Amish friendship bread

Ah, friendship bread. Let’s be honest: it’s like a chain letter. But since I end up with this: I say it’s okay.

Let’s start at the beginning. Don’t have anyone dying to give you some starter? You can make your own (recipe found here):

  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk (110°F)

Now get it going:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let it sit for about ten minutes. Stir.
  2. in a two quart glass or plastic (no metal!) container, combine flour and sugar; make sure they’re well combined so the flour doesn’t get lumpy in the milk
  3. Add in the warm milk and dissolved yeast/water, stirring slowly till everything is incorporated; the mixture will get bubbly
  4. Pour mixture into a one-gallon ziptop bag and seal tightly, pushing out as much air as possible

That’s it! That is now day 1 completed. Then you follow the directions as if you’ve received the starter:

Day 2: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 3: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 4: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 5: Add to the bag: 1 c. all-purpose flour, 1 c. sugar, 1 c. cold milk. Mash the bag (yep, it sits on the counter after this — weird but true)
Day 6: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 7: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 8: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary
Day 9: Mash the bag, “burp” the air out if necessary

Day 10: Pour the contents of the bag into a non-metal bowl.
Add:

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. cold milk.

Then:

  • Write the date (so your friends know what day one is) on four gallon size zip bags
  • Measure out one cup of batter into each bag
  • Keep one starter bag for yourself; give the other three to friends along with a printed copy of the recipe (Word doc) (remember that if you keep a starter, you will be baking every 10 days)

Time to bake!

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and grease two small or one large loaf pan

To your remaining starter (about one cup), add:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

The master recipe calls for a mixture of 1/4 c. sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon for dusting/topping. Use 2/3 of this mixture to dust the greased pans, and then sprinkle the remaining on top of the batter after poured into the pans. Bake for 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens from the sides, about 10 minutes.

Variation: some recipes call for 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding mix and/or substituting 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 oil. You can also play around with different flavors of pudding mixes and additions of fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, and spices.

Two great websites with tips and recipes:

http://www.armchair.com/recipe/amish/amish.html

http://www.momswhothink.com/bread-recipes/amish-friendship-bread.html

I was surprised at how many people were interested in this starter — I had no trouble giving it away, and even mailed a couple of them with no problems. Enjoy!

Pizza Rolls

I was trying to get the kiddo to bed one day this week, and I was thinking about cinnamon rolls. Look, I’m not proud, but that’s what it was. Then I was thinking that it would behoove me to actually think about what to make for supper the next day instead. And then I was thinking that I had dough in the fridge that I should use.

And then I was thinking about pizza rolls.

So the next day, here’s what I took out:

  • My icebox dough (you can also buy dough in the deli at Publix, which I love)
  • Pizza sauce (pick your favorite)
  • Pepperoni, chopped (or whatever toppings float your boat – but chopped so it’s easier to slice through)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Dental floss (but not for what you think)

From there it was easy!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Roll out the dough into a rectangle
  3. Top with a thin layer of sauce — you don’t want things getting soggy
  4. Sprinkle with chopped pepperoni (etc.) and cheese
  5. Roll it up! I rolled from the short end because I didn’t need to end up with that many rolls — just the Yankee and I were eating
  6. Break out the dental floss and use it to cut the rolls: slide the floss under the roll, cross the ends over the top like you’re going to tie a knot, then pull them all the way through the dough so the floss is straight again; this slices it clean and keeps your rolls from getting flattened as you slice
  7. Place the rolls in an oiled casserole dish with the pretty sides showing (if you’re making these for a party and want them easier to handle individually bake them in a muffin tray instead)
  8. Sprinkle the top with more cheese
  9. Bake at 350F till the cheese on top is melty and bubbly

Enjoy!

Cheesy chili dip

Hi, it’s ridiculously simple week on One Particular Kitchen. Care to join me?

This dip calls for exactly four ingredients:

  1. A block of cream cheese
  2. A can of chili
  3. An 8 oz bag of shredded cheese
  4. A bag of chips

When my alma mater is losing playing, I don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen! This is so quick and easy to throw together that I can serve a crowd (recipe is easily doubled) and keep everyone full without missing a Crompton interception play.

So here’s what you do:

  1. Using the foil from the package, press the cream cheese into the bottom of a pie plate or baking dish
  2. Pour over the chili (I use Vietti, or leftover homemade chili)
  3. Sprinkle on the cheese (I used colby jack; cheddar is also great)
  4. Bake at 350F till everything is melty and bubbly. Serve with chips!

Whatever you do, please do not use reduced fat sprinkling cheese — it just doesn’t melt right, and meltiness (uh, it’s a word) is a key trait of this dish.

Now. How easy is that?

Sandy’s chocolate cake

You know how it goes: you remember a food as being life-alteringly good.  You build it up and build it up in your mind till you just can’t stand it anymore. You hunt and track down the recipe and make it… only to find that it’s just not as great as you remember.

That was not the experience I had with this cake. Not even close!

Ten years ago (!!!) my dear friend Sandy made this cake for me and I have remembered it ever since then as kind of being the be-all, end-all of chocolate cakes. It was moist and chocolately and amazing and delicious and worth every single calorie in it (are we still counting those?). I finally got the recipe from her and made my own this week. It is everything I remembered and more.

The Kiddo’s babysitter left for college recently (the nerve!) and we wanted to send her something sweet from home, so I made mini loaf cakes rather than the original Bundt form in the name of easier mailing. I’m happy to report it worked just fine.

You will need (you will die at how easy this is):

  • One box yellow cake mix — not the kind with pudding in the mix
  • One box instant chocolate pudding (3 3/4 oz)
  • One box instant vanilla pudding (3 3/4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Do you see what I’m saying? Something that tastes this good should surely involve more effort.

Sandy’s directions:

  1. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube or Bundt pan; in my case I used three mini loaf pans (8x3x2)
  2. Combine cake mix, pudding mixes, oil, eggs, and water and beat 2-4 minutes at medium speed till everything looks smooth
  3. Stir in chocolate chips
  4. Bake in prepared pan(s) for 50-60 minutes at 325 degrees (the mini loaf pans took about 45 minutes) till a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.

The beauty of this cake is that it keeps getting better — it’s even more incredible the second day and so on, so it’s perfect for mailing.

Go make this now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Make the cake. You will not be sorry.