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Dec 30, 2012

Mini Twice-Baked Potato Appetizers

These Mini Twice-Baked Potato Appetizers are are pretty much "comfort food meets the cocktail hour."

These Mini Twice-Baked Potato Appetizers are are pretty much "comfort food meets the cocktail hour."

The next time you throw a cocktail party or host a game day party, give these mini twice-baked potatoes a try. You will be a very popular host.
Dec 29, 2012

Cracked Wheat and Bran Bread

Cracked Wheat and Bran Bread

This is the time of year when I feel like I have to get organized, clear out closets, and make plans for the upcoming year. If I don't get to go through this process, I'm a little off kilter for the year. I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but I do like to start the year with a plan... or at least a cleaner slate. It just feels better... at least to me.

I am not naturally organized but I hate that feeling of being disorganized. I still need to figure out how to keep track of the ingredients I have in my pantry and freezer so that I don't waste them. January, at least some of it, will be about using what I have on hand.

For this recipe, the pantry ingredient I randomly pulled out of my freezer to use was cracked wheat. I had purchased it at one point when King Arthur Flour offered free shipping, but I hadn't given a lot of though about how I was going to use it. It has languished in my freezer for who knows how long. It needs to be used (or least I need to use it so I don't feel like I belong on Hoarders!).  I was also able to use some wheat bran I also had in my freezer.

Cracked Wheat and Bran Bread


1 1/4 C boiling water
1/4 C plus 2 T cracked wheat (bulgur may be substituted)
1/4 C bran
1/4 C dark brown sugar
1 T vegetable oil
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast (I used SAF)
1/2 C whole wheat flour
9.5 to 10.5 (or 2 1/8 to 2 1/3 C) ounces bread flour


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the boiling water, cracked wheat, bran, oil, and salt, and let set for for 15 minutes, until it reaches about 90 degrees F.
  2. Add the whole wheat flour to the mixture and mix until fully incorporated. 
  3. Add the yeast and 1 cup of the bread flour. Mix until blended. 
  4. Place the bowl into the mixer and attach the dough hook. Begin mixing and slowly add the rest of the flour until you've developed a slightly sticky dough. Knead for about 15 minutes. 
  5. Place the dough into an oiled dough rising bucket or a large bowl, turn the dough to oil all sides, and allow to rise for about an hour, until doubled. 
  6. Gently deflate the dough and roll into a loaf and place into an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. (This loaf was baked into a 9 by 5 inch pan, which turned out to be a little too small. 
  7. Let the loaf rise for about one hour in a warm place. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and spray the loaf with water. 
  9. Bake the loaf for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent the loaf with aluminum foil if it begins to brown too much. Bake until the loaf interior reaches 180 degrees F. 
  10. Remove from the oven, de-pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
I love the flavor of this bread. It has a great whole wheat flavor that is balanced by the bread flour. The cracked wheat and wheat bran add all of the benefits of whole wheat. This is an excellent tasting and performing whole wheat bread recipe. 

Adapted from The Knead for Bread. Sharing with Yeastspotting
BYOB 125 x 125
Dec 27, 2012

Holiday Apple Kuchen

Apple Kuchen

This is a yeasted bread/coffee cake/pastry/breakfast treat/dessert (I'm flashing back to the Gilda Radnor, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase commercial parody).

"It's a dessert!" "No, it's a bread!"

I'm getting off track here.

This was my dessert tonight, and will be my breakfast tomorrow. It's really good.

The bottom layer is a yeasted "cake" (I guess Kuchen means cake in German) that is dough-like and is spread on the bottom of the pan. The second layer is a mixture of a good amount of spiced apples. On top of that is a crumb topping. I nearly doubled the amount of topping listed below. Also, I halved the original recipe and baked mine in an 8 x 8 inch square pan.

The assembled Kuchen is allowed to rise for one hour (there is no first rise), and then baked. The recipe calls for a sweetened cream cheese topping. I confess! I did not make the cream cheese topping, but used whipped cream instead. The Kuchen is good without any topping but would be great served warm with ice cream.

Love this.

Holiday Apple Kuchen

6 servings. 

Crumb Topping

I doubled these amounts, and then used most, but not all of it. 
1/4 C flour
1/4 C brown sugar
1 1/2 T cold butter


6.25 to 6.85 ounces all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 C milk
1/4 C sugar
2 T butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg

Apple Topping

2 C thinly sliced baking apples (I used Braeburn)
2 T + 2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp quick cooking tapioca
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp apple pie spice. (I actually had some on hand. Mine is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace. I'm sure just cinnamon with a pinch of nutmeg would be fine.)

Cream Cheese Topping

4 ounces of softened cream cheese
1/3 C whipping cream
1/3 C powdered sugar


  • To make the crumb topping, combine the flour and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces and place in the bowl. Pulse the mixture just a few times, until you have developed the consistency of course breadcrumbs. I pulsed mine about eight times. 
  • To make the pastry/cake, grease an 8 x 8 inch square pan. 
  • Combine 1/2 cup of the flour and the yeast.
  • Heat the milk, granulated sugar, butter, and salt in a small sauce pan until the mixture reaches 120 to 130 degrees F. 
  • Add the heated mixture and the egg to the flour and yeast, and beat on low to combine, then beat on high for about two minutes until the mixture is smooth. Using a dough whisk or wooden spoon, add the remaining flour to create a stiff batter. 
  • Spread the batter into the pan. 
  • To make the apples, in a large bowl, mix the apples, brown sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, and apple pie spice. 
  • Spread the apple mixture on top of the batter, and then top the apples with the crumb topping. 
  • Allow to rise for one hour in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until top is browned and the apples are cooked through.
  • Cool on a rack for 30 minutes.
  • To make the cream cheese topping, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Beat in the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Can be served warm or at room temperature. 

Dec 26, 2012

Mini Caprese Salad Skewers

Mini Caprese Salad Skewers

My sister hosted our annual family Christmas Eve dinner this year and the theme was Italian. While being the hostess is a lot of work (my turn is coming up in 2014, getting psyched!), everyone brings sides, desserts, and appetizers, which makes it a little bit easier. I brought a couple of appetizers (she knows I'm punctual), including this one.
Dec 23, 2012

Czech Christmas Bread

Czech Christmas Bread

I did not grow up with a Christmas celebration bread tradition. The only Christmas bread I was aware of was the dreaded fruitcake. I think we would occasionally receive them as gifts, but I don't remember actually eating them. In fact, because of the aforementioned fruitcake, I had an aversion to any bread with fruit in it (except maybe cinnamon rolls).

Roast Turkey | Easiest Turkey Ever

Roast Turkey | Easiest Turkey Ever

Everyone has their favorite method of roasting their turkey. Many brine their turkeys, either in a salt or salt/sweet solution, or with a dry brine. Others swear by cooking their turkeys in a bag or a covered roaster. One of my colleagues has an electric turkey roaster that she says produces perfectly flavored turkey every time (although the turkey skin kind of explodes). I have friends who cook their turkeys on their barbecues or in fryers outside in the backyard. At work, we have a guy who uses his beautiful designer oven once a year, just to roast a turkey for our annual Thanksgiving potluck. He turns on the oven, puts the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and roasts the turkey until it reaches the right temperature. No basting, no seasoning, just roasting. It comes out beautifully. It's enough to make those of us who slave over our turkeys a little annoyed.

Everyone has their favorite method of roasting their turkey. This just happens to be mine.

Did you run out of time or do you lack the room to brine a turkey?

Do you bake your turkey breast side down and then have to flip it in the middle of roasting?

Did you put off buying the turkey until the day you need to roast it?

Sick of basting the turkey every so often when you'd rather be hanging out with your guests?

I'm here to help.

I first saw this method on an episode of Cooks Country. It involves poking holes in the skin of the turkey, covering it with salt port, a wet cheesecloth, and heavy duty foil. This method is referred to as larding, and is designed to insulate and slowly baste a cut of meat that might otherwise dry out.

The turkey is roasted covered with the fat for about 2/3 of the roasting time at a lower oven temperature, and then is roasted uncovered for the remaining time at a higher temperature to brown and crisp the skin and complete the cooking of the bird.

Roast Turkey


1 cheesecloth package, new
4 C water
1 12 to 15 pound turkey
1 pound salt pork. I use the pre-sliced salt pork from Hormel.  If yours is unsliced, cut it into 1/4 inch slices. If you can't find salt pork, you can use bacon, however bacon will impart its own smoked flavor.


Preheat the oven to 350 F with the rack placed on the lowest position.
Remove all of the packages of giblets, neck, etc from the cavities of the turkey. Rinse and pat the turkey dry. 
Fold the cheesecloth into an 18 inch square, place in in a large bowl, and cover with the four cups of water. 
Lifting up the skin, pierce the skin of the breast and legs several times with a fork. Do your best not to pierce the meat itself. 
Cover the turkey with the strips of salt pork (see photo), and cover with the soaking wet cheese cloth (do not wring it out). Pour the rest of the water into the roasting pan. 
Cover the entire pork and cheesecloth contraption with heavy duty foil.
Roast until the breast reaches 140 degrees F. This should take about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
Remove the foil, cheesecloth, and salt pork (discard).
Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F and roast until the spot between the breast and thigh reaches 160 degrees F. This should take another 45 minutes to an hour. 

When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven, place it on a carving board, and tent it with foil for 30 minutes to an hour to rest. 

Hope this helps! Let me know if you try it. 

Dec 22, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

During the holiday season, with all of the sweets that are around, I sometimes just crave something savory. I am thinking about a chicken pot pie right about now.

I have made this recipe a few times. Those at the table quickly earned memberships to the "clean plate club."

One thing I love about this recipe is that I can make the filling a day in advance and then bake the individual pot pies just prior to serving. This cuts down on all of that dinner party stress that gets me really cranky. Serve these with an easy appetizer, a really nice green salad and homemade ice cream or sorbet for dessert and you are in business.

I baked these in these little individual mini Dutch ovens.  I love them because they are so cute, and they also keep the pot pies super hot. You can also use 2 cup souffle dishes to make these pies.

Because the cast iron Dutch ovens are so hot, I like to serve them on a large salad plate topped with a couple of super pretty cloth or paper (gasp!!) cocktail napkins under the ovens. This will protect your table as well as your plate, and won't look like you are serving dinner on trivets.

Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 4, but I usually have lots of leftovers.


6 half chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (see note at the bottom of this post)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
40 ounces of low sodium chicken stock
2 T chicken demi glace or Better Than Boullion Chicken Base
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 large onions, chopped
3/4 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 C heavy cream
3 T dry sherry
2 T Signature Secrets from King Arthur Flour (optional, not necessary for this recipe)
2 C diced carrots (about 3/8 inch), blanched for about 2 minutes
1 10 ounce package of frozen peas
1 1/2 C frozen pearl onions
1 1/2 T chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 C minced fresh parsley

Pie Dough

You can either make your own pastry, use store bought pre-made pie crusts (Pillsbury is my favorite brand, do not use generic.. trust me on this), or frozen puff pastry. Here is a suggested recipe:

3 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 C shortening or lard
1 stick unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 C iced water
1 egg beaten with 1 T water (for egg wash)
Flaked sea or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dec 18, 2012

Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche | Mission Accomplished

Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche

The Finish line. This is the last bread, bread #43, from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. I baked every single bread in the book. I've never baked an entire cookbook before and I'll probably never do it again, but I am proud that I did. It's always good to flex new muscles. I feel like I earned my journeyman status in the art of bread baking.

Let's talk about this bread.

Days to make? Three (don't worry, there's lots of down time here)
Worth it? Yes.

This bread is crazy good. Crazy good.

I remember when I first baked it I thought that it was just a giant hunk of bread gorgeousness. Bear with me because I took a lot of photos of this one.

The original recipe makes two large loaves. I've cut it in half for you here.

On day one, make a "sponge," a combination of sourdough starter, water, and flour.

On day two, roast the onions, mix the dough, let it rise, shape the loaves, and chill them overnight.

On day three, do a final shaping, and bake the loaves.

Roasted Onion and Asiago Miche


1 ounce of 100% sourdough starter
4 ounces of room temperature water
5.6 ounces of unbleached bread flour

Roasted Onions

4 ounces  of onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
Pinch of ground black paper
Pinch of salt


16 ounces of unbleached bread flour
1 1/8 tsp instant yeast
9 ounces of lukewarm water (90 to 100 degrees F)
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T olive oil
8 ounces grated Asiago cheese. You can also use Parmesan, Romano, or dry Jack cheese. I used a combination of what I had on hand. 
1 ounce of chopped chives
1 ounce of sliced scallions
Semolina flour or corn meal for dusting the pan. 

(the dough in this photo is for two loaves. This recipe is for one loaf.)

Finnish Pulla | Tuesdays with Dorie - Baking with Julia

Finnish Pulla

The next recipe that the Tuesday's with Dorie bakers chose to bake is Finnish Pulla. Along with yeast, salt, flour, and water, it includes eggs, milk, sugar, and butter, and is flavored with cardamom. It is a lot like a faintly sweet challah.

I know two little boys who loved this bread. While waiting for their dad (our son) to pick them up, they each asked for a piece, and then asked for another piece, and then a third piece until I cut them off before spoiling their appetites. I sent half of the loaf home with them.

This bread is braided and shaped into a ring. A small amount of the dough is cut off of the ends of the bread and shaped into a bow to conceal the seam where the two ends are joined.

I tried several times to make a bow, but it looked more like a weird pretzel, so I ended up wrapping the strands around the seam (see upper left). Hey, the photo in the cookbook, doesn't have a bow either.

I followed the recipe as written (except the bow), and even used the Swedish pearl sugar called for in the recipe, which I had added on impulse to a King Arthur Flour order. It's soooo nice to justify an impulse buy.

This bread rose quite a bit in the oven. I just love watching the miracle of "oven spring" in the oven window. I've probably shortened the life of my oven light because I love watching bread rise when it first hits the heat. You'll love working with this dough.

This bread is surprisingly easy to make and looks impressive. It is best served the first day, but also makes lovely toast and French toast. Serve it as a breakfast bread or celebration bread.

This bread is on page 106 of the book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. It is based on the PBS Series of the same name. To get the recipe, visit our host Erin of The Daily Morsel. Or buy the book! To see other bakers' experiences with this recipe, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie site.

BYOB 125 x 125
Dec 16, 2012

Sunday Brunch Cocktail | The British Mary

Sunday Brunch Cocktail | The British Mary

Ever had a bloody Mary with gin? Me neither, until today.

It seems like gin is making a resurgence these days. Just look at all of these brands.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons License Wikimedia. 
I used Bombay Sapphire, and the botanicals in the spirits added an interesting and tasty dimension to this Sunday brunch cocktail. I will be making this again.

The British Mary


2 ounces gin
4 ounces low sodium tomato juice
1 T lime juice
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp prepared horseradish
Minced jalapeno to taste
Pinch of minced garlic
Pinch of celery salt
Squeeze of Sriracha sauce, the amount is up to how spicy you want your cocktail. I use quite a bit. =)

Garnish with pickled beans, lime wedges, celery stalks, cherry tomatoes, green olives, cocktail onions, bell pepper slices, or whatever else you can think of. After all, it's a salad in a glass, right?

You can also coat the rim with Old Bay seasoning. 


Add all of the ingredients to a large glass. Stir. Pour into an ice filled glass. Garnish. Enjoy. 

Dec 13, 2012

Cranberry & White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry & White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Yesterday I went to a cookie exchange with a wonderful group of women. One brought cookies from the book Presidential Cookies by Bev Young. She has been baking the various cookies of the US Presidents from George Washington to George Bush. The cookies she brought tonight were from Chester A. Arthur's era. They were called Rocks. Who knew?

A sampling of some of the other cookies at the party.... Clementine Gingerbread Checkerboards, Linzer Tart Cookies, Chewy Lime Sugar Cookies, Gluten Free Berry Pillow Cookies, Caramel Pretzel Pecan Cookies, Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, and Grandma Emma's Sugar Cookies.

I am humbled.

Cranberry & White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

These cookies were my contribution. They consist of a shortbread, leftover homemade cranberry sauce, and white chocolate.

I have made these cookies many times, usually using raspberry jam. They are always a big hit, but the spicy homemade cranberry sauce seemed to add another dimension.

Cranberry & White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry & White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Makes 36 cookies

½ C unsalted butter
¼ C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
About 1 ¼ C all purpose flour
1/8 to ¼ tsp salt
¼ C cranberry sauce (or raspberry, blackberry, or any other jam, not jelly)
2 ounces of white chocolate, chopped

1.     In the bowl of stand mixer beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla with the paddle attachment until smooth.
2.     Stir in the flour until the dough comes together
3.     Divide the dough into three equal parts and create three 9 -inch logs
4.     Place the logs on a parchment lined baking sheet
5.     Press the logs with your finger to make indentations every inch
6.     Spoon about a ¼ tsp of jam into the indentations
7.     Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges
8.     Cool on the pan on a rack
9.     Place the chopped chocolate in a plastic bag and melt in hot water
10. Dry the outside of the bag
11. Squeeze the melted chocolate toward one of the bag’s corners and tie the bag above the chocolate.
12. Cut a corner of the bag and pipe the melted chocolate across the ropes from side to side.
13. Chill until the chocolate is firm.
14. Cut the ropes diagonally into 12 pieces. 

Dec 11, 2012

Toasted Sunflower Seed and Pumpkin Seed Bread with Rye Sourdough

Toasted Sunflower Seed and Pumpkin Seed Bread with Rye Sourdough

Supposedly pumpkin seeds have properties that are very good for you. Sounds good to me. Good excuse to eat more of this bread. It is loaded with them.
Dec 9, 2012

Ruby Port Cranberry Sauce

This Ruby Port Cranberry Sauce takes cranberry sauce to a completely new level.

I had no idea that cranberry sauce could be this good until my friend Michele, an outstanding cook, told me about this recipe five years ago. She had made it for Thanksgiving and was bowled over by the flavor.

It was my year to host our extended family's Christmas Eve celebration, and I was planning a traditional turkey dinner. Cranberry sauce has always been one of those things you have to serve but no one actually eats.

This was much better. While it's still cranberry sauce (there's no getting around it, it's not for everyone), it really has a much richer, deeper, spicier flavor. I've made it every year since. I use the leftovers for cookies, ice cream, and even PB&J. Thanks Michele!

For those who prepare turkey dinners for Christmas, give this sauce a try. I think you will be pleased. By the way, I also love this orange cranberry sauce, which is even easier to make.

This recipe appeared in the November 14, 2007 issue of the Los Angeles Times Food section. I still have the email Michele sent me with the scanned clipping.

Oh, and I developed a taste for good Ruby Port. Dangerous stuff.

Ruby Port Cranberry Sauce

Ruby Port Cranberry Sauce
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
This Ruby Port Cranberry Sauce takes cranberry sauce to a completely new level.


  • 1 1/2 C Port
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • Spice bundle: 3 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 allspice berries, 4 black pepper corns, tied into a bundle with cheesecloth
  • 2 inch by 1/2 inch strip of orange peel. Alternatively, a drop of orange oil can be substituted
  • 1 package of cranberries, fresh or frozen


How to cook Ruby Port Cranberry Sauce

  1. Place everything but the cranberries into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for four minutes to reduce the wine to about one cup.
  2. Add the cranberries and bring the mixture to a boil again. Reduce the heat and simmer for about ten minutes, until the cranberries pop.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. Remove the orange peel and the spice bundle.
  4. When fully cooled, pour into a container and refrigerate.
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Dec 8, 2012

Smashed Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes

This is an excellent side dish for roasts or steaks. It is made with baby potatoes that are first roasted in a small amount of water, and then coated in olive oil, "smashed," brushed with more oil, seasoned, and then roasted again. We served these with beef tenderloin. Let's just say, I had a hard time sharing.

This recipe serves two to three, but can easily be doubled by using a half sheet pan. I used a quarter sheet pan so I could roast the potatoes in the toaster oven while the tenderloin roasted in the oven.

Smashed Potatoes

The potatoes are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Here's how to make them....

Smashed Potatoes


1 pound of white or red baby potatoes. I used "California Gold" potatoes. The potatoes should be no larger than two inches in diameter.
6 T water
4 T of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, or chives, or a combination
Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste

Dec 7, 2012

Vanilla Bean Sable Cookies | Best Vanilla Cookies Ever

Vanilla Bean Sable Cookies

See those tiny dots? Vanilla.

Vanilla Bean Sable Cookies

Scraped from vanilla beans. Unbelievably good.

Vanilla Bean Sable Cookies

This cookie is sort of a cross between a sugar cookie and a butter cookie. I've heard sable means "sandy" in French. Not sure if it's true because I don't know French, but the description fits the texture of these cookies.

This recipe is by Dorie Greenspan and is featured in the April/May 2012 issue of Fine Cooking. I posted a photo of these on Twitter for Dorie and she responded saying that they were lovely and that she liked the twine. Sigh. Love her. Trying not to be seen as a stalker. Sigh.

Vanilla Bean Sable Cookies

Here's the recipe:

Dec 6, 2012

Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Torpedoes | BBA Bread #42

This is the second to last bread in the amazing book The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. It took me one year to bake the 43 recipes in the book (in order).  If I hadn't committed to baking all of the breads in a row, I would have probably baked this bread right away.

See the cheese oozing out of the side of this loaf? So good.

At the end of the book, Peter included two recipes from Bennett Valley Bread and Pastry's Tim Decker who was Peter's head baker at Brother Juniper's Bakery in Santa Rosa.

These breads are ridiculously good. I wanted to hide these loaves and keep them to myself. They disappeared way too fast.

To make this bread, you must have a 100% ratio (water to flour) sourdough starter (referred to as barm in this recipe) that has been fed. There are plenty of recipes out there to make your own sourdough starter, some way more complicated than others. I actually bought a dehydrated starter from King Arthur Flour about three years ago. King Arthur flour also has a simple recipe for creating your own starter.

Each loaf includes 1/4 pound of boiled potatoes, and the water in the recipe is the water in which the potatoes were simmered. This makes it a very soft bread. The rest of the ingredients are bread flour, instant yeast, salt, chives, and slices of sharp cheddar cheese.

And I used my own home grown chives. Yay!

The only thing I would do differently is make the slashes deeper so that the cheese would ooze out of the top and make the crust more cheesy.

You can find the recipe here. You should also Google BBA Challenge #42 because there are many bakers who took step-by-step photos of how they baked this bread.

Shared with Tasty Thursday.

BYOB 125 x 125
Shared with Yeastspotting.

Homemade Graham Crackers

This recipe captures the flavor of graham crackers, but takes them to an entirely new level. Think crispy butter cookies with a graham cracker flavor. 

You will love these cookies. I have given these as gifts, and every time I have been asked for the recipe. Just about everyone has purchased the book from which this recipe originated. 

Just saying. 

Homemade Graham Crackers

Makes 18 to 20 crackers


1 1/2 C (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 C (1 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Rounded 1/4 tsp cinnamon
6 ounces of unsalted room temperature butter
1/4 C packed light brown sugar
2 T honey
Sparkling or regular granulated sugar for sprinkling


  • Whisk the flours, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl
  • Mix the butter, brown sugar, and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for about five minutes, until fluffy
  • Mix in the dry ingredients in thirds, beating each time until just combined
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to two days
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Roll out the dough between two pieces of waxed paper to 1/4 inch thick
  • Cut the dough into 3 1/4 inch rounds with a scalloped or ruffled edge cookie cutter
  • Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • Gather up and roll out the scraps and cut more cookies
  • Score the cookies at about half inch intervals (no need to be exact) with a toothpick or cake tester and very lightly sprinkle them with sparkling sugar or granulated sugar. 
  • Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown
  • Cool the cookies on a wire rack
Sometimes it can be difficult to remove the cookies from the was paper without messing up the edges. What works for me is cutting the cookies on top of the wax paper, placing another piece of wax paper on top of them, flipping the whole thing over, and peeling off the top piece of was paper. Because they are not attached to the (now) bottom piece of wax paper, they are easy to move. 

Adapted with permission from Miette by Meg Ray. The book is exquisite. 

This is week 10 of Twelve Weeks of Christmas Treats by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. Check out all of the contributions for ideas. 

Dec 4, 2012

Gingerbread Baby Cakes | Tuesdays with Dorie - Baking with Julia

These gingerbread baby cakes are loaded with gingery spiciness. 

These gingerbread baby cakes are loaded with gingery spiciness.

Eight little four inch baby cakes of buttery gingery brown sugary molasses-y peppery goodness. I absolutely love these cakes. They are so spicy, and well... hot! These cakes definitely have an adult taste.
Dec 1, 2012

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I have two favorite mashed potato recipes. Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, and these garlic mashed potatoes.

The garlic is sauteed in butter with a little bit of sugar to develop flavor. The potatoes are cooked in the half and half and a small amount of water, and are never drained. The result is creamy mashed potatoes infused with a wonderfully developed garlic flavor.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Serves 8 to 16, depending on how many other sides you are serving (and how much your guests love mashed potatoes)


  • 4 pounds of russet potatoes that have been peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, rinsed with cold running water, and drained in a colander
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, sliced
  • 20 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 C half and half
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt 4 T of the butter in an eight quart Dutch oven (metal or enameled cast iron) over medium heat. 
  2. Add the garlic and sugar and cook until the garlic is lightly browned, about four minutes. 
  3. Add the potatoes, 1 1/4 C of the half and half, water, and 1 tsp of salt. 
  4. Stir and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover to simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed by the potatoes. 
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rest of the butter and mash the potatoes with a masher until they are smooth (slightly lumpy is okay in my book). 
  6. Fold in the rest of the half and half with a rubber spatula. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from the October/November, 2008 issue of Cooks Country, one of my favorite resources. 

I sprinkled mine with parsley just to make them photogenic.