Monday, March 24, 2008

Hot Cross Buns

I decided to start this little tradition in our family this year, following the example of generations of Christian families who have made these for Good Friday and Easter.
I've never had any luck with yeast breads in the past - I'm not patient enough to let the darn dough rise, and it takes so long to make one loaf that when it doesn't turn out it's a huge letdown. But this time the results weren't half bad. But I would recommend eating these the day they're made because when we ate them the day after they had gotten a bit stale. I also made the mistake of leaving the plate on the table and George licked all the icing crosses off the tops, so that was the end of any leftovers!

Hot Cross Buns
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 egg
4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 dash ground allspice
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon 2% milk
  1. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in milk. Stir in butter, egg, sugar and salt. Combine 3/4 cup flour, raisins, currants, cinnamon and allspice; add to the yeast mixture and mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour (*in my cold house it was more like 2-3 hours).
  3. Punch dough down; shape into six 2-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross on top of each bun. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes (or more).
  4. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over buns. Bake at 375 degrees F for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Combine icing ingredients; pipe over buns.

These turned our picture-perfect but they were a little bland, actually. Maybe next time I will add more cinnamon and raisins, or just keep looking around for another recipe. I liked it because it only made 6 rolls, but I was a little disappointed in the flavor. Anybody have any suggestions or alternative recipes?

Easter Cupcakes

There really isn't a recipe to share. Buy a box. Buy a tub. But there are plenty of pictures to share.

We even got some help from the boys. It looked like too much fun to resist.

What did you make for Easter?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

I've only been cooking things from boxes and mixes lately; but for the double feast today, I thought I'd break with my current trend and make Irish Soda Bread.

Because of Holy Week next week, Sts. Joseph and Patrick both have their days today. I'm sure most people will probably still celebrate St. Paddy's on Monday, though! I've loved soda bread ever since somebody brought some into work years ago and I ended up eating most of it! This recipe is really easy, and hard to mess up:

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

You can add in some raisins, too, I suppose - I didn't because I didn't think of it, but I bet it would be yummy. (Recipe courtesy of

Happy St. Paddy's Day, everybody!

Friday, March 14, 2008

What's YOUR excuse? :)

So, I really have to apologize for not posting anything here in a while. The truth is, I've been relegated to an almost all "raw-food"* diet, and there is really only so much one can say about the merits of a strawberry or a banana. Or the joys of a fresh mango. Or the soothing qualities of a Saltine washed down with ginger ale.

OK, OK, I'll stop being vague. Here's the reason I can't even stand the thought of roasting a chicken, and why I make Matt eat his meals in the garage:

This is our first, and it's been a LONG time coming, and we're kind of nervous, so prayers/good thoughts, or whatever floats your boat are VASTLY appreciated.

(Due in mid-October.)

*Meaning, one, non-cooked, mild tasting thing at a time, and very slowly.

Possible Failure Here

So do you think this spells failure?

I'm making a Sour Cream Apple Pie in honor of the Solemnity of St. Joseph tomorrow. Peter's been asking for one for awhile. We had extra apples and I had a hands-free half-hour, so finally he will get his pie.

However, I used a 9 inch pie crust (thanks Barbara) and put it in an 8 inch cake pan... Hmm. I'm not sure how successful this will be. I do think it's rather sad that I've been married nearly two years now and still have no pie pan. I must remember that next time I go to Walmart. My sister would never stand for that...neither would Annie for that matter - because Annie loves pies and my sister will be a apple pie baking fool for Dan.

So anyway...I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

please post something..*whimper

it's almost spring. do you have a favorite "picnic" food?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Quick and Easy

This is simple and good. My mom first made it for me.

Potato and Cheese Quesadillas
cooked potato (mashed, baked, whatever)
corn (or flour) tortillas
butter or oil

Melt butter in pan. Place potato and cheese on one tortilla. Place in pan on top of heated butter. Put another tortilla on top. Fry until crispy. Add butter and flip. Fry until crispy.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No Bake

I am not baking today!