Biscuits and Games

Well, I had sworn off trying ANOTHER biscuit recipe.  But I can always try another 🙂  We had biscuits and sausage for dinner one day and I needed something quick to throw together.

In the meantime, I tried these SmartGames in the classroom and the kids loved them!  They were asking to play them again and again – especially Quadrillion.  Color Code was a little too easy for some of my advanced math students.  But I think most elementary students would enjoy and benefit from the layers of the color code.  These games are GREAT for building that logical reasoning and spatial intelligence.  I know some kids in my class in the past that struggled with regular classwork, but they excelled and surpassed all expectations when given a spatial reasoning task.

Penguins on Ice
Color Code
Trucky 3

So now we are done with playing games – here are the biscuits!  These are very similar to most of my recipes, but the egg was so good and made them so tall and fluffy!   Happy Baking!

Biscuits and Games
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 12 biscuits
  • 12 ounces white whole wheat flour (3 cups flour, but I recommend weighing for accuracy)
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 Tb cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scant cup buttermilk
  • 1 T honey
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a great big bowl, mix your dry stuff together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Once mixed, add the butter around the dry mixture. Mix in with a pastry cutter, forks or your fingers. It should look like coarse crumbs.
  4. Stir the egg, buttermilk and honey together (I just added it all in the buttermilk measuring cup).
  5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a spatula until just combined.
  6. Sprinkle a little flour on your counter and put the dough on it. Turn it over and knead 3 or 4 times.
  7. Now roll out until 3/4″ thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter (or cut into squares with a knife).
  8. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve while warm
Based on King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Bacon Ranch Biscuits[br]


Cinnamon Raisin Morning Rounds

Happy 2018!!  I can’t believe we are already here!

Well, first thing is first.  I broke my foot on Friday… so I will be watching reading a lot the next two months.  Which is funny because I hopped out of bed to get a start on the day on the elliptical machine… only to break my foot rendering the machine completely useless for 2 months at least.

I finished the “Forget Tomorrow” series which was GREAT.  I do hope they make it into a series.  I felt like Allegiant didn’t do so well towards the end of the series whereas this one just kept getting better and better.


(Photo credit: Goodreads)

and starting on Grant by Ron Chernow.


(Photo credit: Goodreads)

The whole Christmas was fantastic and kids were very happy!  One thing they have loved is a new breakfast item we tried at Costco: Morning Rounds.  Whole Foods also sells them.  It is a quick pillow of cinnamon raisin deliciousness.  No crust to deal with.  No bread crumbs.  No heals to fight over.  The kids heat them up in the microwave or toaster oven by themselves and LOVE them.  I have to limit them or they would eat the entire bag in two days.

Here is a photo of the original item.

It is like a slice of cinnamon raisin bread…. but better.  And since this is YOUR recipe, you can add or subtract whatever you like!  If you don’t like raisins, don’t add them.  Use diced apples and raisins, or dried cranberries and orange zest, or your favorite nuts and fruit.

Here is a side by side view of the copycat and real recipe:


These freeze well and keep for 6 months in the freezer kept airtight.  Just toast from frozen for a quick breakfast or snack.  The Whole Foods ones I read are quite expensive – but they are so tasty!  so here is a copycat recipe that I tweaked to make in the bread machine.


Cinnamon Raisin Morning Rounds
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 16 Rounds
  • 1 and 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (or other mix ins to total 1 cup such as diced apple, dried fruit, etc.)
  1. Bread Machine: Add ingredients into the bread machine per the machine’s instructions. My machine has liquids added first, then pile up the flour. Finally, poke a whole in the top part of the flour and pour the yeast inside.
  2. Put the machine on the “dough” setting and sit back and relax.
  3. Once the dough is finished, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Divide the dough into two balls. Roll out one dough ball into a large oval. Then sprinkle the mix ins like raisins. Fold the dough over. Roll to about 1/2 inch thick and divide into 8 pieces or slices like a pizza. Roll each slice into a thin circle. Repeat 8 times with this dough ball and Repeat again with the second dough ball. You will have 16 rounds. Keep them covered under plastic wrap to avoid drying out.
  4. Once the rounds are ready, place in the oven for 4 minutes. Flip and bake another 4 minutes. Remove from the oven. The bottom should be slightly golden brown. Allow to cool and eat! Or Freeze.
  5. MIXER INSTRUCTIONS: If you do not have a bread machine, simply mix the wet ingredients into a mixer. Add the dry ingredients and knead with the knead hook for 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and rise for 1 hour.
  6. Once the dough is finished, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Divide the dough into two balls. Roll out one dough ball into a large oval. Then sprinkle the mix ins like raisins. Fold the dough over. Roll to about 1/2 inch thick and divide into 8 pieces or slices like a pizza. Roll each slice into a thin circle. Repeat 8 times with this dough ball and Repeat again with the second dough ball. You will have 16 rounds. Keep them covered under plastic wrap to avoid drying out.
  7. Once the rounds are ready, place in the oven for 4 minutes. Flip and bake another 4 minutes. Remove from the oven. The bottom should be slightly golden brown. Allow to cool and eat! Or Freeze.



Snowflake Cinnamon Wreath

Cinnamon Wreath Bread

Hope you are having an awesome weekend!!

Here is the recipe and instructions for the snowflake cinnamon wreath that I created for Thanksgiving.  A number of things I learned while making this especially if you are used to making homemade cinnamon rolls:

  1.  Don’t make this ahead and put it in the fridge.  Normally I make the cinnamon rolls and wreaths ahead of time at night in order to pop it in the oven in the morning.  Unfortunately, it oozes everywhere and does not work out well.  In a pinch, it WILL work.  But it won’t yield the best results.
  2. Make sure to use a dough recipe that is rich and pliable.  I tried several of them and you need one with eggs and sugar.
  3. The egg on top is pretty, but you will still get a beautiful wreath without it.
  4. Try it!!!  Making it is NOT complicated at all and took me 10 minutes tops to make all the cuts and twists.

Snowflake Cinnamon Wreath
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 servings
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast
  • Cinnamon Filling:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs. butter, melted
  • Raspberry Filling:
  • 3/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • Topping:
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Add the bread dough ingredients to your bread machine per their instructions. My Oster Bread Machine states to add all the liquids first. Then, pile the flour on top, poke a small hold in the top of the flour to add the yeast. Put bread maker on “Dough Cycle”.
  2. Mix together your filling ingredients.
  3. Once the dough is finished, divide into 4 equal pieces. On parchment paper, roll the first ball into a 10″ circle. Brush with butter if using cinnamon filling. Add one third of your filling. On another surface, roll out a 10 ” circle. Put it on the filling. Add one third of your filling. Repeat and add the final 10″ circle on top.
  4. Now to twist! Simply make a 2-3″ circle outline in the center of your dough. I used a biscuit cutter. You could use a glass or cookie cutter, but just press LIGHTLY. Next, using a paring knife or kitchen scissors you will cut the dough towards the circle into 16 equal pieces. To do this, I cut it into fourths, then eighths, then sixteenths. Now the fun part!! Lift up two pieces next to each other and twist them AWAY twice. So they should twist both towards the outside. Once twisted, lay it down and pinch the ends together. Do this for each pair of twists and you will have 8 pretty snowflake points.
  5. Cover and let rise another 30-60 minutes. Beat the 1 egg yolk and brush on top. Bake on a rimmed cookie sheet on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  6. Feel free to add a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top or powdered sugar icing with powdered sugar/milk/vanilla drizzled.
Recipe based on my Cinnamon Roll Bread Machine Recipe post


Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Well, we finished Pi Day this week with a chicken pot pie this time.  Now, we have St. Patrick’s Day with the traditional corned beef and cabbage.

I have made Irish Soda Bread in the past from a mix and it is so easy to make yourself!  Anyone can do it – even a kid!  Plus you do not need yeast.  Irish Soda Bread is like a giant biscuit and you use baking soda and buttermilk to leaven the bread.  If you do not like raisins – just leave them out!

Irish Soda Bread
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 servings
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (10 oz.) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (5.25 oz.) all purpose or bread flour
  • 3 Tb. (1.25 oz.) sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup (3.5 oz.) raisins
  • 4 Tb. (2 oz.) cold butter, cut up
  • 1 and 1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1 Tb. lemon juice topped with regular milk)
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 8″ or 9″ round cake pan or pie pan with a coating of grease or baking spray.
  2. In a great big bowl, mix the dry stuff: white whole wheat flour, AP or bread flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and raisins. Whisk together!
  3. Using your fingers, drop the butter into the dry mix and work the butter in. I use my fingers, but you can use forks or a pastry cutter. You shouldn’t see any chunks of butter.
  4. In a not so great big bowl: mix the buttermilk (or lemon juice and milk) with the egg. Whisk that with a fork until combined. Add to the dry mix.
  5. Bring the wet and dry ingredients together with a spatula and once the dough comes together, knead just a couple times.
  6. Place the dough into the prepared pan.
  7. Take out a bread knife and cut a large X into the top of the dough about 1/2″ deep.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Watch closely in small convection ovens! Mine was done in about 30 minutes in the small convection. It will take closer to 40 minutes in a regular oven. Watch the top and it will be a lovely golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean.
  9. Allow to cool and slice! Add butter, apple butter, dip into beef juices, jam, jellies, you name it!
Recipe from King Arthur Flour[br]If you do not have white whole wheat flour, you may substitute whole wheat flour.



Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

whole wheat chocolate zucchini bread snack dessert


Here are some of the latest fairy photos from a park photo shoot last week.  I just love the sun behind trees and bushes!!!  Creates such pretty bokeh.

fairy photo, Wentzville, Family Photographer


fairy photo, Wentzville, Family Photographer


Book:  I continue to read “Washington” by Ron Chernow in hopes that no one else in St. Charles county will request the book.  It is 800 pages and no way will I finish it in 2 weeks!  Again, there are pieces of his life illuminated within just the last few years that never made it into the history books that we learned from as children.  It really goes to show that just because we learned something in school doesn’t mean it is 100% accurate.  Chernow has uncovered many new essays and letters in the past few years on some of these influential men in US History.

Another death has occurred in the Washington legacy  – this time it is his stepdaughter Patsy.  The poor girl had epilepsy and constant seizures.  She died and half of her estate went to her brother Jacky and the other half to Martha and George Washington.  This development was rather significant to our history in a number ways.  #1, Patsy was never ever left alone because of her frequent seizures and therefore Martha would never have joined George much – if at all – during the Revolution. #2 George now had the financial flexibility to lead the country in the American revolution without requiring a salary (which he didn’t take and Alexander Hamilton didn’t either… though he was so poor that after his death the family requested some of his pay just to buy food and such).  Without this financial security, George may never have left Mount Vernon for such a lengthy amount of time to attend the Continental Congress, lead the Continental Army in the Revolution or accept the presidency for two terms.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe 3

Recipe:  I thought I couldn’t compete with the Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread that we have been making for years and years.  It is a favorite even among the pickiest of eaters.  But this one is just as good or better!  You see…. another favorite of ours is the recipe for Chewy Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies  🙂  Drool…..

Oh right.  The new recipe.

So, Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread is a combination of these two favorite recipes.  We used 100% molasses which gave the bread a dark color and deep, rich flavor.  It does taste wonderful with chocolate.  The flour is replaced with all 100% whole wheat flour.  The oil can be swapped out with applesauce.

Feel free to freeze this bread.  Make into smaller loaves.  Make into muffins, mini muffins, whatever!

The flavor is complex and not too sweet.  The texture is typical for a quick bread without being too gummy even when using applesauce instead of oil.  I’m sure the bread would last a few days, but I don’t think ours lasted more than 24 hours in this house.

whole wheat bread, zucchini, chocolate chip


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 1 loaf
  • 2 eggs (large or 3 small/medium)
  • 1/3 cup molasses (or honey if you don’t like molasses)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or applesauce
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 oz) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups (8.5 oz) white whole wheat or whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups shredded and unpeeled zucchini (choose a medium size one)
  • 1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Or convection oven to 325 degrees)
  2. Grease with baking spray, butter or cooking spray a 9×5″ loaf pan.
  3. In a great big bowl, mix the wet stuff: eggs, molasses/honey, oil/applesauce, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir or whisk together until there are no lumps.
  4. To the great big bowl with the wet mixture, add in the dry stuff: flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well. Since it is whole wheat flour, we don’t have to worry about gluten forming!
  5. Add in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Stir with a large spoon or spatula.
  6. Put the quick bread mixture into the loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes. (It may be done in 45 minutes with a convection oven).
  7. Test the center of the bread with a toothpick and you may get some melted chocolate, but there shouldn’t be any bread on it.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan and allow the bread to cool directly on the cooling rack.
Recipe from King Arthur Flour[br][br]Weigh the ingredients for the best accuracy!!! Or spoon the flour into the measuring cup. This is how KAF develops their recipes and provides the best match.


Pumpkin Banana Bread & Book Review

Pumpkin Banana Bread-0004 on Whisk Together


Book Review:  



Full of large color photos and plenty of recipes, Giada’s new book is chock full of healthy ingredients and no canned recipes. This book is a great introduction for someone who might want to try eating healthier and introduce themselves to new foods like chia seeds, bone broth and vegetable noodles. There is a chapter for every food group from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner, to dessert. You will even find specialty items like peanut butter dog bone treats and lavender salt scrub.  The book states on the back that it is about Eating Clean and this is done very well. The photos of the food are gorgeous.

I have two issues with the book: I wish the 44 pages of portraits of Giada had been replaced with more recipes. I can accept a few… but the book seemed to go a little overboard. Two, if you already make your food from scratch this book may not have you running into the kitchen. If you don’t make your food from scratch, please start and give this book a try!

In regards to the recipes, there are some very delicious ones. The Ricotta Toast with Strawberries is simple, but delicious. A great breakfast or looks fancy but not when you have guests. I made and tried the dog treats myself for our neighbor’s new puppy. They were really easy to make and pretty tasty! The brown butter tortellini again is simple, but delicious. Creamy and full of flavor with a few simple ingredients.  The lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze are from one of her previous shows I think. I made the recipe years ago and it is one of my favorites and included in this book. Soft cookies with a lemon glaze that have a nice lemony punch.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Pumpkin Banana Bread-0008 on Whisk Together


Recipe:  I have made quite a few pumpkin breads and banana breads in my time… but not a pumpkin banana bread!  This was really a nice treat.  Everyone loved it from hubby to the smallest kiddo.  I love having a recipe that takes the leftover pumpkin from a can and the few bananas leftover going brown.  Sometimes you just don’t have enough bananas to make bread or have 1 cup of pumpkin leftover from making pumpkin oatmeal.  This recipe uses them all up!

It is a sweet bread, but not too terribly sweet.  The flavors work very well together and texture is absolutely perfect.  The bread will freeze well if you want to bake and cool it off.  Then, wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap and throw it into a freezer bag.  Once sealed and air removed, the bread should be fine for a month or two.

Pumpkin Banana Bread-0007 on Whisk Together

Why I love this bread:

  1.  Made with whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt.
  2. Uses up some leftover items in the kitchen.
  3. Flavor is phenomenal.
  4. You can use this recipe for breakfast, snack or dessert.
  5. Freezer Friendly!  I may just have to stock up on these during the holidays.
  6. I love almost anything with molasses in it.  🙂

    Pumpkin Banana Bread-0005 on Whisk Together

Pumpkin Banana Bread & Book Review
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 1 loaf
  • 4 Tb. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 6 ounces plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tb. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tb. molasses (optional)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (2 bananas)
  • 1/2-1 tsp. ground cinnamon (add 1/2 tsp. for less flavor and 1 tsp. for more)
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or simply use the 1 tsp. cinnamon above with 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and ginger, each)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 and 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 pan with baking or cooking spray. I love baking spray myself.
  2. In a great big microwave safe bowl, add the butter to melt if you have not done so.
  3. Add the sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, pumpkin and bananas. Mix until smooth with a fork or mixer.
  4. Add the spices. Stir until mixed in.
  5. Add the flour and baking soda on top. With your fork, blend the flour and baking soda together so it is mixed around. Then, use your fork or a spatula to mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Stir until JUST combined. A few streaks of flour is okay.
  6. Pour into the 9×5 pan and bake for 60 minutes. Begin watching it after about 50 minutes.
  7. If the bread becomes too dark on top while baking, loosely cover with foil. I usually check for this around the 30-45 minute mark.
Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks


Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins_1 on Whisk Together


I will be posting a lot this week to catch up on the food and crafts that I have photographed over the Thanksgiving holiday!

Here are some friends I photographed last week.  I haven’t seen a deer come through for quite a while.  This poor guy only has one antler!


The squirrels are always outside playing and munching on the acorns.  They are too cute.

Royal Icing Cookies_5 on Whisk Together

Sorry!  Wrong squirrel 🙂

Squirrel-5582 on WHisk Together

First off is breakfast – the most important meal of the day.  Although these double chocolate banana muffins taste so fabulous and decadent, you could eat them for dessert!  No oil, no butter and as little sugar as possible – these muffins are super scrumptious.  I had 3 brown bananas leftover and wanting something a little different than the typical banana bread.  These fit the bill perfectly.  Also, you only need ONE bowl.  I used all whole wheat flour, but you can use all purpose or half and half if you would like.

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins_4 on Whisk Together

Need some added protein?  Make a chunky monkey breakfast out of them by spreading them with peanut butter.

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins_5 on Whisk Together

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 12 muffins
  • 3 large bananas, ripe with lots of brown spots
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz.) sugar (or up to 2/3 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (natural preferably since it has no extra sugar)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour, or whole wheat flour, or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Rodelle dutch processed)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips, reserve some for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prep a muffin pan with baking spray or muffin liners sprayed with cooking or baking spray.
  3. In a great big bowl, mash the bananas. A potato masher or fruit jam masher works great here – or use a fork.
  4. Add the sugar, egg and applesauce. Stir with a fork until mixed very well.
  5. Add the flour (or flours), cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir the dry stuff around with the fork lightly to have the dry ingredients mixed.
  6. With a spatula, incorporate the wet with the dry. Stir until just combined. Do NOT over mix.
  7. Reserve a few tablespoons of chocolate chips in a bowl. Pour the rest into the batter and stir to combine.
  8. With a large scoop or spoon, divide the batter among the 12 muffin wells. These will fill all the way to the top.
  9. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
  10. Put the muffins into the oven. Close the oven door.
  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Use a toothpick to determine if the muffins are fully cooked. The toothpick will come out with a little melted chocolate on it – but shouldn’t be overly wet.
  13. Cool muffins for about 10 minutes. Remove from the muffin pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  14. Store in an airtight container. I put mine in the fridge after the first night because the chocolate chips had condensation on them. You can also freeze them by allowing to cool completely and sealing in an airtight freezer bag. Remove the air with a straw and seal shut. Just take the muffins out the night before you need them by letting them sit on the counter.
Recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction[br]


Apple Fritter Bread

Apple Fritter Bread on Whisk Toggether-4554

Book:  Book Club this month picked “Matched” by Ally Condie and is really good.  If you like “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, then you will probably like this book.  It is another Young Adult Literature Dystopia novel following a young girl named Cassia.

Apple Fritter Bread on Whisk Together-4555

Recipe:  If you need yet another apple recipe, this is it.  A great fall breakfast, snack or dessert, this apple fritter bread is like eating a apple fritter donut without all the grease and frying.  Nuts would be great with the recipe as well and a welcome crunch to contrast the smooth apples.

Apple Fritter Bread on Whisk Together-4550

We agreed the recipe does taste better the day after it is made.  The apple juices seep into the bread and flavor the rest of the loaf.  I did not attempt to replace the oil with applesauce, but I suspect this would work because I make this substitution very often.

Don’t need a whole loaf?  Make muffins!

Need a cute gift to give?  Make a bunch of mini versions!  Wrap in plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon.

Need a dessert?  Try this recipe in a 9×9 pan and just skip splitting the batter.  Add the entire batter to the 9×9 pan and press all of the apples slightly into the top.

Apple Fritter Bread on Whisk Together-4570

Apple tips:  We love tart apples here and the Granny Smiths are a favorite.  Other great apples to use in this would be Gala or Fuji.  I would avoid Red and Golden Delicious as they turn to mush in the oven.

Apple Fritter Bread
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour or half all purpose and half white whole wheat
  • 1 and 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or vegetable oil or butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
  • Brown Sugar Mixture:
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Apple Mixture:
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tb. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Optional icing:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-3 Tb. milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×5 pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. If using butter, beat the butter and sugar together until blended. If using oil, just mix the oil and sugar thoroughly in a large bowl with a fork.
  5. Add eggs. Mix until blended. Add vanilla.
  6. Alternate adding the flour and milk into the mixture – always begin and end with flour. So, 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk and rest of flour. Do not overmix. Just combine together and quit stirring.
  7. Now that the flour bowl is empty, you can make mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together.
  8. The apple mixture should be blended as well.
  9. Pour half of the bread batter into your prepared loaf pan. Add half the apples and half the brown sugar mix. Press down slightly. Add the remaining bread batter. Add the rest of the apples and brown sugar mix. Press down slightly. For optional swirls, drag a butter knife slowly through the bread in a snake like motion without touching the bottom of the pan.
  10. Bake 50-70 minutes. After the first 40 minutes, I placed foil on top to keep the top from becoming too brown. Test with a toothpick in the center for doneness – it should come out cleanly. Cool in the pan for about 30 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
  11. For the icing, simply add the powdered sugar to a bowl. Mix just enough milk to it in order to get the consistency you like. I like it the consistency of honey. Drizzle onto cooled bread.
**Recommendation** Whenever baking with fruit, I always place a cookie sheet underneath what I am baking. This way if any juices ooze out, they will not burn into your stove. I did not have any oozing, but this is just a general good rule to follow.[br][br]Adapted from Lui in Cucina


Homemade Baguettes

Quick Baguette-4527 on Whisk Together

Okay, I should call these “Quick Baguettes” because true French baguettes require a very long overnight rise time.  If you have that kind of time, here is a good French Baguette recipe.  Great for sandwiches, side dishes and soups!

As for me and my house…. we will be making fast baguettes.  🙂  These are super delicious and super easy – especially when you have a bread machine.  You can make them without a bread machine as well!  The kids and hubby LOVED these baguettes.  They didn’t have a super hard crust on them like some baguettes do.  They were nice and soft and chewy.  Plus…. there is the fact that all-purpose flour tastes like CANDY after eating 100% whole wheat for the past 7 years.

Why make your own?  There are only 4 ingredients.   No preservatives, no caramel color, no polysorbate 60, no anything but flour, water, yeast and salt.  If you have those things in your pantry, then you CAN make these.  This is a great yeast recipe to start out on.

Quick Baguette-4528 on Whisk Together

Tips for Yeast Bread Making (or any baking!):

1.  Preheat the oven 25 degrees higher than baking temperature.  This is because once you open the oven, it will reduce in temperature anyway.  Preheating higher allows for more initial “spring” in the baking process.

2.  Test your yeast if you aren’t 100% positive it is alive.  It is a bummer to wait 2 hours and find out right before dinner that the yeast was dead.  To test the yeast, I use active dry yeast.  I add the yeast, water and a little bit of sugar if the recipe calls for no sugar.  If the recipe does call for sugar, like a pizza dough, then simply add the sugary substance to the water and yeast.  After 5 minutes, you should see a little foam on top telling you the yeast is burping carbon dioxide and alive!

3.  Weigh your flour.  On a scale.  And pay attention to the author of the recipe.  King Arthur Flour thinks that AP flour weighs 4.25 ounces per cup and scales their recipes based on that.  America’s Test Kitchen think s that AP flour weighs 5 ounces per cup.  Most places and most recipes will yield 5 ounces per cup of all purpose flour.  King Arthur Flour weighs and scoops their flour differently.

4.  For a shiny crust, brush a mixture of 1 egg and 1 Tb. of water on top before baking.  It will be a little crisper, too.

5.  Pay attention to the bread more than the time!  Sometimes bread can get a little crazy and proof too fast.  Just look at it once in a while.

6.  I like active dry yeast.  I’m not patient and neither is this yeast.  It is fast and great for bread machines or bread that you need made in 2 hours or less.

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak-4521 on Whisk Together Label

Ok, really….  The reason I made my own baguettes is because I was too lazy to go to the store and buy sandwich bread for the Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches.

Homemade Baguettes
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 3 cups (15 oz.) all purpose flour (plus more on hand)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. For bread machine: Throw everything into the machine per the machine’s directions and hit “dough cycle”. Shape the resulting dough into 2 or 4 logs. Make shallow diagonal slashes on the top. Cover with plastic and preheat the oven to 400. Once up to temperature – reduce the oven to 375 degrees and bake the bread for 15-25 minutes.
  2. For by hand: Add yeast to the water and let sit for 5 minutes. I would recommend adding a pinch of sugar too if you are not sure that the yeast is alive. If bubbles form on the surface because they ate the sugar, the yeast is alive.
  3. Add flour and salt. Mix together by hand or in a mixer with the paddle attachment.
  4. When combined, switch to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. (or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes). Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Rise 1 hour or until doubled.
  5. Punch down the dough and break into 2 or 4 pieces. Roll into a log about 6″ long for 4 baguettes. Use a serrated knife to slash 2 to 4 shallow slices on the top diagonally.
  6. Place baguettes on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or silicone. Or on a baking stone. Cover back up with plastic wrap and rise another 20-30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees while the bread rises.
  8. Remove the plastic wrap and REDUCE THE OVEN to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on if you made 4 small ones or 2 big ones).
*If the dough is not coming together, add a little more flour. [br][br]*For a pretty and shiny crust, brush the top right before baking with a mixture of 1 beaten egg and 1 Tb. water.


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