Monday, September 30, 2013

Hope’s Delicious Pizza – Crust Only!

We recently visited my youngest daughter and her third-year-law-school hubby in Columbus on a trip to market EZ DOH. As neither of us are swimming in cash right now and couldn't afford to eat out every night, she made a DELICIOUS meal for us one night. It actually turned out to be my favorite meal of the weekend. An amazing pizza (sorry- she won't share the topping recipe - it's a "secret recipe" from a restaurant she used to work at! Boo hoo! ) , a fresh garden salad, a bottle of wine and great company - what could be better?!

1 tsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 ¼ Cup warm water
1 Cup cake flour
2 ½ - 3 Cups Unbleached flour
2 tsp salt
Olive oil

Mix water and yeast – let sit for 1 minute. Add cake flour, 2 ½ Cup of the unbleached flour and the salt. Mix with EZ DOH (or knead) until a soft dough forms. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make a smooth dough. Remove dough from EZ DOH bucket. Lightly oil bucket with olive oil. Place dough back in bucket, turn to coat with oil. Cover bucket and let dough rise till doubled. After rising, punch dough down and divide into 2-4 pieces. Shape into balls. Sprinkle lightly with flour and place balls on a floured surface. Cover lightly and let rise until doubled.

Your dough is now ready to make pizza!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Banana Cinnamon Roll-Ups and Super-sweet Friends!

I have very polite friends....We all care deeply about our community and work together to make it an even better place to live. A lot of us serve on the local Chamber of Commerce board together and see each other often at committee meetings. Now, folks who serve in this manner wouldn't normally be labeled as simply "polite".....the "polite" part comes in when I bring my weekly "surprise" baking treat to the meetings. I always ask for very honest feedback about the goodies, as I want to know which ones should appear as repeats. However, the feedback is usually consistently...."good!", "great!" "yummy!" .....and this recipe was no different! I wanted them to be much more critical about the item - what's good , what's not-so-good......but they loved it! ( I personally thought it was a little over-the-top in sweetness) I originally labeled my friends as "polite"......maybe they're just hungry.....and appreciative.

Here's the recipe for:

Banana Cinnamon Roll- Ups

3 ½ - 4 cups flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package Red Star Platinum yeast 
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
1 egg
1 and 1/2 very ripe bananas

For the filling:
1/2 banana – not overly ripe
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp sugar

For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
1 Tbsp. softened butter

1. Mix water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket. Let sit 1-2 minutes, letting yeast “wake up”
2. Add 3 ½ cup flour and remaining ingredients to bucket and “EZ DOH-it” until dough is smooth and not-too-sticky. Add additional flour, up to ½ cup, as necessary, to produce this dough – usually 2-3 minutes.
3. Remove dough, spray the bucket with cooking spray, and replace dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place till doubled.
4. In a microwave safe bowl, mash up the 1/2 banana and butter and place in microwave until the butter is melted. Stir well. In a separate bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon.
5. Roll out the dough to about a 15 x 9 in rectangle. Spread the butter and banana mixture on top, leaving a 1/2 inch border on the sides. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly on top. Starting on one of the long sides, roll up the dough tightly.
6. Cut the log into 12 rolls and place in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Cover and place in a warm spot until the rolls are doubled in size, about an hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 25-30 minutes.
8. Mix icing ingredients and ice rolls when cooled.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pretzel Rolls - Surprises and Prizes!

These rolls are gorgeous.....very impressive......and really not difficult to make (don't let the length of the recipe put you off!) They're also prize-winning........

I'm sort-of a baking contest addict.......I love entering the county fair, or other local baking competitions. If you read my post re: the Apple Almond Coffee Ring, you know that that was a big win for me and it came at a very difficult point in my life. Ahhh, don't things seem to happen that way? This recipe, too, was another big, surprise win for me. The summer had been a tumultuous one - my father had had a stroke and was in rehabilitation in a nearby town for months. To cheer him, I visited daily, which was not an easy task when you're trying to get a business off the ground, too. I longed for some sense of normalcy...and so I baked! I entered some general categories in the county fair, not quite knowing what recipes I'd use. The morning the entries were due, I decided to enter these tasty rolls. I dropped off them off, along with a few other entries, later that morning and then headed over to see Dad. We didn't have plans to visit the fair until the weekend, so I didn't anticipate hearing how everything did until we got there. However, the next day, after returning home from another visit to Dad, I noticed a message on our answering machine...... "Hello? Have I reached the home of the big winner? Congrats, Ginny! Everything looks wonderful! Love you!"........WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? I was absolutely crazy to be sure I was understanding the message correctly. I tried desperately to get in touch with my friend, but couldn't.....and it was making me nuts! Eventually, she got back with me and confirmed my hopes - Best of Show in Breads!!! What a blessing that was - it came at a time when my spirits needed a little lift.....and for that, I was grateful.

Your guests will be extremely grateful if you make them these rolls!!

Pretzel Rolls 

Yield: 12

1 ½ cup warm water (110°F)
1 package Red Star Platinum yeast 
2 teaspoons sugar
4-½ cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup baking soda
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
Pretzel Salt, for sprinkling

In your EZ DOH bucket, or bowl of your mixer, add the water, yeast, and sugar. Stir and let rest 3-5 minutes until foamy.Add the flour, salt, and melted butter and mix with EZ DOH or dough hook of mixer until combined well. Cover with a plastic wrap (or a towel) and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured clean surface.

Line 1 large sheet pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Divide the dough into 12 (or more) equal pieces (You may make larger or smaller rolls, according to your preference). To shape the dough take a piece of dough and start forming a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand. Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet pinched seam side down, with at least 1” between each roll. Cover with a towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes – they should be “puffy”.

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Remove from heat and slowly add the baking soda, stir until dissolved, and then place back on heat and lower to a simmer.

Place the rolls (2-3 at a time) into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds and then carefully turn the roll over and poach for another 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared sheet pan, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

Using a pastry brush, brush each roll with the beaten egg, making sure to coat the roll completely & then sprinkle each with a little pretzel salt. Using a sharp straight edged knife, slash the top of the roll twice. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Best served warm!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Memories of Blessed Bread…Apple Almond Coffee Ring

In 2005, I turned 50 -  The number was no big deal to me. I had always felt every year that passed was a privilege and a blessing, whether it had its trials or its triumphs. This year was no different. However, it was the uncertainty of my life circumstances that had me reeling a bit….

Several days before my birthday, my husband and I made a trip to the Cleveland Clinic to talk to the doctors about a breast biopsy I had recently had done. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and our plans included a day of shopping in Cleveland after we finished with the doctor. We were totally confident of a great prognosis – I had always had problems with cysts and had never had a serious issue, so we had no reason to believe this would be any different. But , much to our surprise, it was different…..very different.

We sat in the doctor’s office, stunned at the words we had just heard…..breast cancer. Our plans for sight-seeing and shopping were abandoned as we were whisked from his office to an oncologist’s office and then to a radiologist’s office. It seemed as though everything changed in one afternoon.

Mom at her best!!
Friends and family gathered days later for a birthday party for me. It was a lovely, quiet evening, but the thing I remember most is how tired my mother was. She looked beautiful dressed in a bright pink, but she seemed so very, very weary. Making her apologies, she left the party early and headed to bed.

Later that month, I proceeded with a mastectomy. Everything went well and I was home in no time. We were adjusting to the reality of dealing with my diagnosis, when we received a call from the local
hospital. My mother had been admitted directly from her doctor’s office. Her diagnosis – Cancer. Everywhere. She was terminal and had only weeks to several months to live.

It turned out that it was “weeks”…… She declined treatment, other than radiation for her brain so she could remain lucid. We spent almost all our time together, except when I was in Cleveland receiving chemotherapy. We laughed together as I went bald – she kept assuring me of how great I looked even without hair. We planned and prayed together as her time grew shorter. Baking bread in her kitchen became a solace for me…..something “normal” in this completely abnormal world. And God chose to bless that baking.

In reaching for that “normal”, I had chosen to go ahead and submit an entry to the Canfield Fair baking competition, as I did every year. I selected a favorite yeasted apple coffee cake to enter. A dear friend of Mom’s agreed to come and be with her as Dave & I took a few hours to attend the fair and check out the prize winners. When we arrived at the Arts and Crafts building, my bread was nowhere to be found among the competitors. My heart began to beat wildly with anticipation, and we rushed to where the “Best of Show” ribbon winners were featured – and there was my bread! After years of competition, this was my first “Grand Prize”, and I wept with appreciation for God’s little gift of joy.

When we returned home, we were able to share our surprise. Mom, though weak and unable to speak, squeezed my hand with pride. And days later, she was gone.

Every time I make this bread, I think about Mom…..and about the sweetness of our relationship….and about God’s little blessings, even in our dark hours. Here’s that DELICIOUS recipe – Make it with JOY!! (Share the joy — This makes 2 coffee cakes!)

Apple-Almond Coffee Ring
1 pkg/1 Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
¼ Cup warm water
¼ Cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ Cup sour cream
1/3 Cup softened butter or margarine
2 eggs
2 ¾ -3 ¼ Cup all purpose, unbleached flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let rest for 1-2 minutes. Blend in remaining ingredients and knead (traditionally or by stand mixer or EZ DOH), adding enough flour to make a smooth, satiny dough. Place dough in greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm location until doubled. Grease 2- 9” round cake pans.

½ Cup Sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ Cup chopped almonds
1 1/3 Cup finely chopped, peeled apples (about 2 medium)
¼ Cup softened butter or margarine

Combine filling ingredients, except margarine. Punch down & divide risen dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into 12” circle and spread with 2 Tablespoons of butter or margarine. Sprinkle ½ of apple mixture over each circle. Cut each circle into 12 wedges and roll up each wedge, starting with wide end. Place point side down in prepared pans (12 wedges/pan) , arranging in a spoke-like fashion to form a ring. Cover and let rise until doubled. Heat oven to 375. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden. Remove from pans immediately. Turn upright onto cooling racks. When cooled, glaze with a confectioner’s icing made with 1/8-1/4 teaspoon almond extract, 1 Cup powdered sugar and 4-6 teaspoons milk.

Theme created by PIXELZINE