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Dec 30, 2013

My Favorite Recipe Blog Posts for 2013 (some of these were yours too)

This post takes a look back at my favorite blog posts for 2013 for each month. I hope you enjoy this look back as much as I did.

Boef bourguignon

January: Boef Bourguignon

Even though I wrote about several great bread recipes last January, this recipe is my January favorite for three reasons: First, the flavor is amazing. Second, it brings back great memories of a wonderful evening we had with great friends. Third, It took two days to prepare and was crazy complicated with lots of hands on time, but represented a challenge I had always wanted to complete. Did I mention that it was so worth it?

General Tso's Chicken

February: General Tso's Chicken

This was the second dish I'd ever prepared in my wok, the first being this Asparagus, Leek, and Pea Stir Fry. This was very tasty dish. The chicken was so good, and like any good Chinese take-out, made a great breakfast the next morning. This is also my first post besides the Hokkaido Milk Bread to get a lot of extra attention, especially on Pinterest. Woo hoo!

spicy parmesan and herb grissini

March: Spicy Parmesan and Herb Grissini

These grissini are so addicting. They are crunchy, spicy, and cheesy. I was particularly proud of these because I had attempted them before and was less successful. They actually require running the dough through a pasta maker, which made me happy to justify yet another kitchen gadget purchase. 

March also was the first month in the short life of this blog that one of my photos and recipes, the Crescia al Formaggio, was stolen and passed off as someone else's on the Internet. I found it on his blog, his Facebook page, his G+ page, and his ScoopIt page. I found out this practice is pretty common and a lot of not so nice people do this. I learned a lot about digital copyright "take down" notices. Now, whenever I recognize someone else's content on another person's page or site, I let the owner know. 

Pain à l’Ancienne Baguettes

April: Pain a l'Ancienne Baguettes

Besides the fact that these baguettes are delicious, airy, crunchy, and wonderful, there are a couple of other reasons why I love these so much. First, this was the first photograph that I submitted to Tastespotting and it was accepted. Yay! Second, this recipe was originally posted by Yvonne, The Bitter Baker, who had adapted one of my posts to create these baguettes. She has a such beautiful blog. I was so flattered to see that she created these wonderful baguettes from my ciabatta post that I had to try making them myself. 

slow cooker baby back ribs

May: Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

My grandsons LOVED these ribs, and when they love my cooking as much as they loved these, I get so much pleasure. That is reason enough to choose this as my favorite post for May. This post also garnered a lot of attention on Pinterest, and continues to pop up from time to time as a re-pinned post. 
Oh... and these ribs are so easy to make.

Pure Levain Country Bread

June: Pure Levain Country Bread

Have you ever made a loaf of bread that you were so proud of that you could not keep walking back into the kitchen to admire it (and frankly, stick your face into it for the wonderful aroma)? This bread was the one for me. This was the first loaf for which I tried using Ken Forkish's method. The dough is 80% hydration, and is 100% leavened by starter/levain. Oh, and this was the first (and only) photograph I submitted to Foodgawker, and it was accepted! Yay! 

Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

July: Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This was a difficult decision, because there were a lot of tasty posts last July. I think I picked this one because it takes raisin bread to a higher level with the use of starter and a high hydration dough. It's also just plain delicious and makes a wonderful breakfast toast. Maybe next week my July favorite would be these Cornmeal Sables (they are so pretty!), but for right now, the raisin bread it is. 

August: Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Tartlets

I had a hard time choosing between this recipe and the Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. Both are amazing. The pulled pork continues to be one of my most popular posts. This photo above went a little crazy on Reddit. Reddit? I haven't spent any time there, but I've heard you are supposed to share other people's posts over your own at a 9:1 ratio (don't quote me on this), so thank you kind soul who shared this. I just like it because it's so sophisticated and flavorful. I had to make both caramelized onions and a balsamic reduction before even thinking about assembling these little tarts. I felt so fancy when I was done. P.S. They were goooooood. 

Overnight White Bread

September: Overnight White Bread

I chose this bread as my September favorite for two reasons. First, it has such an amazing structure and flavor, and I am really enjoying learning how to work with such high hydration sticky dough. Second, we took these loaves with us on vacation at a beach house in central California where we stayed with dear friends for a week. We spent the time talking, laughing, cooking, eating, and mixing some of the best martinis and G&Ts with Counter Gin and Q Tonic. We made toast with this bread every morning, and even used it instead of hamburger buns when we barbecued. These friends are such a comfort to me. Awesome memories. 

French baguette

October: The French Baguette and the Un-Massachusetts Roast Beef Sandwich

What I love about this post: I finally conquered my nemesis, baguettes, with the amazing baking by hand technique and dough temperature management. I learned to slow roast tomatoes and pickle red onions. I also learned how to slow roast a fairly inexpensive cut of beef, producing juicy roast beef that is pink from edge to edge. I also got to participate in a virtual "book tour" for this amazing new book, Baking By Hand: Make the Best Artisanal Breads and Pastries Better Without a Mixer.

Bittersweet Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tarts

November: Bittersweet Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tarts

I love this post because of a number of reasons, not the least of which was that I had to carry this tart all over the house and yard chasing the evening light in order to get a decent photo. Even more significant was that Mr. K said "you have outdone yourself. This is amazing." I love that my sister noticed the 45 year old Royal Worcestershire Regency Green china. Those were the days, registering for "fine china" and "everyday china." I also love that my bread baking friend Ron Photoshopped this picture on Facebook to depict a bite taken out of the tart. I'm still not thrilled with this photo, but I was thrilled with the dessert. In fact, it was not an easy month photography wise, with daylight savings time going away. 

Thai cabbage salad

December: Thai Cabbage Salad

My second choice for December was these seriously good sandwich cookies, but in the end, this salad was my favorite. It is crispy and delicious, and the dressing is amazing. There's nothing sentimental about why I love it. I just can't seem to get enough of it. The ingredients stay crunchy so you can make it in advance, and it just feels healthy eating it. 

So there you go! These are my favorite blog posts for 2013. 

Thank you so much for visiting my little space and making my day. You lift my heart. xoxo
Dec 28, 2013

Lardy Cake

Lardy Cake from Karen's Kitchen Stories

"Lardy Cake." Is it a cake? Is it a bread? This might be a Saturday Night Live Shimmer skit.

Lardy cake is actually a yeasted sweet bread originating from southern England. It is also known as Lardy Bread as well as many other names, according to the Interwebs (just do a search on "lardy cake"). Evidently, it is a tea time and holiday treat, originally made with yeasted dough, lard, spices, and dried fruit.

This is a "modern" lardy cake recipe, which substitutes butter for the lard. The recipe for this dough contains only 35 grams of fat (a little over 2 T), in this case, butter. The filling contains 100 grams of butter (a little more than 1/2 C).

Lardy Cake from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This bread/cake was chosen by Lien of Notitie van Lien of The Bread Baking Babes for the December Bread for the Babes and Buddies to bake. Check out her post for fabulous step-by-step photo instructions to create this great laminated dough. I forgot to add the raisins (I weighed them and then discovered them sitting on the scale after I had layered the dough), and the bread was fine without them.

The flavor is comparable to cinnamon rolls, but much lighter. The bread is delicate and ethereal, with layers that you can peel off and enjoy... and it's way easier than croissants.

Lardy Cake from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Lardy Cake



375 g bread flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
35 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
200+ ml milk, warmed to about 100 degrees F (I had to use a bit more as it was a very stiff dough)


100 g butter, softened
75 g dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
75 g raisins (I left these out)

1 egg, for a glaze


  1. Mix the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer, place it in an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, and allow to rise, covered, until doubled. Mine took about an hour. The dough can also be kneaded by hand. 
  2. While the dough is rising, prepare a 9 inch cake pan or springform pan by spraying it with spray oil, and lining the bottom with parchment. Spray the parchment. 
  3. Mix the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a spoon until creamy. Add the raisins if using. 
  4. Roll the dough out onto your counter to a 10" by 20" rectangle. 
  5. Spread the filling over 2/3 of the rolled out dough (lengthwise). 
  6. Take the part of the dough that does not have filling on it and fold it over to cover half of the filling on the rest of the dough. Fold the other side over the first fold, like an envelope. Pinch all of the seams closed. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. 
  7. Using a rolling pin and your hands, gently roll and press the dough into a 12" by 6" rectangle, fold it into thirds, cover with plastic, and let it rest for 5 minutes. 
  8. Repeat three more times. Work gently with the dough so that the dough does not break and you squeeze out all of the filling. A bit of mine squished out, but not too much. You can also patch holes as needed.
  9. Once you have finished folding the dough, press it into the cake pan as best you can. It will fill in the gaps when rising and in the oven. 
  10. Cover with plastic and allow to rise until doubled. Mine took about an hour.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  12. Lightly slash the dough with a sharp razor or knife (I'm not sure why) in a cross hatch pattern, and brush with the egg wash. 
  13. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads about 185 to 190 degrees F, and the top is a deep golden brown. 
  14. Allow the bread/cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove from the pan, peel off the parchment, and allow to cool on a wire rack. 
  15. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
This recipe is from Warm Bread and Honey Cake: Home Baking from Around the World.

Update: I'm pretty excited to report that an English friend from the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook page let me know that Lardy Cake is "a traditional West Country tea bread with slightly different recipes from different counties." Mine, without the raisins, is similar to those from Hampshire. So there you go!!!

Sharing with Yeastspotting
Dec 26, 2013

Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken

Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken

This Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken represents a combination of Chinese and Burmese cuisines. It also includes Indian spices such as paprika, cumin, and chili powder.

The ingredients also include skinless chicken thighs cut into large pieces. onions, ginger, bell peppers, fish sauce, garlic, Anaheim chilis, and zucchini.

Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken

The ingredients are really fresh tasting, and are a wonderful contrast to the last few weeks of traditional holiday foods and baked goods.

After prepping all of the ingredients, this dish takes just a few minutes to stir fry, and the flavors are amazing.

Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken

The sauce in this stir fry has so many dimensions.

This stir fry recipe comes from Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge by Grace Young. Wok cooking has become a bit of an obsession for me, and this dish is one of my favorites. Plus, the ingredients aren't too exotic and are pretty easy to find.

Get a wok, make this dish, and get hooked on wokking!

This recipe, with rice, serves 3. As part of a multi-course meal, it serves 4.

The recipe can be found at Saveur.
Dec 20, 2013

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

The recipe for this chocolate babka comes from my friend Olga who contributed it for the Bread of the Month (aka the BOM) for the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook group. This is a wonderful supportive group of bread bakers, both pros and amateurs, showing off their wonderful breads and helping each other with questions and tips.

Chocolate Babka

The dough for this bread is lovely, and really easy to work with. It starts with a sponge.

Sponge you ask? It's a small amount of dough that is allowed to ferment for a few hours before the final dough is mixed, in order to develop flavor.

I cut Olga's recipe in half to make a single loaf. To make a beautiful ring loaf, double this recipe and bake it in a big angel food cake pan.

Chocolate Babka



2.5 ounces bread flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast. I used SAF Gold
2.75 ounces water
1 T honey
2.62 ounces eggs (about 1 1/2 large eggs)


11.65 ounces bread flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1.75 ounces egg (about 1 large)
1.25 ounces oil
2.12 ounces honey
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar


6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/8 C sugar
1/8 C Dutch process cocoa
1/4 C butter
1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Early in the day, mix all of the sponge ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 4 hours. 
  2. Add all of the dry ingredients on top of the sponge, recover with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit for 1 to 2 more hours. 
  3. Add the eggs, oil, and honey to the bowl and mix on medium low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a few minutes more. The dough should be slightly tacky.
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and allow to rise, covered until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours. The room temperature will affect the rising time. 
  5. Deflate the dough by pressing it down and folding it over itself like a business letter. 
  6. Let the dough rise in the container again, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled (you can also refrigerate the dough overnight). 
  7. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and stir. 
  8. Roll the dough out into a 15 by 15 inch square on a lightly floured surface. 
  9. Spread the filling over the rolled out dough. 
  10. Roll the dough up like cinnamon roll dough and seal the seam. Stretch the roll out to about 18 to 20 inches long by rolling it back and forth. 
  11. Coil the dough into a snail shape, and then stand it up to form a loaf shape. 
  12. Press the loaf into an oiled loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. 
  13. Let rise at room temperature until it has crowned over the top of the pan, about an hour. 
  14. Brush with egg wash and bake at 350 degrees F until it reaches 175 degrees F internally, about 50 minutes. 
  15. Let cool in the pan for about 5 to 10 minutes, and then de-pan and cool on a wire rack. 
Shared with Yeastspotting

Dec 18, 2013

Thai Cabbage Salad

This Thai cabbage salad is light, refreshing, and loaded with all of my favorite Asian flavors.

Thai Cabbage Salad

Can I just tell you? This Thai cabbage salad is amazing. I could eat mass quantities. I've made this salad several times, and each time, I wonder why I don't make it more often.
Dec 16, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crushed peppermint candy canes give these Chocolate Peppermint and Chocolate Chip Cookies an extra festive look for the holidays.

Chocolate Peppermint and Chocolate Chip Cookies #cookies #peppermint #chocolate

The dough for these chocolate peppermint and chocolate chip cookies contains mini chocolate chips and crushed candy canes.
Dec 13, 2013

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

These Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies are reminiscent of Italian bakery cookies. What's so appealing about these cookies is the lovely vanilla flavor... and the magical effect of lots and lots of sprinkles!

I made them with two types of sprinkles, as well as chocolate jimmies.

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

A party in a cookie!

The texture of these cookies is soft and light, yet they still hold up well as cookies. The dough is really easy to work with, and the cookies are super good. I took these to work and they pretty much disappeared. Fast.

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies


1 ½ C flour
1 3.4 ounce pkg instant vanilla pudding
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
¾ C butter, slightly softened
1 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Lots of sprinkles (about a cup)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar on medium high until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If you are using a hand held mixer, it may take longer
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated
  5. Add the vanilla and mix briefly
  6. Mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated, about a minute
  7. Place the sprinkles in a small bowl and using a tsp scoop or a spoon, form the dough into balls and roll them in the sprinkles to fully coat
  8. Place them on the baking sheets and bake for 9 to 10 minutes, one sheet at a time
  9. Cool on a wire rack and store air tight for a few days 
Inspiration: Delicious Meliscious who got it from Sweet Bella Roos
Dec 10, 2013

Candy Coated Marshmallow Pops

Marshmallow lollipops

I had my grandsons over on Sunday and we made these cute little marshmallow pops.

Marshmallow lollipops

I have a huge collection of sprinkles in my house for sprinkle emergencies. When my oldest grandson was about five, we would regularly bake a little five inch layer cake, frost it, and he would proceed to decorate it with sprinkles, M&Ms, and frosting swirls. I had one of those Easy Bake Decorating Pen Kits and he would have so much fun with it. In the end, the cake would have every single color and type of sprinkle available on top of it, and would be dripping with frosting swirls.

Marshmallow lollipops

It's been a while since we've made treats together, so when I spied a big bag of marshmallows at the grocery store, I just knew I had to make these with "help" from the boys.

Of course, I let the boys loose on the rest of the sprinkle collection, and each one of them took home a box full of their own multicolored marshmallow pop creations (plus a bag of mixed sprinkles).

As much as I love to make complicated multi-step dishes that, as a good friend says, "require algorithms and graphs," these are so fun to make with kids, are adorable as part of a holiday table, and are actually pretty tasty. I have an Electric Chocolate Melting Pot (of course I do) that I used to keep the chocolate warm after melting it in the microwave, but it is not necessary (still, it's really convenient). And marshmallows are fat free!

Candy Coated Marshmallow Pops

Ingredients and Supplies

1 bag of marshmallows
1 12 ounce bar/bag of almond bark or candy melts in the color/flavor of your choice
Shortening and/or paramount crystals
Lollipop sticks (can be found at craft stores)
Styrofoam blocks (for drying the pops)


  1. Melt the candy in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. 
  2. If the candy is too thick, add shortening or paramount crystals, 1 1/2 tsp to 1 T, until the candy reaches a consistency that is easy to work with. You can remelt the chocolate/candy melts as needed to keep it at the right consistency. 
  3. Dip the sticks into the melted chocolate and stick them 3/4 the way through into the marshmallows. Allow the candy to harden. 
  4. Swirl the marshmallows into the melted candy, and then tap the marshmallow over the bowl to shake off excess. 
  5. Over a plate, sprinkle the pop with sprinkles. 
  6. Place the stick into the styrofoam and allow the pops to harden, about 30 minutes. 

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by

This the final week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. Yay! Don't you think these marshmallow pops would be perfect on a holiday party table? 

Dec 9, 2013

Cracked Wheat Bread

Cracked Wheat Bread

This cracked wheat bread is delicious and nutritious. You get a ton of fiber without a lot of strong whole wheat flavor.

Cracked Wheat Bread

What is cracked wheat you ask? It's whole wheat berries that have been crushed or chopped. To use cracked wheat in bread, you soak it in boiling water first, and then add the rest of the ingredients to make the bread.

The resulting bread is perfect for toast, sandwiches, and especially sliced and slathered in butter. I suspect it will not last long in this house.

It's incredibly easy to make and the dough is really easy to work with. Give this bread a try. You can make your own healthy bread!

Cracked Wheat Bread

Cracked Wheat Bread

Recipe slightly adapted from Red Star Yeast


1 1/4 C plus 1 T water
2 T vegetable oil
4 ounces cracked wheat (I got mine from King Arthur Flour)
14 ounces bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 T sugar
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast


  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the oil. Pour it over the cracked wheat in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to cool to about 90 degrees F.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together until all of the ingredients are combined.
  3. Knead with the dough hook for about 7 minutes, adding water by the tablespoon if the dough is too stiff. The dough should be smooth but not sticky. 
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled in a warm spot in your kitchen. 
  5. Flatten the dough into a 14 by 7 inch rectangle and roll into a loaf starting with a 7 inch side of the rectangle. Pinch the seams together and place the loaf, seam side down, into an oiled 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. 
  6. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until it crests over the top of the loaf pan. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  8. Bake the loaf for about 35 minutes until the interior of the loaf reaches about 190 degrees F and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  9. Cool on a wire rack. 
  10. Slice and enjoy!
Sharing with Yeastspotting
Dec 7, 2013

Chinese American Shrimp with Lobster Sauce | Wok Wednesdays

Chinese American Shrimp with Lobster Sauce | Wok Wednesdays

This Chinese American Shrimp with Lobster Sauce is probably not the most photogenic dish, but it is amazingly flavorful. Amazingly.

Hardest part of making this shrimp dish? Finding fermented black beans. Fortunately I am part of a fabulous Wok Wednesdays community, so as I wandered through my local Asian market unable to locate said beans, and unable to get help from the employees, I turned to my Wok Wednesdays friends and posted my plea for help. Within minutes, someone posted which aisle as well as a photo of the package of the beans. Others chimed in with their feedback as well. What an amazing community!

Chinese American Shrimp with Lobster Sauce | Wok Wednesdays

Another thing I learned? Lobster sauce does not contain lobster. All righty then.

This dish contains shrimp, clam juice, cornstarch, soy sauce, pepper, garlic, ginger, ground pork, Thai chili, fermented black beans, egg, and scallions. It involves peeling the shrimp and boiling the shells in the clam juice to create the lobster sauce. It's pretty cool watching the shrimp shells turn pink as they boil in the clam juice.

The egg and scallions are added during the last few seconds of stir frying, and give the dish it's "cloudy" look. Just know that it is totally flavorful. You just want to eat it. And eat it some more.

The members of the Wok Wednesdays group are wokking their way through Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge. We get assistance from Grace herself when we have questions about the recipes and wok cooking. How cool is that? To get the recipe for this dish, check out page 179 of the book. You won't regret it. Every recipe in this book has been a revelation.
Dec 6, 2013

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie

The only problem with this turkey pot pie is that you will want it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's filling, comforting, and the perfect dish for leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie

I love pot pies. Along with meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese, they the ultimate comfort food.

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie

You don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to make this pot pie. You can buy a turkey breast or turkey legs and roast them for the filling. If you don't like turkey (and why not?), this recipe also works for chicken.

I found and adapted this recipe from the Thanksgiving leftover section of  The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations.

This has got to be one of the most illustrated step-by-step cookbooks ever. If you like illustrations in your cookbooks, this one's for you. I definitely do, and I also love pretty food photos.

I was originally looking for a turkey soup recipe, but this pot pie looked so delicious that I ended up buying a turkey breast just to make this dish. The original recipe says that it's 12 servings, but we managed to stretch it to four. It was that good. In addition, you can make the filling a day before assembling the pie. In fact, I roasted the turkey breast on day one, made the filling on day two, and assembled and baked the final dish on day three.

How's that for a make ahead dish?

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie


4 T butter
3/4 C finely diced onions
3/4 C finely diced carrots
3/4 C finely diced celery
2 C chopped or shredded turkey meat
1/4 C flour
3 C low sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 dash hot sauce (optional)
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1/4 C heavy cream
1 recipe pie crust of your choice or store bought pie crust
One large egg + 1  tsp water, whisked to use as an egg wash


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. 
  3. Saute the ingredients for about 3 minutes, until the onions are soft. 
  4. Add the turkey, add the flour, stir, and then continue to cook for another 2 minutes. 
  5. Add the chicken broth, turmeric, salt, pepper, hot sauce, thyme, and cream.
  6. Stir and bring to a simmer. Let cook for about 3 minutes, until thickened. 
  7. Pour the filling into a deep dish 2 quart pie dish or casserole dish. 
  8. Brush the edges of the pie dish with the egg wash and cover the filling with a pie crust round. Arrange the pie crust so that it will stick to the edges of the pie dish.
  9. Slit the pie crust with a sharp knife and brush with the rest of the egg wash. 
  10. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown. 
  11. Serve in bowls with shards of the crust on top. 
Dec 4, 2013

Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dark chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate dough. Chocolate chips. Just chocolate.

These cookies are rich and chewy, and completely decadent. Plus, you can make the dough in advance,  refrigerate or freeze it, and bake the cookies when you need them. Perfect for holiday gifts, right?

Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

The dough for these cookies is formed into a log, refrigerated or frozen depending on your timeline, and then sliced and baked. You will need to place the cookies two inches apart on your baking sheet, because the dough will spread quite a bit.
Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used a mix of mini semi sweet and large bittersweet chocolate chips in these cookies. This dough could easily lend itself to other combinations and flavors.

Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies


155 g unbleached all purpose flour (about 1 1/4 C)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C room temperature unsalted butter
100 g light brown sugar (1/2 C firmly packed)
6 T granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 T Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted through a strainer
170 grams bittersweet chocolate chips
170 grams semisweet mini chocolate chips


  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar on medium speed for about a minute. 
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix for another minute. 
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture and mix for another minute. 
  5. Add the cocoa powder and mix until just incorporated. 
  6. Add the chips and mix briefly until mixed in. 
  7. Divide the dough in two and form into two 9 inch long logs and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  9. Slice each log into 16 pieces and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. 
  10. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 14 minutes.
  11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. 
  12. Keep in an air tight container for up to four days. 

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by
I am participating in 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Meal Planning Magic. Check out all of the treats everyone made this week!

Dec 3, 2013


Pandoro: Karen's Kitchen Stories

I have wanted to make Pandoro bread ever since I saw this post on Wild Yeast. I had been having great success with a panettone recipe, and that Pandoro sounded like a great challenge.

Pandoro (or pan d'oro/golden bread) is buttery sweet bread that is served at Christmas in Verona, northern Italy. It is a cousin of panettone, but without the fruit. It is a slightly sweet dough, resembling brioche, and is delicious served with sweetened mascarpone with rum and toasted almonds. I loved it with whipped cream and raspberry jam.

So many recipes, so little time! Especially when the recipe is a three day affair. While I still must try Susan's recipe, the formula I used here takes just one day to make.

The original recipe calls for active dry yeast. Instead, I used SAF Gold, an osmotolerant yeast. Osmotolerant you say? It is designed to work well with sweet, enriched doughs. In this case, the rising times shortened quite a bit. Depending on the yeast that you use, the rising times will vary. Don't worry, as long as you keep an eye on your dough, you will be fine.

I found my pandoro pan from the San Francisco Baking Institute. For the other half of the dough, I used two 5 1/2 inch panettone papers and shortened the baking time to 40 minutes.

The loaf baked in the pandoro pan is large, and the first question I always get is, "how do you cut it?"

I'm not exactly sure of the proper way, but I like to cut it in half horizontally and then cut vertical slices like a cake.

Pandoro: Karen's Kitchen Stories

Pandoro Bread

Makes two large loaves. Adapted from The Italian Baker.



4 1/4 tsp instant yeast
120 g warm water
1 large egg
2 T sugar
100 g unbleached all purpose flour

First Dough

380 g pastry flour
435 g unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
55 g unsalted butter, room temperature

Second Dough

4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 C sugar
The rest of the reserved flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp fiori de Sicilia or lemon oil, or 1 tsp lemon extract
10 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
105 grams all purpose flour as needed, for kneading the dough


Make the Sponge

  1. Whisk the ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. This should take about 30 minutes.

Make the First Dough

  1. Whisk the two flours together in a bowl.
  2. Measure 2 1/2 cups of this flour mixture and set aside the rest for the second dough.
  3. Add the 2 1/2 cups of flour, the yeast, sugar, and eggs into the sponge and stir. Add the butter and beat with the paddle attachment until mixed. 
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Make the Second Dough

  1. Add the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and extracts to the first dough and beat with the paddle attachment. 
  2. Add the butter by tablespoon into the dough.
  3. Mix in the rest of the flour and the salt. 
  4. Switch to the dough hook and mix for about 6 minutes. Add about 70 grams of all purpose flour by tablespoon while kneading. 
  5. The dough will be light, buttery, and sticky. 
  6. Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and let it rise until doubled, about 1 to 3 hours. 
  7. Sprinkle about 3 T of flour onto the top of the risen dough and drop it onto the counter. Flour the top of the dough as well as your hands. 
  8. Cut the dough in half with a bench knife or dough scraper. 
  9. Form each half into a ball and place each into an oiled pandoro pan. Alternatively, you can use 2 pound coffee cans that have been lined with parchment. 
  10. Let rise until the dough rises to the top of the pans, about 90 to 240 minutes, depending on the room temperature and the dough activity. 
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes more. 
  12. Let the bread cool in the mold before removing. 
  13. Place the loaf on a plate and shower with powdered sugar.

Let's see what our #twelveloaves bakers baked this month:
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