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Friday
Oct312014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Creamy Cashew Turtle Pie

Creamy Cashew Turtle Pie

Things that I love definitely include pie crust, chocolate, cashew butter, cashews, salt, cream cheese, and caramel. Guess what? This pie has them ALL. Thank you to Tina Repak-Mirilovich of Johnstown, Pennsylvania for coming up with such a gem of a recipe. Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Creamy Cashew Turtle Pie

  • Prep Time: 25 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 50 Min
  • Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust, softened as directed on box
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups cashew butter
  • 1 cup chopped salted cashews
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup caramel topping
  • 1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 450°F. Make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 20 minutes.
  2. In small microwavable bowl, microwave 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth. Add 1/3 cup of the cashew butter; mix well. Spread chocolate mixture over bottom of cooled pie crust. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cashews over chocolate mixture. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, remaining 1 cup cashew butter and the caramel topping with electric mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes or until blended. Gently stir in whipped topping until well blended. Spoon and spread cream cheese mixture over cashews. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. In small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth. Place chocolate in small resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off small corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle chocolate over pie. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cashews. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

Note: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

Wednesday
Oct292014

Monster Cereal Milk Smackdown

Recently, I received a box containing the holy trinity of sweet Halloween nostalgia: the re-issue of Monster Cereals: Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry. Any self respecting child of the 80's ought to be highly jealous of me, and also very excited about this re-issue, because you're an adult now and you can eat all the sugary cereal you want.

But let me cut right to the chase and tell you that my first thought upon receiving the parcel was this: which cereal yields the best-tasting cereal milk?

Long considered a by-product of the cereal eating experience, the residual cereal-soaked milk has come into vogue in recent years, with much thanks to the tireless work of Christina Tosi of Momofuku. It's become a beverage which can be appreciated as a stand-alone thing, not a sad liquid giving you pause about whether or not you want to pour in more cereal to sop it up.

This is all to say: cereal milk matters. And therefore, by pouring milk in a sample of each cereal and then tasting the results, I am doing an experiment that really matters. And one that my mother never would have let me do in the 80's, so I was delighted to do it as an adult.

Oh, and since the cereals were sent to me gratis, it's a good time to put this: Disclosure: The product, giveaway samples and information have been provided by General Mills. All opinions are my own.

The specifics

What:

A tasting of the milk left after steeping Monster cereals for an hour: Boo Berry, Count Chocula, and Frankenberry. 

How:

 I poured a sample of each cereal into a small bowl, and then filled it with milk, which I then left to steep for an hour before straining.

Because I have a naturally scientific mind, I also did some combinations:

  • Frankenberry and Count Chocula
  • Count Chocula and Frankenberry
  • Frankenberry and Boo Berry

and then, for fun, I made one bowl with equal parts of all three cereals.

The steeping process

I then let the cereals steep in milk for one hour. I figured an hour was a long enough period of time to get as much flavor as possible out of the cereal.

At the end of an hour, I strained out the cereal (I'd like to say I ate it, but it was at this point soggy and gross). 

And then I took a deep breath and set to tasting.

And here are my results.

Taste test: which Monster Cereal milk tastes best?

Stand-alone cereals:

Franken Berry:

This was undoubtedly the prettiest of the bunch, with a light pink hue. The flavor was like a gentle strawberry milk--and when I say strawberry milk, what I mean is the kind that contains no actual strawberry. It was pleasant, but perhaps not memorable.

Boo Berry:

The Boo Berry yielded an only gently blue-hued milk. The flavor was not very pronounced, and quite honestly tasted like Franken Berry milk but with slightly less personality. I was unimpressed by this milk.

Count Chocula: 

The color was a light cocoa hue, and the taste was like a milky chocolate milk, with undertones of Yoo-Hoo. It made for smooth drinking, and I thought it might be super nice when foamed and put on a latte. 

Mixed cereals:

 

Franken Berry and Count Chocula: 

The pink color and strawberry flavor remained dominant in this mix, even though it contained equal parts of each cereal. It tasted a little more interesting than the strawberry alone, but I found myself hoping for more chocolatey flavor.

Count Chocula and Frankenberry:

This milk had a sort of unpleasant purplish-brown hue, and the taste was just OK. It was not offensive, but it was like light chocolate milk with a soupçon of berry flavor. It was not memorable.

Franken Berry and Boo Berry:

This milk had a lightly purplish hue and tasted like a slightly enhanced version of the strawberry-flavored milk from Franken Berry alone. I liked the enhanced aspect, but I did not enjoy the color. Still, I would have this milk with a slice of cake.

Combo: 

All cereals together: Franken Berry, Boo Berry, and Count Chocula

I will confess, I was extremely surprised by the mix. I had thrown it into the mix mostly to be amusing, but I surprised myself by loving the combo. It had high notes of fruit, an extended strawberry flavor, and a lingering chocolate aftertaste. I surprised even myself by loving this mix. It was different, it was interesting, and I drank the entire little ramekin-full. 

The winners:

In spite of how horrifying it sounds, the mix of all of the cereals together, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, and Count Chocula, yielded the most interesting milk and the one I'd be most excited to drink again. 

Second place goes to the Count Chocula milk, which I think would taste great frothed and added to a latte. 

Third place goes to the Franken Berry and Boo Berry mix, which sounds like a Dr. Seuss creation and had a pleasing berry flavor. 

Happy Halloween! 

Wednesday
Oct292014

Trick or Sweet: 33 Amazing Halloween Recipes

Halloween is all about sweets, right? And costumes, I guess. But I am most concerned about the sweets.

Here is a collection of 33 (cos that's how old I am this year) Halloween recipes that are bound to make it a year of trick or SWEET for sure!

1. Mega fun-size candy bar.

What happens when you melt together a bunch of fun-size candy bars to make a mega mass of chocolatey goodness? Find out here. (CakeSpy)

2. Candy corn pecan pie.

What could make pecan pie even sweeter? How 'bout a nice serving of candy corn? (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

3. Frankenstein monkey bread.

Monkey bread gets Halloween-ified with this spooky treatment. (Pillsbury)

4. Candy corn cookie cake.

It looks like a pie, but this spy knows the truth: it's a cookie coated with candy corn! (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

5. Candy corn cookies.

This clever adaptation of Kaleidoscope cookies is sweet and cute. (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

6. Homemade mellowcreme pumpkins.

Because the homemade version blows store-bought out of the water! (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

7. Candy corn boston cream pie. 

Even fancy desserts like to play dress-up on Halloween. (CakeSpy)

8. Cake baked in a pumpkin.

Are you still eating cakes baked in pans? Not this month, sucker! Make yours in a pumpkin for Halloween. (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

9. Microwaved halloween candy.

How do different treats fare when put in the microwave at high power? (CakeSpy)

10. Glow in the dark buttercream.

Illuminate your treats--um, literally. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

11. Pumpkin bread.

Plain and simple. In case you like more wholesome treats, no tricks. (CakeSpy)

12. Homemade candy corn.

An awesome DIY version of everyone's favorite Halloween tricolor triangles! (Shauna Sever via CakeSpy!)

13. Creamy Candy Bar Sauce.

It's just such a good idea. (the Kitchn)

14. Candy corn Nanimo bars.

Nanaimo bars like to get dressed up for Halloween, too! (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

15. Zombie graveyard cake.

Make a ghoulish cake for people, not zombies! No brains included in the ingredients. (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

16. Deep fried halloween candy. 

Take Halloween candy...and deep-fry it. Like, whoa. (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

17. Homemade halloween oreos.

They have orange filling = instant Halloween! (Smells Like Home)

18. Scaredy-cat brownies.

Oreos become cute cats on this adorable brownie presentation. (Martha Stewart)

19. Candy corn and spider web cake pops.

She's the queen of cute cake pops, and these ones are a good example of just why she's considered royalty. (Bakerella)

20. Creamed candy corn.

Yes, I went there. You'll like it more than you think you will, I promise. (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

21. Candy corn milk.

If creamed candy corn is too thick, perhaps you will like the easy drinking quality of candy corn infused milk.(CakeSpy)

22. Candy corn cupcakes.

These are just adorable: tricolor delights of cake! (Chocolate Moosey)

23. Glittery pumpkin cupcakes.

Add a little glitz and plenty adorableness to a Halloween party with these dazzling cupcakes. (Real Simple)

24. Candy corn tuxedo cake.

I don't know if I can express how worthy this is of clicking over to see. It's truly stunning. --> (Sprinkle Bakes)

25. Pumpkin Pie Milkshake.

I say it's appropriate through all of the pumpkin holidays: Halloween thru Thanksgiving. (CakeSpy

26. Crescent witch hats.

These crescent witch hats are not only cute, but they're easy. Really! (Pillsbury for CakeSpy)

27. Ghost cupcakes.

These are ghoulish, but the taste is all sweet thanks to an enrobing of white chocolate! (CakeSpy)

28. Brownie spider web cake.

Yummy, easy, cute, Halloween-y, and brownies are included. What more do you need? (Heather's French Press)

29. Peanut butter haystacks.

It's the eyes that make them look like little monsters. Delicious little monsters, that is. (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

30. Candy corn upside down cake.

Like pineapple upside-down cake, but replace "pineapple" with "candy corn". Yes indeed. (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

31. Halloween fudge.

It's not only super-sweet, but also highly adorable. (Crazy For Crust)

30. Halloween jell-o Jigglers.

These are amazingly easy to make, and they will make everyone happy when you serve them. (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

31. Candy corn popcorn balls.

Like popcorn balls, but with the added Halloween joy of candy corn. Hooray! (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

32. Bell pepper jack o'lanterns.

This savory treat is allowed because they LOOK so sweet (figuratively, of course). Promise me you'll check 'em out. (itsyummi.com)

33. Leftover halloween candy pie. 

It's awful and awesome all at once. Just like a horror movie. Gulp. (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

Wednesday
Oct292014

Make Your Own Nougat

Have you ever been mid-bite into a candy bar and wondered "how on jolly green and blue planet earth do they DO that?".

Well, if so, here's a tutorial just for you: how to make your own nougat. You can re-create the beating heart of what makes candy bars great! Full tutorial here.

Wednesday
Oct292014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Tropical Honey Butter Breakfast Rolls

Honey butter tropical rolls (Bake-Off)

When it gets cool outside, I begin to crave foods that make me think of warmer climates. So these rolls are just perfect for me: kissed with coconut and pineapple, they make me feel like I'm back in Bali for a moment. Now that's sweet! This recipe is via Rhodora Keegan of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Tropical Honey Butter Breakfast Rolls

  • Prep Time: 25 Min
  • Total Time: 55 Min
  • Makes: 8 rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups coconut (6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup well-drained crushed pineapple, patted dry with paper towel (from 8-oz can)
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Watkins™ Coconut Extract
  • 1 can Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers refrigerated honey butter biscuits (8 biscuits)

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place 2-inch square of Reynolds® Parchment Paper in bottom of each of 8 jumbo muffin cups or 6-oz custard cups. Spray each cup with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.
  2. In medium bowl, mix coconut, pineapple, brown sugar and coconut extract until well blended. In small bowl, place 3 tablespoons coconut mixture; set aside.
  3. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Press each biscuit to form 5-inch round. Spoon about 3 tablespoons coconut mixture onto center of each biscuit round. Fold biscuit in half over filling, stretching gently if necessary. Press edges firmly to seal; shape into ball. Place 1 ball in each muffin cup, seam side down. Spoon about 1 teaspoon reserved coconut mixture onto center of each biscuit; press lightly.
  4. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until deep golden brown. Immediately loosen with tip of knife; gently remove from pan. Cool 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Note: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

 

Tuesday
Oct282014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Strawberry-Cinnamon Roll Belgian Waffles

Cinnamon roll waffles

Breakfast is served. And is it ever beautiful: these "waffles" are made using cinnamon rolls! How's that for a decadent delight? Dressed up with strawberries and whipped cream, they're the perfect cold-weather breakfast to carb-o-load for a race you're never gonna run. This one comes from Kelly Humphreys of Vancouver, Washington. Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Strawberry-Cinnamon Roll Belgian Waffles

  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Total Time: 30 Min  
  • Makes: 5 waffles

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) strawberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 can Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Supreme refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing (5 rolls)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Procedure

  1. Place large bowl and beaters in freezer or refrigerator to chill.
  2. In 2-quart saucepan, mix 3/4 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in strawberries and 1/4 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils (mixture will become translucent during cooking). Boil and stir 2 minutes. Pour strawberry sauce into heatproof bowl; set aside.
  3. Heat Belgian waffle maker. (Waffle maker without a nonstick coating may need to be sprayed with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray before cinnamon roll is added.)
  4. Meanwhile, in chilled bowl, beat whipping cream, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the orange extract with electric mixer on low speed until mixture begins to thicken. Gradually increase speed to high and beat just until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat, or mixture will curdle. Refrigerate.
  5. Separate dough into 5 rolls; reserve icing. Place 1 roll in center of each waffle section. Close lid of waffle maker. Bake 2 to 3 minutes or until deep golden brown. Repeat with remaining rolls.
  6. Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave reserved icing uncovered on High 10 seconds; stir in melted butter, remaining 1/4 teaspoon orange extract and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  7. To serve, place each waffle on serving plate; drizzle with icing. Top with strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

Note: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

Tuesday
Oct282014

No Blurred Lines Here: Mastering Different Line Quality in Drawing

Let me teach you how to draw real good.

This lesson: different lines / pen strokes for drawing all sorts of things! Learn how to master these pen strokes and you will be able to attain textures and shapes that you might not have realized you were capable of drawing! Read the full article here.

Tuesday
Oct282014

Rainbow Japanese (Onigiri) Rice Ball and Unicorn Cookie Bento Boxes

CakeSpy Note: You guys. I am so, so excited to feature a rainbow-rich guest post from Kim of Ninja Baking! I'll let her take it from here. Enjoy!

Rainbow Japanese (Onigiri) Rice Ball and Unicorn Cookie Bento Boxes

by Kim Watkinson, The Ninja Baker, NinjaBaking.com
 
Do you ever get dizzy whirling around on a planet where the bad news du jour is served 24/7? Isn’t it comforting that a tap or two of computer keys transports you to a realm where rainbows, unicorns, hearts roam freely? Plus a place where recipes for goodies we all secretly crave reign supreme!  Of course, I’m talking about the virtual home of the CakeSpy aka author/artist Jessie Oleson Moore.  
 
Perhaps I find particular comfort in the CakeSpy site because of my history. Although I’m an American of European descent, Japanese food and language were all I knew until age 5. Tokyo was my hometown until I entered UCLA’s Theatre Arts program at 18. The Japan I grew up in was akin to what I imagine the ‘50s were in the US. Innocence prevailed. (Yes, ignorance about important issues were also prevalent.) There was a sweetness and a modesty in 1970s Japan. It’s still there but diluted. The younger generation is bolder. For better or for worse, the influence of pop culture from abroad is evident in Japan.
 
A few Japanese characteristics and traditions, however, remain steadfast. Young girls still clamor over all things “kawaii” cute and pretty. Blinged out cell phones are adorned with Hello Kitty and other cuddly characters. Adults continue to tastefully display exquisite works of art and flower arrangements in their homes. Bento lunch boxes have also never gone out of style.
 
So as a thank you to the CakeSpy for her insistence on focusing on the whimsical and wonderful, I’ve created Rainbow Japanese (Onigiri) Rice Ball and Unicorn Cookie Bento Boxes.
 
Ninja Note: Before any sort of cooking or baking, mise en place, set up of needed ingredients and tools makes for a peaceful kitchen. 

 

For the Rainbow Japanese Onigiri Rice Ball Bento, here’s what you’ll need:
 
*Freshly cooked rice

*A small bowl of water for sticky fingers from shaping rice into triangles

Ninja Note: Japanese pickles will probably appeal to sushi lovers familiar with pink ginger shoga. The most kid-friendly of all the listed pickles is the slightly sweeter red beni shoga.

*A rainbow assortment of Japanese pickles:
Pink Sushi Ginger Shoga
Green ao-jiso no mi  (radishes, soy sauce, salt, sugar, vinegar)
Purple pickled perilla, ginger and egg plant
Red pickled ginger
Yellow daikon radish slices
Red pickled plums
 
Shape the rice into triangles and garnish with the desired Japanese pickles. Pack them into your bento lunch box. Include bell pepper slices or other veggies.


 
For the Unicorn Cookie Bento Box, here’s what you’ll need:

*Jessie Oleson Moore’s The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts
*OR a pair of good eyes to see the modified Scout Butter Cookies recipe from the cookbook. (Courtesy of the CakeSpy.)

*M & Ms
*Rainbow mochi (Japanese pounded rice) candies or anything else delicious and multi-colored
*Unicorn Cookies: 
Adapted from Scout Butter Cookies in The Secret Lives of Baked Goods
 
Ninja Note: The sanding sugar crusted cookie gives way to a softer cookie inside a scrumptious unicorn-shaped delight!
 

*Unicorn Cookie Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out cookie dough)
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pink and blue sanding sugar
  • Horse cookie cutter
  • A rolling pin
  • A large cutting board
  • Wax paper 
  • Japanese Pocky biscuits for unicorn horns
  • Vanilla frosting (to act as glue)


*Unicorn Cookie Directions:

  1. Cream the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a kitchen stand mixer for 6 minutes or until light, fluffy and pale in color.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl after each addition.
  3. Pour in the milk and vanilla extract. Incorporate into the mix.
  4. Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. 
  5. Gradually stir in the flours, baking powder and salt.
  6. Divide the dough into two medallion balls.
  7. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  9. Take the dough out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before you are ready to roll out the dough into unicorns.
  10. On a hard surface such as a large cutting board, roll out the dough between 2 pieces of floured wax paper to a ¼ inch to ½ inch thickness.
  11. Cut out (horse) unicorn cookies. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  12. Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  13. Freeze for 2 hours or overnight.
  14. Bake in a 375 degrees oven for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  15. Once cooled, attach Pocky tips onto the horses with vanilla frosting for unicorn horns.
  16. Place the unicorn cookies into the bento boxes with the M & Ms and rainbow mochi.

*For more info about Kim Watkinson, The Ninja Baker 

 

Tuesday
Oct282014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Chocolate Hazelnut-Toffee Bread Pudding with Candied Bacon

Candied hazelnut bacon dessert - Pillsbury bake-off

The big question today is: does Chocolate Hazelnut-Toffee Bread Pudding with Candied Bacon exist, or was that just a dream?

The answer is yes...or no, it wasn't just a dream. This decadent dessert was dreamed up by Lynne Laino of Downingtown, Pennsylvania and is perfect for brunch because of the bacon, or all day long because it's delicious.

Chocolate Hazelnut-Toffee Bread Pudding with Candied Bacon

  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Total Time: 2 Hr 20 Min
  • Makes: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 cup toffee bits (8 oz)
  • 2 cans Pillsbury™ refrigerated cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing (8 ct)
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 jar (13 oz) Jif® Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread
  • 6 eggs

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15x10-inch pan with sides with Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil. Place wire rack on foil; spray with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Arrange bacon in single layer on rack; sprinkle 1 tablespoon toffee bits over each slice.
  2. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through and toffee bits are slightly melted. Cool on rack 10 minutes; remove to paper towel-lined plate. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bake cinnamon rolls as directed on can; reserve icing. Cool 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat 2 cups of the whipping cream, the brown sugar and hazelnut spread over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and spread is melted. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes.
  5. In large bowl, mix eggs and 1/2 teaspoon salt with whisk. Slowly add cooled cream mixture, beating with whisk until smooth and well blended.
  6. Place 1/4 cup of the toffee bits in small bowl; set aside. Cut each roll into 16 pieces. Add pieces to egg mixture; gently toss to coat, lightly pressing pieces down to absorb some of the liquid. Stir remaining toffee bits into egg mixture until blended.
  7. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread bread mixture evenly into baking dish, pressing down slightly. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, chop bacon into small pieces; sprinkle evenly over bread pudding.
  9. In large bowl, beat remaining 1 cup whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed 2 to 3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Add reserved icing; beat just until blended.
  10. Serve whipped topping with warm bread pudding; sprinkle with reserved toffee bits. Store covered in refrigerator.

Note: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

Monday
Oct272014

Whole Grain Bread, Plain and Simple

Based on my recent posts, you'd think I just discovered bread. Well, I suppose I have. 

Typically a "now and again" breadmaker, I've begun to appreciate baking a loaf or two per week for my household. Not only is the taste very, very good, but there's a sense of accomplishment that I get from baking my own bread, and having the bread I baked in the house, that really can't be beat.

I have experimented further with my honey-wheat loaf and have come up with an even grainier variation, since I still had some of that hot cereal I used to make healthy-ish cookie bars

This bread is ever so slightly crumblier on the edges than its counterpart, but it still holds its shape for sandwiches or slicing, and has a nutty, wholesome flavor that is absolutely perfect when served warm.

Whole grain bread at home!

My favorite way of serving it? With a healthy pat of sweet cream butter and a sprinkling of sea salt (for some reason, unsalted butter with salt is a whole different thing than salted butter). This recipe is worth having on hand for your winter baking!

Whole grain bread at home!

Whole Grain Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Yield: 1 large loaf 

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill hot cereal
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk granules

 Procedure

  1. Combine the water and yeast. Once the yeast begins to bubble lightly, proceed.
  2. Mix all of the remaining ingredients with the yeast mixture in the order listed.
  3. Knead, either by hand with a dough scraper or with a stand mixer, until it has progressed past a shaggy texture to a solid, slightly sticky mass. This can take up to 5 minutes by hand; less when using a mixer. It will never quite take on the smooth elasticity of the honey-wheat variation of this bread, but the extra moisture is necessary as the whole grains will absorb it. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it’s quite puffy and doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Gently deflate the dough with your hand (a gentle pressing, not a knockout punch), and shape it into a fat 9″ log (it may still be slightly sticky; I used lightly oiled hands). Place it in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  5. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 2 hours or even overnight, or until it has formed a crown which extends 1 inch or slightly more over the rim of the pan. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  6. Bake the bread uncovered for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top, and when knocked lightly, yields a slightly hollow sound.
  7. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. Go ahead, give it a taste if you can’t resist (who can resist warm bread?). When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature. 

Do you prefer salted or unsalted butter on your bread?

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