Monday, April 28, 2014

Czech Easter Bread Rings (HOUSKA)

makes 6 loaf rings
1 package Quick Rise yeast
1 1/4 cups scalded milk, let cool to room temperature
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water

In a large mixer bowl, put the yeast, room temperature milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Using a wooden spoon, mix well until sugar is dissolved. Add 2 cups of the flour to the wet mixture and beat with wooden spoon until all incorporated.
Add  1 1/2 cups more flour; mix with wooden spoon until this additional flour is once again incorporated.. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour until smooth. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour and half.

*** ( If you would like to make half raisin bread and half plain: Divide dough into 2 halves and knead in the ½ cup raisins, into 1 half of dough. Then proceed with placing the 2 halves of dough in 2 smaller greased bowls, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour and half).

Punch dough down, divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1" thick and about 14"  long log (or snake, like you do with play dough). Take two logs, twist to form a braid, pinching the ends.  Form each twisted braid into a circle.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheets. ( I put 3 on each cookie sheet in a zig-zag pattern). Cover with tea towel and let rise until double, about another hour and half. Make egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water). Brush each loaf with the egg wash.
Bake at 350 ° until golden - about 18 minutes.  (Check after 16 minutes, for all ovens are different). Cool on rack.

Enjoy! Élvez! Piacere! Gustirati! Radosť!

When I give these for gifts at Easter, I place a hard boiled egg in the center of each ring, as shown in picture above). 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Old-Fashioned Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 can sliced pineapple, drained (you'll need 7 slices)
7 maraschino cherries

Cake ingredients:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325°.
Place the butter in a round 9" or 10 " cake pan.
Put the pan in the oven to melt the butter, remove after completely melted.
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter, and mix until sugar is incorporated into butter.
Place 1 pineapple slice in the center of the pan.
Evenly space 6 more slices around the pineapple in the center.
Place a maraschino cherry in the hole of each pineapple slice.
Prepare cake mix as follows:
Put all 8 cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Beat for 30 seconds on low.
Increase speed to high and continue beating for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down occasionally.
Pour over the sugar and pineapples.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes.
Invert cake onto a large heat resistant plate.
Do not remove cake pan immediately, wait a minute or 2.
Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy! Élvez! Piacere! Gustirati! Radosť!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Best Ever Biscotti

1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. anise (optional)
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 300°.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together, butter and sugar.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Next add the vanilla and anise extract (if you don't use anise, use 2 tsp. vanilla).
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; and add to creamed mixture.
Stir in almonds.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Divide the dough in half, and form each half into a 3" X 11" rectangle on the parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes or until golden and firm to touch.
Remove from oven and lift parchment paper and logs to a cooling rack.
Cool completely.
On a cutting board, cut with a serrated knife, diagonally, 3/4 " wide.
Preheat oven to 325°
Place cut side down on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake 10 minutes more.
Remove and cool completely on wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy! Élvez! Piacere! Gustirati! Radosť!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chocolate Chip*Peanut Butter*Oatmeal Cookies

1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350°.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, and both sugars, on medium, until creamy (about 2-3 minutes).
Add the vanilla and egg and mix another minute or two.
Sprinkle in the baking soda and salt, and mix for a few seconds.
Add the flour gradually, a little at a time, until all is incorporated.
Add oats and mix in on low. Then add the chocolate chips and do the same.
Take a teaspoonful of dough, and roll into a 1-1 1/2" ball, and place on the parchment lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are light brown. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes and then remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container and..........

.........Enjoy! Élvez! Piacere! Gustirati! Radosť!

 ***I sometimes with decrease the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup and add in 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts----my FAVORITE addition. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mummy's Broccoli Cheese Soup

1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup half and half
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 pound fresh or frozen, chopped broccoli
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a Dutch Oven, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.
Add the sliced carrots and continue cooking over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Mix in the flour and totally incorporate it into the butter, onion and carrot mixture.
Cook for 1 minute more.
Gradually stir in the half and half and milk and then the chicken broth.
When it all comes to a simmer, reduce heat a little, and continue a slow simmer for 20 minutes.
(without a lid on the pot).
Add the broccoli and cook for 10 minutes.
Finally add the shredded cheese, stirring until blended in thoroughly.
Serve immediately.

Enjoy! Élvez! Piacere! Gustirati! Radosť!

This soup is excellent on its own or serve with a crusty roll or soft pretzel.
It is great served in a Bread Bowl. (recipe to be posted soon).