Easy Homemade Naan Bread

Once upon a time, I made homemade naan bread, and it turned out terrible.

This is not that naan bread.  This is awesome.

This has become my go-to homemade naan bread recipe

I have no idea what went wrong with the first recipe I tried, probably a year or more ago.  But it did put me off trying it again for quite a while.  However, when I decided to try my hand for the first time at Indian cooking with this chicken tikka masala over winter break this year, I knew that naan had to be in the cards for me again.

My go-to homemade naan recipe

This recipe comes together super easily and doesn’t require any special handling.  It’s not finicky at all.  Just proof your yeast, add the ingredients all at once and knead in the machine for a couple minutes, let it rise, and then roll out and fry up.  Very hands-off.

Homemade naan bread recipe...easy and yummy

I tend to use half white whole wheat and half regular flour.  To me, when I use all whole wheat it tends to be a bit too dense and loses a bit of that chewiness that makes naan so satisfying.  But you can use all of one, or mix it up however you want.

The other important thing is that you use ghee, not just regular butter.  You can buy ghee fairly easily these days (Trader Joe’s, Amazon, or a well-stocked grocery store), but if you can’t get it for whatever reason I’d recommend making a batch of your own and storing it.  The water in regular butter will keep it from frying up right.
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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Why, you ask?  It’s cinnamon swirl bread, which is a total no-brainer.  Gooey, cinnamony goodness spiraling through a tender, crumby loaf.  And it is.  But for some reason when I made it a few months ago, I wasn’t totally in love with it.  The filling was awesome, but the bread was just…fine.  The texture was good, but the outside was crustier than I wanted and the bread’s flavor (it tasted like…bread) was a disconnect from the sweet filling.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread done

But I’ve come to see the error of my ways, because you deserve cinnamon swirl bread in YOUR life too.  I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe to make the bread and filling feel like they’re part of the same recipe, including adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a little extra sugar to the dough.  The filling was perfect just as it was.   [Read more…]

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

“Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.” ~ Marilyn Wann

That quote basically encapsulates my struggle right now. I love food. I don’t believe in diets, because I think that permanently denying yourself foods will just make you want them more. Plus, why take all the fun out of life?? But I am trying to be good most of the time right now. And looking at these pictures is pure torture, because I remember how GOOOOOOD these cinnamon rolls were.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

But I have a secret. I’m not really into cinnamon rolls. Except these cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are like if you just took the gooey center of the roll (the only good part) and made it ALL of the roll.


Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting done

People had raved about The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe, so when I decided to try my hand at cinnamon rolls I knew I had to try these ones. I was scared, honestly. Cinnamon rolls look like so much work, and I’ve never thought they were worth the effort. Boy, was I wrong.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting cut2

These are 5-star levels of gooey, they’re sweet, they’re maple-y, the bread is moist and soft. Perfect. They’re perfect. And they were actually not that hard to make. Yes, there were a few steps, but they weren’t hard or even super time consuming. I just had to plan ahead in terms of starting them the night before, but otherwise they came together pretty easily.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting 2

How decadent are these cinnamon rolls?? Well, I polished off the last four (DON’T JUDGE.) the morning that I gave blood (so I could start eating healthy the next day, natch), and when my cholesterol results came back they were like 50 points higher than normal. It was insane. Granted, I’d also had like seven of them the day before. Still. Crazy. [Read more…]

Crusty French Baguettes in 30 Minutes

You know those times when you realize that you’re having a bunch of people over and that you forgot to figure out a bread? But you’re like an hour from dinner and pretty much everything would take way too long?

30-Minute Crusty Baguettes

(yeah, me neither)

30-Minute Crusty Baguettes with Homemade Butter

Lucky for me, I’ve found a couple of pretty quick bread recipes that are pretty quick (and aren’t just biscuits). I have this 1-hour focaccia bread and a 1-hour french bread, but this goes even further. You can have this thing done start to finish in about a half hour (give or take a few minutes depending on how long it takes to bake). And the flavor is AMAZING!

30-minute crusty baguette dough wine

This is a key part of bread making…

30-Minute Crusty Baguette

Bread is a non-negotiable part of meals for my mom, so super happy to have another great recipe in the arsenal. [Read more…]

November Cakes a.k.a. Gooey Delicious Orange Buns

Have you ever read a piece of fiction that describes some kind of food in such rich, real detail that the food becomes real to you?

It’s a talent, writing about completely made-up food in a way that’s so real to the reader that they have a visceral need to create (re-create?) the food in their world. As an avid reader, I’ve certainly run across these kinds of fictional foods from time to time, but rarely has a recipe captured my imagination like the November Cakes from Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Scorpio Races”.

November Cakes

In the middle of a chill, windy, haunting Irish November, Stiefvater describes these rolls as “oozing honey and butter, rivulets of the creamy frosting joining the honey in the pit of my hand.” Pretty amazing, right?

November Cakes with Gooey Icing

I actually tried a recipe for this a year or two ago, but was disappointed with the dry, somewhat bland results. When I saw this particular recipe and heard people rave about it, I knew I had to give it another try.

November Cakes with Orange Glaze

And these were everything promised. The dough itself isn’t that sweet, just an orange-tinged yeast roll. It’s the combination of the honey-caramel glaze (which I also spiked with orange extract) soaking into the rolls and the sweet white orange-flavored icing on top that elevates this to complete indulgence. [Read more…]

Marion Cunningham’s Overnight Yeast Waffles

YOU GUYS. These. Waffles.

Overnight Raised Yeast Waffles

The last few weeks have been pretty insane, work has been overwhelming with crazy long hours, and I’ve just been so tired. Last weekend daylight savings time ended, which should have meant that I got an extra hour of sleep, but instead meant that my body’s been waking me up at 4:15 every morning this week. And the sun is rising so early—I’m so used to getting into work and having a couple hours of darkness to get stuff done (I’m like a mole, I like working in a cave) that the early sunrise is making me feel like I’m starting the morning way behind. It has, however, exposed me to some glorious sunrises this week on my drive to work.

gorgeous sunrise

Anyway, back to the waffles. I do have a point, I promise. My family takes brunch very seriously. Every sabbath growing up, we would get up and whip up a feast of pancakes or waffles, eggs, bacon, and fruit. While I tend to be more partial to pancakes, my mom absolutely loves waffles. When I was little, we made the kind of waffles that required you to beat egg whites for forever and gently fold them in. Which is ridiculous and time consuming. Then we found (or kind of created?) this buttermilk waffle recipe which is easy and awesome. But I still seem to be on a mission for the best waffle recipe, because waffles and pancakes are definitely a kind of comfort food for me and my family. And I’m very much in need of comfort food right now.

Overnight Raised Yeast Waffles closeup

I think I originally found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, but then within the same week found it on A Cozy Kitchen. It’s a classic recipe (that I’d never heard of), and it seemed like all of a sudden it was having a “moment”. When I first read the recipe, I was fascinated by the idea. Yeast in waffles?? And leaving batter out overnight?! But both bloggers raved about the flavor and texture of the waffles, and I knew I had to try them.

Overnight Raised Yeast Waffles finished

Overnight Raised Yeast Waffles with Cinnamon

When my mom came into town last weekend, I knew I’d found my opportunity. If there are waffles involved, she’s on board. She got in Friday and I whipped up the batter before heading to bed, then we got up, drank coffee for a few hours, and then got around to making the waffles. That’s one great thing about this recipe—exact time isn’t important. You don’t have to time it the night before or make it right away in the morning. I put on at around 8:00 Friday night and we didn’t end up making them til almost noon Saturday. The recipe is pretty forgiving. [Read more…]

One-Hour Skillet Focaccia Bread

Some days I feel like I have tried all the different bread recipes I need to. I mean, I’ve found several different kinds that are totally awesome, so why bother trying new recipes?

And then I stumble across a recipe like this and remember why—because sometimes you find a completely new kind of awesome to add to your arsenal. And by arsenal, I mean arsenal of carbs.

one hour skillet focaccia finished piece

I was making dinner the other day for myself and a friend, and was having decision issues. I finally decided to go with my pasta with goat cheese, roasted peppers, and chicken sausage since I could make that in my sleep, and also decided to try two new recipes—kohlrabi fries (recipe to come) and these delicious oat brown sugar strawberry shortcakes. Then, since I can’t seem to stop myself from overdoing it, I ran across this skillet focaccia bread and HAD to try it.

one hour skillet focaccia butter topping

It was surprisingly easy and also very forgiving (considering I forgot to follow one of the instructions). The texture was awesome, and I loved the flavor of the spices and parmesan cheese.

one hour skillet focaccia finished

But the best part was how fast it was. I’ve talked about how difficult it is to find a good bread recipe that I can make when I realize two hours before dinner that I forgot bread. Most of my great artisan recipes take at least 5 or 6 hours, and many of them are overnight. So to find something that can be on the table in 1-2 hours start to finish is pretty awesome.  [Read more…]

Quick No-Knead Bread

One of these days I’m going to put together a whole list of bread recipes and how long they take from start to finish—that way, when you want to make bread but only have, say, two hours, you’ll know which ones you can choose from and which ones have to rise overnight and are out of the question. Because every time I’m browsing bread recipes, I fall in love with one, and then realize that it has to rise for 12 hours before baking. Baking fail.

This one falls somewhere in the middle, at about 4-5 hours.

no knead bread finished

I hadn’t tried a nice, simple artisan bread in a long time, only soda breads and the like. So it was nice to smell the yeast doing its thing, see it rise all puffy and wet, and get golden and crusty after baking. There’s a sense of accomplishment in that, not to mention how tasty it is!
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Amish Country Bread

It’s that time of the year when I’m trying to use up all my yeast, baking powder, and baking soda before Passover so I don’t have to throw much out. I hate waste. So I’m officially back on my bread-baking kick. I started last weekend with this delicious, soft, salty bread.

amish bread finished

This recipe was super easy to throw together, even though I had some trouble with the texture of the dough. Mine was much drier than I think it should have been (maybe weather-related too?). However, it didn’t seem to make any difference—the bread baked up soft and chewy, with a nice crisp crust on the outside.

amish bread finished2

I used my handy-dandy enameled cast-iron dutch oven, and the lid makes an awesome seal that traps the moisture in, which gives you that crusty outside and chewy inside. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can bake on a castiron griddle (or pizza stone or some other oven-safe contraption), with some ice water in a separate pan to create steam. [Read more…]

Mom’s Famous Homemade Doughnuts

My mom’s doughnuts are one of those fleeting, kind of mythical things that only comes around once in a blue moon. I’m pretty sure they are my mom’s favorite thing to make, and she only does so like once a year. I love that they’re not insanely sweet (*coughKrispyKremecough*) and actually aren’t horrible for you either. I mean, they’re not zucchini, but they could be worse.

The secret? It isn’t a doughnut recipe at all. It’s a recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook from eight million years ago, for panettone (an Italian Christmas treat), and the glaze is made up.

mom donuts donuts glazed2

mom donuts donuts glazed closeup

Is it “donut” or “doughnut”? I’ve literally wondered this since I was a kid.

mom donuts donuts bite

Here’s the other really important thing—you have to eat these right away. Yes, you could eat them as leftovers, but it has been scientifically proven that homemade fried doughnuts are 927% better if eaten within the first 24 hours, and are absolutely best within the first few hours. So consider that permission to devour. [Read more…]

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