Sunday, March 9, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

Secret Recipe Club

I'm very excited to have joined a new cooking group called the Secret Recipe Club!  I've been wanting to join it for well over a year, so this is a long time coming.  The idea behind it is that each month, you are randomly assigned another member's blog, and your blog is assigned to someone as well.  Then you poke around on the other person's blog and pick any recipe, make it, then post about it on a specific day.  Fun!

My first match is the blog This Gal Cooks, which is written by a very nice sounding lady named Julie.  You should really check out her blog, the recipes all look amazing (I had a heck of a time narrowing down my options) and she takes lovely photos.  The recipe I chose was Oatmeal Molasses Rolls because they just looked so tasty and although I love wheat bread with oats on top, I've never actually baked bread with oats or molasses before.

I followed Julie's directions pretty much word for word, and the rolls turned out wonderfully!  They're hearty from the oats and whole wheat flour, but still very soft and fluffy with a hint of molasses.  Most definitely a keeper!  The only changes I would make are that next time I would sprinkle the oats on the rolls right after forming them into balls and really press them in with my hands because the oats ended up just falling off the baked rolls when I waited to sprinkle them on until right before baking.  Also, next time I'd like to experiment with adding 1/4 cup of brown sugar along with the yeast because I think the bit of sweetness would complement the molasses nicely.

Quick Note:  To make a warm place for dough to rise, I turn my oven to 350 for exactly 1 minute, then turn it off, place the dough in a container in the oven, and leave it to rise.  All ovens are different so you may need more or less than 1 minute.  It should be decidedly toasty warm when you stick your hand in the oven, but not hot since you don't want to actually bake the dough.  You can repeat the warming process after an hour or so if the oven has gone cold.

Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

1/4 C butter, plus 2 tbsp more for top
1 C milk
1/3 C molasses
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 C white flour, divided
1 packet yeast
2 eggs
3/4 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C rolled oats, plus 1 tbsp more for top

Place 1/4 C butter, milk, molasses, maple syrup, and salt in a small saucepan and heat over medium until butter is melted.  Remove from heat and let cool until mixture is lukewarm (about 115 degrees) so it doesn't kill the yeast.

While molasses mixture cools, place 2 C white flour and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Attach the paddle attachment and turn the mixer on low for a minute or two, just to combine the flour and yeast.  Add cooled molasses mixture along with the eggs and mix on speed 4 until well combined.  Add whole wheat flour and 3/4 C oats to bowl and continue to mix until well combined.

Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and add 3/4 C of the remaining white flour.  Mix on speed 2 until flour is incorporated.  If needed, add additional flour 2 tbsp at a time until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and is barely sticky to the touch.  My dough ended up needing exactly 3 C white flour (so 1/4 C more), but yours may be different.

Reduce speed to the lowest setting and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.  Form dough into a ball.  Lightly oil dough ball and the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until it's doubled in bulk.  This will take 1 to 2 hours.

When dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down.  Place on a lightly floured surface and roll into a log.  Cut in half, then cut each half into 8 pieces.  Form into balls and divide evenly among two greased 8 or 9 inch cake pans.  You should have 16 roll balls.  Oil some plastic wrap (I just use no stick spray) and loosely cover the pans. 

Set pans in a warm place and let rise until rolls have doubled in bulk, about 30 to 60 minutes.  Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle rolls with about a tablespoon of oats per pan.  Turn oven to 375 and bake until rolls are golden and cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from oven, brush with melted butter, and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Yield: 18 large rolls

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ina Fridays: Brownie Pudding

This month's Ina Friday assignment was for a dessert, and with my husband's birthday coming up, I quickly decided to make him Brownie Pudding.  The guy loves brownies, chocolate, and batter, so it seemed like a perfect choice. 

I had to halve the recipe because I didn't have baking dishes that would have worked for the whole recipe (you need to make a water bath), used vanilla extract instead of the seeds from a vanilla bean, and did not have the optional framboise.

Regardless, the brownie pudding turned out really well!  It has a crunchy, sugary crust on top, then the inside is insanely chocolaty (there's more cocoa than flour in it!), soft and chewy near the edges, and delightfully gooey at the center.  I think I may have baked it a smidgen too long because the center was not actually runny, but it doesn't seem to have hurt things one bit.  My husband gave this 10 stars and had two large servings.  Most definitely a repeat, and better than any molten chocolate cake either of us have had at restaurants.

As a plus, this is super easy to make with pretty impressive and very yummy results!  And since you serve it warm (with ice cream, no less), unlike with a cake, brownies, cheesecake, or pie, you don't have to wait for it to cool before serving.

Brownie Pudding

1 stick butter
2 eggs, room temperature
1 C sugar
1/3 C cocoa powder, plus 1 Tbsp
1/4 C flour
seeds of half a vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 Tbsp framboise liquer, optional (I did not have this)
vanilla ice cream to serve it with

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a flat, 1 quart baking dish that fits comfortably inside of another baking dish (you're going to make a water bath).  In the bowl of a stand mixer, place eggs and sugar.  Attach paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick and light yellow.

While the sugar and eggs mix,sift together the cocoa powder and flour.  Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the cocoa powder-flour mixture, vanilla, and Framboise.  Mix only until combined.  With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the cooled, melted butter.  Again, mix just until combined.

Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.  Set baking dish inside the other baking dish and place it in the oven.  Fill the larger baking dish with enough hot tap water to fill it halfway up the side of the dish.  Bake until a toothpick inserted 1 1/2 inches from the side of the baking dish comes out mostly clean, about 45 minutes.  Do not over bake. 

Let the brownie pudding cool for 15 minutes, then serve with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 4 servings (recipe says 3, but 4 or even 6 is more realistic)

 Here's a list of the other bloggers that participate in Ina Fridays!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Copycat Frito Lay Bean Dip

This is just a really tasty, easy, and CHEAP recipe for bean dip.  We think it's better than the canned stuff from Frito Lay.  It has more flavor, as well as a definite spicy kick.  You could also make two batches of this for the price of one tiny can of bean dip!  I found the recipe over at and it's basically perfect exactly as written.

Copycat Frito Lay Bean Dip

1 can refried beans (check the ingredients if you want to make your dip vegetarian or vegan!)
2-5 jarred jalapeno slices (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 Tbsp brine from the jar of jalapeno slices
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor, or alternatively, place everything in a smallish bowl and blend it with an immersion blender until smooth.  Serve with corn chips or tortilla chips, or you can make a quick lunch by spreading some on a flour tortilla, sprinkling with a bit of shredded cheddar, and rolling it up.

Yield: About 8 servings