Category Archives: Baking

Bottom of the Pit

Salted Rosemary Pretzel Buns

Pretzel Buns

I’m really hoping that with this last round of snow Mother Nature is finally done with winter – I’m ready for cherry blossoms, green grass, and spring vegetables!  We had a brief glimpse of spring over the weekend, to include the sighting of a few tulips, but now the world is again covered in a white blanket.  The only positive about winter continuing is that it gives me a little more time to plot out my spring recipes, to include the conquering of a few more new-to-me vegetables.  Today’s post however is not a veggie post – it’s a post about a delicious treat that is best enjoyed while walking down the city street (or at a ball stadium).   Pretzels might not the THE street food that everyone thinks of, but when I saw the challenge on /52weeksofcooking my mind went to pretzels.  Maybe because they are one of the few vegetarian items readily available from conventional street vendors, as I was trying to avoid caving in to the temptation of recreating something from a more modern food truck.

Bottom of the Pit

Serves: Yields 6 Buns

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 cup HOT water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the middle and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil and water and slowly pour in to the well. Quickly mix all the ingredients and then kneed for 5-7 minutes on a flat surface.
  3. Lightly oil the large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, rolling the dough around to cover in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a dry/warm location for an hour, or until dough has double.
  4. Combine the baking soda and hot water in a shallow bowl or saute pan.
  5. Divide the dough in to 6 balls. Remove the balls out at time, keeping the others covered in the bowl. Roll the dough out to form a snake like shape, then twist and form a bun.
  6. Dunk in to the water/baking powder mix then place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and repeat for remaining dough. Top with the fresh rosemary and kosher salt.
  7. Place pretzels in oven and heat to 415. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/bottom-of-the-pit-2.html

I can easily say the hardest part of this recipe was figuring out the right way to form them.  Since that didn’t really work for me I decided to twist them in to a bun shape – which turned out fantastic.  The quick baking soda bath gave them their distinct outer shell while the bun insured the inside was soft and moist!   Now it’s back to doing an anti-snow day since rumor has it more is coming on Tuesday…

Now They Know

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread

Apparently Mother Nature forgot to check her calender for it’s snowing in March in the Mid-Atlantic, and that’s just not right (or normal).  This is resulting in a very large number of soups in my household, and with that a lot of crusty bread for soaking up every last drop.  However one can not survive on crusty bread alone, so I decide to spice things up by adjusting one of my favorite cornbread recipes.  The first few times I made this by just topping the muffin dough with the pepper and cheese, but quickly realized that folding them in was the better option – even though it increases the risk of heavy muffins.   In my oh-so-scientific experimentation I found that adding folding in the pepper and cheese with the last bit of flour seems to keep the muffins fluffy while still insuring a mostly even distribution of the cheese and peppers.

Now They Know

Serves: Yields 12 Standard Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal (yellow or white)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease a muffin tin.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients in a large bowl create a well in the middle, then set aside. Beat together the vegetable oil, milk, and egg.
  3. Pour the liquid ingredients in to the well and quickly mix together, right before fully mixed fold in the cheese and pepper.
  4. Spoon the batter in to the pre-greased tins, filling about 3/4 of the way.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until tops are a golden brown. Allow to cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes - then serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/03/now-they-know.html

These muffins are the perfect addition to a nice comforting soup, allowing you to soak up all the goodness – with just the right little kick.  For those looking for a real boost serrano peppers can easily be switched in, either seeded or as is.   Just be warned that these muffins are rather addicting, so if you serve them to guests be prepared to share the recipe!  Or risk having them call you up at dinner time asking for the recipe…

The Past Unspoken

Chocolate Stuffed Muffins

Chocolate Stuffed Muffin

Oh, chocolate – you are amazing.  Which is why I was rather thrilled to see that Random Recipes - hosted by the fantastic Dom of Belleau Kitchen along with the Chocolate Log Blog (cuz chocolate!!!) -  was going chocolate this month, in addition to the normal rules.  I only have two dedicated dessert books, but found that a number of my books had at least one chocolate recipe tucked away.  In the end a non-dessert book won out, and with that these delicious chocolate filled muffins from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes.  I did make a slight adjustment to the recipe, as the basic muffin directions called for zest which is something I avoid due to an allergy.  I also decided to go with milk chocolate chips, while the original recipe didn’t say one way or another.

The Past Unspoken

Serves: Yields 12 Standard Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line or grease 12 standard sized muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set Aside
  3. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then mix in the buttermilk followed by the melted butter. Quickly mix in to the dry ingredients, mixing until just wet.
  4. Spoon 1 full tbsp of batter into muffin tin, then place 4-5 chips in the middle and top with another full tbsp of batter.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until muffins are brown. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to the cooling rack. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/02/the-past-unspoken.html

The best thing about this recipe is that the technique can be used for making other types of filled/stuffed muffins.  I could see pieces of fruit, jam, or caramel (!) doing rather nicely in this delicious muffin – or being really naughty and putting brownie or cookie dough in the middle!  If I was to do chocolate again I would probably use something more like a chocolate nugget as the chips didn’t really give it as much chocolate as I was expecting – or use a chocolate spread like Nutella!

Thinking About You

Dark Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

Dark Chocolate Chocolate Cookies

Warning: If you do not love chocolate this is not the blog post for you.  However if you have a sweet tooth that won’t settle for anything less but the good stuff then stick around.  This cookies have been a work in progress for a few months now, as was having a hard time finding the right balance – and then I decided to throw caution to the wind and grabbed some super dark chocolate bars.  While I’m not normally a fan of the darker chocolates, Joey is so I knew that worst case scenario he would enjoy them! So I cracked those chocolate bars up in to chocolate chunks and went for it.  Thankfully I had some special guests that night who were willing to test out the newest recipe.  Success!

Thinking About You

Serves: Yields approx 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or 1 cup broken up dark chocolate candy bar)

Instructions

  1. Stir together the flour and baking soda and set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter, sour cream, and sugar for at least three minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder then mix.
  3. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips/chocolate chunks. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375
  5. Place walnut size dough drops on cookie sheet leaving space between the cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then allow to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/02/thinking-about-you.html

I might tweak this again in the future, maybe half dark chocolate and half white chocolate, but then again why mess with chocolate perfection?  The trick with these is letting them have time in the fridge to relax and chill – it keeps them from attempting to become one large chocolate mess which might have happened with one of the test recipes.  Also, when the cookies come out the center will look a bit soft but that’s okay as they will firm up while cooking on the sheet.

Faith in Love

Vanilla Ricotta Bread

Vanilla Ricotta Bread

Following behind again with /52weeksofcooking but only one week behind so that’s not tooooo horrible – right?  Anyway, last week the theme for /52weeks was (is?) vanilla!  Simple enough ingredient but of course I couldn’t do something simple, I had to think of something non-dessert.  Which is why I’m a week late with posting this deliciously amazing Vanilla Ricotta Bread.  While I debated going full savory with vanilla, and also debated going crafty with vanilla (bad idea), in the end I decided to go with something somewhat familiar in order to lessen the odds of full failure.   I had made a ricotta bread a few months ago, pre-move, but it was just a bit blah.  I had expected the ricotta bread to have a sweetness to it, nothing as crazy as ricotta cookies – but maybe somewhat close.  Which led me to the awesome decision to add vanilla extract to the bread, and it worked!

Faith in Love

Serves: Yields 1 Medium Loaf

Serves 12-14

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter/margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to bread machine in specified order - for mine all dry ingredients (but yeast) go first followed by the liquid ingredients.
  2. Add yeast to bread machine's yeast container, or directly to the mixture.
  3. Set bread machine to standard and if you have the option set loaf to medium.
  4. Allow to cool for at least 30 minute before attempting to cut as bread is very fluffy.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/02/faith-in-love.html

This bread was fantastic fresh, awesome toasted with butter and jam, and scrumptious with nutella.