Archive for the 'baking' Category



25
Jun
10

Milk and Honey Bread

I took some books to Left Bank Books the other day hoping to clear off some shelves and get some trade-in credit. As it turned out, I already had some credit, so I went ahead and brought a few more books home: two board books for Gabriella, and two cookbooks  for me. So much for creating more shelf space.

Among my finds was Earth to Table, a book focused on seasonal cooking. There are many good ideas in there. Among them was this milk and honey bread.

I typically lean toward whole-grain and sour dough breads, but I’m on a quest to recreate the bread my great grandmother used to make. Her white bread was tall and soft. It  is one of my earliest memories.

The recipe you see here is a revision the authors of Earth to Table posted on their website. The cookbook version doesn’t call for enough liquid, which I figured out after two failed attempts. This version makes a standard white loaf. It’s wonderful slathered with butter and some honey or jam (I had both this morning). It’s not my great grandmother’s bread, but it’s pretty darn good.

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21
Jun
10

Chocolate-Banana Marble Bread

Last week Gabriella and I got together one last time with Cara, Valerie and their babies. I return to work next week (waaaaa!) and needed some consoling. It’s not that I don’t like what I do for a living. I absolutely love it. I’m a journalist to the bone and in many ways can’t wait to return to the newsroom. I just wish I could set up Gabi’s Pack ‘N Play next to my desk so she could be near me.

Cara and Valerie still have a few months of this blissfulness. We watched our scrumptious baby girls roll around and make faces (that’s Gabi in the left corner). It can’t be possible that nine months has passed, but it is.

Someone usually makes muffins for these get-togethers. I brought this bread instead.

It’s part banana bread, part chocolate cake. Cake flour makes the texture soft and fine-grained.  It tastes very refined. It’s not nearly as sweet as you’d think.

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13
Jun
10

Burger Buns with Sesame

Jeff misses my baking. A year ago at this time, when Gabriella was just a bump, I was baking like crazy. Pies, tarts, breads came out of our kitchen on a weekly basis. Two blueberry pies, quick breads, yeast breads, a half dozen or so savory tarts — it was kind of bizarre, really. Then Gabi was born. We fell into the black hole of new parenthood. We lived on take-out and jarred pasta sauce. A few months later, I started to cook again.

But bake? That’s Jeff sitting next to me sulking. I haven’t baked much at all this year. With time ticking on my maternity leave (T-minus two weeks and counting), I’m bound and determined to do a few more things in the kitchen before heading back to work. That includes bake. And so, I made burger buns the other day.

Why burger buns? We were smoking brisket. We expected to have sandwiches for days (and oh boy, did we ever!), and we wanted the buns to be as good as the meat.

Sure, you can buy great burger buns from a good bakery. You can’t, however, buy the yeasty smell of fresh buns baking in your kitchen. You certainly can’t buy the satisfaction of having made them yourself.

These are fairly easy as far as yeast bread goes. The dough isn’t sticky. There is some kneading involved. I choose to knead them by hand, but you can use a stand mixer for the the job, too.

Continue reading ‘Burger Buns with Sesame’

27
May
10

Cinnamon-Cardamom Snickerdoodles

Have you ever wanted to stop time? In one month I return to the world of deadlines and reporting, ending my nine months of blissful maternity leave.  I wish I could slow the days. I will definitely relish them. Gabi and I  have plans to live it up this next month, with trips to the park, perhaps her first dip in the pool, and hours spent playing on the floor. And when she’s napping, I plan to bake.

I made these snickerdoodles for Betsy and her daughter, Ava, who stopped by today. I loved the idea of mixing cinnamon with aromatic cardamom. The result is a subtle twist. These snickerdoodles reminded me of the ones my grandmother used to bake, but with a hint something more: the warm, sweetness of cardamom.

A word on cardamom. To get the seeds, you must first open the pods, which isn’t a big deal. You just pry them open like you would sunflower seeds. Inside each pod are tiny little seeds that begin losing their flavor once they’re ground. Using cardamom that’s already ground would be easier, but you won’t end up with the same flavor. Grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle, a spice grinder or mini food processor.

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11
May
10

Chocolate Espresso Brownies

Last night was the end of my feature writing class at a nearby university. The students took their final, we talked about the semester, and we ate brownies.

Martha Stewart says the espresso powder in these brownies is optional. I say it’s essential. True, you could make them without the powder and they’d still be good. But the espresso magnifies the chocolate and turns a good brownie into something unforgettable.

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05
May
10

Cheddar and Thyme Muffins

My parents are coming this weekend for Mother’s Day. It’s my first one as a mom, and my mom’s first one as a grandmother.

Today I made these muffins for the occasion. They’ll freeze well and will keep for a few months if we don’t eat them all (we will). As much as I love sweet scones and coffee cake, it’s nice to have breakfast bread that’s savory instead.

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22
Apr
10

Whole Wheat Bread




Hello all. This is my first attempt at doing something I’ve been considering for a long time: blogging about food. I love to cook. But most of all, I love to eat. As I venture into blogdom, a bowl of whole wheat bread dough is rising in the kitchen.

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