Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pizza for everyone!


Easy to bake pizza

I hesitated about posting this recipe, since pizza is food and not bread or pastry. However I decided that since pizza has dough and you actually bake pizza I´m sharing the recipe here. This is a very simple recipe (easy to bake) that I make as snacks or a light meal from time to time. One of the benefits is that you can use any leftovers that you have and all family members can choose toppings of their likings. You decide how healthy you want to be..You can make it in less than 30 min and it´s delicious (since you choose your favorite toppings you can´t complain!) In this recipe I used baking powder.

If you want to be fancy use ¾ oz. dry yeast and warm liquid instead, let the dough rest 30 min before baking.

The dough is suitable for three big pizza´s (meal) or 5-6 snack bites.

 

1½ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cup spelt flour

½ tbsp. baking powder

½ tbsp. salt

Mix with a fork in a big bowl.

Add 1 cup olive oil and 1 ½ cup water, stir until mixed. Stir as little as possible.  Don´t work the dough longer than necessarily.

Divide the sticky dough in three pieces and place them on parchment paper. Use your hands and warm water (otherwise the dough will stick to your hands) to form the three pieces (meal) into round, flat breads.




Top with your favorite pizza topping.



Today I choose a lime tomato salsa, black olives, leftover Christmas turkey and Swiss cheese. My son choose salsa and cheese only. I like baking pizza because even the pickiest kid eats when they get to make their own pizza.



Bake the pizza´s at 400 degreese Fahrenheit for about 16-20 min (until golden).

ENJOY!!





                                             KID FRIENDLY MEALS OR SNACKS!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cranberry Brownies with Cheesecake topping





I hope everyone had a great Christmas with the important people in your life.

Joel and I made this yummy Christmas cake for our guests.

 

Cranberry Brownies with Cheesecake topping

For the Brownies:

5 oz. semisweet chocolate (chopped)

8 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. instant coffee

1 cup cane sugar

A pinch of salt

3 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

 

For the cheesecake topping:

5 oz. Philadelphia Cheese

¼ cup cane sugar

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 egg

Dried Cranberries

 

 

Prepare a square baking pan with nonstick spray.

Preheat the oven to 350 degreese Fahrenheit.




Melt chocolate and butter on the oven at a low temperature. Add cocoa and coffee. Remove the pan from the heat and add sugar and salt while stirring. Add the eggs, one by one. Blend well with a wooden fork/spoon. (Don´t use an electric whisk, it might make the batter separate.)

Fold in flour and mix until barely blended. Spread the batter into the baking pan. Set aside and make the cheese topping.

 



When you make the cheese topping it´s easiest to use an electric whisk or mixer. Mix all the ingredients except the egg and the cranberries. Mix well until smooth. Add the egg. Spread the topping over the batter. Top with dried cranberries and bake 30-35 min in the oven.



 
 


Let the cake cool down. Cut it in squares. Cover with plastic film and place in the fridge. The cake is better after a few hours in the fridge. It´s good up to a week if it´s refrigerated. You can even freeze the cake. It´s the perfect cake to prepare in advance and treat your guests on a later occasion.







Enjoy!
 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread for dummies

The Whole Wheat Flour I choose for this bread.

....or really smart people that want to make an easy, healthy bread!

Mix with a fork:
2 cups Whole Wheat flour
2 cups All.Purpose flour
1½ oz dry yeast
Salt


Melt 4 oz butter, add 2 cups of milk and 2 eggs. Heat (until about 110 degreese Fahrenheit.)


Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients + add ½ cup All Purpose flour.

Knead 3mins by hand or 2mins in a bread machine.

It´s suppossed to be sticky.




Cover and let rest for 30 min.




Pour into a rectangular baking pan that you prepared with no-stick spray




Cover and let rest another 30 min.

Bake in 350 degreese Fahrenheit 25-30 min.


 
 

 ENJOY!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Scones with Spelt Flour and Sesame Seed


 

Scones with spelt flour and sesame seed


Today I made a variation of yesterday´s scones. It´s basically the same recipe but with a different kind of flour and liquid. Spelt flour requires some extra liquid so I added a ½cup more in this recipe. This is my personal favorite of fast, healthy and easy to make bread.

 

Scones with spelt flour and sesame seed

1½ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cup spelt flour

½ cup roasted sesame seed

½ tbsp. baking powder

½ tbsp. salt

Mix with a fork in a big bowl.

Add 1 cup canola oil and 1½ cup plain nonfat Greek yoghurt and ½ cup water, stir until mixed. Stir as little as possible. When using baking powder you shouldn´t mix/stir/work with the dough any more than barely mixing the ingredients. Don´t work it one second longer than necessarily! (That´s a good rule to remember when using baking powder.)

Divide the dough in two pieces and place them on parchment paper. Use your hands and warm water (otherwise the dough will stick to your hands) to form the two pieces into round, flat breads.

Use a knife and made a cross on each bread, to make them easier to cut later.

Bake them in 440 degreese Fahrenheit for about 20 min (until golden).

Enjoy warm with butter, cheese, turkey, ham, tomatoes, avocados or jam. Tea or coffee is excellent choices of drinks to go with your scones.

If you try them please let me know! I love to hear about it!



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quinoa and Flaxseed Scones



This morning when I was experimenting in my kitchen I wanted to make quick and healthy bread. I looked in my kitchen cabinets and found quinoa flour and flaxseed. I decided to make scones. It´s fast, and to my family scones is something we eat on Sundays and holidays. It´s really easy to make and anyone can do it but it has kind of a festive feeling about it. The possible variations you can make are only limited by your imagination. You can easily choose other kinds of flour, add raisins/cheese/bacon/honey/herbs or anything you like. I choose milk as liquid but water, yoghurt or even beer is great too. I will post other variations later on.

Flaxseed is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. Using flaxseed in your bread is a great way to increase your daily fiber.

Quinoa is also full of fiber and contains all eight essential amino acids. I like using quinoa flour for the sweet, nutty flavor.

This is the scones I made today (for the first time).

 

Quinoa and Flaxseed Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup diced almonds

½ cup quinoa flour

½ cup flaxseed

½ tbsp. baking powder

½tbs salt

Mix with a fork in a big bowl.

Add 1 cup canola oil and 1½ cup milk, stir until mixed. Don't over stir! When using baking powder you shouldn´t mix/stir/work with the dough any more than barely mixing the ingredients. Don´t work it one second longer than necessary! (That´s a good rule to remember when using baking powder.)

The dough is very sticky, it´s supposed to be like that. If you add more flour the bread will be dry. Divide the dough in two pieces and place them on parchment paper. Use your hands and warm water (otherwise the dough will stick to your hands) to form the two pieces into round, flat breads.

Use a knife and made a cross on each bread, to make them easier to cut later.




Bake them at 440 degreese Fahrenheit for about 20 min (until golden).

Enjoy warm with butter, cheese, turkey, ham, tomatoes, avocados or jam. Tea and coffee are excellent choices to go with your scones.

If you try them please let me know. I would love to hear about it!

 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Spelt and Honey Rolls

All the ingredients you need for Spelt and Honey rolls


This morning I wanted to make a welcome home breakfast that my son would enjoy. He is very picky with food.. I decided to bake Spelt and Honey Rolls I love baking bread with spelt flour. It tastes better than baking with only wheat flour and the health benefits are huge. I wrote about the health benefits on my other blog earlier this year.
http://discoveringranchlife.blogspot.com/2012/10/spelt-bread-with-mixed-beanlentil-soup.html
 
The bread I made this morning is very easy to make. Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning!




Spelt and Honey Rolls


¾ cup milk
¾ cup water
¼ cup honey
3 small pouches of yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¾ cup white baking flour (ex all purpose)
2 ¼ cup spelt flour
¼ cup nonfat, dry milk
1tsp salt
 
Mix all the dry ingredients with a fork in a big bowl.
Mix milk, water and honey in a pan on the stove. Heat until 110 degreese Fahrenheit. Add olive oil.
Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for five minutes by hand. Cover the dough and let it rest 30 min.




Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.




Cut the dough in 12 pieces. Roll them into balls.




Place them on the baking sheet. Cover them and let them rest for 45 min.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes until they are light brown.
Enjoy!!





Saturday, December 15, 2012

Baking With Kids



My son have spent some time with his father in Sweden but right now he´s on the plane on his way to California. It´s terrible to be apart from him but SO wonderful when he finally comes back. It makes our time together very valuable. I´m so grateful for every minute with him.

My son loves baking. He´s been baking with me since he was newborn, just like Hayley. Some of the things we love to bake together are: pizza, cinnamon buns, bread, chocolate cake and cookies. He enjoys baking almost everything. He truly loves making his own pizza. I think he enjoys baking pizza more than anything else, I have to ask him when he gets here.

Some things that are important to think about, to make baking with kids a success are:

·       Make sure you have plenty of time, it´s not fun if you´re under time pressure.

·       Choose to bake something that you can master without too much trouble. You want your main focus to be on your child.

·       Don´t wear your best clothes! It can be messy sometimes.

·       Place all the ingredients you are planning to use in front of you before you start baking.

·       Talk to your child and explain what you are doing. They learn so fast. Take the time to answer questions.

·       Let the child help with everything that it´s possible for a child his/her age to do. Baking is an excellent opportunity to make math fun for your child. There´s so much math in baking (measuring, temperature, dividing the dough in pieces, counting how many pieces there are etc...)

·       Let the child have his/her own tools.

·       Don´t mind the mess! You can clean afterwards. Concentrate on the fun instead.

·       Give a lot of praise for every effort your child makes.

 

Is there anything else that you find useful to consider when baking with kids? What do you enjoy baking with your kids?

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Swedish Christmas Tradition; Lussekatter


Lussekatt, an important part of a traditional Swedish Christmas.
You start eating them on the day of St.Lucia, Dec13.


Dec 13 is an important day in Sweden. It´s the day of St.Lucia. Lucia means “the one who comes with the light”. She died as a martyr for her Christian faith. Her incredible faith is celebrated Dec 13. It´s an old Swedish tradition to drink glögg a warm, spicy wine and eat Lusse Katter which is a delicious pastry with saffron during Lucia. The saffron gives the pastry a yellow color, a symbol of light.

There´s many different stories about lussekatten. According to one story St. Nikolaus gave them as gifts to the children.

Several stories have to do with worshipping the sun, like the Vikings did. The pastries yellow color is here a symbol of the sun.

For most people it´s not at all about the origin. Lucia is an interesting celebration. A bright light in the winter darkness. The celebration takes place very early in the morning. According to some beliefs there are many dark forces in action on Dec 13 and you´re supposed to stay awake all night to watch out for them, in the morning you celebrate Lucia (the light).

Every year each town, school and most companies vote for their own Lucia. Most often this “competitions” turns in to beauty competitions and a blond, blue eyed girl wins. She wears a white nightgown and has burning candles in her hair leading a caravan of girls that also wear white gowns but without candles in their hair. The girls wear a red scarf around their waist as a symbol Lucia´s death as a martyr. There are boys among them too; they are dressed up like Santa´s helpers or gingerbreads! The whole caravan sings a special Lucia song and other Christmas Carroll’s.  They sing for elder people and people in need. Some go from house to house and sing for neighbors. Children often sing for parents.

 
Many organizations have their own Lucia caravan to sing for a good cause.

After the celebration everybody eats Lusse Katter Some people have parties, social gatherings in the evening were they drink glögg and eats Lusse Katter. It´s common to eat gingerbread as well.

My daughter Hayley and I baked Lussekatter yesterday on Lucia. According to the tradition you start eating them at Lucia (Dec 13) and eat them until Christmas. You can´t find them during the rest of the year. It´s a very popular pastry and many people are counting the days to Lucia so they finally can eat them.

 

 



This is what you need for 18 big Lussekatter:

A pinch of Saffron (if you like the taste of saffron use more)

6oz unsalted butter

2 cups milk or half and half

3/4 cup sugar

2+1 eggs

1½oz dry yeast (6 small pouches)

2½lbs white baking flour

Raisins



o   Mix 2lbs of the flour with the yeast and the sugar in a big bowl.

o   Melt the butter on the stove, add the milk. Heat the liquid until right before the first bubble (very hot!). Add saffron. Stir. Add two eggs.

o   Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix the dough thoroughly until it´s very smooth and easy to work with. Add some more flour if needed.

o   Let the dough rest under a cover for 15 minutes.

o   Cut the dough in 18 pieces.



 
 
 
o   Form the pieces like in the pictures.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 


o   Put the pieces on baking sheets. Add two raisins in the middle of the buns. (Some people add extra raisins in the dough for a sweeter bun.)
 
 

o   Let them rest for 20 mins.

o   Paint them with the extra egg.

o   Bake them in the middle of the oven at 480 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes, or until they have a beautiful golden color.

 

 
 

 
 


If you want to be really Swedish you enjoy them with warm wine, glögg, but they taste great with coffee or tea as well.

Maybe you want to add Lussekatter to your family´s Christmas traditions?

Tell me about the one pastry you can´t be without during this Holiday season! Feel free to share the recipe if you want too.

XO Maria

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Baking Addiction



Cinnamon bun  (Kanelbulle, Swedish)

When I was a little girl I dreamed about having a horse and living on a ranch. When I dreamed about work I didn´t dream about working with horses.

I wanted to be a baker. I was very sure of that. My mom baked a lot and she always took the time to let me have my own dough and to make my own bread (or pastries). She didn´t mind the mess and for that I´m forever grateful. I didn´t get to keep my mom for long, she died when I was 12 years old. Some of the best conversations we had were during our baking sessions. My favorite childhood memories surround those times with my mother baking in our tiny kitchen.

In 1995, three years after her death, I became a student at a baking school in Sweden. For three years I studied the art of baking at Palmcrantz Skolan. My studies included a lot of early mornings in the school bakery and in bakeries around the city of Östersund, Sweden (where the school is situated).

We also studied chemistry. Baking is actually a lot of chemistry! I will explain more about that later on and why knowledge about this makes baking easier, and not more complicated as some might think.

During my years in school I learned how to bake many different kinds of bread, pastries, cakes and cookies. Swedish bread and gourmet pastries are my specialties but not the only things I bake. I love experimenting and my opinion of a fun morning (when the rest of the family is still asleep) is making up new recipes.

My first boss used to say that we should practice "learning by doing." I like that! It´s something I still practice today.

Before the birth of my first child I stopped working professionally as a baker. The early morning work didn´t really match life with a baby. I loved working as a baker and I still love baking. I love everything about it; deciding what to bake, mixing the ingredients to exactly the right consistency, the feeling of the dough under my hands, the smell of the bread in the oven and the sight of perfect bread made by my own hands. It´s easy when you know how to do it, and I´m about to tell you just how easy it is!

This blog is only about baking. This is about baking from scratch. You won´t find any mixes in the recipes here.  I´m going to write about important things to think about while choosing ingredients, temperatures, fresh yeast v/s dry yeast, sourdough, baking with kids, and of course plenty of easy to follow recipes!




I´m more than happy to answer any questions you may have about baking.

Is there anything in particular you want me to write about? Just tell me!

I´m constantly asked when I´m going to start my baking blog and publish my first recipe book, now it´s finally happening. I´ve been very excited about writing a baker´s blog for a long time. However, a blog is only fun with interaction! Come on, join me and invite all your friends! The more the merrier. We´re going to have lots of fun together and I promise you that you will learn a lot about baking.

Looking forward to see you in my kitchen!

/Maria Northcutt

Ps. If you want to know more about me I also write a blog about my family´s ranch http://discoveringranchlife.blogspot.com.