Italian Hard Rolls

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

I love the smell of fresh bread in the house.

There are so many recipes of great breads I took and put in my "to do list" but because of the long rise time (sometimes more then 12 hours) I almost always find myself baking all kinds of rolls and buns instead.

For the holiday a friend bought me the great book "A passion for baking" and there was an Italian rolls, so cute and mouthwatering that makes me run to the kitchen and make them.

Italian Hard Rolls- Adopted from A passion for baking

2 Hour Sponge

1 cup warm water (100 F to 11o F)
2 1/2 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup warm water (100 F to 110 F)
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups bread flour
all of the sponge (2 hour sponge)
Finishing touches
flour, for dusting
melted butter or olive oil


Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the 2 hour sponge, mix ingredients in a mixer bowl just to combine a pudding like consistency.
cover loosely and let bubble and stand for 2 hours.

For dough Add water, honey, olive oil, salt, and flour to sponge in mixer bowl and stir to combine.
Attach dough hook and knead on lowest speed of mixer about 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessarily to make a chesive, elastic dough.
Remove dough hook and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray.
cover entire bowel with clean towel and let rise 45-90 minutes or until almost doubled.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate.
Divide dough in 12 portions. Shape into oblong rolls.
Place rolls on preared baking sheet and let rise 20 to 30 minutes, until puffy. score rolls, leave them plain, or snip them with scissors for decorative effect. Dust with flour if desired.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray rolls lightly with water, spritz oven and wall.
Bake until done and rolls are brown all over, 25 -28 minutes.
For shiny rolls with less crispy crust, paint with melted butter or olive oil before baking.


Gingerbread House - Daring Bakers

>> Friday, December 25, 2009

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.
Thank you Anna & Y.

December challenge was an excitement and unique experience for me.
I never thought I would build something amazing and adventurous like the Gingerbread house.
It allowed me to express my creativity through a fun activity.
The family and I all gathered together and decided to house a once homeless Gingerbread man.

My husband helped assembled the pieces together
My little son jumped to color the Gingerbread man
and all the other family members helped decorate the cute house.

I choose Y recipes - Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
(from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas)

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. [Y rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred them to the baking sheet. Any scraps were saved and rerolled at the end.]

5. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren't using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.


Christmas Fruit Bread

>> Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's the most beautiful time of the year
The street are decorated with lights and snowy look.
The shops are full with last minute buyers
Everything is so special and magical.

This was the first time I made Christmas fruit bread, each year I see the recipets in the food magazines and this year I decided to bake one.

Filled with dried fruit and currants, delicious and festive.

Happy Holidays !

Christmas Fruit Bread - Adopted from my 2 pee'north

(for one loaf)

125 g butter
125 g sugar
4 medium sized eggs
peel of one lemon
250 g rye flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
300 g dried fruit of your choice
125 g raisins
125 g currants

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease loaf pan with butter. Then add all-purpose flour to it to cover the butter layer.
Remove any flour which don't stick to the butter.
Put loaf pan into freezer until use. Butter, flour and freezing will make it easier to remove bread after baking.

Cut the dried fruit into small cubes.
Use the fruit you like most.
Mix butter and sugar until creamy.
Add one egg and mix on medium speed for about one minute. Repeat step with the remaining three eggs.
Add the finely grated peel of one lemon.
Mix the flour with baking powder, sieve and add to the butter mixture.
Mix just until combined.
Fold in dried fruit, raisins and currants.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan form.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. After 30 minutes increase temperature to 375 F. and bake for another 30 minutes. Fruit bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the fruit bread cool in form for about 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and store for at least one day.


Italian cherry cream cheese coffee cake

>> Saturday, December 19, 2009

For our Christmas/Hanukkah party in the office I received several amazing cook books.
I guess my friends began to understand my passion for baking.

I was skimming one of the cookbooks, and I found this beautiful Italian coffee cake, I couldn't wait for the right time to make it.

In the original receipt they used plum, but because this isn't the season, I decided to use cherries.

Using the cherries was a good decision on my part, the cake was not just beautiful, it was also

Italian Cherry cream cheese coffee cake - Adopted from a passion for baking

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

30 cherry, halved and pitted
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat over t0 350 F.
Generously spray a 9- or a 10 inch spring-form pan or a fluted, deep tart pan with nonstick cooking spray and place pan on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

For cake:
in a food processor, cream butter and sugar until well blended
add eggs and vanilla and blend until smooth. Fold in flour, baking powder, and salt to make a soft batter.
Spread batter on bottom and sides of pan (Batter will appear thin in pan).

For Filling:
Prepare cherry. Place them cut sides down on cake batter in pan.
Mix cream cheese and remaining ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk and spread over fruit in pan.
Bake until top is browned and appears set. about 45 t0 50 minutes.
Cool well before serving.


Jelly Doughnuts

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

I love the holidays, festival of light, Hanukkah.
8 days of celebration and great food.
Every year I search for the best jelly doughnuts , the kind that reminds me the one's I used to eat back home, the perfect amount of sprinkled powder sugar -
and red strawberries jam inside.

This year a friend of mine who's learning in the culinary institute, sent me a brand new recipe. She warned me that I should forget everything I knew before about doughnuts, because these is the winning recipe.
I didn't think twice, checked that I have all the ingredients and ran into my kitchen to prepare them.

The best jelly doughnuts ever!

7 cups + 2 Tbsp. flour
3 envelope active dry yeast
3.5 oz. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 yolk
2 eggs
1 3/4 room temp. milk
2 1/2 ounces of butter room temp.

Strawberry jam for filling
Sugar powder for dusting
Canola oil for frying the doughnuts

In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the dough except the butter and mix it for 7 min.
add the butter and mix for another 4 min.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean towel and let it rise for 50- 60 minutes, or until the dough double his size. (the best way is to keep refrigerated over night).

Divide the dough to equal 50 gram balls and and round them on a oily surface.
It is important to starch and band the dough downwards.
Keep the balls on oily surface and let them rise again for 40 minutes.

In a deep fryer or a wok, heat 4 inches of oil to 380 degrees F.
(Check the temperature with your cooking thermometer.)

add the doughnuts to the oil and fry for 3 minutes each side.
They will be golden brown on both sides when done.
Lift the doughnuts out with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain them well on paper towels.
Dust lightly with confectioners sugar.
Add to each doughnuts a good strawberry jelly

Happy Holiday !


Chocolate Covered Pretzels

>> Monday, December 7, 2009

The combination of sweet and salty is one of my favorite.
Salty pretzel covered with melted chocolate and some crushed candy..

They are so beautiful and so yummy so easy to make and great to add to the cookies plates.

1 bag of pretzel
1 bag of chocolate chips

5 candy canes-crushed

Melt he chocolate in tin double boiler.

Dip in pretzel to coat.

Shake off excess.
sprinkle the crushed candy and let dry until set.



>> Friday, November 27, 2009

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives.
She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book

Cannoli forms/tubes - optional, but recommended if making traditional shaped cannoli.

Dried cannelloni pasta tubes work just as well!
Deep, heavy saucepan, enough to hold at least 2-3-inches of oil or deep fryer
Deep fat frying thermometer. although the bread cube or bit of dough test will work fine.
Metal tongs
Brass or wire skimmer OR large slotted spoon
Pastry bag with large star or plain tip, but a snipped ziplock bag, butter knife or teaspoon will work fine.
Cooling rack
Paper bags or paper towels
Pastry Brush
Sieve or fine wire mesh strainer
Electric Mixer, stand or hand, optional, as mixing the filling with a spoon is fine.
Food Processor or Stand Mixer – also optional, since you can make the dough by hand, although it takes more time.
Rolling pin and/or Pasta roller/machine
Pastry or cutting board
Round cutters - The dough can also be cut into squares and rolled around the cannoli tube prior to frying. If making a stacked cannoli, any shaped cutter is fine, as well as a sharp knife.
Mixing bowl and wooden spoon if mixing filling by hand
Plastic Wrap/Clingfilm
Tea towels or just cloth towels


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups)

Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).

2 lbs ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange

Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.


1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

2 Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Pasta Machine method:
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through

2. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them.

3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the directions above.

For stacked cannoli:
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).

2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.



>> Sunday, November 22, 2009

I love Thanksgiving
Its the most delicious holiday in the year
There is nothing better thing then this time when all the family gather together and we all enjoy the great food..

Applebee's garlic mashed potato


32 ounces red potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup garlic cloves

Place a single layer of garlic cloves on a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap tightly.
Roast in 400 degrees F preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until soft.
Unwrap and let cool.
Peel cloves and set aside until the potatoes are ready.
Wash and rinse potatoes under cold water.
In large pot, bring red potatoes to a slow boil for about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and drain in colander.
In pan or bowl, combine potatoes, peeled and roasted garlic cloves,
and all other ingredients and mash with a potato masher.
Keep warm until you serve.

Turkey Gravy


5 cups turkey stock
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 celery stick


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the turkey stock to a boil. In a small bowl, dissolve flour in water. Gradually whisk into the turkey stock. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and celery salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.
String Beans


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 or 3 small garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 pounds tender green beans
Salt and pepper to taste


Melt butter and olive oil with the garlic
Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling water until just tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Drain and toss with garlic butter and seasonings.
Serve with sesame seeds.

Green salad with Pear vinaigrette

for the vinaigrette...
1 ripe pear
1/2 cup white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup unseasoned wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

for the salad...
a nice combination of lettuces, radicchio, spinach, or other wild greens
thin slices of pear
thin slices of sweet red onion
a handful of toasted hazelnuts

Kraft Stove stuffing mix


I box Kraft stove top stuffing mix
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, unsalted
2 1/2 cups (2 - 3 onions) yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups (2 – 3 stalks) celery, chopped
2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 to 3 cups chicken or turkey stock


In a large heavy sauté pan,
melt butter and sauté onions and celery
on medium heat until vegetables are tender.

Add herbs and sauté for an additional minute.
Combine vegetable mixture with bread, seasonings and stock.
Transfer to a deep buttered baking dish.
Bake for 45 minutes uncovered
until stuffing is hot and crusty on the top.

Dinner Rolls

3 1/2 Cups flour
1 tbsp. dry yeast
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water
1 egg
1/4 cup oil


in the mixer bowel
mix the flour, yeast and sugar together
add the water, egg and oil
and mix for 5 minutes.
add the salt
and keep mixing for another 5 minutes.

grease large bowl and let the dough rise for one hour
divide the dough to 3 equal balls
and let rise for another one hour.
open each ball to a thin circle and with pizza knife
cute triangle
roll the dough from the base to the top
brush each rolls with beaten egg
and bake for 45 min. or until the rolls are golden brown

Individual Melon Fruit Bowl
1 Melon cut to 2 half's
1 large apple peeled and cut to slices
1 kiwi peel and cut to slices
Melon balls that we made with pearsiean cup from the other half
Mint leaves for decoration

Cut off a thin piece of one end of the melon so that
it leaves a flat surface on the melon.
scoop out the contents of the melon with a large spoon.
Cut some of the melon into
ball shaped pieces using the melon ball spoon
Put the cut up fruits and the melon balls into the
melon bowl and add the blueberries.
Peel the kiwi and slice them into thin slices.
Then add them to the fruit bowl.
add as much fruit as you want and love
(strawberries, star fruit, pineapple etc.)
Decorate with mint leaves and serve.


Tomato Soup

>> Thursday, November 19, 2009

This soup is the best tomato soup ever!

Tomato Soup

1 Chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tomato paste can (small)
5 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 1/2 cooked rice
Juice from one lemon


In a large pan over a medium heat, saute the onion and the carrot.
add the flour and stir well.
add the chicken broth and the tomato paste and stir frequently until boiling.
dd the salt, paper the lemon juice and the sugar and stir.
Reduce the heat add the cooked rice and cook for another 10-15 min.
Serve with fresh parsley (suggestion)


Choclate Caramel Babka

>> Sunday, November 15, 2009

There is nothing better in winter days then a warm piece of chocolate babka cakes.
This dough is so easy to use and the result is amazing.
usually I fill the logs with chocolate alone, but this time I tried one of my Dulce de Leche (caramel) can that I have, the combination was divine.

I loved to see how the dough rose and the smell in the house spread ...

Chocolate Caramel Babka

For the dough
7 Cups + 1 Tablespoon Flour
2 1/4 Teaspoon dry yeast
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups warm milk (or water)

Nuttela Chocolate spread
Dulce de leche

1 bitten egg
2 Tablespoon milk

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
boil together until the sugar desolved close and let it cool


Put all the dough ingredients in a bowl, combine to make dough, and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic.

Wrap the bowl in a cling film or cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it's sit for 1 hour our until it's doubled his size.

after the dough has risen knead it down for a while, put the dough on a light flour surface and knead it to a ball, cut the dough to a 6 small balls.

roll the dough to a thin square.

Cover the dough with chocolate and Dulce de leche over the dough and roll it into a snug log.
place the Babka on a baking mat, brush with the beaten egg and milk and bake for 30 min. in 350 F. until puffed and become golden brown.
transfer the babka to a cooling rock and brush them with the water sugar syrup.



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