Thursday, September 17, 2009


[Printable Recipe]


One of my favorite breads ever is challah - and sadly I only discovered this late in college. Thanks to Matt - this is good bread for a deli turkey sandwich, great bread for french toast and my favorite just by itself. I really liked store bought challah, but after making it homemade I am not sure I like store bought anymore. This was soooo good. Between me, Matt and out 2 friends from NYC one loaf was gone in the same night. Score!

I was scared to make this. I have heard that bread making is hard so that scared me, but I was nervous to make Matt's favorite bread. I know he would tell me if it sucked - but I didn't want it to suck.

To my surprise it wasn't hard to make, and it was SO GOOD ( have I mentioned how good it was?) The only negative thing was that it takes a long time. Almost exactly 4 hours from the beginning to end. But now I want to try other things - and I will. I am not scared!!!

The recipe comes from Matt's temple in Miami, Beth Am , website - a member of the temple made a video of her recipe and how she made it (she makes it every Friday am - WOW! )

Anyway after a debate over types of yeast ( I bought active dry and the recipe called for rapid rise - I ended up going back out for the correct stuff) I went to town.


2 envelopes rapid rise yeast

3/4 c. sugar

2 c. warm water

2 eggs + 1 (later)

7 c bread flour

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. canola oil

1 tbsp. salt


Oil a large bowl and set aside

In another bowl combine yeast, sugar and warm water together and let rise until the height of the foam is equal to the height of the liquid ( I used a bowl that had 2 and 4 cups marked on it and let it rise until a little higher than the 4 c. mark) it takes a while - about a half hour.

proofing the yeast
proofing the yeast

after 40 mins
after 40 mins

Pour mixture into a food processor ( I used my Kitchen aid with the dough hook attachment )

Add 2 eggs and 3 c. bread flour.

While mixing add vanilla oil and salt.

Add 4 c. bread flour - 1/2 c. at a time until well blended and the dough starts to come together

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough until it is well formed and smooth ( I used the mixer and dough hook for most of this step)

Place dough into oiled bowl and cover with a towel.


Let rise for 1 and a half hour. ( I am totally mad at myself because I didn't take a picture before I punched it down but it probably tripled in size)

Punch down the dough and separate into 2 halves.

1/2 the dough after 1.5 hour rise
1/2 the dough after 1.5 hour rise

Lightly flour surface and divide each half into 3 equal sections.


Roll each out into long pieces, kneading out air bubbles.


Braid the 3 sections and tuck the ends under.


Place onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.


Repeat with the other half.

Cover and let rise again for at least an hour.

Brush with egg (the recipes states you can top with poppy seeds or sesame seeds - but we are purists and just like it plain)


Bake for 20-25 mins on 350. Turn the loaves half way through.


I wanted to eat it right out of the oven - but Matt made me wait until it cooled a little. I ate it while it was still warm though! SOOOOO GOOOD!!!

** I am really sorry for the lack of pictures throughout this process - I was so nervous that I was going to mess it up I would forget to take a picture of a step until I had moved on - but I am going to make it again soon so I will take pics the whole time and update or make a new posting. I recommend you watch the video just to see how its done- it isn't very long. **

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Peanut Butter Fudge

[Printable Recipe]

I love peanut butter fudge - I don't get it often (which is a good thing because I would eat it all) There was a lady at church who would give dad fudge for ever. As you know I was bored this weekend - so I decided to make fudge because I had everything here I needed (except for the candy thermometer but I had to go to Wal-Mart anyway) I have heard that making fudge is really hard, I guess I got lucky because this was really easy for me - and it makes a ton... guess what may be my new go to Christmas present :-D I took some for Meredith and David on my first day of work and sent some with Matt to his work today - and I STILL have some.

I got the recipe from Dozen Flours. Enjoy


4 cups white sugar

1- 12 oz can evaporated milk full fat ( this is not the same as sweet condensed milk - which I ALMOST used- would have been interesting)

1 cup unsalted butter

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

1 - 7 oz jar marshmallow fluff


* Line a pan with foil and spray with Pam


* Add sugar, salt, evaporated milk, and butter to saucepan ( I used non stick and it was fine)

* heat on medium heat


*Stir ingredients together until the butter is melted and it starts to boil

*stop stirring and let heat to 235 degrees or the soft ball stage on a candy thermometer - this takes a LONG time - be patient and don't have the heat too high.



*carefully remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and marshmallow fluff ( I poured the sugar mixture into another bowl with the PB and Fluff already in it but you can do it all in one if you want)

this looks gross but it is fluff and PB
this looks gross but it is fluff and PB

sugar mixture incorporated
sugar mixture incorporated

**** the mixture is VERY HOT! Be careful. The candy thermometer is also really hot - I was realllly smart and decided to take it off the pan - and it was much hotter than I was expected - so I dropped it - on the floor- I jumped back so the part that was in 235 degree sugar didn't touch me but it flung a little sugar on my leg, it hurt like crazy but only left a tiny mark. Lesson learned - always the hard way right?

*mix well and pour into baking dish


* let cool completely

* carefully lift foil out of pan and cut into small squares


This fudge is so good - the texture is perfect. Super smooth and creamy. It was really rich, which is good because if it wasn't I would have eaten it all Sunday. :-D

Tip for lining a pan with foil - I wish I thought to take pictures of this, and I am out of foil so I can't go recreate it for the blog -

When you have to line a pan with foil a quick and easy way to do this is turn the pan upside down - cover the bottom with foil to shape the foil, then take off the foil - turn over pan and the foil slips right in! I wish I had learned this trick a long time ago!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

[Printable Recipe]

I had to make sure there was something I liked at dad's party so I made a peanut butter pie. YUM. This is my favorite. I could probably eat the whole pie. It is really easy to make and since it is frozen it can be made far in advance if needed.


1 c. creamy or crunchy peanut butter ( I used creamy)

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

1/2 c milk

1 8oz container frozen cool whip, thawed

1 9 inch pie shell


Whip cream cheese until soft and fluffy.

cream cheese and peanut butter
cream cheese and peanut butter

Beat in peanut butter and sugar.

add sugar
add sugar

Slowly add milk, blending thoroughly.

Fold cool whip into mix.

fold in cool whip
fold in cool whip

Pour into pie shell.


Sprinkle with chopped nuts, or chocolate shavings if desired (optional)

Freeze until firm - about 4 hours.


Take out about 30 mins before serving to soften so you can cut it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What did you do with your 3 day weekend?

I made a HUGE mess - and then cleaned it up.

the table
the table



I follow close to 50 blogs about baking and cooking. If I didn't have google reader there to keep them organized and let me know which ones update and which ones don't I would spend my life checking blogs. Instead it is nicely organized on one screen and I can quickly glance and see if it is something I want to read. I love it. I also love the fact that when I come across a recipe I like I can star it and it will go into a folder. The bad thing is I star many many things, and then never do anything with them. Then I want to make something and I am like I know there is a recipe for that somewhere. About 9 months ago I printed some out, and started my recipe book. But then it got forgotten about.

Matt left for Miami on Sat afternoon and I decided I would finish it while he was gone. I started going through my stared items and putting the recipes in a word document. Then I printed the HUGE word document. It was a LOT of pages.(good thing he wasn't around - the office, living and dining room were a mess!!!)

I pushed the coffee table out of the way and spread out on the floor. I worked until about 330 am on Sunday organizing them into categories. Sunday I put everything into plastic protectors and today I put them in a binder and put dividers to keep it organized. One day ( not today) I will type up a table of contents, but until then I will make do. Everything is organized by big category - and then all things similar organized together.




I am so glad I did this, I also found so many new recipes I forgot about. This will also help when I plan the menu for the week. There will be a mandatory new recipe on each week's menu. This means more blogging :-D

This was very time consuming - but I have started a new word document - and I will print it out each month and keep my binder organized - but I am going to need a bigger binder my 1.5 inch binder is jam packed - maybe I will give desserts their own binder since they are half the whole book.

Also - if you follow more than 5 blogs I strongly urge you to use google reader. It really will save you a lot of time.

I also cleaned the apartment and ventured into the fudge making world. I am pleased with it - but you will have to wait! :-D

Friday, September 4, 2009

Key Lime Pie

My dad's favorite dessert is key lime pie and since it was his 50th birthday party this past weekend I decided to try to make my first key lime pie for him. My favorite story is when we were in Disney World - our meal plan included dessert. So every night dad had a different creme brulee until the last night he announced he wasn't having creme brulee - then we got the dessert menu, and it was key lime creme brulee, guess what he got :-D.

I didn't eat this because I chose peanut butter pie (to come later) but I heard it was really good.

[Printable Recipe]

1/2 c. lime juice (12-15 key limes or 3 to 4 common limes)
4 teaspoons grated lime zest
4 egg yolks
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
11 graham crackers
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted


Zest all the limes - I had 11 small limes

Zest of 11 Key Limes
Zest of 11 Key Limes

Juice limes until you have 1/2 a cup.

the lime death bed
the lime death bed

lime juice
lime juice

This would also be the time to make the crust.

Whisk the egg yolks and lime lest together in a bowl until tinted light green. ( about 2 mins - mine was a light yellow with specks of green)


Beat in milk then juice ( make sure you strain the juice so you don't get seeds and pulp in)

Set aside at room temp to thicken.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pour the mixture in the pie crust and spread it evenly then bake for 15 mins until the center sets but is still wiggly


Remove from oven and cool to room temp

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours

You can decide how to top it, my dad wanted a thin layer of whip cream on the whole top.

it was prettier before we cut it but I didn't get a pic
it was prettier before we cut it but I didn't get a pic