Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dessert Bread Recipe

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
Last night, I went to a tasting event at Whole Foods and tried a delicious Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast. I went home and had to reproduce something similar. I've been really into baking bread recently, so I made a delicious bread this morning, and I don't know what else to call it other than dessert bread. It tastes like all the goodness of bread pudding...but without all the cream/eggs (although that part is delicious, too!) In the recipe below, I added raisins & walnuts. Those were not in my original recipe, but would make an awesome addition.

Dessert Bread

2 1/4 c bread flour
1 egg
2/3 c warm water
1 stick room temperature butter, cubed
1 T sugar (I used turbinado)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
2 t yeast
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/3 c walnuts, chopped
1/3 c raisins
1/4 cup honey

1. In a larger mixer with a bread hook attachment, combine warm water and yeast. Add egg, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Continue to mix until the ingredients are well-combined. The dough will be sticky.

2. On a floured surface, need the dough briefly and place in a bowl for 30 mins to rise. Knead the dough for several minutes, and again place in the bowl for 30 minutes to rise.

3. Kneed the dough once more and add in the raisins, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Place on a greased cookie sheet to rise once more time.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the honey in a small dish in the microwave until it becomes very liquidy. After the dough has risen for a 3rd time, brush it with the honey. Place it in the oven to bake.

5. While cooking, at the 10 and 20-minute intervals, quickly brush the bread with honey. Bake the bread about 35 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown.

Eat immediately, while still warm and gooey!


Day 12 ~ Make a Food Bryce Can Try

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
Day 12 was 'Make a Food Bryce Can Try' and it happened to be fajita night at my sister's house. I'm a big fan of waiting until about 6 months to feed your child solid foods, but I am also a fan of encouraging children to explore. When we eat, Bryce basically attacks me to try to get at my food. He is so determined to try everything, that I have to put my plate practically on the other side of the table so he can't grab it. He is so interested in food!

So, I decided at 5 1/2 months, I'd let him try some super-mushy ripe avocado. I cubed it and put it on a plate, and let him mush it with his hands. If he wanted to play with it, he could. If he wanted to taste it, he could. I'm definitely not ready to feed him meals, but I don't mind him exploring the world around him, using all of his senses. Even when it's time to start eating 'meals,' I plan to just put soft finger foods on a surface for him to explore and taste. His main source of nutrients for the first year will be breastmilk, but I like that he has an interest in food. Definitely mommy's little guy!

Day 11 ~ Try a New Cooking Technique

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
'Try a new cooking technique' was not initially a part of my cooking challenge, but I decided to add it in as Day 11. I'm always open to trying new techniques ~ and this time I went with using my oven as a food dehydrator. We had so many strawberries (probably around 3 or 4 pounds) that I decided to make some fruit leather.

First I sliced the strawberries. I looked at some other recipes that said to add water, lemon juice, and sugar. I added a bit of each, but honestly, these were so ripe and juicy, I probably should've just stuck with strawberries only. 
Each time I sliced a berry, I think Lydia ate half of it (see her guilty full cheeks??)

Then I simmered the mixture for about a half hour.

I pureed it in a small food processor. If you want to remove the seeds, you can pour it through a sieve, but I liked the natural texture that the seeds give it.

Then I spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap. I set my oven to 170 degrees, and cooked the mixture 2-3 hours, until it was chewy (not sticky, but not brittle either).

Here's what the entire sheet looked like when I pulled it off the pan. 
The two random spots are where I poked my finger to see if it was still gooey.

I placed the fruit leather in the freezer for a few minutes to cool and firm. Lydia loved it! 

Day 10 ~ Make a Recipe w/Food We Picked

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
This past weekend, we visited Bedner's Farm again to pick fresh strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers. We even went with some friends this time!

Our food challenge for Day 12 was to create a meal with something we grew or picked. I decided to challenge myself to create a homemade ravioli with sauce from our fresh tomatoes.

The pasta itself is made by combining 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, two eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and about a half a cup blanched & pureed fresh spinach (squeezed to remove most of the liquid). I combined it using a mixer with dough hook attachment. I cut it into circles using a cookie cutter. They are filled with a mixture of chicken sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, sauteed onions & garlic, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese, placed in a food processor to chop finely. 

The sauce was really simple - sauteed garlic, onion, olive oil, tomatoes, and some Italian seasoning. The pasta, however, was a lot of work!  That part alone probably took me 2 hours. The good part was quite tasty! The texture of the pasta was perfect and the flavor was delicious.

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