I'm usually not one for trying out a brand new recipe on Thanksgiving. I like classics you can count on. But these just looked so good I couldn't pass them up. They came out light, fluffy, and perfectly golden brown. I should have taken a picture, I know. But don't worry, I'm sure I'll make them again. ;)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3½ cups (or more) bread flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons quick-rising dry yeast
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating bowl
1 large egg
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Nonstick cooking spray
1 large egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
Raw (turbinado or demerara) sugar

1. Stir the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until toasted, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Mix 3½ cups bread flour with the brown sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the milk registers 95 degrees F. Add the oil; remove from the heat. Add the milk mixture and 1 egg to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until a wet coarse ball forms, about 1 minute. Add the nuts and the cranberries. Replace the paddle attachment on the mixer with a dough hook. Mix dough on low speed until smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky, adding more flour by the tablespoonfuls as needed, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl. Shape the dough into a ball; place in the prepared bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, 1¾ to 2 hours.

4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to an unfloured surfaced; divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth round ball. Transfer the rolls to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart. Spray the rolls with nonstick spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise at room temperature until 1½ times original size, about 1½ hours. Brush rolls with egg glaze; sprinkle with raw sugar. Let rise 15 minutes longer.

5. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

6. Place rolls in oven; reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake 7 minutes. Rotate baking sheet; continue to bake rolls until golden and slightly firm to the touch, about 8 minutes longer. Cool completely on a cooling rack.

*Note: You can wrap these in foil and place in an airtight bag and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw the rolls at room temperature. If desired, you can rewarm the rolls wrapped in foil in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.

makes 16 large rolls

original recipe

IMG_6349.JPGBeing from the south, I was raised on cornbread dressing, but this Cummings' family tradition is pretty tasty I must admit. Savory additions of corn, mushrooms and sliced black olives are well balanced by the sweet rose wine scented broth. Daniel calls this dressing " one element of the perfect trifecta of Thanksgiving flavors," the other two being turkey and mashed potatoes of course.

1 large onion, chopped small
5 stalks celery, chopped small
8 oz white button mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 T. butter

2 c. rose wine
3 c. chicken broth
2 T. butter
1/2 tsp sage

1 package Pepperidge Farm herb dressing (cubed)
1 package Pepperidge Farm herb dressing (crumbs)
1 1/2 cans yellow corn
1 can black olives, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 1/2 tbs butter in a skillet, add onion, celery, and mushrooms. Lightly salt and pepper the vegetables and saute until onions begin to brown.

Meanwhile, heat broth, wine, 2 tbs butter, and ~1/2 tsp dried sage in medium saucepan until butter is melted.

Mix onion mixture with remaining dry ingredients (stuffing, corn, olives) in large bowl. Add broth/wine over until mixture is moist, mix gently. Pour into 9x13" baking dish. Bake ~1 hour or until top is browned.

wholewheatbread2_sm.jpg

I have to say I think I've found the perfect sandwich bread. Half-whole wheat, sweetened just slightly with molasses and honey, lightened with oats, and perfectly sliceable. Makes two loaves - eat one and freeze or gift the other. If freezing, slice first so you can toast individual slices, and wrap in aluminum foil.

2  cups  warm water (100° to 110°)
3  tablespoons  molasses
1  (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
3  cups  all-purpose flour, divided
2 1/2  cups  whole wheat flour
1  cup  uncooked regular oats
1  tablespoon  salt - yes, really a tablespoon
1/4  cup  honey
3  tablespoons  olive oil
up to 6  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
Vegetable cooking spray
Prep: 25 min.; Stand: 5 min.; Rise: 1 hr., 45 min.; Bake: 35 min.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a 2-cup glass measuring cup; let yeast mixture stand 5 minutes.

Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, and salt.

Beat yeast mixture, 1 cup all-purpose flour, honey, and olive oil at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until well blended (or with a wooden spoon, which works fine). Gradually add whole wheat flour mixture, beating at low speed until a soft dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface, and knead 9 minutes, adding additional all-purpose flour (up to 6 tablespoons) as needed. Don't add too much here, the dough should be slightly sticky. Place dough in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray, turning to grease top of dough.

Cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 13- x 8-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll up each dough rectangle, starting at 1 short side, jelly-roll fashion; pinch ends to seal. Place loaves, seam sides down, into 2 (8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch) loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until almost doubled in bulk. Remove and discard plastic wrap.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped and are golden. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pans, and cool on wire racks.

Makes 2 loaves, 12 slices per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)

Calories:150 (14% from fat)
Fat: 2.4g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.4g)
Original recipe

eggplant_mushroombake_sm.jpgThis dish was a huge surprise. The ingredients seem simple, but the combination of broiled eggplant, browned mushrooms and onions, simple tomato sauce, and melted cheese is outstanding. It has all the great flavor of really good authentic Italian food, but without swimming in olive oil. As my one-and-only critic said, "I would go to a restaurant just to order this." Definitely one of my favorite dishes of the year. Serve over pasta.

1  peeled eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1  cup  chopped onion
1/2 tbs fresh oregano and 1/2 tsp dried basil or 1 tsp Italian seasoning
2  garlic cloves, chopped
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1  (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, divided
2/3  cup  (about 3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper
Olive oil cooking spray

Pasta, cooked according to directions

Preheat broiler.

Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking sheet coated with olive oil cooking spray, spray the tops as well and sprinkle lightly with coarse ground salt and pepper; broil 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat; add onion and next 4 ingredients (onion through mushrooms). Salt lightly. Cook until onions are browned, and mushrooms are turning golden, stirring mixture occasionally (about 10 minutes).

Spread half of mushroom mixture in bottom of a 1 1/2-quart round baking dish coated with cooking spray (I used a cake pan). Arrange half of eggplant slices over mushroom mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1/3 cup mozzarella. Spread remaining mushroom mixture over mozzarella; top with remaining eggplant slices. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon pepper; top with remaining tomato sauce. Cover and bake at 375° for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve over pasta.

yield: 4 servings
Per serving (not including pasta)
Calories:168 (30% from fat)
Fat: 5.6g (sat 3.2g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.5g)
Original recipe

artisan_noknead_sm.jpgAh, Cook's Illustrated...They always have the best techniques, tips, and recipes, it just always seems to take an entire day to pull one off. They are true weekend recipes: lots of time, but usually worth it. This recipe is their version of the ubiquitous "no-knead bread" baked in a Dutch oven that has been floating around online. It's kind of funny because the whole idea behind the original recipe was that it was easy...and, well, this is not. Not fast anyway. This version bakes up a perfectly textured artisan loaf of bread in only...11 hours! Still, the bread was really good. Bakery good. It might be worth it.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 cup + 2 tbs water, room temperature
1/4 c. + 2 tbs mild beer (something typically American)
1 tbs white vinegar

Whisk flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8-18 hours.

Lay 12x18 inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10-15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6-8 qt. Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and make one 6-inch long, 1/2 inch deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lighting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown, 20-30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot, transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
mapleporkstew_sm.jpgA warm and hearty stew with German-inspired flavors of beer, mustard, and red wine vinegar, sweetened with a little maple syrup. On the whole a seasonal and satisfying dish, best with served with a rustic-style bread. I would probably add a chopped apple next time for a sweeter variation.

1  tablespoon  olive oil
1  (1 1/2-pound) boned pork loin roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2  cups  diced onion
1  (8-ounce) package mushrooms, quartered
1 3/4  cups  (1/8-inch) diagonally sliced carrot
3/4  cup  diced red bell pepper
2  tablespoons  maple syrup
1  teaspoon  dried rubbed sage
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
1  (16-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1  (12-ounce) bottle beer
2  tablespoons  cornstarch
1  tablespoon  red wine vinegar
1  tablespoon  country-style Dijon mustard
Sage sprigs (optional)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan. Add remaining pork; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Return pork to pan; add carrot and next 7 ingredients (carrot though beer). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until pork is tender.

Combine cornstarch, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add to pork mixture, and bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with rice. Garnish with sage sprigs, if desired.

Original recipe

pumpkin_pancakes_sm.jpgI love pumpkin in all forms and pancakes (as the title of this blog shows), so combining the two should be a sure thing. I may keep looking for another recipe, though... Daniel loved these but the texture was a little thick for my taste.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, egg white and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot griddle coated with cooking spray; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until second side is golden brown.

Original recipe

chocolate_almond_biscotti_sm.jpgKind of like a crunchy, dippable version of chocolate cake, studded with chocolate chips and almonds. Delicious with coffee or milk.

2 cups (280g) flour
3/4 cups (75g) top-quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (125g) almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped
3/4 cups (120g) chocolate chips

For the glaze

1 large egg
2 tablespoons coarse or crystal sugar (see Notes)

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar, and vanilla & almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts and the chocolate chips until the dough holds together.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into two logs the length of the baking sheet. Transfer the logs onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.

Gently flatten the tops of the logs. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the logs liberally with the egg. (You won't use it all). Sprinkle the tops with the coarse or crystal sugar and bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels firm to the touch.

Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.

Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you wish, the cookies can be half-dipped in melted chocolate, then cooled until the chocolate hardens.

makes 40ish

persimmonmuffins_sm.jpgAutumn spiced persimmon muffins with golden brown exteriors and pillowy soft interiors, topped off with a little sweetened whipped cream. I'd never baked with persimmons before, but the ones I got from the farmer's market were so ripe and sweet they fell apart in my hands. The persimmon flavor is mild, sweet, and a little like apricot. Mini-muffins make nice party treats, but this could easily be baked in a 9x13 for a family style dessert.
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a blender, combine persimmon pulp, egg, sugar, flour, milk, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and butter. Blend until smooth. Pour into greased mini muffin pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or deep golden brown and set. Serve with whipped cream.

makes ~36 mini muffins
nutrition per:
67 calories
1.6g fat
Original recipe

farmer_sandwiches_sm.jpgFancy sandwiches with chicken, cheddar, apples, spicy mustard, and balsamic-apricot-onion jam. Best with a really sharp cheddar to balance the sweetness from the apples and onion jam: I like Vermont white cheddar, sliced fairly thick.

1 loaf crusty baguette or ciabatta
whole grain mustard
sharp cheddar cheese
deli chicken
butter lettuce
2 granny smith apples thinly sliced
2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
Onion Jam
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 medium shallots, peeled and sliced thin
1 yellow onion, quartered and sliced thin
1/2 cup chicken broth
2-3 T balsamic vinegar
2-3 heaping tablespoons apricot jam or preserves
salt and pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium to large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots & onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, until they begin to get soft and the bottom of the pan begins to brown.

Add the 1/2 cup chicken broth to the shallots, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan while the broth reduces. Add the balsamic vinegar, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add the apricot jam and stir to combine. The sauce will thicken but should still be easily stirred.

Sandwiches:
Slice the bread in half and spread a little whole grain mustard on top half. Smear a layer of onion jam on the bottom half. Toss the apple slices in a little lemon juice, and then add them to the sandwich. Add a few leaves of lettuce and then top with a layer of cheese. Add a layer of chicken. Press the sandwich closed and cut into desired number of pieces.

 Original recipe

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