4/30/12

6 Churros for Cinco de Mayo


When I think of Costco, I think of churros.

For only a dollar, it is a hot, crunchy treat that satisfies my sweet cravings.

I resist the urge to buy them at Disneyland ... they cost more than I'm willing to spend.

I figured it was time to make my own.

After discovering how easy and simple churros were to make, I wondered why I waited so long!

There are two basic churro recipes, one with eggs and one without.  The one with eggs is the same recipe for cream puffs or eclairs.

I chose to try Rick Bayless's recipe, which does not use eggs.  It seemed simpler and easier to make.

Vegetable oil (I used canola), sugar, salt and water are combined in a 2 quart sauce pan.  It is brought to a boil and removed from the stove.


All purpose flour is added all at once ...


... and stirred till thick and smooth. 


While the batter was cooling, I got my pot ready with canola oil, heating it to 375°F.

I rolled the dough into plastic wrap, using this wonderful decorating bag technique.


This is where I got stumped in planning to make these churros.

What kind of tip do I use?  Many of the recipes I researched simply stated, "star tip."

Well, there is an "open" and a "closed" (flower) start tip, and I tried both.

Open Star Tip
Closed Star Tip
I prefer using the closed star tip, as the churros had more ridges to capture the cinnamon/sugar mixture and the churro insides were not as "doughy."

This is a Wilton 2D closed star tip.  You will need to get a large tip coupler to accommodate this size.  I purchased mine at Orson Gygi for $1.99.


It is important for your oil to stay as close to 375°F to avoid over/undercooking your churros.

A kitchen thermometer comes in handy.

Squeeze 4" of dough over the hot oil, having the free end almost touching the oil.

If your dough is too high above the oil, it will splash when it falls into the oil.

Using kitchen scissors, cut the dough, letting it fall into the oil.

Do not put too many churros into the oil.  You want them to be able to swim about freely.


Also, if you put too many churros in the oil, the temperature drops dramatically and will take longer to cook.

These should only take 2-3 minutes, turning them occasionally with metal tongs.

Drain each on a paper towel and coat in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Rick Bayless calls for 2/3 cup sugar + 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Next time, I would double the cinnamon.


The result?

Extra crispy, finger sized churros that were gobbled up in a hurry!


I reserved some plain churros to freeze and reheat in a 400°F oven, which I will sprinkle with cinnamon sugar right out of the oven.

Churros
(4x6 printable recipe)     (full page printable recipe)


4/27/12

3 Mock Sourdough No Knead Bread


If you are a busy mom, short on time and patience, this no knead bread baking is for you.

Busy moms are busy taking care of kids, laundry, schedules, etc.  What busy mom wants to feed and take care of a sourdough starter?


When King Arthur flour had a recipe for "extra tangy" sourdough bread, I learned their secret.


Citric acid.


Citric acid is used for canning, sprouting, drying or freezing to preserve vitamin C content, retard spoilage and prevent browning.  It can be found in most health food or kitchen specialty stores.  I used it in my Lemon Water drink that combines pure lemon extract and citric acid for a sweet, lemony and slightly tart flavor. 

Why not add this to no knead bread?  

No knead bread does not require any special tools or materials to make.

It literally takes 5 minutes to mix, 1 minute to shape, and the rest of the time is, well, "resting time."


The dough "rests" over night for 12-18 hours, shaped, and then "rests" again in a parchment paper lined bowl for an hour or two.

Bake it in the oven for 40-45 minutes, and you will have an airy, bubbly, crispy and chewy crust that is fabulous dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


The result?

A tangy, but not mouth-puckering bread that resembles sourdough.  It does lack the depth of true sourdough, but if you are in a hurry, this is a close runner up.  I have never been able to achieve the intense sour flavor reminiscent of San Francisco sourdough bread, but the next time I make sourdough bread from a starter, I will add a touch of citric acid to the dough to increase the "tang."

This bread was perfect for a grilled tuna sandwich...



Mock Sourdough No Knead Bread
(4x6 printable recipe)     (full page printable recipe)

4/25/12

2 Easy No Knead Bread: Multigrain Wheat


I love the taste of wheat bread, especially if it is light and has a touch of honey.  This bread has an added bonus of using a cracked nine or ten grain cereal that adds another dimension of flavor and texture.

Can it be made as a "no knead" bread?  Yes, if you substitute only half of the flour.  If you make this bread with all wheat flour, you will get a dense loaf of bread.  Wheat flour requires kneading to develop gluten, which gives shape and texture to breads. 

If you are new to "no knead" bread making,  you will discover how simple and easy it is.  Check at the bottom of this post for my other versions of this wonderful bread.

You do not necessary need a dutch oven to bake this bread.  You can use an oven safe cooking pot or even a Pyrex baking dish.  It needs to have a lid.

Wouldn't it be cool to have an oval shaped loaf?  This crock pot has a removable liner made of glazed ceramic, but take a look at the plastic knob...


I doubt that it is oven proof, so I am going to remove it ...


... and improvise with a piece of twisted aluminum foil.  Practice picking up the lid a couple of times to make sure it works ...


I prefer to let my no knead breads rise in a flour piece of parchment paper rather than a floured linen towel.  It is much easier to lift up the corners of the parchment and place it into the crock pot liner.


Removing the hot bread as soon as it is out of the oven is as simple as lifting the bread out by holding onto the corners of the parchment paper.


Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour.  The dough inside is still cooking.

This bread is perfect!  I imagine it would be even better with a handful of sunflower seeds.


That's the beauty of this bread ~ you can add whatever ingredients that your heart desires.  Think of fresh rosemary and olive oil.  Shredded cheese.  Olives.  Nuts.  Let your creativity and imagination run wild!

No Knead Multigrain Wheat
(4x6 printable recipe card)     (full page printable recipe)

Original No Knead Bread

No Knead White Chocolate Pecan Bread

4/23/12

9 Easy No Knead Bread: White Chocolate Pecan


Ever since I first made this bread almost four years ago, I still can't get over how simple and easy this bread is to make.  It does not require a mixer or any special equipment and it will be the crustiest, moistest loaf of bread you will ever eat.

My mom asked me if I wanted some pecans that a good friend had brought with her from St. George from her pecan tree.

Of course!


Looking at these pecans, I knew what I needed to make.

Every time I walk into my local Harmon's grocery store, I will ask for a sample of their artisan White Chocolate Pecan bread.  Crusty, dense, full of airy holes and studded with pecans, you will taste a slight sweetness of white chocolate.

Why not try it as a no knead bread recipe? 

It starts with the right type of white chocolate.  Do not use the white chocolate chips, as they are not made with cocoa butter and are designed to hold their shape in baking.  You want a white chocolate that will melt right into your bread and this is what I used ...


 A serrated knife is great for chopping up chocolate.  Coarse chunks are all you need.


Toss the coarsely chopped pecans in with the white chocolate in your flour, yeast, and salt.  Give it a good stir.


Pour your warm water over this mixture and give it a quick stir.  Don't worry about getting all the lumps out.  Your mixture will look like a very thick, lump biscuit batter.


That's it!

Well, at least for the next 12 - 18 hours.  Cover this with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter overnight.

The next day, this is what your dough will look like ~ airy and bubbly!


 Put about 1/2 cup of flour on your counter.  Dump the bread dough on top of the flour.  With floured hands (I like to use a plastic dough scraper), fold the dough into thirds.


With floured hands or dough scrapers, quickly shape it into a ball, tucking in the edges underneath the ball, adding more flour to your hands if you feel like it is getting too sticky to handle.  This is not kneading; it is simply shaping the dough.


Using floured hands (or two dough scrapers), pick up this dough and put it in a heavily floured kitchen towel (linen, or cotton, NOT terry cloth) or, my favorite, a parchment paper lined bowl.

Let your dough sit, covered, for 1-2 hours, until doubled.  Dough should feel springy and light when touched.

This bread has doubled and is ready to go into the oven.


Next, put a 2-6 quart dutch oven, Pyrex glass dish, oven safe pot, or removable crock pot liner, with a LID, into your oven.  Preheat the oven to 450°F.

If you have your bread in a cloth lined bowl, you will need to invert the dough into the hot pan in the oven.  If you are using parchment paper, all you will have to do is lift the bread, parchment and all, into the hot pan in the oven, using it like a "sling."  Much easier, in my opinion.

Bake in the oven with the LID ON, for 30 minutes, then take the LID OFF for an additional 10-15 minutes, to brown the top of the bread.

Parchment lined dough in removable crock pot liner

Take the bread out and let it cool for at least an hour on a wire rack.

I know, I know ... it's hard to wait!  The bread is still cooking and if you were to cut into it right away, it would be a doughy mess inside.

Let's take a look ...  See those extra large holes near the bottom?  That is soaked with melted white chocolate.

Oh, so good .... I hope you will give this bread a try!


White Chocolate Pecan No Knead Bread
(4x6 printable recipe)     (full page printable recipe)

4/20/12

3 Breakfast Pizza

Good morning!

Do you think your kids would enjoy this pizza for breakfast?

If you like breakfast burritos or even a breakfast casserole, you will enjoy this pizza.  You can use a store bought pizza dough, ready made crust or make your own dough.  The secret to this pizza is the creamy egg base that holds all these yummy toppings together.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt your butter and add your flour.  This is a simple white roux that is the base of most sauces and gravies, like in my chicken pot pie, chicken dumplingsroasted chicken gnocchi soup, or homemade chicken gravy.

Two things are important to making a fantastic roux:

1) Melt your butter; don't brown it, and
2) Cook your flour for a couple of minutes to prevent the "raw flour" taste.

Add milk or half and half ...

... pour your beaten eggs directly into the roux.


Cook over medium heat, until the eggs become soft-set.  Be careful not to over-cook the eggs.  You want them to be soft and creamy, not stiff and rubbery.


 Spread the egg mixture on top of your shaped pizza dough.


Top with any of your favorite breakfast toppings:  Canadian bacon, sausage, bacon, diced red or green  peppers, onions, sharp white cheese and mozzarella cheese.


You can bake this on a parchment lined baking sheet or a pizza stone.  I love using a pizza stone, as it cooks my pizza dough evenly, creating a crisp crust throughout.
 
Bake until the pizza is has a golden brown crust and the cheese is brown and bubbly.


 Wow ... even the creamy eggs have a touch of golden brown!


You don't have to have breakfast pizza in the morning.

You can have it any time you want!


Breakfast Pizza
(4x6 printable recipe)     (full page printable recipe)

4/18/12

0 Wonder Mill Wagon Grain Challenge


The WonderMill company is hosting a grain challenge on their new page, "Grain Mill Wagon."

Here, you will find bloggers using their grain mills in everyday recipes ~ a grain mill is not just for grinding wheat!

Grinding grains is quick, easy, inexpensive, and makes your dishes taste even better.

Jump on the wagon and give these recipes a try!

Corn Muffin Pancakes by Frieda Loves Bread

 
Mini Corn Muffins by Upstate Ramblings

Grandma's Perfect Whole Wheat Bread by Vanilla Joy


Pina Colada Cream of Rice by Frieda Loves Bread
Creamy Refried Beans in Seven Layer Dip Cups by Frieda Loves Bread

 Look for many more recipes to come on Grain Mill Wagon to inspire you to use your grain mill or to put one on your wish list!

 

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