No-Knead Crusty Bread

Crusty Bread

Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season.  I had a very wonderful yet incredibly busy holiday with a road trip back to Michigan.  I took a little break from blogging to recover, but I’m back and better than ever.  In fact, I made a resolution to blog more, so here it goes!

So, this pin – No-Knead Crusty Bread – is all over Pinterest these days.  One of my Facebook friends gave it a try and it looked amazing, so I decided to give it a try a few weeks ago.

I’ll put the full instructions at the bottom of this post, but here’s the quick and dirty.  Mix some yeast, flour, salt and water.  (I threw in a tablespoon of sugar, too.)  Let it rise overnight, then back in an 450 degree oven for 45 minutes.  You have to preheat the pan for 30 minutes beforehand, so plan on an hour and 15 minutes of time with the oven on. Here’s a look before everything went in to the oven.  (Side note: I got this cast-iron dutch oven from my husband for my birthday.  It’s perfect for this recipe!)

Pots and dough

That’s it!  No kneading, no fussing around.  And, when it’s all done….

crusty bread

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Maple Sugar Cookies

Well, Thanksgiving is officially over.  I don’t know about you, but I’m still stuffed.  So much good food over this weekend.  I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time (yikes!!) but everything went off perfectly.  (My Trader Joe’s turkey was delicious – very moist and juicy.)  But, one of the highlights of this weekend’s culinary experience were a cookie recipe I found on Pinterest.

On Monday, I threw together a batch of these delicious Maple Sugar Cookies, courtesy of www.thirtydayshomemade.com.  Maple is my husband’s favorite flavor so it was kind of a no-brainer to give these a try.

The recipe is pretty simple – a basic sugar cookie with a splash of real maple syrup.  Yes, you have to get the good stuff, but it’s so worth it.   I made three dozen cookies and froze the rest of the cookie dough for Christmas.

Here’s how they turned out:

 

The verdict from my Thanksgiving guests – huge thumbs up!  The maple flavor is subtle but enough to amp up your average sugar cookie.  I will say that the recipe makes a whole lot of icing, so I might cut it in half and make a little more if I need it.

So, if you need a delicious cookie for presents or a cookie exchange, give these a try!

The Butterfinger Cake

Butterfinger Cake

At my husband’s work, they love to celebrate birthdays.  (My former employer did too, and boy, do I miss that!)  For this birthday celebration, I let my husband pick from my “Recipes to Try” board on Pinterest.  His top three:  Almond sheet cake, caramel apple cheesecake bars and our eventual winner, the Butterfinger Cake.

Since I’m 9 months pregnant and responsible for the baking, it was up to me to decide.  The Butterfinger Cake, courtesy of The Country Cook, looked the easiest and honestly, the cheapest.  (Gotta love a thrifty Dutch girl…)

So, how did it go?  Well, it was one of the easiest desserts I’ve put together.  The easy-to-follow instructions were great, and I had some of the ingredients already.  I’m a huge fan of doctoring up a cake mix with a few extra ingredients (the caramel sauce poured over the top of a warm cake was my favorite part) to make it something special.

The verdict from the folks at my husband’s work?  Two thumbs up.  In fact, he had a wrestle away one extra piece so I could even try it. (And, I forgot to take a pictures before he left, and his cutting job wasn’t as pretty as the picture above.  Just image a big mess of cake and whipped cream on a plate.)

My thoughts on the cake?  It was really good – very rich and even a little too sweet for my tastes.  I probably went a little crazy when poking the holes in the top of the cake so a lot of the caramel when into the cake.  Maybe next time I’ll cut back on the amount of caramel and holes…

Anyway, I really like it and would make it again in a heartbeat.  Guess it’s time to move my pin to the “Favorite Recipes” board…