Foodieobsessed's Blog


Cold Oven Pound Cake

This is a beloved recipe in my house. The Hubbs was exceptionally close with his grandparents as I was to mine. His Grandma Francis was a complete hoot and made the most amazing baked goods. She would bake dozens and dozens of cookies at Christmas and gave them as gifts. Her most treasured baked good was her cold oven pound cake; it was a cake for any occasion and always welcome. She would make these caked in threes or fours because they tended to be devoured by the cake, not the slice.

I had some trouble with this cake early in my marriage. Grandma Francis sent me one of her bunt pans and Hubbs had transcribed the recipe for me from his Grandma over the phone, yet everytime I attempted the cake would bubble and boil over in the oven and make a spectacular mess. A year or so after Grandma Francis passed away I received a church cookbook the recipe had been printed in and low an behold, Hubbs has called for *two pounds* of sugar instead of one. No wonder they turned out so badly!

As far as cake goes this one is dense. Ladies you may as well take a big ol’ slice of it and apply to your thigh because that’s where it will go. As pound cake goes this is still my absolute favorite though and so worth a little extra excercise!

I have tweaked this recipe only a fraction from her amazing original recipe. I implore you to try it both ways (if your waistline dares) because both are delicious. I have put * next to my changes and listed the originals at the bottom.

This cake would be delicious with a different type of extract (almond, lemon, orange, etc). Follow this recipe IN ORDER of ingredients listed and do NOT preheat oven! Spray your pan thoroughly as this cake will stick!

Grandma Francis’ Cold Oven Pound Cake
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1/2lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter*, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1lb confectionary (powdered) sugar
1 tsp salt *
3 tsp baking powder
3 cups AP flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water

1. In bowl of an electric mixer beat butter until soft and fluffy.
2. Add in eggs one at a time until combined.
3. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until combined.
4. Add salt, baking powder, and flour. Beat until just combined.
5. Pour water in and beat until a very thick batter forms.
6. Use Pam for baking (w/flour) and spray a bunt pan thoroughly.
7. Add cake batter and smooth into an even top.
8. Place pan in oven and close the door. Turn oven to 350 and cook for one hour or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

*Grandma Francis always used margarine. It does give the cake a slightly different texture/flavor.
*because of said margarine additional salt was not needed.

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Potato Cakes

I usually call these “potato pancakes” because that is what my Grandmother called them. In reality they are more of a “potato cake” and not just the shredded pancakes I think of when I think “potato pancake” now.

In my house it is a rare day when we just “have” left over mashed potatoes. Generally I am pretty good at eyeballing how many potatoes to boil for just the two of us and we definitely eat them all. But when I think ahead and have some forethought I love to throw these together.

Some suggestions to zing these up: Sour cream and chive? Amazing. Add about 1TBS more flour if your “batter” is too wet. You can make these “double stuffed” with adding some bacon, cheddar, and sour cream in the mix. You can make them into mini-cakes to serve for an appetizer or full size. I like mine with ketchup. This recipe is dependent of course on what kind of potato you use and how you like your mashers.

Potato Cakes

2 cups prepared mashed potatoes (however you like them, or boil 2-4 russets and mash them)

1/4 cup mik

1 egg

1/2 cup flour

1 TSP baking soda

Your fixins’ (whatever you want to add to make them “new” and not just a left over”

1 TBS Butter (or 1/2 tablespoon butter 1/2 tablespoon oil, do not not use butter!!)

1. Mix potatoes, egg, milk thoroughly. Add flour and fixins’ and mix until just combined.

2. Add butter to a medium deep skillet over medium heat. Let melt.

3. Drop potato mixture by the spoonfull (it should be like pancake batter). Fry until golden brown (3-4 minutes per side).

These are great with anything and a sneaky way to use up some left overs if you are able to not eat all of the mashed potatoes.

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Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This is not a completely whole wheat dough. I have found that trying to do most any bread recipe with completely whole wheat flour just does not have the same tenderness that I require. It is also difficult to have completely whole wheat dough develope the gluten needed (in my opinion) for bread and pizza. You can certainly try more whole wheat flour if you’d like to up it in this dough but this is the recipe I follow and it gives just the right bit of nuttiness so that I don’t feel TOO sinful eating pizza.

Generally, when I make this dough I will spread the whole thing out on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil. You could certainly get two good sized pizza’s out of this dough and do cornmeal on the bottom (also a favorite of mine).

I know that most people would rather buy premade dough or buy premade pizza but I find that making pizza dough was one of my ‘gateway doughs’ to making my own bread. I got tired of spending $20 on a mediocre pizza when I could make fabulous homemade pizza at home for pennies. This is my first dough creation and it takes hints and tricks from some of my other favorite pizza doughs.

Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 tsp honey

2 1/4 tsp yeast (or one packet)

1 1/4 cup warm water (about 100-110 degrees)

2 TBS olive oil

2 cups AP flour (1/2 cup divided out)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

Optional cornmeal for dusting

1. Place honey, yeast, olive oil, and warm water into the bottom of your mixing bowl (I use a kitchenaid with a dough hook for this). Let stand for 5-10 minutes or until foamy.

2. Add all of the whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups AP flour and salt. Turn on mixer (or combine by hand) for 5-10 minutes. I do this on low, occassionally scraping down the sides and adding more flour as I go until I have added the last 1/2 cup.

3. You want to continue to mix the dough in the mixer until it has formed a ball around the dough hook. The pizza dough should be anchored on the bottom of the bowl, moist, and still smooth. It will feel very warm and nice if you touch it. Some people prefer to take it out and do some of the kneading by hand, but I do not find this necessary. Depending on the time of year, the moisture in your kitchen, and other factors you may need up to 1/4 cup more flour or a few extra drops of water.

4. Spray a glass mixing bowl with your olive oil spray (or dribble some in). Transfer your dough and turn it in the spray/olive oil. Place in a warm dry place and top with a towel, cling wrap, or tight fitting plate. Let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours (or until it is doubled in size and you can stick your finger in the middle and it will bounce back).

5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone you may want to start this when you first start the pizza dough rising to let it heat. If you do the cookie sheet method you do not need to let the oven heat beyond the regular pre-heat time.

6. Spray your cookie sheet with olive oil spray (or sprinkle liberally with cornmeal). Take your pizza dough and stretch it out until it is completely covered with the dough. This is a pretty forgiving dough and if it rips in the middle or whatnot just try and re-stretch it. Top with your favorite toppings and bake for 18-25 minutes (until it is done to your desired brown and crispyness).

For my Weight Watchers friends: You can have 1/4 of this dough for 8 points or 1/6th of the dough for 5! Not a bad deal.

1.

Still to wet. . . time to add the other 1/2 cup of flour.

2.

Perfect! See how it clings to the hook but is still moist? You don’t want it too dry. Definitely stay on the side of too wet instead of too dry.

3.

Before the rise! Go baby go!

4.

Perfect! Time to make your favorite pizza!


Bagels

In my home town we had a local bakery that specialized in bagels. My Aunt happened to work there for about a year when I was twelve and she would get the “left overs” at the end of the day and many of those made their way to our kitchen. These bagels were chewy, delicious, and begging to be smothered in cream cheese (because really, bagels are mostly a conveyer belt for that right?). I remember trying every of their fourteen or so varieties and my absolute favorites were Scored Garlic (parmesan, tons of garlic, parsley) and Sesame Seed. I also love a good Everything Bagel.

Home made bagels is an extremely daunting task in theory. What you say? I have to make the dough ahead of time? Boil them? Bake them? Top them?

I know, I know. In this busy world you can buy a bag of bagels for a small amount at the grocery store but the difference between a bag of bagels and home made with love bagels is galaxys apart. I live in rural Northern California so I don’t have access to my beloved fresh bagel shop or the delicious bagels from New York or New Jersey.

These are pretty darn good if I do say so myself–I don’t make them often because of the process but boy when I do!

I use Peter Reinhart’s bagel recipe from “Bread Bakers Apprentice” with a couple of changes that I found make it easier for me.

Peter Reinhart’s Bagels
Yield: 12 bagels or 18 mixed bagels (some small, some big)

Sponge
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups unbleached bread flour

2 cups unbleached AP flour (originally calls for all bread flour, but I used AP and they turned out great!)
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

Dough
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour (I used AP)
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon honey

To Finish
1 tablespoon baking soda

Cornmeal for dusting

Topping: I used both a knock off “scored garlic” topping I made with 1 cup parmesan cheese and 1 TBS garlic powder and a few cracks of black pepper, as well as sesame seeds, and coarse salt.

1. Day one: To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients for a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough. (I found it impossible to mix this dough in the mixer–you really need to use some man power for this one kids!)

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 71 degrees F. If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

This is where my recipe deviates from Peter’s. . . .

4. Place into an oiled bowl and cover with a damp paper towel or cling wrap. Place in the fridge and let set over night.

5. In the morning when you wish to make the bagels remove dough from fridge at least 2 hours before you begin and let the dough come to room temperature.

6. Divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired (I did 1/2 4.5 ounces and 1/2 2.5 ounces to have some smaller options). Form the pieces into rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

7. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Proceed with shaping. Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter (half of this for the smaller bagelsl). The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)

8. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature while preparing water and oven.

9. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels pans and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minutes flip them over rand boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decide to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.) If you want to top the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water. You can use any of the suggestions in the ingredients list or a combination.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

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These turned out great. I took a little of the perfect science out of Peter’s original fabulous recipe and changed the order of things a little bit to make them more friendly to my Sunday baking. It is of course completely up to you (just google Peter Reinhart Bagels to get the original recipe) but I could not taste a difference.

My favorite were of course the cheese topped bagels! Though the salt and sesame are delicious. Be careful with the salt bagels–they need to be eaten within the first two days because the salt will whick away any texture to your bagel.

Boiled

Delicious!