Bacon-Cheddar-Chive Scones

Whipped these up a couple of weeks ago when Martin and Roko were in town.  I thought they were awesome.  Everyone liked them but of course they like the sweet ones better.  I really love savory so I thought I would share the recipe.  Simple and Delicious.

Bacon-Cheddar-Chive Scones

(My pic of the yummy scone is kind of boring so I thought I would add Rooney (our Lhasa) standing guard and not allowing Kubo (Roko & Martin’s Pomski, who was a wonderful visitor) upstairs! 🙂

Ingredients

2 cups (241g) all purpose flour (I used King Arthur Unbleached. This is a King Arthur recipe.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder (14g)
2 teaspoons sugar
4 Tablespoons (57g) cold butter
1 cup (113g) very coarsely grated or diced cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (about 14g) snipped fresh chives or 1/3 cups (21g) finely diced scallion tops (the green part)
1/2 pound (227g) bacon, cooked, cooled, and crumbled (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (198g) heavy cream or enough to make the dough cohesive

Instructions

  1.  Preheat oven 425 degrees placing a rack in the middle to upper third of your oven.  Lightly grease or use parchment paper on baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly, with some of the butter remaining in larger pieces. (I mixed in with my hands.)
  3. Mix in the cheese, chives and bacon until evenly distributed.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of the cream, stirring to combine. Try squeezing the dough together; if it’s crumbly and won’t hang together or if there are crumbs remaining in the bottom of the bowl, add cream (1 Tablespoon at a time) until the dough comes together. Transfer the shaggy dough to a well floured work surface.
  5. Pat the dough into a smooth 7″ disk about 3/4″ thick. Transfer the disk to the prepared baking sheet. Use a knife to cut the disk into 8 wedges, spreading the wedges apart a bit on the pan.
  6. Brush the scones with a bit of cream; this will help their crust brown.
  7. Bake the scones in the middle or upper third of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool right on the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  8. Refrigerate any leftover scones, well wrapped for several days; reheat before serving. Freeze for longer storage.

Enjoy!!

Cream Tea Scones – Simple and Delicious

Went to a “Cafe Crawl” with some friends this weekend.  Each place had scones.  I have never had a scone. (I know unbelievable, right?!) Well, one place out of all those places had a very delicious scone (#monzubakery) and I had to try to replicate that.  I had a savory scone at the bakery but thought I would start with a sweet scone.  Let me tell you it was simple and DELICIOUS.  I got this recipe from #kingarthurflour.  Check them out.  They have tons of scone recipes and hints and tips.  Here is the recipe I did today:

Cream Tea Scones

D88790C9-5CE5-4E08-8ABE-8A9BCF69FDAD

Ingredients

3 cups (361gm) All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups (301gm to 340gm) heavy cream
additional heavy cream, for brushing on scones
cinnamon and sugar for topping (1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon, mix together).

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you don’t have to use the parchment paper but I use it all the time)
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
  3. Combine the vanilla with 1 1/3 cups of cream. Drizzle the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients, tossing and stirring gently all the while.  Add enough cream to make a cohesive dough, using up to 3 additional tablespoons if necessary. There should not be any dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, but the dough shouldn’t be particularly sticky, either. (I mixed by hand and did not use any mixers. It is recommended you mix by hand to avoid overmixing.)
  4. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Divide the dough in half, and gently pat each half into a 5 1/2 inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.
  5. Brush each circle with heavy cream, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired. (or cinnamon and sugar as I did)
  6. Place the two circles of dough on the baking sheet, and cut each into 6 wedges. Pull the wedges apart a bit, leaving them in a circular pattern with abut 1 inch space between each wedge.
  7. For best rising, place the pan of scones into the freezer for 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 425 degrees. (I did this step)
  8. Bake the chilled scones for 14-15 minutes, until they’re starting to brown, and they’re baked all the way through, without any wet dough in the center. DO NOT OVER BAKE.
  9. Remove the scones from the oven. Serve warm, split and spread with a bit of sweet butter or jam.
  10. Store cooled scones airtight at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage. To refresh, microwave individual scones very briefly; or place scones on a baking sheet, tent with aluminum foil, and reheat in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until heated through.

Enjoy!!

Parmesan Crackers – Simple and Delicious!

I have been baking these crackers for many years.  We all enjoy them but they are one of Martin’s family favorite recipes. I am pushing this to the front of my blog.  I baked a double batch this morning. One for us to enjoy this evening with some cheddar and balsamic parmesan cheese and the other to mail out a small package to Martin in NYC.  By the way, I found out today I can grate parmesan cheese in my food processor.  Never even thought to use my food processor! That made this recipe even simpler.  Takes under 30 minutes to make homemade crackers.  Give it a try!!

Parmesan Crackers
(New York Times recipe)

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup cream or half&half
Kosher salt (you could also top with fresh ground pepper, poppy seeds, minced garlic – whatever you want)

Directions

1.  In a food processor pulse together flour, salt, cheese and butter.
2.  Add cream and mix until dough forms into a ball.  If you need more liquid, add more cream a teaspoon at a time.  You will not need much more.
3.  Place dough on lightly floured surface. (I use parchment paper lightly floured)
4.  Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick.  I use a pizza cutter to cut into 2×2 or smaller squares. You could easily use a sharp knife.
5.  Poke dough with tines of fork.  Sprinkle with kosher salt or whatever you desire.
6.  Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  I turn the baking sheet around after 5 minutes.  This way the crackers brown evenly.

Believe me you will enjoy these crackers with cheese or all by themselves!

Banana Bread

This recipe is from a Betty Crocker cookbook I have had forever. I have baked this bread for as long as I have been with my husband and that is 36 years.  Timeless, huh!!  Our whole family enjoys this recipe every. single time.  As always, Simple and Delicious!

Banana Bread

img_9183

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 medium mashed ripe bananas (I used a fork to mash them is separate bowl)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup water
1 2/3 cup all purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (we don’t usually use nuts)

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom of loaf pan.  I use a 9x5x3 inch pan.  I also mix this recipe by hand.  No stand up mixer for this one!
2.  Combine sugar and butter in large bowl.
3.  Mix in eggs until well blended.
4.  Add bananas and water and blend together.
5.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients until moistened.  (If you like nuts, add now)
6.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.
7.  Loosen sides of loaf pan and remove from pan.  Cool completely before slicing.

ENJOY!

 

Pitka or Soda Bread-My Favorite

This is a recipe that I got from Martin’s baba. (FYI: Baba – Bulgarian for Grandmother) She just throws ingredients together visually.  I am more of a “how many cups” kind of girl.  Over a 2016 phone call she told Martin the ingredients she used for her Christmas Eve Pitka.  With those ingredients and a bit of luck I put a Pitka recipe together.  A couple of years have flown by and this year I updated with a few “FauxChef” additions.  For Christmas 2018 I added some sugar and buttermilk.  I thought these were a nice addition.

If you like, a Christmas Eve tradition is to put written charms and/or a coin in the bread. I wrap the coin in parchment paper or aluminum foil. With the charms I write a few positive expectations for the following year; good health, much happiness, that kind of stuff.  I flip the bread over and make a slit with a knife and put the coin/charms in random spots.  It is fun on Christmas Eve to see who gets the coin.

Martin said this was the best Pitka yet.  I have made many different “Pitka’s ” throughout the years.  This one seems to be a winner!!

january 011

Pitka

Ingredients

5 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk (keep the egg white.  You will need it to brush on top of bread)
2 cups plain yogurt (NOT non fat)
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Sunflower oil)

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and flour baking pan.  I used my cast iron skillet.  (You don’t need to grease or flour if nicely seasoned.) You could also use a 9″ round cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl add dry ingredients.  Whisk together and make a well by pushing the flour mixture to sides of bowl.
  3. Add eggs, egg yolk, oil and yogurt and buttermilk in center of bowl.  Mix with hands. (Also, I use my standup mixer.  That is easier for me.)
  4. After mixed together form a round, flat bread.  (approx 9″ round, 2″height)  Place in prepared baking pan.  Brush top with egg whites.
  5. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown on top. I check doneness by checking temperature.  190 degree internal temperature is what I use.
  6. Take out of oven.  While warm, wrap in a towel.  When cooled place in plastic bag to store.

Enjoy!

Rustic Dinner Rolls/Bread

I have been baking this recipe for a few years now.  Found on America’s Test Kitchen website.  It takes some time and attention.  Give yourself 3 hours and it should be enough time to bake this delicious bread.  You can do rolls or a couple of loaves of bread.  I generally make the rolls.  Today I made loaves of bread.  There are no leftovers.  Here is the recipe;

Rustic Dinner Rolls/Bread

IMG_6561

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon water (12 1/2 ounces -I always weigh my ingredients if the recipe calls for it), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons honey
3 cups plus 1 Tablespoon bread flout (16 1/2 ounces), plus extra for forming rolls
3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour (1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

Directions

  1.  Whisk water, yeast and honey in bowl of stand up mixer until well combined, making sure no honey sticks to bottom of bowl. Add flours and mix on low speed with dough hook until cohesive dough is formed, about 3 minutes.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
  2. Remove plastic wrap and evenly sprinkle salt over dough.  Knead on low speed (speed 2 on Kitchen Aid) 5 minutes.  Increase speed to medium and continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 1 minute.  If dough is very sticky, add 1-2 Tablespoons flour and continue mixing 1 minute.
  3. Lightly spray 2 quart bowl with nonstick cooking spray; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in warm, draft free place util doubled in size, about 1 hour.  (I use my microwave for a draft free place.)
  4. Fold dough over itself; rotate bowl quarter turn and fold again.  Rotate bowl again and fold once more.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.  Repeat folding, replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise until doubled in volume, 30 minutes will be enough time.
  5. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  6. Transfer dough to floured work surface, sprinkle top with more flour.  Using bench scraper or knife, cut dough in half and gently stretch into 16 inch cylinders. (Or cut in half and make 2 small loaves.). If making rolls, divide each cylinder into quarters, then each quarter into 2 pieces.  You should have 16 pieces total.  Dust top of each piece with more flour.  With floured hands, gently pick up each piece and roll in palms to coat with flour, shaking off excess and place in prepared pan. Arrange 8 dough pieces in each cake pan, placing one piece in middle and others around it, with long side of each piece running from center of pan to edge and making sure cut side faces up.  Loosely cover cake pans with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  30 minutes before baking, adjust racks to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.
  7. Remove plastic wrap from cake pans, spray rolls lightly with water, and place in oven.  Bake 10 minutes until tops of rolls/bread are brown; remove from oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees; using oven mitts, invert rolls from both cake pans onto rimmed baking sheet.  When rolls are cool enough to handle, turn right side up, pull apart, and space evenly on baking sheet.  Continue to bake until rolls develop deep golden brown crust and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 10-15 minutes; rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. (If baking 2 loaves of bread check at 10 minutes.  That should be enough time. 15 minutes is maximum for bread.)  Transfer rolls to wire rack and cool to room temperature; about 1 hour. (We never cool to room temperature.  We give it 5 minutes, slice it up or take a roll, slather with butter and we’re good!)

You have to pay attention and set your timer so you keep on task.  It is well worth the effort.  Whether you make the rolls or loaves of bread you will be happy you spent that time wisely.  Simple and Delicious!

Enjoy!!

Italian Bread

My dad used to love Italian Bread from Columbus Bakery.  Whenever we go back to Syracuse we like to stop there if we have time and grab some fresh Italian bread.  I checked to see if there was a recipe out there in the internet world for their delicious bread.  Of course, there is not.  I decided on using King Arthur’s website.

I wanted a recipe that included a biga.  Biga is basically a starter.  Per King Arthur’s website; A biga is a pre-fermented dough that the French call pâte fermentée. It’s started with a tiny bit of yeast, and allowed to work for several hours. The advantage of making a biga is that because it ferments for a long time, it adds flavor and character to the bread you make with it.

Here is the recipe I used.  I made the biga the night before.  It is best to set at room temperature for 8-10 hours.  By the way, this bread goes great with my Tomato Sauce with Meatballs, which we also had today in celebration of Dad.

Italian Bread

img_4698

Ingredients

Biga or Overnight Starter

3/4 cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast or active dry yeast

Dough
2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 3/4 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Topping
1 large egg white beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

Directions

  1. To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.
  2. Combine the starter and the remainder of the dough ingredients. Mix, then knead the dough — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, fairly smooth dough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes, turning it over and gently deflating it after 45 minutes. If you’re using a bread machine, remove the dough when the cycle is finished, deflate it gently, and let it rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface.  Make into a loaf shape.
  5. Place loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap, and let rise it rise for about 60 to 90 minutes, or until it’s very puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  7. Uncover the loaf. Brush it with the egg white glaze.  You can also top with sesame seeds.  I did not do this step.
  8. Bake the loaf for 25 to 35 minutes; the longer it bakes, the crunchier it’ll be. (I baked for 30 minutes.  That worked out perfect!)
  9. Remove the loaf from the oven and cool it on a rack. For extra crispness, cool it in the turned-off oven with the door propped open. (I did the latter and it worked great.  We like the crust crispier.)
  10. Store the loaf in a paper bag for 24 hours; wrap in plastic and freeze for longer storage. 

I did 2 biga recipes last evening so I could have 2 loaves of bread.  We go through fresh bread in one day.  2 loaves may last 2 days!!  Simple and Delicious.  Enjoy!

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Martin suggested making something with cream cheese and raspberries.  Sounded like a great combo to me.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

IMG_3651

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese (I do not use low fat, you can if you want)
1/2 cup butter,softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (I used fresh)

Instructions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2.  In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.
  3. Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended.  Add sugar, beat until fluffy.  Add vanilla, egg whites and egg, beat well. (I used my stand up mixer)
  4. On low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk to cream cheese mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.   Gently fold in raspberries.  (If you want to add some nuts you could do that too.)
  5. Place 24 cupcake liners in muffin/cupcake pan.  Spoon in batter evenly into liners. (I use an ice cream scooper. IMG_3750My scooper is one we used when we were kids.  It reminds me of when my mom used it to make me an ice cream cone when I was little. Nice memory to have every time I bake cupcakes.  It is also the perfect size for filling cupcakes or muffins.)
  6. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes than take muffins out of tin.  Cool on wire rack.

That’s it.  Enjoy!!

Doughnut Muffins – Simple and Delicious

I follow King Arthur Flour and saw this recipe.  I am on a cupcake/muffin kick so I thought I would give them a try.  Very easy to make.  Very delicious to eat.

Doughnut Muffins


Ingredients

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk

Topping
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven 425 degrees.  Lightly grease muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil and sugars.
  3. Add eggs and whisk until combined.
  4. Using wooden spoon or spatula, stir in baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
  5. Stir flour into the mixture alternately with the milk until all is combined.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups,filling until nearly full.
  7. Bake the muffins for 15-17 minutes or until they are a pale golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and let them cool a few minutes.  While they are cooling melt the butter for the topping.  I did that in the microwave.
  9. Brush the tops of the muffins with the melted butter.  Dip and roll the tops of the muffins in the cinnamon sugar.
  10. Serve warm, or cool and wrap airtight.  Store for a day or two at room temperature.

Enjoy!!

Pitka – Village Style

For Christmas this year Martin requested I make Pitka the way his Grandma used to make it.   (All along, that is what I thought I was doing.)  He calls it “village style”. He had a lengthy conversation with his grandma and she explained the recipe.  I made it the way she told me and it was good but a little chewy. (I should have left in the oven a bit longer. Darn!!)

I ended up making another Pitka on Saturday.  I played around with the ingredients a bit. This one turned out tasty too.  Very similar to soda bread.

I am posting both of the recipes I did because we enjoyed both breads.   By the way, this takes no time at all.  The Pitka I made in prior years took a long time but they were delicious just the same.  I will make my third attempt New Years Eve.  This one will be closer to what Olga told Martin.  Third time is a charm! 😉

Pitka One

December 006

Ingredients

8 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk (set aside the egg white to brush top of Pitka before baking)
3 cups yogurt
2 Tablespoons sunflower oil or vegetable oil

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour baking pan.  I used my cast iron skillet for my first attempt.  That was a good choice.
  2. In a large bowl add dry ingredients.  Whisk together and make a well by pushing the flour mixture to sides of bowl.
  3. Add eggs, egg yolk, oil and yogurt in center of bowl.  Mix with hands.  You can add more yogurt until combined.  (I had to put this in my stand up mixer to combine.)
  4. After mixed together form a round, flat bread.  (approx 9″ round, 2-3″ height)  Place in prepared baking pan.  Brush top with egg whites.
  5. Bake for 45-60 minutes (that would be longer than I did!!)
  6. Take out of oven.  While warm, wrap in a towel.  When cooled place in plastic bag to store.

Simple and Delicious!

Pitka Two

December 007

Ingredients

4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 9″ round cake pan or whatever you want to use.  I could have used my cast iron skillet but wanted to try a different pan
  2. In a large bowl add dry ingredients.  Whisk together and make a well by pushing the flour mixture to sides of bowl.
  3. Add yogurt and buttermilk in center of bowl. (You could just use yogurt.  I liked the buttermilk addition.)  Mix with hands. (I was able to mix by hand with this recipe)  You can add more yogurt or buttermilk to combine.  (I did not need to add anymore.)
  4. After mixed together form a round, flat bread.  (approx 9″ round, 2-3″ height) Place in prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake 30-45 minutes
  6. Take out of oven.  While warm, wrap in towel. When cooled place in plastic bag to store.

When making Pitka for Christmas Eve the Bulgarian tradition is you put a coin and positive notes (“good health”, “happiness”, etc.) in the Pitka.  I cleaned off a quarter and wrapped that in foil.  I put notes on parchment paper and folded and placed in the Pitka.

We enjoyed both breads.  However, Martin missed the egg white brushed on top of Pitka 2.  We did end up eating the entire Pitka 2.  Like I previously mentioned Pitka 1 was not baked all the way through.  Too chewy.  I will post number 3 after New Year’s.

Wishing us all a peaceful 2016.  My New Year’s wish; Let there be peace on this earth please!  Let us all break bread together!!