Tag: fantastic bake along

Fantastic Bake Along-Oatmeal Cookies

I am late in joining the fantastic bake along this month, because I have been out of town the last part of this week. I was thrilled when Kate suggested her Grandmother’s Oatmeal cookies, because DH and I had just been talking about making some! Why not try the new-old recipe provide by Kate at Life Tea and Everything .

Of course, it seems I can’t make a recipe without meddling, and this month was no exception! I didn’t put in the nuts this time, and I substituted cranberries for the chocolate chips. This batch had dehydrated cranberries we picked up during the after Christmas sales last January. I wasn’t sure how they would work, because they had no added sugar like craisins, but I wanted to give it a try.


They looked beautiful in the oven, though sometimes dried fruit doesn’t fare very well when baked….


The exposed cranberries did darken, but they did not burn! Hurrah! The cookies have a delightful tang to them, to balance the sweet. I really loved the crunchy texture on the outside, with a softer middle. Yummy!

Next batch I’ll have some walnuts to throw in as well!  Do go see how the other baking adventures went. We post our experiences, whether we think we were successful or not, so you get a good feel for how things go.

One more thing, adding the baking soda to the boiling water was a hoot! Had no idea it would react! I’ll have to ask Girl #1  (the chemist) why that is so.

Check out the rest of our baking friends:


Fantastic Bake Along – Whole Grain Bread

It was my turn to select the recipe for the monthly Fantastic Bake Along, and I had a difficult time choosing what to make,  but finally settled on a staple at our house, whole grain bread. I must credit DH with this recipe. He is quite the Rennaissance man, and decided to create his own perfect bread recipe several years ago. This came from his love of warm, home made bread, and his scientific nature, as well as his interest in economics. We are all the beneficiaries! You can get the recipe here, there is a hand made version and a bread machine version.

We do the bread machine version most weeks, and usually make one loaf a week. We haven’t bought bread for 4-5 years because of this recipe. 😄

For the Bake Along I did a loaf by hand just to be certain there were no big glitches, so it was a little new for me too.


First, we proof the yeast. If you are a novice, this is important, because it allows you to make sure your yeast is alive before you go to all the effort of mixing and kneading. I seem to continually struggle with the right temperature (my warm is often too hot), so I am a firm believer in this step. If the yeast is alive, they start looking sort of puffy. If you killed them, they dissolve, but nothing changes.

While I wait the 5-7 minutes for that, I grind my whole wheat flour. We have a hand grinder on the kitchen counter, and it is easy to do the 1/4 cup for this recipe. If I didn’t have the germ, bran and flax, I would do another 1/4 cup of  whole wheat to replace it. If you like more whole wheat than white flour, you can usually go up to half white and half whole wheat without much trouble, but it will require some adjustments on rise time, and you may want to up the yeast to a tablespoon to help things along. Below, you can see the different add ins. Clockwise from the top is wheat bran, whole wheat flour, flax seed and wheat germ. Bran and germ add more fiber, and the flax is a natural aid to joint health.

I mix these in first, then start adding the white flour. Don’t know why, but all my 4-H books say to use a wooden spoon for mixing bread flour. Anyone know why that is?

I prefer to mix just enough flour to get the dough pulled from the sides of the bowl, then knead the rest in. Kneading bread is an experience everyone should have, it is very cathartic! I always set the timer, then I can just knead away and be lost in thought!

Knead your  bread until it is elastic…smooth is a little difficult with whole wheat, so if you are a novice, just stick to the the timer. The kneading is what develops the gluten and allows the air bubbles from the yeast to form tiny air pockets in the loaf. That’s what makes your bread light!

Kneading is done, now we have the first rise.  Put a dab of oil, maybe a teaspoon into the bottom of your dirty mixing bowl, and use your lump of dough to cover the bottom edges of the bowl. Turn the dough over to coat both sides (just a bit of glisten is what you want), cover it with a cloth and put in a warm place.  The day I did this it was COLD! At 45 minutes my bread had barely risen, so I turned the oven on to 150 degrees and finished it in there. I don’t recommend this, but ND and MN 4-H bread guides actually tell you how to do this, because in the winter, it can be impossible to get a decent rise!


It took longer than the original 60 minutes for my bread, so I had to eyeball it…double in size from when I put it in the bowl.  So, now I turn it out, and punch it done to get rid of the air pockets. As I smash it, I shape it into a rectangle of sorts. Some people use a rolling pin, but I just smash it well with my hands. Next we roll it up and pinch all the ends so that they stay sealed when it does its second rise. Looks kind of ugly, but it will be on the bottom of the pan, and the second rise will plump it up so it looks smooth.


The ugly looked pinched loaf.

Looking better in the pan.

Ready for the oven!

Baked and out of the pan

A look at the texture…I cut mine too warm, a common problem at our house!!

And, here’s the links to the others joining us this month! Do check out their adventures too!

Fantastic Bake Along

Thanks to Emma from Emma Crafts Design for the recipe for this month’s Fantastic Bake Along—Quiche. I had to make a trip to the grocery store, so we had our quiche tonight for dinner. There is a definite advantage to being one of the last to post; you can see everyone’s modifications, and change your recipe accordingly!

I stuck with Emma’s basic pastry recipe, using my Betty Crocker cook book to find some American measures in the same proportion. I did decide to try the olive oil instead of butter, so added a bit more flour as advised by Betty Crocker. However, I thought my crust was a bit on the dry side and a little difficult to work with. I ended up rolling it between waxed paper.

For the quiche, the big experiment was trying some of our dehydrated eggs instead of all fresh. I added the requisite water to them early this afternoon, so they would have plenty of time to reconstitute (about 3 hours).  My plan was to try half dehydrated and half fresh, and see how that affected the taste and texture. I also added some spinach and kale, (Girl #2’s influence) because I didn’t have lots of bacon. Finally, we went with our favorite, cheddar cheese.

35 minutes in the oven, and we were ready to enjoy!


I am happy to report that no one could discern that the eggs were different from fresh! I was a little worried, because the reconstituted eggs do seem a little bit grainy, so I really wondered it that would be the case after baking, but happily the texture was identical to quiches where I have use all fresh eggs. A good thing to know if we ever end up having to use emergency rations for a period of time. 🙂

Check out the other participants at these sites:

Fantastic Bake Along-Pizza!

This post is coming to you through the magic of scheduled posts, I am actually in CA right now, and NOT baking pizza! However, the recipe for pizza dough from Brenna is the same one I use, and I had planned pizza for Tuesday night, so why not!

Now, for you busy moms out there, here are some FYI’s you may find very helpful!

  1. You can half this recipe and use the dough cycle on a bread machine. That dough can be frozen for later use. That’s what I’m using today!
  2. If you prefer thin crust pizza, 1/4 of Brenna’s recipe will cover a 9×13 cookie sheet with a little rolling pin action. (Or half of what comes out of the bread machine)
  3. Want a super crispy, thin crust? Use tip 2, then pre bake the crust for 7 minutes at 425. Add your toppings and finish baking for 8 minutes, again at 425.

When everyone is home I make two thin crust pizzas, but when there’s just the two of us, I bake one and put the dough in a ziplock bag and freeze it for later. To use, I take it out at noon the day of and leave it on the counter. IF you work all day, you could probably put it in the fridge early in the morning, and then pull it out as soon as you get home. I also make sauce and freeze what I don’t use, for the next time or two.

Here we are, ready to thaw..

Our pizza is very simple, pepperoni and cheese, with other ingredients from the garden when it starts producing…a little green pepper, maybe onion, fresh basil sometimes sundries tomatoes from the garden.

A pre-baked crust. I had some air bubbles this time so used a fork to puncture them. Had I used the fork before I put it in the oven, I could have prevented them.

We like cheese!

Come and get it!

Check out the other participants…we all make modifications according to what works in our family, so everyone’s will be a little different.

Fantastic Bake Along

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Our recipe this month was a fried/baked chicken. Since there are only two of us at home these days, I opted to not bake, and did a total fry job. (Fewer pans to clean up!)

I adjusted the recipe for the two of us, and instead of putting the seasonings in the flour, I put them directly on the chicken. So garlic powder, salt, pepper and paprika, followed by the double dip in Tracy’s recipe. I have always double dipped my chicken and I think  it really makes a difference!

Since I kept mine in the electric skillet, I did 10 minutes then flipped it; turned the heat down to 350 and covered it for 15-20 minutes; flipped it back, uncovered it and turned it back up to 375. When I have a full pan, I do 400-350-400, but it isn’t necessary with just 2-3 pieces in that skillet.

The recipe is a keeper, I like the addition of paprika and garlic. Next time I’m going to add thyme as well. That’s in my normal seasoning for chicken, but I was out so went “as written!”

Thanks Tracy for the great prompt. I am excited to see what others did with this great basic recipe!