Sunday, August 26, 2012

French Bread

This french bread recipe comes from a book my Mom gave me about 16 or 17 years ago when she was getting ready to move out of my childhood home.

The book is called Once-a-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. The book I had was the original 1986 edition. I wish I kept this book, but I must have been in a purging mood and got rid of it. That was most likely when we moved to PA from IL. It had some great ideas and I still make the granola and Balkan Meatballs recipe from this cookbook. I see there are newer additions out. I may have to pick one up. You can find it on Barnes & Noble's website.

French Bread from: Once-a-Month Cooking

3 cups warm water
1 package of yeast
3 tablespoons of sugar or honey
1 tablespoon of salt
7 ½ to 8 cups of all purpose or bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in one cup of warm water. Add the sugar and salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the additional 2 cups of warm water and 3 cups of flour. Add the rest of the flour a cup at a time. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes on a well floured surface. Grease a very large bowl and the top of the dough. Cover and let rise until the dough has almost tripled. Sometimes I make the dough before work and do the last rise when I get home.  You can shape into 4 baguettes or put into 3 ungreased 8x4 loaf pans (my lazy, preferred way). Let rise for another 45 minutes, covered. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bake the loaves for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake another 30 to 35 minutes. Once I reduce the oven temperature, I lay a piece of foil over the tops of the loaves so they do not brown too much.  This is a nice, sturdy bread. I like to slice the extra and put it in a freezer bag. That way we can have homemade bread any night of the week. I just pop it into the microwave. It also makes great toast.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Basil Butter Garlic Bread

This bread was great on the grill! It is a good way to use up some of that basil in your garden.

The topping was easy to mix up in the food processor.

Spread it out on some soft, but chewy bread and bake, then broil, or grill.

Basil Butter Garlic Bread from: Two Peas & Their Pod

¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/3 of a cup loosely packed parsley
2 cloves of garlic or to teaspoons of diced
1 green onion
salt and pepper (to your liking)
1 loaf of french bread or some focaccia is what I used
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the butter through the pepper together in the food processor. I am sure you could also just mix it all together in a bowl if you softened the butter just a little and finely chopped the basil, parsley and green onion. Sometimes the idea of cleaning that food processor bowl makes me think twice about using it. Cut apart the bread horizontally. Spread each half with the mixture. Put the halves back together and wrap in foil. Bake for 10 minutes. Unwrap and separate. Sprinkle with the cheese and broil until golden on top (2-5 minutes). I have also done this on the grill and just let the cheese melt on top. It gives the bread a good smokey flavor.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Coconut Macroons

I have always wanted to make these, but it took me a long time to finally get around to it. I used the recipe off the back of a bag of Baker's sweetened, shredded coconut.  The recipe is very simple to put together. If I visit our hometown in the Fall,  I am going to make sure to take some of these to my Mom. She told me she really likes coconut macaroons.  The Castles and Carriages blog has a great ideas of adding almonds to the cookie so it tastes like an Almond Joy when the bottoms are dipped in chocolate. You can't go wrong there!

Coconut Macaroons From: Baker's

1 14 ounce package of sweetened, flaked coconut
 2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon of almond extract (or use vanilla instead)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Mix all of the ingredients together and drop tablespoon sized mounds on to parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool and dip bottoms or drizzle the tops with melted semi sweet baking chocolate or chips. This makes about 3 dozen cookies.