Category Archives: Breads & Desserts

Mini Cheesecakes

My Elwyn made these last night… and added a few slices of strawberries in each mini cake before baking. (We double the recipe and make them in my 12-square brownie pan from Pampered Chef.)

Ingredients 
Crust:

  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon margarine, melted

Filling:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and margarine with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the egg.
  4. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each until 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Revisiting my favorite bread recipe – Boule French Bread

Boule, from the French for “ball”, is a traditional shape of French bread, resembling a squashed ball. It is a rustic loaf shape that can be made of any type of flour. A boule can be leavened with commercial yeast, chemical leavening, or even wild yeast sourdough. The name of this bread is the reason a bread baker is referred to as a “boulanger” in French, and a bread bakery a “boulangerie.” Boule (bread) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

My Favorite French Bread recipe (formed in Boule shape)

Ingredients:

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board) *if you grind your own wheat, you will need to add  a Tablespoon of wheat gluten to get a better rise.
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • Optional toppings: see below

 

Directions

    1. In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
    2. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
    3. Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
    4. Blend well until dough forms.
    5. Place dough ball in clean bowl.
    6. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
    7. Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette  (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
    8. Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)

 

  • (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos or garlic saon their bread)
  • Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a metal pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

Making tortillas at home

We love making everything from scratch. Lately, tortillas have been on our mind. I have many different recipes that we have used over the years however, we are trying out a new recipe this week for regular corn tortillas.  We had picked up two tortilla presses from years ago, but they are not necessary if you have a rolling pin (just a lot harder to get even and round tortillas.)IMG_20160818_121915 IMG_20160818_114735885_HDRIMG_20160818_114745408

These are extremely easy and are GLUTEN FREE if you use the masa harina that I have pictured below. 

IMG_20160818_125531957_HDRHere are a few tips to making tortillas…

  • Plastic wrap, Saran wrap or even a gallon sized zipper bag will work GREAT to prevent sticking on the tortilla press.  (TIME SAVER!)
  • If you are using a rolling pin instead of a tortilla press, make sure that you are 100% even on the rolling of the tortilla dough so that it doesn’t cook unevenly.  

The Masa bag says that this makes 18 – 6 inch tortillas – It makes more like 10 or so… and 8 if you counts the ones that kids keep snitching from the plate. We double or triple the recipe below to make enough for our clan. 

Ingredients
2 cups masa harina (we have found this at the local Mercado as well as our local Safeway)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( I use pink Himalayan Salt) 
1 1/2 cups hot water 

Instructions:

Prepare the tortilla press: Cut the zip-top bag open along the sides or wrap the base of the tortilla press with plastic wrap. Open the tortilla press and lay the opened bag on top. You will only need to do this ONCE during the process. You can reuse the plastic for all of the tortillas. 
  1. Mix the masa harina and the salt together in a mixing bowl. Pour in the water and stir to combine.
  2. Using your hands, knead the dough for a minute or two in the bowl or you can use a dough hook attachment on your kitchen aide. The dough is ready when it’s smooth, but no longer sticky, and easy forms a ball in your hand. The dough should feel a bit “springy,”. –  If the dough absorbs all the water but is still dry and crumbly, add water a tablespoon at a time. If the dough feels sticky, or gummy, add more masa a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Cover the bowl with a towel and rest the dough for 15 to 30 minutes. 
  4.  Pinch off a few tablespoons of dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball. This will make roughly a 6-inch tortilla. If you want larger tortillas, use more dough. 
  5.  Place the ball of dough on the plastic-covered tortilla press in the middle of the IMG_20160818_114753019press. Fold the other side of the plastic bag over the top of the dough. Bring the top of the press down over the dough, then press with the handle to flatten the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. If the tortilla doesn’t look quite even after pressing or you’d like it a little thinner, rotate the tortilla in the plastic and re-press.
  6.  Peel away the top of the plastic, flip the tortilla over onto your palm, and peel off the back of the plastic. Be careful that you don’t tear the tortilla… Although, they taste the same whole or torn. 
  7. You can either cook the tortillas as you press them, or you can press all the tortillas and then cook them. Keep both the dough and the stack of pressed tortillas covered with clean towels. If you choose to press all the tortillas and then cook them, be careful when peeling each tortilla off the stack — they can stick to each other or break around the edges, especially the ones on the bottom.
  8. Warm a large, flat cast iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. 
  9. Gently position as many tortillas in the pan as will fit in a single layer without overlapping. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the edges are starting to curl up and the bottoms look dry and pebbly. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. 
  10. Serve Immediately! You can also save these for a few days in the fridge. However, they never last that long in our house. 

 

Basic Muffins (plus a ton of “flavor add-ins”)

ABM_1467402580INGREDIENTS

Makes 12 muffins
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (we use goat milk in ours)
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted  (yes, you can use homemade butter in this)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sift, measure and then place the flour in a large bowl.
  2. Add the baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. Beat the egg well in a small bowl.
  4. Add the milk, vanilla and melted butter to the egg and mix thoroughly.
  5. Put the above wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients.
  6. Stir just until the flour mixture is moistened.
  7. Fold in any optional add-ins gently
  8. Fill greased muffin tins 1/2 to 2/3 full.
  9. Bake at 400 F  for 20-25 minutes.
  10. The muffins should be golden brown in color and spring back when touched.

Optional Items: 

  • Blueberry Muffins. Use 1/2 cup sugar. Reserve 1/4 cup of the flour, sprinkle it over 1 cup blueberries
  • Pecan Muffins. Use 1/4 cup sugar. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the batter. After filling the cups, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and more chopped nuts.
  • Whole-Wheat Muffins. Use 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour and 1 cup white flour.
  • Date or Raisin Muffins. Add 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates or 1/3 cup raisins to the batter.
  • Bacon Muffins. Add 3 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled, to the batter.
  • Cherry or cranberry Muffins – 2/3 cup of cherries or cranberries, mixed with 2 Tbsp. of sugar 
  • Dried fruit Muffins – 1/2 cup apricots, currants, peaches, figs, prunes, raisins or dates
  • Nut Muffins.  – 1/3 cup chopped
  • Cheese Muffins.  – 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • Cornmeal Muffins. – 1 cup cornmeal and 1 cup flour -change in main recipe
  • Banana Nut Muffins. – add 1 cup mashed bananas and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
  • Pina Colada Muffins. – add 1 small can drained crushed pineapple and 1/2 cup coconut.
  • Apple Spice Muffins. – add 1 peeled chopped apple, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a dash nutmeg.
  • Coffee Walnut Muffins. – add 1 teaspoon coffee extract and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.
  • Pumpkin Spice Muffins. – add 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices, 1/2 c. nuts.
  • Mincemeat Muffins. – add 1 cup canned mincemeat and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.
  • Date Nut Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped dates and 1/2 cup nuts.
  • Cranberry Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup nuts, 1 teaspoon orange rind.
  • Chocolate Chip Muffins. – add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, nuts if desired.
  • Cherry Almond Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped dried cherries and 1/2 cup toasted flaked almonds.
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins – add 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup (or more) chocolate chips, plus 1/4 additional milk.
  • Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins – add 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and  1/4 additional milk, 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • Zucchini Muffins – add 3/4 cups grated zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Easy Boule Bread – A Family Favorite.

eaBoule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.com

This is a GREAT recipe to make bread bowls as well!!! Divide the dough into 4 or 5 smaller rounds, shape and bake!

Ingredients:

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat (We grind our own, so we add 2T of wheat gluten too) – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board)
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • Optional toppings: see belowBoule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.com

Directions

    1. In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
    2. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
    3. Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
    4. Blend well until dough forms.
    5. Place dough ball in clean bowl.
    6. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
    7. Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette  (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
    8. Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)
    9. (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos on their bread)
    10. Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
    11. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

I make the dough ahead of time and put in a super large container in my fridge.  I actually triple this recipe and take out enough over the week to make bread daily.

Our Family GO-TO Buttery Biscuit Recipe

Buttery biscuits from scratch - krisandlarry.comNo Refrigerator Biscuits Here!!! Too many weird unpronounceable ingredients in those… and not to mention RED DYE! 🙁

*These biscuits take a little time…. remember that you can flash freeze the cut dough for later use too. 

 When we have extra eggs, we tend to make breakfast for dinner too. These work for all occasions.  Mix some fresh chopped herbs into the batter for an entirely different flavor dinner biscuit.

Here is our family’s GO-TO  biscuit recipe. This was given to me by another homeschooling mom about 7 years ago as her favorite recipe… and guess what? It is ours too. We always tend to go back to this one too… LOVE IT! (We use fresh goats milk and fresh goat’s butter in it as well as fresh ground flour.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1  tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter (Yes, goats milk butter works GREAT!!)
  • 1 cup whole milk (We use raw whole goats milk) 

We always double our recipe above for our family.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. We use our old KitchenAid bowl.
  3. Using a dough hook, cut butter into pats and add to flour, mix until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Add up to 1 Tablespoon of chopped herbs here if you want a dinner biscuits with a new flavor or 1/2 cup of shredded cheese for a cheesy biscuit)
  4. Slowly, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll into a large rectangle, about one inch thick  and 12 inches by 6 inches. Fold it over in half and gently roll  in into a rectangle again. Repeat 2 more times. Cover the dough loosely with a  damp kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Press straight down. (it lets the biscuits rise better in the oven if you don’t twist the cutter)
  7. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet  or baking clay.
  8. Bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 

*To freeze your dough make a double batch and cut out all of your dough. Instead of baking the dough, place the cut biscuits on a lined baking tray and place in the freezer for 60 minutes. (Make sure none are touching!!) After that 60 minutes, remove from tray and place in freezer bag. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. (Mine don’t last a week with all of these kids!) When you are ready to eat them, take as many as needed out of the freezer and let thaw completely on a baking pan. Once thawed, bake as above. 

ABM_1452216416

Fresh Pita Bread


Pita BreadABM_1450392577

Makes 16 pitas (This recipe is easily halved…. When our family makes it, we make 2 in a row and make 32 pitas+ at a time)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons  honey
  • 4 teaspoons of yeast (or 2 packets)
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups warm (not hot)water (Divided into 1 cup and remainder)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil

ABM_1450396263Directions

  1. Add yeast and sugar to the 1 Cup of water. Stir until dissolved Let bubble for 5 minutes. 
  2. In mixer, add flour, salt and blend. Gradually add the yeast mixture and olive oil. 
  3. Continue to stir in the additional water until the mixture forms a ball (I use my kitchen aid and dough hook)
  4. Kneed your dough for 10 minutes. (if it is too tacky, add additional flour. If it is too dry, add additional water.)
  5. Add kneaded dough to a greased bowl and let rise for 90 minutes. 
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (I add a clay pizza tray into my oven so it is HOT.)
  7. Punch down your dough and divide into 16 even(ish) balls and let rest for an additional 20 minutes. 
  8. Roll out dough ball to flat 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. (rolling thinner is better)
  9. Place 2 of your rolled doughs on the hot surface in the oven for 3-4 minutes. The pitas will puff up.  Remove from oven… 

That’s it! Although they do take a while to rise, these pitas are well worth it. 

Boule Artisan Bread (EASY)

Boule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.comI used to make bread daily… that is until we discovered that one of our sons, Trystan, is severely gluten intolerant(Leaky gut syndrome SUCKS – especially for a 6 year old boy who just wants to gobble everything he sees!) Now, we make it a whole lot less… mostly on days that we make soups or stews only because I tend to eat bread with my soup as a tradition in our house…. And I love making toast with bruschetta. And my house smells so good! (The photo of the breads that we are making is whole wheat bread!)

This is a GREAT recipe to make bread bowls as well!!! Divide the dough into 4 or 5 smaller rounds, shape and bake!

Ingredients:

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat (We grind our own, so we add 2T of wheat gluten too) – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board)
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)
  • Optional toppings: see belowBoule Artisan Bread - www.krisandlarry.com

 

Directions

    1. In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
    2. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
    3. Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
    4. Blend well until dough forms.
    5. Place dough ball in clean bowl.
    6. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
    7. Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette  (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
    8. Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)
  1. (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos on their bread)
  2. Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Making your own Sour Dough Starter + Easy Bread Recipe

Sour Dough Starter - www.krisandlarry.comI LOVE sour dough… and I don’t like buying bread because I don’t like what the grocery stores put in bread! (If I can’t pronounce it, then I don’t want my kids eating it!)

I found the COOLEST antique crocks at a yard sale (Hi, my name is Kris and I am a closet case Yard Saler!) They were only $2 each, so I couldn’t pass them up.  And one is large enough for sour dough starter!!!

Day 1 – 2 Cups of water and 2 cups of flour stirred together in the crock (or a gallon sized pickle jar) Place a piece of cheese cloth over the top of it, tied on with a ribbon or a rubber band.

Day 2 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon). Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 3 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 4 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 5 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 6 -Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

Day 7 – Pour off any liquid that has settles on the top of your mixture. Then, feed your starter – 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and stir (only use a wooden spoon) Leave out on your counter to keep it room temperature so that it can “BREATHE” warm air.

By day 8, you should have some sufficient sour dough starter that you can make bread!! Look for my sour dough breads recipes in future posts too! Now is when you refrigerate your starter (unless of course you are feeding it still… which you can) Watch for gnats (root gnats like the smell of sour dough – seriously, those pesky little flying monkeys will try to get into your starter even with cheesecloth on the top of  it.)

You can use a cup of the starter in any of your  recipes… and then replace the cup with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water, mix well and let sit out for 24 hours and then put in the fridge until you are going to use it again.

 

Easy Bread Recipe:

  • 4-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 cup of sourdough starter
  • 1-1/2 cups water

Mix together ingredients and let rise on counter for 60 minutes. Shape into loafs and let rise again for 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I bake all of my shaped loaves on either clay or on my baguette pans depending on the shape of the bread.

I also put a metal tray in the bottom of my oven and put 4 cups of water in it so that the outside of my bread crusts over.

Gluten Free Lemon Zucchini Bread

IMG_20150908_140829489Ingredients

  • 1 TB Tapioca Starch or Corn Starchglutenfreelemonzucchinibread
  • 1 TB Xanthan Gum
  • 1 cup Brown or White Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • Juice of one lemon (zest first)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup grated zucchini

Directions

  1. Mix flours, starch, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Then add oil and sugar until well blended. Add lemon juice, buttermilk, lemon zest to this mixture and blend all together.
  3. Fold in zucchini until it is mixed well.
  4. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend all together until well combined.
  5. Pour batter into greased 9×5 loaf pan.
  6. Bake at 375 for 60 minutes or until bread is cooked through.