Baguettes

One of my favorite books is Will Clower’s The Fat Fallacy. It is smart, and makes sense, and has some really incredible (and incredible easy) recipes. One of my favorites is this super simple recipe for baguettes, which I make a few times a week. Kiddo cannot get enough of them! He likes them plain in his school lunches. I like them hot out of the oven with butter. The Yankee likes them with whatever we’re having for supper.

Peanut likes to throw them like lawn darts. Three out of four ain’t bad.

One of my favorite bread tips also came from this book: if the bread is stale or not as soft as you like (Kiddo likes it SUPER soft), just run your hands under water and then over the bread, or spritz the bread with a water-filled spray bottle, then reheat in the oven or toaster oven. Magically you have soft, warm bread, even if it’s days old.

If it’s really past it’s prime? Cut into squares and bake into croûtons, or use for French toast. But really, the chances of it hanging around to get past its prime are slim. It’s really, really good.

I make these often enough that I bought this perforated pan but you certainly don’t have to; a regular cookie sheet is fine.

Baguettes

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon instant (bread machine) yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Mix together all ingredients until a slightly sticky dough forms (I don’t proof my yeast, but you can if you want, or if you’re using non-instant yeast)
  2. Knead the dough for about ten minutes by hand, about 1-2 minutes in a food processor or mixer, or throw it all in a bread machine and let it work its magic — you’re looking for smooth dough by the time you’re done kneading
  3. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl until it’s doubled in volume (about an hour), then deflate and form into loaves. Dr. Clower gets two long, skinny loaves out of this; I make shorter ones that are easier to pack for lunch
  4. Cover the loaves and let them rise another hour or so, while the oven preheats to 400F
  5. When you’re ready to bake, spritz or sprinkle the loaves with water — better yet, do that AND put an oven-safe pan full of hot water in the oven to steam the bread as it bakes, and make some slashes across the top so the bread can expand as it bakes
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bread is as brown as you like. Cool at least ten minutes, then dig in!

Pineapple bacon sandwich rolls

The Yankee went through a period where he was making bacon pretty regularly, which meant I had a fantastic supply of bacon grease to use up. I thought I’d try something new with them, and these turned out great. The bacon grease makes them very hearty, with a hint of sweetness from the pineapple juice — really great for turkey sandwiches!

These are a riff on my earlier blogged yeast rolls. Enjoy!

Pineapple bacon sandwich rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm pineapple juice (heating it for a few seconds in the microwave is fine)
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons room temperature bacon grease
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and knead together in a stand mixer for about six or seven minutes on the second speed; the dough should clean the sides of the bowl
  2. Let it rise till doubled, about an hour
  3. Separate dough into 16 pieces, roll into balls and place in two greased pie or cake pans
  4. Let rise again until rolls are touching and very puffy
  5. Bake at 350F for about 20 or 25 minutes until golden brown; cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool

I’m thinking I need to try these for pimento cheese sandwiches, too. What else?

Trail’s End cornbread

This cornbread would give my grandmother the vapors. It is sweet (which I love — don’t tell her), which makes it Yankee Cornbread. I actually cut the sugar some, and it’s still fabulously sweet without being, you know, a cake. I also cut the recipe in half which made a great size (an 8 inch skillet) for us.

The recipe is originally from Disney’s Trail’s End, but I found it linked here.

Trail’s End cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter or bacon grease

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven AND SKILLET to 375F
  2. Mix together cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and flour with a fork
  3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add in milk and egg; beat egg with fork, then stir to combine all ingredients
  4. Remove hot skillet from oven and add butter or bacon grease (carefully! It will sizzle) to skillet, swirling around till it melts and coats the pan
  5. Pour excess butter/bacon grease into cornbread mixture, stir quickly to combine, then pour back into hot skillet and slide it into the oven
  6. Bake until lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes

Cranberry orange muffins

This is based on a muffin recipe by Mark Bittman; I tweaked it to use some orange juice and — shocker — some Crasins. These are so good for breakfast, brunch, or even a snack! The Mickey Mouse muffin pan is not required, but certainly adds some cuteness. It does not, however, convince the Kiddo to eat any; your mileage may vary. Recipe made one dozen Mickey muffins.

Cranberry orange muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup milk, plus a little more if needed
  • 1 cup Crasins, fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries (no need to defrost first)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mix dry ingredients together, then either mix egg through milk separately or in a well in the middle of the dry ingredients (my preferred method). Add in berries and gently fold everything together till it’s just barely incorporated; lumps are your friends
  3. Bake in a well greased or paper lined muffin pan for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Cool in a metal or glass pan pan for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack, longer for a silicone pan (wait for silicone to be cool to the touch for best results)

Flour tortillas

These. Are. Amazing. I can say that without bragging because it’s not my recipe; I just made ’em.

This is a Mark Bittman recipe that I scribbled down on a piece of paper without much documentation; I’ll assume it’s either from one of his NYT articles or from How to Cook Everything. These top every single homemade tortilla I’ve ever made or eaten, and they’re quick and easy to boot. NO BRAINER.

Flour tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 oz) AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. lard (yes, lard, people — don’t be afraid)
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Instructions

  1. Dust off your food processor and dump in the flour, salt and lard; pulse about ten times to cut in the fat
  2. With the machine running, add the water till the dough kind of all the sudden comes together in a ball
  3. Dump it on the counter and knead by hand for about one minute, then wrap in plastic wrap to rest for at least 15 minutes, but up to all day at room temperature
  4. Cut the dough into six pieces and heat a large (cast iron if you have it) skillet for 4-5 minutes on medium; roll out or press the tortillas till they’re quite thin, then cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, till little browned spots appear. Eat immediately (duh), or keep warm by wrapping in a towel, or cool then keep in the fridge in a large zip top bag.

I used these to make quesadillas with some leftover steak and cheese, but they’re also heavenly for veggie wraps, or slathered in butter and cinnamon sugar and rolled up for breakfast. Enjoy!