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diy

easy dutch oven bread

easy dutch oven bread

So I told you how excited I was to roast a whole chicken in my dutch oven recently, but there was another thing I was really looking forward to making….bread. A perfectly golden round loaf of crusty white bread. I saw an article on it in Food & Wine Mag and absolutely had to try it. And I’m so glad I did, because I’m absolutely obsessed with homemade bread now. It tasted almost exactly like the crusty store-bought kind and the best part is–you can customize this recipe with any ingredients you want! For my next loaves, I’m planning to roast some garlic cloves and fold them into the dough, then top with rosemary. This would also be delicious with chunks of fontina cheese and prosciutto (OMG, yes).

easy dutch oven bread
 
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An easy, basic bread baked perfectly in a dutch oven.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: French
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • Spray oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, water, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, 10-15 minutes. Dough should be elastic and not sticky.
  2. Place ball of dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel or saran wrap (I used the stand mixer bowl). Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size and does not spring back when you push your finger into it, about 2 to 4 hours.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it to redistribute the yeast.
  4. Spray the bottom and sides of a large Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot with oil. Put the dough in the center of the pot and place the lid on. Allow the dough to rise again for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  6. Rub extra virgin olive oil gently over the surface of the dough with your fingers or pastry brush. Score the bread in an X shape with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the dough with salt (and/or any topping you'd like). Cover the pot and place it in the oven.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees, and continue baking until the bread is nicely browned and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

easy candy cane marshmallows

easy candy cane marshmallows
I’m always in awe of homemade marshmallows when I see them in bakeries. So fresh and fluffy looking, cut in perfect little cubes. I’ve never attempted to make them because I assumed you needed a lot of special equipment and ingredients. SO WRONG. They’re super simple and I made these with ingredients I already had in my pantry. With no special tools. Not even a candy thermometer. And they were so much fun to make, especially cutting them into the perfect jiggly little cubes of goodness. These make a great last-minute holiday or hostess gift (if you need more ideas, see my guide here).

I didn’t have any candy canes on hand when I made these, but if I had, I would’ve crushed them and used them as a topping before dredging. You can also use this recipe as a base to flavor and color your marshmallows however you want using different extracts and food colors.

easy candy cane marshmallows
 
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Easy homemade candy cane marshmallows. The perfect last-minute holiday or hostess gift!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 15 servings
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 (.25 ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
  • ⅔ cup corn syrup
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • Red food coloring
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Line a 9 inch square baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Coat generously with cooking spray.
  2. Place ½ cup of warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer, and sprinkle gelatin on top.
  3. While gelatin is soaking, combine ¼ cup of water, corn syrup, and sugar in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once beginning to boil, turn heat up to high and boil for exactly one minute.
  4. Pour the hot sugar mixture into the mixing bowl and beat on high for 11-13 minutes (using whisk attachment), until the mixture is fluffy and forms stiff peaks (should be opaque and resemble marshmallow fluff). Add vanilla and peppermint extracts, and beat just until blended.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and gently shake side-to-side until marshmallow is distributed evenly.
  6. Place drops of food coloring about every 1-2" and use a toothpick or tip of a knife to create swirls over the surface of the marshmallow.
  7. Allow the marshmallow to rest for 4 hours or overnight. It should be solidified but still sticky to the touch.
  8. Mix together cornstarch and confectioner's sugar in a shallow dish. Using oiled scissors or an oiled kitchen knife, cut the marshmallow candy into strips, then into 1 inch squares. Dredge the marshmallows lightly in the cornstarch mixture and store in an airtight container.

 

the ultimate edible DIY gift guide

the ultimate edible diy gift guideEvery holiday for me is the same struggle. I typically wait up until Dec. 15 to even start thinking of gifts, then it’s a crazy stressed-out 2 weeks to get everything for everyone on my list. Well, last year I had a total breakthrough that changed the way I do gifting. I made things easier on myself by choosing an overarching theme for all of the gifts I give. For example, you could do a book theme and give everyone on your list their favorite genre of book, along with DIY bookmarks and cozy blankets and mugs for tea. Or a cooking theme and give everyone the best gadgets to make their favorite foods (i.e. my sister once got a ravioli maker with semolina flour from Italy and a jar of truffle pesto).

This year I’m going all-out DIY. I love receiving DIY gifts, especially ones that are food-related. They’re so thoughtful and you know the person put in the time to make it just for you. Plus, we all know that homemade jams are a million times better than the jellied versions you buy in the store.

See below my favorite gifts for diy-ing this year:

  1. Preserved Lemons
    I
    f you’re not familiar with preserved lemons, you need to be ASAP. They’re used primarily in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cooking but can be used in a variety of recipes (basically anything that calls for a salty lemon). These are extremely easy and cost-effective to make.
    easy preserved lemons - gotham kitchen
  2. Homemade Fruit-Infused Vinegars
    Sure, you could go to a fancy olive oil store and get a fruit flavored vinegar OR you could make it yourself. Easily. These would be so great for making homemade vinaigrettes.

    homemade-fruit-vinegar
    Courtesy of Hello Creative Family (hellocreativefamily.com)
  3. Flavored Salt
    This is one of my favorites because, well, everyone uses salt. And you can get as crazy or traditional on flavors as you want (like red wine and rosemary!). And think of all the creative ways you can package these!

    flavored salt
    Courtesy of Chew Town (chewtown.com)
  4. Homemade Cajun Seasoning Blend
    My mother-in-law gave me a DIY jar of Cajun seasoning once and i use it ALL the time. It’s great for jambalaya, gumbos, and as a standalone chicken and potato seasoning.

    Courtesy of Sprinkles and Sprouts (sprinklesandsprouts.com.au)
    Courtesy of Sprinkles and Sprouts (sprinklesandsprouts.com.au)
  5. DIY Mushroom Risotto in a Jar
    A great gift for your fellow foodies, this jar is filled with arborio rice, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and a variety of dried mushrooms. Just add broth and parmesan!

    mushroom-risotto-made-from-dried-mushrooms-1024x718
    Courtesy of Enjoy Tribute (enjoytribute.com)
  6. Homemade Cashew Butter
    Anyone who doesn’t love cashew butter is crazy. This stuff is the Cadillac of nut butters. Gift this liquid gold with a homemade jam (see #8) or a hearty bread mix. 

    homemade-cashew-butter
    Courtesy of Fit Mitten Kitchen (fitmittenkitchen.com)
  7. Roasted Sweet Vanilla Pecan Butter
    Speaking of nut butter, this sweet pecan version is sugar-free and perfect for your health-conscious loved ones.

    Roasted-Sweet-Vanilla-Pecan-Butter
    Courtesy of Strength & Sunshine (strengthandsunshine.com)
  8. Raspberry Chia Jam
    Chia seeds are super trendy right now and make a great replacement for gelatin in puddings and jams with a major health boost.

    red-berry-chia-jam-5-2
    Courtesy of Garlic + Zest (garlicandzest.com)
  9. Maple Bacon Bourbon Popcorn
    Bacon+booze+popcorn=can’t go wrong. 

    DIY-Hostess-Gift-Maple-Bacon-Bourbon-Popcron-9-of-10
    Courtesy of Bless Her Heart Ya’ll


  10. Homemade Popcorn Seasoning
    If you want a gift with a longer shelf-life, gift these unique popcorn seasoning jars. Flavors include gingerbread, chocolate, and a spicy fiesta flavor. YUM. 

    homemade-popcorn-gift-set-3
    Courtesy of Real Food Real Deals (realfoodrealdeals.com)


  11. Double Chocolate Coconut Cookie in a Jar
    Cookie mixes in jars have been circulating around Pinterest for a while, but this version takes it to another level with the chocolate-on-chocolate-on-coconut combo. 

    double-chocolate-coconut-oatmeal-cookies-in-a-jar
    Courtesy of The Pretty Bee (theprettybee.com)


  12. Chocolate Cherry Oat Scones in a Jar
    It’s no secret how much I love scones. Gift this chocolate cherry version with an artisanal tea and a big cozy mug. 

    holiday-gift-chocolate-cherry-scones
    Courtesy of Simple Seasonal (simpleseasonal.com)
  13. Hot Cocoa in a Jar 4 Ways
    Don’t underestimated the gift in a jar. These four cocoa recipes are amazingly decadent (like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup) and easy to throw together.

    Courtesy of Gringalicious (gringalicious.com)
    Courtesy of Gringalicious (gringalicious.com)
  14. 5-Minute Gingerbread Butter
    Yes, you head that correctly. Gingerbread butter. For spreading on toast, pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, and pretty much everything.

    GINGERBREAD-BUTTER-WM-4-683x1024
    Courtesy of Treat Yourself Sweeter (treatyourselfsweeter.com)
  15. Guinness Glazed Nuts
    Have a beer fan in your life? These Guinness glazed peanuts are super simple to make and would make a great gift paired with a 6-pack and pint glasses.

    Guinness glazed nuts
    Courtesy of ZagLeft (zagleft.com)
  16. IPA Pickles
    Another great gift idea for beer lovers. These homemade pickles are simmered in your favorite craft IPA and would be perfectly accompanied by the rest of the 6-pack.

    ipa-soaked-pickles
    Courtesy of Draft Magazine
  17. Strawberry Flavored Vodka
    For the more hard-core drinker in your life, you can DIY your own flavored vodka. Serve in a corked bottle with a custom label and their favorite mixer or drinking game.

    DIY-Strawberry-Vodka
    Courtesy of Delicious Everyday
  18. Homemade Chai Concentrate
    Skip the Starbucks gift card and make this super simple Chai concentrate that you can keep in the fridge for several weeks. Just add warm milk!

    homemade chai concentrate
    Courtesy of Whitbits Indian Kitchen