November 16, 2009

What I Did On My Day Off

Not quite sure why but lately the first thing I think when I take a day off from work is, "Hmmm, what can I bake/cook?" Does that make my life sad? (I think it does . . . a little.) Friday, I took the day off and while Bob was at school I started Italian Bread Bowls and baked Pumpkin Bars. Note--make sure you have ample time to fully bake your Pumpkin Bars before starting. You know, don't get carried away and have to fret over whether to be a little late picking kids up from school or completely baking the Pumpkin Bars. Don't worry, I was on time and one of the two pans of bars was perfectly fine. The other one could have used a couple more minutes but were still okay to eat.

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Italian Bread Bowls
from Taste the Joy
Print Recipe

1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1 egg white
1 Tbsp water

In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (all 7 cups may not be used). When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use silpat liners or parchment paper). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush the loaves with half of this egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining egg mixture, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

++I baked these on Friday and served them with soup on Saturday. That worked out great.

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Pumpkin Bars
from Real Mom Kitchen
Print Recipe

6 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup applesauce
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large (29 oz) can pumpkin
3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
chocolate chips or cream cheese frosting or both

Mix together eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin. Fold in dry ingredients and pour into jelly roll pan. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
8 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in podered sugar and vanilla.

++I used two quarter sheet pans. I stirred 1 cup of chocolate chips into one pan and frosted the other. I enjoyed the frosted bars better than the chocolate chip bars; however, everyone else preferred the chocolate chip bars.

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