Monday, April 25, 2011

Baked Cream Cheese Rangoons

I love cream cheese Rangoons but since they are typically fried they can upset my stomach at times.  So, I decided I needed to make some that were baked.  Now those of you who know me realize that once I get an idea in my head I will work on it until I figure it out.  Thankfully this was an easy one.  In fact there are those of you that like to ask me something knowing my curiosity will get the best of me and I will just have to find a way to do know who you are. Moving on..... I thought that baked rangoons would be an easy enough recipe to make so that they would be something that could be thrown together at the last minute and would be fun to serve.  Hopefully you will agree.

As I mentioned in this post won ton and egg roll wrappers can be used in many different ways. Quite often I prefer to buy the egg roll wrappers and cut them into four equal squares because I get more for my money that way. 

Should you have any extra of the cream cheese filling it is great on a bagel!

Baked Cream Cheese Rangoons

24-30 won ton wrappers (or 6 to 8 egg roll wrappers cut into 4 equal squares)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 T. chopped chives
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a mini muffin pan with non stick spray.

Combine the the cream cheese, chives and garlic until well mixed. 

Place about a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into the center of each won ton wrapper.

Moisten all four sides of the won ton wrapper with a little water.  Pinch the wrapper together  by bringing the center of each edge to the center and pressing it together to make a pouch.  Only moisten one wrapper at a time, the edges must be moist in order to stick together.

Place in mini muffin pan.  Lightly spray with non stick oil spray. 

Bake about 15 minuts until golden brown.

Note:  These can be done on a cookie sheet if you like.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ciabatta Bread - No Knead

Ciabatta bread is a bread that I have wanted to try making for a long time, but I was worried because I had read it is not an easy bread to make.  To add to the said difficulty of creating the long, broad and short loaf there are many versions from different regions in Italy which just added to my confusion.  I finally decided that I would go with what worked best for me and hope that the purists weren't offended.

What is Ciabatta?  Ciabatta means slipper.  I have yet to see a loaf that looks like a slipper but ...... to each their own.  And does it really matter?  No.  All that matters is that this bread is wonderful.  One thing that all the versions of this bread seem to agree on is that the dough should be slightly soured with a light airy crumb and and a crusty, chewy crust.  It's shape is perfect for sandwiches and is often served with olive oils and other dips, since the crumb absorbs dips and liquids very well, for this purpose it may be toasted.  To refresh a loaf who's crust may have gotten soggy, spray it with a little water and toast in a really hot oven right before serving.  Should you find yourself with stale Ciabatta it makes nice big croutons.

This simple version of this bread takes some time but only because of the time required to ferment the dough.  This dough is VERY wet (which worried me at first) but if you follow this recipe and have some faith you will be just fine.

No Knead Ciabatta

4 Cups bread flour (I used 3-1/2 cups bread flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
1/4 tsp dry active yeast (yes that is right, only 1/4 tsp)
2 Cups warm water
1-1/2 tsp. table salt

Combine the flour, yeast, salt and water in a large mixing bowl using a rubber spatula.  Be sure you use a bowl about that will allow your dough to quadruple in size.   

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to ferment for 18 to 24 hours in a warm, not hot, draft free place.  Dough should be bubbly and have grown significantly.  

Punch down the dough using a rubber spatula and fold the dough using the spatula for a minute or so.

Flour a piece of parchment paper large enough for fill a baking pan (a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan works well) and pour the dough directly on to the flour parchment paper forming a long "loaf."  

Lightly flour the top of the dough and gently stretch and shape the dough into a long flat loaf.  Flour the top of the loaf and transfer to your baking sheet.  

Cover the dough with a clean towel and allow to rise for 2 hours in a draft free place. Loaf will not rise in hight much but will widen quite a bit.  About 20 minutes before the dough is done rising preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Place a pan of water on the lowest shelf of the oven and place your dough in the center rack of the oven and bake (on the floured parchment) for 35 minutes until a rich brown color is achieved.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.       

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bread sticks: Quick and Easy

I love bread!  I also have this fascination with all the aspects of making good bread, the science behind it.  It is so satisfying to slice into a fresh loaf that has just cooled and see how perfectly it has turned out.  Video of this is definitely food porn!  I have found that generally it takes time and patience but in the end you are rewarded with anything better than you could ever buy.  And you should always wait until your bread has cooled completely before cutting into it.  But this recipe contradicts all of that. 

You can have soft, hot and flavorful bread sticks in about an hour......from scratch!  This recipe makes a jelly roll pan full but at my house it is usually gone in less than 24 hours.  They are best warm right out of the oven but rewarming them in the microwave for about 10 seconds is a close second. 

Bread sticks

1/2 C warm water
2 T sugar
1 T Quick rise (Instant or bread machine) yeast
1 C warm buttermilk
3/4 tsp salt
3 1/2- 4 C flour
6 T butter, divided
1-1/2 tsp garlic salt
1-1/2 Italian seasoning
3/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 C Shredded Asiago cheese

In your mixing bowl combine the yeast, sugar, warm water and 1/2 cup flour.  Stir to combine, it will be lumpy.

Allow to sit for about 15 minutes until it becomes a little bubbly. 

Add remaining flour and and mix for 5 minutes.  While your dough is mixing melt 2 Tablespoons of butter and pour into jelly roll pan, spreading to cover the bottom of the pan and all the sides. 
Dough is ready when it is smooth but a little sticky (it should stick to your fingers but pull off when you pull away). 

Allow dough to rest for 5 minutes (it will make it easier to form the dough to the pan and not keep bouncing back).  While dough is resting shred the cheeses finely. Place dough in buttered pan and spread evenly with your hands to cover the bottom of the pan.
Melt remaining 4 Tablespoons of butter, pour over dough and spread with a pastry brush covering all the dough all the way to the edges.

Sprinkle dough with garlic salt, garlic seasoning and then the cheeses.

Cut the dough into three pieces on the long side and 12 rows on the short side creating 36 long thin sticks.
Place pan in a COLD oven and turn oven on the 350 degrees.  Once oven reaches 350 degrees bake for 12-15 minutes, turning pan half a turn after 8 minutes, until they bread sticks are golden.
Wait 5 minutes and re-cut the slices you made before baking.  Enjoy while still warm.