Tag Archive | DIY

Italian Bread Bowls

I have made these bread bowls so many times and they have come out great every single time. They are so simple even an amateur baker could pull them off without difficulty. The recipe I used originally lacked flavor so I added some herbs to give it a more “Italian” taste. Honestly, how can you call them Italian if they don’t at least have oregano.

These bread bowls rise up golden and crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside; they are perfect in the winter filled with a hot chowder or hearty stew.  If you don’t use them all, make sure you wrap them up tightly because fresh baked bread doesn’t have the same shelf life as store bought bread. For an even longer lasting freshness you can freeze them for up to a month.



  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 7 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 teaspoon of desired herbs to add flavor


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add the salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Here is where I added about a teaspoon each of garlic, basil, and oregano. I also dumped in a couple tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition. If you are using any kind of mixer (preferably a standing mixer because they are designed to take on tough tasks such as bread dough.) Make sure to use the dough hooks or the dough will creep up the beaters and into the head of the mixer and burn it out. Believe me when I tell you this because I have done it.

Dough coming together, but needs more flour

Dough coming together, but needs more flour

When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Don’t forget to take any rings off; I forget to all the time and end up with dough encrusted diamonds.


Ready to be kneaded

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. I know the recipe says 40 minutes, but if you let it rise longer you will have more aerated and fluffy bread. So, yesterday I inadvertently let the dough rise for a couple of hours, and in the end it was well worth it because the bread bowls were the best I had ever made.


Risen dough. Should have used a bigger bowl.

Punch dough down, and divide into 8 equal portions. My favorite part is punching the dough. It makes me giggle every time.


Literally punch the dough

Shape each portion into a 4 inch round loaf. My secret to nice round loaves is using placing a chunk of dough in both hands and pulling over my fingers with both thumbs. This side will be the top of the loaf and will bake nice and smooth. To close the bottom pinch it closed and then roll it into a little peak to ensure it stays completely closed.


View from the top


View from the side


Pinching the open bottom


Finished loaf

Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes. Some rule applies here. If you let them rise a little bit longer your bowls will be that much better.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). 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.


Fresh from the oven

To make bowls: Cut a 1/2 inch thick slice from top of each loaf; scoop out centers, leaving 3/4-inch-thick shells.


Use a very sharp knife so you don’t end up ripping the bread


Remove the top


Scoop out the center

Fill bread bowls with hot soup and serve immediately.


Completed bread bowl filled with loaded baked potato chowder

If you make them leave a comment or send a picture.
Happy baking!


Cannoli Cupcakes

First let me start off by saying these cupcakes are not for a beginner. They are time consuming and more suited for an intermediate baker. I had a good time with these. I love, love, love filled cupcakes. It adds another dimension to everyday cupcakes. This particular cupcake is a moist, fluffy orange zest cupcake filled with cool cannoli cream and topped with soft bittersweet ganache and smooth almond cream. They are so incredibly delicious! If any of you try this recipe I promise you will not regret it. You may not even want to share.

Makes 24 cupcakes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange oil
1 cup milk

Cannoli Filling:
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons finely diced candied orange peel
Bittersweet Ganache:
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Almond Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup almond paste
Toasted almonds, for garnish

For the cupcakes: Preheat a convection oven to 325 degrees F. Line 24 regular-size cupcake pans with liners.

Combine the flour, orange zest, baking powder and salt in a bowl. This is only the second time I have zested this much citrus. I kept sending it flying into my eyes. I recommend eye pro when zesting citrus fruit otherwise you may end up with orange scented eyeballs. I also only used about 1 tablespoon of the zest because I didn’t want an overpowering flavor of orange in the cupcake.


Orange Zest


flour, orange zest, baking powder, salt

In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 8 minutes.


light and fluffy butter and sugar

Slowly add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and orange oil to the mixer. On low speed, gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mix until smooth. Okay, I was unable to find orange oil so I just used orange extract and the cupcakes still came out beautifully and with great flavor.


When the mixture is smooth, divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. Bake until lightly browned and fully cooked through, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.


For the filling: With a large wooden or metal spoon, mix the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, chocolate and orange peel in a medium bowl until combined. Make sure to very, very finely chop the candied orange peel. Otherwise you’ll end up with bog chewy pieces in the middle of the cupcake and it won’t be enjoyable.


Very finely chop the chocolate. You don’t want a bunch of big chunks in the center of your cupcakes


Cannoli Cream

For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl.


Coarse chopped chocolate for the ganache is okay because you are going to melt it anyway.

In small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream and sugar to a boil ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved. Make sure you stir it. Don’t let it burn to the bottom of the pot.


Pour the cream and sugar mixture over the chocolate and let sit 5 minutes. Gradually whisk until smooth. Once it cools its going to be soft and creamy. If its still liquid you need to let it cool longer. You can’t put it on the cupcake until its thick enough to spread like peanut butter, otherwise it will just run off the cupcake and you’ll have an ugly, sloppy mess.


Cooling Ganache

For the almond cream: In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the cream, sugar and almond paste until the cream is firm enough to pipe on the cupcakes but not too stiff and buttery. Here is the only place I ran into problems. I had never worked with almond paste before. To avoid the issues I had, break the almond paste into small pieces, and beat it with the sugar first. Then slowly add the cream otherwise you’ll end up with a curdled looking almond cream and you won’t be able to pipe it


Almond Cream


To assemble: Cut a small hole the size of an apple core in each cupcake and fill with the cannoli cream. I couldn’t seem to find my apple corer at first and tried an orange juicer which also did the job. I eventually found my apple corer buried in the back of the drawer


Using the orange juicer to cut holes in the center


Cannoli cream filled cupcakes

Spread a small amount of ganache on the entire surface of the cupcake and either pipe or use an off set spatula to add the alond cream to the top. Garnish with toasted almonds.


Completely assembled cupcake

Happy Baking!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Regardless of family history, many humans use this holiday as a reason to go out and consume Irish Whiskey and corned beef and cabbage in excess. Last year we chose to celebrate with our own feast at home that included Irish Soda Bread, Shepard’s Pie, and Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. Today, I’m going to share the recipe for the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.

Unfortunately, I do not have an every step of the way photo journey for you, though, I am sure I will be making these again very soon. When I do, I promise I will add photos to this post.

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These cupcakes are flavor rich and moist, not to mention aesthetically pleasing. The cupcake itself is made with Guinness, the alcohol content is cooked out leaving a delicious enhancer for the chocolate. The center of each cupcake is removed and the space is filled with an Irish Whiskey spiked chocolate ganache. Its all topped of with a smooth buttercream frosting mixed with a few generous shots of Bailey’s Irish Cream.


For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2-3 teaspoons Irish whiskey

For the Baileys Frosting:
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
6-7 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

Special tools: This cupcake has the center removed. I use an apple corer. It works great and its the perfect size.

Here’s a tip for baking: You really want all your ingredients to be room temperature because they will mix so much better. Sometimes I think my butter isn’t soft enough and throw it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up a bit more.

Making the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 tins with your chosen papers. Bring one cup of stout and one cup of butter to simmer in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Completely cool the cupcakes on a rack.

Making the ganache:

Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

Filling the cupcakes:

Cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Most people fill using a piping bag. I think its a big fat waste of time if you cut the centers out. Just grab a teaspoon and carefully fill the centers of each cupcake

Making the Baileys Frosting:

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.


I used the Wilton 1M star tip to frost these,  dusted them with green and gold sugar crystals and added a single sugar pearl in the center.

No, you can not get drunk off of these cupcakes. Don’t try. Happy baking!

Louisiana Jambalaya

Hello and welcome to my brand spankin’ new blog. I can’t promise that I will stick to just food, however, I will try to make it my main focus. The first recipe I am going to share with you is an adaptation of Emeril Legasse’s Cajun Jambalaya. I attempted it for the first time a few days ago, and surprised myself when it came out fantabulous. Though I did use a recipe, I more used it as a guideline. Feel free to follow exactly or do your own thing.

I used half a bag of frozen shelled deveined, uncooked shrimp thawed. For the chicken, I used four pieces of boneless skinless thighs. I chopped about three quarters of a medium onion and did the same for a large bell pepper. I didn’t measure the celery either, but I would say I used about 1/4 cup. (Not a huge fan of the celery flavor in my food. I almost never use celery salt even in small amounts. Its such a strong flavor I feel like it overpowers the other flavors.) I used an entire 8 ounce package of Andouille sausage. Andouille sausage, for those who are wondering, is a Cajun smoked pork sausage. At Stop & Shop you can find it in the section with the hot dogs and other fully cooked flavored sausages.

Recipe (This is the exact recipe)
Serves 4

12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 ounces chicken, diced
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, recipe follows
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
Salt and pepper

Creole Seasoning

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup

Cubed Chicken and Chopped Shrimp

Cubed Chicken and Chopped Shrimp

In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well.

Shrimp, Chicken, Cajun Spice Mix

Shrimp, Chicken, Cajun Spice Mix

Shrimp/Chicken tossed in Cajun spice

Shrimp/Chicken tossed in Cajun spice

I added more seasoning afterwards I didn’t feel like the chicken and shrimp were coated well enough at this point.

Chopped green bell pepper,  onion, and garlic all sauteing in oil

Chopped green bell pepper, celery, and onion sauteing in oil

In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, for about 3 minutes or until tender. Make sure you stir it often. You don’t want anything to burn to the bottom of the pot.

Chopped tomatoes and bay leaves added to pot

Chopped tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaves added to pot

Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. The recipe calls for a teaspoon of both the Worcestershire and hot sauce. I probably used closer to a tablespoon. I am a big fan of both of those ingredients and neither one is going to change the integrity of the dish. They’re really just flavor enhancers. Also, the finer you chop your garlic the more flavor you’ll get out of it. Again, make sure you keep stirring.

Chicken stock and rice added to pot

Chicken stock and rice added to pot

Stir in the uncooked rice and slowly add the broth. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the rice absorbs almost all the liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally. Do this for about fifteen minutes. I have a gas stove and it seems to me that it cooks a lot faster than when using an electric stove. If you also have a gas stove I recommend turning the flame down a tad bit so that nothing burns to the bottom of your pot.

Andouille Sausage

Andouille Sausage

Meats Added to pot

Meats Added to pot

When the rice is just tender add the shrimp/chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until the meat is done which will be approximately 10 minutes. Keep stirring! Making sure you get all the way to the bottom!

Completed Louisiana Jamabalaya

Completed Louisiana Jamabalaya

Here is the completed dish. If you want to, add salt, pepper or more creole seasoning. Sorry, I don’t have any pictures of a beautifully plated dish. Next time!

Thank you for reading. If you try the recipe let me know, send a picture, whatever. Happy cooking!