiet Russian, Eastern Orthodox family. While the theme for both is the same, the foodie traditions are very different. To make a long story as short as possible, they fall on different dates because the Orthodox religion follows the Julian calendar (the calendar of Julius Caesar that was introduced in 46 B.C.), and, the Catholic church follows the Gregorian calendar (instituted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582). The Pope's reformed calendar was slow to catch on in religions...... View full recipe for "~ Macadamia-Mango, Coconut-Rum Banana-Bread ~"

03/17/2015

~ Top of the Mornin' to Irish Cream & Raisin Scones ~

"I asked the maid in dulcet tone, to order me a buttered scone. The silly girl has been and gone, and ordered me a buttered scone." Scone. What an odd little word. All I really knew about them as a child was I loved them. That said, the ones I grew up eating were round, single-serving little cakes resemblant of biscuits, not a raggedy, rough, plate-sized round cut into triangles. So, before I sat down to share my recipe with you, I did look it up to be sure mine are indeed scones -- they are. Scones are universal, but,...... View full recipe for "~ Top of the Mornin' to Irish Cream & Raisin Scones ~"

12/06/2014

~ Perfect Popovers: When doing less really is more! ~

Pretty, puffed-up, golden-brown pockets of crusty, light, airy carbohydrate perfection. With hollow, soft, almost custardlike centers, besides their wonderful taste, freshly and properly baked popovers emerging from the oven are a magnificent sight. They are "one of the culinary wonders of the world". Traditional popovers are really easy to make, and the less you mess with the recipe the better they turn out, but, if the the wet and dry ingredients aren't of the correct ratio, and if the proper baking procedure isn't followed, they will literally be a flip-flop. If you'd like to impress your friends and family with...... View full recipe for "~ Perfect Popovers: When doing less really is more! ~"

12/01/2014

~ How do you measure up? Dry vs. Liquid Measure ~

'Tis the season for making and baking candies, cookies, cakes and all sorts of sweet treats. Great cooks know that in order to achieve confection perfection, it's imperative to weigh and measure all ingredients precisely -- and this means using the right tools the right way. How many of us have tried to duplicate one of grandma's vintage recipes only to be met with disappointment in the end because grandma measured using "a handful of this" and "a pinch of that". If this was how grandma measured, grandma wasn't a great cook and I don't care how good her food...... View full recipe for "~ How do you measure up? Dry vs. Liquid Measure ~"

10/02/2014

~ English Muffin Bread: For the Divine Love of Toast~

If you like English muffins, this easy-to-make bread, which tastes just like (well, almost like) those light, airy, nook and cranny-cratered little English crumpet-cakes, is for you. It requires no kneading, all you do is mix it up in a bowl, let it rise twice (once in the bowl and once in the loaf pan), then bake it. But, like the English muffin, to fully-appreciate what it is, it's gotta be toasted -- taste it untoasted, then, taste it toasted, the difference is like a cold shower vs. a hot shower! This is the easiest, from-scratch yeast bread you will...... View full recipe for "~ English Muffin Bread: For the Divine Love of Toast~"

09/27/2014

~ My All-Purpose PA Dutch-Style Streusel Topping ~

A buttery-rich, cripsy streusel topping is one of my favorite things. I like it because it is both sweet and savory, which makes it very adaptable. I grew up in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, "PA Deutsch Country" -- "the land of apple desserts" Everyone who baked used streusel to top tart fruit pies, coffeecakes and muffins. A neighbor of ours, Agnes, who baked a few times a week, would mix up a big bowl of her streusel topping and keep it on hand in the refrigerator all week -- which if you have a lot of baking to...... View full recipe for "~ My All-Purpose PA Dutch-Style Streusel Topping ~"

05/11/2014

~ My Rosemary & Cracked Black Pepper Focaccia ~

Focaccia is not pizza and pizza is not focaccia! Although the two resemble each other (they are both relatively flat breads), pizza dough, in comparison to focaccia dough, uses less leavening (yeast), resulting in a thinner, denser, flatter, somewhat flexible crust. Even thick-crust, square-shaped, Sicilian-style pizzas are not as thick and firm as a properly-made focaccia. Focaccia dough, which contains more yeast, rises quite a bit higher, enough for it to be sliced in half lengthwise and used as the bread for all sorts of great sandwich or panini combinations. The added leavening firms the crust to the consistency of...... View full recipe for "~ My Rosemary & Cracked Black Pepper Focaccia ~"

04/24/2014

~ Try My Rye: It's Homemade in the Bread Machine ~

Rye bread is a staple of Eastern European cuisine, so, I grew up eating rye bread and loving it. We ate it toasted for breakfast, on sandwiches for lunch and as our bread course for dinner. Some of the best rye breads I have ever encountered have come out of the Jewish bakeries of New York and New Jersey. I'm no innocent when it comes to knowing great rye bread. My favorite rye breads are light ryes (as opposed to dark ryes) containing caraway seeds (a staple in the Eastern European pantry). In fact, it is the nutty, pungent, slightly-musky...... View full recipe for "~ Try My Rye: It's Homemade in the Bread Machine ~"

03/28/2014

~ Bread Machine Basics and Cinnamon-Raisin Bread (Lose that store-bought swirl and give this a whirl!!!) ~

I love a simple piece of toast and a glass of iced tea in the morning. I adore eggs too, but on super-busy days, toast and tea is just fine with me. Favorite toasts include egg bagels, English muffins, brioche and cinnamon-raisin bread. I've always had a knack for bread baking, and, I can't remember ever having any bad experiences. While I can make bagels and English muffins from scratch, I rarely do, and, when it comes to brioche and cinnamon-raisin bread, I've adapted my recipes to the bread machine. Yes, even I (who possesses the skill and desire) no...... View full recipe for "~ Bread Machine Basics and Cinnamon-Raisin Bread (Lose that store-bought swirl and give this a whirl!!!) ~"

12/06/2013

~ Teresa's Stress-Free Cheddar 'n Cream Biscuits ~

T.G.I.F. It was an egg-cellent week here on Kitchen Encounters. I stayed warm in my kitchen, showed you how to ~ Wake Up and Poach an Egg ~ for breakfast on Monday, made ~ My Poached Egg & BLT Cheddar Biscuit Sandwiches ~ on Wednesday, and today, as promised, I'm showing you how to make Teresa Gottier's, mouth-watering, stress-free cheddar cheese 'cream biscuits', which were pictured on my sandwich post (click on the Related Article links below to get the recipes mentioned above). A bit about Teresa and her stress-free biscuits: Teresa Gottier was a pastry chef, and is a...... View full recipe for "~ Teresa's Stress-Free Cheddar 'n Cream Biscuits ~"

11/07/2013

~ Flour Facts: All-Purpose, Bread, Cake and Pastry ~

As the holiday season approaches, family bakers everywhere will be purchasing flour to make their signature breads and sweet treats: pies for Thanksiving, cookies for Christmas, cakes for New Years, etc. There are savory ethnic treats too. For example: My family's Eastern European noodles and pirogi, and, Joe's Italian family's pasta and pizza. Savvy bakers with heritage recipes will be purchasing more than one type of flour to accomplish all of these with ease! A well-written recipe will specify the type of flour required to produce the best results, and, I'd rather not bake something than substitute different flour. Why?...... View full recipe for "~ Flour Facts: All-Purpose, Bread, Cake and Pastry ~"

10/21/2013

~ Want buttery, 'pull-apart' rolls with dinner tonight? ~

Even though my three boys grew up calling these "Mom's Pull-Aparts", this is not my recipe. Back the 1980's (before home computers, the information super-highway or Food TV), moms in search of new recipe ideas often mailed a boxtop or two, and sometimes $1.00, to receive a booklet or pamphlet of recipes from that particular company. I did that a lot back then. This dinner roll recipe came from either a Fleischmann's yeast recipe booklet or a Land O Lakes butter recipe booklet. Both are products I used then and both are products I still use today! Bread baking has...... View full recipe for "~ Want buttery, 'pull-apart' rolls with dinner tonight? ~"

10/01/2013

~Lovin' Spoonful: Buttermilk 'n Cheddar Spoonbread~

Spoonbread is a Southern dish and is believed to be Native American in origin, which makes sense, since the Native Americans were the culinary masters of cooking with maiz/maize (corn and its byproducts). If you've never eaten spoonbread, it is a savory side-dish. Calling it a bread is a stretch because it is a moist, ever-so-slightly grainy, custardy concoction with a crispy top. It gets served in the container it was baked, and, is eaten with a spoon, hence the name. I liken it to a combination of cornmeal-based polenta, cornbread casserole and cornmeal souffle! Taking a drive down memory...... View full recipe for "~Lovin' Spoonful: Buttermilk 'n Cheddar Spoonbread~"

09/13/2013

~ My E-Z Big Fat Greek Lemon-Pepper Garlic Bread~

When most people think about crispy, chewy and cheesy garlic bread, they think about eating Italian food: lasagna, spaghetti, meatballs and/or anything with marinara sauce. Just writing that sentence makes me want to put a pot of Noni's Sunday gravy on the stove to simmer. Recipes and methods for making Italian-style garlic bread vary from household to household, but it's the similarities that are of note. The butter mixture always contains garlic and herbs/spices common to Italian fare: basil, oregano, parsley, pepper and parmesan cheese! Two days ago I posted ~ My Big Fat Greek Lemony-Garlic Salad Dressing + (Jeanne's...... View full recipe for "~ My E-Z Big Fat Greek Lemon-Pepper Garlic Bread~"

08/30/2013

~ The Low-Down on Loaf Pans: What Size & Kind? ~

You've decided to bake a loaf of bread just like Grandma used to make. Good for you! Nothing is quite as ethereal as the aroma of freshly-baked bread. Her recipe says to put the dough in a loaf pan and you don't have one. You drive to the nearest cooking store to find out you must choose between several manufacturers and price ranges, different materials ranging from clear glass and ceramic to shiny, gray or black metal -- each kind in a variety of sizes too. When I was a novice cook (too many years ago to mention), decisions like...... View full recipe for "~ The Low-Down on Loaf Pans: What Size & Kind? ~"

08/28/2013

~A Salty & Sweet Treat: Peanut Butter Bacon Bread~

The way to a man's heart is: Peanut Butter Bacon Bread!!! (Heart-Stopping, Artery-Clogging & Irresistibly Delicious!!!) A few days ago I posted my recipe for ~ "Russian" Sweet & Sour Poppy-Seed Vinaigrette ~, which you can find by clicking on the Related Article link below. Because mine is a variation of Helen Corbitt's (the woman who made it famous), it promted me to pull Helen Corbitt's Cookbook off of a shelf in my library. In it she jokes about how odd she finds it that men love this sweet salad dressing. My husband Joe is a testament to that, and...... View full recipe for "~A Salty & Sweet Treat: Peanut Butter Bacon Bread~"

07/05/2013

~ Sour Cherry and White Chocolate Bread Pudding ~

I'm celebrating the July 4th weekend celebrating sour cherries! If you are an avid cook and/or baker, you too would be celebrating if you were me, because you know how special these cherries are to a foodie. My husband presented me with 58 pounds of sour cherries, which he picked from our backyard cherry tree over the past weekend! Besides a couple of my ~ I can't Lie, this is Real Sour Cherry Pies ~ (recipe in Category 6), and, a big batch of ~ 'Tis True: Sour Cherries Do Make the Best Jam ~ (recipe in Categories 8, 9...... View full recipe for "~ Sour Cherry and White Chocolate Bread Pudding ~"

07/03/2013

~ Culinary Jewels: Dehydrated Sour ("Pie") Cherries~

I am a fruit lover and I've been baking with dried fruits for as long as I've been baking, which is almost 40 years. I grew up watching my grandmother add dried apricots, dates and raisins to all sorts of Eastern European baked goods. I was a young mom of three small boys when the trail mix craze began. My kids liked the brand that included dried bananas, pineapple and papaya. Back in those pre-internet days, if I wanted to make homemade trail mix for our family, catalog shopping was my source for buying dried fruits and nuts, and, one...... View full recipe for "~ Culinary Jewels: Dehydrated Sour ("Pie") Cherries~"

04/04/2013

~ Easy Toaster-Oven Parm 'n Pepper Texas Toast ~

Here I go again! Another recipe that was not on my short list (or any list) of recipes to post, has floated to the top of my pile and it is with a broad smile that I am sharing it with you today. I am always willing to share any recipe I have when someone asks for it, especially since every one of my recipes, no matter how simple or difficult, are more than tasty and thoroughly tested. I am, however, quickly learning that just because I decide to conveniently pass a recipe off in my mind as "not blog...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Toaster-Oven Parm 'n Pepper Texas Toast ~"

03/22/2013

~ Reunited w/a Treasured Preschutti Family Recipe: Peppery Egg & Cheese Crescia for an Italian Easter~

At Easter, Italian cooks bake a very unique, peppery egg and cheese bread called crescia (kray-shah), which means "to grow". As with almost all ethnic recipes, there are as many versions as there are cooks. My husband and his brother Tom grew up loving this bread, and I admit to being intimidated when I was faced with developing a recipe for the two of them based solely upon how they recalled it from their youth in Jessup, PA (without any first hand knowledge of it personally). After talking to a few Italian relatives from Jessup, who actually make the bread...... View full recipe for "~ Reunited w/a Treasured Preschutti Family Recipe: Peppery Egg & Cheese Crescia for an Italian Easter~"

03/03/2013

~ Honey Butter Two Ways: Red Chili & Cinnamon + (The difference between Creamed Honey & Honey) ~

I love honey and I love butter. I grew up putting it on cottony-soft, buttered, Parker House dinner rolls which were almost always served as a side to fried chicken in home kitchens, or, a basket of fried chicken in diner-type eateries. Back in the 60's, my brother David and I lived for the occasions when my mom and dad would drive us to Lehighton, PA, to eat "chicken in the rough". These are pictures of the paper placemats on every table of their booths and counter seats: History of Chicken in the Rough: In the 1930's Beverly and Rubye...... View full recipe for "~ Honey Butter Two Ways: Red Chili & Cinnamon + (The difference between Creamed Honey & Honey) ~"