Jan 2, 2016 Dec 25, 2015
Happy New Year to all my fellow cooks. I’m so pleased to see so many people using my recipes and I’m often surprised at which ones are the most popular. My simple whole wheat bread has been wildly popular with almost 1/2 million views on youtube and hundreds of comments here. One question I’m often asked is, “Can I make this with only white or all-purpose flour?” I decided to try it and the answer is… yes.
I used the exact same recipe but substituted white flour for the whole wheat flour and I loved the result. The loaf rose just as tall as the whole wheat version and it was ready to eat in 90 minutes. My other “easy white bread” recipe is similar (and also quick) but does not use egg while this version uses an egg.
It seems that almost everyone is having success and loving my simple whole wheat bread recipe but when you want a similar, easy white bread that uses an egg, you can try my new Simple White Bread (with egg) recipe, which is exactly the same except it uses 100% all-purpose flour or bread flour. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Dec 20, 2015
Here is the Christmas present I made for myself… or what’s left of it anyway. You don’t have to be Polish to love a slice (or 2 or 3) of makowiec (mah-KOH-viets). It’s usually a bread to be shared but this one is all for me! I made it without the powdered sugar glaze and opted for an egg wash and poppy seeds on the top.
The filling is made with ground poppy seeds, fresh orange and lemon peel, ground almonds and vanilla. It’s a Polish holiday bread for Christmas as well as Easter but I say make it for any holiday, or birthday, or laundry day, or tax day…. Click here for the recipe.
And Merry Christmas to all my fellow cooks and bakers. Thank you for all your comments and photos – I appreciate it so much when anyone takes the time to make a comment or send a photo. I have posted most of the recipes I make but I will try to add more as they make it into my kitchen. xoxoxo
Dec 15, 2015
Most doughs rise faster in a warm and humid environment. Here are some ideas on warm places to let your dough rise:
1. Oven – a) Turn on the oven for about one minute and turn it off. Place dough in the warm oven. b) Place a pot of boiling hot water in a cold oven. Place the dough inside with the hot water. These will only work until you need to preheat the oven to bake. If you have a second oven, you can keep the dough in there longer.
2. Heating Pad – Set the dough on top of a heating pad and set the pad to low or medium temperature.
3. Lamp – Turn on a reading lamp and set the dough under the bulb.
4. On Top of Fridge – Your refrigerator generates heat so it’s usually warm on top of the fridge so you can place the dough there.
5. Microwave – Bring a cup of water to boil in the microwave. After it boils, put the dough in the microwave with the cup of hot water and close the door right away. This creates heat and humidity.
6. Neck Wrap – If you have a neck wrap that you heat in the microwave, you can heat it up and wrap it around the container that holds the dough.
7. Bowl of hot water – Fill a bowl with very hot water and put a flat top on it like a plate or pizza pan. Place the dough on the plate and drape a towel over the dough and bowl to keep the heat in.
8. Window – If the sun is coming through a window in winter, place the dough next to the window in the sun.
9. Hot Car – If your car is parked in the hot sun, put the dough in the car.
Did I miss any? If anyone has other suggestions, please post them below.
Dec 14, 2015
THIS IS MY NEW WAY:
This really works! Lining a square pan is never easy but this way is so much better. A few people shared this concept of crumpling up the paper into a ball and then pressing it into the pan. I was a little skeptical but decided to try it and this is now the only way I line a square pan. My old way is below…
When making granola bars or bar cookies, lining the pan with parchment paper is not easy because it won’t always stay in place, but I found an easier way to do it… with binder clips. You can get them at a stationery store and since they’re metal, they can go right in the oven. Cut two parchment paper pieces a little bit wider than your 9-inch pan and lay them in, criss-crossing each other, clipping the ends down as you go. It will keep the paper in place and you won’t have to wash the pan. To save money, since parchment paper costs more than aluminum foil, here is another way:
Line the pan with foil first. Then cut a strip of parchment paper the same width as your pan, either 8 or 9 inches, and lay it on top of the foil, clipping in place. This way is easier, parchment paper releases food well, and you’ll save money! – Jenny Jones
Dec 8, 2015
There’s something addictive about these Christmas sugar cookies because I can’t stop eating them. So this will be my first batch because I’m not sharing. I’ll make more if anybody else wants some – but these are mine. I used a cookie press because it’s faster and I like that the cookies are tiny, no more than 2 inches across. So these are one-bite cookies but I am never able to eat just one.
For anyone using a cookie press, try to get very fine sprinkles because these mini cookies hold fine sprinkles better than some of the bigger cookie decorations, which seem to roll right off. I like mixing my colors and using blue and purple too. My recipe uses only half the butter of most others. These easy Christmas cookies keep really well. They can be refrigerated and stay nice and fresh for at least a week and I have frozen some for months and they are still good.
For me, Christmas sugar cookies are just part of holiday decorating but it’s decorations you can eat. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Nov 25, 2015
Christmas is the best time to make sweet breads like my Christmas wreath bread but it doesn’t have to be a wreath. It can also be braided and shaped into a regular loaf. And it doesn’t even have to be for Christmas. With a simple white glaze you can enjoy it any time of year. If you want to toast it, just omit the glaze and you can make fabulous cinnamon-raisin toast.
I have actually made a dual loaf. I cut it in half and only glaze half so the other half can be toasted. So you see this lightly sweet raisin bread is really versatile and it’s made entirely without butter. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Nov 20, 2015
My pumpkin pie is ready! There are three things I always do the day before Thanksgiving. One lesson I’ve learned over the years is: Do everything you possibly can in advance. So I already made my pumpkin pie, fresh cranberries, and I’ve made a pot of turkey stock. Here’s how… I roasted some turkey wings for an hour at 375 and then scraped up all the drippings. I put the wings, drippings, water, and the same vegetables and spices I use in my chicken stock into a pot, and cooked it for 2 1/2 hours. I let it cool down and it’s now in the fridge. Tomorrow I’ll skim off the fat use it for my make-ahead gravy and in my stuffing.
This year I’m trying a new way to roast turkey – at 500 degrees! It will be an adventure. I hope it turns out but no matter, it’s good to take occasional risks. But there’s no risk with my amazing pumpkin pie. The crust is made without butter or shortening so if you want to try it, click here for the recipe.
…and Happy Thanksgiving! – Jenny Jones
Nov 13, 2015
If someone invites you over for a homemade Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, cranberries & pumpkin pie) no matter how good or bad the food was, you should lift them up, in their chair, and carry them around the neighborhood like the Rose Parade with everyone following and cheering for the cook. You might even build a float for them made out of plywood and turkey feathers, because cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a huge accomplishment for even the most experienced cook. After the parade, send them to Hawaii for a week. They’ll need it.
After every Thanksgiving turkey dinner I make, I always say, “Next year, we’re going out. I’m not doing this again. It’s too stressful!” But then we go out and the food is awful and I miss my home cooking so I do it again. All this is to explain why I have no turkey dinner recipes to share. But I do have sides and desserts!
I wish I could share a fabulous roast turkey or stuffing recipe but I’ve never made my stuffing the same way twice. I make a bread stuffing and sometimes I add mushrooms, sometimes shredded apple, sometimes walnuts, and sometimes all of the above. And my turkey? Well, I’ve roasted it upside down, right side up, brined it, bagged it, rubbed it, and I still don’t have a recipe I can share.
But I do have these four contributions to Thanksgiving cooks that I hope you enjoy.
For my Fresh Cranberries recipe that cooks in 5 minutes, click here.
For my Easy One-Rise Dinner Rolls recipe, click here.
For my Healthier Easier Pumpkin Pie recipe that uses no butter, click here.
For my Easy Pecan Pie recipe that you can also make without butter, click here.
Happy Thanksgiving! – Jenny Jones
Oct 30, 2015
Pecan pie doesn’t have to be complicated. Mine is simple and you don’t need any fancy ingredients. And it’s healthier too, with an olive oil crust. I used to make pie crusts the old way with either shortening or butter and ice water but an oil crust is so much easier. It’s quick and you can just pat it into the pan or I roll it between wax paper and then transfer it into the pan. By the way, the pan is never greased when you’re baking pie.
In this case I use a standard 9-inch pyrex glass pie pan and not a deep dish pan. My pecan pie filling is super simple. Everything goes into one bowl, stir for one minute and boom. Done. It uses less butter than most along with brown sugar, white sugar, and corn syrup but keep in mind that corn syrup IS NOT high fructose corn syrup. They don’t even sell HFCS to the public.
If you’re trying to bake without butter, I also have a completely butter-free pecan pie in my Baking Without Butter category. My two pies are exactly the same recipe except one uses butter in the filling and one uses a trans fat-free spread. For my butter-free filling I used Benecol. I baked both pies today for a blind taste test and I served a small slice of each one on the same plate. Guess what? Nobody could tell the difference! They are both so delicious, filled with lots of toasted pecans and a sweet, gooey filling. I’m definitely making my pecan pie for Thanksgiving this year, and probably Christmas too, and maybe my birthday… then there’s tax day… and well, you get the picture. Enjoy! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Almost every time I make Polish pierogi, one or two don’t make it. They come apart when I boil them because I unknowingly left an opening or a little hole when I sealed them up. But not today. Every single one was perfect! I made 27 piroshki and they all survived.
We had them as a side dish for dinner with chicken and some brocolini although when I was growing up, pierogi was the entire meal… along with fried onions, bacon bits, and lots of sour cream. So I had a little sour cream and onions but I skipped the bacon bits.
Whoever invented the concept of mashed potatoes wrapped in dough, I thank you. Next I’ll be working on a sauerkraut-mushroom filling. Yummm! But potato & cheese pierogi will always be my favorite. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones