breads

Biscuits

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold milk.

Process:  Cut shortening into dry ingredients until  crumbs are the size of small peas.  Form a depression in the dry mixture. Gently pour in milk.  Beginning at the outside edge, turn dry mixture into milk  until just moistened.  (Here is where the difference between  light, flaky biscuit and doorstops comes in.
Over handling ruins biscuit dough.)  Turn out on lightly floured surface  and knead 15 times.  Pat dough out to 3/4 inch thickness  and cut biscuits.
Bake at 400 degrees 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with fresh butter  and orange blossom honey.

Lemon Cream Scones

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons fresh snipped Rosemary
2 teaspoons shredded lemon zest
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream

Process: Cut unsalted butter into dry ingredients until crumbs are the size of small peas. Combine eggs and cream, pour into a depression in dry ingredients, and stir until just moistened.  Mixture will be sticky.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead gently 6 or 7 times. Pat into a 7 inch round about 1 inch thick. Cut into 8 or 10 wedges. Place one inch apart on a greased baking pan.
Bake at 400 degrees 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve warm, with fresh butter and home made jam or lemon curd.

Nana’s Biscotti

biscotti1

Spread:
3/4 cup whole almonds with skins on and
1/4 cup whole pistachios on a cookie sheet and lightly toast
as the oven pre-heats to 350° F.

My oven beeps when it reaches the baking temp. If yours does not –
watch the nuts closely. You want lightly toasted,
and the oils will burn quickly and taste bitter.

Cream together:
1 stick cold butter, cut in cubes
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons Brandy
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Add:
3 large eggs mixing until well incorporated.
2 Tablespoons honey. Mixture should look lemony and creamy

Stir in:
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Coarsely chop nuts:
sprinkled with about
1 Tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Anise seeds, lightly crushed.

Coating the nuts and seeds with a small amount of flour will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the bowl, giving a better distribution throughout the batter. Fold the nuts and Anise into the batter.

Line a large baking sheet with two pieces of foil and divide the dough in half. With slightly moistened hands form two loaves. Try for a uniform thickness end to end and a smooth surface overall. Bake until pale golden – about 30 minutes.

Using the foil to lift them, carefully transfer the loaves to racks to cool for about 5 minutes. When you can comfortably handle them, peel away the foil and continue cooling for another 10 minutes or so.

The cookies are fragile at this point. Handle them carefully. Using a serrated knife, cut the loaves into 3/4 inch slices and arrange them cut side down on a clean baking sheet. Return to the oven for another 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp.

Carefully transfer the baked cookies to racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, and this is purely optional, and for those of us who are never satisfied with good enough, make a dark chocolate ganache to drizzle over the cookies by melting 1 cup of dark chocolate pieces in 1 cup of heavy cream. You can fiddle with tempering the chocolate the right way, or simply use my quick (and definitely not correct) microwave method: put the chocolate and cream in a microwave safe glass container and heat on high for one minute. Take it out and stir it thoroughly. Repeat this step two more times. 3 minutes total. The ganache should be ‘tempered’ perfectly: shiny and smooth.

Place the cooled cookies, still on the racks in the baking sheet again and drizzle tablespoons of the liquid chocolate across them…your taste says how much or how little. Then put the whole thing in the freezer, just as it is for an hour or two. When they’re frozen solid you can package them and they’ll keep for a couple of months…IF they last that long.

The whole recipe yields about 24 cookies if you make them large. And you’ll invest about two and a half hours including cooking time.

With a good cup of espresso or a cappuccino they are SO worth it!

Sweet Applets

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Sift together and set aside.
Cream together:

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening

Blend in one egg until mixture is fluffy and lemon yellow.

1/3 cup milk add alternately with dry ingredients
then stir in 1 1/2 cups pared, shredded apples.

Fill well greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan, cool 10 minutes the dip top of each in

1/4 cup melted butter, then a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Nice served warm with Cafe au Lait.

Dorothy’s Cherry Muffins

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each:
salt, ground cloves, growing nutmeg.
Sift together and set aside.
Cream together:
1 cup sugar   &   1 cup shortening
Add 1 tablespoon water and the yokes of
three eggs, reserving whites for later.
Blend thoroughly and set aside.
Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda into
1 cup buttermilk.  Add to creamed mixture
1/3 at a time, alternately with dry ingredients.
Add 1 cup of the best cherry jam you can find.
Add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.
Beat reserved egg whites until stiff peaks form,
and fold carefully into the mixture.

Store in refrigerator for up to 2 months! Bake as needed. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, at 350 degrees, until tops are golden brown and muffins spring back when touched.

Grandma’s German Rye Bread

1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast (1 pkg granular)

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.

This is known as “proofing” the yeast. It is important that the water is warm, but not over 100° F

3/4 cup water
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Mix these ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat gently, stirring continually, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is just beginning to simmer. Cool to under 100° F before adding to the yeast mixture

The temperature is critical to the success of bread. Anything above 100° F will kill the yeast and your bread will not rise.

Measure and combine:
2 1/2 cups un-sifted dark rye flour
2 1/2 cups all purpose white flour

Put 2 cups of the combined flour mixture in the mixer bowl and using the dough hook slowly add the combined liquids. Beat together until smooth.

Slowly work in the remaining flour mixture, incorporating thoroughly after each addition. At this point the dough will be sticky. Now sprinkle about 1/2 cup of white flour a little at a time over the dough, working it in until the dough ball begins to clean the sides of the bowl and climb the dough hook. Turn the bread out on a floured board and knead a few times, until the ball is smooth and elastic.

Lightly oil the clean mixer bowl, turn the smooth dough ball over to oil the top, cover the bowl and allow the bread to rise in a warm (not hot) place until double.

Turn the risen dough out on a floured board and knead a few more times. Cut the dough ball in half and form into balls or loaves. Thoroughly butter a cookies sheet or two medium loaf pans and let rise again in a cold oven until nearly tripled in size (about 2 hours). Turn the oven to 375° and bake until the loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

One Hour Cinnamon Rolls

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup scalded milk
2 tablespoons butter
one egg.

Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoons sugar in warm water. Allow it to stand about 10 minutes to”proof “the Yeast. Scald milk and butter until butter just begins to melt. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and the salt. Add the milk and butter. Add the yeast and water.  Add the egg. Beat well. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a firm dough.  Knead on a floured board  until elastic.  Place in greased bowl, turning to grease the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm oven.  (to warm the oven – turn it on the lowest setting for a minute or two, then  turn it off, BEFORE putting the dough in.)
After 15 minutes remove the bowl, punch the dough down and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a rectangle about 13×18 and 1/2 inch thick.  Brush with 2 or 3 tablespoons of melted butter.
Sprinkle with 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar and  cinnamon to your taste.  Roll the dough,  jelly roll fashion, and cut into 12 equal rolls.  Place in a greased 9″ x 13” glass pan.
Cover and return to the oven to raise for another 15 minutes.  Remove cover. Turn oven to 375 degrees and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Glaze with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar 3 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla,  moistened with just enough cream to  make the mixture spread easily.

Mom’s Banana Bread

Cream together:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
Add: 2 eggs beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix well and pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Test by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out dry, the bread is done.
I have found that finishing this loaf in my microwave for 5 minutes or so, keeps it moist and it tastes just like Mom used to make. It  seems to dry out if I allow it to bake for  more than 40 to 45 minutes in the conventional oven. .

Cafe au lait

Follow the recipe for Boiled Coffee, using three cups of boiling water and three cups scalded milk.  When the coffee is placed over simmer burner to ripen, scald the milk in a double boiler, then combine the two.  This is a most delicious beverage and serves the purpose well when cream is scarce.

Nana’s Famous Pancakes

The secret ingredient? Vanilla! Not just any vanilla mind you My very own, very special, homemade brand. A tasty trick learned in mama’s kitchen. Purchase a pint of good quality dark rum, open and insert two whole vanilla beans. Cap it up tight. Put it in the back of the cupboard and forget about it for several months. When you open it again, it has turned into a dark, rich extract of vanilla, with just the slightest punch of rum.

To make 8 pancakes:

1 beaten egg
Add 1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. Sugar

Measure 1 cup buttermilk
Add 1 Tbls. Vanilla (see above)
2 Tbls. Vegetable oil

Whisk the buttermilk into the flour mixture
Add enough water (about 1/4 cup) to bring the mixture to the consistency of heavy cream. Serve with real maple syrup.
Sunday evenings in autumn and winter are a fine time to serve Waffles… same mixture. Leave the water out and cook until crispy.

Milk Bread

Two Loaves:

1 cup scalded milk (90 seconds at full power in the microwave)
When you use milk to make bread it needs to be scalded.  That means heated to just below the boil, or the protease enzyme in it slows down the yeast production and causes breakdown of the protein in the flour making the dough sticky. This enzyme is deactivated by the heat.

While the milk is cooling to room temperature, drop
1 tablespoon of cold butter into the milk.
It will melt and be perfect for mixing.

Proof
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast and
1 teaspoon raw sugar in
1/2 cup baby-bath warm water

Measure the dry ingredients
3 cups all purpose white flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
into the mixer bowl and, using the dough hook, swirl them together.

When both liquids are baby-bath warm, or comfortable to the sensitive skin on the inside of your wrist, simply dump both into the flour mixture and begin to mix, using the dough hook.  (Be sure the liquids are not too warm or the heat will kill the yeast and your bread won’t rise.)

Slowly sprinkle about
1/2 to 3/4 cup of additional flour
over the dough as it kneads.
When it cleans the sides of the mixer bowl and begins to climb the hook it is ready to be placed in a warm place (70 to 90 degrees F.) to raise the first time. (we put it in the oven, with the light left on)

Turn it out on a lightly floured surface, knead by hand a few times to form a nice round ball, drizzle about a teaspoon of oil in a big bowl, turn the bread over to lightly oil the top, cover with a damp cloth and leave it alone for about 30 to 45 minutes. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and knead it slightly, forming it back into a nice round ball, cover it and return to the warm place until it doubles in bulk a second time…usually another 30 to 45 minutes.

Note: rising times depend on a number of variables – temp and/or humidity, yeast age, and so forth. Watch your dough as it rises. If you allow it to wait too long after it reaches the “doubled in bulk” stage it will cause the whole batch of bread to “flop”…in other words it will not rise right and have a heavy unappealing texture.

Now turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface, divide it into two equal loaves and place them in buttered pans.  If you melt about 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the bowl and turn the loaves over in it before putting them in the pans the tops will stay soft and brown evenly.

Return the loaves to the warm place and allow it to raise until it fills the pan and looks like a “loaf of bread.”

When the loaves look right turn on the oven and heat it to between 360 and 400 degrees.  Bake your bread until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with a wooden spoon.

Enjoy!

Bran Muffins

One Dozen

Pour:

1/2 cup boiling water over

1/2 cup All Bran

Cream together:

1/4 cup+ 1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

Add:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup All Bran

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Mix thoroughly and add the wet bran

Divide into muffin tins lined with cupcake paper cups and bake for 20 + minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled and the batter safely stored in the refrigerator for up to six weeks. Back before our retirement days, I made it up in big batches and baked muffins in a few minutes without having to take the time to mix ’em up.

Italian Dinner Rolls

In a large mixer bowl, combine

3 cups all purpose flour with:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Scald:

1 cup milk

Add:

2 tablespoons butter

Proof:

2 pkgs or 5 teaspoons dry yeast in
1/2 cup baby-bath warm water with
1/2 teaspoon sugar

When liquids are cooled to baby-bath warm, mix with dry ingredients and add:

1 egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and enough flour to make a firm dough – not more than 3/4 cup. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place until double. Punch down and divide into 16 rolls. Dip the tops in melted butter, then in a mixture of
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Place rolls in a well greased 9″X13″ pan, or two 8″ round pans, return to the warm place and allow to double in bulk, about 10 to 15 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.


From your Bread Machine

Basic White Bread

* Tastes like Grandma’s *

We know that’s a pretty bold statement to make.  But this rich, golden loaf comes out of our modern Bread Machine tasting almost exactly like we remember the bread from our Grandmother’s wood burning kitchen stove in our childhood.  Smells just as good while it bakes, too.

Add ingredients to the Bread Maker as follows:
Do NOT use  substitutes
these unrefined products are necessary to produce the”old-fashioned” qualities.

1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 1/2 cups of the least expensive, unbleached white flour available
3 tablespoons RAW sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

With your fingers, gently mix the sugar, salt, and dry yeast into the top of the flour, being careful not to dampen them.  Turn the Machine to a time of 3 hours (on mine that’s “rapid” setting) and dark brown crust setting.

Get a plate, a knife, some fresh butter and a glass of milk.  Wait!

Rosemary Bread

Snip enough fresh rosemary (soft tips of branches only) to produce 2 or 3 teaspoons of finely chopped herb Sprinkle it over the dry ingredient layer of basic white bread. This produces a mild and flavorful loaf.  It is wonderful toasted! Of course, you can also use thyme, sweet marjoram, etc., etc.
Pick YOUR favorite!

Onion Cheese Bread

Add about 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion and
1/4 to 1/2 cup hard, sharp cheese as above.
Serve with chili, soup or stew.  Chases winter’s chill away!

Rye Bread (4 the bread machine)

Do NOT add olive oil
Replace 1 1/2 cups of the flour with a good quality
Dark Rye Flour
replace the sugar with 3 tablespoons molasses
After you mix the dry ingredient layer, divide
2 tablespoons of soft butter,
putting some in each corner of the mixing chamber
add 2 teaspoons caraway seed (optional)