kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (spoons and bowls)
Adapting from The Best-Ever Book of Bread today, I decided to try out making a variation on a granary cob.

A "cob" is one of those lovely round loaves of bread you often see at professional bakeries, the kind that are less frequently sold at supermarkets because they won't fit quite as readily into premade plastic bags to be left on a shelf. I have fond memories of my parents buying fresh-baked cobs at the bakery near where I grew up, usually for use with an Italian deli picnic or as a tasty extra with spaghetti sauce.

I've only made a couple of recipes from this book before, mostly because of my hesitation to approach rising yeasty breads, but with my newfound confidence I've decided to take another look through it and see what catches my attention.

Today's experiment was an adaptation of the first page I dog-eared -- An Oat-Topped Granary Cob. )

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this recipe was to make, and how readily adaptable it was. Moreover, the end result was impressively tasty and I certainly plan to make it in the future as a side to other dishes. The bread is soft and delicious, with a well-formed crisp crust.
kitchenklutz: (fresh baked bread)
Continuing to work my way through variations in the Panera Bread Cookbook, I made some modifications and came up with an extra-tasty alternative to their Cinnamon Raisin White Bread -- Cinnamon Toffee Chip Raisin Bread. )

I haven't yet made Option 1 myself, but I'm including it in this recipe because of other spiral breads and cookies I've made before. With option 1, you'll get icing in a spiral pattern throughout the dough; with option 2, you'll get icing as a topping on an already tasty-bread.

As with most Panera recipes, there's quite a bit of waiting around for the bread to rise, but this bread is definitely worth it. I received a ton of compliments on it, and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Third bread recipe for today, appropriately enough, is adapted from the frankly very impressive Panera Bread Cookbook. This recipe made a lot more bread than I was expecting, particularly with the four-smaller-loaves pattern I'd been following -- two loaves sizeable enough that they wouldn't have been out of place on sale at a full-size bakery stall in the market.

Pleasantly enough, despite a substantial amount of rising for the dough, it also went relatively quickly. It's also adaptable to, well, whatever three or so different cheeses you might have on hand. I used what I had available to create a batch of Three Cheese Bread. )

Incredibly tasty and savory cheesy bread, equally servable sliced thin or with people just tearing off hunks at a party. The base recipe also makes a stupendous amount of bread, enough for two full-sized loaves -- I gave one loaf away to a convalescing friend and took another in to share with about a dozen or so other friends, and everyone got a decent quantity. Highly recommended, and I'll be trying out a number of other Panera recipes in the future.
kitchenklutz: (fresh baked bread)
Being on a baking kick, I'm taking new looks at many old recipes I've had for a while but never pursued. One of those is Delectable Rosemary Bread. )

Just as tasty-good as my earlier Italian Herb & Garlic Pretzel Bread, but with totally different aroma and flavor. Enjoy!
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Over the past week or so, after finally having an epiphany on how to make yeasty breads rise properly in my rather cool kitchen (namely, let the dough rise in a covered glass bowl near the oven vent with an extended preheating), I've been having quite a bit of fun experimenting with a small handful of recipes.

First off was my test case -- the Mall Pretzels recipe off of Overall, it's really straightforward -- the only part I found, and continue to find, challenging was the shaping of the dough into the "pretzel" shapes after the rise. It just felt like there wasn't quite enough actual dough there to do it properly, particularly with the way the elastic risen dough didn't seem to want to roll out into meter-long pencil-thin ropes for proper twisting.

So I thought, why not play around with the division of the dough? Instead of dicing it into twelve pieces, why not try it with six pieces and a concurrently longer baking time? What about four pieces? I did still try to roll it out into pretzel shapes, but in the end it felt like too much trouble for just having fun experimenting and I chose to put it in loaves instead.

As it turned out, that made for some incredibly tasty bread, particularly once I added to the recipe with minced garlic, various herbs, and a little cheese to top it off.

Here's my Final Adapted Recipe for Italian Herb & Garlic Pretzel Bread )

I've totally fallen in love with this bread, and its salty goodness seems to be a big hit with everyone I've given it away to as well. Fresh bread -- it's great! (Unless you have a gluten allergy, in which case it's not, and I'm really sorry for your unfortunate dietary limitations. *wry grin*)
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
Name totally pending! I printed out a sugar cookie recipe off of the Food Network site, and then improvised my way into a incredibly tasty citrus-flavored iced cookie. Overall, this recipe felt incredibly easy to put together, and the final product looked enough like a sunny-side up egg yolk that I decided to tentatively name it the Sunny Side Up Citrus Sugar Cookie )
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
This morning was filled up with quite a bit of household tasks and chores, so to take a break I made a batch of banana nut bread. Mostly this was motivated by having plenty of leftover bananas that were overripe and about to go bad anyways -- double bonus!

Banana Nut Bread )

Ridiculously easy to make and cook, smells fantastic, and my loaf is just about to come out of the oven. Of course, I did neglect to properly grease the pan before I put in the dough, so no doubt it'll end up a bit stuck to the pan -- learning experience for next time!
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
One of the things I've wanted to do more this winter is try my hand at baking bread. I've got a handful of cookbooks with many recipes to try, but one of the first ones I wanted to try was a recipe card I picked up at Penzey's back around Yule.

It looked intriguing, and I'm definitely more of a fan of bread recipes that don't require yeast and substantial rising periods. I didn't know how it was going to turn out, as I'm usually not an enormous fan of drinking beer, but the result was astonishingly good.

Beer Bread )

Alternatively, instead of placing all the dough in one 8x4 bread pan, you can split the dough into a six oversized cup muffin tin. If you do so, reduce baking time to 28 - 32 minutes -- the smaller volume of dough in each cup means it will bake notably faster.

I admit I had my doubts about this when I first set out to make it, largely because I'm not a huge fan of Newcastle Brown Ale. (I've used Brooklyn Ale for a particular spicy Cajun stew before to great effect, though.) To my delight the Newcastle turned out amazingly well with the Savory Beer Bread option, so I urge anyone else who tries this recipe to experiment with beers of their liking.

Towards that end, I'm intrigued to try out the Sweet Beer Bread option using Redd's Strawberry Ale. Its alcoholic content isn't particularly high (3.2%?) but without any yeast in the recipe I believe it's the carbonation that's important.
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
I snagged this recipe off of a baking LJ comm a while back and gave it a wee bit of modification. Overall, though, I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. Really tasty, all in all. So, no further ado, the recipe:

Triple Chocolate Cranberry Cookies )

They're usually a big hit for being awesomely chocolate-y with extra cranberry tartness. Hope you like them as much as I usually do!
kitchenklutz: cookie sheet (cookie sheet)
Yesterday was the Adam Ezra Group's Ramble (which was, by the by, awesome), and as last year there was a bake-off (with cookies for free to anyone, and you put money into the jars of the cookies you liked the best, all proceeds going to charities to help feed the hungry). Determined to impress, I made not one but four different batches of cookies: traditional oatmeal raisin, triple chocolate cranberry, my spicy ginger cookies, and an experiment...

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies )

Aside from uncertainty over the color of the cookies (which is why I say the addition of the food coloring is completely optional), these were generally well received. People said, and my experience with a test cookie matches, that they ended up tasting pleasantly like Thin Mints.

(And on a side note, although I didn't get recognized as having one of my batches raise the most contributions -- I came in a close third -- I'm quite happy that the combination of all four different batches just around tripled what anyone else's single batch did. All in all, I'm quite happy with that, particularly since the proceeds all go to charity. *wry smile* )
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
Using the calzone/pizza dough recipe and my spicy red pizza sauce recipe, along with a healthy smattering of grated four-cheese (Mexican mix), I baked up some dinner with these ingredients:

* 13 oz. of Mom's calzone dough
* 4 regular spoonfuls of spicy red pizza sauce
* sufficient grated cheese to lightly cover the sauce
* five slices of salami
* 12 - 15 slices of pepperoni
* 2 oz. of fresh sliced mushrooms
* 1/6 of one green bell pepper, diced
* ... with more grated cheese on top to serve as binder for all the toppings

After 14 minutes of baking at 450 degrees, it turned out to be not bad combination pizza! )

Overall, pretty good considering. I'll just have to figure out a way to get the stone pre-heated next time and then put the prepared dough-and-toppings onto it.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Yesterday, following a craving for winter-holiday-ish comfort food, I looked up a recipe or two for peanut brittle. The recipes I found looked pretty straightforward, but both indicated that the corn syrup for their use had to be heated to a particular high heat to form the proper hard-crackliness of typical peanut brittle. Lacking a candy thermometer, I tried eyeing the syrup'y concoction and guesstimating by another suggestion ("Have a bowl of ice water near the stove; when the boiling syrup begins to turn golden brown, drop a small amount - about 1/2 teaspoon -- into the cold water. When the syrup immediately hardens into a brittle string or ball, it is done.") but it never worked out too well.

Anyways, two attempts, two failures -- both times, the syrup apparently never got to the right temperature or consistency and both times I ended up with peanuts in a sugary kind of semiliquid glop. Other than the suggestion listed above (or buying a candy thermometer, which I'm loathe to do considering the bad reviews on pretty much all the ones I see out on the market for a reasonable price), does anyone have ideas on how to proceed and get a workable result?

I'm going to keep trying, though. I foresee the purchase of at least a little more corn syrup in the immediate future. *headdesk*
kitchenklutz: spices in bottles (spice bottles)
Again going with a recipe from Emeril's Potluck, I went for just a snack this time -- today's earlier experiment with Sausage-Stuffed Bread was enormously filling. This time, I decided to go for a starter, and despite the recipe not turning out quite how I think it was supposed to I was fairly well-satisfied with the recipe on p. 37 -- Spiced Nuts. )

Overall, a pretty tasty snack -- if you can get your fingers on some of the nuts which are well-coated or enveloped by the spiced brown sugar. However, it felt to me as though there wasn't quite enough of the sugar-binder to really make an almost cookie-like treat. What I got was yummy enough to warrant a second try, though -- maybe with more sugar/spices?
kitchenklutz: garlic bread (garlic bread)
Being home and not feeling too well, I returned to old habits and decided to make myself some comfort food. I paged through Emeril's Potluck until I came across something that looked tasty (and that I had most of the ingredients for), on page 55: Helen's Sausage-Stuffed French Bread. )

As mentioned above, I ended up with a bit of leftover sausage-cheese mixture. Not wanting to entirely spoil my appetite, I tried a little bit with a chip or two -- excellent all on its own! It's got quite a bit of heat to it, though; right now my lower lip and mouth have the vague feeling of sunburn that comes from spicy food which isn't necessarily temperature-hot. The loaves'll be out in about 45 minutes; I'll post my reactions and picture then.

Overall, quite tasty -- meaty, with plenty of molten-cheese goodness and plenty of spicy heat. The picture above really doesn't do it justice; I'd definitely make this again for a party or get-together.
kitchenklutz: tomato sauce ladle (saucy ladle)
A few weeks back, someone posted this recipe onto an LJ cooking community. Annoyingly, though I copied the recipe into a file I neglected to note whose recipe it is. Grrrr. So if this is your dough recipe, speak up and I'll gladly give you credit!

Pizza Dough (used for Pepperoni Calzone) )

Long post, I know, but so worthwhile. I so should have taken a picture of this when it came out of the oven, but it looked so delicious I just tore into it. I'll take a picture when I make another tomorrow with another portion of the dough.

Now, as to taste: I've dabbled with a handful of different pizza dough recipes before, and most of them have seemed too starchy or too crunchy. This, however, was nothing of the sort. Baked, it was crisp yet still soft and pliable, and combined with the pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni made an absolutely fantastic light meal. I can honestly say it turned out to be one of the best calzones I've ever had, and coming from me that's saying a lot. I absolutely plan on making this recipe again, and I recommend it to any pizza or calzone lover.

As to toppings other than pepperoni... well, practically anything can be used. I worked in a couple of pizza shops on and off for more than a year, all told, and if you can imagine it (and it has no bones or anything inside) it can most likely go on a pizza. Particular combinations that I can recall include:

* Hawaiian: slices of ham and diced pineapple on red sauce
* Chicken Luau: use barbecue sauce instead of red sauce, top with diced chicken, pineapple, bacon, and green onions
* Stromboli: red sauce with salami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, and mushrooms
* Vegetarian: red sauce with mushrooms, green pepper, diced tomatoes, sliced onion, black olives, and/or artichoke hearts

But pretty much anything is possible. I'll see if I can't rustle up a recipe for a decent garlic white sauce as well, for an alternative to the red sauce -- even though, for me, the red sauce hits the spot. : )
kitchenklutz: garlic bread (garlic bread)
I've tried my hand at making pizza dough before and never been entirely satisfied. Today, I'm trying out a recipe I found on an LJ community a while back and am just now getting around to trying. The recipe calls for refrigerating the dough on a floured baking sheet for at least 8 hours after mixing it, so right now it's cooling in the fridge. (It's split up into various-sized balls of dough -- 5 oz. for a good-sized calzone, more for a pizza; half the recipe, which is what I mixed up, makes about 28 oz. of dough. Plenty for my purposes!) I'm hoping to make at least a calzone with that, my Spicy Red Pizza Sauce, and some pepperoni and grated mozzarella I've got in the fridge. I'll post on how it goes and tastes later on tonight, along with the recipe!
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Not much going on the past week -- between work and hobbies I haven't made the time to cook all that much that's new and interesting. Weekends, however, are when I have time to actually experiment a bit more. I'd snagged a bunch of cookie recipes and printed them out Friday at work, and decided to start experimenting with at least a few yesterday morning.

The first one I made was Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch. )

I adapted this recipe from the Good Morning America Food & Recipes page. Sad to say, overall I wasn't particularly impressed by it. The shortbread base seemed rather bland, and far too dry and crumbly for my tastes -- but maybe that's just the nature of shortbread. It wasn't in any way crunchy, really, and I expected it to be given the name of the recipe.

The ginger-maple taste of the topping is pleasantly sweet and elevates the recipe from mediocre to OK.

Overall rating, 3/5 -- I probably won't make it all too often, given that I can make tastier cookies for about the same amount of effort with similar ingredients, but at least this is a simple and straightforward snack recipe.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
Last night I tried my hand at making a recipe for knishes. Ultimately, the recipe wasn't satisfactory -- but I think perhaps I wasn't making it right, or something.

The dough ended up far too thick -- my bad, for not rolling it wider. The dough circles themselves were too small, I think -- they should've been 3" across, and the biggest cookie cutter I could find was only about 2". So folding up the edges didn't work quite as well as I would've hoped. Moreover, I couldn't get anywhere near as much of the filling in as the recipe suggested -- a pound of ground beef, with onions and garlic, only got about half used on fifteen knishes.

Sadly, the meat filling itself -- ground beef, onions, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper -- actually ending up tasting bland. Not enough spicing, I guess. And the dough when cooked was quite flour-y and more heavy than I would've preferred -- I'll have to cut down the amount of flour in the recipe next time, I guess. (Not quite 1 and 2/3 cups seems like a bit too much for 2 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder, anyways.)

Can anyone recommend a decent place to get knishes around Boston, so I can see what they're actually meant to taste like? *grin*

Crossposted from Kitchenklutz.
kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
The other night, I decided I wanted to try out a pesto sauce recipe I'd found, and thought that cheesy garlic bread would be just the thing to go with it. I made the garlic bread first, and as it turned out it smelled and tasted so good that I didn't bother with the pesto sauce and pasta after all!

Three-Cheese Garlic Bread with Herbs. )

Goes very well with the previously posted Meaty Red Sauce for dipping or topping.

Crossposted from Kitchenklutz.


kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)

March 2015

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