4.12.2011

Peanut Butter Balls

This sweet treat will always please. While the original recipe calls for 1/4 of a large paraffin wax bar, I have cut it back significantly. If you prefer, this recipe can be made without the wax, however, the chocolate will be thick and coating the peanut butter balls will be a task that requires patience. I am open to finding another method of thinning chocolate that requires something other than wax (p.s. butter does not seem to work as I've tried that already).

1 12 oz package chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
1 Tb paraffin wax
3 + 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups peanut butter
3 cups rice crispies

1. Melt chocolate and wax in a double boiler.
2. Mix cereal, sugar, melted butter, and peanut butter and form into balls up to an inch in diameter.
3. Remove the double boiler from the burner, but leave the chocolate mixture pot sitting in the hot water to keep it liquidy. Put in one or two balls at a time and lift out with a fork, shaking off excess chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool.

4.01.2011

Artisan Bread

I had wanted to make a crunchy-crust-chewy-crumb artisan bread for so long but it always seemed to be beyond me and my kitchen. Then I heard about the no knead recipe that was getting rave reviews. However, I'll be honest, I can't wait 24 hours for a loaf of bread. So when an alternative recipe that took a fraction of the time came out I gave it a try. Here is is with a few tweaks that make it easier, not to mention even better. The crust may not be as crispity-crunchy as the no knead recipe but I have bread by lunch time the same day.

3 cups warm water (about 100º)
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt
5 - 5 1/2 cups flour
cornmeal or parchment paper for lining the pan
1. In a large bowl (I use a Bosch mixer but you can also do it by hand), mix water, yeast, honey and salt. Let proof for about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and mix/knead for 10 minutes. Cover with a towel. Let dough rise at a warm room temperature until double in size (1 - 3 hours).
2. Turn the dough - scraping out the bowl - onto a work surface that has been sprinkled with flour. Form two long french loaves or three short loaves by kneading slightly and rolling into a snake (they can be a bit lumpy and asymmetric). Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper OR greased and generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Dust the loaves with flour and (optional) slash the top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Let the loaves rise 40 - 60 minutes in a warm area. In the meantime, fill an oven-safe pan or dish half way with water. Place on the bottom oven rack. Heat oven to 450º degrees (you want the water to get hot enough to make steam and your hot oven will make a nice warm room for the loaves to rise).
3. Place loaves on the middle rack. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the bread immediately from the cookie sheet to a wire rack to cool.
Dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for as long as two weeks.

To heat up a loaf (toasty warm for dinner) later on, place loaf directly on oven rack. Start oven heating to 350º, leaving the loaf in for 10 minutes total, including oven-heating time.


Four Loaf Batch
4 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp salt
7 1/2 - 8cups flour