I recently discovered that it is not all that hard to make homemade bread. We joined our friends for dinner on Easter and I brought this yummy bread with me to share. It is a bit time consuming but great to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Recipe is derived from a recipe in the Joy of Cooking (only my favourite cooking book ever!)
1package (2 1/4 teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water (should feel hot running out of the tap… but not so hot you can’t put your finger under it)
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of flour (I split it 1/2 white four & 1/2 whole wheat)
2 TBS Olive oil (I was generous with the Extra Virgin olive oil 🙂
1 TBS spoon Salt
1 TSB herbs of your choice- I used an Italian mix but I think anything you like would work like rosemary, oregano, basil etc.
Now I have a fabulous restaurant grade Kitchen Aid mixer that I use to mix the dough because I’m too wimpy to knead the dough by hand… so here is the the method using a dough hook on a mixer.
Combine in a large mixing bowl the water and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes.
Add the flour, oil, salt and herbs. Mix for 1 minute on low speed to blend all the ingredients together. Knead for 10 minutes on medium speed untill the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is not coming together add water 1 TBS at a time. Or if it is too sticky add 1 TBS of Flour at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Drizzle oil of the ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours (dough should at least double in size)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Put your pizza (baking) stone in the oven and pre-heat for 45 mins. Punch dough down and roll dough untill it is about 1inch thick. Take out your pizza stone and dust with cornmeal. Place flattened dough on stone. (if you do not have a pizza or baking stone use a baking sheet that has been greased and dusted with cornmeal) Dimple the top of the dough with your fingers and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs and grated Asiago cheese. (if you don’t want cheese you can just sprinkle with corse salt or herbs or leave it plain).
Bake the foccaccia untill golden brown, about 25 min. Remove bread from oven and place on rack to cool or serve hot.
I love eating warm foccaccia bread with olive oil and balsamic Vinager like they serve it in medditeranean restaurants. Or you can slice and make in to sadwiches or panini’s.
It was my Friend Aditi’s Birthday this past week. I made the cake for her big bash on Saturday. It turned out well (aka I got a lot of compliments from the party goers) so I thought I would share it here.
The Chocolate cake recipe is one I got from a lady I used to work for. The first time I made it I was so sure I was going to end up with a soggy tastless cake cause the recipe seemed very strange and the batter was sooooooo runny. But it is seriously a fool proof cake that tasts amazing everytime.
The Best Chocolate Cake Ever
2 cups Sugar
2 2/3 cups Flour
2/3 cup Coco powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Soda
2/3 cup Oil
2 tsp Vanilla
2 cups boiling water
Mix the dry ingredients together. Beat in all wet ingredients except the water. Add the boiling water while mixing. Beat well for 2 minutes. Pour into a well greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 F for 45 min or until a tooth pick comes out clean
1/3 cup butter (at room temperature)
2 cups Icing sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 squares of melted bitter sweet chocolate
Cream the butter, beat in egg. Add Icing sugar gradually till light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and chocolate. Spread over cooled chocolate cake.
After I made the cake I remembered that I don’t have a nice plate that is big enough for a 9×13 cake so I ended up cutting my cake in two and putting it on two plates. Here it is
Here is my all time favorite carrot cake recipe.
2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar (white)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1.5 cups Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
3 cups shredded carrots
Put all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the centre and add all remaining ingredients except carrots. Mix very well. Add carrots and stir well. Pour batter into a 9×13 greased and floured pan. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack. While cake is cooling you can make the icing
Cream Cheese Icing
In a food processor combine
1.5 c hard cream cheese (the kind that come in the block)
1c icing sugar
Blend on high until the mixture is smooth. Do not over blend or your icing will be runny. Put in fridge to set until cake has completely cooled. Spread thickly over cake and serve.
Hope you all have a great Valentine’s Day. These are just simple sugar cookies that I decorated for treats in my office.
1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Butter (room temperature)
1 Egg (well beaten)
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Flour
3 Tbs baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Cream butter, add sugar gradually and continue to beat until well mixed. Add Egg and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. Should form a thick dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and set in fridge to chill (about 1 hour). Once dough is chilled split in half and roll out on a floured surface. Must be very thin – less than ¼ of an inch. Cut out with cookie cutters. Bake in a 350 F oven for 8-10 minutes. Edges should just barely be turning brown. Place on racks and allow to cool completely. Ice and decorate!
8 Tbs Icing sugar
2 Tbs water
1-2 drops of food coloring
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. If the icing is too dry add more water 1/8 tsp at a time. You don’t want it too runny… it should make a sort of glaze that can be brushed thinly onto the cookies.
In keeping with the cupcake theme I would like to share some cupcake love with all of you. While searching for interesting cupcake recipes to send to my cupcake swap partner I happened upon this blog – The Cupcake Blog. She has amazing recipes that are easy to follow and sound delish!! I have also added her to my blog roll. So enjoy my bit of cupcake love 😉
A good friend of mine once said “I cannot believe you made it to 25 without a copy of the “Joy of Cooking” Boy was she right. In my house growing up the staple cookbook for everything was the Joy of Cooking. My mom used it for so many recipes and methods. And when she wasn’t around and one of us kids was making dinner or baking we would rely on it for any questions we might have. When I moved out of my parent’s home I was constantly phoning my mom and asking her to look things up for me or give me recipes over the phone. For every birthday and Christmas I would ask for a copy of the Joy of Cooking sadly I never received this precious gift until my 25th birthday.
On my birthday I did not receive one copy but three copies! One from my loving boyfriend, one from my mom and one from my good friend Susan! I thought it was the funniest thing ever… here I was lacking the Joy of Cooking… then I was over “joyed” with three copies. I ended up keeping Susan’s copy and returning my mom’s and Boyfriend’s copies.
Since that time my Joy of Cooking has been well used… I recently participated in Sketched Soul’s cupcake swap. In my package I included a recipe for Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Satin Frosting. Today I share with you too!
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
18 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 large Egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to mix.
2. Scrape the sides of the mixer and then pulse until batter is smooth..
3. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Chocolate Satin Frosting
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream
½ cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Break chocolate into pieces
2. In a small saucepan bring milk or cream to a boil.
3. Remove saucepan from heat and add chocolate without stirring.
4. Cover and set aside for 1 minute.
5. Pour mixture into food processor or blender and add sugar, butter and vanilla.
6. Blend until mixture is perfectly smooth 1 minute or more.
7. Transfer to a bowl and set aside for a few minutes until the desired consistency is reached