Saturday, December 31, 2011

Parmesan Herb Bread

When I was in school one of the first classes I took was Breads and Rolls. It was taught by a French pastry chef who specialized in breads. The class was broken up into five groups and each week of the class on Friday a different group would make French bread so that we would have it for the Commercial Foods class to use in their cafe. So, each group was able to make French bread several times and we were graded on the texture, color, size of the holes inside and taste. 

Chef Massenet was very influential in building my love of breads, especially French bread. This bread is not a true, pure French bread but it has some similarities. Parmesan herb bread has herbs mixed into the dough as well as sprinkled on the top of the loaf before it is baked. You have the option to use dried herbs or fresh herbs. When I can I always use fresh herbs because I feel like they have a more robust flavor that they add to the final product. 
Originally this recipe was for a bread maker but I adapted it to be manual, which is funny because usually people are trying to figure out how to make bread in their breadmakers instead of by hand or mixer. I like to run the wrong way though, it makes things more interesting. You could always leave out some or all of the herbs if you want to, it's all based on your flavor preference. Happy Baking and have a great New Year's Eve!

Parmesan Herb Bread
- 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup slightly warm water (100-110F)
- 2 ¼ cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. Stir yeast into warm water. Let sit about 5 minutes so the yeast foams.
  2. Place 1 ¼ cups of flour and next 7 ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add in the yeast mixture and stir until mixed. Add in the additional 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined or mix using a bread hook on a mixer.
  3. Mix for about 1 minute or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Place dough in a warm place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap. I like to turn on the “warm” function of the oven for about 20 seconds then turn the oven off and put the dough in the oven to proof. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a 12-inch long loaf. Place loaf on a baking sheet. Brush loaf with olive oil. Combine cheese, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and garlic powder; sprinkle over top of loaf.
  7. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

Adapted from

Friday, December 30, 2011

Double Chocolate Doughnuts & Piping Bag Tips

I received a mini doughnut pan for Christmas which I am super excited about. I already had recipes bookmarked for when I did obtain a doughnut pan then hoped someone would purchase it for me for Christmas. So, when I opened it I definitely squealed a little bit. The pan makes 12 2" doughnuts which are a perfect size to me because then I get to have three instead of one and I feel like I'm splurging. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pear Frangipane Tart

I've always loved baking and so over the years I have accumulated a large number of baking pans in all shapes and sizes. Some of them although loved are under used. A tart pan is one of those pans that gets lost in the pantry. A tart can be so many flavors just like most other desserts and it's usually fairly simple with a beautiful presentation. Bonus...they're usually filled with fruit, that makes them healthy right? :). 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate Yule Log

I'm a little late with a yule log post but you never know, someone might still want to make one and call it a New Year's Eve jelly roll :). Also, jelly rolls are perfect for any time of the year because you can make them in any flavor. This particular one is chocolate cake, vanilla whipped cream frosting and chocolate icing that resembles fudge. 

I had some guests over and forgot to take a picture of it when it was whole because that would have been pretty also. It also was slightly more rounded initially but by the time I had taken the picture it had been wrapped in plastic wrap which always flattens desserts.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies on a rainy Tuesday

Welcome to Tuesday everyone. It's raining outside here so it's colder than it should be and now I just want to stay inside all day and bake something. A great treat on a rainy, cold Tuesday is cookies. Warm cookies hit the spot any day. Maybe with some cocoa? I received several types of cocoa for Christmas that I am eager to try :). I am actually planning on making some mini doughnuts today, the yeast based kind that is soft and fluffy. Yum! I'm also looking into some other delicious dessert treats to share.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Vanilla Bean Scones

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I was lucky enough to spend it with family and it was wonderful. 

People usually have a love it or hate it feeling about scones. Sometimes they come out dry and crumbly and sometimes they are moist with a large crumb that is delicious. I believe scones should always be served with a jam, cream, or even butter. I served these with simple, unsalted butter. They were a nice addition to breakfast as the "bread" option. We also had a broccoli quiche, plain yogurt with homemade granola, and a pear-vanilla cobbler. I forgot to get a picture of the pear-vanilla cobbler but it was great!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Low Sugar Peppermint Creams

Peppermint patties are an iconic sweet treat and I used those as inspiration when creating these little clouds of peppermint. There are several people I know who cannot tolerate the amounts of sugar that are in most desserts. They do enjoy the occasional sweet though and these help to satisfy that sweet tooth. These are excellent on a dessert table and can be modified in many ways to match other flavor palates such as orange or vanilla bean instead of mint.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cheese Straws

Cheese straws are a southern treat that is highly addictive because they are delicious and usually a bit spicy. I'm sure you all know I love spicy foods since I feel like I talk about it once a week, and cheese, I love cheese! This recipe made over 100 1" pieces of cheese straws which seems like a lot but they're really munchable and great for parties. I used the ribbon disc on a cookie press to get the shape then trimmed them into 1" pieces.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A cookie by a different name...

These cookies are known by a variety of names including Pecan Sandies, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Viennese Sugar Balls, Snow Drops, Southern Pecan Butter Balls or in this case...Butter Balls. This cookie by any name is still a nutty, buttery delight to whoever is eating it. It's also a lovely addition to a dessert tray. No matter what they're being called they always look the same and are easily recognized but may taste a bit different because some people will make them with walnuts instead of pecans.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are simple and relatively quick to prepare.  The rolled sugar cookies do take a little longer because the dough chills but it's worth the wait, and could be considered a "make ahead feature". Cookie cutters are so much fun to work with and come in endless shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. My son is a big fan of trains so I cut these so he could play with them before he ate them, that always makes it more fun. I decided not to decorate them because I liked the simplicity of the shapes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Cookies

Something my son says that cracks me up every time is "it's spicy". This is mostly because he's two and most of the things he has to say are adorable and make me laugh. He hasn't tried these because he hasn't seen them but I sure he would want four in one sitting. Well, these cookies have a bit of adjustable heat in them. If you like it spicy add more than a pinch of cayenne, otherwise I recommend sticking to the recipe.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meatless Mondays! Paula Deen's pizza crust

I have a new recipe index now! I'm very excited about it and hopefully all of the links work. Let me know if they don't and I will fix it. The tab is at the top of the page and the recipes are in order by category then alphabetical. Let me know what you think!

We love pizza crust. Pretty much any variety as long as there's no meat in it of course :). Well, my husband would love a pizza crust with meat in it. We probably make pizza about every other week from scratch. We usually use the same recipes but I felt like something new even though it's basic.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

See you tomorrow!

I've been very busy lately with the end of this session for school, family, and getting ready for Christmas. It's about to get a little crazier but that's okay. I have a fun post for Meatless Monday that's a Paula Deen recipe (without butter! what could it be!) but I've become a little behind on available dessert posts :(. I will have some fun, new dessert and bread recipes starting on Tuesday though :) I am not the type of person who will just post other peoples recipes and pictures that I haven't made just to fill up the pages of my blog, so I hope you understand. One project in particular I'm looking forward to is a gingerbread train for this weekend (I bought a short string on 10 lights on a battery pack!). So, thank you for reading my blog and I will see you tomorrow :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tortillas to the rescue!

 I was talking to my husband yesterday about the quesadillas we were supposed to have last night for dinner when it occurred to me that we didn't have tortillas. I could have run to the store and purchased some but there was no fun in that and I decided it would be a great baking adventure! I think I made tortillas a long time ago, years actually. I've made naan a bunch of times at my old job because we used to sell it for parties. The tilt skillet worked awesome for cooking the naan.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brownie Petit Fours

Brownies are on practically everyone's list to make for the holidays whether it comes from a box or is made from scratch. They're easy to throw together in a few minutes and then you have a chewy chocolatey treat. Just a few extra steps and you can cover them in chocolate and have a new treat. I'm calling them Brownie Petit Fours because they're bite sized and covered in glaze. Chocolate makes everything better :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cake

Sometimes you want chocolate cake for dessert but without all of the hassle or an entire cake. Here it is. This cake has a short prep time of maybe 10 minutes then a bake time of 30-35 minutes. In under an hour you can have four individual servings of cake made with ingredients you probably have on hand. This is called a Hot Chocolate Cake because it's made with hot cocoa mix and topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cocoa.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Apple Raisin Challah Bread

Hanukkah starts on December 20th this year. I do love Challah bread. If you've never tried it you should, I think it's delicious. Bread is so comforting when you sit and enjoy it as you eat it and taste all the flavors that are there. This Challah bread has diced green apples and raisins inside. If you have golden raisins I'm sure you could use those instead but I don't recommend using an apple that's not green and tart because it will take away from the flavor.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meatless Mondays! Baked Chile Rellenos

Chile Rellenos are something people love to eat but don't usually make. It's the type of dish I may order at a restaurant because I don't even usually make it at home. This recipe is from Vegetarian Times and I've had it in my "want to make" file for a while and finally got around to it. I feel like it is a good, solid recipe that could easily be built upon. I used Pasilla pepper instead of Poblano because that's what the store had so I went with it. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Visions of Sugar Plums dancing in my head!

Sugar Plums are a treat that exemplify Christmas although most people have never tried them. They are made mostly of dried fruits and nuts. I had actually never tried Sugar Plums before I made these and I'm not sure what I was expecting from them but I think they are delicious. They're also very versatile because you can mix up the dried fruit combination or the nuts that you use. Some recipes call or walnuts, others hazelnuts, others almonds, and so on.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hungarian Cinnamon Bread

Breads with fillings intrigue me. I love bread filled with rosemary or cheese or cinnamon and raisins. It's like a surprise when you bite into it. I've been making more bread now than I used to which is so nice, to have the house filled with the smell of fresh baked bread. When I saw the recipe for this bread I put it on my "to do" list which is already a mile long. The swirl adds some fun aesthetically to the bread although I don't find it to be to strongly flavored with cinnamon. My husband thinks this would make some lovely French Toast although we haven't tried that and he thinks all bread would make lovely French toast, within reason :). Happy Baking!

Hungarian Cinnamon Bread

- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Sprinkle with a pinch of the sugar and let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the remaining 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the 1 cup melted butter, the egg yolks, and salt. Add 2 cups of the flour and turn the speed up to medium; continue to mix until incorporated. Gradually add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and continue to mix until the dough holds together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl; the dough will be very soft.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Put the dough in a large bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Test the dough by pressing 2 fingers into it. If indents remain, the dough is adequately risen.
4. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with melted butter (or spray with non-stick spray).
5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about ⅛” thick. Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly across. Roll the dough up, jelly-roll style, into a long cylinder, and pinch the seam closed. Put the dough in the prepared loaf pan, seam side down. Make sure the dough touches all sides of the pan.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise a second time, until the top of the dough is nearly level with the top of the loaf pan, about 20 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the dough with more melted butter.
8. Bake until your kitchen smells like cinnamon and the bread is golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf

Printable Recipe 

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

French Bread Rolls

Bread is my favorite treat, besides dessert of course. I love almost all types. It's warm and soft and delicious. It can be quick to make bread or a labor of love that takes weeks if you're making a proper sourdough starter. I should make a sourdough starter, it's my husbands favorite bread. I also have a recipe for sourdough pizza crust I've been wanting to try. This recipe is very basic. You could always get crazy in two directions, either adding herbs to the bread or making a flavored butter to go with them. Most herbs would work, I bet rosemary would be delicious. Flavored butter is usually just a matter of softening a stick of butter to room temperature then using a mixer blend in some strawberry jam, orange marmalade, or cinnamon and honey, for a few suggestions. Then you pack it into a small serving bowl or other container and refrigerate. You also could get really wild and scoop it into a piping bag with a star tip and pipe little rosettes onto parchment or a Silpat then refrigerate and peel off to serve to guests on a platter. So many options with bread...that's another reason I love it. Don't forget there's a printable recipe link at the bottom of every recipe post. Happy Baking!

French Bread Rolls
Yield: 16 rolls


- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups bread flour

1. In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
3. Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Printable Recipe

Recipe from

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fudge from scratch

Most fudge recipes you see will have evaporated milk, marshmallows, or marshmallow creme. I've even seen fudge recipes made with chocolate pudding. I've actually made them and they're pretty good. This recipe is based on a recipe from Penzey's. I have talked about Penzey's before in some previous posts because they're wonderful, at least to me :). Their store has so many spices, seasonings, and mixes to peruse. I love fudge and it's so customizable to meet different flavor palates.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meatless Mondays! Broccoli and Cheddar Soup - Panera Copycat

Broccoli and Cheddar soup was not a soup I enjoyed growing up. The thought of broccoli in soup did not sound good. Surprisingly I would eat it on my plate and especially covered in cheese. As I was older I learned to appreciate broccoli in soup. My husband did not like soup so we hardly ever had it for a meal. One day he had gone to Panera Bread for lunch and had gotten wild and tried their Broccoli and Cheddar soup. He raved about it and it turned him onto soup. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Wedges

Cinnamon Sugar wedges are super easy and super delicious :). This is a very basic recipe that comes together really quick but looks pretty for company. I'm sure that there are all kinds of crazy things you could do with it, as I usually talk about variations. I'm sure some fresh berries would be a wonderful accompaniment. Flavored honey would also probably bring up the excitement value and add another flavor component. This is baked in a tart pan, 9" I believe which gives it the lovely scalloped edges. This is a basic pie crust recipe that can be used in many different applications.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...