Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

I think if it were left up to the guys in my house, every day would be a day devoted to seeing how many carbs and how much cheese they could stuff into their bodies, veggies be damned. I on the other hand would happily live on veggies and meat, with dessert afterward of course. I love cheese, but I’ve said before I prefer my carbs in sweet form usually. Thus why this blog is overwhelmingly sweets and not non-sweets.

The rare times we can manage to go out for dinner, they love places that have pizza, with Gatti-Town being a favorite…unlimited pizza, pasta, breadsticks and then games. What more does any male need, right? I am pretty sure that when the cooks see them go up for their 14th plate of cheesy carbs, they groan and wish they worked somewhere else. I’m never worth the price of the buffet myself. I usually manage two slices of pizza and a salad  and that’s about it.

Right now, it’s a rough patch financially, so I wanted to give the guys a treat I knew they’d love that we can’t afford to get out. What better way than one of their favorite buffet foods, made fresh at home?

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

I think they were happy with these. I mean, really… cheese…bacon. Bacon is one of Gods gifts to mankind 😀 I managed to eat one and it was quite yummy. I hid one for myself for later too, hehe. They inhaled the rest of them for an early dinner. Not traditional, not even particularly nutritious, but my guys enjoyed the treat.

These are extremely easy to make. it’s a SIMPLE yeast dough you can do in a stand mixer (or even by hand if you want). Then you roll it out into a rough rectangle, cut it, let it rise, sprinkle with the goodies, then bake and eat the cheesy, carby goodness. Nuthin’ to it. You can add a bit of thinly sliced red onion to this or a bit of green pepper… just use your imagination and put what makes you happy.

You know the drill….

Mrs. Cupcake… who feels the need for a fresh salad now

Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (about 112 to 117 degrees)
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil (or just use some of the bacon drippings)
  • 8 ounces bacon, cooked to chewy crispness and crumbled
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces mild cheddar, shredded
  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the 1/4 cup warm water in a bowl; stir to mix then let it sit for about five minutes. The mixture should start to get foamy.
  2. Place 4 cups of the flour, the butter, sugar, salt and 1 1/4 cups water in the bowl of a stand mixer (again, you can mix by hand. It will take longer, but it’s definitely doable). Pour the yeast mix in and beat on low speed, with the dough hook, for about five minutes, until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.  If it is too sticky to work with, add in another 1/4 cup of flour, then mix again until the dough comes together in a ball.
  3. Grease a large baking sheet or cookie sheet. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and give it a few quick kneads just to bring it together well. Roll it out into a more or less rectangular size (it doesn’t have to be perfect- you’ll just be laying it out on a baking sheet) of about 15 x 11. Carefully roll it up halfway over the rolling pin or your hand and transfer it to the baking sheet. Stretch out any wrinkles you may have made in it during the transfer.
  4. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to score the dough into long strips, then again down the middle to cut the strips in half. Don’t separate them, just leave it like that. Let rise in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees while it rises.
  5. Brush dough lightly with either olive oil or bacon drippings. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Sprinkle the cheese on top of that, then the bacon.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
  7. Let rest for about 5 minutes, then use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the breadsticks through the score lines you made earlier.
  8. Serve to hungry males with pizza sauce. Take in the accolades and cheese scented kisses.

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Gooey Cheese & Bacon Soft Breadsticks 3

Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread

Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread

Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge store bought bread sort of a person. I prefer my carbs in junk food form, preferably with a label that says “Ben & Jerry” or “Brachs Juicy Berries Gummi Candy” (yes, I’m still addicted to those.) I DO however, love artisan breads, good bakery breads or homemade breads. In a nutshell? I’m a bread snob. Well, confession time, unless I’m having Chicago public school flashbacks and craving a ham sandwich on mushy store bought white bread spread with butter. Don’t judge.

So, all of that said, I rarely have the budget for the good artisan breads that a lot of grocery stores carry now and I don’t live near a bakery. So if I want good bread, I have to make it myself. I’ve been baking bread long enough now that I am able to play with recipes without ending up with a disaster so that’s what I did here. I took a recipe I’ve had for years for oatmeal bread/rolls and mixed it up a bit. The results were completely awesome! This bread tastes great, not as strongly flavored as whole wheat would be but not as bland as white bread. It has a mild nutty flavor from the oats and the wheat flour. And the texture is out of this world. It is soft, ALMOST but not quite as soft as store bought which will please the mushy bread addicts lol. Yet it has a nice chewy bite to it and a density to please those of us who like breads with more character. Another plus is that the wheat gluten keeps it fresh longer plus adds a bit to the texture. I have it listed as optional but you really really need to buy some. It’s inexpensive and worth getting.

You know the drill. 🙂

Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread

  • 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oatmeal  plus extra for sprinkling on the loaves
  • 2 tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten, optional but highly recommended (you can find it in the flour aisle, usually on the top shelf. It contributes a LOT to bread texture and freshness so please buy some.)
  • 2 packs dry yeast (I use the Red Star Platinum yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, warmed to between 115 and 120 degrees (NO hotter)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup honey plus more for brushing on top of loaves
  • sea salt for sprinkling on top
  1. Lightly grease two 9 inch loaf pans and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the wheat flour, 4 1/2 cups of the bread flour, oatmeal, yeast and salt. Mix well on low speed.
  2. Combine the milk and butter in a measuring cup. Stir to melt the butter, then add in the warm water and the honey. Pour this over the flour mixture, and using the dough hook, mix on low speed until it all comes together as a dough. Knead for about 2 to 3 minutes on low. If the dough is still more than just a LITTLE bit sticky and tacky, add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Machine knead after each addition for a minute or so, then check stickiness again. You want a nice firm but not dry dough. Your finger should just barely stick to it and it should have a sheen rather like what a semi gloss paint looks like when dry.
  3. Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl, turning it once to make sure all sides get the oil on them. Cover with a clean towel and put somewhere warm to rise. I usually turn my oven to it’s lowest setting, then turn it off after about 2 minutes of preheating. That leaves it a nice warm 80 degrees or so which is a perfect rising temp. Let it rise until it is doubled in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  4. When it’s doubled, punch it down (that’s always the fun part hehe) and divide it into two equal pieces. Start your oven preheating to 350 degrees. Now you can go one of two ways.
  5. First way to shape your dough is free hand- just…well, shape it into a dough shape. Not hard and the pro of it is it leaves you with less seams to pinch shut. it’s usually how I shape my loaves. Con is it takes some time to learn to free hand shape and not have a misshapen loaf.
  6. Two is to roll or pat the dough out into about a 9 inch rectangle and then roll it up tightly and pinch shut the seams with a damp finger. Pro to that is a prettier loaf (unless you miss a seam like I did on the one loaf in the photo…oops), con is if you don’t roll tightly enough, you end up with a loaf that has a hole running through the middle.
  7. Either way you go, shape the dough into two loaves and place in the prepared pans.
  8. Warm up about 1/4 cup of honey until it’s liquidy. Brush it evenly over the two loaves. Sprinkle with some extra oats and then with some coarse grained (I use kosher, same kind you see on pretzels) salt. Let the bread rise again in a warm place (NOT in the preheating oven lol) for 30 minutes or until it is almost doubled in bulk
  9. Bake at 350 degrees until the bread is golden brown and crusty looking, about 45 to 55 minutes.
  10. Let cool in the pan for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling, though we all know half a loaf, at least, won’t make it to cooled before it gets eaten hehe.
  11. When cooled, what doesn’t get eaten can be stored in ziploc bags for a few days. I made mine 4 days ago and it’s still wonderfully soft and fresh. THAT is why you need to buy the vital wheat gluten. Trust me on this.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.


Extra Rich Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Icing

Extra Rich Cinnamon Rolls-001

Surprise, surprise… a recipe from me with the words extra rich in the title. Never expected that huh? Not with the dearth of fattening recipes here. What makes these extra rich? Mashed potatoes in the dough. Get back here! Sheesh. Ever had potato bread? Same idea, different result. I didn’t make a batch of garlic mashed and shove the extra into cinnamon rolls *gags a little*. Mashed potatoes (plain, NOTHING added; just the taters) are very common in yeast bread. They add a richness to the dough but with no potato flavor. They also make the dough more tender and help it to rise better. matter of fact, when you make mashed potatoes, it’s a good habit to save some of the cooking water if you make yeast risen doughs often. You can sub it for part or all of the liquid (part is better if the original recipe calls for milk) and you will see an amazing difference in the finished product.

These cinnamon rolls were supposed to have pecans in the filling, but if you follow my facebook page at all, you may have seen my update about the two pans of burned pecans. Sigh. talk about idiocy. I put one in to toast then had a major “ooo, shiny thing!” moment and forgot about them. Slapped myself around for a bit then put in another pan. Words With Friends on facebook may or may not have had something to do with the other pan burning. Needless to say, after about 12 dollars worth of pecans torched, I was not trying again. So the rolls have raisins in half the batch. Feel free to sub pecans (I will put the amounts for either one in the recipe). Just stay away from word games when toasting them. Also, this makes a HUGE batch of rolls. I got 2 13×9 pans with 12 each and 6 more in a 8×8 pan. In my household which currently consists of myself, hubby, two teen boys, three boys 6 and under and a pregnant woman, they will get eaten. But in “normal” homes, you may want to cut this in half. Or make your neighbors happy.

This originally came from The Pastry Queen Cookbook. Adapted some for a stand mixer and ingredients changed a LITTLE but not much.

Extra Rich Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 4 packets dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 9 cups flour (I TOLD you this was big batch) (I actually used more like ten cups; it will depend on the moisture of your potatoes)
  • Filling-
  • 4 cups pecans, toasted for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees then coarsely chopped or 3 cups good quality raisins (not dried shriveled rocks)
  • 4 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I used dark brown)
  • 4 tablespoons cinnamon (no, that’s not a typo… look at the amount of ingredients and this makes sense)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • zest from one large orange (optional)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Icing-
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  1. To make the rolls- fill a large pot with water and set on high to boil. Peel and chop the potatoes and add to the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender. Reserve three cups of the cooking water, then drain off the rest. Mash the potatoes and set aside. Let the potato water cool until it is between 110 and 115 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl,  combine the cooled potato water, yeast and the one teaspoon of sugar. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let sit until foamy, about five minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the potatoes, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup melted butter, eggs, salt and yeast mixture.
  4. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn mixer onto low and add the flour, in 3 cup increments. If the dough still seems wet (you want slightly sticky but not obviously moist) add more flour, a 1/4 cup at a time. Don’t go over 10 cups. Again, it’s ok if the dough is somewhat sticky. If you make it too dry, the rolls will also be dry. Sticky dough equals tender moist rolls in the end.
  5. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, making sure to oil the top of the dough some and then cover with a clean towel. Place in a warm place to rise and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
  6. Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest (if using) in a large bowl. Prepare 2 13×9 inch pans by lining with foil then greasing the foil. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. When risen, punch down dough then divide it  in half. On a floured board or counter, roll half into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Brush with half the butter,  sprinkle with half the brown sugar mixture and half the raisins or pecans. Carefully roll the dough up from one long end. Roll as tightly as you can.
  8. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut each roll of dough into 12 to 15 pieces. This will depend on whether or not your roll ended up bigger than 1/4 inch and looks like it is about the length of an adult python. Place 12 in each 13×9 inch pan. If you get more than 12 from each roll,  foil and grease a 8×8 inch pan and put the remainder in the 8×8 pan. Allow to rise until puffy but not quite doubled, about 45 minutes
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a nice light golden brown.
  10. Let cool in pan set on wire rack.
  11. For icing, combine icing ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread on slightly warm rolls. But first, eat about half of it straight off of a spoon then blame me when your husband asks why there is so little icing for the rolls.


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Getting Back To Basics


The other day I was chatting on facebook with my friends and fellow bloggers Anita and Christine (Go visit them btw; they are both far more awesome bloggers than I) with the conversation being about food of course. Part of the subject matter was the fear people have of working with yeast. It’s a fear, that while I can understand it (yeast can be dead and you end up with a hockey puck… water too hot, you end up with a hockey puck, water too cold… hockey puck yada yada yada) I don’t have that fear. I think I was lucky. I started working with yeast back when I was a very young cook, about 20ish or so. In my naivete I didn’t realize I had anything to be scared of. There was no internet back then thus no horror stories, plus I was a young wife living in Germany and had no one to compare notes with and cooked on my own. So I made things with yeast. Did I start with easy white bread? Oh heck no. Again, no fear and lots of beginners luck. The first things I made were home made croissants and sticky buns, both of which can be temperamental and really AREN’T for beginners but I didn’t know that.  They turned out fine so thus began my relationship with yeast. We’ve gotten along fine through the years. There have been some arguments… yeast always won. But I’ve learned that if I treat it gently and keep it comfy and cozy temp wise, all is good.

But I’ve come to realize that there are a LOT of people who are leery of working with yeast. So here is Grandma Jan 😛 to explain how downright easy it is! Seriously… it’s easy. If you can cook, you can make a yeast dough. If you have ANY experiencing baking, you can make a yeast dough. So, before I get to the recipe, I’ll just give a few small tips.

1) Watch your water temp. Overly hot water/liquid kills your yeast in a heartbeat and water/liquid that is too cold will still eventually give you a risen dough, but it will take a LOT longer and if you’re new, you may wonder why your dough isn’t rising and give up thinking you’ve screwed up.

2) Use the new Platinum yeast from Red Star. It has added dough conditioners and it makes a difference in the final product. If you can’t find it though, use regular yeast…. it’s still fine

3) Knead knead knead. Under kneading seems to be the biggest mistake people make. If doing it in a stand mixer, follow the directions in the recipe. If kneading by hand, do the same. Kneading develops the gluten in the dough which gives you the texture you want. If the recipe says to knead for ten minutes, set a timer and knead for ten minutes. Also, the first few times you make bread, please, knead by hand. You need to develop a feel for what well kneaded bread dough should feel like. You’re looking for firm springy smooth rather elastic dough most of the time (unless the recipe says otherwise) And it’s a great arm workout hehe.

4) have your ingredients ready. Nine times out of ten, you will mix your yeast with water and let it proof while you do other things. But it’s usually for just a few minutes and then you continue on. So if there is another liquid that must be heated and cooled, have that already done so that your yeast isn’t turning into a the blob that ate Manhattan while you wait for something to cool.  And have your ingredients at room temp. You should always do that ANYWAY when baking but it matters more with a bread dough. This particular recipe calls for two egg yolks and you really don’t want to take ice cold eggs and mix them with your yeast as that throw off the temp. Bottom line? It’s not hard… you just need to remember some little things.

Ok, on to the recipe. This one is from Ina Garten and it’s awesome. The dough is wonderful! If you’ve made bread before, you know what I mean. This is so smooth, so elastic and so easy to work with. Not sticky at all but not too floury. It’s a great one for the beginner and quick for the experienced. The bread is soft with a good chew and a wonderful smell!

Classic Honey White Bread

  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F; no more than 117 or so)
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, heated and cooled to 110 to 115 degrees
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled (plus more for the top of the finished loaves if desired)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 extra large egg yolks (I only had large eggs and 2 of those yolks worked fine)
  • 5 to 6 cups all purpose flour (I used bread flour and ended up needing 5 and 1/3 cups. You may need a bit more or less depending on the temp in your house, humidity, moistness level of the flour, etc. You want to end up with a firm not sticky but not rock hard dough)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  1. Place the water in a measuring cup. Add the yeast and the sugar; stir and allow it to sit for about five minutes.
  2. Add the milk, honey, butter and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until blended.  Add the egg yolks, 3 cups of the flour and the salt.mix on low speed for five minutes.
  3. Keep the mixer on low and add 2 more cups of flour. Turn the mixer off and scrape the sides of the bowl. Raise the speed to medium and slowly add just enough more flour so that the dough comes away from the bowl and isn’t sticking to the sides. If you don’t have a stand mixer, the best way to do the mixing is with a heavy wooden spoon.
  4. Knead on medium speed for eight minutes. If hand kneading, dump the dough out onto a LIGHTLY floured board or counter and knead for eight minutes, until the dough is smooth, springy feeling and elastic.
  5. If doing in the mixer, when time is up, dump your dough out and knead for a minute or two. Grease a large bowl with butter. Put the dough in it, smushing it around to butter the bottom, then turn it over so that the bottom is now on top. Cover the bowl with a very slightly damp towel and put in a warm place to rise. While the bread is kneading, I turn the oven on to it’s lowest setting, let it get there then turn the oven off and crack the door a tiny bit. By the time the kneading is done, It should be about 85 degrees or so in the oven which is a perfect temp to rise bread dough at.
  6. Let the dough rise until it has pretty much doubled in bulk.
  7. Punch the dough down, turn it out and cut it in half. Shape each half into a loaf and put into two buttered loaf pans.
  8. Put back in the warm oven (or other warm place) and let rise again, also until doubled. It should be nicely risen to about an inch or so above the top of the loaf pan.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for about 40 to 45 minutes or until it is a light golden brown and has a rather hollow sound when tapped on top.
  10.  Let sit in the pans on a wire rack for two to three minutes, then carefully turn out of the pan onto the rack to finish cooling.
  11. Take a loaf of bread, some butter and a jar of jam into the closet, hide from the kids and eat bread and read a trashy novel. I won’t tell.

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House Of The Rising Bun


The post for today was going to be Turkey Noodle Soup but considering that it really sucked because I accidentally put so much Spinach in it that it should have been named Spinach soup, time for a new game plan. So I’m going with the rolls that I made to go with the above mentioned sucky soup. Sucky Soup…hehe… maybe I can market that? Or…erhmmm… maybe not. Moving on. Honest; I’m fine. Really.

I asked on the Facebook page if anyone else had ever had days when they shouldn’t have been allowed to get out of bed, much let get near a stove. Well, today is obviously mine. When I started the oatmeal mixture for these rolls, I cooked it for too long and ended up with a gooey mess all over my microwave as well as a hardened clump of oatmeal in the bowl. Yes, yes, I can cook… not sure why you would think otherwise 😛

Getting to the rolls, which I have miraculously managed to finish with no casualties even though the firemen were waiting outside the house, hoses at the ready, these are quite easy as yeast breads go. If you are one of those with a fear of attempting to make anything yeast risen, this may be a good one for you to start with. They have never failed to rise well for me and always receive rave reviews. I will be using them in other recipes also. They make fantastic cinnamon rolls & herbed rolls as well as this simple dinner roll.

Oatmeal Rolls

  1. 2 cups water
  2. 1 cup quick cooking oats
  3. 3 tablespoons butter
  4. 1/2 cup warm water (110- 115 degrees)
  5. 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar
  7. 4 cups all purpose flour
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • Bring the 2 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan; stir in the oats and butter. Boil, stirring constantly for one minute. Remove from heat and let cool until it is 110 degrees (toasty warm to the touch but not “OW! Crap! Why did I just stick my finger in that?!”
    • Alternately, bring water to a boil in the microwave, add the oats and butter and microwave for about 1 minute (paying close attention so you don’t end up with an oatmeal volcano).
    • Meanwhile, add the yeast and one tablespoon sugar to the 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand five minutes.
    • Beat oat mixture, yeast mixture, flour, salt and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, until smooth.
    • Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about five minutes. It shouldn’t be more than slightly tacky. Add more flour to your board if it is too sticky. By the same token, don’t add a ton of flour. Too much flour leads to a tough roll.
    • Place in a greased bowl turning the dough once to makes sure the top is greased too.
    • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour.
    • Punch the dough down (that’s the fun part hehe) and divide in half. Shape each half into 16 balls. Put into a greased 13×9 pan or two 9 inch round cake pans.
    • Cover lightly (a clean towel or plastic wrap works fine) and let rise in a cool place until the rolls are doubled in bulk.
    • Bake at 375 about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

    A hot roll and Blackberry jam. One of life's simple pleasures.


    *A shout out to my dear friend Mark for the title of the post 🙂