Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Persian Bread   Leave a comment

Besides making wonderful Persian Bread, this recipe is my go-to recipe when I need dough that’s workable, soft, and yummy. It came to me years ago from my sister-in-love Beka, who got it from her sis, Sarah. Here’s the recipe with my slight adaptations:

Combine and set aside:
1/2 c warm water
3 T sugar
2 T yeast

Other ingredients:
3 1/2 c flour (I often do 2 c unbleached all-purpose and 1 1/2 c wheat)
3/4 c warm milk
1/2 c butter, softened, but not melted
1 t salt

Combine 1 1/2 c flour with milk, butter, and salt.
Add yeast mixture.
Stir in remaining 2 c flour, one cup at a time.
Let rise until doubled (45 – 60 min.)
Punch down and divide dough in half.
Make two flat round loaves about 6-8 inches across.
Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350′ for 20-25 minutes. Crust should be golden brown.

Let cool enough to cut, then slice and slather with butter.

For pizza dough, this makes two pizza crusts.
For calzones, it makes 10-12 “personal” calzones or four large calzones to be cut into pieces.


Posted March 28, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies from scratch   2 comments

I’ve been reading here and there around blog-land about making Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies, and the thought has been haunting me. Yesterday, I decided it was time! The recipes I’ve seen call for using mixes, which I don’t generally buy, so I made mine from scratch and thought I’d pass it on to you.

Fair warning – this recipe has nothing low-calorie or low-fat about it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (the classic Toll House recipe, my favorite since I was a child):
Cream together, adding one ingredient at a time, scraping the side of the mixer bowl often –
1 1/2 c butter (three sticks)
1 c sugar (the recipe actually says 1c +2T for this and the br. sug, I usually do a rounded cup)
1 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs

Add and mix just until incorporated –
3 1/3 c flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
(I usually add the soda and salt to the estimated 1/3 c of flour and mix it up before adding it to the bowl)

Mix in by hand –
12 oz bag chocolate chips

(for cookies, bake for 8 minutes @ 350′)

Brownie Batter (this is my favorite brownie recipe, many thanks to Cathy Smith for introducing us):

Melt 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter in 9×13 pan in oven while mixing other ingredients and preheating oven to 350′

Mix dry ingredients –
1 1/2 c flour
1 c sugar
6 generous T cocoa
2 T vanilla

Add four eggs (I usually beat them slightly first) and the melted butter from the pan, mix.

(for regular brownies, bake at 350′ for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with choc. chips before baking or frost after baking)

Instructions for Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies:
Spread brownie batter in 9×13 pan. Plop spoonfuls of cookie dough around the pan. You only need half of the cookie dough. What you do with the rest is up to you and your conscience. 🙂 I managed to bake the second half as chocolate chip cookie bars and freeze them for later. This act of self-control was negated by the extra brownie I ate in the middle of the night on my way back from the bathroom.

Bake at 350′ for 40-50 minutes. Don’t overbake.

Note: don’t cut these into a certain number per person in your family unless you have better self-control than me!

Posted March 13, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

Fresh Bread in 5 Minutes a Day   6 comments

I’ve beeen meaning to post about one of my recent discoveries -the fresh bread in five minutes a day method. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois have written two books together: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The point is that it’s very easy to mix up the dough (no kneading), you can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks, and when you want a loaf, you just pull off a hunk, shape, rise, and bake. It’s super easy and the bread is yummy!

Here’s a couple of my loaves from the Master Recipe ready to bake (I actually used 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white):

And because I haven’t remembered to take any pictures of finished regular loves, I’m stealing one from Shawna, who introduced me to this whole wonderful idea:

You can probably check out the books from the library for lots of ideas (I have Artisan Bread checked out right now and am loving the easy variety!), but here’s the “Master Recipe” (explanation copied from an email):

1 1/2 Tablespoons Yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (or1 T regular salt)
6 1/2 Cups UNBLEACHED All Purpose Flour… See More
3 Cups Warm Water
A little cornmeal (not added to the mix — used when you take some dough out and form it) or parchment paper.

Mix everything in a large container — you mix it in the same container you are going to store it in so you don’t have a dish to wash! (The next time you make the mix, don’t wash the old bits out, it will help with the sourdough taste. They say to never wash the container.) Anyway, you stir it together just until there’s no dry parts. Don’t over-stir.

Then you lightly cover it (do not close it up tight) and let it rise out on your kitchen counter for 2 hours. After two hours, put it in the refrigerator. It can keep for up to 12 days in the refrigerator.

When you want to make some bread, take a little out (see the video on how to do this) and form it (see video) and put the cornmeal on the plate and let it rise for 20 – 40 minutes. Then cut the top a little (see video) and put in oven. You should be able to make four small loaves from the mix.

450 degrees for 30 minutes. Preheat a pizza stone. You want it as hot as possible before you put the dough on it. Use a broiler pan (I use a cast iron skillet) in the bottom of the oven and add hot water to it right when you put the dough in. You want some steam in there to make the crust hard and crunchy.

Here are a couple of videos from the authors of the books which show the method in use –
Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

And here’s a shot of some decadent Brioche with Chocolate Ganache that I made from another recipe in the book. It was amazing.

Posted January 28, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

National Blonde Brownie Day   1 comment

I’ve always loved blonde brownies, and just recently found out that there is a National Blonde Brownie Day – and it’s today. How fun is that?!

So here’s my favorite blonde brownie recipe. Super easy, super yummy.

1/2 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1 c sugar
1 c flour
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract

Mix like brownies; spray 8″ square pan
Sprinkle sugar, nuts, or chocolate chips on top if you want.

Bake 30 minutes @ 325′

(today I tripled this and have it baking in a 12″x17″ jelly roll pan)

Posted January 22, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

Beka Bread Re-visited   Leave a comment

Since I’ve returned to making bread thanks to my new mixer (and to the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day concept, which needs its own post), I’ve been wanting to see how my favorite homemade bread recipe would do in the mixer. I’ve posted the recipe before, but I thought I would post some mixer adaptations as well as pictures.

Beka Bread ~ aka Honey-Wheat-Oatmeal Bread ~ Mixer Version

Combine in mixer and cool to lukewarm –
3 c boiling water
2 c old fashioned oatmeal
(you don’t need to actually use the mixer yet, but why dirty another bowl?)

Add to oats once they are lukewarm –
1 c warm water
2T yeast
1 c honey
2 T oil
1 T salt
2 eggs

Combine and add 4 cups flour (half wheat/half white)
Let the dough “sponge” 15 minutes (just cover the mixing bowl/mixer with a towel and go read blogs or something)

Add 1 cup of flour at a time (alternate wheat and white) — about 5 cups. Let the machine do the kneading for you until the dough is nice and elastic. This made a wetter dough than I’ve come up with doing it by hand, but I decided to go for it and see how it turned out.

Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl (yes, I’m longing for a glass bowl for my bread, but tupperware works!).

Let rise about an hour, or until doubled. My kitchen is on the chilly side, so I turn on the oven just long enough to get it comfy-warm, then turn it off use my oven for my rising station.

Form loaves – you will need to sprinkle flour on the dough and have floured hands. Like I said, it’s a wet dough.

Let rise again. This batch probably would have risen more if I’d given it a bit more time, but I was impatient!

Bake @ 350′ for 25-30 minutes. Let cool in pans on cooling racks before removing from pans.

Let cool so you don’t smash it with your bread knife … and enjoy!

Posted January 18, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

Hot Chocolate Mix   2 comments

Here’s a simple and yummy hot chocolate mix. It’s the one I grew up drinking, and it’s still my favorite.
Health drink? No.
Comfort drink? Oh yes!

12 cups powdered milk
1 large jar creamer
2 cups cocoa
4 cups sugar
4 cups powdered sugar.

1/3 cup per serving, to taste

And if you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait until you get it in a gallon jar for storage before you make yourself a mug!

Posted January 18, 2010 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized

Update Alert   Leave a comment

My Easy Enchiladas recipe has been updated with pictures – see?

Posted January 16, 2009 by smithlaurel in Uncategorized