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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cookie Cake

Super quick and delicious cookie cake.  Makes a great gift or perfect treat to share.  From Mel's Kitchen Cafe.


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour (can sub up to half white whole wheat)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. Add the egg and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Line a large (11X17-inch) baking pan with foil and press the cookie into a circle. I press my cookie into a 9-inch circle, about 1/4 to 3/8-inch thick. (FYI: When it bakes, it spreads to about 11 inches, which fits perfectly onto a 12-inch round cardboard circle you can find at most craft stores).

4. If desired, top the cookie with M&M’s or any other garnishes. Bake for 13-16 minutes until the cookie is lightly golden brown. Let the cookie cool completely on the baking pan – this helps the cookie stabilize and set so it can be easily lifted off the pan. Once cool, gently use the foil to lift the cookie off the pan.

Bran Breadsticks

This recipe comes from MaryAnne Hunter and recipe swap.  It's the perfect bread to accompany a meal of soup or salad.  Delicious served with butter--it's already slightly sweet so no jam needed.

1 c All Bran or Raisin Bran Flakes
1 c of warm water
1 T yeast
1 t salt
1/2 c sugar
1 can fat free evaporated milk (12 oz)
4 1/4 c flour (I usually mix white and wheat)

In large mixing bowl, stir by hand bran flakes with warm water and let sit a few minutes to soften.  Add yeast, salt, sugar, and milk.  Mix.  Add flour 1 cup at a time using the dough hook (or by hand).  The dough will be fairly sticky but starting to pull from the sides of the bowl.  

Let rise until double for an hour or more. Stir down. Divide into 3 rolls.  I shape the dough into 3 large batard/baguette size loaves on a large cookie sheet (about 4x10 inches).  Let rise once more until double another 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours). Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (usually closer to the 20 minute time - should be slightly brown on top.)  

Rocky Bread

This is my new go-to quick bread recipe. Requiring only one rising, it comes together super fast but still tastes DELICIOUS! From Abby Merkley at recipe swap.

1.5 Tbsp yeast
3 tsp salt
1.5 Tbsp sugar
3 cups warm water
6-7 cups flour (you can do about half white whole wheat)

 Mix yeast, salt, sugar and warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.

Add flour and mix well (*I add flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer, then I let it mix 4-5 minutes).

 Let rise until double (40-60 min)

Place dough on oil/floured counter and shape into two loaves (LARGE).

 Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes--brush top with butter as it comes out of the oven.

 **Makes approx. 2 large loaves bread, w large peasant rounds, 4 bagettes, 3 pizza crusts or 2 large sheets of bread sticks)

Sour Cream Cinnamon Twists

Sour Cream Cinnamon Twists
Faster and lighter but still as tasty (or better!) than cinnamon rolls, these are fabulous breakfast treat.  From Katie Thomas at recipe swap who got it from the Allen Family Cookbook.

Prep 1 hr 40 mins
Cook 15 mins
Makes 2 dozen

1 cup lukewarm sour cream or plain yogurt
3 tablespoons sugar
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons soft shortening
3 cups sifted flour

For Filling:
2 T butter, softened
1/3 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon

For Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons warm milk or cream
½ teaspoon vanilla

Warm sour cream or yogurt to 105°.  Stir in sugar, soda and salt.  Sprinkle dry yeast in let soften. Stir to dissolve. Beat in beaten egg, soft shortening, the flour. Mix well, pushing with hand if necessary.

Turn out onto floured surface and fold over several times until dough is smooth. Roll into a 24 x 6 oblong.

Spread with 2 tablespoons soft butter and sprinkle lengthwise half with a mixture of ⅓ cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Fold other half over and cut into 24 strips, 1 inch wide. Hold strip at both ends and twist in opposite directions.

Place on greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Press both ends of twists to baking sheets. Cover; let rise until light, about 1 hour.  

While rising, make icing mixing together powdered sugar, milk or cream, and ½ teaspoon vanilla.  Set aside.

Bake in 375° oven for 12-15 minutes.

Life Skills Bread

This is a fabulous basic bread recipe.  Completely doable by hand and by novice bread makers.  But tasty enough to please bread affecianados.  This is the recipe I used to teach my daughters about bread making--temperature of yeast, feel of the dough, rising, shaping, etc.  Adapted slightly from this King Arthur recipe.

Makes: 2 loaves
Time: about 3 1/2 hours start to finish

2 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 t yeast (or one packet)
2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
3 cups All-Purpose Flour

 In a large bowl, combine warm water, sugar, yeast, and 2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour.   Cover mixture with a clean towel and let stand 10 minutes until bubbly.

Stir in salt and vegetable oil.

Stir in the rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time. When the dough holds together and most of the flour is mixed in, plop dough out onto a clean, floured surface. Knead the dough. Sprinkle your hands or the work surface with just enough flour to prevent sticking. Use your dough scraper, too. After 5 minutes, take a break and let the dough rest.

Scrape out the mixing bowl, and smear a little oil all around the inside. Knead the dough for a few more minutes. (When you lightly press the dough with your fingertips, it should bounce right back.  The dough should be tacky but not overly sticky).  

Put the dough into the oiled bowl, flip the dough once, and cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel. Put the dough in a warm place to rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide the dough in half and form into desired shapes. Grease a baking sheet; put your loaves on it. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a clean towel and let the dough rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. Carefully remove plastic wrap and slash the tops of the loaves or baguettes with a sharp knife. Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool the bread on a rack. Enjoy!