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Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

Last weekend it finally RAINED here … and with the rain came a refreshing chill in the air that to me meant one thing … time to BAKE! I thought it would be fun to bake up something special for the kids for breakfast … I started the dough for cinnamon rolls and then the peaches in my big wooden bowl in my kitchen started calling to me. How could I ignore them? I started peeling and chopping peaches, made up some caramel sauce and created this wonderful new thing.

My picky kids didn’t like the idea of peaches in their caramel rolls, so I did one pan with peaches, one without. They don’t know what they’re missing! These peachy little wonders take a while to make, but they are the perfect treat for brunch on a cool rainy day.

Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

In addition to the caramel sauce and the dough, you’ll need about 10 medium ripe peaches.

Sweet Roll Dough

  • 1 1/3 cups cold water
  • 4 t. yeast (or about 2 packets)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. vanilla

Put all the ingredients in  the bread machine and start it up on the dough setting. Now get to work on the peaches and prepare the caramel.

Peel, pit and chop about 10 medium peaches into small pieces (or just 5 if you have picky kids like me and you’re doing one pan with peaches, one without).

Simple Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 6 T. butter
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1-2 T. water
  • 1 t. vanilla

Put the brown sugar, cinnamon and butter into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power until the butter is melted. Stir together to mix, then add 1 T. water and vanilla. If the caramel sauce looks too thick, add a bit more water.

Preparing the Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

To see step-by-step photos for making rolls like this (along with some cute little helper hands!), see my Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls recipe.

(This is a really fun project for kids, by the way. If you have little ones, they can help sprinkle and cut the rolls. If you have teenagers like me, they’ll probably sleep in till mid-afternoon and roll out of bed long after the rolls are done.)

  1. When the dough is ready, dust a large clean surface with flour and roll it out into a long rectangular shape. The dough will resist getting any bigger after a while and will want to spring back into a smaller shape.
  2. Now spray the dough with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar so you get it all covered with the cinnamon sugary goodness.
  3. Now sprinkle on a layer of chopped peaches all over the dough.
  4. Prepare your pan(s). I had to use two pans to hold all the rolls: one was a glass pie pan  and the other was a round inch baking dish. Spray them with cooking spray, then pour in the caramel sauce and sprinkle with peaches. I sprinkled some pecans on one, and left the other one without nuts.
  5. Now take the dough and roll it into a long log-shape. You can pinch the edges to “seal” if you like, but I usually don’t bother.
  6. Get some dental floss and pull out a long string. This is what you’re going to use to cut the dough. About 1 1/2 – 2 inches from the end of the roll, wrap the floss around the roll so it crosses on top, then pull on the strings to cut the dough.Cutting the caramel rolls
  7. Take the roll and place it in the pan with the loose edge up against the side of the pan. Then cut the rest of the log into rolls about 1 1/2 – 2 inches long and place them in the prepared pan(s) leaving some space between them to allow them room to rise. Try to place the loose edges of each roll either up against the edge of the pan or next to another roll.
  8. Now spray the tops of the dough with cooking spray and set them somewhere to rise. Cover them with a towel and put them somewhere warm. If you have an over-the-oven microwave, you can put them the microwave with the stove light on. The stove light just under the microwave makes it a nice place for the dough to rise. (You don’t need to cover them if you rise them in the microwave.) … Another great place for rising dough is in the oven. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting (usually 170 degrees F.) and then turn the oven off. Place the rolls in the warm oven covered with a towel. … It takes a while for the dough to rise. At least an hour, sometimes two. Once the rolls are big and poofy and they have filled up all the empty spaces in the pan, they are ready to bake.
  9. Put the caramel rolls in an oven at 325 degrees F.  for about 40- 50 minutes. I like to cover them with aluminum foil for about the first 20 minutes to keep them from getting too brown. You want the dough to be cooked through and the tops to be a lovely golden brown. If you press on one of the middle rolls lightly, it should be firm, not gooey.
  10. Immediately place another pan or serving tray on top of the rolls and turn them upside down to invert them. It’s important to invert them right away to allow the caramel sauce to drip down over the rolls and to keep them from getting stuck in the pan you baked them in. These rolls are best eaten fresh  and hot from the oven, but they can be covered, saved and reheated briefly in the microwave.

Peachy Perfect Caramel Rolls

This is a #peachlove post.

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This recipe was also shared at Tastetastic ThursdayThursday’s Treasures, Foodie Friends Friday, Scrumptious Sunday and Weekend Potluck.


Silvia’s Italian Focaccia

Silvia's Italian Focaccia

Last night Silvia’s Cucina shared a beautiful authentic Italian focaccia and it made me soooo hungry for focaccia that I went in the kitchen and made it right away. I already had focaccia on my mind after Sherron’s amazing caramelized onion & garlic focaccia and was dying for some good homemade bread after our travels. I was tempted to add some caramelized onions or tomato or cheese or something, but it was late and I thought perhaps I had just enough time before bed to make a simple focaccia.

I’m very glad I did. A slice of focaccia and a glass of wine was the perfect end to my day, and now I have a whole pan of delicious homemade focaccia to make sandwiches and things with!

Silvia says this recipe is from her brother, a professional Chef who made Focaccia daily when he worked at “Il Genovese” , in Milan in the late 90′s. I cheated and used my bread machine to mix up and knead the dough, though, so I’m not sure that mine has the same texture as hers did.  I did the glaze wrong as well, forgot the water and added some Italian seasoning & granulated garlic, so I’m guessing the top is quite a bit softer than hers. Make sure you pop over and look at her recipe if you want a more authentic Italian focaccia.

Silvia's Italian Focaccia

Silvia’s Italian Focaccia

  • 1 tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 3/4 cup water (I had to add a little extra water because the dough wasn’t sticking together properly)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the glaze : 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil , 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic.
  • For the top: chia seeds (or other seeds … optional … I just thought it would be fun to dust my bread with chia seeds)

Put all the ingredients except the glaze into a bread machine and put it on the dough setting. I was in a rush and only let the machine go for about 45 minutes, then I took the dough out, rolled it, folded it (as Silvia did), and stretched it to fit my 13 x 9 x2 inch pan. I turned the oven on the lowest setting (170 F), then shut off the oven, covered the pan and set it in the oven to rise. In about 30 minutes I checked it and it had puffed up quite nicely, so I poked it all over with my finger and then drizzled it with the glaze, then covered it again and set it in the oven for about 15 minutes to puff up a little more.

I sprinkled it with some chia seeds and baked it at 390 F for about 20 minutes, until it was a nice golden brown.

Silvia's Italian Focaccia

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck and Cast Party Wednesday.


Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

{guest post from Simply Gourmet Photography}

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Hello everyone! I’m off on vacation … so today Sherron from Simply Gourmet Photography has volunteered to “blog-sit” on Sumptuous Spoonfuls. Sherron is an incredibly talented photographer and an amazing cook (as I’m guessing you can tell from the photo …). Sherron has inspired me in so many ways. Her dark chocolate peanut butter granola  was one of my favorite posts … but now I think I have a new favorite. This gorgeous foccaccia.

Take it away, Sherron!

~~~~~~~

I am so excited to be sharing my recipe for focaccia bread with Sumptuous Spoonfuls.  Ann is wonderful and she has always been so supportive of my blog and photography.

It will be one year in June when I started my blog, Simply Gourmet Photography.  I have been taking pictures for a long time and just happened to be asked to work with some amazing companies as a food photographer.  I recently moved to MD and was needing a change, so I started the blog with the hope that new opportunities would come my way and they have.  I am now a writer for one of our local magazines and I enjoy it very much.  I still get to take pictures, develop recipes and write.

One thing that I love about Ann’s recipes is that they are fresh.  I love her salads the most!  She has inspired me on more than one occasion to create a fun salad and dressing.  What better accompaniment to a salad than a fresh loaf of bread.

I love bread and I make bread a lot for my family.  I have the easy one hour recipes and then I have the all day, double rise, let sit over night recipes.  I enjoy them all. I love the way the dough feels in my hands after it has risen, so soft and airy.  I find the process of making bread creative.  There are so many types of breads, toppings, flours and styles. You could never get bored with making bread.

This recipe for focaccia has been made numerous times for my family.  I especially like to make it for sandwiches and big parties.  It makes two loaves and the options for toppings are endless.  This flavor of the caramelized onion and grilled garlic is my favorite.  I will make this focaccia and use the bread for French Dips.  It holds up great for a sandwich and the onion/garlic combination compliments the beef well.

I look forward to hearing how you have enjoyed it.

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Focaccia

Makes 2 loaves

To make the caramelized onions you will need:

1 large red onion, sliced
1 T. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Splash of red wine

In a large sauté pan, add oil.  Add the sliced onion and cook over medium heat.  The onions will start to turn a light brown and then gradually become darker.  If you need to add a bit more oil go ahead.  You don’t want them to get dry.  When the onions are dark brown, add your splash of red wine.  This step is optional but it does add a deep rich flavor to the onion.  Continue cooking until the onions are dark, not burnt.  The process takes about 25 minutes depending on how many onions you have.  If you only use half of the
onion, the cook time may be shorter.

To make the grilled garlic:

1-2 bulbs of garlic
1/3 cup of olive oil

Cut the ends off of each garlic bulb.  Brush the ends with the olive oil. On your BBQ, set your grill to 350 and grill the garlic until browned on both sides. This can also be done in your oven, but you will miss the grill flavor. They should be done at around 15 minutes.  I try to do a bunch at this time and then store the extra’s in the fridge.  When they are cooked, I remove the cloves and smash into a small bowl with 4 T. of olive oil, this will be used on the focaccia bread.

To make the loaves of focaccia:

2 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
4-5 cups of flour, start with the smallest amount and add as needed
5 T. of olive oil

Toppings for focaccia:

coarse salt
pepper
fresh herbs or dried (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
olive oil
grilled garlic (recipe above)
caramelized onions (recipe above)

Prepare the yeast by adding the water, yeast and sugar to a small bowl.  Set aside for 5 minutes until it starts to bubble.  If your yeast does not create a foam/bubbly top then you may need to start over.

In your Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle, add the salt, 3 cups of flour and 2 T. of olive oil.  Start to mix together and add yeast mixture.  Mix well. Let rest 10 minutes.

Change from the paddle to your bread hook.  On medium speed, add a 1/4 cup of flour at a time until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the bottom of the bowl.  Because my humidity is so high I usually end up adding more than 5 cups-just add it in 1/4 cup increments and you won’t add too much.

Knead in your mixer for 7 minutes. Move dough to an oiled glass bowl and let rise until double.

When the dough has doubled, turn onto a floured surface and knead for one minute.  Cut dough in half.

Preheat your oven to 400.

Prepare your cookie sheet.  Spray or oil the sheet then sprinkle some cornmeal across the cookie sheet.

The two focaccia loaves should fit side by side on your cookie sheet.  With your hands pull and push the dough into a small rectangle to fit on half of the cookie sheet.  Leave an inch in between the two loaves.  It will be uneven, this is okay.  It should look like little hills and valleys over the top of each loaf.

Take a pastry brush and brush the olive oil and grilled garlic over the top of both loaves.  It will pool and look like a lot, this is okay as it all cooks into the focaccia.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Next, add the caramelized onions.

The final step is adding your herbs and coarse salt.  I used dried herbs in this recipe.  I sometimes use fresh and I love that too.  I usually use an Italian spice blend or you can use oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme.

Bake the loaves for 20 minutes.  The focaccia bread should be golden brown. We slice ours into 1 inch chunks.

I will often serve the focaccia with a dipping mixture of: extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, Italian herbs and salt.  My guests love it!

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Foccaccia

Take a moment to go like Sherron on facebook or Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did!


Italian Garlic Pizza Crusts

Boboli Style Pizza Crust

This is another one of those recipes I’ve been making for years. It’s a Boboli-style pizza crust that is delicious plain … or topped with just about anything you like to put on a pizza. My son loves to eat this garlicky Italian “flatbread” plain, with no toppings. Sometimes my daughter and I will slice one into wedges and dip it in olive oil. I like to have a few in the freezer ready to top whenever we need a quick meal. This time I made them for my daughter’s birthday party. We thought the girls would enjoy making their own pizzas. It was a great hit, and so fun to see what each girl put on her pizza. One girl took a big sniff of the crust, exclaimed she could eat a whole one just like this, and took a few bites out of it before she put the toppings on her pizza. It was really cute.

Here’s the party setup with all the toppings set out. There’s just one problem with this setup: not enough meat. I use so many vegies on my pizzas and just a tiny bit of meat, I forget how much meat other people like on their pizza. We ran out of sausage and pepperoni. (Luckily I had some more in the freezer!)

Pizza Party

Italian Garlic (Boboli-Style) Pizza Crust

Adapted from Food.com. Makes 3 normal-size crusts or 6 individual-size crusts.

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water (plus extra if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. (It doesn’t have to be in exact order, just make sure to bury the garlic under the flour.)
  2. Put the bread machine on the dough setting and press start. A few minutes after starting, check the dough. If it’s not sticking together properly, add a little extra water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to form into a ball.
  3. When the dough cycle is complete, divide the dough into several equal parts. I’m making individual crusts for a teenage birthday party, so I divided mine into 6 parts. This makes a pretty good-sized individual crust. For smaller ones, divide into 8 pieces. For normal-sized pizza, divide into 3 parts.
  4. Shape each piece of dough into a disc shape, cover and let rest for a few minutes.
  5. One at a time (keeping the rest of the pieces covered) on a clean surface dusted with cornmeal, with a rolling pin, roll each piece of the dough into a circle. Mine turned out to be about 8 inches in diameter.
  6. If you have a pizza stone, set each round on a flat surface dusted with cornmeal that will allow you to easily slide the crust onto the stone. I used the back of my cookie sheets and a couple cutting boards. If not, put the pizza crusts on cookie sheets or pizza pans. Spray the crusts with cooking spray, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until the crusts are as thick as you want them. I wasn’t sure how thick the girls would want their crusts so I went for a medium rise; I think it took about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425, prick the crusts with a fork to keep them from puffing up in awkward spots, and bake until the crusts are golden brown. You can put these crusts in a bag and freeze them for future meals. They will keep well for a month or two.

Boboli Style Pizza Crust

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Thursday’s Treasures, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Smoky Stuffed Pepperoni Pull Apart Rolls

Post #3 of 5 in my Five Favorite Things for my Five Thousand Foodie Friends series …

Smoky Pepperoni Cheese Stuffed Pull Apart Rolls

#1 was salad. #2 was dip. #3 is BREAD! You might have noticed if you’ve hung around this blog very much that I adore making bread. There’s no better smell in a home than a loaf of fresh bread in the oven …

This time I wanted to stuff some pull apart rolls with pepperoni, but I wanted something kinda different to compliment the pepperoni. So I made up a smoky cheese mixture to compliment the pepperoni. I was SO excited once the idea came to me. It’s got three kinds of cheese, some smoked paprika and basil.

I think baking bread for me is sometimes kind of like art: you have a picture in your mind of what you want it to be, but once you begin making it, it takes on a life of its own. That is exactly what happened here. I had a vague notion, but I didn’t really know what I was going to put in the bread when I walked into the kitchen.

If you wanted to make these meatless, try mixing a steamed vegetable with the smoky cheese mixture. I think broccoli would be nice, or maybe asparagus?

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Stuffed Pull Apart Rolls

Smoky Stuffed Pepperoni Pull Apart Rolls

Dough ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

Smoky cheese filling ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • A small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 2 Tablespoons)

You’ll also need:

  • 12 thin pepperoni slices
  • 1 egg white (for brushing the tops)
  • Sesame or poppy seeds (for the top, if desired)

Put all the dough ingredients into a bread machine and set it on the dough setting. When the dough is ready, roll it out on a clean surface dusted with flour as thin as you can manage without tearing the dough. Cut the dough into circles with a biscuit cutter or a glass or cookie cutter. It doesn’t even have to be round: you can just cut squares with a knife.

Take a piece of the dough and place a slice of pepperoni on it, then top with a small ball of the smoky cheese mixture.

Place a piece of pepperoni on the dough and top with a half spoonful of the cheese mixture.

Place a piece of pepperoni on the dough an top with a small ball of the smoky cheese mixture

Pinch up the sides of the dough, like this:

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Then pinch together the other sides to seal in the filling:

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Place the little balls of dough pinched side down in a muffin pan sprayed with cooking spray. You should have enough filling to make 12 “muffins”, but you may have some extra bread dough left at the end. You can make that into some plain rolls or a little loaf of bread.

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Spray the dough with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel, and let the pan rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or so or till your little rolls are nice and puffy.

Bake rolls at 350 for about 20 – 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown color on top. Serve hot. If there are any leftovers, keep them in the fridge and re-warm in the microwave.

Smoky Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

This recipe was shared at Full Plate ThursdaysWeekend PotluckFabulous Fridays, and Strut your Stuff Saturdays.


Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

There’s something so comforting and homey about baking bread. Every once in a while I like to make an old-fashioned bread, something like my grandmother might have made when I was a little girl. Memories of her house are so full of the scent of homemade bread. Gram (as we called her) was always baking bread, buns, or pie. Of course she did it all by hand. This little wooden cutting board is one of the things I was lucky enough to inherit from Gram, along with a LOT of bread pans, including a bunch of adorable mini-bread pans that my daughter and I both love, and some regular-sized loaf pans too. In fact, I think it was one of her loaf pans that I used for baking this bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal (the recipe calls for the old-fashioned rolled oats, but I used the quick-cooking oatmeal and it worked fine)
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk + a little extra

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program machine for the dough cycle, and press Start. About 10 minutes into the cycle, check the dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or milk–I had to add a little more milk. It should be holding together well and forming a nice ball of supple dough.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it’s crested 1″ to 2″ over the rim of the pan.
  3. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F or the dough sounds “hollow” when you thump the top of it. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking. I didn’t need to tent it. The color came out a beautiful golden brown.

If you don’t have a bread machine, see King Arthur’s site for traditional instructions.

I used one of my new favorite bread spreads on my first slice of honey oatmeal bread … a mixture of light cream cheese and a bit of kumquat syrup. My son came home from his dad’s house today and the first thing he wanted was two slices of bread, toasted, with peanut butter and grape jelly. And a big glass of milk. He was happy I had some bread made when he got home. I’m happy he’s decided it’s okay to eat mom’s homemade bread.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Full Plate Thursdays,  Tastetastic Thursdays, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Citruslove: Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

I was searching the internet looking for interesting recipes to make with my kumquats … when I found this recipe for Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread. When I read the ingredients and his description of it, I was totally entranced. This is what Chef Ron Oliver says about the bread:

“This is a yeast-leavened cornbread – more of an artisanal bread than your typical quick cornbread that is leavened with baking powder. The addition of olive oil is a signature of Portuguese cornbreads, and the kumquats, which grow abundantly in Central Portugal add a nice touch of fruitiness to complement the fruity olive oil.”

So really this bread is not much like a cornbread. It’s soft and moist and almost orange-flavored, but not quite. There is just a slight crunch from the cornmeal, and lovely little flecks of orange color from the candied kumquats. I don’t know quite how to describe it other than to say it is an amazing taste sensation.

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

Adapted from Chef Ron Oliver

Makes 1 10-inch round bread

  • 3 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup candied kumquats (Recipe here … or use Kumquat Conserve), finely chopped (measure after chopped–I used my handi chopper and chopped them up till they were almost a puree)

Bread machine instructions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine. Set the bread machine on the dough setting and start it up.
  2. When the dough is ready, pull it out and shape it to fit in a 9 or 10 inch round pan (Chef Oliver suggests a springform pan, but I used one of my pottery dishes.)
  3. Spray or brush with oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and let it rise for an hour or so until the dough is big and puffy.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour … if the bread is getting too dark brown during baking, cover it with foil. I covered mine after about 30 minutes of cooking.

If you don’t have a bread machine, see Chef Ron Oliver’s Instructions.

Chef Oliver suggests serving it with an Almond Parsley butter, but I decided it needed something creamy. So I took an ounce or so of light cream cheese mixed with a small spoonful of the kumquat syrup (from candying the kumquats) and that creamy sweet-citrus taste was absolutely heaven on this bread.

Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread

I had a hard time stopping myself from inhaling the whole loaf. And it’s a BIG loaf. I managed to stop myself after two good-size wedges … and now I’m imagining the sandwich I am going to make with this flippin’ amazing kumquat bread tomorrow.

This recipe was shared at CitrusloveNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Tastetastic Thursdays, It’s a Keeper ThursdaysMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays and  Katherine Martinelli’s Citrus Bloghop.

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Soft and Fluffy Do-Ahead Dinner Rolls

Soft Fluffy Sweet Dinner Rolls you can Make Ahead of Time

My sister found this dinner roll recipe. I have no idea where she got it. She thought we ought to make it for the holidays one year. So we tried it, and they are just lovely. Buttery, slightly sweet, soft and fluffy: the perfect dinner roll. The nicest part is you can do all the “hard” work ahead of time, then pull them out and just let them rise and bake up fresh on the day of the big feast!

Thanksgiving dinner can be such a rush, it’s nice to have a few things you can make ahead of time that you don’t have to mess with too much on Thanksgiving.

We often make these at times when we don’t have a feast planned–we make just the rolls or maybe one or two other things. My kids will eat and eat and eat them. There aren’t that many things we all agree on when it comes to food, but these rolls are true common ground for my family.

Dinner Rolls from Heaven :)

Soft and Fluffy Do-Ahead Dinner Rolls

Her original recipe was slightly different … I can never follow a recipe … I cut the butter in half and I substituted some whole wheat flour for part of the bread flour. The amazing thing is the rolls stay nice and fluffy even with the whole wheat flour!

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your rolls)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast

Put the ingredients in the order listed into a bread machine and put it on the dough setting.

Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan with cooking spray.

When the dough is done, pull it out of the bread machine. Shape pieces of dough into nice balls by pulling the top of the dough down with two fingers and pinching it underneath. It really takes two hands to do this effectively so I had a hard time taking a picture of this part of the process … try to make the balls roughly the same size.

Making the dough into balls

Place the balls into the baking pan allowing a good amount of space around each one so it has space to rise. I couldn’t fit all my dough balls into this pan. I got out a small casserole pan to bake the rest in.

Dinner Rolls in their Pan

Now you have two options: you can let the dough rise and bake it today … or you can cover the pan and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 4 days. I have a nice cover for my 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan so it was quite easy for me to just put the cover on and stick it in the fridge.

On the day you want to eat your rolls, take the rolls and put them in a warm place to rise until they are big and puffy. Rising time will vary depending on how warm your “warm place” is … anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  (You might notice the lighting has changed … yes, it’s dark out and a day later and I’m ready to bake my dinner rolls now!)

Big and Poofy All Ready to Bake

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 – 20 minutes. If they seem to be getting too dark too fast, cover them with aluminum foil for part of the cooking process. Uncover in the last few minutes to let them brown.

Spray the lovely rolls with cooking spray to soften the tops before serving to your hungry crowd.

If you have any leftovers, these rolls are awesome for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Look at the lovely soft texture of these rolls!

The Lovely Texture of these Soft, Sweet Dinner Rolls


Traditional Cinnamon Rolls from Long, Long Ago

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls from Long, Long Ago

That’s my daughter’s name for these cinnamon rolls. She gets to name them because she made them. She remembers when we used to make cinnamon rolls when we lived in another house, in another place, when she had a purple bedroom with a great big window that looked out on her own little garden that her grandparents built for her. We often made cinnamon rolls in that house and sometimes they would raise up over the edges of the pan and make some really funky shapes. They looked a little crazy, but they were so good.

It was only a few years ago really, but it seems like a long time ago. We had a different life back then. Different schools, different people, different house, different town, and her daddy. We lived in the country and had lots of space around us and a creek running through our back yard. There was a big hill that was great for sledding, lots of tulips, marigolds, petunias, daisies, and lilies. Her best friend lived just down the road and they would walk over to each others’ houses all the time.

I think these cinnamon rolls remind her of that time. I’m glad she has those fond memories in her heart.

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls from Long, Long Ago

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls

My daughter made these cinnamon rolls and she took the photos herself too. All I did was put the ingredients in the bread machine and press the dough button. She did the rest.

  • 1 1/3 cups cold water
  • 4 t. yeast (or about 2 packets)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. vanilla

Directions:

For step by step photos showing how to roll up and cut these rolls, see my caramel apple sweet rolls post.
  1. Put all the ingredients in  the bread machine and start it up on the dough setting.
  2. When the dough is done, roll it out flat, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Roll it up lengthwise, and slice it into rolls with dental floss.
  4. Set the rolls in a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray, leaving space around each roll to give it room to rise.
  5. Spray the rolls with cooking spray, cover and let rise in a warm place till they are about double in size. I usually allow an hour for this, but it depends on how warm your warm place is.
  6. Bake at 325 for about 40 – 50 minutes or until they look done in the middle. I often cover them with foil for part of the baking time to keep them from getting too brown on top before they are done in the middle.

Traditional Cinnamon Rolls from Long, Long Ago


Hot Homemade Ciabatta Bread

Hot Homemade Ciabatta Bread (made with bread machine)

(… made with a little help from the Bread Machine)

Ciabatta is that beautiful Italian bread that everyone is using for sandwiches now … it has just the right chewy texture to hold up to a hearty sandwich filling. It’s a sort of flat shaped bread, so if you cut it horizontally, you can get a nice sturdy base for your sandwich. It’s also great with soups or just for dunking in olive oil with dinner.

If you’ve never made it before, I have to warn you, it takes 2 days to make. It doesn’t take much effort … just a lot of waiting. But it’s SO worth it! This is my third attempt at ciabatta and I think I’ve finally mastered it. I’m sure somebody will say I didn’t do it the right way, but the result in my opinion was perfect, so that is all that matters. Well, that and my daughter’s take on it. I’m waiting to hear her verdict. She fell asleep early tonight … first day of school was tough on her!

Yeast bread can be a little testy sometimes and it varies a bit with the weather, so the same recipe you use today might not work quite right tomorrow. Don’t worry about it too much. It’s ok if it doesn’t turn out perfect. It’s probably still pretty dang yummy.

I started with a recipe from Allrecipes … but had to revise it a bit. I found the directions kind of confusing and needed to simplify it a LOT to be able to fit it in with work and back to school and, well, all the busy family things we have going on. If you don’t have a bread machine, you can do this the old-fashioned way.

Ciabatta Bread with some help from the Bread Machine

Ingredients

For the Sponge:

  • 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
For the Bread:
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten (optional … depends on how the gluten is in your whole wheat flour … don’t use it if you’re not doing whole wheat flour!)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions

  1. First, make the sponge: In a small mixing bowl, stir together 1/8 teaspoon of the yeast and the warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. What does creamy mean? I’m not really sure, but I guess it looks kind of white-ish and milky after you let it sit a bit … don’t worry about it too much. I really over-worried this step on my first two times, but I really don’t think I needed to bother.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of the water, and 1 cup of whole wheat flour. You can use bread flour here if you prefer an all-white ciabatta, but I encourage you to try the white whole wheat.
  3. Stir it a while till it’s mixed, then cover the bowl and let it sit for at least 12 hours and up to a day. I didn’t use plastic wrap–I think that’s a waste and bad for the environment. Just set a plate over it that covers the bowl tightly. That works just as well and you can wash the plate afterwards if the sponge happens to rise high enough to touch the plate. (Mine did, surprisingly!)
  4. Toss the sponge into your bread machine along with the rest of the ingredients and put it on the “dough” setting and set your bread machine to take care of the hard part. (Start with 1/2 cup of water and add a little more if the dough isn’t turning into a nice ball of dough like it should.)
  5. When the dough is done, dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and cut it in half. Shape each half into an irregular oblong oval shape about 9-11 inches long.
  6. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a towel, and let the loaves rise for a couple hours.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees, preferably on a cooking stone, for about 20 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown. Probably is best to bake them one at a time.
  8. Now here is the controversial step: I like to spray the loaves with cooking spray right away when they come out of the oven. It makes the loaf look more brown and shiny and tenderizes the crust a little. If you want a chewier crust, skip this step!
  9. And now you finally get to enjoy your ciabatta.  My daughter’s favorite way to eat this is just to dip it in olive oil, but I love to make a good sandwich with it.

Hot Homemade Ciabatta Bread

What’s your favorite use for ciabatta?

Please leave me a comment and let me know. I’m on the lookout for some creative sandwich recipes!

So far I’ve found this lovely Eggplant Sandwich Recipe from Chef in Disguise.


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