Category: breads

Fried Dough (Pizza Frita)

Our cooking club theme this month was “Recipes from your Grandmother”.  I decided to tackle a brand new recipe, my grandmother’s fried dough.  This is not your typically local fair fried dough which is often flat, and perhaps even topped with tomato sauce.  These are sticks of slightly sweetened bread dough, which you must dip in cinnamon and sugar.

It’s never easy to work with yeast, but I was happy that the dough rose fairly well.  The dough was a little sticky as I tried to shape it, but I did my best, and dropped them into a pan filled with about 1″ of oil.  Because I wasn’t using a true deep fryer, they got flat on the bottom, but that’s OK.

These were great fresh out of the pan, but almost stale 12 hours later so you need to serve them right away.  If you’re having a party and decide to give them a try, this shouldn’t be a problem.




Pizza Frita

1 1/2 T oil, plus more for frying
1 T sugar
2 egg, beaten
3/4 c. milk
1 package yeast, dissolved in 2 T warm water
3-4 c. flour
1/2 c. raisins

Mix oil, sugar, eggs, and milk in a medium bowl.  Add yeast, and 1 cup flour, and beat until smooth.  Add another 2 c. flour and raisins, and mix and knead until smooth.  Add more flour as necessary if dough is too sticky.

Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.  Shape into sticks, and fry in deep oil.



Roasted Strawberry Banana Bread

Strawberry season is in full swing, and I was excited to try this Roasted Strawberry Banana Bread from Skinnytaste.  So excited that I think I ate half a container of strawberries while my Mom was cutting them up.  But that’s OK, there were still plenty to roast.

To make the recipe egg-free, we used Ener-G Egg Replacer.  As you can see, the bread didn’t rise very well, but I am not sure if this was due to the egg replacer or another factor.  Despite being a bit dense, the bread was still delicious.  If I can keep a carton of strawberries around long enough, I might give it another try.


roasted strawberry banana bread

Egg-Free Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching, and there’s a little leprechaun that’s allergic to eggs.  So I set out to make our traditional Irish Soda Bread egg-free.  There are so many egg replacements, but we chose yogurt for this recipe, and I think that was the right call.

Because we used a commercially prepared buttermilk which was low-fat, I used nonfat yogurt.  If you’re going to make the buttermilk yourself with skim milk, I would suggest low-fat yogurt.  We used the buttermilk again to replace the traditional egg wash on top.

The egg-free version tastes exactly the same, but the texture is a little different.  The bread is a bit softer, with a finer crumb.  It was still delicious, and now I need to bake another loaf for the big day!



Egg-Free Irish Soda Bread

4 c. flour
3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
6 T butter
1 1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. nonfat plain yogurt
1 1/2 c. + 1T buttermilk, divided

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 2 quart round casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients (flour through baking soda). With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins.

Stir yogurt and buttermilk in a small bowl.  Stir into flour mixture just until flour is moistened. The dough will be sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface, and with floured hands, knead about 10 strokes to mix thoroughly. Shape into a ball, and place in casserole dish. With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top and brush dough with 1 T of buttermilk.

Bake about 60-100 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Blueberry Scones

Although I love a good latte, I am usually not tempted by the bakery case at Starbucks.  The major exception is their blueberry scones.  There’s something about those scones that I really love, so I decided to try to make some at home that might be a bit healthier.

I used this Strawberry Scone recipe from Chobani, and substituted plain yogurt for the strawberry yogurt, and blueberries for the strawberries. Many people have used this recipe successfully, but I needed to add a splash of milk to bring the dough together.  I think if you use a fruit that has more moisture (like chopped strawberries) that might do the trick.

Either way, I really liked these scones.  They’re fluffier than the Starbucks version, and a little smaller of course, but make a nice treat.  While I’ll still stop at Starbucks for my coffee fix, I can bring my own scone!




Blueberry Scones

1 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
4 T butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 c. blueberries
6 oz. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
Splash of milk

In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add in blueberries and yogurt.  Stir just to combine.  If more liquid is needed, add a splash of milk.

Turn dough onto a floured surface.  Fold dough on top of itself a few times – do not knead.  Form into a circle that is 1-1 1/2″ thick.  Cut into 8 triangles.  Place each triangle on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

-Lightly adapted from Chobani

Spinach, Sundried Tomato, and Feta Rolls

Last weekend, I had the urge to bake bread but got distracted and made Pumpkin Ginger Pecan Muffins.  There were no distractions this weekend; I made something even better than bread!  I made these Crusty Spinach Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Bread Rolls.  There is nothing like fresh bread right out of the oven.

The recipe from Sass and Veracity is based on a recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  The basic concept is that if you keep dough in your refrigerator, you can make bread easily whenever you’d like.  That sounds great, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to bake fresh bread every day!  Still, the recipe works well.  I cut the ingredients in half and tried to clarify the directions in my version below.  The process isn’t difficult at all; the hardest part is creating steam in your oven with a pan filled with water.

The rolls were amazing – crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, and full of flavor.  They would work well for either brunch or dinner, although I must say I really enjoyed one with a glass of wine.  If you’re nervous about making your own bread, my advice is to jump in and give it a try.  It takes some practice, but once you get going you’ll have your own bakery on demand.



Spinach, Sundried Tomato, and Feta Rolls

1 package (2 1/4 t) yeast
2 t sugar
2 t salt
1/2 c. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c. sun dried tomatoes, drained of any oil, and chopped
1/3 c. fat-free feta
1 large egg white
1 1/2 c. warm water
3 1/4 c. flour, plus extra for handling

Mix yeast, sugar, salt, spinach, tomatoes, and feta in a large bowl.  Place egg white in a liquid measuring cup, and add warm water for a total of 1 1/2 c. fluid.  Add to mixing bowl.  Spoon flour into mixing bowl.  Mix with a wooden spoon just until the ingredients are combined.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to rest in a warm place for 2 hours.

Prepare a baking  sheet with parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal.  Sprinkle flour on top of the wet dough.  Flour your hands, and pull pieces of dough the size of a baseball.  Shape into a round, and place on the prepared parchment.  Continue until all the dough is formed into balls. Allow to rest for 1 hour.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven, and preheat oven to 425F.  Add water to the empty pan.  Place prepared baking sheet with dough  on the middle rack.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until rolls are golden brown.  Cool on a rack, and serve warm.

-Lightly adapted from Sass and Veracity, concept by Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Pumpkin Ginger Pecan Muffins

I said I would bake this weekend, and I did!  But I didn’t make the hearty rolls I had planned; I decided to bake some treats for the freezer instead.  I’ll get back to those rolls later, I promise.

I was surfing the Internet, and spotted this recipe for Ginger Pecan Pumpkin Muffins.  I had crystallized ginger leftover from the Dark Chocolate Brownies with Crystallized Ginger and Sea Salt that I made this summer.  I had leftover pecans from my Mom’s pantry clean out.  And way up top in my cabinet I had a stash of canned pumpkin.  It was destiny, right?  I did change a few things from the original recipe by using some whole wheat flour, replacing a portion of the sugar with honey, and changing the spices a bit.

The muffins were quite good, and I liked the crunch of the pecans.  You can only taste the ginger every few bites so if you want more of a kick, I would increase the amount of crystallized ginger to 1/3-1/2 cup, as in the original recipe.  Although I know pumpkin is often enjoyed in the fall, these muffins are pretty good for January too.



Pumpkin Ginger Pecan Muffins

1 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. honey
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. crystallized ginger pieces

In a large bowl, mix flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  In another bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin, oil, yogurt, honey, and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix just until blended.  Fold in pecans and ginger.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin tins coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350F for 22-28 minutes.

-Adapted from Etsy

Crackly Banana Bread

Of course, I love to visit farmer’s markets and my local produce market.  I really do believe in enjoying fruit and vegetables seasonally, and supporting local agriculture as much as possible.  But I am not ashamed to admit that I also check out the discount produce bin at the grocery store.  You do what you need to do.  This week, I found an incredible deal: 10 very ripe bananas, packaged together and priced at just $1.  This meant, of course, that I had to make banana bread.

It seems a shame that I don’t have a single banana bread recipe on the blog.  My grandmother made banana bread all.the.time and it’s always been one of my favorites.  I decided to make this Crackly Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen, which aims to make a bread that is more suitable for breakfast with fruit, whole grains, and less sugar.  The “crackle” comes from uncooked millet.  Now, I didn’t want to get a deal on bananas and then spend a lot on millet.  But it was pretty cheap to buy just 1/4 c. of millet from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, most notably using canola oil instead of coconut oil, and switching up the spices a bit.  Everything worked out well, and I loved the crackle!  This is a really moist banana bread, which supposedly keeps for a week.  You could enjoy this banana bread as a treat for breakfast, perhaps paired with some nonfat plain yogurt, but I know my grandmother would be eating it in the afternoon with a cup of coffee.



Crackly Banana Bread

4 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/3 c. canola oil
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. uncooked millet

In a large bowl, mix bananas, egg, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Add baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and mix well.  Add flour and stir just until combined.  Stir in millet.  Pour batter into a 9″x5″ loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.

-Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Pumpkin Cornbread

My sweet tooth was satisfied with the Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal cookies, but I still had a good amount of pumpkin leftover.  I decided to make this Pumpkin Cornbread from the New York Times.  The recipe is written by Martha Rose Shulman as part of the ‘Recipes for Health’ feature.

I don’t make cornbread often, but it is such a treat to have a piece fresh from the oven.  Even though the recipe calls for a whole cup of pumpkin, the flavor is very subtle.  Unlike other pumpkin cornbread recipes, this one does not call for pumpkin-like spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice.  It’s really a traditional cornbread with just a hint of pumpkin, which is great for serving with any fall dinner.




Apple Thyme Cheddar Scones

Our cooking club theme this month was “Apples”.  I decided to make these Apple Thyme Cheddar Scones from the website of a Western dairy company named Challenge.  We can’t buy Challenge butter around here, but I still liked this recipe for savory scones.  It’s the fall version of my late summer classic Zucchini Cheddar Biscuits.

The ingredients came together very easily, and I was able to resist that strong urge to add more flour at the end.  I pressed the dough into more of a rectangle than a circle, so instead of triangles, I made small squares.  Note that my oven does run a little hot, but these scones were quite browned in 20 minutes, so watch them carefully.

The scones were a nice complement to our apple-themed meal, although I might use fresh herbs instead of dried for more intensity next time.  If you go apple picking and come home with a big tote of apples, save one for this recipe.



Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits

I’ve had this recipe for Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits saved on my Pinterest for months.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to a dinner party, and thought it would be a good opportunity to try the recipe.  I felt very Southern taking a dishtowel-lined basket of biscuits to a party, and I am happy to report they were a hit!

I changed a few things from the original recipe, cutting back the salt and increasing the amount of zucchini.  You might notice that these biscuits appear a little flat.  I think the extra zucchini may have weighed them down a bit, but the texture was still fairly light.  Although I love just about anything with zucchini, I think it’s the cheese that really makes these taste great.

If you have some extra zucchini around, try these biscuits for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  If you still have extra zucchini, drop them off at my house please.  🙂



Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 c. shredded zucchini
2 1/2 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 c. nonfat milk
1 c. shredded cheddar, such as Cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar

Place shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Press with a fork, and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Cut in butter with two knives, or a pastry blender, until all of the butter pieces are the size of small peas.  Add milk, cheese, and drained zucchini.  Drop batter in large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes.

-Recipe slightly adapted from A Cozy Kitchen