Tag-Archive for ◊ make ahead ◊

09 Sep 2019 Sweet and Cinnamon-y Apple Bread
Sweet and Cinnamon-y Apple Bread

Bread baking is my Everest, meaning I haven’t conquered it yet.  I’m not even at base camp so the bread recipes that appeal to me are easy and pretty much foolproof.  Here’s one of them! The recipe is easy… I see you shaking your head. Is it because you’ve already noticed the 22 steps? Granted, that seems like a lot, but there are 22 because I broke each step down into tiny increments. You can do this! You can have a loaf of Sweet Apple Bread ready to eat in about two hours! For a fancy, fruit-filled, yeasted bread, that’s a pretty quick turnaround time! The two hours is not all hands-on work either, that time includes two periods of rest for the dough to rise AND the baking time! The resulting product is delicious and impressive. Around here the aroma of this bread baking reliably gets sleepyheads out of bed and ready to face the day with a smile on their faces!

The bread is not burned! Darned filter!
I bake better than the I take pictures.

I didn’t create this recipe; I am not nearly that smart. I found it in Better Homes and Garden, Fall Baking at the same time as my daughter, who found it online. Then I googled it, and the recipe is all over the Internet, so I don’t know who or where it first came from first, but it’s a good one, a keeper, and almost infallible.  I did have it fail once, though. I didn’t measure the apples.  I wanted more apples and more apples, so I probably ended up with double the apples and one soggy, flat, never-did-bake loaf, so don’t do that! Measure the apples! I have made this bread with both cinnamon and Apple Pie Spice and I prefer it with Apple Pie Spice. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, order it from Penzey’s Spices.

My daughter’s first loaf of Sweet and Cinnamon-y Apple Bread

While looking for this recipe on line, my daughter came across an almost identical recipe made with pumpkin. Unbeknownst to each other, we both made it, on the same afternoon, and we both thought it needed some upgrading, so we’ll work on that. Look for an enhanced pumpkin bread soon but until then, make this one! It’s a winner!

Sweet and Cinnamon-y Apple Loaf

For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 package (2 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (divided use)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup melted or very, very soft butter
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped Granny Smith apple (usually one very large apple)
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice or Cinnamon

For the icing:

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened (optional)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  1. In the microwave, heat milk until just until lukewarm, approx. 105°F to 115°F, about 30-60 seconds, depending on the wattage of your microwave.
  2. Combine warm milk, yeast, and ½ tsp of sugar in small bowl. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. In bowl of electric mixer combine egg, 1/4 cup melted butter, the rest of the granulated sugar, and salt. Beat for 30 seconds.
  4. Add yeast mixture to egg/butter mixture. Beat with mixer on medium until combined.
  5. Add half the flour to mixture in bowl. Beat on low 30 seconds, scraping bowl as needed, then beat for 3 minutes on medium.
  6. Stir in remaining flour. Beat for another 2 minutes or so.
  7. Shape dough into ball (dough will not be smooth).
  8. Place dough in greased bowl; turn once to completely grease surface of dough.

Note: To make ahead: prepare as directed up to this step. Do not let dough rise. Cover bowl and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

  • Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until nearly double in size 45 to 60 minutes (longer if dough has been refrigerated).
  • Grease 9×5-inch loaf pan, or line with parchment paper.

Note: Here comes the tricky part but it just sounds as if it’s tricky. Don’t stress it at all. The measurements are just approximate. Even the number of slices in the stacks are approximate. Eyeball everything! Have fun with it! Do. Not. Stress! This is a free-form bread. You can’t make a mistake. Go for it!

  1. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll dough into 20×12-inch rectangle (approximately, jagged edges are no problem).
  2. Brush dough with 1/4 cup melted or very soft butter then sprinkle with 1 tsp. white sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, combine chopped apples, brown sugar, and apple pie spice or cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture equidistantly over the dough.
  4. Cut the dough rectangle in half lengthwise to make two 20×6-inch strips (approximately)
  5. Cut each strip vertically into five 6×4-inch strips.
  6. Carefully make 2 stacks of 5 strips each. Cut each stack lengthwise into three 4×2-inch pieces.
  7. Now lift the stacks, and loosely stagger stacks in pan, cut sides up. You’ll have to push and pull to make all stacks fit. This is not a problem.  Lightly push down on dough to fill corners and level the top of the loaf.
  8. Cover loaf with greased plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until nearly double in size (40 to 45 minutes).
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake loaf for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted near center registers 200°F.
  10. Cool in pan 10 minutes.
  11. In a medium mixer bowl combine ingredients for icing: room temperature cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Beat in enough milk to make a glaze of drizzling consistency. (NOTE: I usually make the icing without the cream cheese)
  12. Remove loaf from pan and drizzle with icing. Cool at least 20 minutes more before eating (but bread will keep well for a few days).

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! Happy baking!

29 Aug 2019 Coconut Mango Cheesecake

This is one of my favorite cheesecakes! It’s showy and special and tastes wonderful 🙂 The method for this cheesecake is different from my usual method, but it works like a dream, and I’ve never had this cheesecake crack. The only tricky part is getting the right ‘Cream of Coconut’. Try to find the Coco Lopez brand, or any other brand used for making mixed drinks such as the Pina Colada. Don’t use canned coconut milk or even the new canned coconut cream [this is getting so confusing!], you need Cream of Coconut. It’s sweet and thick. Here are pictures of the two brands I have used successfully.

Hope you can make this for a special occasion in your life. It’s a winner!

Coconut-Mango Cheesecake

Coconut Crust:

  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 8 whole graham crackers, broken
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced

Cheesecake:

  • 32-ounces Philadelphia-brand cream cheese (do not use reduced-fat, fat-free, or whipped) The cream cheese MUST be at room temperature. Do not proceed with cold cream cheese!
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can (sweetened) cream of coconut (such as Coco López, look for it in the alcohol mixers section. Do NOT USE COCONUT MILK!)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs

Glaze:

  • ¼ cup  water
  • 1 pkg unflavored gelatin
  • 2 ½-3 cups mango puree (from 2 16 oz packages frozen mango chunks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

For crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Blend all ingredients in processor until finely ground and sticking together, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3.  Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 2 1/2 inches up sides of 10-inch-diameter spring form pan with 2 3/4- to 3-inch-high sides.
  4. Bake crust until golden, 14 to 15 minutes.
  5. Cool crust on rack.
  6. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.

For filling:

  1. Blend cream cheese and sugar in bowl of electric mixer. Stir in cream of coconut, coconut extract and salt. Add eggs 1 at a time. Mix to blend.
  2.  Pour filling into crust. Bake cheesecake 10 minutes at 425°F .
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake until center is softly set, about 1 hour 35 minutes longer.
  4. Turn off oven, keeping the oven door closed. Cool cake in oven 1 hour.
  5. Refrigerate cake, uncovered, at least 12 hours or overnight.

For glaze:

  1. Place water in small cup or bowl.  Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, pour mango puree and sugar into small saucepan. Taste that flavor is correct. Add more mango puree or more sugar if needed.
  3. Stir mixture over low heat until sugar dissolves, bubbles form at edge of pan, and mixture is hot.
  4. Add gelatin mixture and stir 1 minute to dissolve. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Cool mango mixture until lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
  6. Pour glaze into center of cheesecake. Rotate and tilt the pan until glaze is spread evenly over top.
  7. Chill cheesecake to set glaze, approximately 3 hours.

Notes: DO AHEAD! This recipe can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

25 Aug 2019 Tropical Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips

The biggest issue with this dish is: when to eat it! Dessert? Appetizer? Snack? All three work but I think the best is a quiet summer afternoon on the porch with a chilled beverage of choice.

Tropical Fruit Salsa

  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mango (1 large or 2 small)
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped kiwi (2)
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of ½ fresh lime (2-3 teaspoonfuls)
  • Salt, optional, to taste (I never add salt)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt, if desired.
  2. Serve with Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips.

Cinnamon Toasted Tortilla Chips

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 3 T. butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Brush one side of tortillas with melted butter then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  4. Using a pizza wheel or knife cut tortilla into 8 triangles (cut into 16 triangles if using XL tortillas)
  5. Place on baking sheet and place in preheated oven.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Serve and share!

NOTES: Salsa can be made the night before and stored covered in refrigerator. Tortilla chips can be made a few hours before serving.

19 Aug 2019 Grandma’s Buttermilk Cornbread
Grandma’s Buttermilk Cornbread
(on my brand new cutting board, a birthday gift from my daughter!)

As a young kid, Jiffy brand cornbread was my favorite and because it was cheap, I think it was fifteen cents a box, it fit into my family’s budget.  The mix only required one egg and a ¼ cup of milk or water to make six muffins.  As I got older, I tried many cornbread recipes and I tried to get fancy by adding in corn kernels or topping with cheese or stirring in sour cream.  I never settled on a recipe until I tried the Albers cornmeal no frills, back-of-the-box recipe baked in an 8″ x 8″ square pan. I was VERY happy with that recipe, until I found this recipe. The recipe is a bit odd, not so much in the ingredients, but in the mixing method. The resulting cornbread can’t be beat though, not by Jiffy, not by Albers, and not by adding in corn, cheese, and sour cream.

Cornbread is not just for chili or soup! In one of Ruth Reichl’s books, I learned how to elevate day old cornbread and now leftover cornbread is a favorite breakfast treat.  Cut the square slice of cornbread, or the muffin, in half lengthwise—across the middle so you have a top and a bottom not a left side and right side!  Butter the cut edges.  Lay the buttered side down in a hot frying pan.  Let the cornbread sizzle until the buttered sides are slightly browned and the cornbread is warmed through. Eat. Delicious!

This recipe was posted in All Recipes in 2006 by Bethany Weathersby. I’ve rewritten the steps to make the recipe easier to follow, but I have not changed any ingredients. Don’t use a mixer for this, cornbread needs to be combined by hand.

I am not going to get into the whole southern vs northern cornbread recipe debate. This is sweet cornbread, and I like it. I live in South San Jose in Northern California, and this recipe works for me and since I am posting it, I don’t see how anyone will not like it!

Can’t wait to try it with my Ham Bone Bean Soup or Gringo Grandma’s Chili
and then I’ll skillet toast another slice for breakfast 🙂

Grandma’s Buttermilk Cornbread

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2/3 cup of white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornmeal (yes, I use Albers)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (125 g)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (add ¼ teaspoon more if using unsalted butter)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Butter an 8×8 inch square casserole dish
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet or medium saucepan
  4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in sugar
  5. Quickly add beaten eggs into butter-sugar mixture and beat until well blended
  6. Stir the baking soda into the buttermilk
  7. Add the buttermilk mixture to the butter-sugar-egg mixture in the pan
  8. Combine the flour, cornmeal and salt, whisk to evenly distribute
  9. Add the flour mixture into the pan with the butter-sugar-eggs-buttermilk mixture
  10. Stir until well blended, a few small lumps should remain
  11. Pour batter into the prepared 8×8 inch pan
  12. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  13. Let cool a few minutes
  14. Serve and share

NOTES: According to the originator of this recipe, the baked cornbread freezes well. She also states that it’s OK to sub whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour, but baking time will increase about 10 minutes. I haven’t tried this.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, what shall we make tomorrow?