Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oatmeal Carmelitas

I love just about anything with caramel in it.  So years ago when I picked up a Pillsbury Bakeoff Cookie cookbook at the checkout at the grocery store,  I was hoping there would be something caramel in it.  Sure enough there was, Oatmeal Carmelitas.  I was hooked from the first time I made them.  I have a cousin who loves them too.  She usually asks me to bring them to family get-togethers.  So here they are...

Oatmeal Carmelitas
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups butter, softened

1 12 oz jar caramel ice cream topping
3 T flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine crust ingredients in a large bowl and mix with electric mixer on low until crumbly.  Reserve half of crumb mixture(about 3 cups) for topping.  Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine caramel topping and 3T flour.  Remove partially baked crust from oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture.  I also use chocolate from a bar.  I just chop it into bitesize pieces.

Return to oven and bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.  Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set.  Cut into bars.
Too bad these are gone already.  I better go make some more.

Friday, January 7, 2011

French Bread-- Food Nanny Recipe

French Bread

This is a really easy bread recipe from Liz Edmunds, The Food Nanny.  I was able to go to a class that she taught and I was so impressed by her.  She has an amazing plan for planning meals.  Each night of the week is a different type of food, for example, Monday-comfort food, Tuesday-Italian, Friday-pizza, and so on.  Liz is also so sweet and very personable.  I bought her cookbook and I would recommend it to anyone.  She was a wealth of information and I've loved every recipe I've made from her cookbook.

This recipe is actually called French Baguettes, but we're kind of simple around here so it's just french bread to us.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 T. active dry yeast, (2 packets)
2 tsp sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
melted butter

In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the warm water, the yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar.  Stir to combine and let mixture stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy.

In a large mixing bowl blend the flour, salt, the remaining teaspoon of sugar and the yeast mixture.  Gradually add remaining water and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball that is not too sticky to handle (if it is too sticky add a little more flour)  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Cut the dough in half and shape the halves into baguettes. Grease a baguette pan and place the loaves in the pan. Score the loaves down the middle, cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Here's the scored loaves in the baguette pan.  The pans are inexpensive and I love them!  Don't judge these sad shaped loaves, they get better.

Here they are after raising for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake the baguettes for 15 minutes. If desired brush the tops with melted butter halfway through the baking. For a softer crust, brush with butter when they have finished baking.

Here they are after baking but before brushing with butter.

And here's how my husband likes it, slathered with butter and jam. 
But that's another post.

Seriously, this is an easy recipe that takes one hour start to finish.  If you are afraid of bread and yeast, this is the perfect recipe to start with.  And if you are an experienced bread maker, this is a great addition to any meal.