I recall the first time making bruschetta. There were five of us bridesmaids at my friend’s apartment getting getting ready for her wedding.
A clove of garlic in hand, I rubbed the still warm faces of the toast. It was fascinating watching the garlic clove disappear and the bread surfaces taking on an aromatic, glittery sheen.
Since then, I think fondly of the satisfying sensory experience of making bruschetta. Little rivals the perfect combination of tomato, basil and mozzarella. However, my other half does not care for tomatoes and it hardly seems worth the effort to make a batch of bruschetta for one.
That is where this recipe comes to the rescue – no tomatoes. Yet, this combination maintains the tastiness of fresh toasty bread, olive oil, aromatic garlic, fresh herbs and the tenderness of…sweet peppers.
Cutest lil helper “painting” the breads with olive oil
Toasty bread getting all dressed up for the party
Serves 2-3 slices
Sweet Pepper Bruschetta
Yields about 10 slices
10 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
1 loaf French baguette, sliced into ¼-½ inch slices
⅓ cup olive oil
2-3 Tb, heaping, finely chopped parsley
4 large sweet peppers (mine were 4-5 inches, or 10 small/medium sweet peppers), finely chopped
Extra oil for roasting
¼ tsp salt
2 Tb finely chopped basil
1 Tb lemon juice
¼ tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix the ⅓ cup of olive oil and chopped parsley.
Place sliced bread in a baking sheet and brush each side generously with oil/parsley mix. Set aside.
Place finely chopped sweet pepper on another baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat the peppers. Place the baking sheet of bread and peppers in the oven until bread is toasted and peppers are softened - approximately 10-15 minutes. Turn the toast over half way through the toasting process.
While items are in the oven, mix the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl (lemon juice, basil and black pepper). Once the sweet peppers come out of the oven softened, add them to the bowl of basil mix.
Carefully heap the pepper basil mix on each slice of toasted bread and serve immediately.
Do you remember the first time you gazed into a bakery case of sweet treats and made your selection? My oldest son had his first trip to a safe bakery at the age of five. Having a life threatening allergy to tree nuts, baked goods are not something we can just pick up anywhere. His eyes were wide staring with excitement and disbelief as he carefully considered which donut to pick. He still talks about the place in Minnesota where he could get donuts and ice cream right from the store. If you have the chance to stop in at Yoyo Donuts in Minnetonka, Minnesota, you certainly should. If this kind of a trip is not in the cards for you, just fire up your oven, you can make donuts right at home.
Who says you can’t have great donuts without leaving the house? These baked donuts prove the fact that you can enjoy fresh baked donuts right in your own home – so long as you’ve stock your cabinets with the ingredients.
This is a no fuss, quick and easy donut recipe. It has become one of our regular Saturday treats to make these together as a family.
Yields 6 donuts
Tender baked donuts with a hint of cardamom and vanilla. Top these with your favorite donut toppings to dress them up or down for the occassion.
15 minPrep Time
9 minCook Time
24 minTotal Time
1 cup flour (or ⅓ wheat & ⅔ all purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg, room temperature
⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup milk
¼ cup of yogurt
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp cardamom
⅛ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 Tb butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a donut baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
Mix dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the egg, mix in the brown sugar, milk, yogurt, spices and vanilla extract. Add and stir in the butter.
Place all the wet ingredients into the dry mix and mix just until it’s incorporated. Put the mix into a large ziploc bag and cut of a corner to pipe the batter into the prepared donut pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes.
Allow baked donuts to sit in pan for 2-5 minutes before removing the from the pan to a serving platter.
Top the donuts with frosting or dip in butter and roll through a cinnamon sugar mix.
Best served warm. Save leftovers in airtight container for a couple of days.
My childhood memories of cinnamon rolls and sweet breads are associated with holidays and special occasions. My mom would prepare the tasty treats in a pan the night before. The first riser was responsible for turning on the oven in the morning.
Making these kinds of treats from scratch may seem daunting, but I wanted to share a few secrets for making the process more breezy. This is the same base recipe I use for Honey Fig Jam Rolls. It’s a nice, quick sweet roll recipe that is about 1 hour to make from start to finish.
Perhaps you have many other things to coordinate, though. Cinnamon rolls are quite forgiving. Below are a few ways you could make these work for your situation.
Refrigerate for the last rise, bake in the morning. You can prepare them up to the point of the final rise – getting them cut and into a pan. Allow them to rise in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next morning.
Rise and freeze to bake later. Allow them to rise and then freeze for later.
Bake, freeze, then warm to serve. Follow the whole recipe and do a shortened bake ahead of time and freeze for later. Then all you need to do is to warm and add your topping.
With some manageable preparation options you can surprise guests and include from-scratch sweet rolls on your brunch menu. These cinnamon rolls go above and beyond with a satisfying inclusion of fresh orange and a healthy drizzling of maple icing. Hope you have a chance to make these real soon. We would love to see photos of your results – tag Mama Sparrow on your social media shares.
Orange Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 9 rolls
Sweet, orange kissed cinnamon rolls drizzled with a maple-orange icing.
40 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
2 ¾ cup flour
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package instant yeast
½ cup water
¼ cup milk, room temperature
2 Tb unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
Zest from 1 orange
2 Tb cinnamon
¾ cup butter, melted
1 - 1 ¼ cup confectioners sugar
1 - 2 Tbs. orange juice
2 tsp maple syrup
Mix all the dry dough ingredients together in a medium size bowl. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the water, milk and butter. Heat for 45 seconds, or until the butter is melted. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mix. Stir the egg in. Knead the dough for 4 minutes. Dough should get smooth, have a bit of grip and bounce. Rest the dough in a lightly greased bowl for 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Mix the orange zest, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside.
After the dough has rested, roll it out on a lightly floured surface or silpat mat, shaping dough into a rectangle about 9x15 inches. Spread the melted butter over the dough.* Then spread the brown sugar cinnamon mix over top the butter on the dough. Leave 1 inch without filling on one of the long sides of the rectangle; this will be the seam. Starting at the long, not seam side, begin rolling the dough jelly roll style. End the log roll with the seam side down. Use a sharp, floured knife to cut the log into 9 sections to make rolls.
Place rolls into a 9x9 inch pan lightly greased and covered with greased parchment paper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Turn off the oven and place the covered pan of rolls in the oven to rise for 20 minutes.
After rising, remove the aluminum cover from the rolls and leave in oven while turning on to 375 degrees F. Bake 16-20 minutes until the rolls just start to get golden. Remove from oven and top rolls with drizzle.
To make topping, combine sugar and orange juice in a bowl. Whisk together and add in maple syrup. Adjust ingredients to desired consistency and taste.
*For cinnamon rolls, I usually reserve ⅓ or ¼ of the melted butter to pour over the rolls after they have risen, just before baking. The rolls tend to be a bit more tender and the sugar near the bottom of them caramelizes.
There are few satisfying smells than fresh baked bread with a meal. Homemade bread can be an entire day’s task that you don’t have time for or for which you did not plan. You can still have the satisfaction of fresh baked bread on the table in 20 minutes flat. These bread sticks only require about 5 minutes of hands-on time.
Also, included is my first posted recipe video. You can catch the video over on YouTube too. I can’t help be also share that the music in this video is by my talented husband. *cheesy smile*.
Hope you get a chance to whip these up with an upcoming meal. Please be sure to tag Mama Sparrow on social media with your pictures. We would love to see your results.
Yields 12 breadsticks
Tender breadsticks with a satisfying blend of garlic salt and parmesan cheese. Fresh bread with dinner does not need to be time consuming. Whip these up
12 minPrep Time
8 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
3 Tbs butter, melted
1 ⅓ cup flour OR 1 cup wheat & ⅓ cup all purpose
2 Tbs granulated sugar OR 1 ½ Tb honey
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
⅔ cup milk
Grated parmesan in shaker
Preheat oven to 450F. Melt 3 Tb of butter on the baking sheet in the oven while it preheat - about 2 minutes. Take out just before all butter is melted and tilt the pan several times till it finishes melting.
While butter is melting, combine the dry ingredients in medium size mixing bowl - flour, baking powder and salt (also add the granulated sugar at this point, if using instead of honey).
Warm the milk and honey (if using instead of granulated sugar) briefly (45 seconds in the microwave or on stovetop just until warm)
Slowly stir the milk into the dry ingredients.
Sprinkle additional flour over the dough so it is workable and gently knead a few times. The dough should still be fairly wet, but just enough flour to pull apart and shape into 12 breadsticks.
Place the breadsticks onto the baking sheet of melted butter and brush butter from the pan onto the exposed surfaces of the breadsticks.
Sprinkle a little garlic salt over the sticks and bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with grated parmesan after breadsticks finish baking and serve warm.
This is one of those recipes I’ve had for a while (like since early fall), but just never got to posting. No better day for posting a delayed pie posting than Pi Day (3.14).
The fruit called for in this recipe is a fall combination. However, this recipe has been tested and approved with other great combinations that span more seasonings. The best are apple cranberry and apple blackberry. Really, you can use your imagine to get your seasonally available mix.
All of this fresh snow is making me crave things flavored with mulling spices. This is a perfect solution – some late season blackberries I flash froze from last fall, Gala apples, and ginger molasses cookie topping.
I enjoy making all the components of the recipe from scratch (apple cider, pie crust, and cookies). Included in the recipe below are links to my favorite recipes for each of these items. The cider is particularly enjoyable to make from scratch as it simmer for 3 hours and makes the home smell amazing. These are all things that can be bought for a quick baking solution.
Happy Pi Day. I hope you have a chance to make pie real soon. Please tag us on social media to share photos of your pie results. We would love to see what you are making.
Persimmon Cranberry Pie
Apple cider infused persimmon and cranberries on an all butter crust - soft beneath and crispy, flaked on the edges. Top off the coziness with a ginger molasses cookie crumb.
1 9 inch unbaked pie crust (I used this recipe from Completely Delicious http://www.completelydelicious.com/how-to-make-perfectly-flaky-pie-crust/
4 cups peeled and chopped persimmons, about ¼ inch sections
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 ¾ cups apple cider juice, divided (I made homemade from http://www.amomstake.com/cranberry-apple-cider-drink-recipe/)
⅓ cup sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup cornstarch
1 ½ cups ginger molasses cookies crushed (I used this recipe from Eating Well http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249788/yummy-molasses-crackles you could also use store bought or your own favorite recipe)
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the persimmons, cranberries, 1 ½ cups apple cider, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat until the cranberries pop/split.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch into the remaining ¼ cup of cider. Add the starch/cider combination to the pan of ingredients. Stir everything until it has thickened.
Remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool while preparing the topping and crust.
While filling is cooling, place ingredients for the crumb topping in a medium bowl. Mix until it forms a crumb like texture. Set aside.
Roll out the pie crust and place in pie dish. Once fruit mixture has mostly cooled, pour it into the pan lined with the pie crust. Trim and prepare the edges of the crust as desired. I just crimped the edges on mine.
Distribute the crumb topping evenly over the filling.
Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on the rack below the pie to catch any pie drippings. When done, the filling should be bubbly. Cover the edges of the crust with foil if they start to brown before the pie filling is baked through.
Dairy free option - use your preferred vegan pie crust or substitute vegan butter sticks for the butter in the pie crust and topping