Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gingerbread Men Cookies



These gingerbread men cookies are full of ginger and spice, and maybe not everything nice! They are so easy to make too.
Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
3 cups flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) softened butter
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup honey (or molasses)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Icing:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1-2 tbsp. hot water

Makes 2 dozen

Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add honey, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets covered in parchment paper. 

Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies with icing or leave them undressed.



Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days. 

Gingerbread Men Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver

Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Quick and Easy Pizza

I absolutely love pizza! So when I got a good recipe for a pizza crust, it just gave me the excuse to eat more pizza during the week.
This is a great recipe when you don't want to wait for your dough to rise. You just mix it and let it rest for 5 minutes and then it's ready to go! 
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast 
1 tsp. white sugar 
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) 
2 ½ cups flour 
2 tbsp. olive oil 
1 tsp. salt 
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
Preheat oven to 450°F. 

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. 
Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. 
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pan or baker's peel.

Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver

Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving. 
Quick and Easy Pizza~ The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

Happy Hump day blogland! I am already counting down the days until the weekend again. My work has a costume contest for Halloween, and Jet (our fur baby) and I are dressing up together. Can anyone guess what we will be? 

We are also having a potluck lunch on Friday at work, so this past weekend I was testing out some new recipes, as well as spending a few hours with our friends and our fur babies getting lost in a corn maze! It was a successful Fall weekend!
I am always looking for new ways to use my pumpkins, and I never get sick of anything pumpkin! The other week I baked challah bread for the first time, and that was the first time I had also ever used yeast. And it was so much easier than I had thought it would be! That is where this recipe comes in. It is very similar to the dough used to make challah bread. I think they were a success, because the hubby devoured most of them the first night I made them. Luckily I was able to take a few photos of them before they vanished into thin air.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
These pumpkin cinnamon buns are great to make ahead of time too. You could assemble them at night, let them rise in the fridge and finish in the morning for a weekend breakfast.

What you will need:
Dough:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed)light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2/3 cup homemade pumpkin puree, or canned
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl
Filling:
3/4 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Glaze (optional):
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. milk
2 cups powdered sugar
Few drops vanilla extract

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
First, you want to make your dough. Melt your butter in the microwave or on the stove in a saucepan.

Combine the warmed milk, 1-2 tsp. sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
To the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add 1/4 cup of your melted butter and stir to combine. Add yeast/milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel. Set aside for 1 hour, it should just about double.

While the dough is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides of the pan and the paper with nonstick spray.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer the dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 16×12" rectangle. Brush the remaining melted butter over the dough. Stir together the filling ingredients (sugars, cinnamon, and salt) and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
With a sharp serrated knife, using zero pressure (only the weight of the blade) gently saw your log with a back and forth motion into approximately 1" sections. The dough will make approximately 16-18 buns.

Divide buns between two prepared pans. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let them rise for another hour.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
If you are prepping your buns ahead of time, you can put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes. The cinnamon buns will puff up and get golden brown and leave the whole house smelling absolutely amazing!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
To make the glaze, beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy, add powdered sugar, and vanilla. Pour in the milk little by little until you get the consistency of a thick icing.

Once the buns have cooled, you can add the glaze to the tops of them. The buns are good enough on their own that the glaze is totally optional!


Enjoy!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Best Challah Bread

Happy Monday blogland! Last week was my first attempt at making challah bread, and let me tell you it came out AMAZING! My husband devoured a loaf in minutes (granted it was a mini loaf.)
I never knew how easy it was to make it! I am hooked, I am never buying challah again. 
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
2 1/2 lbs. bread flour or all purpose flour (approx. 10 cups)
2 tbsp. dry active yeast
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tbsp. salt
1/3 cup oil
2 3/4 cup warm water
2 eggs
1 egg+water for egg wash
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Put yeast, 1-2 tsp. of sugar, and add 1/2 cup of water in a bowl. Mix the ingredients together and let the yeast proof (activate) and foam up until it doubles in size.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the 2 eggs and mix the eggs with a beater attachment. Then add all of the wet ingredients (the rest of the water, oil, yeast mixture) and mix together again. Add the sugar and salt and mix again.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
With the mixer on the lowest speed, add flour cup by cup until the dough starts forming a ball and pulling away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
At this point, swap out the beater attachment for a dough hook. Keep adding flour cup by cup until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch. In total this should be roughly 10 cups of flour.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Knead the dough together by hand to make sure everything is incorporated together. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover the top of the dough with a thin layer of oil and cover with a wet towel. 
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Let the dough rise until it doubles in size, this should be about an hour. Punch the dough down and let it rise for another hour.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
At this point, you are ready to form the challahs. I like to do simple braids. 

I also stuffed the centers of one of my challah's braids with a cinnamon sugar mixture. To do this, all you need to do is combine sugar with cinnamon in a 4:1 ratio with a little bit of melted margarine.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Roll out your 3 ropes for the braids and flatten each. Lay out your filling in a thin line down each flattened rope and pinch up the sides to seal it in. Then just braid the challah like you would normally.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Once all of your challahs are formed, let them rise for an additional half hour. 

Top each challah off with egg wash (one egg with a little bit of water) and some cinnamon sugar if you want it sweet.

Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beef Shepherd's Pie

My friend made a shepherd's pie similar to this one a few week's back at a potluck get together weekend. I had never made shepherd's pie before, or had ever even tasted one! I tweaked her recipe a bit, OK really a lot! My husband always wants me to make it now and there are never any leftovers!

Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver

What you will need:
6 medium potatoes
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. butter
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 head of broccoli
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 lb. ground beef
1 small can tomato sauce
Pinch of ground black pepper
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver
Preheat the oven to 375F.
 
Cut the potatoes into small cubes so they boil faster. Place all potatoes in salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender.

While the potatoes are boiling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, broccoli and spices. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver
Stir in the tomato sauce and cook until the sauce darkens in color.
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver

Add in the beef and break up any large clumps of meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes.
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver
 While the meat is cooking, drain the potatoes and mash using a hand blender or by hand. I add a little margarine to the potatoes so they stay creamy.
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver
Transfer the meat mixture into a greased dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edge.

Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver

Bake until potatoes brown and the juices begin to bubble around the edges, about 40 minutes.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver

Enjoy!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies

My first post when I started my blog almost a year ago was my Roasted Pumpkin Puree. That was the first year we had gone pumpkin picking and the first time I ever tackled a whole pumpkin! Well, my love for pumpkin has grown since then! 

This year I wanted to try a new recipe from the pumpkins we've picked. These soft baked pumpkin cookies melt in your mouth with their great pumpkin flavor and warm spices topped with a sweet vanilla glaze.
Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda 
1 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 
1/2 tsp. salt  
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze (recipe follows) 
Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  

Beat sugar and butter together in you mixer until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt while the mixture is on low speed. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. 
Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver

For glaze: 
Combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies and allow glaze to set up before putting them away.
Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!

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