Homemade Crescent Rolls

If your childhood was anything like mine you have fond memories of eating Pillsbury crescent rolls.  You’ve likely watched someone experience, or you’ve experienced for yourself, the frustration of getting the tube open after not peeling the paper enough and then banging it on the counter to get it to pop open.  Maybe your mom let you help roll them up and put them on the baking sheet.  And then you got to enjoy their warm, melt-in-your-mouth goodness with dinner.  Pillsbury will always have a special place in my heart, but these homemade crescent rolls might be what my kids remember enjoying.

Crescent Rolls | Hottie Biscotti

This recipe comes from my America’s Best Lost Recipes cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen.

These were surprisingly simple to put together and bake.  You do have to let them rise twice, once after making the dough and once after forming the rolls.

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So you’re looking at a minimum of 2 1/2 hours from start to finish.  If you want to serve them to your kids for dinner start them with enough time.  I didn’t, so my kids ate them for dessert!

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Be sure not to over bake these.  They get a tad dry when cooked too long.  Nothing that a little extra butter can’t cure, though!  If you’re planning to make these and then reheat them for later (think make-ahead Thanksgiving bread) bake them until just slightly golden so you can reheat them without fear of them drying out.

You will probably need to make three sheets of rolls, 8 per sheet, unless you have large cookie sheets and a large oven.  It’s perfectly fine to bake the first two sheets and bake the other right after the first ons come out.  Just be sure to keep them covered.

These do rise during baking, so don’t place them too close together.  Also, try to cook similar sized rolls on the same baking sheet.  Unless you can roll a perfect circle of dough, some wedges will be bigger than others.  They’ll take longer to bake, and the smaller ones will take less time.  If you have different sized rolls on the same sheet some will be over baked while others will be under baked.  I emphasize this point only because I had one sheet that had some quite small and some quite large rolls and I had this problem.  Aren’t you glad you have someone to make mistakes for you?!

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The only thing I might do differently would be to brush these with more melted butter right after baking.  Because there isn’t much better than that.

Crescent Rolls

From America’s Best Lost Recipe

Makes 24 rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 stick plus 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions

  1. Melt 1 stick of butter and let cool slightly.  Mix with warm milk, sugar and eggs.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or a large bowl) mix 4 1/2 cups flour, salt and yeast.
  3. Add in the milk mixture and mix on low until dough comes together, then increase the speed to medium and mix for about 5 minutes.  If dough seems sticky add in a couple tablespoons of flour.
  4. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead a bit and shape into a ball.  Place dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  5. Melt the 1/2 stick of butter and set aside.
  6. Prepare baking sheets (you’ll need 2 large or 3 regular) by lining them with parchment.
  7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 3 equal sized pieces.  Working with one piece, roll into a 10-inch circle.  Brush with butter, then use a pizza cutter to slice dough into 8 wedges.
  8. Take a sliced piece and roll, starting from the wide end, up to the pointed end and place pointed side down on the baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough.
  9. Cover rolls with clean towels or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray and let rise for 45 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 325°F and adjust racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  11. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until rolls are golden.  Do not let them get too dark.
  12. Bake third sheet of rolls if necessary.
  13. Serve warm or let cool completely before packing up to serve later or freeze.

Pâte a Choux Funnel Cakes

It’s fair season!  Unfortunately it’s looking more and more likely that we won’t be able to make it to the State Fair of Texas up in Dallas this year.  But that isn’t going to stop me from bringing the fair home!

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Let’s be honest, everyone looks forward to going to the fair to enjoy some fried food.  Corn dogs, fried oreos, fried maragritas, and of course funnel cakes.  My fondest memories of funnel cakes are not actually enjoying them at the fair but at Schlitterbahn after a day in the water and sun with my summer league swim team.  I’d go get one just as the sun was beginning to dip down and they were about to close down for the day.  Something about the hot crunchy dough pieces covered in a thick layer of powdered sugar still makes me smile.

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I’ve never made funnel cakes before.  I don’t have a deep fryer and don’t really like to fry food in my kitchen.  It makes a mess and then there’s the issue of dealing with all that oil when you’re done.  Surprisingly these didn’t spatter and create a mess and I found these great tips for how to dispose of or save your cooking oil.  There might just be more frying in my future.

The dough is pate a choux, the same dough used to make cream puffs and eclairs.  It is an eggy dough that bakes up nice and puffy.  It sounds fancy, but isn’t at all complicated.

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Instead of a funnel a plastic bag is used to pipe the dough into the oil.  Cut a smaller hole than you think you need from the bag.  You can always cut a bit more if you need, but if you cut it too big you’ll have to transfer the dough to a new bag and start over.  That happened to me.

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While I had grand plans to make all of these the same size I wound up with a wide variety of sizes and shapes.  But they all tasted equally as delicious!  These are best eaten immediately so be sure to have some hungry folks (toddlers are good funnel cake eaters!) to help you enjoy these tasty treats.

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Pâte a Choux Funnel Cakes

From Alton Brown

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup eggs, about 4 large eggs and 2 whites
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Powdered sugar, for topping

Directions

  1. In a medium sized saucepan bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil over high heat.
  2. Once it boils add the flour and lower the heat to medium low.  Stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms a ball and a film forms on the bottom of the pan.  Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Let cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. With mixer on low speed add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to wait until the egg is incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Once all the eggs have been added transfer dough to a large plastic bag.
  5. Heat oil in a saucepan, about 1 1/2 inches deep, to 350-375°F.
  6. Cut a small corner from the bag and pipe dough out in a circular/swirling pattern, making the cake as big or as small as you like.  Let cook for a minute or two, depending on the amount of dough used, then flip and cook until desired doneness.  I like mine a little darker, but you may prefer them lighter.
  7. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels before dusting with powdered sugar.
  8. Repeat with the rest of the dough, making sure your oil is kept between 350 and 375°F.  Too cool and the dough absorbs too much oil, too hot and it burns.  Increase and lower the heat as needed to keep it in the sweet spot.

Fall Vegetable Tart with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

Fall is coming! Here in Southeast Texas we enjoyed a “cold front” this past weekend.  The mornings were slightly chilly and the days incredibly pleasant.  This week it’s humid and hot again.  But the promise of cooler weather is near.  And cooler weather means comfort food and cute coats and sweaters for my kids.

This fall tart recipe comes from the latest issue of Fine Cooking which I received last week and I’ve already made this twice.  I can see it appearing in our dinner rotation many more times in the coming months.  I love roasted vegetables.  I love goat cheese.  I love savory pie crust.  And so naturally, I love this tart.  It is incredible.

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You can make this from start to finish in a couple of hours, or you can make the vegetables ahead of time and simply assemble and bake the tart when you’re ready.  I’ve done it both ways now.

The combination of vegetables (butternut squash, carrot, cauliflower and red bell pepper) is great.  The recipe calls for leeks, but I decided to use a yellow onion instead.  I didn’t make a great grocery list and ended up using my only onion in another dish so I left out the onion entirely.  The tart didn’t suffer a bit.  The measurements in the recipe below are from the magazine, but I didn’t really measure.  I’m sure I used a bit more, maybe heaping amounts of those listed here.

After roasting the vegetables you mix in a bunch of chopped proscuitto.  That’s magic right there.  Magic.

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The dough is simply flour, butter, cream cheese and a pinch of salt.  It comes together in a food processor in no time and doesn’t need to be chilled before being rolled out.  However, this means you absolutely must roll it out onto parchment paper.  I made the mistake of rolling it out on the counter the first time and won’t do that again.  Since this is a rustic tart you don’t need to worry too much about how neat the edges of your dough are.

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After you roll out your dough you spread some softened goat cheese on it.  Again, there’s magic happening in your kitchen right about now.  Be sure the goat cheese is room temperature or it will pull too much on the dough and rip it.  I know from experience.

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On top of the cheese goes the vegetables.

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Fold up the edges, brush with a beaten egg and bake.  I baked mine on a pizza stone the second time with great results, but a cookie sheet works well, too.

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After cooling for a few minutes, slice and serve and enjoy.  It’s so amazing warm, but I ate a slice cold from the fridge as I was running out the door at lunchtime and it was still delicious.  As far as reheating goes you need to be prepared for a slightly soggy bottom crust.  But again, still delicious.  If you’re serving this to at least 4 people you probably won’t need to worry about leftovers, though.

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Fall Vegetable Tart with Goat Cheese and Prosciuttio

From Fine Cooking

Ingredients

Dough

  • 6 ounces (1 1/3 cups) flour
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter cut into chunks
  • 6 ounces cold cream cheese (low fat is fine) cut into chunks
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg for egg wash

Filling

  • olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots (1/2 inch thick half moons)
  • 3/4 cup sliced leek (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in to bite sized pieces
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature

Directions

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Toss the vegetables together with rosemary, thyme 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Transfer to a 9×13 pan, cover tightly with foil and roast for 30-40 minutes until just fork tender.
  4. Let cool for 10-15 minutes then add in the prosciutto.

Dough

  1. Put flour, butter, cream cheese and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the dough just begins to come together.
  2. Place a large piece of parchment on the counter and sprinkle with a little flour.  Turn dough out onto the parchment and bring together with your hands, sprinkling with more flour if needed.
  3. Roll dough out onto the parchment into a roughly 16-inch round.

Assemble

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Transfer parchment to a cookie sheet or pizza stone and trim any excess parchment that hangs off the sheet or stone.
  3. Spread goat cheese onto the dough leaving a 1 1/2 inch border.
  4. Pile vegetable evenly on top of the goat cheese.
  5. Fold edges of the dough over the vegetables, then brush with beaten egg.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Daring Bakers: Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolache

I’m not sure about other parts of the country, but anyone from central Texas isn’t wondering what a kolache is.  As a kid I have fond memories of stopping in West, Texas , a Czech community on I-35 in between Austin and Dallas, for kolaches.  I made them once in college, right when I was beginning to really enjoy baking, but I haven’t made them since, which is a shame!  I was really excited to have the opportunity to try them again this month.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolaches | Hottie Biscotti

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

We were given the option of making 3 different types of kolaches.  I’d never heard of the first two types, Prague Kolach and Kolache from Chodsko.  Both looked so beautiful but were larger scale, more like a cake or tart, and would be better for a group breakfast.  The Moravian kolaches are the type I am more familiar with and they lend themselves better to sharing and enjoying over a few days since they are individual servings.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolaches | Hottie Biscotti

My favorite kind of kolache are cream cheese and fruit filled.  The recipe we were given for this month used a quark filling, something I’d never heard of.  After looking in to it I found that it’s a cheese spread, somewhat similar to cream cheese.  Instead of searching it out I opted to follow the same instructions and use the dough recipe provided but make a cream cheese filling.  I took another short cut and bought a can of raspberry filling instead of making my own.

The dough recipe seemed weird to me, powdered sugar instead of granulated.  I looked up quite a few other recipes before finally deciding to just go with the one we were given.  It turned out really well!  It rose nicely, was a breeze to roll out and cut and tasted just like kolache bread should.

When I made kolaches 10 years ago I rolled them into balls, made a little hole in the center and filled it with the fruit.  These kolaches are interesting in their assembly.  You divide the dough into discs, flatten it out, dollop on some cream cheese filling, wrap the dough around it and then make an indentation for the fruit.  It creates more of a layer of cream cheese that melds with the bread instead of a mass of cream cheese filling.  Since this was my first time making these I went easy on the filling and had quite a bit left.  I’d definitely use more cream cheese filling next time.

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I loved the raspberry filling, nice and tart and it paired well with the cream cheese and the bread.  Poppy seed is traditional and I have seen many recipes with prune/plum filling.  I had grand plans to make another batch with pumpkin filling, but my grand plans rarely come to fruition.  Maybe next time.

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The streusel topping, posypka, is beautiful and delicious.  Don’t skip it and don’t skimp on it!  You won’t use all of the recipe below, but it freezes well.  So save it for later or make another batch of kolache.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolaches | Hottie Biscotti

These are best the day they’re made, but are still quite good for a couple days, especially warmed just slightly in the microwave.  Just watch out for the fruit filling.  It gets really hot and your mouth will not forgive you for days.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolaches | Hottie Biscotti

If you haven’t tried kolache before, I encourage you to!  They’re fun to make and will yield tasty rewards.  Enjoy!

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Moravian Kolache

Makes 10 large kolaches

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup milk, warm
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 4 teaspoons yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk

Fruit Filling

  • 1 can fruit or poppy seed filling

Posypka (Streusel)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, chilled

 Directions

Dough

  1. In a small bowl mix together yeast and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.  Add 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) warm milk, mix well and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. In a bowl of your electric mixer (or in a large bowl) mix flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, butter, milk and leavened yeast.  Knead with dough hook (or with wooden spoon) on low speed for about 10 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one to two hours until doubled in volume.

Cream Cheese Filling

  1. Beat together all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Posypka

  1. Using a pastry blender combine all ingredients and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 340°F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Roll gently to a thickness of about 1 cm.  Using a 3-inch cutter make as many rounds as you can.  Re roll the scraps and cut as many more as you can.
  3. Take a dough round and flatten it a bit more.  Scoop on some of the cream cheese mixture, about 1 tablespoon.  Gather the dough around the cream cheese and pinch it together.  Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Place 5-6 on each cookie sheet, well spaced.
  4. Brush the tops of each with egg wash and using the back of a spoon make an indentation in each.  Fill with raspberry filling and sprinkle with posypka.
  5. Bake one sheet at a time, 15-20 minutes until tops are beginning to become golden.
  6. Let cool briefly and then eat up!

Weikel’s House Special Cookie Copy Cat

There is a place right off of highway 71 in La Grange, Texas, between Houston and Austin, called Weikel’s where you can stop for gas and get a snack.  If you ever make this drive you have definitely driven by and likely stopped at a similar spot called Hruska’s.  It’s right on the highway in Ellinger and impossible to miss.  But Hruska’s has nothing on Weikel’s, in my opinion.  They’re both gas stations with bakeries serving cookies, kolaches, etc.  Hruska’s, which also offers sausages and lunch/dinner items, had been my go-to stop until my in-laws brought some cookies and shortbread bars to us from Weikel’s.  I haven’t gone back since.

Weikel's House Special Cookies Copy Cat | Hottie Biscotti

Every time I stop here I get cookies for the kids, usually whatever Carson wants and plain sugar for Betsy to keep the mess to a minimum.  I also get a box of house special cookies and a cherry shortbread.  The house special cookies are indeed special and I’ve been wanting to duplicate them for some time.  I might be on my way to doing that with these!

Weikel's House Special Cookies Copy Cat | Hottie Biscotti

The house special is a crispy, crunchy cookie that has cornflakes, oats, pecans and coconut.  There is no butter on the ingredient list, only shortening.  So that could account for the difference in texture between mine and theirs.  I also left out the oats.  But the flavor is very similar and I am real excited that I won’t have to drive to La Grange to get my cookie fix!

However, if I had to choose between mine and Weikel’s I’d still choose Weikel’s.  There’s just something really special about them, and something about the experience of stopping with my kids that makes them better somehow.  And maybe it’s about having someone else make them, like how a sandwich is almost always better when someone else makes it for you than if you make it yourself.  Anyway, be sure to grab one (or a box of 6) if you ever stop by.  Then try this recipe and give me some feedback!  I’d love to truly duplicate these tasty cookies.

Weikel's House Special Cookies Copy Cat | Hottie Biscotti

Weikel’s House Special Cookie Copy Cat

Makes 18-20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cornflakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Beat butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in the oil, granulated sugar, powdered sugar and egg, beating between each addition.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl, add the vanilla and mix again.
  3. Add in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix just to combine.
  4. Fold in the cornflakes, pecans and coconut making sure that it is evenly mixed.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Scoop into large balls (about 2 tablespoons) and place on cookie sheet (6-8 cookies per sheet) and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes on the sheet then move to a wire rack.

Kitty Cat Cake

For my daughter’s 2nd birthday I wanted to make a cake that she’d appreciate not only for its sugar content but for its appearance.  This kitty cat cake was perfect for my animal loving girl!

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All you need for this cake are 2 8-inch round cakes, no need for a uni-tasking cat shaped pan.  And you don’t have to do much cake shaping, either.  Leave one cake whole and cut the other in to a head, ears and tail.

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This next step is the hardest.  Using your favorite frosting recipe, this is mine, stick the pieces together and then frost the cake, being careful around the cut edges.  This first coating of frosting is your crumb coat, so a few crumbs are ok and it doesn’t need to be totally covered.  You’ll do that next.

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Put the cake in the fridge for an hour or two, then frost another time to get a pretty, smooth and crumb-free layer.

Now you can decorate!  I colored some of my vanilla frosting pink and then I just bought a tube of black icing (this one from Wilton) because making your own black icing can be tough.

She was so excited when we put this cake in front of her.  Thankfully at 2 she didn’t care that it wasn’t perfectly frosted or that it kinda looked like a rabbit :)  Happy Birthday, sweet Betsy!

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Squash and Carrot Casserole with Feta and Parmesan

Slowly but surely I am getting back into the groove of making a proper dinner.  This dish has a pretty quick prep time and you can even put it together earlier in the day and bake it later.  It can be a side or your main dish.  So even on a busy weeknight you can have dinner together without much fuss.  And you can use up any summer squash you might have around!

Once at a pot luck dinner a friend brought this amazing, creamy, cheesy squash casserole.  She described the ingredients to me, but I never got the entire recipe.  When I saw this squash casserole on Pinterest I had to give it a try because it looked so similar. Squash and Carrot Casserole with Feta and Parmesan | Hottie Biscotti This casserole is different.  Less creamy and cheesy, more focus on the vegetables, which is really nice.  It’s flavorful, clean tasting, and delicious.  One of the main differences is that this one doesn’t use condensed cream soup, something I really have nothing against, but something that I don’t mind finding a replacement for if I can.  The original recipe calls for eggs and sour cream as the binders.  I used the eggs, but substituted greek yogurt and it turned out really well.

The feta gives a nice punch to the dish.  I mixed in some shredded carrots to add extra veggies and to help with some fridge clean out.  This is a really great side dish.  I served it with grilled pork tenderloin and bread.

The thyme is a great herb here, you can use fresh or dried.  I used a mixture of green and yellow squash, but you can use all of one type of course.  And something I think I might try next time is using goat cheese instead of feta because I love me some goat cheese.  Enjoy! Squash and Carrot Casserole with Feta and Parmesan | Hottie Biscotti

Squash and Carrot Casserole with Feta and Parmesan

Adapted slightly from Kitchen Escapades Serves 4-6 as a side dish Ingredients

  • 5-6 squash (mix of zucchini and yellow squash) sliced
  • 3-4 grated carrots
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • heaping half cup of crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large saucepan heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add in the squash and cook for a few minutes.  Add in the carrots and garlic and cook, stirring to keep the garlic from burning, until the squash just begins to soften.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk eggs and yogurt, then stir in the feta and parmesan.  Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and layer half of the squash in the pan.  Spread half of the yogurt mixture on top, then layer again with squash and then yogurt.  Sprinkle with a little extra feta if you have some!
  6. Bake for 45 minutes until top is golden brown.  Serve warm.  This reheats well for a light lunch.

Kale, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta Salad

My husband was recently gone for work for a month, making a visit home one weekend.  It was rough having him gone, but we had a ton of help from friends and family.  People have asked how I did it, and the answer is that I didn’t!  I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who visited, let us invade your homes and watched my kids.

One of the things that fell by the wayside when I was home with just the kids was cooking dinner for myself.  I’d almost always have some random meal of snacks or a frozen dinner.  But when I saw this dish I knew I’d be putting it together for dinner and enjoying it for a few meals.Kale, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta Salad | Hottie Biscotti

When cooking for one I find it best to make something that is either good cold or good reheated as leftovers.  As much as I love to cook, I don’t want to prep and cook a meal every evening.  Having a couple nights a week where I can eat what I’ve already prepared is really helpful.  This pasta salad is best the day you make it, but is good cold or warm as leftovers.

This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman.  I followed it almost exactly.  I added 6 slices of cooked, chopped bacon and then changed the cooking a little.  The reason for changing the cooking is not because I thought it would be better or easier, but because I didn’t read through the directions fully before I started…

Kale, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta Salad | Hottie Biscotti

I really like kale, but only when it’s been softened with some kind of dressing or if it’s been cooked.  It’s lightly cooked here, which makes it less bitter.  It’s also chopped into fairly small pieces, so it’s not overwhelming.  Full disclosure though, if you don’t like kale at all you probably won’t like this.  You could leave out the kale completely, but I think that it makes this dish not only lovely but also at least just a little good for me.

This garlic oil is incredible.  You could end the dish here and be good.  I’ll be using this again on other pasta dishes.

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The combination of pine nuts, bacon and parmesan is perfect.

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Serve this up right after assembling and eat any leftovers either cold or heat it up a bit.

Kale, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta Salad | Hottie Biscotti

Kale, Bacon and Parmesan Pasta Salad

Slightly Adapted from The Pioneer Woman  

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces of bowtie pasta
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped. drippings reserved
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed, dried, ribs removed and chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 3 ounces of shredded parmesan

Directions

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast the pine nuts, shaking them frequently to keep them from burning.  Once they are golden brown remove from the pan.
  2. In the same pan heat oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently to keep the garlic from burning.  Once it begins to turn golden turn off the heat and add in the salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta noodles according to package instructions, drain and rinse in cold water.  Transfer to a large serving bowl.
  4. In a large pan heat 2 teaspoons of bacon drippings over medium heat and add in the kale.  Cook until softened to your liking, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat.
  5. Add garlic oil, kale, bacon, parmesan and pine nuts to the pasta and toss to combine.

 

Daring Bakers: Ensaimadas

Cooking and baking and then blogging about it have not come easy for the last 2 months.  A new baby complicates things, in the most precious way possible of course.  During the baking and photographing of these tasty treats I was struggling to keep my older two from hurting each other and the little guy from getting too fussy.  Thankfully I was able to pull this challenge off!  Being a mom is a tough job, y’all.  Whew.

Daring Bakers: Ensaimadas | Hottie Biscotti

The August Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kurtoskalacs, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!

While a part of me really wanted to try the wedding pastry I just didn’t feel up to the challenge, so I chose the less daring challenge and made these lovely rolled breads.  They seemed so simple that I wasn’t sure if they’d be anything special.  They were in fact simple, but in a really special way.

Daring Bakers: Ensaimadas | Hottie Biscotti Daring Bakers: Ensaimadas | Hottie Biscotti

The dough is basic yeast dough, not too sweet.  After the first rise you divide the dough into four parts.  You roll each ball of dough into a long rectangle, spread it will softened butter and stretch it out very thin.  You roll that up into a long rope and then wind each rope into a spiral.  Let those rise again, then bake.

The original recipe calls for sprinkling these with powdered sugar after baking, but I was out of powdered sugar.  How this happened I do not know.  So I brushed the breads with egg wash and sprinkled them with raw sugar.  I really liked the textural difference this gave these breads.

As always, I am glad to have been introduced to something I otherwise would never have heard of.  Thanks, Swathi!

And thanks to this little guy who got out his play camera to help me take pictures.

Daring Bakers: Ensaimadas | Hottie Biscotti

Ensaimadas

Makes 4 large breads

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus 1/2 teaspoon for yeast)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • raw sugar

Directions

  1. Mix together warm water, yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl.  Let sit for 5 minutes, until it blooms.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook combine egg, olive oil, salt and sugar and stir.
  3. Add in flour and yeast mixture and knead for about 6 minutes.
  4. Remove from bowl and transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Flour a clean work surface and turn dough out.  Divide into 4 equal parts.
  7. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out into a rectangle, 4 by 8 inches.  Spread with 1 1/2 tablespoons of softened butter and then stretch the dough out to about 8 by 14 inches.
  8. Roll the dough from the long end into a tight rope.  Take the rope in your hands and try to get it into an even thickness and stretch it just a bit longer.
  9. Coil the rope into a loose snail shape onto the parchment lined sheet, so that there is some room for the dough to rise.  Repeat with the other dough balls.  Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  11. Beat the egg with a splash of water.  Brush onto each roll then sprinkle generously with sugar.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  13. Let cool slightly before serving.

Cherry Almond Biscotti

My mom is visiting this week and being a huge help with the kids while Ben is gone.  Along with her lovely self she brought a couple of recipes with her that she thought we could try together.  This biscotti is one of those and I am so very glad that we made them!  These are delicious.

Cherry Almond Biscotti | Hottie Biscotti


Almond is one of the flavors that I think of when I think of my mother.  That and pears.  She adores pears.  These biscotti have sliced almonds and cherries that have been soaked in amaretto which makes the almond flavor even more present and the cherries nice and plump.  I wonder how these would be with dried pears…

Cherry Almond Biscotti | Hottie Biscotti
The prep and cooking method for these is similar to most biscotti I have made.  One of the things that is different is on the second bake.  Instead of baking the sliced biscotti directly on the baking sheet you place them on wire racks in the oven to bake which I think crisps them up more evenly.  I’ll be doing this again for future biscotti. Cherry Almond Biscotti | Hottie Biscotti Try these as an accompaniment to your morning or afternoon coffee.  Or crumble them up over some ice cream.  Or just eat them, that’s the way my 2 year old seems to like them best.

Cherry Almond Biscotti

From a page torn from some Martha Stewart magazine Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup amaretto liquor
  • 3 cups flour (more for dusting)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs (3 for the cookies and 1 for brushing)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • raw sugar for sprinkling on the tops

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix cherries and amaretto in a small saucepan and heat over medium low for about 5 minutes.  Liquid should just simmer.  Drain and reserve the liquid.
  3. Sift flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
  4. Beat butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes.  Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing after each.  Mix in 2 tablespoons of cherry juice and vanilla.
  5. Add in the flour and mix just to combine, then add in cherries and almonds and mix to combine.
  6. Flour a work surface and turn dough out.  Divide in half and shape into two logs, about 12 inches long and 2 inches thick.
  7. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Pat logs down to about 3/4 inch thickness, about 4 inches wide and 12-14 inches long.
  8. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  The logs will be dark, but shouldn’t be burned.  Check the bottom of the logs at 25 minutes and remove from the oven if they seem dark.  Transfer to wire racks to cool for 20 minutes.
  10. Slice logs at an angle to the thickness you like, 15-20 slices per log.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
  11.  Transfer biscotti back to the rack and lay the slices on their sides.  You will have to do this in 2 batches.  Place the rack on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, flip biscotti over and bake for another 5-7 minutes.  Cook longer for a crispier biscotti and less for a softer one.  Let cool.  Store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze to enjoy later.