Remember my centerpiece from September with all those apples? The centerpiece sat on my table for most of the month but I headed out of town on the 19th so I hated to let the apples go to waste. On top of that, I had some eggs that would go bad while I was out of town so I figured doing some baking with the apples was a good way to use some up. I wanted a recipe that I could stick in the freezer and eat when I came back home too. Luckily, apple bread was the perfect solution.
This recipe makes two disposable loaf pans of apple bread. To freeze it, bake the apple bread and let it cool completely. Let it cool another hour more, just to be safe. Place the entire loaf pan into a gallon sized freezer bag and remove all the air you can. Place the bags into the freezer flat and store for up to a month. If you want to store these longer, remove them from the loaf pans and wrap in plastic wrap before putting them in the freezer bag.
Coming back from vacation I had virtually no food I could cook left in my house. I had been up for about 20 hours before crashing at night and the next morning I didn’t want to be eating cereal without milk so the apple bread was a welcome treat. To thaw, just leave out on the counter overnight and it will be perfect in the morning.
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract
- 2 cups skinless diced apples (about 2 apples)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Beat together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, and almond extract.
- Slowly add in your dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed.
- Add in your diced apples and chopped walnuts.
- Pour batter into two greased loaf pans and bake at 1 hour for 350 degrees.
Until last year, I don’t think I’d ever eaten Hot Cross Buns. I’d heard of them but only in the sense that I learned to play that song Hot Cross Buns on the recorder, the piano, the trumpet, and the french horn.Yup, that’s right, I was a total band nerd in my youth.
Last year I was determined to see what the fuss was all about and I was happy with the idea of hot cross buns but I wanted to jazz them up a bit. This year’s recipe came out perfect. I made sure the dough had plenty of cinnamon and orangey taste and I added much plumper raisins to the mix. The best part was the smell, my whole house smelled of spices and sugars all day long.
You can make these tonight and let them do their second rise in the fridge overnight. Tomorrow morning just pull them out of the fridge, take a shower, preheat the oven, and pop them in while you get ready. They taste perfect with some milk or tea and if they make it till Easter they’ll still taste good.
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1 cup warm milk (warm to the touch)
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup baking raisins
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Rind of 1 orange
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 3/4 cups flour
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can also substitute almond or maple extract here)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- In your stand mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the warm milk. Let stand for 5 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.
- Add in the butter, raisins, cinnamon, orange peel, egg, salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Use a spoon to mix gently until smooth.
- Place the mixer bowl onto the mixer base with the dough hook attached. Slowly add in flour while mixing on a low speed until the dough begins to pull from the sides of your bowl. Move your mixer to speed setting 3 and let your dough hook knead the dough for 5 minutes.
- Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled. In a warm environment this should take about 60-90 minutes.
- Punch down your dough and divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place in a 13x9 inch glass pan.
- Cover and let dough rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes to an hour. If you are preparing this recipe at night, place the dough in the fridge to rise overnight instead. The cold will slow down the rise of your dough so it shouldn't rise too much.
- Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Let the buns cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Combine the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. Slowly add milk until the mixture reaches piping consistency. Using a Ziplock bag with the corner cut off, pipe an "X" on top of each bun.
Today is National French Bread Day. I’m sorting of doubting this is the kind of day you can ask off for work but it is a good excuse to eat some bread. I’ve been slowly going through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and it’s fascinating but I wanted to start with a much simpler bread recipe that you can actually serve up tonight.
For this bread I made some slight tweaks to a recipe from Jamie Cooks it Up! eventually ended up with a bread I could make in 90 minutes. It’s a little longer than a typical dinner takes to throw together but a lot of it is hands off. If you have a Kitchenaid mixer you got for a wedding and just use it to make cookies, this is the time to break it out.
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- 1 Tablespoon shortening
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 2 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup cold water
- 5 - 6 cups flour
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon water
- Measure out 1/3 of a cup of water that's warm to the touch. Pour it in a small bowl and proof the yeast in the water. see more details on how to proof yeast
- While yeast is proofing, mix together shortening, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Make it crumbly, then pour it in Kitchenaid mixer. Add the dough hook to your mixer.
- Boil 1 cup of water (or run on high for 3 minutes in the microwave) and pour into mixer. Immediately add cold water.
- Pour proofed yeast mix into your mixer and begin to stir on low.
- Slowly add one cup of flour at a time. You want the dough to be wet but not sticky. I used 5.5 cups for mine but in summer you may need all six due to the humidity.
- When the dough starts pulling from the sides of your mixer, put your mixer on high and let it run for 8 minutes. (You may want to grease the bottom your bowl before putting in the mixer stand because kneading can make it get stuck. Trust me on this.)
- Turn off the mixer, remove the bowl, cover it with a towel and let the dough rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees
- Separate dough into two equal halves
- Roll one half into a small rectangle. Fold in half length-wise and pinch sides together. Roll into another rectangle, you'll notice this one is slightly longer than your last. Again, fold over and pinch. Roll into one last rectangle. Start rolling the long side to the other long side, like a cinnamon roll. Pinch and seal, then place on a jelly roll pan. Repeat with second dough ball.
- With a sharp knife, slice bread 4 times diagonally. You don't want to go to deep; just skim the surface.
- Whisk egg with tablespoon of water. Brush it on your bread, making sure to brush inside the cuts.
- Place the bread in the oven for 15 minutes at 170 degrees.
- Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Leave the bread in the oven while the temperature rises and even after it reaches the new temperature. The goal is to have the bread in the oven for 5 minutes past your initial baking time.
- Lower temperature to 350 and leave bread in the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Check if bread is done by tapping with your finger. If bread sounds hollow, it is done!
You might know stromboli by its other identity of calzone but I like to think there’s a difference so I feel special saying “STROMBOLI!” in my horrible fake-Italian accent. This Meat Lovers Stromboli (or do I have to call it Stromboli for people who love meat?) follows some very simple steps that you’ll be used to seeing in my pizza recipe. Some key tools that make it easier include a Kitchenaid mixer with its dough hook and my favorite Pampered Chef Stoneware piece. The dough in my photo below is after my first rise. I had to run some errands and it got a little out of control so I punched it down and let it rise a little more.
This recipe is cheesy awesome goodness with ham, bacon, and pepperoni. If you’re the kind of person who likes pizza crust, every bite of this dish includes crispy dough with a bite of pizza filling. One bite is all it will take to make you a believer in stromboli. One bite.
The key to stromboli is wrapping it up like a burrito. You fold in the little edges first, then the big ones, then seal it nice and tight with your fingers and some olive oil before flipping it onto your baking sheet seam-side down. Even with all that mine leaked a touch but I just scooped the cheesy goodness right off the tray and chowed down.
A delicious stromboli recipe. The dough is 2 servings so freeze one half or double the ingredients to serve more people.
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 1/3 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 to 5 cups flour
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 lb ham slices
- 1/2 pack of pepperoni
- 1/3 cup crumbled bacon
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasonings
- In Kitchenaid mixer bowl dissolve yeast in the warm water.
- Add oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Use the dough hook attachment to begin blending together. Slowly add in 2 more cups of flour 1 cup at a time. If the dough looks too wet, add in the remaining cup of flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough looks blended but not crumbly or sticky.
- Continue to knead dough on low until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
- Unhook the bowl, coat your dough in a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for an hour.
- Punch dough down. Divide in two and freeze or save the second half for another project.
- Roll out remaining dough into a 10 x 12 rectangle. Keep it about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
- In the middle of the dough, add toppings, first ham, then pepperoni, then bacon, then cheese slices, then sauce, then shredded cheese. Make sure to leave space around all the edges.
- Fold the two shorter edges towards the center, just covering the toppings. Fold one long edge over, then cover with the other long edge, like a burrito. Use olive oil to help firmly seal all the seams.
- Grease baking pan with olive oil and place stromboli seam-side down onto the pan. Coat the top of the stromboli with a little olive oil and sprinkle on Italian seasonings.
- Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes, cut into 1 inch slices, and serve
When I was 10 I had a new baby brother who was barely a month old. My mom was hardly interested in cooking some big huge dinner for all of us kids so when we said we wanted pizza, she jumped on it. Maybe she was still under the influence of anesthesia but that year began the tradition of Christmas pizza. We started off pretty basic and we’ve since evolved to a more artisan style. If you’re thinking of starting a Christmas pizza tradition, I’m here to help.
First up, you need to make your dough. I’ve included the recipe at the bottom of the page but here’s a quick look at making a yeast-based pizza dough. You’ll need to combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. (Here’s a cool tip I learned from Alton Brown, check the water temperature with your fingers. The perfect temperature for the water is just above an average person’s body temperature so the water will feel just a bit warm to you if it’s the right temperature.) When you combine these ingredients, let them sit for 5 minutes until the mix gets bubbly. If it bubbles, your yeast is good and your dough will rise!
Here’s a batch of yeast I’ve proofed. You can see the bubbles so you know it’s good to go.
I mix my dough in my Kitchenaid mixer. Yes, it is good for more than just making cookies in bulk. You’ll want to attach the dough hook (it looks like the pirate hook) and mix 3 cups of flour, salt, and oil with your yeast mix. Gradually add in 3 more cups of flour. You’re looking to make sure your dough is pliable but firm enough to not fall off your hook immediately when you raise the head of your machine. Check out the difference 1 cup makes:
Your dough should be sticky. That’s okay- do not flour it up more. Plop it out of the mixer bowl, grease your bowl with some olive oil, roll your dough into a ball, and place it back into the bowl. Cover with a towel and place it in a warm place until it’s doubled in size. Punch it down (yes, really punch it!), then let it double one more time. See the difference it makes?
At this point you’ll want to separate your dough into two balls, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and roll the dough out for your pans. I use Pampered Chef’s stoneware for my pizza. I roll out the dough and bake it for 10-15 minutes to get nice and firm before loading it up with toppings.
Once you’ve cooked your dough you can add toppings of your choice. You’ll bake again for 15 or so minutes until your cheese is nice and melted. On this day I made a BBQ chicken pizza and a pesto pizza. The BBQ chicken pizza used BBQ sauce as a base and I topped it with chicken tossed in BBQ sauce, feta cheese, and fresh mozzarella. For the pesto pizza I used pesto sauce as a base and I topped it with plum tomato slices, feta cheese, and fresh mozzarella. You can’t go wrong with either combination or something simple like pepperoni or sausage.
This pizza dough is a perfect thick crust. For a wonderful sturdy dough, use half white and half wheat flour. Be as creative as you want with toppings.
If you don't have time to wait for the dough to rise, prepare the dough the night before, cover, and place in your fridge overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before spreading into pans the next day.
- 1 heaping tablespoon yeast
- Dash of sugar
- 2 1/4 cups warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/2 tablespoons oil
- 6 cups flour
- In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water (105-110 degrees). Add a dash of sugar. Proof it until it begins to foam.
- Attach your dough hook to your Kitchenaid mixer. Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl and add salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour. Run your mixer on low.
- Gradually add in the additional 3 cups of flour, 1 at a time.
- Let your mixer run on medium for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Pull the dough from your mixer and grease the bowl. Place the dough back in, cover, and let rise until doubled in size (30 minutes-1 hour).
- Punch down and let rise again until double.
- Punch down and divide into two dough balls. Roll out into two pizza pans greased with olive oil.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
- Top with pizza sauce & toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 more minutes.