Loading...
Menu

The High Plains Sifter: Retro-Modern Baking for Every Altitude (Part 3: Breads,

p<>{color:#000;}.

The High Plains Sifter

Part 3: Breads, Biscuits and Muffins

Retro-Modern Baking for Every Altitude

by Chris Reynolds

Photography by Chris Reynolds

Copyright 2015 by the author of this book Chris Reynolds. The book author retains sole copyright to his contributions to this book.

Recipe Developer: Chris Reynolds

Writer: Chris Reynolds

Graphic Design: Chris Reynolds

Food Stylist: Chris Reynolds

Photographer: Chris Reynolds

Chris Reynolds is a graduate of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Ireland and owner of Waiting For Gateau, a full-service culinary studio, specializing in high-altitude recipe development and testing; food styling and food photography.

1000 3rd Ave

Longmont, CO 80501

[email protected]

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,

“said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully, “It’s the same thing,” he said.

- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

Contents:

Introduction

Breads, Biscuits and Muffins:

High-Altitude Baking Notes for Breads, Biscuits and Muffins

Rustic Bread

Cornmeal Bread

German Stollen

Potato Sandwich Bread

Ciabatta Bread

St. Lucia Bread

Rosemary Walnut Bread

Olive Bread

Brioche

Italian Olive Oil Bread

Tender Dinner Rolls

Herb Dinner Rolls

Garlic Knots

Hot Cross Buns

Rosemary Focaccia

Parmesan Focaccia

Sage Focaccia

Black Olive and Thyme Focaccia

Italian Sausage, Peppers and Feta Focaccia

Potato, Onion, and Rosemary Focaccia

Sweet Breakfast Focaccia

Naan with Roasted Vegetable Spread

Bagels

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Green Chile Bagels

Asiago Cheese Bagels

Sun-Dried Tomato Bagels

Rosemary Potato Rolls

Olive and Asiago Potato Rolls

Potato and Thyme Rolls

Manchego and Chorizo Rolls

Bacon and Cheddar Rolls

Chevre Herb Rolls

Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomato and Asiago Rolls

Zucchini-Mint Bread

English Muffin Bread

Crumpets

Spinach and Manchego Ring

Nutella Bread

Pecan Toasting Bread

White Soda Bread with Raisins

Plain Soda Bread

Herbed Soda Bread

Chocolate Chip Soda Bread

Beer Bread

Banana Walnut Bread

Bourbon Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Banana Walnut Muffins

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Muffins

Date Nut Bread

Cranberry Pecan Loaf

Apple Pecan Bread

Fontina Cheese Bread

Cheese Bread with Bacon, Onion, and Gruyere

Yorkshire Pudding

Cheesy Yorkshire Pudding

Herb Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire Pudding with Bacon and Sage

Popovers

Hushpuppies

Rosemary Parmesan Flatbread

Sioux Fry Bread

Scallion Cakes

Cream Biscuits

Freezer Biscuits

Fresh Herb Biscuits

Black Pepper and Bacon Biscuits

Cheddar and Scallion Biscuits

Rosemary Parmesan Biscuits

Spicy Bacon and Gruyere Biscuits

Jalapeno Polenta Biscuits

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Smoked Paprika and Manchego Biscuits

Savory Feta and Scallion Biscuits

Dill and Smoked Salmon Biscuits

Sausage Biscuits

‘Bruschetta’ Biscuits with Feta Cheese

Cornmeal Biscuits

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

Sour Cream Drop Biscuits

Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Biscuits

Cream Scones

Glazed Scones

Cakey Scones

Cranberry Orange Scones

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate-Cherry Scones

Apricot-Ginger Scones

Ginger-Pecan Scones

Cranberry-Pistachio Scones

Brown Sugar-Pecan Scones

Bacon, Cheddar, and Chive Scones

Ham and Swiss Scones

Pimiento Cheese Scones

Rosemary, Pear and Asiago Scones

Welsh Griddle Scones

Cornbread Muffins

Cornbread

Crème Fraiche Cornbread

Buttermilk Cornbread

Maple Cornbread

Bacon and Cheddar Cornbread

Jalapeno, Bacon and Cheddar Cornbread

Fresh Corn Cornbread

Sage and Honey Cornbread

Berry Corn muffins

Corndog Muffins

Lobster Cornbread Muffins

Maple Walnut Muffins

Blueberry Spice Muffins

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

Peach Pecan Muffins

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

Savory Provolone Thyme Muffins

Bacon and Herb Muffins

Cheddar Cheese Muffins

Bacon and Gruyere Muffins

Spinach and Pesto Muffins

Swiss and Onion Muffins

Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Muffins

Southern Spoon Bread

Cheddar Spoon Bread

Pepper Jack and Jalapeno Spoon Bread

Rosemary and Parmesan Spoon Bread

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Date Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze

Cinnamon Raisin Rolls

Sticky Toffee Cinnamon Rolls

Praline Monkey Bread

Super Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Super Cinnamon Apple Monkey Bread

Cinnamon Leaf Loaf

Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid

Sunday Morning Pancakes

Dutch Apple Pancake

Summer Peach Pancake

Praline French Toast Casserole

Vermont Apple Fritters

Glazed Sour Cream Donuts

Simple Glaze

Vanilla Glaze

Chocolate Glaze

Maple Glaze

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating

Mini Ricotta Donuts

Bread Pudding with Brandy Hard Sauce

Vermont Maple Walnut Bread Pudding

Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet Bread Pudding

Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding

Crackers and More Crackers…

Parmesan Shortbread Crackers

Parmesan Rosemary Shortbread Crackers

Parmesan Fennel Shortbread Crackers

Parmesan Sun-Dried Tomato Shortbread Crackers

Cheddar and Chive Shortbread Crackers

Spicy Gruyere Shortbread Crackers

Pecan Gruyere Shortbread Crackers

Asiago Pecan Shortbread Crackers

Spiced Shortbread Crackers

Blue Cheese Walnut Shortbread Crackers

Asiago Ranch Shortbread Crackers

Cranberry Pecan Cheddar Shortbread Crackers

Sesame Crackers

Poppy Seed Crackers

Mixed-Up Seed Crackers

Salt and Pepper Crackers

Parmesan Rosemary Crackers

Fennel Manchego Crackers

Wheat Crackers

Wheaty Thin Crackers

Easy Puff Pastry

Gougeres

Roquefort Gougeres

Goat Cheese and Herb Gougeres

Cured Salmon Gougeres

Jalapeno Popper Puffs

Pizza Puffs

Bacon-Parmesan Puffs

Cocktail “Snails”…

Peach Chutney Filling

Parmesan-Anchovy Filling

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Filling

Spinach-Cheese Filling

Honey Mustard-Prosciutto Filling

Corn Fritters

Thai-Style Corn Fritters

Corn and Bacon Fritters

Artichoke Fritters

Monte Cristo Fritters

Chickpea and Paprika Fritters

Zucchini and Mint Fritters

Carrot and Chickpea Fritters

Clam and Corn Fritters

Pea and Coriander Fritters

Crab and Chorizo Fritters

Shrimp and Cilantro Fritters

Scallop Fritters

Sweet Chili Shrimp Puffs

Sausage Rolls with Thyme and Dijon

Savory Bread Puddings…

French Onion Bread Pudding

Mushroom, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

Mushroom, Spinach and Feta Bread Pudding

Chipotle-Corn Bread Pudding

Christmas Morning Bread Pudding

Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

Bourbon-Pecan Stuffing

Focaccia, Apple, and Fennel Stuffing

Spinach-Mushroom Stuffing

Sourdough-Rosemary Stuffing

“Crab Cake” Stuffing

Pear-Pancetta Stuffing

Shrimp Spoon Bread

Halibut Spoon Bread

Easy Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Pizza

Prosciutto, Arugula and Lemon Pizza

Potato, Rosemary and Red Onion Pizza

Cherry Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza

Zucchini and Spicy Salami Pizza

Potato, Dill and Gorgonzola Pizza

Chorizo and Kalamata Olive Pizza

Pizza Biancha with Arugula, Bacon, and Mushrooms

Shrimp, Queso Fresco and Tomatillo Pizza

Wild Mushroom and Fontina Pizza

Red Grape, Gorgonzola and Rosemary Pizza

Corn and Prosciutto Pizza

Goat Cheese and Pistachio Pesto Pizza

Anchovy, Olive, and Caper Pizza

Fresh Ricotta and Basil Pizza

Stromboli

Pepperoni Bread

Ham and Swiss Stromboli

 

Introduction (for the entire series)

From The Slopes To The Shore…

Are you tired? Are you tired of fancy (or not so fancy) baking books by fancy chefs with even fancier recipes that just don’t measure up to all that hype? Are you tired of recipe failures while on a ski holiday or just because you live above 3000 feet? Are you tired of passion fruit foams and green tea cookies when all you want is a chocolate chip cookie recipe that will work every single time? Do you need a pie for the long summer weekend; or a quick, yummy after school treat; or a simple cake with effortless style to make your neighbors jealous; or a truffle that will awaken the mad passionate desires of your lover and make them beg for more? Psssst, do you want a chocolate chip cookie now? No, I mean a really good chocolate chip cookie? Well, let’s make that chocolate chip cookie together. It’s easy and I can show you how.

Family Recipes From My Home To Yours…

Come with me on a family journey through baking where the luck of the Irish gives way to solid science and produces a collection of family baking favorites that your family will cherish for years to come. This debut collection from Irish-trained chef, Chris Reynolds, celebrates the landscape of his family’s baking tradition and contains 323 “master” recipes and 582 recipe variations. This cookbook is a wide-ranging, comprehensive collection chock-full of beloved classics like chewy gingerbread cookies, triple-chocolate brownies, jalapeno cheddar corn bread, shoofly pie, sour cream coffeecake, fresh peach ice cream, crunchy granola, and the best pizza crust ever. This is an inspired collection of classics and contemporary twists where we tease traditional flavours and let you know you’ve just had something special. Classics with attitude and altitude.

High-Altitude Baking that Really Works…

You’ll learn that it’s possible to serve a from-scratch comfort food classic like buttermilk biscuits on a weeknight when time is tight or a high-altitude cake on your skiing holiday that won’t fall flat. In addition to foolproof recipes, all the recipes were tested at high-altitude by the author, himself. Each high-altitude adjustment is precise to give success at 5200ft (Denver, Colorado). In addition, each chapter introduction gives insights into high-altitude baking and tips on adjusting your own recipes.

Retro-Modern???

Chris Reynolds is a professional baker trained at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland by the famed cooking teachers Darina and Rachel Allen. While he embraces an artisan philosophy, emphasizing the freshest organic ingredients, sound techniques, and from-scratch baking; he’s also well aware that stirring a caramel on the stove for 90 minutes is a drag. “I wanted recipes that people would embrace, enjoy and actually make. No one, not even me, is going make a cookie that requires me to stand at the stove for 90 minutes. That’s just not practical in our modern world.” This book embraces a “retro-modern” approach. Old-fashioned recipes are updated for modern life. That could mean streamlining the steps, using modern flavour combinations, using different techniques to give fool-proof results, or even scaling a recipe to feed a family of four.

A Photo of Every Recipe…

If the easy, care-free recipes don’t grab you, then the stunning full-colour photos of every recipe surely will. This book is a delight for the eyes as well as the palate. This is homey, doable baking at its best – a lively, in-depth portrait of a family who loves to bake. Pass me another truffle!

High-Altitude Baking Notes for Breads, Biscuits & Muffins:

This is a tricky category to make generalizations about, but here I go.

Yeast breads seem to need little or no adjusting outside of changing the rising times. For these recipes, you should let the dough rise only long enough to achieve the desired volume. Here at 5200ft, some of my yeast breads can ‘double in volume’ in about 3/4 of the recommended time.

Quick breads and muffins need a little more help. In many ways, the standard “cake rescue” is employed – reducing the chemical leavening, reducing the sugar, and adding a touch more flour.

Batter density is important. Unlike, layer cakes, many quick breads have very thick batters. I’ve found that the thicker the batter, the less adjusting is needed in the raising agent, although other issues may still be present. I’ve found that biscuits and scones, since their dough is very thick, need almost no adjusting at all.

The shape of the pan matters. Say you have a lovely quick bread recipe and would like to make muffins out of it. The muffin batter just might not need any adjusting at all since the muffins cook faster and set faster because of the shape of the pan – the heat can penetrate from all sides much more quickly than a loaf pan. Conversely, if you want to use a muffin recipe in a loaf pan, it just might need more adjustments.

Are you high and dry? Here is Colorado, the climate is very dry. Therefore, our flour can be very dry. Often, I need to just use my best bakers judgment and add 1-2 tablespoons of extra liquid to achieve the consistency I want in the batter or dough for the recipe. Use your noggin…if the recipe says that the dough should come together and yours looks a little dry and shaggy, add a touch more liquid. (This is why many of the yeast bread recipes have you add the bulk of the flour in the beginning and then only add enough of the remaining flour to get the proper texture.)

Possible adjustments:

When trying a new recipe written for sea-level, I always follow the directions as written and then evaluate the results. As you gain confidence and experience, you will be able to detect the “trouble spots” in each recipe and make some basic changes ahead of time.

Different types of baked goods need different adjustments and each recipe is unique. Sometimes, a recipe might only need one of these adjustments, sometimes, they will need them all. Always keep high-altitude notes in the margin of each recipe and you will begin to see patterns and tendencies.

All of the photographs in the book were baked and photographed at my home in Longmont, Colorado. If they work in my high-altitude home, they should work in yours.

Baking Powder / Baking Soda (for when your recipe ‘falls’ in the oven):

Decrease each teaspoon by: 0 to 1/8 teaspoon (3,000ft); 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon (5,000ft); 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (7,000ft); 1/2 to 2/3 teaspoon (10,000ft).

Flour (for when your recipe ‘falls’ in the oven):

Increase each cup by: 0 to 1 tablespoon (3,000ft); 1 to 2 tablespoons (5,000ft); 3 to 4 tablespoons (7,000ft); 2 to 4 tablespoons (10,000ft). (I find this to be a rare adjustment in cookies unless they are very cakey, such as whoopee pies.)

Eggs (for when your recipe ‘falls’ in the oven or seems dry):

I’ve found that adding one extra egg to many recipes is a great help. The egg helps the batter to set by adding protein and they add a little more moisture. (This is a rare adjustment in cookies, brownies, or pies, but it is a great help in cakes and quick breads.)

Sugar (for when your recipe seems too sweet or forms a sugary crust):

Decrease each cup by: 0 to 1 tablespoon (3,000ft); 1 to 2 tablespoons (5,000ft); 2 to 4 tablespoons (7,000ft); 3 to 4 tablespoons (10,000ft).

Liquid (for when your recipe seems unusually dry):

Increase each cup by: 0 to 2 tablespoons (3,000ft); 2 to 4 tablespoons (5,000ft); 3 to 4 tablespoons (7,000ft); 3 to 4 tablespoons (10,000ft).

Fats (for when your recipe seems unusually greasy):

Decrease each cup by: 0 tablespoon (3,000ft); 1 tablespoon (5,000ft); 1 1/2 tablespoons (7,000ft); 2 tablespoons (10,000ft).

Rustic Bread

In culinary school, we were required to make just about everything by hand – no electric mixers allowed. Making bread by hand is a fun thing to do – once. Many of us are too busy to knead dough by hand for 30 minutes. If you love bread, a stand mixer with a dough hook is a worthwhile investment.

2 1/4 teaspoons instant “rapid-rise” yeast (one packet)

1 teaspoons salt

3 cups bread flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cups warm water

flour for dusting

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine the yeast, salt, 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour, and the whole wheat flour. On low speed, add the warm water and mix until all the flour has been incorporated. Continue kneading in the mixer for 10 minutes (20 minutes if you are kneading it by hand). The dough may look loose in the beginning, but it will tighten up as you knead. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and dust the top with flour. Knead the dough by hand for 30 seconds until it is smooth and no longer sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 60 minutes. (Alternatively, you can let it rise over night in the refrigerator.)

Gently remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. At this point, you can cut the dough in half if you want to make two small loaves. (If you are making a baguette, you will definitely want to divide the dough in two.) There are many shapes of bread; here are two easy ones. (If you find the dough stretching back and difficult to shape, just cover it and let it rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.)

For a Boule: Gently pat or roll out the dough into an 8×8-inch square (use a 12×12-inch square for one large loaf). Draw each corner up to the center and pinch them together. Flip the dough over and gently rotate and fold the edges of the dough under its self until the dough forms a ball.

For a Baguette: Gently pat or roll out the dough into an 8×8-inch square. Fold the dough in half and pinch the seams closed. Fold in half again and pinch the seams closed again so that you have a “snake” of dough. Gently, roll and stretch the snake until it’s approximately 14 inches long.

For both the boule and baguette, place the shaped dough, seam-side down, on a lightly-floured sheet pan. Spray the dough with vegetable oil spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500° F.

Just before baking, remove the plastic wrap and lightly dust the dough with flour. With a serrated knife, slash a 1/4 inch-deep “cross” (for the boule) or several parallel bias cuts (for the baguette). You will not need to press down, just use the weight of the knife and glide it across the surface of the bread.

Place the loaves in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 425° F and. Bake for 45-55 minutes for one large loaf or 25-30 minutes for two small loaves. (The internal temperature should be about 205° F.) Transfer the bread to a wire rack and cool completely before cutting.

Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster. The internal temperature of the finished loaves should be 200° F.

Variation:

Cornmeal Bread: Replace the whole wheat flour with 1/4 cup cornmeal. Proceed as directed.

German Stollen

If you make bread often, I recommend buying yeast in a jar rather than using the packets. I keep mine in the fridge. Not sure why – I just do. By the way, a packet of yeast is about 2 1/4 teaspoons. On a completely decadent note, this bread makes amazing French toast. Just lettin’ ya know.

1 1/2 teaspoons instant “rapid-rise” yeast

1 cup warm milk (110°-115° F)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg, slightly beaten

grated zest of one small orange

grated zest of one small lemon

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 3/4 cups bread flour

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped mixed dried fruit (I used cranberries and apricots)

1/2 cup chopped, toasted almonds

powdered sugar for dusting

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine the yeast, milk, butter, sugar, egg, orange and lemon zest, salt, and 1 1/2 cups flour until the dough is smooth. On low speed, add the raisins, dried fruit, and almonds and the remaining flour and mix to form a soft dough. Continue kneading in the mixer for 10-12 minutes (20-25 minutes if you are kneading it by hand).

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Gently press down the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a 10×7 inch oval. Fold one of the long sides over to within 1 inch of the opposite side and press the edges lightly to seal. (See the photo to show you how this should look.)

Place the loaf on a lightly buttered sheet pan or a silicone baking mat. Lightly spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 1 loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Potato Sandwich Bread

This recipe evolved from a World War II recipe to help ration flour. The potatoes were used as a filler. Originally, homemakers would use leftover mashed potatoes from the night before. I never have leftover potatoes, so I keep a small box of instant potatoes on hand just to make this bread.

3/4 cup instant mashed potatoes

3/4 cup boiling water

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons instant “rapid-rise” yeast

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Lightly spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, set aside.

Stir together the instant potatoes and boiling water in a medium bowl. Stir in the butter until it’s melted. Gradually whisk in the milk, sugar, and salt; set aside.

Mix 3 cups of the flour and yeast together in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. On low speed, add the potato and mix until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it a couple times to form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 60 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and gently deflate it and stretch it out into an 8-inch square. Roll the dough jellyroll-style into a log. Place the dough, seam-side down in the prepared pan.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap. (Hint: a clean plastic kitchen garbage bag works excellently for proofing dough. Just lightly spray the tops of the rolls with nonstick cooking spray and place the entire pan in the bag and tuck in the ends.) Let it rise until about 1 1/2 times the size, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the dough with the egg wash.

Bake for 45 minutes until the loaf is a deep brown and sound hollow when tapped with your finger. Cool the loaf on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out the loaf. Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing it.

Makes 1 loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Ciabatta Bread

This recipe uses a yeast starter. It requires a little planning ahead since it needs at least 8 hours to ferment. Don’t skip this step – it’s crucial in developing the flavour and texture of the bread.

Starter:

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon instant rapid-rise yeast

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl to form a thick paste. Briskly stir it for 1 minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 8 hours, or overnight. In the end, the started will look soupy with many bubbles on the surface.

Dough:

the starter

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon instant rapid-rise yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

2 cups all-purpose flour

Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed until the dough comes together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and knead the dough on medium-low speed for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and soft. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Gently transfer the risen dough to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pull and stretch the dough into a rough 8×14-inch oval. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. (Hint: a clean plastic kitchen garbage bag works excellently for proofing dough. Just spray the top of the dough with nonstick cooking spray and place the entire pan in the bag and tuck in the ends.) Let it rise for 2 hours until it is very light and puffy.

Note: To make rolls, transfer the dough to a floured work surface and stretch it to a 9×12 rectangle. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut 12 3×3-inch rolls. Transfer the cut dough to the sheet pan with 2 inches between each roll.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475° F.

Remove the plastic wrap from the dough. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 425° F, and bake for 15 minutes more until the crust is dark, golden brown. Cool the loaf on a wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf or 12 rolls

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

St. Lucia Bread

I know that saffron is expensive and it may seem like an odd ingredient for a Swedish recipe. However, it gives this traditional Christmas bread its distinctive colour and flavour. Just like the stolen recipes, the leftover bread makes wonderful French toast.

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed, about 1 good pinch

1 tablespoon warm water

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons instant rapid-rise yeast

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup dried currants

1/4 granulated sugar

1 cup whole milk

1 large egg

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Place the saffron and warm water in a small bowl and allow it to ‘bloom’ for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine 3 cups of the flour, salt, yeast, cinnamon, saffron, raisins, currants, sugar, milk, and the egg and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until the dough comes together.

On low speed, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/3 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand for knead 2-3 times and form it into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Gently press down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal portions, shaping each portion into a 14-inch rope.

Place the ropes lengthwise on a lightly buttered sheet pan or a silicone baking mat. Pinch the ends together at one end to seal, braid the dough and pinch together the loose ends to seal them.

Lightly spray the top of the bread with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Remove the plastic wrap from the bread and brush the dough with the egg wash.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Rosemary-Walnut Bread

The smell of this rustic Italian bread baking is intoxicating. I peeked in the kitchen to find my dog, Cowboy, just sitting in front of the oven. He’s got great taste.

2 tablespoons cornmeal

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons instant rapid-rise yeast

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/8 cups whole milk

1 large egg

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Dust a sheet pan with 2 tablespoons of cornmeal, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, walnuts, rosemary, milk, and egg and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until the dough comes together.

On low speed, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand for knead 2-3 times and form it into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Gently press down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Shape the loaf into a ball and place seam-side down on the prepared sheet pan. Lightly spray the top of the bread with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30-40 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F.

Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Remove the plastic wrap from the bread and brush the dough with the egg wash. With a long serrated knife, make 3 diagonal cuts 1/2-inch deep across the top of the loaf.

Place the dough in the oven and reduce the temperature to 375° F. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Olive Bread

This falvourful bread needs no butter at all. Feel free to substitute other types of olives in this bread. Intense, oil-cured olives would be amazing.

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for the pan

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons instant rapid-rise yeast

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 cup warm water

2 cups pitted Kalamata olives

Dust a sheet pan with 2 tablespoons of flour, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, and water and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until the dough comes together.

Reduce the speed to low and knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand for knead 2-3 times and form it into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop the olives.

Gently press down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Press or roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Spread the olives evenly over the surface of the dough. Roll the dough into a jelly roll shape and pinch the seam and the ends seal it. Gently shape the loaf into a 14-inch long cylinder with tapered ends.

Place the loaf seam-side down on the prepared sheet pan. Lightly spray the top of the bread with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 40-50 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 1 large or 2 small loaves

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Brioche

You read this correctly. This loaf has a cup of butter in it. It’s buttery and rich just as you would expect. I don’t have any fancy, traditional brioche molds, so I just used a regular loaf pan. I have a policy against buying special pans and equipment that I might only use once a year.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant “rapid-rise” yeast

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1/2 cup water

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Lightly spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine 3 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, eggs, and water and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until the dough comes together.

On low speed, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand for knead 2-3 times and form it into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise on the counter until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Gently press down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Press the dough into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough up into a tight log. Pinch the seam together. Fit the dough into the loaf pan, seam-side down. Lightly spray the top of the bread with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450° F.

Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Remove the plastic wrap from the bread and brush the dough with the egg wash.

Place the loaf in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350° F. Bake for 50-60 minutes until deep golden brown. If the top of the dough looks like it’s getting too dark, tent it with foil. Cool the bread in the loaf pan for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan and allowing it to cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Italian Olive Oil Bread

I recommend using the best olive oil you have for this recipe. You really want the flavour to come through.

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for the pan

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons instant rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Dust a sheet pan with 2 tablespoons of flour, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine 3 cups of the flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until the dough comes together.

Reduce the speed to low and knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand for knead 2-3 times and form it into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Gently press down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Press or roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Roll the dough into a l’og’ and pinch the seam and the ends to seal it.

Place the loaf seam-side down on the prepared sheet pan. Lightly spray the top of the bread with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes until it has increased 1 1/2 times in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450° F.

Lightly dust the top of the loaf flour. With a long serrated knife, make 3 diagonal cuts 1/2-inch deep across the top of the loaf.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 1 large loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Rosemary Focaccia

If you prefer a thicker bread that you can use for sandwiches, use a 9×13-inch pan. Here is another recipe where you can just let your imagination run wild. Use any toppings that you love. I like to think of this as a pizza without the sauce.

1 1/2 cups room-temperature water

2 1/4 teaspoons instant, rapid-rise yeast

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons coarse salt (for garnishing)

3 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary (for garnishing)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil; for the pan plus extra for drizzling on top

In a large bowl (or bowl of a standing mixer), combine the water, yeast, 3 cups of flour, olive oil, and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic – 10 minutes in a mixer with a dough hook or 15-20 minutes by hand. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and turn to coat. (Alternatively, just spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil cooking spray.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 50-60 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.

While still in the bowl, fold the dough over on itself by lifting the edges up and over the center. (Don’t be tempted to just “punch it down”.) Cover the dough and allow it to relax for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Coat a 12×18-inch rimmed sheet pan liberally with 1/4 cup olive oil.

Place the dough onto the sheet pan and gently press and stretch the dough out to fit. Cover the pan with plastic wrap (or place the entire pan in a clean, kitchen garbage bag) and let the dough rise for 45 minutes.

Gently dimple the dough with your fingertips and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and rosemary.

Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes one loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Variations:

Parmesan Focaccia: Omit the rosemary and coarse salt. Sprinkle the top of the dough with 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese before baking. Proceed as directed.

Sage Focaccia: Omit the rosemary. Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage to the dough with the flour and sprinkle the top with 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage. Proceed as directed.

Black Olive and Thyme Focaccia: Omit the rosemary. Sprinkle the dough with 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme and 1/2 cup pitted black olives, cut in half. Proceed as directed.

Sausage, Peppers and Feta Focaccia: Omit the rosemary. Sauté 8 ounces of bulk Italian sausage with a little olive oil until cooked through. Remove the sausage from the pan and add 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 red peppers; stemmed, seeded, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch strips. Cook until the peppers are tender, about 15 minutes. After the dough has risen in the pan, dimple it with your fingertips, sprinkle it with the olive oil, coarse salt, sausage, peppers, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano and 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese. The dough will deflate a little – cover the dough and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Proceed as directed.

Potato, Onion, and Rosemary Focaccia: Saute 1 thinly-sliced, medium onion with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and cook 5-6 minutes, until the onions are soft. After the dough has risen in the pan, dimple it with your fingertips, sprinkle with a little olive oil and shingle the top of the dough with 1 very-thinly sliced (1/8-inch thick) russet potato. Sprinkle the potatoes with the onions, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and a little coarse salt. The dough will deflate a little – cover the dough and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Proceed as directed.

Sweet Breakfast Focaccia: Omit the rosemary and coarse salt. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups dried fruit along with the flour. Proceed as directed.

Naan with Roasted Vegetable Spread

I first had naan at a little Pakistani restaurant near my office. I would go there every day- even if it was just to get some bread. I was determined to make this at home. I tried to make this on a pizza stone in the oven, but I found the stove-top method a little easier and yielded a very tender bread. It’s perfect for dipping into my favorite roasted vegetable spread.

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1/4 cup sifted whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons instant rapid-rise yeast

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon olive oil

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 cups of the bread flour and the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it a couple times to form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 60 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and gently deflate it and stretch it out into an 16-inch snake. Cut the “snake” into 8 pieces, each 2-inches long, and roll them into balls. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, place them on a lightly-floured surface and roll them out to an 8-inch circle. Cover the rounds with plastic wrap while you roll out the remaining dough.

Heat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until the pan is hot, about 4 minutes. Lightly spray the pan with vegetable oil spray and place one round of dough in the pan. Cook for 30 seconds until small bubbles appear on the surface. Flip the bread and cook the bottom for about 2 minutes until it is speckled golden brown. Flip the bread again and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes until speckled golden brown.

Transfer the bread to a wire rack and cover loosely with aluminum foil while you cook the remaining bread.

Makes 8 breads

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Roasted Vegetable Spread

1 medium eggplant, peeled

2 red pepper, seeded

1 red onion, peeled

4 whole garlic cloves, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2-4 tablespoons Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Cut the vegetables into 1-inch chunks. Toss the vegetables, whole garlic, oil, salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence together in a ceramic baking pan. (I found my lasagna pan works perfectly.)

Roast the vegetables for 45-60 minutes until they are soft and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Allow the vegetables to cool.

Stir the tomato paste and Greek yogurt into the vegetables.

Working in batches, pulse the mixture 3-4 times in a food processor until blended but still chunky. Adjust the salt, if needed, and chill the spread in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours for the flavours to blend.

Bagels

Yes, you can make them at home. A stand mixer is almost a requirement for this recipe since the dough is so stiff.

4 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons instant “rapid-rise” yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

1 tablespoon molasses

cornmeal for dusting

1/2 cup topping ingredients (optional)

Mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast, water, and molasses and mix at lowest speed until dough looks shredded, about 4 minutes. (Don’t be tempted to add more water; the dough will eventually come together.) Continue kneading the dough on low speed for 15 minutes until it comes together and is smooth.

Turn the dough out on to your work surface and divide into eight portions. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Form dough balls into dough rings by pressing your index finger through the center of each ball and carefully stretch them into a ring. They should be the same thickness all around. Place each ring on a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and allow them to rise for 1 1/2 hours. (You can also let them rise overnight in the refrigerator.) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450° F.

About 20 minutes before baking, fill a large pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Working 2-3 at a time, place the dough rings into the boiling water, stirring and submerging them with a slotted spoon for 30 to 35 seconds. Remove the bagels from the water and place them on a wire rack to drain.

Transfer the boiled rings, rough side down, to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake them until deep golden brown and crisp, about 15-18 minutes. Use tongs to transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. They can be frozen.

Toppings: Topping ingredients stick to the bagels best when applied to the dough rings just as they come out of the boiling water, while still wet and sticky. 



Options include: 
raw sesame, poppy, or caraway seeds, dehydrated onion or garlic flakes, and sea salt or kosher salt. You can also combine toppings. For example, use 2 tablespoons each of sesame and poppy seeds and 1 tablespoon each of caraway seeds, sea or kosher salt, dehydrated onion flakes, and dehydrated garlic flakes.

Place your topping selections in shallow bowls. When the bagels come out of the boiling water, place them top-side down in the toppings. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Proceed with baking as directed.

Makes 8 bagels

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the water by 2 tablespoons.

Variations:

Cinnamon-Raisin Bagels (pictured): Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1 cup raisins to the flour mixture. Omit the toppings. Other dried fruits can be used such as dried cranberries or blueberries.

Green Chile Bagels: Add 2 (4 ounce) cans of fire-roasted chopped green chiles (drained) to the dough while mixing.

Asiago Cheese Bagels: Add 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese to the flour mixture.

Sun-Dried Tomato Bagels: Add 1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil) to the flour mixture.

Tender Dinner Rolls

Is it wrong to just eat rolls for dinner? I don’t think so. These are perfect with a little butter and jam but also make excellent buns for diner-style hamburgers.

1 cup whole milk; room temperature

1 large egg

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons instant, rapid-rise yeast

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, for brushing

Whisk the milk and egg together in small bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 3 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. On low speed, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the butter. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes (18-20 minutes if you are kneading it by hand) until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it a couple times to form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 60 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and gently deflate it and stretch it out into an 18-inch “rope”. Cut the “rope” into 12 pieces, each 1 1/2-inches long, and roll them into balls. Space the balls 2 inches apart on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. (If you prefer soft rolls, place the rolls in a 9×13 baking pan in 3 rows of 4. so that the rolls are almost touching.)

Cover loosely with plastic wrap. (Hint: a clean plastic kitchen garbage bag works excellently for proofing dough. Just lightly spray the tops of the rolls with nonstick cooking spray and place the entire pan in the bag and tuck in the ends.) Let them rise for 45 minutes or they have doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Brush the rolls with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden browned. Let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 rolls

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Variations:

Herb Dinner Rolls: Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs along with the flour…sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, chives, tarragon, etc. Proceed as directed.

Garlic Knots: Add 3 tablespoons of minced garlic and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley along with the flour. After you divide the dough into 12 pieces, roll each piece of dough into an 8-inch long ‘snake’. Tie each ‘snake’ into a knot using a simple over-under method. Proceed as directed. While the rolls are baking, make a glaze with 3 tablespoons melted butter, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons minced parsley. Brush the hot rolls with the garlic butter and serve.

Hot Cross Buns

Bread with frosting? Count me in!

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant “rapid-rise” yeast

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup raisins

3 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, raisins, eggs, and milk and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until the dough comes together.

On low speed, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand for knead 2-3 times and form it into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise on the counter until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and gently deflate it and stretch it out into an 18-inch “rope”. Cut the rope into 12 pieces, each 1 1/2-inches long, and roll them into balls. Place the rolls in the prepared 9×13 baking pan in 3 rows of 4. so that the rolls are almost touching. Lightly spray the top of the bread with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 40-60 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F.

Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Remove the plastic wrap from the bread and brush the dough with the egg wash.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until deep golden brown. If the top of the dough looks like it’s getting too dark, tent it with foil. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon milk or cream

Stir together the glaze in a small bowl. Drizzle or pipe an “X” on the top of each roll.

Makes 12 rolls

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Rosemary Potato Rolls

This recipe is dedicated to a dear friend who thinks the world would be a happier place if everything were cooked in muffin pans. This recipe calls for leftover mashed potatoes. Frankly, mashed potatoes are so yummy that I never have any leftover. Don’t tell anyone, but I just whipped up a small batch of instant mashed potatoes to make these rolls. No one was the wiser.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup mashed potatoes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons instant, rapid-rise yeast

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped (about 4 4-inch springs)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Combine the butter, water and milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds then stir. Repeat 1-2 more times until the milk is very warm and the butter is melted. (Alternatively, you can heat the mixture in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.) Add the mashed potatoes and stir until thoroughly combined, set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and rosemary. On low speed, add the potato mixture and the egg and mix until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes (15-20 minutes if you are kneading by hand) until it is smooth and soft. If the dough becomes too sticky, add a tiny bit of flour.

Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and shape the dough into a large ball. Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warmish place until it had doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Gently pour out the dough onto your counter. Press down on the dough to expel the air and stretch the dough a bit to form a square. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter (remember those) and roll it out with the palms of your hands to form a 12-inch snake. Cut the snake into 12 1-inch pieces and roll them into balls.

Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil spray. Place one dough ball into each cup. Cover the dough with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until they have doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Bake the rolls for 20-22 minutes until they are golden brown. Serve warm.

Makes 12 rolls

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the flour to 2 3/4 cups.

Variations:

Olive and Asiago Potato Rolls: Omit the rosemary. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano and 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese along with the flour. After the dough rises and you have your ‘square’ of dough on the counter, sprinkle 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives over the dough. Fold the dough like a letter, form your snake and proceed as directed.

Potato and Thyme Rolls: Omit the rosemary. Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme along with the flour. Proceed as directed.

Manchego and Chorizo Rolls: Omit the rosemary. Add 3/4 cup grated manchego cheese and 1 cup finely diced Spanish chorizo sausage (this is the dry-cured variety not the fresh Mexican style) along with the flour. Proceed as directed.

Bacon and Cheddar Rolls: Omit the rosemary. Add 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup crumbled, cooked bacon along with the flour. Proceed as directed.

Chevre Herb Rolls

Herbs de Provence is a mixture of summer savory, fennel, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and lavender.

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant “rapid-rise” yeast

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 cup warm water, plus 2 tablespoons (if needed)

1/4 cup olive oil

flour, for the work surface

1/2 cup chevre (soft goat cheese), room temperature

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons fresh, chopped chives

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh minced garlic)

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook, place flour, yeast, salt and sugar. With the mixer on low, gradually add 1 cup water and olive oil and knead until dough comes together. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl’ but stick to the bottom. If your dough isn’t sticking to the bottom of the bowl, gradually add the remaining water. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes until the dough is firm and smooth.

Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand 3 or 4 times and form it into a ball. Lightly spray a bowl with vegetable oil spray and put the dough inside. Spray the dough with vegetable oil spray and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Lightly spray a 9-inch cake pan (or pie tin) with vegetable oil spray.

In a small bowl, combine the chevre, cream cheese, herbs and salt and stir to combine; set aside.

Lightly press the dough to deflate it. Place the dough on a lightly-floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 12-by-12-inch square.

Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the dough leaving a 1-inch strip at the top. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough away from your body into 1 1/2-inch strips. Gently roll the strips away from you like making a cinnamon roll. Gently pinch the seam closed and place them in the prepared pan with one roll in the center and the others radiating around it with the seam facing towards the middle.

Cover the pan with some plastic wrap and let the dough rise until double size, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 25-35 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let the rolls cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Best enjoyed warm out of the oven.

Makes 8 large rolls

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change, although your dough will rise faster.

Variation:

Pesto-Sun-Dried Tomato-Asiago Rolls: Pesto: process 2 cups packed basil leaves (blanched in boiling salted water for 10 seconds and then ‘shocked’ in ice water and squeezed dry), 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry), 3 peeled garlic cloves, 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a food processor until it forms a paste. For the rolls: spread a thin layer of pesto over the dough leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Sprinkle the dough with 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese. Proceed as directed.

Zucchini-Mint Bread

This bread is full of the freshness of summer. This is a great recipe for people whose gardens are overflowing with zucchini.

1 large zucchini

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons instant, rapid-rise yeast

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped, fresh mint

grated zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons drained, rinsed, and chopped capers

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarsely grate the zucchini on a box grater and mix in a colander with 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the colander over a bowl and let it sit for 1 hour. Rinse the zucchini under running cold water and pat dry between several layers of paper towels.

Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, set aside.

In a large bowl (or bowl of a standing mixer), combine the 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, black pepper, salt, mint, lemon zest, capers, and zucchini. Add the water and olive oil and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for 10 minutes (15-20 minutes if you are kneading by hand) until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and turn to coat. (Alternatively, just spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil cooking spray.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 60 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured counter and press it gently to deflate it. Press the dough into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough into a log and place, seem-side down in the loaf pan. Lightly spray the top of the loaf with vegetable oil spray and loosely cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until it has risen 1 1/2 times in size.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake 40-50 minutes until golden brown and the internal temperature is 210 ° F. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf

High Altitude (5200ft): Bake 40-50 minutes until golden brown and the internal temperature is 200° F.

English Muffin Bread

This is one of my mother’s favorite recipes. Don’t worry if the bread looks pale when you take it out of the oven. It’s designed to be toasted.

2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) instant “rapid-rise” yeast

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup water

cornmeal for dusting

Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust the bottom and sides with cornmeal.

Whisk together the yeast, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Combine the milk and water and microwave on high for 30 seconds; until just warmed. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to form a stiff batter.

Spoon the dough into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with cornmeal. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 50-60 minutes until the dough is about 1 inch above the side of the pan.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F.

Remove the plastic wrap from the loaf and bake for 25 minutes. (The loaf will still be pale, but that’s okay.)

Remove the loaf from the pan immediately and cool completely on a wire rack. This bread was made to be toasted – so, slice, toast, and enjoy.

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): Increase the milk by 1/4 cup.

Crumpets

This recipe uses metal crumpet or English muffin rings. If you don’t have rings, just pour the batter directly onto the griddle. They will be thinner but just as delicious. Alternatively, you can use metal biscuit cutters, if you have them.

1 cup bread flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ‘instant’ rapid-rise yeast

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

Stir together the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, water and milk in a bowl to make a very smooth batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the batter has begun to bubble and doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Pour the batter into a measuring jug or something with a spout. Whisk in the baking powder. The batter should be a thick pouring consistency. If it seems too thick, stir in 2 tablespoons water. Let the batter sit while you prepare the pan.

Lightly spray a large non-stick skillet or griddle with vegetable oil spray. If you have 3-4-inch metal crumpet rings, spray these too. Heat the pan with the rings on top over medium-low heat until the pan and rings are hot.

Pour the batter into each of the rings to a depth of 1/2-inch. Cook the crumpets for 3-4 minutes until the surface is full of holes, the batter is almost set, and the bottom is golden brown. Remove the metal rings, turn the crumpets over and cook the other side for 1 minute until lightly coloured.

Place the cooked crumpets on a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat the process until all the batter is gone.

To serve: toast the crumpets in the toaster, top with butter and jam and serve.

Makes 8 crumpets

High Altitude (5200 ft): Increase the water by 2 tablespoons.

Spinach-Manchego Ring

I couldn’t decide if this was a bread or a meal. It would make a wonderful lunch paired with a small salad or bowl of soup.

For The Dough:

2 3/4 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons instant, rapid-rise yeast

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

1 cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl (or bowl of a standing mixer), combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and cheese. Add the water and olive oil and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic – 8 minutes in a mixer with a dough hook or 15-20 minutes by hand. While kneading, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and turn to coat. (Alternatively, just spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil cooking spray.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

For The Filling:

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 10-ounce package frozen spinach; thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup grated manchego (or parmesan) cheese

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

3/4 cup Major Grey chutney

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Cook the chopped onion with 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until it’s translucent and softened. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Mix the onion, spinach, cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper, garlic, and chutney in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured counter and press it gently to deflate it. Roll the dough into a 18×12-inch rectangle. Spread the filling almost to the edges. Starting from the long side, roll up the dough to form a log. Transfer the dough, seem-side down, to the prepared sheet pan. Bend the ends around to form a ring and push the ends firmly together to seal. Lightly spray the top of the ring with vegetable oil spray and loosely cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until it has risen 1 1/2 times in size.

Remove the plastic wrap and brush the ring with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan cheese. With a serrated knife, make several vertical cuts around the dough so that the filling is revealed. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Makes one large loaf (8-10 servings)

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Nutella Bread

This is an indulgent ‘cake’ for a Sunday brunch or special occasion.

For The Dough:

3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons instant, rapid-rise yeast

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

powdered sugar, for dusting

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine 3 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the water, eggs, and vanilla and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough 8-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While beginning to knead, add the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s fully incorporated. Halfway through kneading, add the remaining 1/3 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and turn to coat. (Alternatively, just spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil cooking spray.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray.

For The Filling:

1 cup Nutella

1 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts plus 1/4 cup to garnish

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Place the Nutella in a microwave-safe measuring jug and microwave on medium power for 1 minute until it’s melted and smooth.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured counter and press it gently to deflate it.

Roll 1/3 of the dough into an 11-inch circle. Place it in the pan so that it comes about 1 inch up the sides to make a “shell”.

Drizzle 1/3 cup Nutella and 1/3 cup hazelnuts over the base.

Divide the remaining dough into 3 pieces and roll each piece into a 9-inch circle. Place one layer in the pan and drizzle with 1/3 cup Nutella and 1/3 cup nuts. Continue layering finishing with a layer of dough. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts over the top and press them into the dough.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it has risen by 1 1/2 times in size, about 30-45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out with only melted chocolate and no raw dough.

Makes one 9-inch “cake” (8-10 servings)

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Pecan Toasting Bread

This bread is designed to be toasted. Your house will smell like cinnamon rolls.

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup non-fat dried milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 1/4 teaspoons instant “rapid-rise” yeast

3/4 cup water

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, set aside.

In a large bowl (or bowl of a standing mixer), combine the 3 cups of the bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, dried milk, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, yeast.

Add the water, eggs, vanilla, and pecans and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Knead the dough on low speed for 8 minutes (15-20 minutes if you are kneading by hand) until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Transfer the dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured counter and press it gently to deflate it. Press the dough into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough into a log and place, seem-side down in the loaf pan. Lightly spray the top of the loaf with vegetable oil spray and loosely cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 50-60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the bread from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Toast and enjoy.

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf

High Altitude (5200ft): Bake 40-50 minutes until golden brown and the internal temperature is 200° F.

White Soda Bread With Raisins

Think of this as a scone on steroids. Back in Ireland, we would slash the bread to let the fairies out. When chemical leaveners where first introduced, small children thought it must be magic to make bread without yeast. Surely, there were fairies involved.

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups raisins or currants

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the texture resembles coarse crumbs. (This can also be done in a food processor with 8-10 one-second pulses.) Stir in the buttermilk, egg, and raisins just until the dough comes together.

Place the dough on a floured surface and gently knead it 3-4 times until the dough is a rough ball.

Gently place the ball of dough on the sheet pan and carefully pat it into a 6-inch round about 2 inches high. Cut a 1-inch deep cross into the top of the loaf.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden browned and has a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Makes one large loaf.

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the buttermilk by 3 tablespoons.

Variations:

Plain Soda Bread: Omit the raisins and bake as directed.

Herbed Soda Bread: Omit the raisins. Add 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, parsley, tarragon, or lemon balm. Bake as directed.

Chocolate Chip Soda Bread: Omit the raisins. Add 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips. Bake as directed.

Beer Bread

Leftover beer in my house? Not! This is why liquor stores sell large, single bottles of beer. I used Newcastle Brown Ale, but any flavourful beer would be great.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups beer (I used Newcastle Bown Ale)

1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Make a ‘well’ in the center of the flour mixture and gradually add the beer, stirring with a spoon until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead it for 5 minutes.

Place the dough in the prepared pan. With a sharp knife, score a deep gash lengthwise down the center of the dough.

Bake for 60 minutes until the top is golden and cooked through. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. While the bread is still very hot, brush the top with the melted butter. Wait 10-15 minutes before turning the bread out of the pan.

Enjoy warm or room temperature. This is also great toasted for breakfast the next morning.

Makes 1 loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): Reduce the baking powder to 2 1/4 teaspoons.

Banana-Walnut Bread

Sour cream can be substituted for the yogurt, if you’d prefer.

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

3 very ripe bananas, mashed well

1/4 cup whole milk, plain yogurt or sour cream

2 large eggs

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9-by-5 non-stick loaf pan; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, allspice, and walnuts in a large bowl. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Gently fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the pan and level it off with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. It’s wonderful toasted.

Makes one loaf.

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the flour by 1/4 cup; increase the large eggs to 3.

Variations:

Bourbon-Banana Bread: Substitute 1/4 cup bourbon for the yogurt. Proceed as directed.

Chocolate Chip-Banana Bread: Add 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips along with the flour. Proceed as directed.

Banana-Walnut Muffins: Proceed as above using a floured standard muffin pan. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Makes about 8 muffins.

Pumpkin Bread

My family has been making this bread for as long as I can remember. I have the original church cookbook recipe that inspired our version. The page in the book is almost unreadable with all the oil, flour, and such spilled on it over the years.

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts (or pecans)

1 1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (to coat the nuts and raisins)

1 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (one 15-ounce can)

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup brandy or whiskey

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour three 9-by-5 non-stick loaf pans; set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, spices, and sugar together in a large bowl; set aside.

Stir together the nuts, raisins, and 1/4 cup flour in a small bowl; set aside.

Whisk together the oil, eggs, pumpkin, water, brandy and cider vinegar in a large bowl until smooth; set aside.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour and whisk slowly until thoroughly combined. Stir in the raisins and nuts.

Fill the loaf pans 3/4 full and bake 50-60 minutes until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack until just warm to the touch. Turn out the loaves and cool completely.

Makes 3 loaves

High Altitude (5200 ft): Increase the flour by 1/4 cup; increase the large eggs to 4; increase the oven temperature to 365° F.

Variation:

Pumpkin Muffins: Proceed as above using a floured standard muffin pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes about 24 standard muffins.

Date-Nut Bread

If you don’t have any buttermilk handy, stir together 7/8 cup whole milk and 1/8 cup lemon juice and let it sit for 10 minutes. I keep a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge just for this purpose.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped dried dates

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the walnuts, raisins, and dates; set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, corn syrup, and egg. Gently fold the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes and then turn out the loaf and cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 1 9×5-inch loaf

High Altitude (5200 ft): Increase the buttermilk by 1/4 cup; increase the large eggs to 2.

Variation:

Cranberry-Pecan Bread: Omit the raisins, dates and walnuts. Add 1 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans.

Apple-Pecan Bread

Perfect for a lazy breakfast at home or a Sunday brunch with friends. This should really be called “quick cake” since it’s that yummy.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

1 large golden delicious apple; peeled, cored and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9-by-5 non-stick loaf pan; set aside.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and stir in the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, pecans, and apples until the batter is combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 65 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk or cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together the powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Spoon or drizzle the glaze over the loaf and allow it to set.

Makes 1 9×5-inch loaf

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the eggs to 3; increase the flour by 1/4 cup; reduce the baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Fontina Cheese Bread

Is there anything better than hot, gooey cheese straight out of the oven? Okay – sex does come to mind.

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces), grated on the large holes of a box grater

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (ancho or chipoltle pepper may be used)

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

4 ounces fontina cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 cup)

1 1/4 cups whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 large egg

3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over the bottom.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl; set aside. Mix in the fontina cheese until each cube is separate and coated with flour. Whisk together the milk, melted butter, egg and sour cream in a medium bowl. Gently fold the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Do not over mix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes then turn out the loaf and cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variation:

Cheese Bread With Bacon, Onion, and Gruyere: Substitute the fontina with a Swiss-style cheese; add 5 slices of cooked chopped bacon and 1/2 cup cooked minced onion to the flour mixture with the cheese cubes.

Yorkshire Pudding

Any recipe that uses bacon grease has got to be freakin’ awesome, right? This has been a staple at our Christmas dinner for as long as I can remember. We have a very traditional English meal with roast beast and, at least, 2 pans of Yorkshire pudding. We open our Christmas ‘crackers’ at the beginning of the meal and wear the silly hats that are hidden inside. 1 1/4 cups low-fat milk may be substituted for the whole milk and water.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

2 large eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons beef drippings, bacon grease, or olive oil

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, herbs, eggs, milk, and water in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Let the batter rest for 60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450° F.

When you are ready to bake, place the beef drippings in a 9×13-inch metal baking pan. Put the pan with the drippings in the oven for 5 minutes to heat up. Remove the pan from the oven and pour in the batter.

Return the pan to the oven, reduce the temperature to 425° F and bake for 30-35 minutes until the batter is puffed and golden. Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes.

Allow the pan to cool for a moment and serve the pudding hot. (The pudding may “fall” as it cools, but that’s okay.)

If you decide to make two pans, rotate them after 20 minutes.

Makes 6 servings

High Altitude (5200 ft): Add one additional large egg white.

Variations:

Cheesy Yorkshire Pudding: Add 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese to the batter before baking…cheddar, Swiss, goat, blue and brie cheeses all work well. Proceed as directed.

Herb Yorkshire Pudding: Add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs to the batter before baking…thyme, rosemary, herbs de Provence, parsley all work well. Proceed as directed.

Bacon-Sage Yorkshire Pudding: Add 4 slices crumbled, cooked bacon and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage to the batter before baking. Proceed as directed.

Popovers: Use a 12-cup muffin pan in place of the 9×13-inch pan. However, only fill the 10 outer cups of the tin with the batter. Place 1 teaspoon of drippings/oil into each cup. Proceed as directed.

Hushpuppies

A warm summer day, a Maryland crab shack, sweet tea, and hushpuppies. Perfection.

1 2/3 cups yellow cornmeal

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup grated onion (about 1 small onion)

vegetable oil or shortening; for frying

Preheat the oven to 170° F (“warm”).

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, pepper, salt, baking soda, cayenne, Old Bay seasoning, and parsley thoroughly in a large bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and onions. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Allow the batter to rest while you prepare the oil.

Pour about one inch of vegetable oil into a wide skillet or dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium-high until it reaches 165° F.

Gently drop tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil. Fry 6-8 at a time. Turn the hushpuppies with a slotted spoon so they get cooked on all sides. Fry for 2-2 1/2 minutes until browned and cooked through. (You might want to do a “test” hushpuppy so you’ll know how long it takes.)

Transfer the cooked hushpuppies to a paper towel-lined sheet pan and keep them warm in the oven. Let the oil temperature recover between batches and cook the remaining puppies. Serve immediately.

Makes about 36

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Rosemary-Parmesan Flatbread

This is a great thing to serve with appetizers and a dip at a dinner party. You can keep them warm, wrapped in foil in a 170° F oven.

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

1 1/4 cups boiling water

2 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, cheese and rosemary in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the boiling water and oil and stir to form a rough dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth – adding just enough flour as you go to keep it from sticking to your hands. (You can also do this in a standing mixer with the dough hook.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 45 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece out into a 6 to 7-inch circle. Brush off any excess flour from the dough.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat the pan with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Cook the bread, in batches, for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden. Use the first flatbread as your “tester” to make you’re your temperature and timing are right. (You will have to add more oil for each batch.)

Makes 8

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variation:

Sioux Fry Bread: Omit the parmesan cheese and the rosemary. Increase the flour to 3 1/2 cups and add 3 tablespoons sugar. Heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet to 365° F. Fry the flatbread 2 minutes per side or until puffed and golden brown.

Scallion Cakes: Omit the parmesan cheese, rosemary, and olive oil. Increase the flour to 3 1/2 cups. Add 1/2 cups finely chopped scallions to the flour and 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil with the boiling water. Proceed as directed.

Cream Biscuits

These biscuits use cream instead of butter or shortening. Don’t be tempted to substitute milk. There isn’t enough fat needed to make a yummy biscuit. If you want to go over the top, serve them smothered with sausage gravy like we would have them at college in Indiana.

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter

1 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Stir together the cream and lemon juice and let it sit for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the cream by hand until dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather it into a ball. Gently knead the dough with floured hands 4-6 times until it’s smooth.

On a floured counter, roll or pat the dough to 3/4-inch thick. Cut biscuits into rounds with a floured biscuit cutter.

Place the biscuits on prepared sheet pan (2-3 inches apart for “crusty” biscuits or just barely touching for “soft-sided” biscuits) and bake 16-20 minutes until golden brown. (If desired, the baking pan with the unbaked biscuits can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 hours. Bake as usual.)

Brush the hot biscuits with melted butter and serve.

Makes 8, 2 1/2-inch biscuits

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the cream by 2 tablespoons.

Variations:

Freezer Biscuits: Wrap the tray of unbaked biscuits tightly with lightly greased plastic wrap and freeze the biscuits until solid, about 6 hours. Transfer the frozen biscuits to a large zipper-lock bag and freeze for up to 1 month. (Do not thaw before baking.) Bake as usual for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden. (If you are baking a large amount of biscuits, spread them out over 2 baking sheets and bake the sheets separately; do not bake both sheets at the same time.)

Fresh Herb Biscuits: Whisk 2 tablespoons of freshly minced herbs into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Black Pepper and Bacon Biscuits: Whisk 5 slices of fried, crumbled bacon and 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Cheddar and Scallion Biscuits: Whisk 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 3 thinly sliced scallions into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Rosemary-Parmesan Biscuits: Whisk 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Spicy Bacon and Gruyere Biscuits: Whisk 4 slices of fried, crumbled bacon, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 cup grated Swiss-style cheese into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Jalapeno Polenta Biscuits: Whisk 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup fresh corn, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits (Pictured): Whisk 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Smoked Paprika and Manchego Biscuits: Whisk 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1 cup grated manchego cheese into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Savory Feta and Scallion Biscuits: Whisk 1 cup crumbled feta cheese and 4 finely chopped scallions into the flour.

Dill and Smoked Salmon Biscuits: Whisk 1/2 cup finely chopped smoked salmon and 1 tablespoon dried dill into the flour. Proceed as directed.

Sausage Biscuits: Add 1/2 pound, cooked, drained, and cooled bulk pork breakfast sausage to the flour. Proceed as directed.

‘Bruschetta’ Biscuits with Feta Cheese: Add 3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives, 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) and 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese along with the cream. Proceed as directed.

Cornmeal Biscuits: Reduce the flour to 1 1/2 cups and add 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal. Proceed as directed.

(Cheddar Bay Biscuits)

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

If you don’t have any buttermilk, make “clabbered milk” by stirring together 7/8 cup milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes until it has thickened slightly. Makes 1 cup.

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cold buttermilk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

3 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. In a medium bowl combine the buttermilk and 1/2 cup of melted, cooled butter, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated and the batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes.

Using a greased 1/4-cup dry measuring cup, scoop level amount of batter and drop, 2 inches apart, onto the prepared pan. Brush the tops with half of the melted butter.

Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, 16 to 18 minutes.

Brush the hot biscuit tops with the remaining melted butter. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Makes about 12 biscuits

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the buttermilk to 1 1/3 cups.

Variations:

Sour Cream Drop Biscuits: Omit the buttermilk and replace it with 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup sour cream; whisked together. Proceed as directed.

Cornmeal Drop Biscuits: Reduce the flour to 2 cups. Add 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal. Proceed as directed.

Any of the “cream biscuit” variations would work here too.

Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Cream cheese adds a wonderful richness to these biscuits. Folding the dough helps to create flaky layers.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, cut into cubes

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup finely sliced chives

2 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and pepper.

Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut the butter and cream cheese into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal with very small bits of butter remaining. (This can also be done in a food processor with 8-10 one-second pulses.)

Fold in the buttermilk and chives using a rubber spatula until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it out into an 8”×11” rectangle. Using a bench scraper to help, fold the dough in half and then in half again. Reroll the dough to 3/4” thick.

Using a floured biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits and arrange them 2 inches apart on the prepared sheet pan. Brush the tops with melted butter, if desired.

Bake 14-18 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack and cool slightly. Serve warm.

Makes about 16 biscuits

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the buttermilk by 2 tablespoons.

Variation:

Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Biscuits: Substitute a soft, crumbly goat cheese such as chevre or montrachet (or even a Boursin) for the cream cheese and increase the black pepper to 1 teaspoon; freshly cracked is best.

Cream Scones

I recommend glazing the scones. It adds a hint of sweetness and helps to keep them fresh for hours.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/2 cup dried currants

1 cup half-and-half (or heavy cream)

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. (This can also be done in a food processor with 8-10 one-second pulses.) Stir in the currants. Stir in the half-and-half with a rubber spatula until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough by hand 5-6 times just until it comes together. Gently pat the dough into an 8-9-inch circle and cut into 8 wedges.

Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet. (The scones can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.)

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes; until golden brown. Cool on the pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 scones.

High Altitude (5200ft): Reduce the sugar by 1 tablespoon; increase the half-and-half by 2 tablespoons.

Variations:

Glazed Scones: A light glaze gives scones an attractive sheen and helps to keep them fresh. Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons water (or orange or lemon juice) until smooth. Brush the glaze on the warm scones and allow the glaze to cool and set.

Cakey Scones: Add one large beaten egg with the cream. Proceed as directed.

Cranberry-Orange Scones: Add the grated zest of one orange with the butter and substitute 1 cup dried cranberries for the currants. Use an orange glaze. Proceed as directed.

Lemon-Blueberry Scones (Pictured): Add 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about one lemon) with the butter and substitute 1 cup fresh blueberries for the currants. The berries should not burst if you knead with a very soft hand. Use a lemon glaze. Proceed as directed.

Chocolate Chip Scones: Substitute 1 cup mini chocolate chip for the currants. Proceed as directed.

Chocolate-Cherry Scones: Substitute 1/2 cup dried cherries and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips for the currants. Proceed as directed.

Apricot-Ginger Scones: Substitute 3/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots and 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger for the currants. Proceed as directed.

Ginger-Pecan Scones: Substitute 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans and 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger for the currants. Proceed as directed.

Cranberry-Pistachio Scones: Substitute 3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped roasted pistachios for the currants. Proceed as directed.

Brown Sugar-Pecan Scones: Substitute 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans for the currants. Substitute dark brown sugar for the granulated sugar. Proceed as directed.

Apple Scones with Spiced Maple Butter: Substitute 1 cup finely chopped golden delicious apple (about 1 large apple) for the currants. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice with the flour. Spiced Maple Butter: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Proceed as directed.

Bacon, Cheddar, and Chive Scones: Reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons. Substitute 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup finely chopped cooked bacon and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives for the currants. Proceed as directed.

Ham and Swiss Scones: Reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons. Substitute 3/4 cup shredded swiss cheese and 3/4 cup finely chopped cooked ham for the currants. Proceed as directed.

Pimiento Cheese Scones: Reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons. Substitute 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup finely chopped pimiento for the currants. Proceed as directed.

Rosemary, Pear and Asiago Scones: Reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons. Substitute 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese, 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh pear and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary for the currants. Proceed as directed.

(Lemon Blueberry Scones)

Welsh Griddle Scones

These are a recent discovery for me. They remind me of ‘tea cakes’ we would get at the local market as a child. They come together very quickly and their slight sweetness is perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup golden raisins

2 large eggs

powdered sugar for dusting

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. (This can also be done in a food processor with 8-10 one-second pulses.) Stir in the sugar, raisins and the eggs until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut disks out of the dough.

Heat a heavy-bottom skillet or flat griddle over medium-low heat (gas mark 2-3 on my gas stove).

Lightly butter the skillet or spray with vegetable oil spray. Fry the scones, in batches, 3 minutes on each side until they are puffed, golden brown, and cooked through. (You may want to do a test scone to get the timing and temperature right.)

Lightly dust the scones with powdered sugar and enjoy them warm.

Makes 8 3-inch scones.

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Cornbread Muffins

There has always been a great debate in America whether you prefer Northern or Southern cornbread. I hope this version will make everyone happy.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until light, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the sugar, oil, sour cream, and milk until thoroughly combined. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir until the batter is just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups using a large spoon. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5-7 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack.

Makes 12 standard muffins or 9 large muffins

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Cornbread: Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Crème Fraiche Cornbread: Substitute crème fraiche for the sour cream. Proceed as directed. Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Buttermilk Cornbread: Substitute 1 1/4 cups buttermilk for the sour cream and milk. Proceed as directed. Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Maple Cornbread: Substitute pure maple syrup for the brown sugar. Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Proceed as directed. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Bacon and Cheddar Cornbread: Add 3 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon and 2 cups shredded, sharp cheddar cheese to the batter. Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Proceed as directed. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Jalapeno, Bacon and Cheddar Cornbread: Add 2 finely chopped jalapenos, 1/4 finely diced red pepper, 2 strips of cooked, crumbled bacon and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese to the batter. Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Proceed as directed. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Fresh Corn Cornbread: Add 3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn to the batter of any of these varieties. Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Proceed as directed. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Sage and Honey Cornbread: Substitute honey for the brown sugar and add 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage. Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Proceed as directed. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Berry Cornbread Muffins: Insert 3 raspberries or blueberries into the top of each muffin before baking. Bake the batter in a 8-in square or 9-in round cake pan. Proceed as directed. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Corndog Muffins: Push a quartered hotdog down into the center of the batter before baking. Proceed as directed.

Lobster Cornbread Muffins: Fold 1 cup coarsely-chopped cooked lobster meat into the batter before baking. Proceed as directed.

Maple-Walnut Muffins

Despite having a ton of maple syrup in the recipe, the flavour tends to mellow during baking. The maple extract helps to boost the maple flavour. There are all-natural brands on the market.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2/3 cup raisins (optional)

1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

2/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon maple extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, oats, cinnamon, allspice, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in the raisins and walnuts. In a second bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sour cream, maple syrup, maple extract and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir until they are just combined.

Divide the mixture among the 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 20-23 minutes until set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack.

Maple Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

6 tablespoons maple syrup

Whisk together the glaze. Gently brush or spoon the glaze on the tops of the warm muffins and allow them to cool completely.

Makes 12 standard muffins

High Altitude (5200 ft): Reduce the oil by 2 tablespoons; reduce the baking powder to 1 3/4 teaspoons.

Blueberry-Spice Muffins

Forget apple pie. I say, there is nothing more American than a blueberry muffin.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (if using frozen do not thaw)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/3 cup vegetable oil

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl; set aside.

Toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the oil and cream cheese until combined. Add the milk, eggs, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the batter is just combined. Gently fold in the berries being careful not to break them.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of sugar.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until the muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before turning them out. Cool on a wire rack until warm enough to serve.

Makes 12 standard muffins

High Altitude (5200 ft): Reduce the baking powder to 2 1/2 teaspoons.

Variations:

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins: Omit the blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add the grated zest of 4 lemons, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons poppy seeds along with the vanilla. Proceed as directed.

Peach-Pecan Muffins: Substitute peeled, diced peaches (frozen is fine) for the blueberries. Add 1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans along with the berries. Proceed as directed.

Cinnamon-Apple Muffins

When I make a batch of these, I stash some away in the freezer so that I can grab a quick breakfast on the run. If you have any leftover muffins, you can reheat them by slicing them in half and ‘toast’ the flat side in a skillet with a little melted butter.

Streusel Topping:

1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

pinch teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

With an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients and mix on low speed until it resembles wet sand and begins to clump together; set aside.

Muffins:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 golden delicious apples; peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl; set aside.

Whisk together the oil, milk, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl or measuring jug. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until all the ingredients are combined. Fold in the chopped apples.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter. Place a heaping tablespoon of the streusel mix on the top of each muffin.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until the muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before turning them out. Cool on a wire rack until warm enough to serve.

Makes 12 standard muffins or 9 large muffins

High Altitude (5200 ft): Reduce the baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons; increase the milk by 2 tablespoons.

Variations:

Apple-Walnut Muffins: Fold in 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts along with the apples. Proceed as directed.

Applesauce Muffins: Substitute unsweetened applesauce for the milk. Proceed as directed.

Provolone-Thyme Muffins

These savory muffins are easy to put together to serve with a busy weeknight meal.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup grated provolone cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme)

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cheese, and thyme in a large bowl; set aside.

Whisk together the milk, sour cream, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl or measuring jug. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until all the ingredients are combined.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until the muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before turning them out. Cool on a wire rack until warm enough to serve.

Makes 12 standard muffins or 9 large muffins

High Altitude (5200 ft): Reduce the baking powder to 2 1/4 teaspoons; increase the milk by 2 tablespoons.

Variations:

Bacon and Herb Muffins: Add six slices of cooked, crumbled bacon and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs of your choice to the flour mixture. Proceed as directed.

Cheddar Cheese Muffins: Substitute grated sharp cheddar cheese for the provolone. Omit the thyme and add 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder to the flour mixture. Proceed as directed.

Bacon and Gruyere Muffins: Add six slices of cooked, crumbled bacon to the flour mixture. Substitute grated gruyere cheese for the provolone cheese. Proceed as directed.

Spinach and Pesto Muffins: Omit the thyme. Fold in one 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry and 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto into the batter. Proceed as directed.

Swiss and Onion Muffins: Omit the thyme. Substitute grated swiss cheese for the provolone cheese. Add 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley and 1 teaspoon dried oregano to the flour mixture. Cook 1 minced medium onion and 1 minced shallot over medium heat along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 5-6 minutes until they are soft and translucent. Add the onion mixture along with the milk mixture. Proceed as directed.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Muffins: Omit the thyme and provolone cheese. Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 2 finely chopped green onions, and 4 seeded and chopped plum tomatoes along with the milk mixture. Divide a 4-ounce log of goat cheese into 12 pieces. After filling the muffin pan, press one piece of goat cheese into the top of each muffin. Proceed as directed.

Southern Spoon Bread

I love old-fashioned recipes like this. This cornbread soufflé is easier than other recipes I’ve seen since I don’t cook the cornmeal. I know, I’m crazy!

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

4 large eggs; separated

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Adjust the oven rack to center position. Butter a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.

In a small skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and cook the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes just to heat it through. Set aside while you prepare the batter.

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pepper, chives, parsley, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder. Add the egg yolks, buttermilk, and corn and stir until just moistened.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and lemon juice high speed just until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into a buttered 2 1/2-quart casserole dish and bake for 28-30 minutes or until the spoon bread is puffed and golden and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. The ‘bread’ should have a soft, soufflé-like consistency. Serve immediately.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Cheddar Spoon Bread: Add 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese to the flour. Proceed as directed.

Pepper Jack and Jalapeno Spoon Bread (Pictured): Add 1 cup of grated pepper jack cheese;1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro; and 2 seeded, minced jalapeno peppers to the flour. Garnish with sliced green onions. Proceed as directed.

Rosemary and Parmesan Spoon Bread: Add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary to the flour. Increase the butter milk to 1 1/2 cups. Proceed as directed.

Quick Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe uses a biscuit dough so you can have hot, fresh cinnamon rolls on the table in 30 minutes. I thought you would like that.

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling:

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon salt

With an electric mixer, cream the sugar, butter and spices on medium speed for 3 minutes until it’s a smooth paste; set aside.

Biscuit Dough:

2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; plus extra for dusting

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted; divided

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and 4 tablespoons melted butter.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and lightly knead several times until the dough is smooth.

On a lightly-floured surface, pat or roll the dough into a 12 × 12-inch square. Spread the cinnamon sugar filling evenly over the dough leaving a 1-inch border at the top.

Use a pizza cutter or pastry cutter to cut the square into 8 strips – 1 1/2 inches wide. Roll each strip into a roll from bottom to top, ending with the non-sugared border. Pinch the seams closed and place them in the prepared cake pan with one in the center and the others placed around it.

Brush the remaining melted butter over the rolls and bake 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Let the rolls cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before icing them.

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons softened cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons whole milk

Whisk together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl. Spread on the warm rolls and serve.

Makes 8 rolls

High Altitude (5200ft): Increase the buttermilk in the dough by 2 tablespoons.

Variations:

Cinnamon-Date-Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze: Add 3/4 cup chopped, pitted dates, 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans and the grated zest of one orange to the filling mixture. Proceed as directed. Substitute 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup for the milk in the icing.

Cinnamon-Raisin Rolls: Sprinkle 3/4 cup raisins or currants onto the filling mixture. Proceed as directed.

Sticky Toffee Cinnamon Rolls

By making the toffee sauce separately, it’s less messy and you can pile on all the pecan topping you want.

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling:

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped*

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Spray a 9-inch spring-form pan with vegetable oil spray; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the sugar, butter and spices on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in the pecans; set aside.

Biscuit Dough:

2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; plus extra for dusting

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and melted butter. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and lightly knead several times until the dough is smooth.

Pat or roll the dough into a 12 × 12-inch square. Spread the cinnamon sugar filling evenly over the dough leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Use a pizza cutter or pastry wheel to cut the square into 8 strips 1-1/2 inches wide.

Roll each strip into a roll from bottom to top, ending with the non-sugared border. Pinch the seams closed and place them in the prepared cake pan with one in the center and the others around it.

Bake 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Remove the pan of rolls from the oven and place it on a wire rack and immediately pour the hot Sticky Pecan Toffee Sauce all over the top. Spread the sauce with a small spatula, if necessary. Let the rolls cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Sticky Pecan Toffee Sauce:

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans; coarsely chopped*

While the rolls are baking, place the sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Stir the mixture frequently until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Off the heat, add the vanilla and pecans and mix well.

*To toast the nuts, place them on a sheet pan and bake at 325° F for 12-15 minutes until fragrant and toasted.

Makes 8 rolls

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Praline Monkey Bread

Originally, this recipe was made with a yeast dough. Frankly, I can’t wait that long. We serve this for Christmas breakfast and I’ll tell you that the last thing I want to do Christmas morning is making dough when we should be having fun.

2 cans “jumbo-style” refrigerator biscuits

1/3 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled slightly

3/4 cup light sour cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Spray a non-stick fluted tube pan with vegetable oil spray and place it on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Open the biscuit cans, separate the biscuits and cut each one into quarters; set aside.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined. Place the quartered biscuits into the bowl and gently toss the mixture until the biscuits are coated.

Spoon the biscuits into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until deep golden brown. (The mixture may bubble up and spill over onto the sheet pan.) Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before turning it out onto a serving platter.

Makes 12 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Super Cinnamon Monkey Bread: Use 2 cans of “jumbo-style” refrigerator cinnamon rolls. Cut each roll into quarters. Proceed as directed.

Super Cinnamon Apple Monkey Bread: Use 2 cans of “jumbo-style” refrigerator cinnamon rolls. Cut each roll into quarters. Toss 2/3 cup dried fruit (raisins or cranberries are good) and 1 peeled, diced apple along with the dough balls before spooning them into the pan. Proceed as directed.

Cinnamon Leaf Loaf

This is a fun twist on cinnamon bread. Kids love any food that they can rip apart with their hands. Don’t we all?

3 cups plus all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sugar-Spice Filling:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons butter, melted

On the stove or in the microwave, heat the milk, water, and butter until the butter is melted. Allow the mixture to cool until it is still warm.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt.

On low speed, add the butter mixture and eggs and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for 5 minutes (10 minutes if you are kneading by hand). While kneading, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the dough in a warm place and let it rise until it has doubled in size, about 60 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; set aside.

Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and roll it out to a 15-by-12-inch rectangle. Brush the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the dough.

Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 3-by-inch squares. You will have 20 squares. Stack the squares on top of each other and place them in a lightly greased and floured 9×5 loaf pan so that the flat side of the dough is against the short side of the loaf pan. (It will look like a loaf of sliced bread.)

Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to rise a second time until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes.

Cool the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then use a butter knife to loosen the edges and invert the bread onto a plate.

Makes 1 loaf

High Altitude (5200ft): No change, although the dough will rise faster.

Raspberry-Cream Cheese Braid

I used raspberry jam here, but feel free to use your favorite fruit preserves. I the end, you will have the biggest “pop-tart” you’ve ever seen. It’s a simple technique to “braid” this loaf, but it’s always very impressive when you bring it to a holiday brunch.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant “rapid-rise” yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

In the bowl of a standing mixer with a dough hook, combine 3 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and milk and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until the dough comes together.

On low speed, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. While kneading, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand for knead 2-3 times and form it into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise on the counter until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Cream Cheese Filling:

1 cup cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar

grated zest of one small lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup raspberry jam

Stir together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and egg yolk in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.

Gently press down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Roll the dough into a 12-14-inch rectangle. If the dough shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes and try again. Trim the edges with a pastry cutter or sharp knife so that you have nice square sides. Carefully transfer the sheet of dough to a lightly-floured sheet pan.

Along the long side of the dough, make parallel 4-inch long cuts with a sharp knife 1-inch apart. Repeat this on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.

Spoon the cream cheese filling down the center of the rectangle – leaving 1 inch on the top and bottom unfilled. Dollop the raspberry jam over the cream cheese.

Cut off the first two strips of dough on each side on the top and bottom of the rectangle. Fold the top and bottom flaps over the filling to cover. Begin folding the side strips of dough over the filling at a slight angle, alternating left and right until you reach the bottom. Trim any excess dough leaving just enough to tuck the ends underneath the “braid”.

Lightly spray the top of the bread with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 35-45 minutes until it has almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until deep golden brown. If the top of the dough looks like it’s getting too dark, tent it with foil. Cool the bread for 20 minutes before glazing.

Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk or cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together the powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Spoon or drizzle the glaze over the loaf.

Makes 1 loaf (8-10 servings)

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change; but the dough may rise a bit faster.

Sunday Morning Pancakes

Remember, it’s the law that the first pancake doesn’t turn out. Use it as a ‘test’ to check the heat of the pan and then feed it to the dog. My dog, Cowboy, loves pancakes. Or, maybe he just loves anything with syrup on it.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and gently whisk together until just incorporated with a few lumps remaining.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Brush the pan with a thin layer of oil.

Add 1/4 cup of batter to the skillet for each pancake. Cook them until large bubbles begin to appear on the surface, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook the other side until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Transfer the pancake to a warm oven and continue with the remaining batter. Enjoy them hot with butter and real maple syrup.

Makes about 12-16 pancakes

High Altitude (5200 ft): Reduce the baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Variation:

Blueberry Pancakes: Use 1 cup of fresh blueberries; sprinkle some onto the batter after you’ve added it to the pan and cook as directed.

Dutch Apple Pancake

This tastes like apple pie for breakfast. Sometimes, I’ll even make this for dessert and serve it with vanilla ice cream.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup corn starch

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 1/4 cups skim milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 500° F. and adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position.

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and whisk about 20-30 seconds until no lumps remain; set aside.

Heat the butter in a 10-inch, ovenproof, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the apples, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Pour the batter over the apple mixture. Place the pan in the oven and immediately turn down the oven temperature to 450° F and bake 18-20 minutes until the edges are brown and puffy.

Remove the pan from the oven with oven mitts and loosen the pancake with a rubber spatula. Dust liberally with powdered sugar.

Makes one large pancake (serves 4-6)

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variation:

Summer Peach Pancake: Substitute 3 peaches, peeled and diced for the apples. Sauté the peaches in the sugar for only 5 minutes. Cook as directed.

Praline French Toast Casserole

This is one of my mother’s favorite recipes. As a child, it was always a special treat to have “breakfast for dinner”. I thought we were the wackiest family on earth. I still think that’s true, sometimes. If you don’t have time to let this soak overnight, a 45-60-minute soak is the next best thing.

Praline Topping:

8 tablespoons room-temperature butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your hands or a mixer on low speed until it looks like wet sand and comes together in large crumbles. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

1 16-ounce loaf French or Italian bread

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish (I use my lasagna pan) with non-stick baking spray.

Slice the bread into 1-inch thick slices. You should have between 12-16 slices. Arrange the bread slices in the pan by shingling the bread into two rows.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Pour the custard mixture over the bread slices, making sure each slice is covered. (It may help to press the bread down a bit or spoon some custard between each slice.) Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350° F. Dollop the praline topping over each slice of bread and bake for 45 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with fresh berries, maple syrup, or a dusting of powdered sugar.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Vermont Apple Fritters

This recipe came straight for my Grandma Reynolds’ little black recipe book. It’s the funniest little time capsule of household tips and recipes. The recipe for “Man Cake” still puzzles me. My grandparents lived in Stowe, Vermont for many years and were even friends with Maria von Trapp.

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs, separated

1 cup whole milk

2 cups Golden Delicious apples; peeled, cored, and diced small (about 2 apples)

vegetable oil for deep frying

powdered sugar for dusting

Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and stir in the egg yolks, milk and apples until the batter is combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently, fold the egg whites into the batter.

In a heavy frying pan or dutch oven, pour a layer of vegetable oil 1-2 inches deep. Heat the oil on medium-high heat until it reaches 365° F.

Drop the batter by the heaping tablespoon into the oil – cooking only 4-5 fritters at a time. Fry for 4-6 minutes until they are deep golden brown and cooked through. (It’s advisable to do a “test fritter” to make sure the oil temperature and timing are right for your situation.) Let the oil temperature “recover” before frying another batch.

Drain the fritters on a paper-towel lined tray and dust them with powdered sugar. Enjoy them while they are warm with maple syrup.

Makes about 24 fritters

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Glazed Sour Cream Donuts

I know that they are a lot of work to make, but you will be a ROCKSTAR when you present homemade donuts to your friends and family.

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) instant “rapid-rise” yeast

3/4 cup scalded, whole milk; cooled until just warm to the touch

1/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

vegetable oil for frying

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl until combined. Add the warm milk, sour cream, eggs and vanilla and stir until the dough begins to come together. Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and mix until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. (Alternatively, you can mix and knead the dough with a standing mixer with the dough hook. However, only knead it for 5 minutes.) Lightly spray the bowl with vegetable oil spray. Place the dough in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and gently roll it to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough with a floured doughnut or biscuit cutter and place them on a lightly-floured sheet pan. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, pour about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy wide skillet or dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium-low heat until it reaches 350° F. (This may take 30 minutes, or so. But, slower is safer.)

Fry the doughnuts 3-4 at a time for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. (I always do a ‘tester’ doughnut to make sure I have the timing right.) Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper-towel lined pan to drain.

Dredge the doughnuts in cinnamon sugar or glaze them while they are still warm.

Simple Glaze: Stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons water.

Vanilla Glaze: Stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup half-and-half, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Chocolate Glaze: Place 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on HIGH power stirring every 15 seconds until it’s melted and smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until thoroughly incorporated. Keep warm so that it’s smooth for dipping.

Maple Glaze: Stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup and 2 tablespoons water.

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating: Stir together 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.

Makes about 12 doughnuts

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change, although your dough will rise faster.

Mini Ricotta Donuts

These are creamy, lemony and lighter than air. The batter comes together in no time at all so there is no excuse not to have donuts. Make them for your lover and I can’t be responsible for what might happen.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

grated zest of 1/2 lemon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

vegetable oil for deep frying

powdered sugar for dusting

In a heavy frying pan or dutch oven, pour a layer of vegetable oil 1-2 inches deep. Heat the oil on medium heat until it reaches 350° F.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and stir in the ricotta cheese, eggs and vanilla until the batter is combined.

Working in batches, drop the batter by the heaping tablespoon into the oil (I used a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop). Fry for 3 minutes until they are deep golden brown and cooked through. (I suggest doing a “test donut” to make sure the oil temperature and timing are right for your situation.) Let the oil temperature “recover” before frying another batch.

Drain the fritters on a paper-towel lined tray and dust them with powdered sugar. Enjoy them while they are warm.

Makes about 24 fritters

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Bread Pudding with Brandy Hard Sauce

Who knew old bread could be so amazing? Hard sauce is just a boozy icing. (You can thank the British for that one.) If you want to save some time, you can always just dust the pudding with powdered sugar.

1 16-ounce loaf of French or Italian bread

2 1/2 cups half-and-half

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

Preheat the oven to 200° F.

Slice and cube the bread into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Spread the cubes out on a sheet pan dry them in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the bread cubes from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Increase the oven to 325° F and lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray.

Whisk together the half-and-half, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl.

Place the bread cubes, raisins, and nuts in the casserole dish and toss to combine. Carefully, pour the egg mixture over the bread. Let the mixture sit for 1 hour, pressing down on the bread cubes from time to time down into the custard.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the center is set. Serve warm with Brandy Hard Sauce.

Brandy Hard Sauce:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup brandy

With an electric mixer beat all the ingredients on medium speed until well combined.

Makes 8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Vermont Maple-Walnut Bread Pudding: Substitute 1/2 cup pure maple syrup for the sugar. Omit the raisins and increase the walnuts to 1 cup. Cook as directed.

Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet Bread Pudding: Reduce the bread cubes to 4 cups. Omit the raisins. Increase the toasted walnuts to 1 cup. Cut 12 Taskykake Butterscotch Krimpets into 8 pieces. Spread the krimpet pieces out on a sheet pan and let them sit out overnight to get stale. Combine the stale krimpets with the dry bread. Proceed as directed.

Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding: Reduce the bread cubes to 4 cups. Cut or tear 8 yeast-raised donuts into 8 pieces. Spread the donut pieces out on a sheet pan and let them sit out overnight to get stale. Combine the stale donuts with the dry bread. Proceed as directed.

Crackers and More Crackers…

Crackers are so very easy to make at home and you can flavour them any way you wish.

Parmesan Shortbread Crackers

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

With an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients and mix on low speed until a smooth dough forms. Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and press it with the palm of your hand into a flat disk. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick and cut the dough with a floured cutter.

Place the shortbread on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool the shortbread on the pan for 3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 2” shortbreads

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Parmesan-Rosemary Shortbread Crackers: Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary. Proceed as directed.

Parmesan-Fennel Shortbread Crackers: Add 1 tablespoon fennel seeds. Proceed as directed.

Parmesan-Sun-Dried Tomato Shortbread Crackers: Add 1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomato (not the type packed in oil). Proceed as directed.

Cheddar and Chive Shortbread Crackers: Omit the parmesan cheese. Add 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoon finely chopped chives, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Proceed as directed.

Spicy Gruyere Shortbread Crackers: Omit the parmesan cheese. Add 3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder. Proceed as directed.

Pecan-Gruyere Shortbread Crackers: Omit the parmesan cheese. Add 3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese, 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder and 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted pecans. Proceed as directed.

Asiago-Pecan Shortbread Crackers: Omit the parmesan cheese. Add 3/4 cup grated asiago cheese, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted pecans. Proceed as directed.

Spiced Shortbread Crackers: Omit the parmesan cheese. Add 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander and1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Proceed as directed.

Blue Cheese-Walnut Shortbread Crackers: Omit the parmesan cheese. Reduce the butter to 1/2 cup. Add 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, and 1/3 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts. Proceed as directed.

Asiago-Ranch Shortbread Crackers: Substitute finely grated asiago cheese for the parmesan cheese. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts and 1 tablespoon ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix. Proceed as directed.

Cranberry Pecan Cheddar Shortbread Crackers: Omit the parmesan cheese. Add 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, and 1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries. Proceed as directed.

Sesame Crackers

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/2 cup ice water

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.

Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut the butter and into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. (This can also be done in a food processor with 8-10 one-second pulses.)

Stir in the sesame seeds and then make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add almost all of the water and stir, adding the remaining water if necessary, until the dough comes together.

On a lightly-floured surface, gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut rounds. Prick the dough circles all over with a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Place the rounds on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 24 crackers

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Poppy Seed Crackers: Substitute poppy seeds for the sesame seeds. Proceed as directed.

Salt and Pepper Crackers: Increase the salt to 1 teaspoon; increase the black pepper to 3/4 teaspoon. Proceed as directed.

Parmesan-Rosemary Crackers: Add 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary to the flour mixture. Substitute milk for the water. Proceed as directed.

Fennel-Manchego Crackers: Add 1/2 cup finely grated manchego cheese and 2 tablespoons fennel seeds to the flour mixture. Substitute milk for the water. Proceed as directed.

Wheat Crackers: Reduce the all-purpose flour to 1 cup; add 1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted. Proceed as directed.

Wheaty Thin Crackers

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

5 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground paprika

1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced

1/4 cup ice water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and paprika.

Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut the butter and into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. (This can also be done in a food processor with 8-10 one-second pulses.)

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the water and vanilla and stir until the dough comes together into a ball. Divide the dough in half and press each piece down into a flat disk.

On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/16-inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares with a pastry cutter. Sprinkle the tops with a generous pinch of kosher salt.

Place the crackers on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 5-10 minutes until the edges just start to brown. Keep an eye on them as they can burn very quickly. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 48 crackers

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Cheddar and Chive Shortbread Crackers

Easy Puff Pastry

I know, you’re thinking that I’m insane for making this. However, this recipe is made, mostly, in the food processor. While it’s not perfect for all recipes, it is perfect for all sorts of tarts and cheese straws.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 teaspoons salt

20 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch dice; divided

6 tablespoons cold water

Place the flours and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and pulse the mixture until the butter is absorbed. Add the remaining butter and pulse 3-4 times to distribute the butter. Add the water and pulse 4-6 times until the dough just starts to form a rough ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape the dough into a rough rectangle. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll the dough into a 12-by-18 inch rectangle. (For puff pastry, it’s helpful to trim the ends with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife so that the rectangle has straight, square sides.)

Place the rectangle so that the long side is facing you. Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third of the dough up as though you were folding a letter. Starting from the short side, loosely roll the dough into a cylinder – as though you were making the world’s largest cinnamon roll. Press the dough down and flatten it so that the dough is square.

For extra-flaky dough, roll this block of dough into an 12-by-18 inch rectangle and repeat the folding/rolling process. (I, routinely, do this.)

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. The dough will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze for 1-2 months.

Makes about 1 1/2 pounds of dough

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Gougeres

This classic French appetizer has gotten a bad wrap in recent decades. But, nothing could be better for a party than rich, tender dough with cheese. I taught this recipe to a friend and now she makes them for every party and her guests are so very impressed. It’s all about impressing your guests, right?

1/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup water

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

3 large eggs plus 1 egg white

1 cup grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a sauce pan over high heat, bring the milk, water, and butter to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the flour, all at once, and the spices. Stir vigorously until the flour is absorbed and the dough begins to form a ball, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the dough to a mixing bowl. Allow the dough to cool for 5-7 minutes.

With an electric mixer, beat in the eggs (one at a time) on low speed. Make sure that each egg is fully mixed in before adding the next one. The dough should be smooth and glossy. Stir in the grated cheese.

Scoop or spoon heaping tablespoons of dough, 2-inches apart on to the prepared sheet pan. Use a wet finger to tap down any “peaks” on the balls of dough as these might burn.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow them to cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Makes about 32 appetizers

High Altitude (5200 ft): Reduce the whole eggs to 2 and increase the egg whites to 2.

Variations:

Roquefort Gougeres: Substitute 1 cup crumbled blue cheese for the gruyere cheese. Proceed as directed.

Goat Cheese and Herb Gougeres: Substitute 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese for the Swiss-style cheese. Omit the cayenne pepper and Old Bay Seasoning and 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence. Proceed as directed.

Cured Salmon Gougeres: Add 1/2 cup chopped cured salmon (lox) along with the cheese. Proceed as directed.

Jalapeno Popper Puffs

A mini-muffin pan may seem like a little extravagance, but it does come in handy for making this delicious, quick snack. Break this recipe out for your Super Bowl party.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese

1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies

1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper

1 teaspoon finely chopped chives

1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest

pickled jalapeno slices, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly spray 2 mini-muffin pans with vegetable oil spray.

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes.

Use a 1 1/2-inch diameter scoop (2 tablespoons) to portion the dough into the mini-muffin cups. Press a pickled jalapeno slice into the top of each cup, if desired.

Bake for 22-27 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow them to cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Makes about 32 appetizers

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change.

Variations:

Pizza Puffs: Substitute shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese for the Pepper Jack; omit the green chilies, jalapeno pepper, chives, and lime. Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoni; 1/4 cup each finely chopped, cooked mushrooms, green peppers, and black olives; 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning; and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Proceed as directed and serve with 1 cup marinara sauce for dipping.

Bacon-Parmesan Puffs: Substitute shredded Monterey Jack cheese for the Pepper Jack; omit the green chilies, jalapeno pepper, chives, and lime. Stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 6 slices cooked, crumbled bacon, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives. Proceed as directed.

Cocktail “Snails”

My version of French palmiers, but much less fussy to make. Just keepin’ it easy, folks. Keep an eye on these as they bake since some of the fillings have sugar in them, they can burn easily.

1 recipe Easy Puff Pastry or 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 recipe for the filling of your choice

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

On a lightly-floured surface, roll the puff pastry to a 10×10-inch square, about 1/8th-inch thick.

Whisk the egg and water together and brush it over the entire surface of the pastry.

Sprinkle or spread the filling over the pastry leaving a 1-inch border across the top.

Tightly roll up the pastry, like a jellyroll, and place it seam-side down on a sheet pan. Refrigerate the roll for 30 minutes to firm up.

Slice the “log” cross-wise into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices cut-side down on a sheet pan about 2 inches apart and bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

Makes about 40 appetizers

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change.

Peach Chutney Filling

1 cup peach preserves

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the peach preserves, onion, vinegar and spices. Cook over medium-low heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until it’s fragrant and thickened.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until cold.

Spread the mixture evenly over the puff pastry and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese leaving a 1-inch border across the top.

Proceed as directed above.

Parmesan-Anchovy Filling

2 2-ounce tins anchovy fillets (about 24)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Finely chop the anchovies. Stir together the anchovies, pepper, and cheese in a bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over the puff pastry leaving a 1-inch border across the top.

Proceed as directed above.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Filling

18 sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Drain the tomatoes over a bowl to reserve the oil.

Place the tomatoes, garlic, cheese, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved tomato oil in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth.

Spread the mixture evenly over the puff pastry leaving a 1-inch border across the top.

Proceed as directed above.

Spinach-Cheese Filling

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry.

Stir together the cheeses, chives, and garlic powder. Finely chop the spinach and stir it into the cheese mixture.

Spread the mixture evenly over the puff pastry leaving a 1-inch border across the top.

Proceed as directed above.

Honey Mustard-Prosciutto Filling

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

6-8 thin slices of proscuitto

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Stir together the mustard, honey and black pepper in a small bowl.

Spread the mixture evenly over the puff pastry. Cover the mustard with the sliced proscuitto and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese leaving a 1-inch border across the top.

Proceed as directed above.

Corn Fritters

These wonderfully tasty nuggets are deep fried. However, you can make them “pancake style” in a skillet with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil.

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup whole milk

1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen corn

vegetable oil or shortening; for frying

Preheat the oven to 170° F.

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, Old Bay seasoning, and parsley thoroughly in a large bowl; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, and milk. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gently stir in the corn. Allow the batter to rest while you prepare the oil.

Pour about one inch of vegetable oil into a wide skillet or dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 365°-370° F. (This may take 30 minutes, or so. But, slower is safer.)

Gently drop tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil. (I used a small ice cream scoop.) Fry 4-6 fritters at a time. Turn the fritters with a slotted spoon so they get cooked on all sides. Fry for 2-2 1/2 minutes until browned and cooked through. (You might want to do a “test” fritter so you’ll know how long it takes.)

Transfer the cooked fritters to a paper towel-lined sheet pan and keep them warm in the oven. Let the oil temperature recover between batches and cook the remaining puppies. Serve immediately.

Makes about 36

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Thai-Style Corn Fritters: Omit the Old Bay seasoning and onion powder. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 4 chopped scallions, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Proceed as directed and serve with Thai sweet chili sauce from the market.

Corn and Bacon Fritters: Add 1/2 cup chopped, cooked bacon along with the corn. Proceed as directed.

Artichoke Fritters: Omit the onion powder and the corn. Add 2 finely sliced scallions, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest and 1 18-ounce can of artichoke hearts; drained, dried on paper towels, and chopped. Proceed as directed.

Monte Cristo Fritters: Omit the corn. Add 1/3 cup finely diced cooked turkey breast, 1/3 cup finely diced cooked ham, and 1/3 cup finely diced swiss cheese. Proceed as directed. Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve with raspberry jam for dipping. (Note: As you fry these, skim the oil in between batches for any cheese that leaked out.)

Chickpea and Paprika Fritters: Omit the Old Bay seasoning and the corn. Replace the corn with 1 15-ounce can chickpeas; drained, rinsed and crushed with a fork. Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin to the flour mixture. Proceed as directed.

Zucchini and Mint Fritters: Omit the Old Bay seasoning and the corn. Replace the corn with 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini. Toss the grated zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon salt and place it in a colander over a bowl for 30 minutes. Rinse the zucchini with water and dry thoroughly on several layers of paper towels. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint along with the zucchini. Proceed as directed.

Carrot and Chickpea Fritters: Omit the Old Bay seasoning and the corn. Replace the corn with 1 15-ounce can chickpeas; drained, rinsed and crushed with a fork. Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin to the flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup grated carrot along with the chickpeas. Proceed as directed.

Clam and Corn Fritters: Add the coarsely chopped and drained meat from 1 pound fresh, scrubbed littleneck clams in the shells. (Alternatively, you can add 1/3 cup drained, diced canned clams.) Proceed as directed.

Pea and Coriander Fritters: Omit the Old Bay seasoning and the corn. Replace the corn with 2 cups thawed frozen peas (or 2 cups fresh peas, blanched in boiling salted water for 1 minutes and then shocked in ice water to stop the cooking and set the colour). Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, and 1 thinly-sliced scallion to the flour mixture. Proceed as directed.

Crab and Chorizo Fritters: Omit the corn. Replace the corn with 1/3 cup finely chopped Spanish (dry-cured) chorizo sausage and 1 pound lump crab meat. Proceed as directed.

Shrimp and Cilantro Fritters: Omit the corn. Replace the corn with 1 pound peeled and diced raw shrimp (about 2 cups) and 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro. Reduce the milk to 3/4 cup and add 1/4 cup dry white wine. Proceed as directed.

Scallop Fritters: Omit the corn. Replace the corn with 2 cups diced raw sea scallops, 1/4 cup chopped red onion, and 2 teaspoons finely minced jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed). Reduce the milk to 3/4 cup and add 1/4 cup pilsner beer. Proceed as directed.

Sweet Chili Shrimp Puffs

I love love love Asian dumplings. I wanted to develop a recipe that would have those flavours but be easier to handle at a party. Thai sweet chili sauce can be found in the international aisle of the grocery store if you’d prefer to buy it. If you’re pressed for time, I give you permission to use canned biscuit dough.

Sweet Chili Sauce:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce

Stir all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until it’s reduced by half – about 8 minutes. Pour the sauce into a bowl and let it cool completely.

Shrimp Puffs:

1/2 cup garlic and herb cream cheese

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion

1/2 pound raw peeled shrimp

one recipe Cream Biscuit Dough

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly spray 24 mini muffin cups with vegetable oil spray.

In a bowl, stir together the cream cheese, sweet chili sauce, salt and green onion until smooth. Cut the raw shrimp in a 1/4-inch dice and mix it into the sauce.

On a well-floured surface, roll out the biscuit dough to 1/8-inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch rounds. Place a round of dough in the bottom of each muffin cup and press it into the corners and up the sides of the cups.

Place 1 tablespoon of the shrimp mixture into each cup, gently pushing it down to the bottom.

Bake 16-22 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and the crust is golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Serve warm with the remaining sweet chili sauce.

Makes about 24 appetizers

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Scallop Puffs: Omit the sweet chili sauce and green onion. Substitute raw scallops, cut into a 1/4-inch dice for the shrimp. Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger to the cream cheese. Proceed as directed.

Crab Puffs: Omit the sweet chili sauce. Reduce the shrimp to 4 ounces. Add 4 ounces chopped lump crab meat to the shrimp. Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, 1 teaspoon rice wine (or dry sherry), and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil to the cream cheese. Proceed as directed.

Sausage Rolls with Thyme and Dijon

My mom would make us pigs in a blanket all the time as a child with Ball Park Franks and biscuit dough. This is a little more grown-up than that.

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon wildflower honey

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

16 ounces fully-cooked sausages (I used Aidells for the photos)

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed as directed

1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Stir together the mustard, honey, and thyme in a small bowl; set aside.

Slice the sausages into 1 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.

Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly-floured surface and roll it out to a 9”×9” square. You can trim the edges with a pastry cutter or a sharp knife.

Spread the mustard in a thin layer over the pastry.

Cut each piece of pastry in half so that you have four 9”-by-4 1/2” pieces. Lay a piece of pastry with the long side facing you and cut it into 1 1/2-inch wide strips.

Place a piece of sausage on the end of each strip and roll it up tightly, Pinch the seam closed and place it seam-side down on the prepared sheet pan.

Whisk together the egg and water and brush the top of each pastry.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm.

Makes about 24 appetizers (this depends on the sausage you buy)

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Savory Bread Puddings…

We make a savory bread pudding, or strata, for Christmas breakfast. We like to keep things easy and relaxed for the holidays. When Colorado Christmas snow starts to fall, people are prone to sleeping in. Prepping breakfast the night before is the way to go. They also make a fun side dish or even a light lunch with a salad.

French Onion Bread Pudding

1 large (16 ounces) Italian or French bread loaf

4 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons water

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 225° F.

Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread them out on a sheet pan. You should have about 6 cups. Bake the bread for 30-45 minutes to dry it out. Remove it from the oven and let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 325° F.

In a large skillet, cook the onions, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the onions are very soft and golden brown. Stir in the water to lift off any caramelized onion on the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside. to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

Combine the bread cubes, onions, and cheese until thoroughly mixed.

Butter a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish or 9×13-inch baking pan and pour in the bread mixture. Carefully pour the custard over the bread. Cover the casserole with a lid or aluminum foil and allow the bread to soak for 1 hour – periodically pressing the mixture down to soak up the custard.

Bake for 30 minutes then remove the cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Transfer the casserole to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Mushroom, Red Pepper, and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding

1 large (16 ounces) Italian or French bread loaf

1 small leek

4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 jarred roasted peppers, chopped

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups crumbled goat cheese

1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 225° F.

Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread them out on a sheet pan. You should have about 6 cups. Bake the bread for 30-45 minutes to dry it out. Remove it from the oven and let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 325° F.

Cut the green leaves off of the leek and save it for stock or the compost pile. Slice the leek lengthwise and slice each piece into thin half-rings.

Place the sliced leeks in a large bowl of cold water. Stir them gently with your hand and then let them sit for 5 minutes. Gently lift the leeks out of the water (so that you leave behind any sand that has settled to the bottom of the bowl) and pat them dry with paper towels.

In a large skillet, cook the leeks, mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook for 10-12 minutes until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and the leeks are soft.

Remove from the heat, stir in the chopped peppers, and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

In a separate bowl, combine the bread cubes, vegetables, and cheese until thoroughly mixed.

Butter a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish or 9×13-inch baking pan and pour in the bread mixture. Carefully pour the custard over the bread. Cover the casserole with a lid or aluminum foil and allow the bread to soak for 1 hour – periodically pressing the mixture down to soak up the custard.

Bake for 30 minutes then remove the cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Transfer the casserole to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Mushroom, Spinach, and Feta Bread Pudding

1 large (16 ounces) Italian or French bread loaf

4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 cup grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 225° F.

Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread them out on a sheet pan. You should have about 6 cups. Bake the bread for 30-45 minutes to dry it out. Remove it from the oven and let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 325° F.

In a large skillet, cook the mushrooms, onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook for 10-12 minutes until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and the onions are soft.

Meanwhile, drain the thawed spinach and squeeze it in your hands to remove as much water as possible.

Remove the mushrooms from the heat and stir in the spinach, raisins, and tomatoes, and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

Combine the bread cubes, vegetables, and cheeses until thoroughly mixed.

Butter a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish or 9×13-inch baking pan and pour in the bread mixture. Carefully pour the custard over the bread. Cover the casserole with a lid or aluminum foil and allow the bread to soak for 1 hour – periodically pressing the mixture down to soak up the custard.

Bake for 30 minutes then remove the cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Transfer the casserole to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Chipotle-Corn Bread Pudding

1 large (16 ounces) Italian or French bread loaf

1 small onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups fresh corn kernels

1/4 cup sliced scallions

1 minced jalapeño pepper

1 minced garlic clove

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder

1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 225° F.

Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread them out on a sheet pan. You should have about 6 cups. Bake the bread for 30-45 minutes to dry it out. Remove it from the oven and let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 325° F.

In a large skillet, cook the onion and pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the butter over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the corn, scallions, jalapeno, and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, cumin, and chipotle powder.

Combine the bread cubes, vegetables, and cheese until thoroughly mixed.

Butter a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish or 9×13-inch baking pan and pour in the bread mixture. Carefully pour the custard over the bread. Cover the casserole with a lid or aluminum foil and allow the bread to soak for 1 hour – periodically pressing the mixture down to soak up the custard.

Bake for 30 minutes then remove the cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Transfer the casserole to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Christmas Morning Bread Pudding

8 English muffins, toasted and diced

1 pound bulk breakfast sausage

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups half-and-half

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat for 6-10 minutes, occasionally breaking up the meat until the sausage is cooked through. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl.

Add the onions, peppers, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the sausage drippings and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook for 8-10 minutes until they are tender. Add the vegetables to the sausage.

Drain the thawed spinach and squeeze it in your hands to remove as much water as possible. Add the spinach to the sausage and vegetables and allow the mixture to cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, mustard, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

Combine the English muffin cubes, vegetables, and cheese until thoroughly mixed.

Butter a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish or 9×13-inch baking pan and pour in the bread mixture. Carefully pour the custard over the bread. Cover the casserole with a lid or aluminum foil and allow the bread to soak for 1 hour – periodically pressing the mixture down to soak up the custard.

Bake for 30 minutes then remove the cover and bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Transfer the casserole to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

There have been many Thanksgivings where I skip the turkey and just eat a big bowl of this stuffing. If I’m feeling a little blue, I’ll just make a pan of this and it always makes me feel better. It’s the perfect comfort food.

1 large (16 ounces) rustic artisan bread loaf

1 pound bulk sausage (your favorite will be perfect)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

3 cups sliced mushrooms

1 teaspoon salt

1 golden delicious apple, diced

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dried cranberries

4 cups chicken stock, divided

Preheat the oven to 225° F.

Slice the bread into 1/2-inch cubes and spread them out on a sheet pan. Bake the bread for 30-45 minutes to dry it out. Remove it from the oven and let cool.

Increase the oven to 350° F.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks; transfer it to a large bowl. In the same skillet, add the butter, onions, celery, mushrooms and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Cook for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and the mushrooms have released all their water and the water has evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sausage, vegetables, apple, sage, thyme, black pepper, pecans, raisins and cranberries and mix well. Add 3 cups of the stock and stir to combine. Add the bread cubes and mix thoroughly to slightly moisten the bread.

Pour the stuffing in a lightly buttered 9×13 lasagna pan (or any combination of covered casserole dishes that will hold the mixture).

Cover the casserole with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Gently stir the stuffing and add the remaining stock if the mixture seems dry. Replace the cover and bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, if you prefer a crisp top.

Transfer the casserole to a wire rack and let cool for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): You may need to add more stock halfway through cooking.

Variations:

Stuffing “Muffins”: Generously butter twelve standard nonstick muffin pan. Reduce the stock to 3 cups and add 4 large, beaten eggs to the stuffing mixture. Spoon a generous 3/4 cup of the mixture into each cup; mounding it on the top. Press the mixture together with your hands, as needed, to hold its shape. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the internal temperature is 160° F. Cool the ‘muffins’ in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding. Use a small plastic knife to loosen the muffins, if needed.

Bourbon-Pecan Stuffing: When the vegetables are just about finished cooking, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup bourbon and simmer for 2 minutes being careful to avoid any flames from the alcohol. Proceed as directed.

Focaccia Apple-Fennel Stuffing: Substitute one 16-ounce loaf of rosemary focaccia for the rustic bread. Substitute 2 small diced fennel bulbs for the celery. Proceed as directed.

Spinach-Mushroom Stuffing: Reduce the celery to 1 stalk. Add one 10-ounce package frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry, to the cooked vegetable mixture. (There is no need to cook the spinach.) Proceed as directed.

Sourdough-Rosemary Stuffing: Substitute one 16-ounce sourdough bread for the rustic bread. Substitute 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary for the sage. Proceed as directed.

“Crab Cake” Stuffing: Reduce the sausage to 1/2 pound, the mushrooms to 1 1/2 cups. Omit the sage. Add 1 pound lump crabmeat and 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning along with the bread. Proceed as directed.

Pear-Pancetta Stuffing: Reduce the sausage to 1/2 pound. Add 1/2 pound diced pancetta along with the sausage. Substitute 2 firm pears for the apple. Proceed as directed.

Shrimp Spoon Bread

I call this an “American soufflé”. A super moist cornbread with a soft, pudding-like consistency. Quick to make and perfect for company.

1 pound large shrimp (16-20 per pound)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)

4 large eggs; separated

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Adjust the oven rack to center position. Butter a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.

Peel and devein the shrimp and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a small skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and celery and sauté for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes just to heat it through. Set aside while you prepare the batter.

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, Old Bay, pepper, chives, parsley and thyme. Add the egg yolks, buttermilk, vegetables, shrimp, and cheese and stir until just moistened.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and lemon juice on high speed just until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into a buttered 2 1/2-quart casserole dish and bake for 28-30 minutes or until the spoon bread is puffed and golden and the shrimp are pink and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. The ‘bread’ should have a soft, soufflé-like consistency. Serve immediately.

Makes 6-8 servings

High Altitude (5200ft): No change.

Variations:

Halibut Spoon Bread: Substitute 2 cups diced halibut, sole, or flounder for the shrimp. Proceed as directed.

Easy Pizza Dough

This recipe is easily halved to make just one pizza. Or, better yet, make the whole recipe and freeze half of it. It will keep, happily, in the freezer for 2 months. On a crazy day, just put it in the fridge in the morning before work and you have an almost instant, amazing dinner.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant “rapid-rise” yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups warm water

flour, for the work surface

1/3 cup cornmeal, for dusting

In a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook, place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. With the mixer on low, gradually add 1 cup water and knead until the dough comes together. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom. If your dough isn’t sticking to the bottom of the bowl, gradually add the remaining water. Knead on low speed for 8 minutes until the dough is firm and smooth.

Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and knead by hand 3 or 4 times and form it into a ball. Lightly spray a bowl with vegetable oil spray and put the dough inside. Spray the dough with vegetable oil spray and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 500° F. (If using a pizza stone, place the stone in the oven on bottom rack, preheat oven 1 hour ahead.)

Lightly press the dough to deflate it and divide it in half. Place one piece of the dough on a counter generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Generously dust the top of the dough with more cornmeal. By hand, form dough loosely into a ball and press it into a circle with your fingertips. Roll dough into a 12 to 14-inch circle with a rolling pin – or press it outward with your fingers. Don’t worry if your circle isn’t perfect.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or cookie sheet generously with cornmeal. Transfer dough to the pizza peel or cookie sheet. (To be honest, I don’t have a pizza peel. I use a 14-inch cardboard cake round. It’s the perfect size for a pizza on my stone.)

Add your favorite sauce, cheese, and toppings. Slide dough onto the pizza stone or place the cookie sheet with pizza directly on the pizza stone or on bottom oven rack.

Bake 8 to12 minutes or until the bottom is cooked and the crust is golden. (Note: the more toppings you have, the longer it will take to bake.)

Makes 2 14-inch pizzas

High Altitude (5200 ft): No change, although you may need to add 2-3 tablespoons water to the dough and your dough will rise faster.

Variations:

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Reduce the flour to 2 1/2 cups and add 1 cup whole wheat flour. Proceed as directed.

Our Favorite Toppings: arugula, artichoke hearts, baby leeks, capers, capicolla, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, green peppers, Kalamata olives, sautéed mushrooms, sliced onions, green olives, red peppers, roasted garlic, roasted peppers, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, watercress, yellow squash, zucchini, anchovies, crayfish, lobster, shrimps, squid, bacon, BBQ chicken, chorizo, ham, meatballs, pepperoni, proscuitto, salami, sausage, Serrano ham, blue cheese, brie, camembert, Colby, feta, goat cheese, gorgonzola, Monterey jack, fontina, parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, Romano, Roquefort, smoked gouda, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary.

Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Pizza: Top the pizza with thinly-sliced red onion, chopped fresh basil, chopped fresh oregano, chopped fresh garlic, ground black pepper, crumbled goat cheese and grated parmesan. Proceed as directed.

Prosciutto, Arugula and Lemon Pizza: Top the pizza with mozzarella cheese, fresh thyme, chopped fresh oregano, minced garlic, thinly -sliced prosciutto and shredded fontina cheese. Proceed as directed. After the pizza comes out of the oven, sprinkle with arugula and drizzle with fresh lemon juice.

Potato, Rosemary and Red Onion Pizza: Top the pizza with mozzarella cheese, very thinly sliced baby Yukon Gold potatoes, fresh rosemary leaves and thinly-sliced red onion. Proceed as directed.

Cherry Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza: Top the pizza with sliced fresh mozzarella and halved cherry tomatoes. Proceed as directed. As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, sprinkle it with thinly-sliced basil leaves.

Zucchini and Spicy Salami Pizza: Top the pizza with mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced zucchini, spicy salami, and fresh oregano. Proceed as directed.

Potato, Dill and Gorgonzola Pizza: Top the pizza with mozzarella cheese, very thinly sliced baby Yukon Gold potatoes, crumbled gorgonzola cheese and chopped fresh dill. Proceed as directed.

Chorizo and Kalamata Olive Pizza: Top the pizza with mozzarella cheese, sliced Spanish chorizo sausage and pitted Kalamata olives. Proceed as directed. As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, sprinkle it with thinly-sliced basil leaves.

Pizza Bianca with Arugula, Bacon and Mushrooms: Omit any tomato sauce. Top the pizza with a thin layer of ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, sautéed sliced onion, cooked bacon, sautéed sliced mushrooms and baby arugula. Proceed as directed.

Shrimp, Queso Fresco and Tomatillo Pizza: Top the pizza with tomatillo salsa, mozzarella and queso fresco cheeses and peeled and deveined shrimp. Proceed as directed.

Wild Mushroom and Fontina Pizza: Top the pizza with fontina cheese and a variety of sautéed wild mushrooms (chanterelles, crimini, oyster, hen-of-the-woods, morels, etc.). Proceed as directed.

Red Grape, Gorgonzola and Rosemary Pizza: Top the pizza with provolone cheese, gorgonzola cheese, halved red grapes and fresh rosemary. Proceed as directed.

Fresh Corn and Prosciutto Pizza: Omit any sauce. Top the pizza with crème fraiche, provolone cheese, grated parmesan cheese, sliced garlic, fresh sweet corn and sliced prosciutto.

Goat Cheese and Pistachio Pesto Pizza: Top the pizza with fresh pistachio pesto, goat cheese and mozzarella cheese, Proceed as directed.

Anchovy, Olive and Caper Pizza: Top the pizza with provolone cheese, mozzarella cheese, drained capers, halved Kalamata olives, diced sun-dried tomatoes, anchovy fillets and fresh oregano. Proceed as directed.

Fresh Ricotta and Basil Pizza: Top the pizza with provolone and fresh ricotta cheese. Proceed as directed. Topped the cooked pizza with sliced fresh basil.

Stromboli: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Divide the pizza dough in half and roll each piece into a 10×12-inch rectangle. Place the dough so that the short side is facing you. Place sliced pepperoni over the dough leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Place sliced provolone cheese over the pepperoni. Starting with the side facing you, roll the dough into a tight log and securely pinch the seams closed (don’t forget the ends). Place the stromboli on a sheet pan, seam-side down. Brush the bread with 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water. Cut 3-4 diagonal slits on the top of the loaf with a serrated knife to help prevent the loaf from splitting. Bake for 25 minutes. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes more until it’s golden brown.

Pepperoni Bread: Follow the directions for Stromboli omitting the cheese. Increase the pepperoni to 3 layers. Proceed as directed.

Ham and Swiss Stromboli: Follow the directions for Stromboli. Substitute thinly-sliced ham for the pepperoni and sliced Swiss cheese for the provolone. Spread 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard over the dough before adding the ham and cheese. Proceed as directed.

The End

 


The High Plains Sifter: Retro-Modern Baking for Every Altitude (Part 3: Breads,

Introduction (For the entire series) From The Slopes To The Shore… Are you tired? Are you tired of fancy (or not so fancy) baking books by fancy chefs with even fancier recipes that just don't measure up to all that hype? Are you tired of recipe failures while on a ski holiday or just because you live above 3000 feet? Are you tired of passion fruit foams and green tea cookies when all you want is a chocolate chip cookie recipe that will work every single time? Do you need a pie for the long summer weekend; or a quick, yummy after school treat; or a simple cake with effortless style to make your neighbors jealous; or a truffle that will awaken the mad passionate desires of your lover and make them beg for more? Psssst, do you want a chocolate chip cookie now? No, I mean a really good chocolate chip cookie? Well, let's make that chocolate chip cookie together. It's easy and I can show you how. Family Recipes From My Home To Yours… Come with me on a family journey through baking where the luck of the Irish gives way to solid science and produces a collection of family baking favorites that your family will cherish for years to come. This debut collection from Irish-trained chef, Chris Reynolds, celebrates the landscape of his family's baking tradition and contains 323 "master" recipes and 582 recipe variations. This cookbook is a wide-ranging, comprehensive collection chock-full of beloved classics like chewy gingerbread cookies, triple-chocolate brownies, jalapeno cheddar corn bread, shoofly pie, sour cream coffeecake, fresh peach ice cream, crunchy granola, and the best pizza crust ever. This is an inspired collection of classics and contemporary twists where we tease traditional flavours and let you know you've just had something special. Classics with attitude and altitude. High-Altitude Baking that Really Works… You'll learn that it's possible to serve a from-scratch comfort food classic like buttermilk biscuits on a weeknight when time is tight or a high-altitude cake on your skiing holiday that won't fall flat. In addition to foolproof recipes, all the recipes were tested at high-altitude by the author, himself. Each high-altitude adjustment is precise to give success at 5200ft (Denver, Colorado). In addition, each chapter introduction gives insights into high-altitude baking and tips on adjusting your own recipes. Retro-Modern??? Chris Reynolds is a professional baker trained at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland by the famed cooking teachers Darina and Rachel Allen. While he embraces an artisan philosophy, emphasizing the freshest organic ingredients, sound techniques, and from-scratch baking; he's also well aware that stirring a caramel on the stove for 90 minutes is a drag. "I wanted recipes that people would embrace, enjoy and actually make. No one, not even me, is going make a cookie that requires me to stand at the stove for 90 minutes. That's just not practical in our modern world." This book embraces a "retro-modern" approach. Old-fashioned recipes are updated for modern life. That could mean streamlining the steps, using modern flavour combinations, using different techniques to give fool-proof results, or even scaling a recipe to feed a family of four. A Photo of Every Recipe… If the easy, care-free recipes don't grab you, then the stunning full-colour photos of every recipe surely will. This book is a delight for the eyes as well as the palate. This is homey, doable baking at its best - a lively, in-depth portrait of a family who loves to bake. Pass me another truffle!

  • Author: Chris Reynolds
  • Published: 2017-03-25 17:53:00
  • Words: 32012
The High Plains Sifter: Retro-Modern Baking for Every Altitude (Part 3: Breads, The High Plains Sifter: Retro-Modern Baking for Every Altitude (Part 3: Breads,