Focaccia Bread

For the past 7 weeks, it has rained on the weekend and that’s left me wanting to do some baking. Last week, was a busy week with the school year ending for the kids, the last 2 t-ball games, lots of work projects happening and of course, the usual hustle and bustle of our busy lives. We all needed to recovery on Sunday and it was the perfect day for that – another rainy day. I made a new recipe for dinner and was inspired to make focaccia bread after watching a Pioneer Woman episode on Food Network.

I haven’t made homemade bread in months and it was so relaxing. Does anyone else find baking relaxing? This recipe was really easy to make since I had all the ingredients on hand. My husband and I dipped it in olive oil, but it would be perfect for grilled sandwiches.

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Chocolate Babka

Babka has always been one of those recipes that I want to try, but it looked so difficult. I got over my “fear” of making homemade breads a couple of years ago, so I decided it was time to make babka for #choctoberfest! This Eastern European yeast-risen cake has lots of steps and takes all day to make – but it’s so worth it! There’s a rich chocolate filling that is swirled in brioche-like cake. This version has a little orange zest in the cake and topped with an orange syrup for a little bit of freshness and adds a touch of sweetness.

Imperial Sugar helped make this recipe possible with their generous donation of sugar as a sponsor of #Choctoberfest. You should have seen my face when 88 lbs of sugar arrived at my house. I’ll be set for all my baking this holiday season with my kids! Thanks Imperial Sugar!

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Ricotta Parmesan Garlic Bread

Sometimes you need to indulge a little and this bread is exactly that! This was a HUGE hit with my family – even my picky kids. I guess if you spread cheese – even cheese they don’t like – over bread, they’ll love it. It makes for a great appetizer or compliments an Italian dinner. I’m planning to make it for my next wine tasting! I have the perfect wine to pair with it!

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Ricotta Banana Bread

Once again, I found myself with almost a full bunch of bananas that were on their way to being overripe. I should learn that when my kids ask for bananas, they only want 1 or 2 and not to buy a bunch, since they never eat them all. I decided to wipe up a loaf of banana bread last night to use up a few and then cut the rest into slices, frozen them and they’ll be used for smoothies. I also picked this recipe since it uses ricotta and I had some leftover from another recipe that needed to be used.

The bread came out super moist and you would never know there was ricotta in the batter. It’s really good warm with a little smear of butter. With a slice of this bread and a cup of coffee, it’s a great way to start the day!

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Apple Fritter Bread – Secret Recipe Club

I’m excited to share today’s recipe with you! It’s a really, really good one and it’s also extra special because I was able to help with a Secret Recipe Club rescue. I jumped at the opportunity since I knew I had some time before this recipe had to be posted. The blog, I was assigned was Cooking with Sara. Sara lives in the Midwest and loves to cook and bake old and new recipes. She also uses every day ingredients and most of her recipes are family-friendly…perfect fro me! I started looking for recipes and immediately knew what I was going to make – Apple Fritter Bread! I had plans to stop at the orchard to pick up apples and knew this would be the perfect recipe to feature them. What was even better – we had new neighbors move in over the weekend and I was able to give them the extra loaf as a welcome gift!

The bread is so good. It’s packed full of apple and the glaze makes it! Seriously, go get some apples and make this today!

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Pretzel Rolls – The Secret Recipe Club

One of my favorite times of the month is here…reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club! This month, my assignment was “It’s Yummy to my Tummy.” Heather’s two kids named her blog and I love it! Such a fun title!  Heather and I have a lot in common. We both started our blogs to organize our thoughts and experiment. Plus, we both use cooking and baking to relax.

After looking through all the recipes on Heather’s list, I decided to go with pretzel rolls. They’ve been on my list to make for a while, so I figured it was time. I had also considered making her pancakes and sausage muffins, apple bellini and asian lettuce wraps. I’m thinking the Bellinis would be perfect to serve on Thanksgiving.

The rolls were easy to make, since I’ve made pretzels before. The texture of the rolls were the right consistency and I loved the little bit of sweetness from the brown sugar.

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1 1/3 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 Tbsp warm milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
4 cups flour
2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup baking soda
kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/3 cup water with the yeast. Allow to stand and get foamy. Add in the remaining cup of water, milk, melted butter and brown sugar. Stir the mixture around until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add in the flour and mix well until your dough forms. Since I was using my stand mixer, I let it knead for a minute or two so I didn’t have to knead it by hand. Remove and place on a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a 2 foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces, approximately 2 inches wide. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and then place a damp towel on top. Allow to rise for 10 to 15 minutes.

Take each piece of dough and form it into a roll or knot. Place back on the lightly floured surface about an inch apart and cover with a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 30 minutes or until they have grown in size.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a large stock pot, bring the water to a boil and add in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble and make a mess, but trust me, it’s worth it! Drop in two rolls at time and allow to boil for 30 seconds or less. Remove the rolls using a slotted spoon and allow to drain before placing onto the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all rolls have been boiled. Sprinkled with kosher salt. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on the top rack until the rolls are the desired color. I baked mine so they were on the darker side for a crispy outside. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minute and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.

Check out all the other great recipes in this week’s reveal using the link below!

Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Bread

I’m always in the search for recipes where I can use leftover ingredients from other recipes. This bread was one of them. I had leftover ricotta from the breakfast casserole I made and needed to use it up before it went bad. I found this recipe and it was ideal since I had a random lemon in the fridge too. We picked blueberries earlier this summer, so they’re my go to fruit for bread or muffins.

The bread came together quickly and it was delicious. It’s not an over sweet bread, so it was perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee or an after dinner snack.

Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Bread | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 3/4 cup whole wheat white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup blueberries
Zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and eggs. Add in the butter and mix until combined. Stir in the ricotta cheese, vanilla, buttermilk and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely until ready to slice and serve.

Source: Hungry Couple NYC

Black Raspberry Bread – The Secret Recipe Club

It’s time for The Secret Recipe Club reveal for my group this month.  I had a hard time picking a recipe from my assignment, The Painted Apron, this month. I had several recipes narrowed down,  but after picking up raspberries on my last Costco trip,  I knew I had to make Jenna recipe for blue raspberry bread….except I switched out the blueberries for black berries and omitted the orange glaze.

The bread is really good and made for a perfect breakfast with a cup of coffee or an after dinner snack. My little guy gobbled up a slice and asked for more…success!

Black Raspberry Bread | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup millk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup raspberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a loaf pan, set aside. In a large bowl,  mix together all the ingredients except for the berries.

Pour half of that batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Spread half the berries and then carefully spread the remaining batter on top.  Lightly press down the remaining berries into the top of the cake.

Bake for 55-60 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove and slice.

For more great recipes from this week’s SRC bloggers, use the button below!

Orange Pull Apart Bread – The Secret Recipe Club

It’s the second Monday of the month and you know what that means!!! It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal day for my group. This month I was assigned, The Tasty Cheapskate – where tasty and cheap eat together. Jean has a great concept for her blog, eating delicious foods for cheap. All of her posts have cost breakdown and it was interesting to see how the prices of items have changed in the past three years. I chose a recipe, Orange Pull Apart Bread, that Jean made in October 2011. She noted the cost of an orange was 33 cents, I paid $1 for an orange to make this recipe…crazy!

I have seen pull apart breads all over Pinterest but haven’t tried one yet because when I read the instructions, it seemed daunting…until I saw this post. Jean had step by step instructions and the fear was gone. I knew I couldn’t mess it up with all the photos she provided….well, except that I rolled my dough a little too thin! It still worked out well and I ended up with thinner pieces of bread to nibble on. I think the next time I’ll try it, I’ll frost it with a cream cheese frosting, a la orange cinnamon rolls I used to eat growing up as a kid.

1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 packet of quick-rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 – 3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar mixed with zest of one orange
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Heat the milk to melt the butter and then add in the water into a bowl of a stand mixer. The liquid should be warm but not too hot. Add in the sugar and yeast. Once you start smelling the yeast, add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix together. 
Add in 1 cup of flour and mix on slow with a dough hook. Add in another cup of flour and mix. At this point, my dough was really wet, so I ended up using almost 3 1/2 cups of flour until my dough was no longer sticky. Knead the dough until it forms into a ball. The dough is different than regular dough that I’m used it, it’s more oily, but that is because it is a richer dough. Once the dough has formed into a ball, allow to rise until its doubled in sized. I use the proof setting on my oven (LOVE), and it took about an hour. 
Grease a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and turn out onto a floured counter. Roll into a 12 x 20 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Take the melted butter and spread it all over the dough. Sprinkle the orange sugar all over the buttered dough. 
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 5 strips from the short side. Stack the slices and then slice the long piece into 6 squares. Stack all these pieces together, cut side up and place them in the greased loaf pan. Allow to rise again until the dough is to the top of the pan or slightly above. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until the top becomes golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan and then transfer to plate where you get to pull apart slices of delicious orange bread.