cheese crazed garlic breadsticks

Cheese-Crazed Garlic Breadsticks

cheese crazed garlic breadsticks

My daughter was born with lovely full cheeks and softness everywhere. I credit those cheeks to the chocolate shakes, and to these breadsticks.

We lived for a time in the basement of my aunt and uncle’s home, and one of my cousins would make these ridiculously good breadsticks. After we moved out, I just kept thinking of those breadsticks…my breadstick fantasies went on for months…and then finally I was smart enough to ask her for the recipe.

Smooth, dry breadsticks have never been my thing. But I love the airy, chewy pull-apart variety. Don’t be scared by the mayonnaise in the topping. It’s part of what makes these breadsticks so moist and flavorful. You can choose your favorite combination of cheese to put on top; I like any mixture of mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, and/or feta. You can also adjust the proportions and spices in the topping until you create your ideal breadstick.

One of the best parts about this recipe is that it’s easy to prepare, as breadsticks go. You don’t have to do any forming or twisting or rolling of individual breadsticks. Much like a focaccia bread, you just press the dough into a greased cookie sheet. Then you spread on the cheese topping, and use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to slice through the dough, forming breadsticks that you can pull apart when they are done.

Use these breadsticks as an indulgent side to any soup or salad—they’re perfect with this lasagna soup! If you’re really feeling indulgent, double the cheese topping on the breadsticks. The effect is amazing.

cheese crazed garlic breadsticks

Cheese-Crazed Garlic Breadsticks

Ingredients

    Dough:
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 ½-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cheese Spread:
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup shredded cheese (any combination of cheese--parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar, feta, etc.)
  • Optional: other Italian spices as desired

Instructions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. When yeast is dissolved (about 5 minutes) mix in the salt and 3 ½ cups flour. Gradually add the rest of the flour until you have a soft, sticky dough that is just starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, combine the butter, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and any additional spices. Stir in the shredded cheese.

Grease or spray a rimmed baking sheet and your hands. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and use your oiled hands to press the dough out to the corners of the baking sheet. If the dough resists stretching far enough, let it rest for a couple minutes and then press it the rest of the way to the corners.

Spread the cheese topping over the dough.* With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough once lengthwise down the middle of the pan, and several times across the width of the pan. This is where the breadsticks will pull apart after baking.

Cover and let rise until almost double, 30-60 minutes.

Uncover and bake in an oven preheated to 400* for 12-17 minutes or until golden on top.

Let breadsticks cool slightly before gently pulling apart. Serve warm. These breadsticks are best the day they are made.

Makes about 16 breadsticks.

*If you're really feeling indulgent, double the cheese topping!

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/cheese-crazed-garlic-breadsticks/
Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

If I created the recipe Cranberry Orange Muffins for manna from heaven, this would be it. Cranberry-orange muffins. I could definitely eat them every day, for a good while. They’re soft and delicious, warm, lightly spiced and orangey, with bursts of tangy cranberries that perfectly offset the sweetness of the muffin. And the orange glaze drizzled on top is like a little mouthful of sunshine.

These muffins are dedicated to my sister, Susan. For future reference, all muffins on this blog are dedicated to Susan. She is a muffin connoisseur and since she heartily approved these muffins and requested the recipe, I knew they were worthy of being shared publicly.

It’s important to note that for these muffins you will need fresh cranberries. I’m not talking about dried sweetened cranberries i.e. craisins. Those are delicious but this is not the time. Unlike craisins, I do not advise eating fresh cranberries plain. My son insisted on sampling one (they look so bright and pretty and candy-like, after all) and he will attest. Do not eat fresh cranberries unless you are a very particular sort of person who likes very, very sour things.

Anyway, gather up some of those fresh cranberries and oranges that are on sale and whip these up. You can use either fresh-squeezed or pre-made orange juice for the muffins, however, pre-made juice will yield a stronger orange flavor. Also, cranberries are easier to chop when they are frozen. If you have a food processor, you can just pulse them a few times to do the job.

One of the great things about quick breads is that they taste even better the next day, so if you want to have these for Christmas breakfast, you can make them a day or two ahead of time! Personally, I’m a fan of having muffins for a dessert. These make a beautiful treat for a potluck, or neighbor gift plate as well. And is there really any better combination than orange and cranberry? (I mean, besides dark chocolate and dark chocolate and…)

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients

    Muffins:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Orange Glaze:
  • 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 TBS orange juice
  • 1 tsp butter, melted

Instructions

Muffins:

Preheat oven to 375*

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and orange peel. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, eggs, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix just until moistened. Gently fold in the cranberries and nuts.

Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Glaze when cooled.

Glaze:

Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice, and butter. Add more orange juice a tablespoon at a time if you want a thinner glaze. Drizzle over cooled muffins.

Makes 18 muffins.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/cranberry-orange-muffins/
Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Muffins

Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Muffins (Happy Blogiversary!)

Today marks the 1 year anniversary Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Muffins of the first post on Raspberries in the Rough. For better or worse, I am still occupying this corner of the internet. With a total of 45 posts, it’s kind of a Harry-Potter-closet-under-the-stairs sort of blog, but hey, you can hide a few good things in those little closets.

If you knew how naïve I am in the world of technology, you would begin to understand why sticking with a blog for a whole year is an accomplishment. You know why I don’t have a Twitter button on my blog? Because I have no clue how to use Twitter. Not the faintest, foggiest notion.

Before I actually delved into blogging, it looked fun and easy. What’s in a blog post after all? A few pictures and a few paragraphs of whatever so-and-so feels like saying today. HAHAHA. Not quite. It turns out that if you want to present something worth reading and looking at, there is a great deal of planning and execution that has to take place, from the designing, structuring, and coding of the website, to the brainstorming, research, experimentation, photography, editing, and writing that goes into each post.

In any case, blogging is a fun hobby, and a good way to chronicle tidbits of my life that I, at least, find interesting and helpful. When, at the end of the day, the food I made has been eaten, the laundry I washed has been dirtied, and my attempts organization have been undone, my blog remains as the solitary evidence of my existence. Hopefully, someone else in the world will find something tasty, inspiring, or useful if when they happen to chance upon my Harry Potter closet.

Like this recipe perhaps. Today’s post, like my very first, features raspberries. Raspberries are always fantastic on their own, but with another ingredient, magic happens. And it is…dark chocolate. (But you already knew that from the title of the post. And the pictures.) I didn’t used to like dark chocolate. I was a milk-chocolate-only girl until the last year or two. Now I love it. It has less sugar, and more chocolate, in the same amount of space. And why wouldn’t I want more chocolate?

So, juicy-sweet raspberries combine with morsels of dark chocolate in a fluffy muffin. Easy, quick, and scrumptious. Have at it! These taste best when they are completely cool, so it works perfectly to bake them at night and eat them for breakfast the next day.

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Muffins

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Muffins

Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (lightly spooned and leveled)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries*

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375* and grease a muffin pan or line with paper liners.

Place the chocolate chips on a cutting board and chop them several times with a large knife. This creates little bits and flecks of chocolate.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until barely combined. The batter will be thick. This prevents the raspberries and chocolate from sinking to the bottom. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and raspberries. Divide batter among twelve muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean (other than chocolate).

Let cool for 5 minutes, then gently remove from the pan to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before eating for best flavor.

*If using frozen raspberries, do not thaw.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/raspberry-dark-chocolate-muffins/

Linked at: The Weekend Re-Treat

Homemade Sandwich Buns

Homemade Sandwich Buns

My family enjoyed a hot dog roast Homemade Sandwich Buns in the mountains on Memorial Day. Hot dogs are something my kids rarely eat, so I watched in amusement as both of my children extracted the hot dogs from the buns, gobbled them up, and left the ketchup-smeared buns to claim a home in the trash bag. This was amusing because I always ate hot dogs without the buns as a child. Actually, as a college student too, but I upgraded to beef franks. I mean, if you’re gonna eat a tube steak, it should at least come from a cow.

I’m willing to bet the bun-shunning habit isn’t limited to me and my posterity. (Did anyone else out there shun the bun??) Because the truth is, hamburger and hot dog buns (the same thing in a different shape) don’t taste very good. You just kind of ignore them as you try to load them with enough good stuff that you don’t really taste the bun. Am I right? I cringe at the thought of eating that “bread” plain.

On the other hand, there are homemade buns. Now, I realize that most of us aren’t going to bake buns all day for a huge barbecue, myself included. But when it’s just my family, I’ll get a batch of these delicious French-bread style buns baking. Unlike the rejected store-bought hot dog buns, my children enjoy these buns solo, with no adornment whatsoever. They’re springy and pillowy inside, and a little chewy and crusty too. Expect a texture like quality French bread rather than sweet dinner rolls. They certainly don’t fall apart under a fully loaded burger, or turn into a mushy mess!

I’ve made some pretty darn bad bread in my life, but this recipe has always been absolutely dependable. I’ve made it dozens of times over the last several years. The bun recipe is just a slightly altered version of my French bread recipe, which was the bread I made for my husband for our first date. Clearly it was good, seeing as we were married six months later. Because he married me purely for my bread-making prowess. You know, since every 21st_century man is on the hunt for the woman who can bake the best bread from scratch. Obviously.

Anyway, next time you’re feeling ambitious about burger night, try making these awesome sandwich buns. They’re straight-forward and taste great. And you can pat yourself on the back for not spending two bucks on that good-for-nuthin’ fake-bread-in-the-shape-of-buns from the grocery store.

If you want a shiny crust on the buns, brush them with an egg wash before baking. If you want softer topped buns, rub them with cold butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Also, feel free to experiment with subbing whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour. I like them with about 1/3 of the flour being whole wheat.

Homemade Sandwich Buns

Homemade Sandwich Buns

Ingredients

  • 1 TBS active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 2 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS oil
  • 1 egg white, optional*
  • ¼ cup water, optional*

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400*.

Combine yeast, sugar, and water and let sit 5 minutes for the yeast to dissolve. Add 3 cups flour and mix until smooth. Add in salt, oil, and 1 cup flour and mix well. Add remaining 2 cups flour, mixing well after each. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then punch down (or briefly turn on your stand mixer, fitted with the kneading hook). Repeat this step 4 more times.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into buns. You can do this by forming balls as if making dinner rolls, by rolling the dough tightly into a log and slicing it like cinnamon rolls, or by rolling it out to about 1-1 ½” thick and cutting out circles with a round cookie carter or the lid of a wide-mouth jar. Or divide the dough into hoagie-shaped buns for submarine sandwiches.

Place the buns onto a greased baking sheet, cover loosely with greased plastic wrap or a cover that won’t stick to the dough, and let rise till double. Brush with egg wash if desired. Bake for 15 minutes.

*Optional egg wash: Whisk together the egg white and water and brush over the buns before baking.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/homemade-sandwich-buns/
Cranberry-Orange Buttermilk Scones with White Chocolate

Cranberry-Orange Scones with White Chocolate

In my last post I shared the yummy Cranberry-Orange Buttermilk Scones with White Chocolateegg-free cookie recipe that saved my bacon when I promised a certain toddler we’d make cookies, and almost failed him when I opened the fridge to find no eggs.

This recipe came to my rescue when I needed a breakfast and had no eggs.

Yes, I know there are easy, healthier breakfasts that don’t require eggs, like yogurt, oatmeal, granola, smoothies…but we have those things A LOT. And since I prefer only to hit the grocery stores twice each month, sometimes we go a few days without eggs if I didn’t plan well. I am not really satisfied eating yogurt and oatmeal for days on end, even if the kiddos are.

So, I made these awesome scones for breakfast. Now, I realize that many of you out there would never eat a buttery-pastry-ish-thing topped with white chocolate for breakfast. I’ve been known to voice my frustrations with the close resemblance between many breakfast options and dessert.

However.

I made these for breakfast. And they were so delectable, I ate them all day long. If you consider the fact that my family consumes an average of 1 ½ sticks of butter per week, and this recipe alone uses an entire 1 ½ sticks of butter…well. I’ll probably have to relegate these melt-in-your mouth little triangles to the dessert category. Because eating them at the end of the day is far more justifiable than eating them at the beginning of the day, yes?

Lest anyone from Utah be confused, these are not the deep-fried scones you grew up eating with butter and honey. They are tender, flaky triangles of baked butter dough that can sponsor any number of flavor variations, and they are worth a try even if you are a die-hard fan of the fried batter by the same name.

I love the combination of bright orange zest and fresh cranberries, topped with a drizzle of sweet white chocolate. The tartness of the cranberries contrasts the sweetness of the scone and white chocolate. Believe me when I say that fresh cranberries are much better chopped and baked in a sugary scone than eaten plain and whole. My son disagrees. He thinks they are great raw. I made a grave error in thinking that giving him one would give his little mouth such a sour shock he wouldn’t ask for more. Do you know anyone else who eats raw cranberries for fun? Not me.

If white chocolate isn’t your thing, these would also be great with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar and orange juice, or dark chocolate, or whatever suits your fancy. You can see in the pictures that I smeared the chocolate on instead of drizzling it because I was in a hurry to get somewhere. But you can make yours as pretty as you want, okay?

So tell me, would you eat these for breakfast or dessert? Or both?

Cranberry-Orange Buttermilk Scones with White Chocolate

Cranberry-Orange Scones with White Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup white baking chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400*.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest in a mixing bowl and mix well. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or your hands, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Mix in the cranberries.

Make a crater in the middle of the dough and add the buttermilk all at once. Stir the buttermilk into the flour mixture until barely combined.

Gently form the dough into a ball and knead it 12 times, turning the bowl 1/4 turn each time. Be gentler than you would be when kneading bread dough.

Transfer the dough ball to a cutting board, divide into two balls, and lightly press each ball into a circle. Cut each circle into 8 triangles and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until edges are just starting to turn golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and let them cool.

When scones have cooled, place the chocolate chips in a dry microwaveable container, and heat uncovered in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval. Drizzle melted chocolate over the scones.

Makes 16 scones.

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/cranberry-orange-scones-with-white-chocolate/
sweet-buttermilk-cornbread

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

Over the last few years, sweet-buttermilk-cornbread I’ve tried a number of different cornbread recipes, trying to find one that was delicious while not terribly unhealthy. After about 7 different recipes, I gave up. I’m afraid I just can’t reconcile myself with any other cornbread recipe than the one I grew up eating. And no, it’s not healthy. It has so much butter and sugar in it that it’s almost a dessert.

Growing up, we often ate this cornbread with my mom’s homemade baked beans. Two items were highly sought after–the sugared salt pork on top of the beans and the cornbread. We had a rule about how much of your beans you had to eat before you could have more cornbread. There was even honey butter to slather on it. Yeah, my mom is awesome.

If you peruse the web much for cornbread recipes, you’ll find that people tend to have very specific ideas of what cornbread should be like. Some like it not-too-sweet, some like it dry so that it soaks up lots of butter, some like it sweet (some folks even make theirs with a cake mix in the batter), and still others like to mix in chilies or creamed corn.

This particular recipe for cornbread is based on my mother’s recipe, and it is sweet and buttery, with a tender, cake-like texture. I made it for my roommates my first semester of college, and the entire pan was gone almost in the blink of an eye. Be sure not to over-bake it to make sure it doesn’t dry out–pull it out of the oven when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a couple crumbs attached. Enjoy it with some fresh-whipped honey butter or a hot bowl of chili–perfect for a blustery fall evening!

sweet-buttermilk-cornbread

Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (spooned lightly and leveled with a knife)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375*.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Ad eggs and cornmeal and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Bake in a greased 8" pan for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Be careful not to over-bake!

http://www.raspberriesintherough.com/sweet-buttermilk-cornbread/

This recipe is linked at: Flour Me with Love, Skip to My Lou, A Pinch of Joy