• Challah

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    This was my very first attempt at making Challah, and if I do say so myself, it turned out fantastic! I got this recipe from Meredith Jacobs’ book. The only thing I found to be a bit different in this recipe, is that it has you dissolve 3 packages of yeast in only 1/4 c. of water. The yeast never really bubbled, because the mixture was so thick…about the consistency of cake batter. My dough didn’t rise that much, but she says that if that happens, make it anyway, because it still tastes great. She didn’t lie, and while the loaves baked (the recipe yields 2 loaves) they rose quite a bit. We had one with dinner on Friday night, and then I froze the other baked loaf for another Friday night. You can use leftovers to make Challah French Toast…yummy!

    Ingredients:

    • 3/4 c. sugar
    • 2 c. lukewarm water
    • 3/4 c. vegetable oil
    • 1 TBSP salt
    • 3 large eggs
    • 3 envelopes yeast (totaling 2 TBSP + 3/4 tsp. yeast)
    • 1/4 c. lukewarm water
    • 8-10 c. bread flour
    • egg for egg wash

    Directions:

    1. Combine sugar, 2 c. water, oil, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the eggs to the sugar mixture.
    2. In a separate cup, mix the yeast in 1/4 c. water. Make sure the water is warm–not cold or hot. This allows the yeast to work properly–you’ll know it’s working of you see little bubbles on the surface. (No bubbles for me, but it still worked. Next time I’ll probably play around with the amount of water to dissolve the yeast.)
    3. Add the yeast to the sugar mixture.
    4. Add 4 or 5 cups of flour and mix well. Gradually add 4 or 5 more cups of flour. By judging the feel you will know how much more to add–if the mixture is sticky, add more flour; if it’s dry and stringy, add a little water. (The amount of flour you’ll need will vary every time, depending on things like the air temperature and humidity, so don’t worry about an exact amount of flour.)
    5. Dump your dough mixture onto a floured surface (it probably won’t all be combined, that’s ok, because neither was mine and it works out just fine). Knead your dough on a floured surface for 7 to 10 minutes…I only lasted 7 minutes. Add more flour to your surface as needed.
    6. Put some vegetable oil on a paper towel and wipe it around the inside of a large clean bowl. Put the dough in the oiled bowl, and flip the dough over so both sides get a little bit of oil on them. Then lay a piece of wax paper over the bowl and then place a dish towel on top of that. Let the dough rise for an hour, and it should double in size. (Mine didn’t, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t.)
    7. Punch down the dough to deflate it, and knead again for a few minutes to work out any excess air bubbles. Put the dough back into the bowl, and cover with wax paper and towel, and let rise for another half hour.
    8. Now you’re ready to braid. Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into 2; then divide each of the chunks of dough into 4. Work with one set at a time. Roll the four pieces into snakes about 10 to 12 inches long. The length doesn’t matter, just make sure all 4 are the same length.
    9. Lay the 4 snakes on your work surface and pinch the ends together. Take the piece on the left and weave it over the roll of dough next to it, then under the next roll, and finally over the last roll, so that it finishes on the far right. Next take the piece that is now on the far left, and again, weave over, under, and over until it finishes on the far right. Continue to weave the left-hand piece until the pieces are too short to weave. Then pinch the ends together and tuck them under the loaf. Repeat with dough of second loaf.
    10. Step by step:

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    Step 1: 4 equal snakes

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    Step 2: Pinch ends together

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    Step 3: Take far left snake and weave over, under then over the snakes to the right

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    Step 4: Take the new far left snake and weave over, under and over the snakes to the right. Repeat.

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    Step 5: Finished braided Challah and pinch the other ends together and tuck under the loaf

    10. Place loaves on a nonstick cookie sheet and place a dishtowel over them and let rest for 10 minutes.

    11. Prepare egg wash–don’t dilute it with water! Brush the egg wash onto each loaf.

    12. Bake at 350 for 45 to 55 minutes. Mine was done at 40 minutes, so I’d start checking at 35.

    Challah:

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  • Grandma’s Cloud Biscuits

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    These biscuits are so easy and actually take longer to cook than they do to make. They are delicious too, and are a staple at my grandmother’s when she needs a last minute roll or bread. -s loved them so much he couldn’t stop eating them. They are small, probably about the size of a 1/4 c. measuring cup, and they do look a lot like clouds…hence the name.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 c. Flour
    • 1 TBSP. sugar
    • 4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. shortening
    • 1/2 c. milk
    • 1 egg, beaten lightly

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 475.
    2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, tartar, and salt. Blend in shortening. Add milk and egg.
    3. Gather into a ball and knead 4-5 times–use some flower because the dough is quite sticky.
    4. Spray your cookie sheet with cooking spray.
    5. Take a spoon and cut off about TBSP of dough and just drop them on the cookie sheet–you can make them as round or as disfigured as you like. Don’t spend too much time making them perfect, because when they bake they take on the shape of clouds.
    6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown

    Cloud Biscuits:

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  • Berry Cream Cheese Muffins with Sweet Berry Drizzle

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    I found this recipe on the Picky Palate food blog, and since I love berry muffins I bookmarked this recipe. Her recipe was adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, November 1997 recipe, and I changed the recipe up a bit for the ingredients I had on hand. This is so YUMMY! I’m not a batter licker, but I confess, I licked the bowl. I used a good quality frozen berry in lieu of fresh, and you couldn’t tell the difference. -s, who doesn’t really like berry muffins, really liked these, and of course it was kid friendly.
    Ingredients:

    Berries:

    • 10 oz fresh or frozen berries (if using frozen, make sure they are good quality whole berries and not the kind that has sugar syrup). I used frozen blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar

    Batter:

    • 1 stick softened butter
    • 8 oz softened cream cheese
    • 1 Cup sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 Cup heavy cream

    Berry Drizzle:

    • Heaping ¼ Cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon milk

    Directions: 

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place berries and sugar in a large bowl. Stir to combine so that berries are coated in sugar. Set aside.
    2. In a stand or electric mixer cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest until well combined. Slowly beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
    3. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. With mixer on low, add half the flour, then half cream, then remaining flour, then remaining cream until just combined.
    4. Fill 6 extra large muffins tins or 24 regular size tins with muffin batter (I actually got 14 muffins from a regular muffin tin, although they were very good sized ones), about ¾ full, that has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Press 4-6 (or more depending on your berry size) berries into tops of each unbaked muffin.  Bake for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through. Remove and let cool.
    5. In the same bowl as berries were in, place powdered sugar and milk. Whisk until smooth and drizzling consistency; should be a light pink color from the berry juice. Drizzle over top muffins and enjoy!

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    Berry Cream Cheese Muffins with Sweet Berry Drizzle:

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  • Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

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    I found this recipe in the Cooking Light September 2007 issue. The recipe is from Jean Patterson, and it was originally published by Cooking Light in September 2003. It was good, but probably not something I’ll make again. I still prefer the classic banana bread.
    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
    • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
    • 3 tablespoons dark rum
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
    • Cooking spray
    • 1 tablespoon flaked sweetened coconut
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350F
    2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
    3. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely on wire rack.

    Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze:

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  • Grandma’s Yeast Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls

    This is another one of those recipes from my grandmother. The entire extended family makes these rolls and the entire family loves these rolls, and whenever I make them it makes me think of my grandma. In my family, no holiday meal is complete without these rolls. They are delicious!

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    Quick Yeast Dough

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. warm water
    • 2 pkg. dry yeast (I use the quick rise variety)
    • 1/2 c. dried skim milk
    • 1/2 c. sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
    • 4 1/2 c. flour

    Directions:

    1. Dissolve water and yeast in a large mixing bowl
    2. Stir in dried milk, sugar and salt. Add the eggs one at a time and beat vigorously. Add the butter, and then stir in the flour gradually until smooth
    3. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 7-10 minutes. Have extra flour on hand while you knead, so the dough isn’t too sticky.
    4. Put about 1 tsp. olive oil into a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and roll the dough in the oil. Let the dough rise in a warm place (like an oven, but make sure it’s not too warm, otherwise you’ll kill the yeast). The dough will double in size.
    5. Punch dough down. Roll dough out and create desired shape. To make crescent rolls, roll dough into a circle and cut like a pizza (you will have triangular shaped pieces), then roll each slice from the base of the triangle to the tip. You can bring the ends close together to make the crescent or leave straight.
    6. Once the dough is shaped let it rise again in a warm place.
    7. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.
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    Cinnamon Rolls

    Ingredients:

    • Dough recipe above (you can make 1/2 rolls and 1/2 cinnamon rolls)
    • Butter
    • Brown Sugar
    • Cinnamon
    • Pecans, if desired (I omit)

    Goo Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. butter
    • 1 c. brown sugar
    • 1/4 c. light Karo corn syrup
    • Pecans, if desired (I omit)

    Directions:

    1. Work with half the dough at a time.
    2. Heat butter, brown sugar,and corn syrup.
    3. Whatever size pan you use (depends on how many cinnamon rolls you make), grease the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Add goo to pan and how ever many pecans you like.
    4. Roll dough out and spread with butter (I actually use Brummel and Brown for this step), brown sugar and cinnamon. I just put a layer of butter, then a thin layer of sugar, and then a layer of cinnamon.
    5. Roll it up and cut (each slice should be about the width of 2 fingers) and place in pan.
    6. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes
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    Grandma’s Yeast Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls:

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  • Banana Peanut Butter Loaf

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    I once again had some overripe bananas on the counter. Trying to figure out what to do with them, I remember a recipe I found and gave to a coworker. My coworker made the bread and said it was wonderful, so I gave it a try. I’m not a fan of nuts in baked goods, and this recipe does have nuts in it, but I made it with the nuts anyway. It was good, but I much prefer the classic banana bread (minus the nuts of course), and -s much preferred the chocolate chip banana bread. After a tasting, I sent the bread to work with -s, and everyone who ate it loved it. So if you are a nut lover and peanut butter lover, I suppose this is a recipe for you.

    This recipe comes from the Seattle Times Food Section from March 7, 2007.

    Ingredients:

    • 6 TBSP butter
    • 1/3 c. crunchy peanut butter
    • 1 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 bananas, sliced
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 c. all purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. chopped salted peanuts

    Directions:

    1. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside
    2. Cream the butter and peanut butter together with the sugar. Mix in eggs, bananas, soda, flour, salt and nuts; pour into greased pan.
    3. Place in a cold oven. Set oven to 300F and cook for about 1.5 hours, or until loaf tests done.
    4. Cool for 5 minutes in pan on a rack, then unmold and let cool completely, right side up.

    Banana Peanut Butter Loaf:

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  • Rustic Tomato Soup

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    Nothing says fall like grilled cheese and tomato soup. EtE asked for soup and sandwiches for dinner (he’s had that at preschool and liked it). So -s decided to make homemade tomato soup. I take no credit for this recipe, except for chopping the garlic and rosemary. The soup turned out excellent and is kid approved! It’s super easy to make, and we’ll definitely make this one again.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 15 oz cans of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
    • 3 TBSP garlic, minced
    • 1.5 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1.25 tsp dried)
    • 1.5 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped (or 1.25 tsp dried)
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 4 TBSP fresh basil chopped
    • Olive Oil
    • Baguette

    Directions:

    1. Put tomatoes and juices in food processor and process until chunky or desired consistency
    2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes
    3. Stir in tomatoes, rosemary, and thyme
    4. Add chicken stock; bring to boil
    5. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until soup thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper
    6. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Brush both sides of baguette slices with olive oil. Transfer to large baking sheet. Broil croutons until golden, about 2 minutes per side. When the bread comes out of the oven rub a raw garlic clove over the bread to infuse the bread with a bit of garlic. You can serve the croutons on the side or in the soup. If you put them in the soup, it gives the soup great texture.

    Rustic Tomato Soup:

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  • Cornbread

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    Here’s another family recipe from my Grandmother. Not sure if it is her creation, published somewhere, or from someone else’s kitchen. Regardless, it’s my favorite cornbread of all time! It’s simple to make, and absolutely delicious!

    Ingredients:

    • 1.25 c. flour
    • 1 c. corn meal
    • 3 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/3 c. sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 c. milk
    • 1/3 c. vegetable oil

    Directions:

    1. Sift flour, corn meal, baking powder, sugar and salt together
    2. Add the egg, milk and oil
    3. Mix and put batter in a greased 8×8 baking pan
    4. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean

    Cornbread:

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  • Best Banana Bread

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    This banana bread recipe is a family recipe and family favorite. I got the recipe from my mom, and she got it from my grandmother, and once I got it, I made a few changes. This banana bread is really good, and every time I make the bread it reminds me of my childhood.

    You can lighten this recipe up by substituting applesauce for the oil.  Tastes just as good!

    Ingredients:

    • 3-4 ripe bananas, mashed (or increase to 5 bananas and decrease oil to 1/4 c.)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or substitute 1/2  c. applesauce or use 1/4 c. oil)
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 eggs beaten lightly
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 1/2 TBSP milk
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I usually omit)

    Directions:

    • Blend mashed bananas, eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla.
    • Sift dry ingredients together (flour through baking powder) and add alternately to the wet ingredients with the milk and lemon juice.
    • Stir in nuts if desired.
    • Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
    • Place in a cold oven. Set oven to 300F and cook for about 90 minutes (start checking at 75 minutes), or until loaf tests done.

    Best Banana Bread
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