Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The New York Times No-Knead Bread

This bread is very low-maintenance and tastes like it's not! Be sure to use instant yeast, not to be confused with Rapid Rise. I did, and it took me awhile to figure out what I was doing wrong! Although my friend who gave me the recipe always uses Rapid Rise. Not sure why it works for her and not me! It comes out crusty on the outside, spongy in. Delicious with butter, or jam.

3 c. all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp. salt
cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 c. water, and stir until blended. Dough will be sticky and shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 min.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal. Put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into it, seam side up; it may look like a mess but that is OK. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighen out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 min., then remove lid and bake another 15-30 min, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack. Makes 1 1/2 lb. loaf.

Chicken and Barley Soup

We are still having rainy, gloomy weather in Glenwood Springs, which to me is a perfect reason to make soup in my crock pot and smell it cooking all day long! My hubby loves this because of the barley. I served it with No-Knead Bread. From Susan Richardson of Libertyville, IL.

1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, cut into thin slices.
1/2 cup medium pearled barley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cut up whole chicken (about 3 lb)
1 T. olive oil
3 1/2 c. chicken broth (I used 1 cup broth and the rest water as I think the chicken makes its own flavorful broth and doesn't need added salt)
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 tsp. salt (I left it out)
1/2 tsp. dried basil (I used about 1 tsp., plus 1 tsp. rosemary because I love it!)
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Place celery, onion, carrot, barley and garlic in slow cooker.

2. Remove and discard skin from chicken pieces. Separate drumsticks from thighs and trim back bone from breasts. Save wings for another use. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; brown chicken pieces on all sides. Place chicken in slow cooker.

3. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker. (I left out the herbs and added them about 20 min. before serving for stronger flavor) Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4 hours or until chicken and barley are tender. Remove chicken; separate chicken from bones and cut/shred into bite-size pieces. Discard bones. Stir chicken into soup. Makes 4-6 servings.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fondant Frosting & Glaze for Sugar Cookies

I found this recipe on Simple Organized Living and thought it looked like a fabulous idea! My MOPS group was going to make cookies for the Moppet workers and I suggested we try this for the frosting. It was a little bit of trial and error but the cookies turned out beautifully and I will definitely be using this fondant frosting and glaze again.

TIPS: You definitely need a mixer to work with the fondant. It's too tough otherwise. We made one batch of fondant and one batch of glaze. We had two batches of cookie dough (we used store bought and one homemade...but not off Simple Organized Living's website) and ended up with extra fondant for probably another 10 cookies and some extra glaze. All together, we frosted about 40 regular sized cookies. The fondant melts enough to stick to the cookies but still held it's shape and didn't melt as much as we expected. We found that it works better to roll the fondant thin (1/8 of an inch or so). The fondant can become a little dry and more difficult to work with if left out too long. You can actually roll it out and cut out the shapes first. The fondant stacks well and doesn't stick together so it's something you can prep ahead of time if desired. Whatever order you do it in, just make sure that you have the fondant ready to add to the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven!

8-10 oz white mini marshmallows
2 T water
1 T flavoring (1/2 vanilla and 1/2 almond)
1 lb powdered sugar, plus more to add until recipe is right consistency
Vegetable shortening for bowl
Food coloring

  1. Grease the inside of a glass microwaveable bowl.
  2. Add marshmallows, water, and vanilla -- microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir and microwave on high at 30 second intervals until marshmallows are completely melted.
  3. Measure powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and pour melted marshmallows over powdered sugar.
  4. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed until well blended.
  5. Continue adding powdered sugar until it's no longer sticky. Add food coloring and mix until combined.
I found that it worked well to add coloring to make one color, remove half and then add more coloring to that first color to get a different color. This way I could use the same bowl and mix it in the mixer still. I started with pink and then took half out and added blue to make a purple.

This glaze worked really well and was super easy to use. I would recommend putting it in a Pampered Chef frosting squeeze bottle with a fine tip like the ones below. These worked great!

2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 cu warm water
1/2 T corn syrup
1/2 T flavoring of choice (the almond works great here as well!)
Food coloring
  1. Combine ingredients and stir until well combined. {The glaze may be lumpy at this point}
  2. Let set for one hour so the lumps melt and the air bubbles come to the surface.
  3. After the hour has passed, stir until smooth.
  4. {The glaze should be thick, but thin enough to disappear after 10 seconds when it is folded over on itself.}
  5. Divide glaze as desired, and add the colors you need and decorate your cookies and let it dry completely.
  6. Spoon glaze into piping bags with small round tip and decorate as desired