My husband makes this insanely good garlic and herb pull apart bread, based loosely on the recipe found here. He gets all kinds of requests to make it and when we take it to parties and it’s always a hit. Gooey, cheesy, dipped in marinara. Like savory monkey bread. Yuuuum.
But, in trying to think of ways to mix it up a little (even the best foods you can’t eat for every dinner party), we had a brainstorming session with our friends and the suggestion to try it Mexican-style and dip in in salsa and queso came up. Challenge accepted.
I don’t want to say this turned out better than the garlic Parmesan, but it was at least a tie. The sheer fact that it’s different than the usual cheesy breads out there definitely gives it an edge. The aromatic cumin with the earthiness and kick of the jalapenos mixed with the cheese and the crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-in-the-middle bread is just so pleasantly surprising. Why has no one made this bread before? (For the record, all similar recipes I found used refrigerated biscuit dough, so if you aren’t up to the task of making dough from scratch, you can still give this a whirl.) And then you dunk it in more cheese and salsa and the flavors are magnified, if that’s possible. Enough of my rambling. You’ll just have to try it for yourself and then you, too, can sit and wonder why this bread is not already a thing.
For the bread :
3 7/8 cups white bread flour
2 T course semolina flour
1 package Fleischmann’s active dry yeast
2 heaping tsp. fine grain salt
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. onion flakes
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
3 T jalapeno pepper, diced
3/4 cup finely grated pepperjack cheese
3/4 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Dough likes warm kitchens. Combine dry ingredients (flour, yeast, semolina, salt) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a bread hook, turn stand mixer onto its lowest setting. Slowly add oil and water. After liquid has been added, continue to mix at lowest speed for two minutes. Turn mixer to next highest speed and continue mixing for six minutes or until dough becomes firm and barely sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead for two minutes. Form dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel and let rest for one hour. While dough is rising, whisk together butter, oil and next eight ingredients in a small bowl.
Once dough has nearly doubled in size, lightly punch it down in the bowl. Pull off small pieces of dough from dough ball (roughly a tablespoon if you were to measure it), dip each piece in spice mixture and drop into a bundt pan. Once the bottom of the pan is covered with a layer of dough, sprinkle with 1/3 cup of mixed cheeses and 1 T jalapenos. Continue this process two more times (reserving a little cheese for the top once baked).
Cover pan and let rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, once the dough nearly reaches the top of the pan. Place into the oven and reduce heat to 425. Bake for 16- 20 minutes until top is dark golden brown and crispy. Let cool for 30 minutes and turn out bread onto serving platter. Top with remaining cheese and serve with salsa and queso for dipping. (As a chef’s note, next time, we think it would be good to dice and saute red pepper and onions and jalapenos for the layering, too.)
We are currently taking requests for other out-of-the-box breads! Any suggestions?
I am a nerd and I still take cupcakes to work on my birthday. Basically, it’s just a good excuse to bake something and then eat a lot of it. I love coffee, so something coffee-inspired was a no-brainer. These were deliciously rich and creamy without being too sweet. Holy, holy coffee goodness, they were good.
I adapted the recipe from here.
Ingredients for the cupcakes (icing and filling to follow):
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
3 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Once you have these gathered, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (At which point I had to promptly un-preheat and return to the store because I bought everything but liners.) Line muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add oil, coffee, and eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla.
Spoon the batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. (Now look below to filling and icing!) Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, for 16 to 18 minutes. Let them cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Coffee Cream Filling:
In a small bowl, whip the cream cheese, cocoa and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the liqueur and fold in the whipped cream. Cover and chill.
Seriously, I could eat this with a spoon all day. And I did. And you should too.
Now apparently, come cupcake filling time, there is supposed to be a cake squeezer tip thingy in your drawer. This was not the case for me. I used the end of a wooden stirring spoon coated in baking spray and gouged a few holes into the cupcake before filling using a Ziploc bag with the corner cut out. Next time, I would probably do a bigger hole, especially if the filling was this good.
Coffee Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth, then beat in the coffee. Top cupcakes with frosting.
Ta-da! Coffee-chocolate-Kahlua explosion. What are your favorite non-traditional cupcakes?
Well, our basil is growing like wild and we needed a good way to use up bunches of it. Pizza with homemade pesto sauce and basil on top was just the thing.
We used this recipe for a chickpea and carrot pizza crust for something fun and unconventional and it was mighty delicious. We loved the texture. It made two large pizzas and we opted for two totally different flavor profiles.
Each pizza began with a good layer of this homemade pesto for the sauce. The first pizza was an eggplant caprese with tomato slices, grilled eggplant, buffalo mozzarella and basil tucked into the layers. Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses topped it off.
The grilled eggplant gave the caprese pizza a wonderfully rich, meaty flavor. It was so simple yet so flavorful.
The second was topped with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and a bit of shredded cheddar. This really packed a punch. The sweet onions balanced the pungent sun-dried tomatoes and sharp feta. It was a seriously magical combination.
Do you have any awesome unconventional pizza crust recipes or ridiculously good pizza topping combinations?
Disclaimer: This recipe is not for those who like cake-y brownies. If you like cake-like brownies, this will not scratch your itch. Stay here for ooey-gooey goodness.
This recipe is my grandmother’s brownie recipe. And that may be the first time I’ve ever called her my grandmother. From the time I was young I, and everyone who knew my family, called her “Big D.”
You may now be wondering why exactly I call my mother’s mother a name that’s fitting for a large and intimidating man, so, for those of you who are curious, here goes. She went by her middle name (Ann) from the time she was born. Doris was actually her first name, after her father. When my parents started dating in high school, and my dad found out about this first name she loved to hate, and being the mischief-maker he is, he thought it would be fun to continually remind her of it. And she got a kick out of it. So, “Big Doris” she was.
Under my father’s direction, my first words to my grandma were calling her “Big Doris,” but when that proved to be too many syllables for a small child, it got shortened to “Big D” … or “biddy” at the time, but I had it mastered by the time my brother came around and it stuck. From addressing letters to a presentation at her funeral, she was never referred to as anything else by my family and friends.
I spent many days after school with her cooking and baking before I even had fine motor skills developed enough to be of any use. I have so many wonderful memories of baking and coming up with recipes with her. The brownies are uncomplicated and straightforward, just like Big D. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that they aren’t wonderfully delicious, because the woman couldn’t cook or bake anything that wasn’t. Now that you have the entire story, let’s get down Big D’s brownies!
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs (well beaten)
5-6 T cocoa
pinch of salt
3/4 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and cocoa, stir to combine.
Add salt and flour and stir. Bake in 8 X 8 pan (greased and floured) for 35-40 min.
Though you don’t need to add anything, I think it’s always fun to add some toppings if not just for a pop of color! From nuts to a peanut butter and powdered sugar icing, I love to top brownies with whatever strikes me. I added some fudge icing and sprinkles since I was taking these to a family-filled event. What are your favorite brownie toppings?
After a weekend away (which inevitably means eating out for every meal), I cannot think of a better thing to come home to than Andy in the process of baking fresh bread. And that is exactly what happened when I came home after my long weekend! A kind he’s never tried before too, which is always fun. I have to admit that it was time consuming, but completely worth it.
These tomato, garlic and spinach loaves knocked our socks off and will most definitely be making an appearance in our home again. One of the really nice things about these loaves are the wonderful, flavor-filled ingredients. It is almost magic how much flavor is packed into these babies. To the original recipe, he also added a handful of spinach, which I tend to add to just about any dish I make (he just knows me that well).
We also thought the addition of cheese was a no-brainer and we went with Asiago. The recipe we used is adapted from the book Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads, (which is a really excellent book on baking that includes an in-depth how-to DVD if you’re on the lookout for baking books).
The loaf is made with a basic olive oil dough, like the one found here and is filled with oven-dried tomatoes, spinach, roasted garlic and cheese.
The roasted cherry tomatoes develop their flavor as they are baked low and slow with a hearty dose of salt, pepper and sugar. The whole garlic cloves are cooked on the stovetop in a good amount of extra virgin olive oil with salt and sugar until caramelized.
After the fillings were ready and the dough had risen, we spread the dough like a thick crust pizza, loaded up the fillings and then folded it over into thirds. This loaf was cut into four pieces.
We took one section at a time and turned it on its side and pinched the bottom together of each to create dough boats with the fillings inside.
All that’s left is to bake the loaves. And there you have it. So much of the flavor was due to the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Next time we make a batch of oven-dried tomatoes, I’ll plan to reserve quite a few for salads, spreads and anything else in need of a dose of concentrated flavor.
Any fillings could be used for this bread: olives and feta cheese, pine nuts, caramelized onions… the possibilities are endless. Next time, we talked about adding chicken and pesto, which would make it a full meal in itself.
P.S.- Today for lunch, we cut a loaf in half and then sliced it horizontally. We used pesto Parmesan ham and Provolone cheese to make what may have been the most delicious sandwich I’ve ever had. I seriously cannot describe how good this bread is, so you’ll just have to make some filled loaves for yourself!