Brown Butter Skillet Cornbread

cornbread

Buttery, tender cornbread is a delicious accompaniment to many dishes, especially BBQ, so when my daughter asked me to make her Crock-Pot Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce I decided to whip up a batch of cornbread as well. She was in heaven!

What I liked about this recipe from Serious Eats was the addition of brown butter which I think makes food so much more flavorful. Brown butter, also know as a beurre noisette, imparts a delicious nutty and complex flavor that elevates any dish, sweet or savory. Pay close attention when you brown butter, especially in a hot oven, because it can quickly go from nice and brown to burnt and inedible.

One last note, when I made the cornbread I did not have any sour cream in the house so I substituted with yogurt which is the closest in taste and tang to sour cream. Also, if you do not have any buttermilk on hand you can easily make your own with milk and a little lemon juice. Just add 1 tbs of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, stir and let it sit and thicken for about 5-10 minutes. Use it just like you would a store-bought buttermilk. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 7 tbs unsalted butter, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk

Instructions

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 425°F. Place butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Transfer skillet to oven and heat until the butter is melted and well browned, 10- 12 minutes. Once browned, pour butter into a heatproof cup or bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon remaining in the skillet.

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Combine eggs, sour cream, and buttermilk in a second bowl and whisk until well combines and smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the reserved brown butter. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well combined.

Remove skillet from the oven and swirl to coat all surfaces with melted butter. Spoon batter into skillet, smooth top lightly and then transfer to oven. Bake until lightly golden brown on top and a wooden skewer inserted into cornbread comes out with no crumbs, about 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in skillet. Serve with extra butter at the table.

**Tip – Leftover cornbread can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.**

Traditional Italian Easter Bread

easterbread2

Easter bread has been a tradition in my Italian family since before I was even born. When I was a child, my Dad would always make the breads right before the holiday and on Easter we’d enjoy it for breakfast slathered in sweet butter. It was my most favorite thing about Easter since it was the only time this bread was made in my family.

There are many variations of Easter bread out there and the one that I make today for my own family is slightly different from the one that I grew up with. The one I had as a child had a drier more crumbly texture that is very similar to a scone. This recipe, which is all that I have used for years, has a very soft and fluffy texture similar to a brioche or Challah bread. Both are delicious, it’s really just a matter of textural preference.

This is a very easy, non-fussy recipe to make. Just make sure to allow your dough to rise in a warm area that is free of drafts. I really love the “PROOF” function on my oven, if your oven has it as well I highly recommend that you take advantage of it. Also, when you warm the milk and butter be sure it doesn’t get too hot, you want to avoid scalding the milk. In addition, if you add piping hot liquid to yeast you will kill it thus resulting in bread that doesn’t rise properly, if at all. Keep your liquid mixture between 100-115ºF which will ensure enough warmth for the yeast to activate without killing it.

Please note, while the colored eggs are safe to eat once the bread comes out of the oven they will not be edible if you store the bread out on the counter. Discard the eggs if you leave your bread out or alternatively, remove the eggs after baking and refrigerate. I always store my Easter bread on the counter to keep it soft and fresh, as we eat each loaf I discard the eggs. The eggs are fine to leave in the bread on the counter, just don’t eat them if left out.

Ingredients

  • 1 package Rapid Rise yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water
  • 6 colored eggs
  • nonpariel sprinkles

Instructions

In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together until the butter melts and the mixture is between 110-115ºF.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast, salt, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Add the warm (not hot) milk/butter mixture. Add about half of the flour and using the dough hool attachment, beat until smooth. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. If the dough is still sticky, add a little extra flour and it becomes stiff.

Knead the dough smooth either using the dough hook or by hand on a floured board. Place in a lightly greased glass bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until it is doubled in size, about an hour.

Punch the dough down and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1″ thick rope that is about 14″ long. Taking the two pieces, twist to make a braid, pinch the ends together and form into a circle. Place the formed dough on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Cover and place in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.

Brush each bread with the beaten egg wash (egg/water mixture). Lightly sprinkle the bread with the nonpariel sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring gently place a colored egg.

Bake at 350ºF until golden in color, about 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.

**Tip – You don’t have to hard boil the eggs prior to coloring them however, I find they don’t cook all the way through during the baking process if they are raw. I prefer to hard boil them for a few minutes before coloring so that they are thoroughly cooked after baking.**

 

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels

I might be slightly addicted to soft, warm pretzels however, I cannot stand paying upwards of $4 for one so I make my own instead! I have no idea where I first came across this recipe but they are without a doubt one of the best soft pretzels I’ve ever eaten. You can easily make a few batches of these and freeze them so you always have a pretzel on hand when the craving hits! Eat them whole or cut them up into generous pieces and serve them as an appetizer alongside different dipping sauces.

These are fairly easy to make however, it does take a little bit of time because they will need to proof for an hour before you can twist them into pretzel shapes. Speaking of shapes, don’t feel obligated to stick to the classic pretzel twist, try out making rods or even braids, all will be equally delicious! The most important step when making homemade soft pretzels is to give them a dip in a water and baking soda bath. This quick step is what gives the pretzels their delicious flavor, chewy texture, and lovely brown color. I have found that the baking soda solution will leave a residue behind on the pot therefore, I keep an old pot on hand that I use exclusively for making soft pretzels.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c warm water
  • 2 tbs light brown sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt 
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Canola oil, to coat bowl 
  • 3 qts water 
  • 2/3 c baking soda 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. **Make sure the water is not too hot or you will kill the yeast, keep it around 105-110°F**

Add the salt and flour to the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, place on a flat surface, and knead into a ball with your hands.

Coat a large bowl with canola oil, add the dough, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot or oven set to “proof” until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.

Towards the end of the proof time, preheat oven to 425°F and bring the water to a boil in a large pot.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide into 8 equal portions and roll each piece into a long rope. To shape into a pretzel: Take the right side and cross over to the left. Cross right to left again and flip up.

Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels, two at a time, in the water solution for 30 seconds. Splash the tops of the pretzels with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove the pretzels with a large slotted spatula and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat™. Place no more than 4 pretzels on each baking sheet. Brush the tops of the pretzels with egg wash and season liberally with salt.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be frozen and reheated easily in a microwave for 45 seconds to a minute.

**Tip – Soft, warm pretzels go great with all kinds of dipping sauces including beer cheese, mustard, chocolate, hummus, and  buffalo cheddar cheese**

Buffalo Cheddar Cheese

  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour and whisk until a roux forms, cook for 1-2 minutes until slightly golden in color. Add the milk and turn heat to low, stir constantly until milk thickens. Add the cheese and continue to stir until smooth. Stir in hot sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

 

 

Easy Beer Bread

beer bread

Everyone loves beer bread but few realize just how easy it is to make completely from scratch. There are so many boxed versions available and while they are good nothing beats making something completely homemade. It’s fresher tasting and you know exactly what goes into it. The great thing about beer bread is it takes less than five minutes to pull together and it requires NO rising so within an hour you can have a nice, hot loaf of bread ready to serve.

Beer bread is also very versatile so feel free to use this recipe as a base and then change up the flavor profile. Try making a Cheddar Jalapeno, Cheesy Green Onion, or even a Savory herb bread. Click here for a few other great variations that you can try! I prefer to use red ales for this recipe, in particular I like Killians Irish Red, but you can use any beer that you like. The beer bread will have a stronger or milder beer flavor depending on which brand and type that you choose. Serve this bread alongside chili, stew, or any hearty meat dish. It also makes a great, simple appetizer! Cut the loaf into chunks and serve with an herb or spinach dip.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 (12 oz) can of beer
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbs) of salted butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease a 9X5 loaf pan and set aside.

Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Slowly add the beer and stir until well combined.

Place the dough into the greased pan. Pour the melted butter all over the top. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut Bread

cinnswirldoughbrd

I love cinnamon sugar anything!! It’s such a warm, cozy flavor that reminds me of cool, crisp autumn nights. Cinnamon sugar breads are not only a yummy dessert but also a great (not so healthy) breakfast treat that is perfect with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea. To make this bread extra decadent and delicious, simply drizzle a light sugar glaze over the top.

I stumbled upon this recipe on FB, it was posted by Preppy Kitchen however, the original recipe can be found here, Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut Bread , on “Lauren’s Latest” blog. This bread came out amazing!! It was moist and soft with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar. I followed the recipe as is, making no adjustments to it whatsoever. You can also turn this recipe into fantastic Coffee Cake Muffins which are perfect for a cozy Sunday morning breakfast. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the bread

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp molasses

For the outside coating

  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

*If you do not have buttermilk mix together 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 tsp white vinegar. Let sit for 3 minutes and then add to recipe.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a lightly colored loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the oil, butter, and sugar until well combined. Stir in the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and continue to mix until a smooth, uniform batter has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure no lumps are present.

Remove 1/2 cup of the batter and place into a smaller, separate bowl. Add to it the cinnamon and molasses, stir to combine.

Pour half of the prepared batter into the loaf pan. Spoon half of the cinnamon batter in small dollops all over the batter. Pour the remaining batter in the pan and dot the top with the remaining cinnamon batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the two batters together.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove.

Towards the last 10-15 minutes of baking, get the outside coating ready. Pour melted butter into a large shallow dish. Stir the cinnamon and sugars together in a separate shallow dish.

Dip each side of the loaf and the top into the melted butter and fully coat it. Transfer the buttery loaf to the cinnamon sugar mixture and press each side and the top into the mixture until fully coated.

Slice into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.

Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

cinnbuns

There is almost nothing better than a warm, fresh, ooey gooey, cinnamon roll dripping with vanilla glaze. Literally nothing better!! Cinnamon rolls are a classic sweet and are just as awesome on a cozy Sunday morning as they are for Christmas breakfast. I’ve tried many different recipes for these rolls and some were decent but I found that many of them yielded a rather dense, almost dry roll. I was looking for light, fluffy, soft roll and I found that in the cinnamon roll recipe from The Pioneer Woman . These were AMAZING!

The only adjustment that I made to this recipe was to substitute a vanilla glaze for the maple glaze that she suggests. I do not care for maple flavor in any of my baked goods, I reserve that for pancakes and waffles only. As per The Pioneer Woman, you can also make other substitutions to this recipe such as adding chopped pecans to the rolls or by making an orange glaze in place of the maple one. I am a cinnamon roll purist so for me I like to keep it pretty straightforward with a basic roll loaded with nothing but butter and cinnamon sugar and then covered in warm vanilla glaze. That is absolute perfection in my eyes.

This recipe will yield A LOT of cinnamon rolls so if you don’t feel like halving the recipe, you can actually make the full batch and freeze individual pans of rolls.  Just place the rolls in a pan and BEFORE they rise, cover them tightly with foil, and freeze. When you’re ready to make them simply thaw the pan, allow the rolls to rise, and then bake them off as you would if they were freshly made. Alternatively, you can also freeze the baked, iced rolls as well. Just pull them out of the freezer and warm them up in a 250 degree oven for about 15 minutes and then serve. Making big batches of these heavenly treats is a great idea around the holidays so that you’ll always have a homemade dessert on hand to serve any unexpected guest that drop by!

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 qt whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 9 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1 scant tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbs salt

For the filling

  • 2 cups melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more as needed

For the vanilla glaze

  • 1 heaping cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tbs milk

Instructions

For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a pan over medium heat, do not allow the mixture to boil. Set aside and cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 cups of the flour and stir until just combined. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set is aside in a warm, draft free area (or use the proofing function in your oven if you have it) and allow them to rise for 1 hour.

Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining flour. Stir thoroughly to combine.

To assemble the rolls, remove half of the dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough to about 30X10 inches.

To make the filling, pour 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Using your fingers, spread it evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar all over the butter. Add a little more butter or sugar as needed.

Beginning at the end of the dough farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands, work slowly, and keep the roll tight. It’s okay if some of the filling begins to ooze out.

When you reach the end, pinch the seams together. Transfer to a cutting board and with a very sharp knife, make 1 1/2″ slices. One log will make about 20-25 rolls.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of melted butter into a round tin pan or other desired baking dish. Swirl to coat. Place the rolls in the pan, be sure to not overcrowd them as they need room to “grow”. Repeat this process with remaining dough. Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and allow them to rise again for at least 20-25 minutes.

While they are rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls for 13-17 minutes or until they are golden brown. Do not over bake them and allow them to get too browned on top. While the rolls are baking, make the vanilla icing.

To make the icing, add the sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream to a bowl, Stir to combine and add the milk, 1 tbs at a time, until the icing is well combined and smooth.

Remove the rolls from the oven and while they are still warm, pour the vanilla icing over them, spread evenly across the pan using an offset spatula. As the rolls sit and cool, they will absorb all of that yummy vanilla glaze goodness. Serve warm. Enjoy!