Nutella Brownies

Nutella in the brownie batter? And swirled on top?!

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups Nutella, divided
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chips (optional)
  • Salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F

  1. Cream the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
  3. Add 1 cup of nutella and mix.
  4. Add flour and mix until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips, if using.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased 9″ square baking pan.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining 1/4 cup of Nutella on top. Swirl into the batter with a knife.
  8. Sprinkle the top with salt.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool completely before slicing for perfect squares! If you don’t wait and slice while warm, they’ll crumble a bit, but, in my opinion warm brownies > perfect looking brownies. If desired, sprinkle with more salt!

Pizza Dough

Adapted from King Arthur

We needed pizza dough a bit more quickly than the original King Arthur recipe allows for. I took a number of shortcuts: I didn’t do the 15 minute rise after rolling out the dough or the second 90 minute rise. I also didn’t precook the crust before adding toppings. And it still turned out fluffy and delicious!  Here’s my quicker version.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Directions

  1. Mix and all the ingredients together until they form a smooth dough. I used a stand mixer with a dough hook for ~4 minutes.
  2. Cover and leave the dough to rise for one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  4. Roll out the pizza dough into whatever shape/thickness you like. I used the dough to make two rectangular(ish)pizzas around 12″x6″ with a crust that wasn’t really thin or thick–right in the middle. It puffs up more as it cooks!
  5.  Add your sauce and toppings! We used tomato sauce, fresh and shredded mozzarella, green pepper, mushrooms, onions, and fresh basil. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 450°F.

Vegetable Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers (any color you like), sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 9oz box of oven-ready lasagne
  • 2 24oz jars of tomato sauce
  • 16oz shredded mozzarella (or use a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan)
  • 15oz ricotta cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°F. 

  1. First you’re going to roast the vegetables. On a greased or lined baking sheet, toss the vegetables in the olive oil. Roast in oven for 15 minutes at 450°F.
  2. Turn the oven down to 375°F.
  3. Time to assemble the lasagna! In the bottom of a 9×13″ pan, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce (~3/4 cup).
  4. Place three of the lasagne on top of the sauce. The noodles won’t completely cover the bottom of the pan, but the lasagne will expand and spread out as they cook.
  5. Add another layer of sauce, followed by a layer of veggies, shredded mozzarella, and spoonfuls of ricotta.
  6. Add another layer of noodles, then sauce, veggies, mozzarella, and ricotta. Repeat until you run out of lasagne noodles. Top the final layer of noodles with sauce, mozzarella, and ricotta.
  7. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 375°F for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5-10 additional minutes, until cheese on top is melted.
  8. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Note: Lasagna freezes really well! Don’t bake it before freezing. Assemble in an oven/freezer safe container, cover tightly, and freeze. When you’re ready to bake it, defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Bake at 375°F for 60 minutes covered, 5-10 minutes uncovered.


Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

These have a whole lot of butter. And a whole lot of sugar. They are a bit over-the-top, but sometimes you need just that!

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1. You’re going to start by making the dough. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the flour, yeast, milk, eggs, and salt. Mix until well combined and there’s no dough sticking to the sides of the bowl.
  3. Time to let the dough rest! Cover the bowl and leave to rise for one hour.
  4. Time to make the filling! Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl.
  5. When the dough has finished rising, roll it out into a large rectangle that’s about 1/4″ thick.
  6. Brush the 1/3 cup melted butter on top of the rolled out dough, then evenly cover in the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture.
  7. Starting with one of the long edges of the dough, carefully roll the dough into a long log.
  8. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 12 pieces.
  9. Place the 12 cinnamon rolls into a greased 9×13″ pan, cover, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  10. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  11. You can also make the frosting while waiting. Beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. If your frosting is too thick, you can add more powdered sugar.
  12. Bake the rolls for 25-35 minutes at 350°F, until lightly golden brown.
  13. Allow to cool slightly, then spread the cream cheese frosting on top!

Raw Cookie Dough Balls, Dipped in Chocolate

These are, quite simply, amazing. Don’t worry, they are also egg and salmonella free!

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup and two tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vanilla or plain Greek yogurt (this is what replaces the eggs and holds the dough together)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

To coat:

  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips, melted*

*This amount will coat 1/2 of each cookie dough ball. If you want to coat them completely, use 2 1/2 cups of chocolate chips!

Directions

Yields ~30 cookie dough balls

1) Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar.

2) Beat in the yogurt and vanilla, followed by the flour.

3) Stir in the chocolate chips.

4) Cover and chill the dough for one hour in the refrigerator.

5) Roll the dough into balls (1 to 1 1/2″), placing them on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper, wax paper, silicone sheet, etc). They can be close together since you aren’t baking them!

6) Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

7) Melt 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips using a double broiler or the microwave.

8) Jab the balls with a fork and use it as a dipping tool to coat with chocolate. You can coat the whole ball, or just half. (I preferred just half since they are so rich already.) Return the balls to the lined baking sheet.

9) Freeze until set, or another 20 minutes.

10) Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They should be good for at least a week! If you want them to last longer, you can freeze them.

Vegetable Broth

Ideally, you’d save all the ends of carrots and discarded parts of onions and use those to make vegetable stock. But if, like me, you weren’t thinking about making vegetable broth and have been composting your scraps, you can follow this recipe!

Aside from taste, the great thing about homemade broth is that you can control how much sodium is in it. This recipe is very low sodium, but feel free to add more salt!

I froze a bunch of this broth in mason jars. (If you do this, be sure to let the broth cool to room temperature first and don’t fill the jars completely–it will need room to expand when it freezes.)

Ingredients

  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped (don’t bother peeling)
  • 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)
  • 12 cups water

You could also add: bay leaves, tomatoes, greens, mushrooms, leeks, parsley, potatoes, etc. Basically, you want ~3 cups of veggies.

Directions

  1. Put all the vegetables and spices in a large pot. Toss in olive oil, then add water. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Strain using a fine mesh strainer.
  3. Allow to cool completely before storing.
Aren’t these carrots from our local farm stand, Atlas Farm, just so beautiful?

Whole Wheat Cranberry Orange Muffins

These muffins are quite tart with only a little sweetness. If you aren’t a huge fan of tart, you could increase the amount of sugar, decrease the amount of cranberries, or use dried cranberries in place of fresh ones… but I think you’d be making a mistake!  

Ingredients

Muffin batter

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup orange juice*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries*

To garnish

  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • Extra fresh cranberries

*I squeezed my own (about five small oranges), but feel free to use bottled!

*Frozen ones work great, no need to defrost!

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F

Yields 12 muffins

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the muffin batter ingredients except for the cranberries. Using a mixer, mix until well combined. Stir in the cranberries.
  2. Pour the batter into a greased muffin tray. 
  3. Add some extra fresh cranberries on top along with extra orange zest. 
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400°F. 

Soft Pretzels

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David and I made these this morning. I admit that we need to work on our pretzel rolling and shaping. But looks aside, these were good. So, so good.

Yields 8 medium-sized pretzels

Ingredients

Pretzel dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast*
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

The bath

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

To coat pretzels & to serve

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Coarse salt (you could do a cinnamon/sugar topping instead!)
  • Dipping sauce of your choice (optional, but I love spicy brown mustard)

*You can use a different type of yeast (such as active dry yeast), if that’s what you have! This King Arthur article is helpful: you can just do a 1:1 substitution!

 Directions

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 1/2 cups warm water, yeast, brown sugar, and salt. Stir until well-combined.

1. Knead the dough until it’s smooth. I used a stand mixer with the hook attachment for around 5 minutes, but you could also do this by hand (probably ~10 minutes).

2. Cover the bowl with a wet dish towel and leave to rise for at least 30 minutes.

3. While the dough is rising, make your water bath. Combine the 2 cups of warm water with the baking soda. Stir until dissolved.

4. When the dough has finished rising, break off a handful of dough. Roll into a long rope (no more than 1/2″ thick) and then shape into a pretzel. If the dough is too sticky, cover your hands in flour first.

5. Dip the pretzel into the water bath and place onto a lined baking sheet. (I like to use silicone mats, but parchment paper or greasing the sheet will work too!)

6. Repeat until all the pretzels are made. Then leave them to rise for 30 more minutes.

7. While the dough is completing the final rise, preheat your oven to 450°F.

8. Bake in oven for ~15 minutes, or until golden brown.

9. Brush each pretzel with melted butter, then sprinkle salt (or cinnamon/sugar) on top. These are definitely best hot out of the oven!

Pita Bread

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I’ve been meaning to try to make pita bread for years. But then we moved back to Western Mass a few years ago and discovered Yalla Vermont, the coziest and most delicious Middle Eastern restaurant in Brattleboro, VT. Yalla makes their own insanely fluffy and delicious pita (and several different types of hummus), so we buy it there whenever we go. And I kept putting off baking it myself.

We aren’t exactly leaving the house these days because of coronavirus, so this seemed like the perfect time to try making it at home. And oh is it good!

Adapted from King Arthur

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients until it forms a dough.

2. Now it’s time to knead the dough! You can do it by hand (10 minutes) or in a stand mixer with the dough hook (5 minutes). I use a stand mixer, which is a huge help. The dough should become quite smooth.

3. Put the dough into a greased bowl. Cover the bowl somehow–with a lid, a silicone cover, saran wrap, or even a slightly damp dish towel. This will prevent your dough from drying out. Leave the dough to rest for 1 hour.

4. Divide the dough into eight pieces. It’s okay if they aren’t completely even in size.

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5. Roll two of the dough pieces into 6″ circles and place onto a greased baking sheet (I use a silicone mat instead of greasing the sheet).

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6. Leave the 6″ circles to rest for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 500°F.

8. Put the baking sheet with the two pitas on the lowest rack in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes. They will puff up quite a bit! (Note: if yours don’t, give it another minute. If they still don’t, your oven is probably not hot enough.)

9. Move the baking sheet to the top rack in the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top.

10. When the pitas come out of the oven, place a dish towel over them to keep them nice and soft.

11. Repeat the process with the remaining dough! (To make it go faster, I used two baking sheets and developed a system where I had one sheet starting on the bottom and one sheet finishing baking on top, with two different timers going. It’s more complicated, but definitely speeds it up.)

12. Make into a sandwich! Dip in some hummus! It’s so delicious warm, but will stay good in an airtight container too.

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Roasted Veggie, Black Bean, and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole

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Adapted from Cookie + Kate

Ingredients

Roasted Veggies

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large , sliced
  • 1 large yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin

Other ingredients

  • 1 16oz jar salsa
  • 9-10 corn tortillas, cut in half
  • 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 big handfuls spinach
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack work great)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F

1. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

2. Spread the veggies and sweet potatoes between the two sheets, trying to keep it to a single layer. Toss the contents of each baking sheet in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon cumin. Bake for 15 minutes, until the veggies are softened.

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3. Take the veggies out of the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F

4. To assemble the casserole, spread ~1/2 cup salsa on the bottom of a 9″ square pan.

5. Add a layer of the halved tortillas on top, arranging so they cover as much surface area as possible.

3. Add a layer of beans, a layer of vegetables, a layer of spinach, a layer of cheese. Don’t worry too much about how much you’re using of each–just spread them out so they cover the surface area.

4. Add another layer of tortillas and salsa, then repeat step #3.

5. Depending on how much room you have (and how many ingredients you have left), you can keep going or add your final layer: tortillas, salsa, vegetables, cheese.

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6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, bake for 10 more minutes.

7. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then dig in!

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