Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Muffins & More

     I am going to share what recipes I can remember from all the baking and cooking I've been doing recently. Hopefully, a good share will be remembered.

     We've baked a lot of muffins. I love my Pampered Chef muffin stone and I use it every chance I get. I went for years avoiding muffins and cupcakes because they would stick and take forever to clean. I endlessly ran out of muffin liners or I could have solved a lot of the problem with those.

     Anyway, the girls REALLY love the little bagged mixed of muffins you get for around 88 cents each. I buy them occasionally as treats but usually convince them to let me make from scratch because they are healthier. I have to admit though --- the mix with a partial cup of milk, stir, pour and bake versions are a dream on busy mornings and days.
     The entire house fills up with a fresh baked goodness and everyone coming in wants to grab a muffin or two.
     Guess what?!
     Now, the mixes come with whole grain versions! We tried the whole grain blueberry and they were tasty. Not much quite beats the regular strawberry cheesecake though;)

     I made two or three (I have forgotten count) batches of various blueberry muffins using frozen blueberries. Loved these and they are wonderful bagged up and carried for snacks, meals on the go, for treats while waiting for long periods in the car and more. I made corn muffins not long ago that turned out a lot sweeter than I'm used to. We ended up in a traffic jam that made our 40 minute trip into 2 hours! Good news? I had a bag of these muffins and some bottled water to pass away the time with!

     The other thing warming up the kitchen and sending an alluring fresh baked aroma all the way to the yard from the windows is homemade bread.
     I'm trying to find a light, fluffy, soft, and airy roll recipe I made a long time ago. I had a lot going on so I don't know where I left the recipe but we are still on our mission to find the right one.

     Meanwhile . . . .

This was okay:

Virginia Clise Bread
3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups warm water 1 cup shortening, melted
2 teaspoons salt
5 pounds all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, stir yeast into 1 cup warm water to dissolve. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar. In a separate large bowl, stir salt into 5 cups warm water to dissolve; stir in shortening and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. After yeast foams, stir salt mixture into yeast mixture.
2. Mix in the 1/2 of the flour, and then mix in remaining flour 2 cups at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Form the dough into approximately 30 to 40 rounds. Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
5. Bake rolls in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until brown. Serve warm.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 11/2/2009

This one better:


World's Best Rolls

2 c. whole milk (if you're in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don't use 1% or skim)
½ c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/3 c. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.), preferably bread machine yeast
2/3 c. warm (105-115-degree) water
8-9 c. all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs

Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. It's salty. It's sweet. Yum.

Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn't bubbled, you'll need to repeat this step--moving on with yeast that hasn't been activated properly will only end in heartache for you and hate mail for us.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes.

Add beaten eggs. Why should you beat your eggs first? Same reason you should combine your dry ingredients before adding them to moist ingredients when making cookies and cakes--it ensures everything is well-mixed and can be evenly-distributed through your dough or batter. If you add the whole eggs, your dough may not be as consistent.

Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft--it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don't worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they're so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.

Spray 2 9x13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side, so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls. You must now eat one. Now. While it's hot. Then pop the rest into a bowl and no one will ever know that you cheated.

P.S. Using this filling or these fillings, this dough makes fabulous cinnamon or orange rolls. Just bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.