French Bread

Okay. We all know how much I love bread. So very much!!!! I made this and then forgot to take pictures of it… Twice. So there are still no pictures. Shame on me! Either way, here is a recipe for French bread. This was so easy to make, and there is a lot of hands-off time in the recipe, because it has to rise. The next time I make this, I will be SURE to get pictures!

I made this to make into a cheesy garlic pull-apart bread, and it tasted amazing. I took it to a staff party, and the whole loaf was gone in 20 minutes! People loved the garlic cheesy-ness of the bread, but they were also a little flabbergasted that I made the bread myself. Those who know about my blog said “Of course I made the bread myself”, and weren’t surprised.

I found the original recipe here, and it is SO easy and SO rewarding. I think this will be a new regular loaf of bread in my house, especially when we have pasta!

Ingredients

Yield: 2 loaves of bread

2¼ c. warm water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
¾ tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil (olive, canola, etc.)
5½ – 6 c. flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 3-5 minutes to activate the yeast, until it is bubbling and foamy.

Add the salt, oil, and 3 cups of flour. Mix, adding in the extra flour a little at a time, until you get a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl into a ball that is soft, yet leaves very little dough residue on your fingers. Knead for 2-3 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.

Lightly grease or oil a bowl (I just take the dough out of my mixer bowl and oil that) and turn the dough to coat, then cover with a layer of greased plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot in your kitchen to rise until doubled, about 1 hour or so.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly greased surface and divide in half. Pat each section into a thick rectangle (about 9×13). Roll the dough up starting from the long edge, pressing out air bubbles, and pinch the edge to seal. Arrange seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

To avoid the risk of your bread deflating, slash gashes in the top of your loaves now. (I don’t have a baker’s lame, so I do it now. If you have a baker’s lame, wait to cut the bread.)

Cover formed loaves with greased plastic wrap, and let the loaves rise until noticably puffy, and almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Slash the loaves (if you haven’t already), and place in the center rack of the oven. To get a super crispy crust, you can throw a few ice cubes on the bottom of your oven (but look at manufacturer’s recommendations first!) or spritz the loaves with water before closing the oven door. Personally, I just spray down the loaves with water, because I’m renting a house and don’t want to buy a new oven just in case!

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and baked through. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing or turning into cheesy garlic pull-apart bread! (Which might just be my next post!!)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

This is for when you want cookies, but you don’t want to roll out balls of cookies, spend longer than 10 minutes mixing them and 20 minutes waiting for them to bake. Cookies in half an hour, then slice and serve.

The best part is that they mix up in one bowl and they are so easy.

I really don’t have much to say about these… the recipe is simple, they are chewy, soft, and delicious, and you need these in your life!

Ingredients

Yield: 12-16 bars, depending on cut size

½ c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
¾ c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 square pan with parchment paper.

In a large, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Whisk in the brown sugar, the egg, and vanilla.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk to combine. Add in a small portion of the chocolate chips to the dough, and press into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top of the dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until set.

Cool in pan on rack for 10-15 minutes at least, before slicing and serving.

French Toast Cookies

If you have ever wanted cookies for breakfast, well these are the perfect excuse. These are a cross between french toast and warm, chewy cookies.

I don’t have much to say about these, except that they are really easy to make, and only took me about 10 minutes or so. All in all, I had cookies all ready in less than an hour.

There were a few changes I made to the original recipe because of things that I had on hand. For instance, I used maple syrup instead of maple extract, and I used a full egg instead of just an egg yolk. If/when I make these again, I would definitely use maple extract instead. I wanted a bit more of a punch of maple flavour. I also decided to change up the sugar rolling. Instead of just using plain sugar, I divided the dough into thirds, and rolled a third of them in regular granulated sugar, a third in brown sugar, and the last third in cinnamon sugar.

I was partial to the cinnamon sugar, and Paul liked the brown sugar, but really, they were all good. The last change I made was to the corn syrup. Instead of using just light corn syrup as the recipe called for, I actually used half light corn syrup, and half golden corn syrup. When I was little, I used to have corn syrup on my breakfasts, not maple syrup, because my parents didn’t buy maple syrup. Adding a little bit of golden syrup brought me back to those childhood breakfasts.

Try your cookies all three ways, and let me know which one you prefer!

Ingredients

Yield: Approximately 30 cookies

½ c. butter
1/3 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 egg
½ c. light corn syrup (or ¼ c. light corn syrup and ¼ c. golden corn syrup)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. maple extract
2 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. white sugar, cinnamon sugar, and brown sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie trays with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, corn syrup, vanilla and maple extract. Mix well, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Add in the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Roll into balls, and roll into the various sugars. Place on prepared cookie sheets, and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

Remove from oven, and let sit on pan for 2 minutes (DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!). Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake

We recently had some friends over for dinner, and to top off our homemade pizza extravaganza, I made this swiss roll cake.

I had never made a swiss roll cake, or any roll cake, before. It turned out to be so easy, and I’m kicking myself a little for never having made it before. This recipe was easy, and didn’t take a ton of time to prepare. After the cake bakes, you roll it up in the parchment paper that you baked it on, and let it cool. A chocolate ganache whipped cream filling is the perfect accompaniment to the spongy cake. I found the original recipe here, and it did not disappoint.

Now that the world of swiss roll cakes has been opened up to me (finally!), there will be a lot more exploring with all of the different flavours I can concoct!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 roll cake

For the cake:

½ c. flour
¼ c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. instant coffee
2 tbsp. oil

For the filling:

5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
½ c. whipping cream
1 c. whipping cream, chilled

For the ganache drizzle:

1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 tbsp. whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12×16 or 11×17 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until foamy and lemon-yellow. Add oil and whisk until well incorporated. Add instant coffee, then gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.

Take a new piece of parchment paper, sprinkle with cocoa powder, and flip the warm cake out of the oven onto the parchment paper covered with cocoa powder. Roll up the cake in the parchment paper while still warm. Let cool while rolled up. If you roll the cake when cool it will crack.

To make the filling, in a double boiler place the chocolate and cream and heat until chocolate is melted and stir until mixture is cohesive. Remove from double boiler and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the 1 cup of cream into stiff peaks. Fold in the melted chocolate to the whipped cream.

Unroll the cooled cake, and spread the filling evenly over the cake. Re-roll the cake, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Before serving, sprinkle cocoa powder over the chilled cake. To make the ganache drizzle, in a small bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Whisk until combined. If the ganache is a little runny, place in the refrigerator for 5 minute intervals until the ganache is thick, yet pourable. Drizzle over the cake, and let set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.