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97 posts categorized " 05) Breads, Quick Breads, Muffins & GF Stuff"

09/21/2021

~Keep-it-Simple Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies~

Home-baked cookies. They're one of life's simple pleasures, and perhaps, the quintessential sweet treat -- not to big, not to small, portable feel-good satisfaction. While everyone has a favorite cookie, more often than not, folks will declare the chocolate chip to be their number-one favorite or a close second, and, everyone who bakes cookies has a favorite chocolate-chip cookie recipe (or three). That said, if you're baking cookies for a celiac, you need a recipe you can rely on and mine is the one. It's spot-on -- taste and texturally, there's no need to announce it's GF. For the record,...... View full recipe for "~Keep-it-Simple Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies~"

09/18/2021

~My Gluten-Free Brioche Made in the Bread Machine~

Bread. It's said to be the staff of life. A basic staple. Want proof of that? Just go to the grocery store in any time of community angst or crisis. It is the first item to disappear from the shelves. From one end of our food world to the other, every country and culture, rich or poor, eats bread in some form. Here in America, bread, homemade or store-bought, in households like mine and yours, can be found on our tables for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of us take this slice of life for granted. That said, this is...... View full recipe for "~My Gluten-Free Brioche Made in the Bread Machine~"

09/12/2021

~What is Quick Bread and What Defines Quick Bread~

Quick bread is an American term that refers to bread that is quick to make because it doesn't require kneading or rising time. It originated during the American civil war, when the demand for food and bread was high. Innovative cooks began rapidly producing bread and baked goods that were leavened with baking soda rather than yeast. Nowadays, the leavening agent is predominately double-acting baking powder, or, a combination of baking powder and baking soda. In the case of baking powder, it is called "double acting" because the rising process starts the moment it makes contact with the liquids, and,...... View full recipe for "~What is Quick Bread and What Defines Quick Bread~ "

08/15/2021

~ Demystifying the Differences Between Four Flours ~

All-purpose flour, bread flour, cake flour and pastry flour. It really is all in the name, and, a well-written recipe will specify the type of flour required to produce the best results. I for one would rather not bake something than substitute a different flour. Why? Unlike cooking, baking is a precise science. It is a series of chemical reactions that occur based upon a list of weighed and/or measured ingredients. The words "smidgen", "pinch" and "dash" have no place in the baking world. The moment you grasp this, you can embrace baking. And, please don't let the words "precise...... View full recipe for "~ Demystifying the Differences Between Four Flours ~"

07/25/2021

~ Put Gluten-Free Beer in Gluten-Free Pizza-Dough ~

Let me start by saying that a great pizza crust is puffy, chewy and crispy with a bit of yeasty flavor. Let me end by saying, a gluten-free pizza crust is none of those things. In fact, the only two things a traditional yeast-risen pizza crust and a yeast-risen gluten-free pizza crust have in common are shape and function. Once I got past that and stopped trying to turn "water into wine", it was easier (I didn't say easy, 'cause it took several tries) for me to move-on and come up with a perfectly-palatable very-tasty gluten-free crust to please those...... View full recipe for "~ Put Gluten-Free Beer in Gluten-Free Pizza-Dough ~"

04/26/2021

~How to Bake a Pullman Loaf in a Pullman Bread Pan~

The Pullman loaf is the quintessential white sandwich loaf. The name "Pullman" comes from its use in the kitchens of the Pullman Company's railway cars of the 1800s, and, the Pullman company is credited with inventing the rectangular-shaped lidded baking pans (which coincidentally resembled the shape of the railroad cars). Baking bread in a pan with a lid is, functionally a bit different than baking bread in an open-topped pan, which, of course, affects the crumb structure. The confined space, which doesn't allow most of the steam to escape, prevents big air bubbles from forming, which keeps the crumb fine...... View full recipe for "~How to Bake a Pullman Loaf in a Pullman Bread Pan~"

04/23/2021

~ What Exactly is a Pullman Loaf & Pullman Loaf Pan ~

A flat-topped loaf of white sandwich bread that gets baked in a square-sided loaf pan with a lid is, culinarily, known as a Pullman loaf. It goes without saying, the technical term for the loaf pan itself is a Pullman pan. The fancy French terms for a Pullman loaf are "pain-de-mie" ("pain" meaning "bread", and "mie" meaning "the soft white inner part of the loaf"), and, "pain anglais" (meaning "English loaf"). It's a loaf of somewhat-firm-yet-soft enriched white bread with perfectly square sides and minimal crust. It slices easily, making it the quintessential sandwich loaf. The Pullman loaf is the...... View full recipe for "~ What Exactly is a Pullman Loaf & Pullman Loaf Pan ~"

03/12/2021

~A Slice of Hometown Pie -- My Hometown Pizza Pie~

When I was three, my parents built a home in the suburbs of Tamaqua, PA -- Hometown, PA. Hometown, was/is a community of mostly one-story ranch and bi-level homes that is best described as where the post-WWII generation built their dream homes in the latter 1950's, 60's and 70's -- homes with one or two car garages or an occasional car port, well-maintained lawns with backyard patios, swing sets and badminton nets, barbecue grills, etc. -- a great neighborhood to raise kids. Amongst other things, Hometown had its own fire company, elementary school, a couple of gas stations, a diner,...... View full recipe for "~A Slice of Hometown Pie -- My Hometown Pizza Pie~"

03/09/2021

~ Put the Beer in the Pizza Dough Thin-Crust Pizza ~

If you're a fan of, or prefer, a thin-and-crispy light-and-airy crust as the foil for your pizza or pizza creations, this is the recipe you've been searching for. Thanks to a pizza-pro friend who schooled me on the virtues of beer in his pizza dough (by emptying almost an entire bottle of beer into his flour mixture in place of water), all it took was one taste when his pizza was done for me to try it in my own home kitchen. It changed one of my pizza dough recipes forever -- my thin crust recipe. One ingredient, one substitution,...... View full recipe for "~ Put the Beer in the Pizza Dough Thin-Crust Pizza ~"

02/26/2021

~ Beer in the Pizza Dough & a Semolina Pizza Crust ~

Experimenting with pizza dough is not something I do often. Why? Because one has to be willing to run the risk of sacrificing a pizza in the event it doesn't work. Let's put it another way, one has to be of the mindset to experiment with a new dough or a variation on an existing one, and (chuckle if you want to but it's really not a laughing matter if you're wed to eating pizza), for a few short hours, one must throw caution to the wind and live dangerously. I did this today, and, I gotta say, I came...... View full recipe for "~ Beer in the Pizza Dough & a Semolina Pizza Crust ~"

02/17/2021

~Jiffy Mix Cornbread, Corn Casserole & Corn Pudding~

Three distinctly-different recipes with three decidedly-different results, all using one, inexpensive common-to-us-all, ingredient: Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. At 59 cents for each eye-catching blue-and-yellow box, it's been a time-saving staple in my pantry for over four decades. I am not alone. A week ago, there was discussion, on one of my Facebook friend's pages, about store-bought cornbread mixes. We discussed the rising cost of them, and, which one us "cheaters" consider the best. As it turned out, almost unanimously (Martha White gets honorable mention), it was the Jiffy brand. We went on to share our favorite ways to "doctor it"...... View full recipe for "~Jiffy Mix Cornbread, Corn Casserole & Corn Pudding~"

02/08/2021

~In a Jiffy-Cornbread-Mix Double-Delicious Cornbread~

Breakfast, lunch or dinner, more-often-than-not, a corn muffin or wedge of cornbread is a welcome addition to the table. Served hot or warm slathered with butter and/or a drizzle of honey, puts it over-the-top. That said, while corn muffins and cornbread are easy enough to make from scratch (if you use enough yellow cornmeal on a regular basis to justify keeping a bag in your pantry), there is a popular and inexpensive way to speed the process up and still produce a seriously-delightful loaf of this beloved Southern staple. It's called Jiffy corn muffin mix, and, at 59-ish cents a...... View full recipe for "~In a Jiffy-Cornbread-Mix Double-Delicious Cornbread~ "

10/20/2020

~ RedHot Buffalo-Style Bread-Machine Pizza Dough ~

Seriously? Yes, seriously. Thanks to two great store-bought dry seasoning blends, Frank's RedHot Original Seasoning and Frank's RedHot Ranch Seasoning, you really can season your pizza dough in true Buffalo wing style, AND, trust me when I tell you, it makes one (actually two) awesome crusts for any Buffalo-style chicken pizza, or my recipe for Buffalo-Style chicken pizza. Who wouldn't want to add authentic, full-throttle Buffalo-flavor to the pizza dough too! 1 1/2 cups warm water 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons sea salt 2 teaspoons sugar 2 tablespoons Frank's RedHotRanch seasoning blend 2...... View full recipe for "~ RedHot Buffalo-Style Bread-Machine Pizza Dough ~"

10/13/2020

~ RedHot-Ranch Croutons for Buffalo Chicken Salad ~

One could call me obsessed, or perhaps off-my-rocker, for baking a loaf of bread for the sole purpose of making Buffalo-seasoned bread or Buffalo-seasoned croutons for a deli-sandwich or a chef's-type Buffalo-style chicken salad. That said, in my own defense, when the bread machine does all the work for me, why wouldn't I go the extra mile to make a great sandwich or salad even greater. Trust me, "my cheese has not slid of my cracker". There's just something so very special about appropriately-seasoned homemade bread or croutons used in an ingredient-specific sandwich or on an ingredient-specific salad that speaks...... View full recipe for "~ RedHot-Ranch Croutons for Buffalo Chicken Salad ~"

05/03/2020

~How and Why to Proof Pizza Dough Two Easy Ways~

Wouldn't it be great if the moment the smooth, round ball of pizza dough was kneaded we could slap it on the pan, pat it out, slather it with sauce, layer it with toppings and pop it in the oven? It sure would, but, unfortunately, we can't -- well, we can, but the end result is somewhat less than palatable. "Proofing" pizza dough, meaning, "the time it takes for the dough to rise after it has been kneaded and initially bulk-proofed", is the most important step in the pizza making process. Sadly, it's all-too-often not taken seriously -- it gets...... View full recipe for "~How and Why to Proof Pizza Dough Two Easy Ways~"

01/28/2020

~A Basic Italian Semolina Bread in the Bread Machine~

The option to get my sandwich served to me on semolina bread. I wish it would happen oftener. Because it happens so rarely, when it does happen, it's cause for rejoicing. When I happen to come across an entire loaf in a bakery, it's cause for much rejoicing. Soft and chewy with an open crumb, same-day-made golden-yellow semolina bread is great dipped in olive oil or marinara sauce, or, used as a foil for a soft, buttery cheese. The next day, it's great lightly-toasted and slathered with a copious amount of sweet cream butter, or, used as a base for...... View full recipe for "~A Basic Italian Semolina Bread in the Bread Machine~"

10/15/2019

~ About Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix & My Copycat Recipe ~

This blast-from-my-past box of versatile, dependable baking goodness allowed me, as a young girl, to hone my skills with yeast dough and bread. While I have many refined recipes for specialty breads and rolls in my repertoire (which, as a young adult I learned hands-on from my grandmother and mother), that was not always the case. There was a time in my life, as a young pre-teen, ages 9-12 give-or-take, when I expressed a serious interest in experimenting, on my own, with my own creations, to imitate the recipes of my grandmother and mother. I was a remarkably meticulous child,...... View full recipe for "~ About Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix & My Copycat Recipe ~ "

02/09/2019

~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. A double-whammy of calories and carbohydrates are going on our dinner table tonight. Why? Because eating spaghetti and meatballs without a great big basket of garlic bread on the table is, gulp, culinarily criminal. We'll have a salad too, because it too goes great with this meal (not because it's healthy or to make me feel less guilty). Everybody knows spaghetti and meatballs require garlic bread, a salad and a bottle of red wine. Garlic bread isn't Italian. Neither is spaghetti & meatballs. While many regard spaghetti & meatballs as quintessential Italian, the...... View full recipe for "~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~"

11/28/2018

~ Glorious Golden Potato and Onion Sandwich Rolls ~

Get out the deli-roast beef, Swiss cheese and horseradish sauce. An onion roll turns any plain-Jane roast-beef sandwich into an extraordinary roast-beef sandwich. I love potato bread and any type of slightly-sweet and pillowy-soft potato rolls in general. Unless I am specifically looking for a crusty, semi-firm roll, 'tater-type rolls are my all-purpose sandwich rolls of choice -- that includes hamburger and hot dog rolls too. The only thing better than a soft, slightly-sweet potato-sandwich roll is a soft, slightly-sweet potato-sandwich roll laced with small bits of onion and herbs. I tout these for roast-beef sandwiches -- they're great 'burger...... View full recipe for "~ Glorious Golden Potato and Onion Sandwich Rolls ~"

11/17/2018

~ Sweet & Savory Herbed Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls ~

I love potato bread and any type of slightly-sweet and pillowy soft potato rolls in general. Unless I am specifically looking for a crusty, semi-firm roll for a specific reason, rolls of the 'tater-type are my all-purpose sandwich roll of choice -- that includes hamburger and hot dog rolls too. That said, I like the sweet potato even more than I like the red, Russet or gold potato. As long as I can find sweet potatoes in the grocery store, which is about nine months out of the year, I keep them on hand always, as, for me, a humble,...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet & Savory Herbed Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls ~"

10/28/2018

~ Old-Fashioned Deep-Fried & Glazed Apple Fritters ~

Fall is when we all start gravitating to apple desserts, and, while pie is the first thing that comes to most folks minds, I have a date with my grandmother's apple fritters today. Here in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August (when local sweet corn is in season) and sweet apple fritters in September and October (when local apples are in season). I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried. Doughnuts were/are made on...... View full recipe for "~ Old-Fashioned Deep-Fried & Glazed Apple Fritters ~"

10/09/2018

~The Crispy Bits about Bruschetta, Crostini and Panini~

Bread comes in many forms. I am of the opinion that bread IS the staff of life, and, I average one serving of bread per day. Sans the occasional requisite soft-textured grilled-cheese sliced white, the hot-dog roll and the hamburger bun, any humble flatbread or pita pocket, along with the breakfast-y bagel and English muffin, the display here represents a sampling of my personal artisanal favorites. Except for one, the delicate croissant, they are all firm-textured, and, by choosing the correct shape, I can make make one of three crispy Italian-style specialties. Bruschetta (broo-skeh-tah) means "oiled slice" and comes from...... View full recipe for "~The Crispy Bits about Bruschetta, Crostini and Panini~"

09/28/2018

~ Cinnamon 'n Raisin Bread Cinnamon-Swirl Muffins ~

There's nothing like waking up to the ethereal smell of freshly-baked cinnamon rolls. That said, if you're the cinnamon-roll baker, unless your family sleeps until Noon, "pulling that off" means getting up long before dawn -- yawn. My happy little twist on classic cinnamon rolls, which lets a pre-programmed bread machine mix and proof my recipe for cinnamon-raisin bread dough, will get you an extra 55-minutes of AM snooze time. Tick, tock. It's smooth and stress-free sailing after that. The super-manageable dough pats out easily, store-bought cinnamon-sugar gets sprinkled on top, roll, slice and in the muffin tins they go...... View full recipe for "~ Cinnamon 'n Raisin Bread Cinnamon-Swirl Muffins ~"

08/02/2018

~ Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat & Trail Mix Quick Bread ~

I'd love to tout this scrumptious breakfast treat as healthy -- I suppose in some oaty-grain fruit-and-nut-land sort of way it is, so, if that convinces you to give this recipe a try, I can live with that -- in the meantime, I'll just proclaim it to be a somewhat healthier option to most other sweets found in bakeries and coffeeshops (especially since my favorite way to indulge in a slice of this bread is toaster-oven-toasted and slathered with a touch of softened salted butter). Just yum. A bit about quick bread: "Quick bread" is an American term that refers...... View full recipe for "~ Peanut Butter-Banana-Oat & Trail Mix Quick Bread ~"

07/22/2018

~ Mel's Easy Thai-Spiced Bread-Machine Slider Rolls ~

Bread is not a part of the traditional Thai diet. That said, East met West quite a few decades ago. Thai cooks brought their traditional recipes here to the USA, and in turn, American chefs and cooks who fell in love with Thai food have been very successful at inventing all sorts of Thai-style wraps, Thai-style sandwiches, and Thai-style pizza too -- Thai-style wraps, sandwiches and pizza are all American or Thai-American creations. I know this to be true, because my family thrives on my Thai-inspired creations. A trip to Thailand will reveal that nowadays, a good portion of the...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Easy Thai-Spiced Bread-Machine Slider Rolls ~"

07/20/2018

~Mel's Easy Thai-Spiced Bread-Machine Pizza Dough~

Every great pizza starts with a great crust, and, when it came to creating a Thai-style pizza dough, my decision to infuse Thai flavors into the crust, for an extra layer of flavor, transformed my Thai-style pizza into a great pizza. Fact: Bread and cheese are not part of the traditional Thai diet. That said, us Americans who love Thai food have been very successful at inventing all sorts of Thai-style wraps and sandwiches -- all of them are American or Thai-American creations. When travelers return to the USA from Thailand, it's almost impossible to wean themselves of the bold,...... View full recipe for "~Mel's Easy Thai-Spiced Bread-Machine Pizza Dough~"

06/25/2018

~ Summer Strawberry and Banana Breakfast Muffins ~

I rarely drink coffee, but when I do, a muffin is involved. The humbly-crumbly and not-too-sweet muffin is the perfect accompaniment to my steaming hot cup of caffeine laced with cream. In my muffin world, muffins are to be consumed for breakfast or brunch, bigger does not equate to better, mini-muffins miss the entire touchy-feely point, and, muffins containing chunks of fresh or dried fruit and/or toasted nuts are amongst my favorites -- even the most magnificent Chocolate-Chip Muffin top can't woo me away from an Apple, Raisin & Pecan Streusel Muffin. As a gal who considers a banana a...... View full recipe for "~ Summer Strawberry and Banana Breakfast Muffins ~"

02/25/2018

~Bread Machine Herbed-Pizza-Dough Sandwich Loaf~

Can your favorite pizza dough be turned into a loaf of bread? I have no idea -- it's your recipe. With certainty, I can tell you: my slightly-adjusted Sicilian-style pizza dough recipe can be turned into an amazing loaf of savory, slightly-firm-textured bread, and, what's more, I let the bread machine do all the work for me. Imagine the ingredients for your favorite submarine- hoagie-type sandwich piled high between two slices of herbed-pizza-bread, or, an herbed-pizza-bread grilled cheese or panini, or, crispy herbed-pizza-bread croutons tossed into your favorite chef's salad. Put all ingredients in pan & let the machine do...... View full recipe for "~Bread Machine Herbed-Pizza-Dough Sandwich Loaf~"

02/06/2018

~Baked-in-Muffin-Tins Slider-Size Pizza-Dough Rolls~

Every sandwich deserves to be served on great bread, so, when I decided to serve these cold submarine sliders alongside my hot and cheesy sausage, mushroom and onion pizza sliders at yesterday's indoor Super Bowl tailgate, I started by making my slider-size pizza-dough rolls. I've been making these unique rolls, in both slider- and dinner-roll size for several years now. They're chewy and light on the inside with plenty of crusty exterior, and, once folks get a taste of one, "why didn't I think of that", and, "this is amazing", are statements I hear a lot. Pizza-dough dinner- or slider-size...... View full recipe for "~Baked-in-Muffin-Tins Slider-Size Pizza-Dough Rolls~"

02/04/2018

~ Herbed, Muffin-Tin-Baked Yeast-Bread Dinner Rolls ~

Be prepared to expand your waistband. If you're a person who sits down to dinner and likes to dip your rustic bread in a side of tangy tomato-based pasta sauce or savory American-style gravy, these muffin-tin-baked personal-sized dinner rolls are better than any slice of rustic bread any day of the week. This (my) bread-machine-mixed dough bakes up chewy and light on the inside with plenty of crusty exterior. Put a basket of these on your dinner table and let the dipping begin. When a slightly-adjusted Sicilian-style pizza-dough recipe... ... turns into a dozen Italian-bread-style dinner rolls. The inspiration for...... View full recipe for "~ Herbed, Muffin-Tin-Baked Yeast-Bread Dinner Rolls ~"

01/09/2018

~Eggnog & Butter-Rum Cinnamon-Apple Fritter Bread~

There's a lot going on in the title of this recipe, but, trust me, after I peel back the layers and get to the heart of it, there will be a moist, quick-bread resemblant of everything one could hope to taste in both their favorite apple-fritter (a deep-fried doughnut sans the hole) and cinnamon bun -- in bread loaf form. There are many recipes for apple fritter bread. They vary a bit from cook to cook with one common thread: the way the batter and the primary ingredient (apples) get layered into the loaf pan. It's signature is a pretty...... View full recipe for "~Eggnog & Butter-Rum Cinnamon-Apple Fritter Bread~"

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 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 oven,...... 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 ~"