Cheddar Bacon Herb Biscuits

Pastries, Savory | January 30, 2016 | By

Today we’re talking biscuits guys. 

For me, biscuits are up there on the list of comfort foods, and I’m kind of a carb-o-holic. Biscuits and gravy is maybe my favorite breakfast meal, and guys, can you imagine THESE biscuits under your gravy??

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This version is loaded with sharp cheddar cheese, thyme, rosemary, and bacon. Could there really be anything better? Don’t get me wrong, I love plain old classic biscuits, but these are crazy flavorful. I pulled them out of the oven and they barely lasted long enough for me to take pictures. 

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I used thyme and rosemary for mine, but you can really add any fresh herbs that you prefer in here. I also used traditional yellow cheddar cheese, mainly just for the color appeal, but if you’ve got white cheddar, that’ll taste just as amazing!

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The key with biscuits is to avoid over-working them. Just keep it gentle, and don’t worry about getting everything perfectly incorporated- that will make for a tough biscuit! 

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The cheese will caramelize a bit in the oven, and with some coarse sea salt on top, you can just eat these babies plain. I was going to serve them with some herb butter, but the herbs come out in a beautiful way already inside the biscuits, so it’s totally not needed. 

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Enjoy!

Cheddar Bacon Herb Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour, pus more for rolling
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh herbs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 tbs. crumbled bacon
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Milk and coarse sea salt to top

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment or a non-stick sheet.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and herbs.
  • With a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the shortening until mixture is crumbly.
  • Stir in the cheese and bacon. Stir in the buttermilk until just combined.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Pat the dough into a square about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Cut out the dough into 10-12 square biscuits, and place onto your cookie sheet.
  • Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown on top!
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Tomato Garlic Focaccia

Savory | January 23, 2016 | By

Hey guys! Today I’m sharing the rare savory recipe.

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You guys know I’m a baker, and I tend to gravitate towards desserts. That being said, I also cook and bake a lot of savory foods as well. There’s one more thing you should know- bread is my ultimate favorite food.

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Breads tend to be a bit of struggle to bake at a high altitude, and I’ve got some great tips on getting it right, which you can find here.

Now, on to the focaccia! Focaccia is a super easy bread to make, and it’s similar to pizza dough actually. I topped mine with thinly sliced tomatoes and chunks of roasted garlic. You can top yours any way you want- it’s even great with just some salt and pepper on top!

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The tomatoes on top will bake into the bread a bit, and they become super flavorful from being roasted into the bread. This is a great side-dish bread, but to be honest, I ate like an entire loaf by myself as a dinner one night. Listen, it’s got tomatoes, I think that makes it a whole meal.

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I promise you’ll love this bread, and you’ll love the fact that you don’t have to do any rolling or shaping here. You just use your fingers to press it out onto your sheet pan, top it, and you’re good to go!

Enjoy!

Tomato Garlic Focaccia

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105-110 degrees)
  • 2 tbs. warm milk
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons quick rise dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of roasted garlic, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Mix together your water, milk, sugar, and yeast and let bloom for 5-10 minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer
  • With the dough hook attachment, add in the flour, olive oil, and salt, and knead until dough comes together. Add more as needed- the dough should be slightly sticky.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times by hand.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm area to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Divide the dough in half, and place each piece on a oiled baking sheet. with a little bit of olive oil on top, use your fingers to spread them out until about 1/2 inch thick. The dough should be dimpled.
  • Cover and let rise for another twenty- thirty minutes, until the dough has risen again by about a quarter.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Spread the roasted garlic on top of each loaf, and then layer on your sliced tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle the tops with coarse sea salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Enjoy!

Adapted from Cooking Channel TV

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**Adapted from Food Network

High Altitude Yeast Breads

Hi everyone! I’m back today with another high altitude post- this time we’re going over yeast breads. 

Yeast breads have probably been my biggest struggle at a high altitude. I’ve tried to make tons of different recipes, and not only have I struggled with yeast issues that any altitude has, but my breads have almost always turned out super dense. On the whole, the experience always kind of sucked for me- after all that waiting for the several rises, just to have to an overly chewy end result is a bummer. 

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Basically, getting your yeast to bloom correctly is half the battle. Get yourself a thermometer, because it just can’t be done without one. I’ve read a ton of recipes that say you can get the right temperature just by feel, but why risk it really, it’s not like yeast is free people! Go by the temperature recommendation on your package of yeast above all else, but typically for active dry yeast, you’ll want your liquid to be between 100 and 110 degrees. Trust me, you’ll know when you have it right- your mixture will bubble and bloom up very visibly!

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Now, on to the high altitude tips. When you’re above sea level, the most common problem is that you’re letting the dough over-proof, or over-rise. When you actually go to bake the bread, it will rise more in higher altitudes, and it will collapse, so to speak, and loose the light fluffiness because it’s gone past the rising point that we want.

That being said, you want to let your dough rise for less time than normal during each rise. Another way to look at it is that instead of letting the dough double in size, you’ll want it to rise to a bit less than double for the first two rounds of proofing, and even less than that for the final round. The dough will then continue to rise in the oven, and you’ll get that light, fluffy bread that you’re looking for.

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You can even put your dough in the refrigerator for the first rise, and leave it overnight. By chilling the dough, you’ll slow down the rising process, which can help to avoid over-proofing your dough. Just be sure to give it some time to come back to room temperature before you move on to your next rise.  

I’m sharing a great recipe for basic white bread today that works perfectly at a high altitude.  If you are at sea level, simply go for a full rise each round, letting the dough double in size completely. At sea level, you may also need less flour to get the dough to pull away from the sides of your bowl, so be sure to add the additional flour slowly!

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This is a great base bread recipe, and you can use to make dinner rolls, like I did, or you can even make a loaf of bread. You can also add different flavors if you’d like, and it’s a great way to start making bread from scratch!

Dinner Rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbs. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (to 2 3/4 cups) bread flour
  • 2 tbs. milk
  • Salt and pepper for sprinkling.

Instructions

  • Mix together the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Let this sit for 5 minutes until the yeast has bloomed.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat together the whole milk, 1/2 cup of water, canola oil, and salt until about 120 degrees.
  • Pour the milk mixture into a stand mixture, or a large bowl. Add in 2 cups of flour to start, and beat together until combined.
  • Add in the yeast mixture, and beat together for several minutes. You will have a lumpy, very wet mixture at this point.
  • Add in another 1/2 cup of flour, and beat together. Continue slowly adding flour until dough leaves the sides of the bowl, and is no longer sticky.
  • Then, pull the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead in a little more flour until it's smooth.
  • Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 50-55 minutes for the first round.
  • After the first rise, punch down the dough, and knead on a floured surface once or twice. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let it rise again for about 40-45 minutes this time.
  • Once the dough has risen a second time, remove from your bowl, and shape the dough into about 2 tablespoon-size rolls.
  • Place into a lightly greased pan and cover with plastic wrap. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Let your dough rise again for a final 20 minutes while your oven preheats. Then, brush the tops with milk, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden!
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Roasted Garlic Tomato Biscuits

Pastries, Savory, Breakfast | September 2, 2015 | By

 

Another biscuit recipe- it’s too yummy not to share! 

Several years ago I spent a long weekend in New York with my sweet cousins. We spent the weekend doing some site seeing, but mostly hitting up some of the best bakeries we could find! We ate at some of the most amazing places from the famous Magnolia’s Bakery, to Cafe Lalo from You’ve Got Mail (it’s nothing like it was in the movie), and it was an amazing trip!

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One day we were walking down to a boat tour near Chelsea Market, and we came across a little hole-in-the-wall bakery in the middle of a row of apartment buildings- I wish I could remember the name! It was tiny, and full of amazing breads and other treats. I got a slice of heaven in the form of a piece of focaccia bread with slices of tomato baked right into the top. 

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If you know me, you know I’m veggie hater. It’s a real prob. But this was probably my first encounter with a tomato that I loved. It was slightly sweet, bursting with flavor, and the bread was delicately bloomed all around each slice of tomato. It was one of my favorite bites we had the entire trip, and we hadn’t even planned to go to this place!

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These biscuits are inspired by that sweet little bakery somewhere in New York City. The biscuit provides a heartier base, and I’ve added in some fantastic spices to bring everything together. Plus, if you’ve never made roasted garlic before, drop everything and do that now- it’s every bit as good as you dreamed it would be. 

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I hope you love it- Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Tomato Biscuits

Ingredients

For the Roasted Garlic

  • 1 head fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

For the Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour plus more for dusting to roll dough
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbs. chopped roasted garlic
  • 1-2 plum tomatoes sliced
  • 1 tbs. heavy cream or milk
  • 1 tbs. coarse sea salt

Instructions

For the Roasted Garlic

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut off the top of your head of garlic, and place in a square of foil, cut-side up
  3. Pour olive oil on top of the head of garlic. Wrap with foil.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.
  5. Allow garlic to cool completely, then you can squeeze the garlic out!

For the Biscuits

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, and oregano. Cut in the cold shortening with a pastry blender or your hands until crumbly.
  3. Add in the buttermilk and garlic, and fold together until dough forms.
  4. On a floured surface, pat the dough until about 1 inch thick. Cut out, and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Brush the biscuits with your heavy cream or milk, and then top with slices of tomato, and sprinkle with coarse salt.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until biscuits are golden.

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce

Savory, Sauces | July 19, 2015 | By

Barbecue sauce. 

Making it yourself is pretty awesome. It’s super easy to do, and you’ll be able to adjust how sweet or spicy your brew is, it’s very flexible. I’ve always been intimidated my making sauces and homemade condiments, but lately I’ve gotten more into it- DIY-ing your sauces allows you to pull in flavors that you’ve loved from different dishes. 

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I’ll be honest though, barbecue food is not my favorite. There’s something about the messiness of it that isn’t too appealing to me. That being said, I love a good dipping sauce for fries and chicken, or to throw on a burger. 

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This particular version of bbq sauce is sweet at first, and you get a kick of heat at the end that I think is perfect. It’s savory, not too spicy, and it’s certainly going to stand out in any dish. Since there’s so much dried chili in the recipe, (this helps to thicken as well as spice) I decided to add a little bit of cocoa powder to cut through some of the spice. It doesn’t taste like chocolate at all, but it helps tone down the spice. I actually saw the idea on a Bobby Flay recipe, but his was more centered around a chocolate flavor. 

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If you like spice, this sauce has a real kick, and it’s awesome with anything from fries to chicken, to pulled pork (which I made this weekend)!

Enjoy!

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Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs. white wine vinegar or red
  • 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs. honey
  • 2 tbs. molasses
  • 1 tbs. oyster sauce optional
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 2 tbs. chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbs. cocoa powder

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over low heat for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool completely, and store in an airtight container.
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