Savory Filled Breads- (Pepperoni Cheese & Sun Dried Tomato/Basil)

Pepperoni Cheese Bread and Tomato/Basil Bread

Pepperoni Cheese Bread and Tomato/Basil Bread



I think we’ve come to the conclusion by now that one of my baking loves is yeast bread, be they Sweet or Savory or Let’s do sweet again. I just love homemade yeasty, soft, fluffy breads or baked goods. Store bought ones rarely are as good, though I admit to trying them to find out when I need a ‘fix”. Wal-Mart carries a pepperoni cheese bread that is sufficient when I am craving that type, but I always just KNEW I could do better. Theirs isn’t suitable for sandwiches because it’s fairly flat and it always had this slightly off sourish taste, like it was a confused sourdough bread with an attitude problem. I had made filled breads in the past but usually more in a calzone sort of a way, as a meal not as a sandwich bread with a filling. SO I had to try. Of course. And I am pretty pleased with it.  I needed to roll it a bit tighter, but otherwise, it’s really yummy. Somehow, I doubt it’s going to make it to sandwiches though. Between two teen boys, my husband and our five year old, both loaves are almost gone. But that’s ok; it gives me an excuse to make more.

This is easy as can be if you’ve made yeast bread even a couple of times before. If not, this is still a recipe that’s easy enough for a beginner. I just took my basic honey white bread recipe and changed it enough to make it more savory. The main tip? Make sure you roll TIGHTLY or you will end up with loaves that have a hole going through them as you see in mine. Still tasty as all git out, but not as pretty or as useful for sandwiches. Also, if these filling ideas don’t work for you, play around. Just don’t use anything too wet and don’t fill with too much or it will burst as it bakes. And if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can always do the mixing and kneading by hand. It can be fun to do it the old fashioned way. 🙂 And have your ingredients ready to go. I have been known to have an overflowing cup of blooming yeast because I am waiting on the milk I forgot to heat up to finish cooling.

You know the drill… 🙂

Savory Filled Breads- (Pepperoni Cheese & Sun Dried Tomato/Basil)

  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees or so; up to 115 is fine)
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (NOT skim), heated and then cooled down to between 110 and 115 degrees
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 to 6 cups all purpose or bread flour (amount needed will vary- I used 5 cups for this recipe in a hot, humid house)
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian Seasoning, crushed in your hand to release the flavors
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • For the pepperoni cheese-
  • 4 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 4 ounces shredded Mozzarella or Fontina cheese
  • 2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
  • For the Sun Dried Tomato/Basil-
  • 1 cup of julienned fresh basil
  • 4 ounces of dry sun dried tomatoes (if you use the kind packed in oil, dry them thoroughly)
  • 4 ounces Fontina cheese
  • 3 ounces shredded Parmesan
  • To top both breads-
  • Shredded Parmesan and/or Fontina
  1. Grease 2 9×5 inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add the yeast and sugar to the 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir and allow it to sit for about five minutes to activate the yeast.
  3. To the bowl of your stand mixer, with the paddle attachment on, add the milk, honey, butter and yeast. Mix on low speed just until blended.Change over to the dough hook. Add 2 cups of the flour, the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and egg yolks. Mix on low speed for five minutes.
  4. Keeping the mixer on low, add two more cups of flour. Turn the mixer off and scrape the sides of the bowl down. Raise the mixer speed to 3 and let the hook work it until the dough comes away form the side of the bowl. Feel the dough and if it’s still sticky, add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. You do NOT want a stiff, hard dough.
  5. Knead on the speed of 2 for 6 to 8 minutes, until you have a nice glossy, just slightly tacky dough.
  6. Dump the dough into an oiled bowl, turn it to make sure both sides of the dough have oil on them, then cover with a towel or loose plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  7. When doubled, punch the dough down and divide into two equal pieces. Take one out and leave the other covered until you are done with the first. Dump the one onto a very lightly floured board and knead just to get it into a ball.
  8. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, approximately 8×12 inches. Sprinkle your fillings (for whichever you’re doing first) evenly over the top of the dough. For the pepperoni, lay it out on the dough, don’t just toss it on there 😛 .
  9. From the short end of the dough, roll it up, slowly and tightly. Pinch the seams shut with your fingers, using a LITTLE bit of water to help seal them if you need to. Fold the ends of the bread under lightly, seal them also and place in one of the prepared pans.
  10. Now do the same with the other half, also sprinkling on the fillings and rolling tightly.
  11. Let the dough rise until about an inch over the top of the pan, which should take about 45 minutes. Brush each loaf with olive oil or butter and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  12. Bake at 350 until the loaves are golden brown and firm on top, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  13. Turn the bread out onto a rack and let cool completely, or as long as you can handle it until you just have to cut one of them 😛

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Chocolate Malted Milk Mousse

Chocolate Malted Milk Mousse

Chocolate Malted Milk Mousse




When I was 13, I worked at a small ice cream shack (shack is a fairly fitting word, too) called “Frosty Hut”, also called Frosty Slut, but we won’t go there. I worked there for a dollar an hour. I had had to get a work permit to even work at that age and I guess the owner, Mr. A, figured a buck an hour was sufficient even though minimum wage was $3.35. One of the perks of the job was, of course, the free ice cream. Since this was privately owned and we were paid slave wages, there was no “you have a 30 minute lunch break and can eat one small thing from the menu” rule. Nope, my sister and I (she also worked there…we were the full line up of employees that Summer) ate like pigs lol. One of my favorite things to do was work my shift, then make 2 of what were called Boston Shakes, one for me and one for my brother Steve. These were HUGE shakes that also had a about 73 pints of soft serve on top of them. I have absolutely NO idea how I didn’t weigh 500 pounds by the end of that Summer. Mine was the same each time; a chocolate malt with extra malt syrup. The flavor is still a favorite. I don’t drink shakes often but when I go to say, Sonic and get one, it’s still chocolate malt with extra malt. I’m a creature of habit 🙂

Since I also love Whoppers Candy; they are malt flavored after all, I was tickled to find this recipe in the same Better Home And Garden Cookbook/magazine (it’s one of those they keep on the shelves for a few months, then retire) that my last post came from. I am slowly working my way through all the recipes in there that I have tabbed. It was a good find; a cookbook that you actually want to make multiple recipes from. I have about a dozen pages tabbed and plan to get to them all.

This is a perfect Spring dessert; it’s rich yet light and not overwhelming. Mind you, it would also be great for a Christmas dessert or heck, any time of year lol. I don’t want to limit it. But Easter is tomorrow and if you still need just one more dessert, this would work wonderfully. It can be ready to go in less than 90 minutes and that includes chilling time. The mousse itself is sweet and creamy with a nice malted milk flavor. The topping is only very lightly sweetened and a wonderful foil to the sweeter mousse. And the crushed malted milk balls in the mousse and the topping add a nice light crunch.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Chocolate Malted Milk Mousse

  • 2/3 cup malted milk balls (plus extra for garnishing)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate malted milk powder (I actually used the plain kind, not the chocolate kind)
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto, chocolate liqueur or cream (I used Kahlua cause I’m just a rebel :-p )
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (this is for the topping. Don’t be tempted to add more sugar. The small amount of sweetening is excellent against the sweet mousse)
  1. Put the malted milk balls in a large bag and crush them using a rolling pin…or a hammer…or a neighbors head, whatever works for you; no judgment here. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepot, combine the chopped chocolates and 1/4 cup of the cream. Over low heat, stirring constantly, heat until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, the malted milk powder and the liqueur (or cream) Cool to room temp. Stirring speeds this up.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whip 1 3/4 cup of the cream until stiff peaks form. Stir 1/2 cup of the cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. gently fold the rest of the cream into the chocolate. Then gently fold in the crushed malted milk balls. Spoon the mousse into either small dessert glasses or a 1.5 to 2 quart glass serving bowl. Cover and chill for one hour at least and up to 24 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, whip the remaining one cup cream with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 tablespoon of sugar and the 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder until stiff peaks form. Spoon the topping onto the mousse and garnish with more malted milk balls.

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Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting



I could have SWORN Spring was here. The calendar says so, the Farmers Almanac says so, the fact that I had (key word…had) pretty Hyacinths blooming said so. But obviously God and Mother Nature are a wee bit confused. That or they were bored and figured playing a practical joke on all of us would be a good way to pass the time. I guess eating chocolate and watching reruns of House aren’t popular up there when you’re bored. Here in Kentucky, we had to cover all our budding fruit trees and plants in the hopes that the low temps of mid twenties we are supposed to get tonight won’t kill them. My Hyacinths were a lost cause though. The cold of last night already got them *sobs*

I was all prepared for warm weather baking however. Yes, I know that many of you think baking is insane in warmer weather but 1) I’m kind of warped that way and 2) it’s kind of my job… I can’t go on hiatus from April till October 😛 So I still bake… I just change the theme. Pumpkin goes away (well, off the blog anyway. I love it so I still use it here at home), cranberries stay in the freezer and citrus, fresh herbs, and lighter foods (relatively speaking… I’m still me, after all) get made. So I had my mind set on lemon and I’ll be darned if I change it because God didn’t want to watch House or maybe play Rummy with Gabriel.

This is one yummy cake. The recipe in it’s original form comes from a Better Homes And Garden magazine I have. I didn’t change much, just added vanilla, almond and lemon extracts to both the cake and two of those to the frosting, used my own lemon curd recipe (theirs called for a cornstarch custard and to me, that’s just not the same) and didn’t do the caramelized lemons they called for. I just used sugared lemons. Easier, still deliciously edible if one swings that way and did I mention easier?

You know the drill…. 🙂

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cake-
  • 1 batch of Lemon Curd or one cup of store bought lemon curd (but I’ll cry if you use store bought. There is NO comparison.)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Boyajian Lemon Oil (or an equivalent amount of lemon extract)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Frosting-
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Lemon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Garnish (optional)-
  • 2 thinly sliced lemons
  • 1 cup sugar (you won’t use it all, but it clumps from the moisture of the lemons so you need extra. The leftovers go great in tea.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9 inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add in the sugar, extracts, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until well combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Alternate adding in the flour and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour (flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour), beating just until combined after each addition. Divide the batter between the 3 prepared pans.
  5. Bake at 350 for 25 to 28 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and spring back when touched. Cool in the pans for ten minutes, then carefully loosen with a butter knife and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. While cake cools, make frosting- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat well until smooth and creamy, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the extracts and beat until combined. Add in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time (unless you fancy looking like you just drove through a sand storm), beating well after each addition. Add just enough to get a good spreading consistency. When done, stir in the lemon zest.
  7. To assemble, lay one cake layer on your serving plate. Spread it with 1/2 cup of the lemon curd. Top with another layer; again spread with 1/2 cup of curd. Carefully place the top layer on, pressing down LIGHTLY to hold them together. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the frosting.
  8. For the garnish, JUST before serving (the sugar starts to melt and drip after while, so don’t do it until ready to serve), toss the lemon slices with the sugar until lightly coated. Do a few at a time or the sugar clumps and you get too thick of a coating on the lemon slices. Arrange them on the top of the cake. Serve.

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Fudgy Brownies With Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Fudgy Brownies With Mini Peanut Butter Cups

Fudgy Brownies With Mini Peanut Butter Cups




We all know I am NOT a fan of peanut butter. Well, to qualify again, not “normal” peanut butter. I do have a soft spot for Peanut Butter & Company’s Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter and Jifs new Salted Caramel Hazelnut is pretty amazing as peanut butter type spreads go. You’ll notice I did NOT say it was “to die for”. I believe I’ve mentioned before that that is one of those phrases that makes me want to gouge my eardrums out with a spoon. That one along with “EVOO” and “Sammy”. Damn you for your evil influence, Rachael Ray, damn you. But back on tangent, as much as it possible for me, no “to die for”…. I will only die for medium rare ribeyes and roasted brussel sprouts. I have my standards.

But every once in a while, cause I love you all so much (“I just cain’t quit you” 😛 ), I have to make something peanut buttery for all of you. I realize how peculiar I am with my dislike of PB.  I realize how peculiar I am for many reasons and that that is but one of many, but lets not go there.

I was actually pleasantly surprised with these. Yes, they have a strong peanut buttery taste so those of you into that will love that aspect, but they are also fudgy/chewy enough and of course, chocolatey enough, that even I enjoyed them. They have a perfect, shiny crackly top crust, which I personally love. I found myself, after cutting off the edges, picking up stray bites here and there. Sooo chewy and yummy. 😀 Oh yeah, just for good measure, I threw in a bag of Heath Chips, so that added yet another level of crunchy, salty/sweet goodness. You can thank me later. 😀

You know the drill… 🙂

Fudgy Brownies With Mini Peanut Butter Cups

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten (use a large bowl)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 ounces mini peanut butter cups (I used Trader Joes Brand)
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) Heath Bar chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 11×7 glass pan (I used a standard Pyrex) or a 13×9 inch pan. If you use the 13×9, be more aware of your cooking time as these will cook quicker.
  2. Melt your butter in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add the chocolate, stir once, then remove the pot form the heat. Let it sit for five minutes then stir for about 2 minutes to finish melting the chips.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to blend.
  4. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture over the beaten eggs, whisking the whole time. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat well.
  5. Pour in the flour and beat JUST until combined. Fold in the peanut butter cups and heath chips.
  6. Spoon into the prepared pan. bake at 350 for approximately 40 minutes or until the top is shiny, firm and crackly looking and inserting a skewer in the center shows only a few moist crumbs, not a loose or liquidy batter.
  7. Let cool in the pan on a rack until thoroughly cool before cutting. You cut them before this and you will get goop. Tasty goop, but goop nonetheless. If you have these room temp, they are creamier and silkier in texture. If you chill them, they take on more of a candylike fudge texture. try it both ways to see which you prefer. 🙂

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