Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pretzel recipe.....How to make home made Pretzels

I don't know the last time I had so much fun making something.  This really was a blast....would be a great thing to do with kids.  I hope you all enjoy this.

* 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 package active dry yeast
* 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
* 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
* Vegetable oil, for pan
* 10 cups water
* 2/3 cup baking soda
* 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
* Pretzel salt


Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on rack.

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  • Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Fantastic Chili Recipe!! the absolute best one I have tried.

    I found this recipe online and just absolutely fell in love with it. This is one of the best Chili's ever!! With the addition of chocolate and chipotle chiles it really has a depth to it....just like the recipe claimed. I loved it and it came out amazing.


    * Cooking spray
    * 2 cups diced onion (about 1 large)
    * 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
    * 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    * 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast
    * 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    * 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
    * 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
    * 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    * 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    * 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
    * 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    * 2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, minced
    * 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
    * 1/2 cup light sour cream
    * Chopped green onions (optional)


    Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and turkey to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until turkey is browned and vegetables are tender. Add sugar and next 9 ingredients (through chipotle) to pan, stirring to blend; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add chocolate, stirring to melt. Ladle 1 1/4 cups chili in each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Garnish with green onions.

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  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe

    With Halloween around the corner and Fall upon us I thought a good pumpkin pie recipe would be appropriate. This one is quick, easy and delicious! Obviously if you want you can make your own crust, but I just tried the recipe with an already made crust.

    * 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
    * 3/4 cup sugar
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
    * 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    * 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
    * 2 tablespoons water
    * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1 unbaked pastry shell (9-inch)

    Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add eggs; mix well. Add evaporated milk, water, and vanilla; mix well. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350° and bake about 35 minutes longer, or until center is set.

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  • Monday, August 31, 2009

    Chocolate dipped candied orange peel recipe

    5 medium oranges
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 cups water

    For the chocolate dipped candied citrus peel
    8 ounces bittersweet or white chocolate, chopped
    1 cup candied citrus peel

    Wash the fruit thoroughly. To remove the peels without tearing, slice off the stem end of the fruit, then make vertical cuts about 1 inch apart through the peel. Carefully peel off the scored sections of rind. With a sharp paring knife, trim away as much of the white pith from the peels as you can. Cut the peels lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.

    2. In a small pan, cover the peels with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Drain.

    3. In the same pan, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the water over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peels and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 40 minutes.

    4. Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the peels to the rack. Let them stand until almost dry, about 1 hour.

    Dip the peel
    1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

    2. Dip the peels about halfway into the chocolate, shaking any excess chocolate back into the bowl. Place the peels on the waxed paper.

    3. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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  • Monday, August 24, 2009

    Coriander Tabouli Recipe

    This dish is a little spicy so be careful for those who can't tolerate too much spice.  Luckily I am not one of those people.
    ...the more spice the better to me :-). 


    3/4 cup fine bulgur
    1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
    1/2 teaspoon each whole cumin and fennel seeds
    10 whole allspice berries
    3/4 cup minced red onion
    1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
    1 cup finely diced seedless cucumber
    1 cup finely diced seeded tomato
    3/4 cup each minced fresh coriander and fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
    1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Cayenne pepper to taste


    1. Wash the bulgur in several changes of cold water, pouring it back and forth between a large bowl and a very fine sieve, until the water is clear. Drain the bulgur in the fine sieve. Return bulgur to the bowl, cover it with one inch of cold water, and let it soak for one hour.

    2. While the bulgur is soaking, toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds in a small skillet over moderate heat until very fragrant, one to two minutes. Let the seeds cool completely and then grind them in with the allspice berries in a spice grinder or pound to a powder in a mortar and pestle.

    3. Stir together the red onion, ground spices and salt in a large bowl and let stand while the bulgur is soaking, at least thirty minutes.

    4. Drain the bulgur in the sieve, pressing hard to extract as much water as possible. Add the bulgur to the onion mixture with the cucumber, tomato, herbs, scallion, lemon juice, olive oil and cayenne pepper; toss the salad well. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if necessary. This salad is best if served immediately.

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  • Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Homemade Ricotta Cheese

    Some of you know that I've recently started a new hobby. It's been a blast making my own home made cheese. Ricotta is super yummy when it's fresh. Plus it's not that hard to make. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


    * 2 quarts whole milk
    * 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
    * Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream
    * 2 teaspoons white vinegar
    * 1 teaspoon salt

    Here's what you do:

    1 In a large pot, bring the milk, yogurt, heavy cream (if using), vinegar, and salt to a boil. Very gently boil for one to two minutes, until the milk is curdled.

    2 Meanwhile, line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it over a deep bowl.

    3 Pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds then squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid. Voila! you have cheese. I told you it was easy :-)

    Storage: Homemade ricotta is best served slightly warm, although it can be refrigerated for up to three days, if desired.

    Makes 2 cups.

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  • Sunday, August 16, 2009

    Split Pea Soup

    I found this recipe online for split pea soup, but I liked some aspects of another that I found so I combined the 2 recipes to make this one. YUMMMMMY!!

    1 ham bone
    1 lb. dry split peas
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablepsoon each butter and olive oil
    1 can of chicken broth
    2 quarts water
    2 bay leaves
    1 lb baby carrots
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1 can evaporated milk or 1 cup light cream or milk

    olive oil
    lemon zest

    Empty package of split peas into a colander or bowl. Sort through well, removing foreign matter and imperfect peas. Rinse well. Soak for two hours in 2 cups water.

    In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until garlic golden, but not brown in color. Add ham bone, water in which peas have been soaked, 2 extra quarts of water, 1 can of chicken broth and bay leaves.

    Bring to a boil for 1 minute; reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour. Remove cover and simmer an additional hour or until soup is desired consistency. Add baby carrots during final 20-30 minutes of cooking.

    If you prefer a pureed soup, process using a hand blender before adding carrots.

    Taste soup one half hour before serving; add additional garlic or garlic powder and salt and pepper, as desired. Bring a separate pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.

    Stir in milk or cream 10 minutes before serving. If you have any leftover ham, add at this time. Remove bay leaves before serving and garnish with lemon zest, paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.

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  • Thursday, August 6, 2009

    Orange Blueberry Bread Recipe

    I was so happy with this recipe. Truly delicious. You can see by the photo I did a little twist on the recipe as I didn't have enough blueberries on hand. So I threw a few raspberries in too and it was fantastic.

    Recipe for blueberry orange bread, with blueberries, orange peel and orange juice.
    Cook Time: 55 minutes
    * 2 tablespoons butter
    * 1/4 cup boiling water
    * 1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
    * 1/2 cup orange juice
    * 1 egg
    * 1 cup granulated sugar
    * 2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking powder
    * 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries

    * Topping:
    * 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
    * 2 tablespoons orange juice
    * 2 tablespoons honey

    Combine butter and boiling water in a small bowl; add 1 tablespoon grated orange peel and 1/2 cup orange juice.

    In a mixing bowl, beat egg and granulated sugar with an electric hand-held mixer until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt; add to egg mixture a little at a time, alternating with orange juice mixture, ending with flour mixture.

    Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes; remove to wire rack.

    Combine 1 teaspoon orange rind, 2 tablespoons orange juice, and 2 tablespoons honey, mixing well. Spoon over hot bread; let cool.

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  • Friday, July 31, 2009

    Stuffed Zucchini with Turkey Sausage

    I had alot of zucchini from my last visit to the farmers market and wasn't sure what to do with it. I found this recipe online and wow...never new zucchini could be so good. Give it a try, you'll like it.


    * 1 zucchini about 12 inches long, or 6 medium ones
    * 3 tablespoons olive oil
    * 1/2 cup chopped onion
    * 3 cloves garlic, minced
    * 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
    * 2 tablespoons dry white wine
    * 1 pound ground turkey
    * 2 diced tomatoes
    * 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    * 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
    * 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    * 1 egg, lightly beaten
    * 2 teaspoons salt
    * 2 teaspoons pepper

    1 Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out insides, leaving shells about 1/4 inch thick. Reserve about half of the insides.

    2 Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add mushrooms and reserved zucchini insides, and sauté another 2 minutes.

    3 In a separate skillet heat a Tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the ground turkey. Lightly brown the turkey, stirring only occasionally. After the turkey browns on one side, stir it so that it has a chance to brown on other sides. Cook until the ground turkey is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in the onion and mushroom mixture from the other pan. Add the wine. Stir in tomato, basil and rosemary and cook 1 minute longer. Drain any excess fat. Remove mixture from heat and set it aside.

    4 When mixture has cooled, add cheese, egg, salt and pepper. Fill zucchini shells with mixture. Fill a baking pan with 1/4 inch of water. Place filled zucchini halves in pan and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove zucchini from pan and serve while hot.

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  • Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    Tortellini Salad

    This is a great Summer salad. Perfect for a picnic in the park :) Enjoy!

    16 ounces cheese-filled tortellini
    1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
    1 red bell pepper, julienned
    1 small red onion, julienned
    1/2 cup sliced black olives
    1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1 boneless chicken breast half, cooked and sliced into thin strips

    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, minced
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    2 tablespoons ground walnuts
    1 tablespoon honey

    1.Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and cool under cold water. Refrigerate until chilled.

    2.Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, walnuts, and honey. Refrigerate until chilled.

    3.In a salad bowl, combine pasta, peppers, red onion, olives, and chicken. Add lemon dressing and feta cheese, toss and serve.

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  • Free Gift!

    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Roasted Garlic Recipe

    Roasted Garlic is a simple but sophisticated looking treat to add to just about any occasion. Plus it tastes great and is super healthy for you.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Start by taking whole garlic bulbs, peel off any loose skin but keep the bulb in tact. Don't peel it. Lay on small pieces of aluminum foil and drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over each bulb. Add either fresh thyme or rosemary sprigs and then wrap in aluminum foil and stick in preheated oven.

    Bake 35 to 40 minutes until soft.

    There you have it delicious roasted garlic!!

    **Tip** if you want it to be easy to eat right out of the bulb then cut a very small slice of the bulb off the top prior to sticking in the oven. That way you can just dig the cloves by one.

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    Sunday, July 26, 2009



    * 1 3/4 cups stone ground cornmeal
    * 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 2 teaspoons baking powder
    * 1 1/2 cups whole milk
    * 1 large egg
    * 4 tablespoons melted butter
    * 1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil for the pan or skillet

    Heat oven to 425°. Put a sturdy 8- or 9-inch iron skillet,square baking pan or small loaf pan in the oven.

    In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine.

    In a large glass measuring cup or a bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of milk with the egg and melted butter. Stir into the dry mixture until blended.

    Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil around in it until the bottom is coated. Spread the batter in the pan and bake the cornbread for 22 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

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    Monday, July 6, 2009

    Stuffed Mushrooms

    These vegan stuffed mushrooms are simply delicious!! An excellent addition to any party or special ocassion.

    22 big mushrooms (they sometimes are called “stuffing mushrooms”), washed and patted dry
    1 tablespoon peanut oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 cup finely diced daikon
    3 tablespoons mirin
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
    1 1/2 cups panko
    1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus extra for greasing the pan and garnish
    2–4 tablespoons water
    1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, plus extra for garnish
    3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    First, remove the stems from the mushrooms. An easy way to do this is to cup one in your writing hand, stem up, and gently but firmly twist and pry the stem out. Then use a small spoon to remove any remaining stem. Do not discard the stems; chop them up small and set them aside. It’s common to break a mushroom or two, which is why the recipe calls for twenty-two mushrooms but stuffs twenty. If one breaks and can’t be used, just chop it up along with the stems. If you have a mushroom stem–removing talent and manage not to break any, then finely chop the two extras anyway.

    Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in the peanut oil and sauté the chopped mushroom for about 3 minutes, until some moisture has released. Add the diced daikon and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.

    At this point, lots of moisture should be released from the mushrooms. Add the mirin, salt, and white pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes.

    Turn off the heat and add the panko in 1/2-cup batches and stir, alternately adding the sesame oil and splashes of water (up to 4 tablespoons) until all the bread crumbs are moist. The mixture should be crumbly but, when you press some between your fingers, it should hold together. Mix in the scallions and adjust the salt to taste.

    Grease a baking sheet with a little sesame oil. Stuff each mushroom with the filling and place on the baking sheet. To stuff them, place a little of the filling into the mushroom crevice and then add another tablespoon on top of that, pressing firmly to form a mound.

    Bake for 20 minutes. To serve, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the mushrooms and drizzle with a little sesame oil, if desired. Garnish with extra chopped scallions. If you are going for a fancy plating, place a few mushrooms on a handful of raw spinach leaves.

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    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Super Delicious and Easy Black Bean Soup!

    I made this for dinner last night and it was so good that I just had to share it. I can barely wait to have lunch as I'll be eating the leftovers.


    * 10 slices bacon, finely chopped
    * 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
    * 6 garlic cloves, pressed
    * 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
    * 1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
    * 2 tablespoons ketchup
    * 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    * 1 tablespoon chili powder
    * 4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
    * Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    * 1 bunch cilantro
    * juice of 1/2 lime
    * Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
    * Sour cream, for garnish
    * Grated cheddar, for garnish


    Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes.

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    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    Fromage Blanc made at Home!

    I've recently discovered cheese making and have been having a ball with it. I never realized you could make fresh cheese in a day. I had always wanted to try and make my own cheese, but thought it must take a lot of time and work. Then there is the aging, waxing, etc. Well I was wrong. You can make your own fresh Fromage Blanc in a day right at home and eat it the very next day. It's delicious!

    First you heat up 32 oz of whole milk to 165F degrees. Here is a photo of the beginning stages of cheese.

    Turn off the heat at 165F and add 1 cup of buttermilk and 2 tsp. of lemon juice. Wait 10 minutes and you should see curds forming like this photo.

    You then pour the curds and whey into a strainer lined with cheesecloth.

    Let strain completely. Little by little you will see the cheese solidifying.

    When it looks like this you can cover it up and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

    In the morning take it out of the refrigerator and mix 1/2 tsp of salt into it. Then scoop it in to ramekins. Smooth it out with a spatula and cover with plastic.

    You can eat it right then, but I usually like to wait until the evening so that the flavor has a little more time to develop.

    I've really had fun with this over the past week. I thought some of my readers might be interested in trying this themselves so wanted to pass this along to you all. I've almost enjoyed it as much as my soapmaking, but the fun part is you get to eat this!! Let me know if any of you try it. Would love to hear about it if so.

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    Saturday, February 28, 2009

    Popover fun!!

    Now at this point anyone reading this is probably wondering is this a baking blog?? Well I do cook alot but I have been on a baking kick the last couple of months. I have been having so much fun and success with it that I thought my baking was some of the fun stuff to show at the moment. There is no exception to that in how much fun I had making these popovers. They are really easy too!

    1 tablespoon of shortening or butter
    2 beaten eggs
    1 cup of milk
    1 tablespoon cooking oil
    1 cup all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon of salt

    1) Use 6 custard cups or a popover pan grease the bottom and sides of each cup with the shortening or butter and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees at this time.

    2) In a medium mising bowl use a wire whisk or rotary beater to beat eggs, milk and oil until combined. Add the flour and salt and beat until smooth.

    3) Fill the prepared cups half full with the batter and bake in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until very firm.

    4) Immediately after removing the popovers from the oven, use a fork to prick each popover to let steam escape. Remove the popovers from the cups and serve.

    There are many options for serving popovers, you can serve them with beef, lamb or pork. You can also cut them open and stuff them with your favorite dip or salad. What I did with these though was turn them into a dessert. I added just a tad bit of cinnamon to the batter and then when they were done I cut them open filled them with real vanilla ice cream and then poured whole raspberry syrup over them and sprinkled them with powder sugar. Absolutely delicious!!

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Oats and More Chocolate Chip Cookies


    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground mace
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
    1 cup white sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup cornflakes cereal, crumbled
    3 cups rolled oats
    1/2 cup flaked coconut
    2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
    1 cup chopped walnuts

    1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside.

    2)In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in milk and vanilla. Gradually mix in the sifted ingredients until well blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cornflakes, oats, coconut, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets; flatten slightly.

    3)Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. I found that slightly under baking these yields wonderfully chewy cookies!

    Saturday, January 31, 2009

    Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

    These cookies are absolutely DELICIOUS! Great just right out of the oven or even after a week. Just keep them in an air tight container. Here is the recipe:

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
    1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
    1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

    Preheat oven to 350*F (175*C).
    Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
    In large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Mix in reserved flour mixture, blending well. Stir oats, coconut, and nuts until just mixed.
    Roll into balls the size of a walnut and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Slightly flatten and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in tightly sealed contaier.
    Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Tuscan Herb Bread

    This was my first attempt at making a real old world Italian bread. I was absolutely amazed at the work that goes into making bread, but even more amazed at the reward I felt from making a bread from scratch. Guess I was feeling brave that day. Here is the recipe:

    Tuscan Bread
    (makes 1 loaf)

    2 cups warm water
    2 envelopes active dry yeast
    3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
    1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
    1 teaspoon crushed sage
    pinch of salt

    Pour 1/2 cup of the warm water (105 - 115°) into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast; let stand until dissolved, about 5 - 7 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water. Blend white and whole-wheat flour in a separate bowl until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the salt and sage. Add and stir 1 cup of the flour mixture at a time into the yeast mixture until a dough forms and the mixture cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead dough on lightly floured surface using as much flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth and shiny, about 15 minutes. Shape dough into a ball, place in a warm spot and cover with a towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch dough down, let rest about 5 minutes. Flatten dough into an oval shape, fold loosely into a baguette. Transfer seam side down to a lightly floured baking sheet (you can use corn meal as well), place in a warm spot, cover with a towel and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Bake in a pre-heated 375° oven for 55 - 65 minutes, until crust is very brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Bread can be stored in a tightly closed plastic bag for one or two days or frozen for longer periods.