baking

Rustic Rosemary Bread

rosemary bread-5LOGO 1
rosemary bread-5LOGO 1

I must prepare you for the pure feeling of satisfaction that baking fresh bread brings. The smell of warm bread has always lured me to a bakery.  I could have eaten my weight daily with warm croissants, scones, and baguettes during my visit to Italy. Now that I have successfully nurtured a ball of dough into a deliciously risen loaf, I feel like I can take on anything.

Kneading dough is so therapeutic, I may need to incorporate it as a weekly routine.  This week I enjoyed a double dose of bread destress. Experimenting with one garlic & rosemary loaf and one rosemary loaf.  I'm partial to only using rosemary. I've also learned that placing your dough in a sunlit window is perfect for proving. I checked it constantly like a kid at Christmas, waiting for the slightest rise. Once in the oven, I peeked through the glass just to be sure it wasn't over done. I rarely go by exact baking times. I use more of a look, poke, and check the center method.

Fresh from the oven, nice and hot  is the best way to eat this rosemary loaf!

Ingredients

1½ tsp active dry yeast 1 cup warm water, 110-115F 2 tsp organic white sugar 2 tsp fine salt 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2½ cups bread flour 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary 1 head of roasted garlic (or substitute for 1 Tbsp dried rosemary)

Make

  • In large bowl, add yeast to 1 cup warm water with the sugar and salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. (will start to bubble)
  • Next add olive oil and flour. Gently knead by hand for 10 minutes. Add rosemary and garlic. Knead for another 5 minutes.
  • Oil another large bowl and gently place dough ball in center, rolling a few times to coat with oil.  Tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap. ( I tie a string under the lip of my bowl for added security. Shower caps also work swell!)
  • Place dough in warm location until dough has doubled in size. I tend to use a warm sunlit window. If your area is cooler, it may take 2 hrs to rise.
  • Once dough has doubled, push down into a rounded loaf shape. Take a sharp knife and cut a criss cross pattern on the top.
  • Place rounded loaf on baking tray with covered with parchment paper. (I try to avoid greasy sprays at all costs). Place a large mixing bowl upside down on the loaf. Let it rise for about 1hr.
  • Know that dough has doubled gain, gently brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and more rosemary.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30min, or until crust is golden brown.
rosemary bread-10
rosemary bread-10

Gingerbread Loaf with Poached Pears

Hello Fall Baking Season! Woo hoo!! My windows are open and my kitchen smells like warm cinnamon:) When I was in college living in a tiny apartment, my roommate and I would light spice candles. There's just something about those aromas that makes me want to snuggle under a blanket. Now, I actually take the time to bake! I mean, you can't eat candles and gingerbread must be tasted. I'm definitely a newbie when it comes to cooking and baking anything over simple recipes. However, as a photographer I am challenging myself to create more personal dishes to style. My inspiration stems from binge watching "The Great British Baking Show". The breads, cakes, and desserts are mind blowing, not to mention the fabulous subtle British humor:)

Baking a gingerbread loaf with poached pears was a personal first and it turned out pretty darn good. I found it "absolutely scrummy" without a "soggy bottom". Watch the show, seriously its a "spot on" "top bake"!

gingerbread-4clogo
gingerbread-4clogo

Ingredients

Poached Pears

~3 bartlett pears

~1 bottle red wine (I used a red table wine)

~1/2 cup organic cane sugar

~1 cup water

~3 cinnamon sticks

~1 vanilla bean

Gingerbread Loaf

~1/2 cup low sugar maple syrup (can substitute molasses)

~2 large eggs

~2/3 cup brown sugar

~1/2 cup vegetable oil

~1 tsp baking powder

~1 tsp baking soda

~1 1/2 Tbsp grated ginger

~1 tsp ground cinnamon

~1 tsp ground nutmeg

~1/4 tsp salt

~2 cups all purpose flour

~2/3 cups vanilla almond milk

Make Pears

Combine all ingredients into medium pot and bring to boil. Then let simmer 15-20 min until pears softened.  Remove pears and set aside.

Make Loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line loaf pan with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl.

Place whole pears into loaf pan and spoon batter around them. Bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Then place loaf on cooling rack for another 15 minutes.

Dust loaf with powdered sugar to serve. (optional)

*make sure pears are not too large or they will fall through loaf. Option to slice pears into halves and only use 3 half for better firmness of gingerbread.

Happy Fall Baking Friends!!

gingerbread-1BLOGO
gingerbread-1BLOGO

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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I don't know about you, but when I'm brainstorming and channeling creative vibes, I want cookies:) Raining here today, so my windows are open filling the house with a lovely breeze. Fall is slowly teasing me with its cool mornings. Soon I will be making pumpkin flavored everything. But, today its chocolate peanut butter yummies topped with walnuts! These cookies are:

  • simple to make
  • moist and soft
  • delish
  • bake fast for the hungry sweet tooth!!

cookies-1BLOGO

INGREDIENTS

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup organic light brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened natural dark cocoa powder

1 TBSP vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup chopped walnuts

MAKE 

Mix all ingredients except walnuts with mixer, using paddle attachment until smooth

Line baking sheet with parchment paper

Spoon one inch balls onto cookie sheet ( I roll them in my hands first)

Mash with fingers into flattened cookie shape

Gently press walnut pieces on top

Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 min.

Let cool for 10 minutes to keep from breaking

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Bread

When I get into a baking mood, I want to make all the things! Maybe its because a friend turned me on to the Great British Baking Show and I feel inspired. After enjoying the lemon zucchini bread and giving a banana walnut loaf to my dog sitter, the logical next flavor is chocolate. Chocolate with peanut butter is a perfect marriage that no one can dispute. Some dark cacao powder mixed with fresh creamy peanut spread is hard to mess up. Breakfast, dessert, mid day snack, or late night indulgence dipped in a glass of milk. Maybe just dig into the pan with a fork fresh out of the oven:) Whatever floats your boat!

chocolate bread-6CLOGO

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2/3-3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1/4 cup honey

8 Tbspvanilla  melted butter

3 eggs

3 Tbsp hot water

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 1/2 Tbsp dar cacao powder

1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh peanut butter

(can substitute honey for 4 more Tbsp of butter)

Make:

Mix all ingredients (except peanut butter)

Pour into greased bread pan

Level top of batter

Gently spoon small amounts peanut butter on top of batter

Take knife and gently swirl peanut butter, do not go deep into the batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min or until center is fully cooked

chocolate bread-7BLOGO

Banana Walnut Bread

je-10BLOGO
There is something about baking bread that leaves the house feeling warm and inviting. Walking into a room filled with the aroma of banana bread instantly brings back memories of my mother's kitchen. I love how smells trigger flashbacks of people and places. Being quite the nostalgic, I fondly recall my childhood and savoring a warm slice with a glass of milk:)
Here is my favorite Banana Walnut Bread!
Ingredients:
3 over ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup light packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix all ingredients in mixer or large bowl "except walnuts"
Once combined, fold in nuts
pour into non stick dish
bake for 45min at 350 degrees