Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kitchen Adventures

I've never been a real New Year’s Resolution person. I've always tried to have a "better" year than the year before so each year of my life keeps getting better and better. Whenever I want to start doing something, I do it. I don’t need the date to change from 2011 to 2012 to start doing something or try and better myself. I do think it is a great starting point for people that need that specific date though. If you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions it’s great, but if you don’t, there’s always the next day….or the next. I love the “Monday” people. They say, “My diet starts Monday…” while they eat a bowl full of pasta and basket of breadsticks. It’s ok, you don’t have to explain yourself. ;)

This week I started going back to all the food blogs I used to frequent. They give me ideas for dinner that I end up googling. On Tuesday I saw a post about turkey burgers. While I had ground turkey available, I didn’t have any hamburger buns. So I googled a hamburger bun recipe and yada yada yada…they turned out great. Today I saw a post from Christmas about making biscotti as a hostess gift. Googled biscotti and yada yada yada….phenomenal. I love my newly found hobby of making new things in the kitchen. So in honor of the New Year, Ive established my New Year’s Resolution. Start making at least one new thing in the kitchen a week. This week I was an over achiever and made two new things.

Hamburger Buns (source)
**I halved this recipe to make 6 buns. 

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. 

**My buns turned out a little small and thick. I expected them to rise and expand a little more than they did. Next time I will make the dough balls flatter and wider before baking.

Simple Biscotti (source)
**This recipe made about 2 dozen biscotti for me

1/2 cup vegetable oil
 1 cup white sugar
 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
 3 eggs
 1 tablespoon baking powder
 ½ tbsp almond extract
½ tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and anise flavoring until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough.

Divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2 inch thickness. 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When The cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Slices should be lightly toasted.

**These turned out great! I wish I had some chocolate melts to dip them. :)


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