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DIY: Soft Flour Tortillas
101

I’m so excited to tell you guys that I’ve got this big item to cross off my ever-daunting and always-growing to-make list!  These flour tortillas were major for me.  We eat a lot of Tex-Mex food that requires soft flour tortillas (and I always use them in place of corn tortillas) and when we have leftovers, I bring wrap sandwiches to bring to work.  And if you’ve been around these parts long enough, you’ll know that in the past couple of years, I’ve been DIY-ing more and more in order to cut out ingredients we can’t pronounce (check out the short and basic ingredient list below!) and to save a few bucks in the process.

These tortillas are my latest feat and when I tell you that they are soooo worth the little bit of effort, I’m not kidding.  After only 30 minutes, I had a warm stack of these guys ready to use for multiple meals.  And as far as quality goes, there is just no comparison with store-bought tortillas; where store-bought are rubbery and dry, the homemade version yields soft and always pliable tortillas.  You don’t have to worry about the bottoms splitting in your hand and you can fold them and roll them without any cracking.  Basically, for the Tex-Mex lovers that we are, these DIY soft flour tortillas couldn’t be more perfect.

DIY: Soft Flour Tortillas

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 (8-inch) tortillas

I rolled my tortillas out into 8-inch rounds and they yielded some pretty hefty-sized tortillas, even for soft tacos. So in the future, I'll reduce the size to 6 inches by cutting the dough into approximately 1 1/2 oz pieces (or about 16 pieces). If you want larger tortillas, like for burritos, cut the dough into fewer pieces and roll them out to 10 or 12 inches in diameter. If you don't have a food processor, you can make these tortillas by hand, using a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the ingredients into each other and a wooden spoon to mix everything up.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaping tsp table salt
  • 5 tbsp shortening, lard, or softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup warm water

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of the food processor fitted with the dough blade, pulse the flour, baking powder, and salt a few times to stir up the ingredients. Add in the fat and process in quick pulses until the mixture starts become crumbly. With the food processor on, slowly stream in the water through the feeder at the top, just until the a cohesive ball forms and starts traveling around the sides of the bowl.
  2. Turn the food processor on and let the dough knead for about 30 seconds. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and be soft but not overly sticky.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board or countertop and divide it into 12 equal-size portions, 2 oz each if you're weighing them. Cover the dough pieces with a kitchen towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large, dry saute pan (cast iron works great here) over medium-high heat.
  5. One at a time, roll the dough balls into thin rounds (about 8 inches each), dusting the top with just enough flour to keep the tortilla from sticking to the rolling pin. Try not to roll out too many at a time or they will start to dry out while they wait to be cooked.
  6. Lay one tortilla flat in the heated pan and cook on each side for 20-40 seconds, until the tortilla starts to bubble in places and the bubbled areas start to brown. While each one cooks, you can roll out the next tortilla to get it ready for the pan.
  7. Keep the finished tortillas covered with a kitchen towel to keep them warm and pliable until you're ready to use them. Unused tortillas can be cooled completely and refrigerated in a large zipper bag for up to 5 days.

Source

source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

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http://www.smells-like-home.com/2012/07/diy-soft-flour-tortillas/

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Scones
4

Long ago, I fell in love with cinnamon raisin bagels.  And by long ago, I mean that I can remember trying to eat them at a 7 year old without a full set of teeth.  It took me a long to time to finish things like bagels in those days.  I’ve been meaning to make cinnamon raisin bagels for years but considering my love for bagels, it may be better off for my waistline that I haven’t done so yet.  So you can imagine that I was all about these scones when I found out they were on the agenda at King Arthur Flour’s Blog & Bake this week…and I think I was even more stoked at the idea of them when I learned we would be making them with white whole wheat flour, a flour variety I’ve been curious about for so long.

In short, these scones are awesome.  I filled them up with extra ground cinnamon and cinnamon chips and used the folding method to work the chips and raisins into the dough which very nicely distributed them throughout the dough.  With a slightly crispy exterior and flaky interior, you would never know these warmly spiced scones were made with white whole wheat flour, save for the color.  I picked up a 5lb bag for myself before I left the Baker’s Store so you’ll definitely be seeing more recipes with containing it around here.  And if they all turn out as great as these cinnamon raisin scones did, I’ll be a happy woman.

Cream Biscuits
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Cream Biscuits

Perhaps the operative name for this recipe should be Dream Biscuits rather than Cream Biscuits.  I’ll admit that I’ve been fearful of taking on homemade biscuits but this recipe has changed my life.  With one bowl, a wooden spoon, and less than 10 minutes of time, these biscuits are ready to be baked without any plausible biscuit catastrophes.  There’s no worrying about pea-sized pieces of butter or fretting about whether the butter is cold enough; you’ll mix all of the ingredients together, do 30 seconds of kneading on the counter top, pat out the dough, cut out rounds, and bake – amazingly simple with extraordinary results.  These cream biscuits are high-risers and show off beautiful layers that you expect with a homemade biscuit and they will be the perfect addition with breakfast, soup, stew, or chili, and casual or holiday dinners (like say, the big one coming up this week).  I can also see them as being an excellent vessel for sliders or egg and cheese [and bacon/sausage/spinach/etc.] sandwiches since they aren’t tough and crumbly at all.  They are pretty much perfect biscuits and like I said, they are my dream biscuits.

Cream Biscuits

Whole Lemon Muffins
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Whole Lemon Muffins

When I set out to make muffins, I want a muffin. Not some wimpy, under-flavored piece of cake trying to be a muffin.  My ideal muffin has got to be to boldly flavored.  It’s got to have a soft crumb.  And Lord knows, it’s got to have a meaty muffin top.  Essentially, The Pastry Queen has got my ideal muffin covered and it was just my luck to be able to choose this recipe this week.  With the addition of an entire lemon (yes, skin, pith, juice, and pulp), these aptly named Whole Lemon Muffins have got the boldly flavored requirement covered while miraculously not being overly tart, as I feared they might be.  With little pieces of lemon floating around the muffin, they are the perfectly flavored lemon muffin.  The addition of yogurt yields a soft crumb, and the fact that you’ll fill the batter up to the top of the muffin cup will leave you with a great big muffin top (my favorite part!) even though I made the muffins in a standard-size muffin tin.  There were very few changes I made to the recipe aside from halving it (which yielded 9 muffins):

  1. I omitted the nuts from the recipe
  2. I added 3 tsp of poppy seeds [to the halved recipe]
  3. Next time, I would consider adding some coarse sugar to the muffin tops for a little sparkle and crunch in place of the glaze

Whole Lemon Muffins

Bacon-Cheddar Scones
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Bacon-Cheddar Scones

When I think of breakfast pastries, a savory item usually isn’t what I think about.  Muffins – yes. Cheese Danish – oh yeah.  Cinnamon buns – gimme gimme gimme!  And though I love so many varieties, scones aren’t usually what I reach for…but I think my mind is changing now after making these bacon-cheddar scones.  How could anything with bacon, cheddar, and scallions not be amazing?  Quick and simple to put together, I think what’s so great about them (aside from the guaranteed amazing flavor), is that you can make them for any meal.  I served them with some cheesy scrambled eggs but making them to serve with a roast chicken for dinner or a pot of soup for lunch would be totally acceptable and I’m sure very well-received, also.  If you know you’ll be in a pinch for time, I suggest cooking your bacon earlier in the week when you have the time and pulling it out of the fridge when you’re ready to make the scones.  Alternatively, you can make the dough in advance, cut and freeze it…then bake the scones off when you’re ready for them.

Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Many thanks to Mariana of Food Junky for choosing these scones for this week’s Project Pastry Queen task.  I knew they would well-worth the 3+ years I’ve been waiting to make them!

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
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Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Somethings are worth waiting for.  Like these muffins.  Perfect banana flavor balanced with semi-sweet chocolate chips that are totally enhanced by some instant espresso powder. Love, I tell you, love.

My interest was piqued months ago while tagging recipes to make in the Baked cookbook and then my interest took off after both The Pêche and Smith Bites blogs, my fellow Big Summer Potluckers, were gushing about these muffins on Twitter.  For whatever reason, the recipe got pushed down “the list” and I finally just took a few well-ripened bananas out of the freezer this week, only intending on using them in this recipe.  And boy, I can see what they were gushing about months ago!  These muffins are hands-down some of the best I’ve ever eaten!  I love the fact that they were so quickly whipped up (not literally) by hand rather than having to pull out the stand mixer…and I love the fact that even though I forgot to add the milk until after I mixed in the chocolate chips at the end, the muffins still turned out amazing!  They bake up with this funny shape, only what I picture to be a quintessentially quirky Baked trademark look, and when fresh out of the oven, the chips are gooey, the banana is prominent, and there is a slightest hint of crispiness around the top edges. Love, I tell you, love.

Fresh Ginger-Pear Quick Bread
9

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Sometimes things really surprise me.  This here ginger-pear quick bread is one of those such things.  I had considered choosing it a few months back for one of my Project Pastry Queen choices but was a little nervous about the recipe.  A pear quick bread sounded great but I was a little leery about the fresh ginger.  So I passed it over and went with the Brie and Brisket Quesadillas instead.  But this week, this recipe came up as Aliza’s choice and I’m so SO glad I made it over the weekend!

The fresh ginger and pears bake up beautifully in this quick bread (really quick – 10 minutes to prep!) and with a hint of sweetness, they combine into a lovely flavor that I didn’t expect to fall for as much as I did.  And I definitely didn’t expect Kyle to love this bread as much as he did!  I considered serving the bread with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream but found that it was just so moist and tender that no accompaniments were needed.  Lucky for me, I baked up the batter in two 8″ loaf pans rather than one 9″ so I’ve got an extra loaf in the freezer for another day.  I love being able to just pull out a loaf of quick bread from the freezer in the morning before work and have it ready to eat for dessert that night!

As mentioned, Aliza from Baker by Night chose this recipe and she has the full recipe posted.  Next week we’re making Emergency Fruit Crostatas!

Apple Cinnamon Maple Streusel Muffins
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You’ve been to the orchard – what a great time you had!  Pumpkins, cider, hay rides, hot chocolate, corn mazes, and of course, apples.  And now you’re home with more apples than you know what to do with.  Sounds like me.  How about you?

Well, it’s high time you make these Apple Cinnamon Maple Streusel Muffins to use up a few of those apples.  They combine the sweet goodness of baked apples with hearty oats and the outrageous flavor of butterscotch chips.  Yum. Yum. and Yum.  I added some maple streusel to the tops of the muffins for a little extra crunch and all in all, they couldn’t have been more perfect.  I whipped them up on Halloween morning and since the batch yields 18, we had breakfast and snacks through yesterday – does it get any better than when you can stretch perfection out for 5 days?

Pumpkin Yumkins
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This is quite a silly name for such a serious goody!  These Pumpkin Yumkins are a cross between a pumpkin cupcake and a pumpkin muffin so rather than calling them one or the other, isn’t it so much easier to call them a Yumkin?  They are dense, filling, and oh so delicious…and it took every ounce of my energy not to have a second one this morning for breakfast!

I made a few changes to the recipe, which you’ll see below.  The original recipe calls for pecans and dates but I swapped in white chocolate chips and raisins, two of my favorite mix-ins and substitutes in recipes that call for nuts.  I also used vanilla extract and maple flavoring in place of the orange because I’m infamous for not reading all of my planned recipes before going to the grocery store.  It’s all good though since vanilla and maple are the perfect compliments to pumpkin! And lastly, I added some cinnamon to the flour mixture.  The recipe doesn’t call of any spices and well…what’s pumpkin without a little spice??  In just over an hour this morning (yes before work), I had these Yumkins mixed, baked, cooled, and frosted…and such little effort certainly made today’s birthday girl a very happy one.

Be sure to check out what’s happenin’ over at Project Pastry Queen…I suppose it’s not a surprise that we have another pumpkin recipe ready to go for next week!

Rather Rich Chile Con Corn Muffins
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Break out your muffin pans because you’re gonna wanna make these muffins.  Like now.  Because seriously, it will take you less than 30 minutes from start to warm and fresh muffins to whip up a batch.  I pulled them together this morning before work and I was actually on time getting in.  Surprisingly.

But not surprisingly, these muffins were finger-licking good, served with some fried chicken or not.  The base of the recipe is much like the tabula rasa that is pasta or risotto so you can certainly add whatever your heart desires.  Shawnda has some great suggestions for variations listed in her post this week and I wouldn’t mind making some with a Greek twist next time.  For me though, I was in Mexi-muffin mode this morning since I was looking forward to tonight’s Tacos Night.  I threw in a chopped banana pepper (which is really low on the heat scale – much lower than a poblano or jalapeno – and is on the sweeter side), a handful of shredded cheddar and about 1tsp of ancho chile powder to my halved recipe.  If I felt like if I could have given some of these muffins up, I would have brought them to work with me.   But I couldn’t.  They were just too good and sharing was just out of the question.

If you want to see the full recipe, take a trip over to see Amanda at Fake Ginger and have a look…But don’t forget about the other fabuloso Project Pastry Queen ladies!  Next week’s recipe will be a doozy so make sure you come back and see for yourself.

Fresh Peach Jam Scones
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Before she chose this recipe, Josie told me that she was leaning towards a peach recipe for her Project Pastry Queen choice and I was secretly hoping she would choose this one.  I’m always sad when September rolls around because it signals the end of my favorite summer fruit, peaches. Unfortunately, peach season here in CT doesn’t peak until the mid- to end of August so I have to wait much longer for great peaches than other parts of the country. Miraculously though, I was able to find some outstanding peaches in the grocery store this past weekend.  They were perfectly sweet and ripe and held up like champs in these scones.  The scone recipe itself was incredible – flaky, sweet and delicious – and the peaches and peach jam took the scones to another level.

As with all scone recipes, it’s so so important to keep the ingredients cold before baking, else you’ll end up with scones that spread too much in the oven.  I make a point of cutting the butter and freezing it before adding it to the flour and then freezing the scones for 10-15 minutes after cutting and placing them on the baking sheet.  They really do need this extra time to chill before baking.

Be sure to head over to Pink Parsley Catering for this recipe and make sure you come back next Sunday for my choice – Fredericksburg Peach Cream Cheese Tart!

Irish Soda Bread
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So, another year come and another year gone…and I’ve finally made Irish soda bread!  I’ve only been considering it for the past four St. Patty’s Days.  Right, just four years.  Sheesh.  And to be honest, up until two days ago I had no idea which recipe to use.  And then…Smitten Kitchen came to my rescue.  It was like Deb swooped down from the shadows and everything was right in the soda bread world.  Deb had posted a recipe which meant a.) I now had a reliable source, and b.) this was going to be some good soda bread.

As Deb describes it, the addition of raisins and caraway seeds makes this American soda bread rather than traditional Irish soda bread which contains just flour, baking soda, and buttermilk.  But I don’t care.  This was the best damn soda bread – American or Irish – that I’ve ever had.  Forget the brick I almost picked up in Whole Foods for $5.49 on Monday that tried to pass for soda bread.  This was what I had been dreaming of making for years.  It had all the promise Deb talked about…a crunchy, craggy crust that leaves everyone fighting for the end pieces and a tender, soft interior studded with raisins and caraway seeds that seem to make soda bread what it is to me…addictive perfection.

Chile-Cheese Bread
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Sometimes you need to get out there and try out some new recipes…this is what I keep telling myself.  When I think of a jalapeno-cheddar cheese quick bread, my go-to recipe for ages has been Ina’s (of course) jalapeno cheddar cornbread.  Why mess with a good thing?  It’s great recipe that beats the bugger out of any from-scratch or boxed cornbread mix I’ve ever tried.  But when I saw this recipe pop up on Josie’s blog (a fellow Ina fan and BB member by the way) I was completely drawn in.  I immediately put it on the menu for the following week and drooled every time I thought about making it.

This isn’t a cornbread recipe so don’t be disappointed if that’s what you’re looking for but I can assure you won’t be let down by it nonetheless.  It’s fantastic!  The bread is soft, savory and full of spicy cheesy flavor. We both loved it as a side to some cheddar corn chowder and won’t hesitate to serve it alongside other Mexican dishes in the future.  Aside from the greatness of this bread, it’s an absolute cinch to throw together.  Some quick breads don’t make good on the name but this one definitely does and it took 5 minutes for me to prep.  I realize that trying to scramble around the kitchen while making different parts of a meal is sometimes overwhelming so don’t pass this recipe up if you need a quick side for a meal!