Sunday, April 26, 2015



2 1/2 tsp. instant dry yeast
1 ounce compressed fresh yeast
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. sugar

4 cups bread flour (Use bread flour)
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tsp. salt

1 T. melted butter

*plus additional 1 cup flour set to side more for dusting and rolling

Butter Block
3 sticks unsalted butter (Room Temperature)
2 T. Flour

 Warm milk gently in microwave or stove top.  It should be warm to touch.  Add yeast plus 1 tsp. sugar to milk and mix well.  Set on top of stove to keep warm.  In five minutes, yeast should be foaming.  It's been activated and ready to use. 

In a mixing bowl, add flour, sugar salt.  Mix in activated yeast mixture.  Add 1 T. melted butter.  Continue to mix dough with dough hook on stand mixer or by hand until dough is elastic and smooth. If dough needs a little more flour add 1 T. at a time until a ball is formed.   Put dough into a greased big bowl, place dough ball to rise.  I add oil on top of dough ball and cover with clear wrap and a tea towel on top.  It should double in size in about 1 1/2 hours.

In the meanwhile, when dough is rising make butter block.  Place butter and flour in a mixing bowl.  With paddle attachment combine two ingredients.  Cut two big pieces of clear wrap and form a square mat of clear wrap.  With spatula place butter/flour mix onto clear wrap.  Press down with spatula to form a square butter block about 1/4 inch high and 4x4 inch length and width.  Seal in clear wrap and place into fridge to get hard.

After dough has risen roll out dough into a 12x12 square, place flatten butter block in center.  Bring dough over the butter block and seal it in.  Now using rolling pin, pound gently on top of dough to flatten and incorporate butter into dough, be careful not to have butter pop out of dough.  At this time take rolling pin and roll into  a rectangle 14inches long 8 inches wide.   Always keeping a close eye that butter does not come out of dough.  After dough has reached the rectangle size of 14x8 fold dough into the three fold method.  Place on a plate or cutting board, cover with clear wray and place in fridge for 30 minutes.  Continue to roll dough back out into a 14x8 rectangle, do three fold and place in fridge again for 30 minutes.  Remove for the third time and continue the rolling and folding method. A total of 3 times.  When folds are completed, you can cut dough in half and roll back out into a 14x8 inch rectangle and cut edges evenly with pizza cutter as below. Do not throw out scraps of dough, you will use them as fillers for croissants.  See pic below:

 Cut dough into triangles, take one triangle and roll out gently with rolling pin and stretching dough slightly.  Add scrap piece to widest side of triangle and roll up like a croissant.  Place point side down on parchment.  Finish all croissants like this.  Spray a little non stick spray on top and gently place clear wrap on top.  Place in a warm spot, like a stove top.  When proofed, gently apply egg wash with a brush.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes.  I usually turn my pan around once during the baking process.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Italian Holiday Cookies

This recipe comes from my sister-in-law, Cathy who got this recipe from her grandmother.
The original recipe is below.  The only modification I did was substituted shortening for butter.  I just don't like using shortening.  They came out great with real butter.  Try both and you decide.  

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Line cookie sheets with silpat or parchment
Makes a big batch (u can easily half recipe)

6 cups flour
6 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt

4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk, (room temperature)
1 cup Crisco melted ( I used melted unsalted butter)
Make sure shortening or butter are cooled down before adding to mix
1 cup powder sugar, used for rolling in hands

1 pound powder sugar
A little milk to make glaze like consistency

Beat eggs and sugar together until a pale yellow cream forms.  Then add melted crisco, vanilla and milk.  Mix all together.

Sift all dry ingredients together except powder sugar.

Mix dry ingredients into cream mixture.  Mix 1/2 cup at a time.  Let mixture sit for 1 hour and rest.  Cover.

Form dough into small walnut size balls.  Dip into powder sugar and roll in hands.  Place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until light golden color on bottom.  Do not over cook.

Take 1 pound of powder sugar and a little milk and form a glaze.  When cookies are completely cooled dip into glaze to cover tops of cookies and sprinkle immediately with pareils.

Let sit for several hours to dry before storing. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New York Cheese Cake

I found this recipe on an awesome blog called Food for a Hungry Soul a while back when I had my blog Soap Mom's Kitchen.  This recipe is awesome and check out Food for a Hungry Soul for some more awesome recipes.  I have to say this is my favorite cheesecake of all time. 

New York Cheesecake
(Jim Fobel's Old-Fashioned Baking Book)
Found this recipe here:  Food for a Hungry Soul

5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (one pint) sour cream, room temperature
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Generously butter the inside of a 10-inch spring form pan. Wrap a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil tightly around the outside bottom and sides, crimping and pleating the foil to make it conform to the pan.  This will help to prevent water seeping into the pan when you put it into the bain-marie.  Position the baking rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 300* Fahrenheit. 

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sour cream until well blended.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese with the butter until smooth and creamy.  Add this to the egg-sour cream mixture and beat until smooth. 

Add the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat thoroughly, about 2 minutes. 

Pour into the prepared spring form pan and place in a roasting pan (or other pan) large enough to prevent the sides from touching.  Place in the oven and carefully pour in enough very hot tap water to reach halfway up the sides of the spring form pan.

Bake for 2 hours, 15 minutes, or until the cake is very lightly colored and a knife inserted in the center emerges clean.  Remove from the water bath and carefully peel the aluminum foil from around the pan.  Let stand at room temperature until completely cool, about 4 hours.  Refrigerate, covered, until well chilled.  For best flavor and texture, this cheesecake is best chilled overnight.

I glide a thin knife around the sides. I dip the knife in very hot water before doing this. This will loosen cheesecake. Open clasp from spring form pan. Place cheese cake on plate. I served with blueberry sauce. 

Blueberry Sauce:
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup water
¾ cups sugar

¼ cup cold water
3 T. cornstarch

In sauce pan, add berries, water and sugar. Stir gently bring to a boil. In a small bowl mix ¼ cup water with cornstarch until starch is completely dissolve. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture to avoid clumping. Simmer gently until thickened. Can add more water to thin sauce out.

Friday, April 10, 2015

White Sheet Cake

Love this White Cake sheet cake recipe from Martha Stewart!  Make it, eat it and enjoy!   Perfect for party cake.

White Sheet Cake
Recipe Source Martha Stewart
Yield Makes one 12-by-18-inch sheet cake

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking sheet
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for baking sheet
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
8 egg whites

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-by-18-by-1-inch rimmed baking sheet, tapping out any excess flour; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.
  4. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared baking sheet and smooth batter evenly with a spatula or back of a spoon. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack, then re-invert and let cool completely.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sour Cream Cookies

Everyone in my family adores these cookies.  They do not last long in this house.  They are very soft and cake like.  I love the tang that you get from the sour cream, and the chocolate with the sour cream remind me of chocolate cheesecake.  They are yummy.  I had my cookies with a strong espresso coffee.  I was in heaven, lol! 

Recipe (Makes dozen and half)
recipe source:  Mrs. Fields

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (melted over double boiler)

Preheat oven to 315 degrees
In a medium bowl, combine four, baking powder, salt  and whisk to combine. 
Combine sugar, butter, vanilla extract and beat until creamy with paddle attachment.
Add egg and sour cream and continue to incorporate.
Add the flour mixture to cream mixture and beat until incorporated.  Pour melted cool chocolate over batter and mix gently with spoon to make a marble effect.  Do not over mix. 

Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet or use a silpat.  I used a 2 T. spring release ice cream scoop.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Do not brown.  Transfer to cooling rack.

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