Category Archives: King Arthur Flour

Herb Bread Sticks


I love homemade bread.  It can be eaten as is or as an accompaniment to soup or stew.  Bread sticks give you the best of both worlds; you get the flavor and texture of bread in the convenience of an individual serving.  These bread sticks are adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe.  They are quite simple to make and require minimal hands on time.  The herbs can be adjusted or changed depending upon your own preferences and what you have on hand.  Eat them alone or with Beef and Red Wine Stew, Corn and Vegetable Chowder, or any other dish where you want to soak up the juices.


1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1 teaspoon garlic powder

4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoons water

1/4 cup King Arthur Flour artisan bread topping

  • Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and set aside.
  • Place the water, remaining olive oil, sugar, salt, thyme, rosemary, yeast, garlic powder, and flour the bowl of a stand mixer.  Turn the machine onto low and mix until a slightly soft dough forms.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour until puffy.
  • Spread the dough into the prepared pan, stretching it to the edges.  If it shrinks back, let it rest for 10 minutes then stretch again.
  • Using a lightly greased  bench knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough into 12 or 13 crosswise strips, about 1 inch wide.  Then cut the dough in half lengthwise so you have 24 to 26 strips, each about 6 1/2 inches long.
  • Cover the pan and let the strips rise at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes, until puffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • In a small bowl, combine the egg and water.  Brush this mixture over the top of the strips.
  • Sprinkle the bread topping evenly over the strips.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are golden brown in color.  Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • When the breadsticks are cool enough to handle, cut them along their score lines.

Yields: 24 to 26 breadsticks

Maple-Bacon Praline Biscuit Bake

Photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour

Photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour

With the butter, bacon, and sugar in two forms, this is definitely not your every day breakfast or brunch item.  Because I use buttermilk instead of plain milk, even the biscuits are rich!  These are a special treat in our house and are so special that I had forgotten about the recipe until recently.  This is also a recipe that if served to guests, will leave them speechless (in a good way of course!).  These biscuits are best served fresh so you aren’t serving a crowd, reduce the entire recipe by half.  I’ve adapted the recipe from King Arthur Flour by adding in a small amount of chopped pecans. If you are a fan of pralines, you’ll love this sweet and savory nutty breakfast treat.


1/2 pound bacon, cooked until medium-brown

1/4 cup pecan halves, chopped

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons melted butter


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons Bakewell Cream or omit the baking soda and use 2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold butter

1 cup cold milk or buttermilk

  • Preheat the oven to 475°F. Lightly grease an 8″ square or 9″ round pan; whichever size you choose, make sure it’s at least 2″ deep, to prevent any boil-over.
  • Syrup: Chop the cooked bacon into 1/2″ pieces. Combine the bacon with the remaining syrup ingredients, stirring until well combined. Spread in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Biscuits: Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly; some larger, pea-sized pieces of butter may remain intact.
  • Add the milk or buttermilk, stirring to make a sticky dough.
  • Drop the dough in heaping tablespoonfuls atop the syrup in the pan. A tablespoon cookie scoop, slightly overfilled, works well here.
  • Bake the biscuits for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off, and leave them in the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown.
  • Remove the biscuits from the oven, and immediately turn the pan over onto a serving plate. Lift off the pan, and scrape any syrup left in the pan onto the biscuits. Pull biscuits apart to serve.

Yield: 16 small biscuits.

Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels


My recent trips to Germany and Austria have had me craving those hot, soft and chewy pretzels that you can buy from street vendors to sit down restaurants alike.  I’ve lost track of the number of pretzels I’ve actually eaten but I wanted more.  Being back here in Albania, the only real option is making my own so making my own I did.  This recipe from King Arthur Flour is surprisingly easy and the results are pretty close to the the Bavarian styled ones I had been craving.  They tasted much better than they looked and disappeared in a matter of minutes.



2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

7/8 to 1 cup warm water (adjust accordingly to yield a soft dough)


1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons baking soda

coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • Place the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in the work bowl of a food processor equipped with a steel blade.  Process for 5 seconds.
  • Add the water, and process for 7 to 10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl.  Process for a further 45 seconds.
  • Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour.  Loosely cover the bowl and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, prepare the topping:  Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally dissolved.  Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm or cooler.
  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray or lining it with parchment paper.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into eight equal pieces.
  • Allow the pieces to rest uncovered for 5 minutes.  Pour the baking soda/water mixture into a 9 inch square pan.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a long, thing rope (about 28 to 30 inches long) and twist each rope into a pretzel. Working with four pretzels at a time, place them in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops.  Leave for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet.  The baking soda “bath” will give the pretzels a nice, golden-brown color.
  • Transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle them lightly with the salt.  Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
  • Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter.  Eat the pretzels warm or reheat them in the oven or microwave.

Yield:  8 large pretzels

Jamming With Bacon

The old adage that everything is better with bacon holds true.  In my quest for new bacon related recipes I stumbled upon this one from King Arthur Flour.  Because it is made in a crock pot, the hands on time for this dish is minimal and your entire house will be filled with the sweet and salty aroma of this jam before you are done.  I was initially taken aback by the ingredients, which individually I love but I just couldn’t fathom being put together as a single dish (maple syrup mixed with coffee???), but the results surprised me……..after all everything is better with bacon.  Whether served on bread slices and paired with a salad for a light dinner or paired with bread and goat cheese as part of a buffet table, this jam is a hit.

Not having boiled cider on hand, and being unable to have it shipped to me, I improvised by making a reduction of apple juice cooked with a whole cinnamon stick and five whole cloves.  The result isn’t quite the same but the resulting syrup seemed to do the trick.

1 1/2 pounds bacon
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup boiled cider
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
2 dried bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1)  Slice the bacon into 1″ slices and cook in a large skillet until well browned.  Drain the fat and reserve the bacon.


2)  Place the cooked bacon and all other ingredients into a 2 quart or larger crock pot.  Cover and cook  on high for 3 to 4 hours.

3)  Remove the cooked jam from the crock pot, remove the bay leaves, and carefully transfer to a food processor or blender.  (I used a bowl and my trusty stick blender).  Pulse until the consistency is to your liking, a soft, spreadable jam.  You can leave the bacon in larger bits or pulse until very small, your choice.
4)  If you find the jam too liquid for your taste, transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the liquid has evaporated and the jam is thick and syrupy.  Adjust the seasonings and serve warm.
5)  Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Warm in the microwave before serving.
Yield:  2 cups

Pumpkin Donuts

Cooking with Mamma

In celebration of fall, and in preparation of a postponed Embassy-wide Halloween celebration, Sidney and I made homemade doughnuts this weekend.  I dipped into my precious stash of imported canned pumpkin puree and broke out my new mini doughnut pans in order to make this super fast and easy pumpkin cake doughnut recipe from King Arthur Flour.

If you don’t have a doughnut mold- and how many of us really do- you can use a muffin pan which would probably be easier to fill.  The results will be the same; a light and richly flavored pumpkin morsel to help celebrate this autumn season.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1)  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two doughnut pans.  (I used miniature ones and
reduced my baking time but standard sized ones or even muffin pans will also work).

2)  Beat together the oil, eggs sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.

3)  Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

4)  Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full.  Bake for 10 minutes for miniature doughnuts, 15
minutes for standard sized ones, and 25 minutes for standard sized muffins.

5)  Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes loosen their edges, and transfer
them to a wire rack to cool.  Repeat the baking process until all the batter has been used.

6)  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a pie plate.  While the doughnuts are still warm, roll the
doughnuts in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

7)  Cool completely, and wrap airtight; store at room temperature for several days.

Double Corn and Thyme Cornbread

The only cornbread my family
will eat

I love to serve a good cornbread as an accompaniment to a bowl of chili but have never been able to find one that is moist enough to satisfy my finicky boys (yes, both of them).  This one, from Joanne Chang’s Flour Cookbook, turned out to be a winner.  (In fact, every recipe I have made from this book has been a success.  As an added bonus, ingredients are listed in both standard American measurements as well as by weight which saves those of us in Europe from having to do those painful conversions).

The recipe called for creme fraiche but lacking both the creme fraiche and my usual substitute of sour cream, I made my own substitute of 7/8 cup of buttermilk (re-hydrated buttermilk powder from King Arthur Flour since we also don’t have fresh buttermilk in Albania) and 3 tablespoons of melted butter.  This substitute seemed to do the trick but I am looking forward to making this again using creme fraiche.  I think that will take the bread from very good to outstanding.   The recipe also called for baking the bread in a 9-by-13 inch loaf pan. Preferring to serve the bread in wedges, I used a 10-inch round cake pan instead and this worked out well.


1 cup (200 grams) coarse yellow cornmeal
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup (50 grams) canola oil
1/4 cup (55 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (240 grams) milk
3/4 cup (180 grams) creme fraiche
1 cup (160 grams) fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1)  Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C.  Butter
a cake pan.

2)  In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until
combined.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oil, and brown sugar until a thick
slurry forms.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and then whisk in the milk and creme fraiche.

Dry ingredients

3)  Pour the egg-sugar mixture into the cornmeal mixture, and then, using a rubber spatula, fold together
until all of the cornmeal is completely incorporated.

Egg mixture

4)   Fold in the corn kernels and the thyme until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.  The batter will be thick and pasty.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Corn and thyme
Ready for the oven

4)  Bake for 40-50 minutes (mine baked for 45 minutes in the round pan), or until the top is a light
golden brown and the center springs back when you poke it in the middle with a fingertip.  Let cool
completely in the pan on a wire rack, then cut into 12 wedges.

5)  The corn bread can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 2 days
or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.  If frozen, thaw at room temperature for 3 or 4 hours and refresh
in a 300 degree F /150 degree C oven for 8 minutes.

Apple Cinnamon Scones

This one can be added to the nothing is easy in Albania files………..I woke up the other day craving scones.   After digging through my recipes I came across a recipe for Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones from King Arthur Flour.  These would be the perfect goodie to fulfill my breakfast treat craving while getting in a dose of fruits (the apples of course).  Plus the recipe called for the inclusion of cinnamon chips and surprisingly enough, I had two whole bagfuls in the pantry.  So what was the problem?  The recipe also called for apple sauce.

Apple sauce is one of those surprising foods you just can’t buy here in Albania.  Yes it is simple enough to make your own but not having any on hand and not being able to run out to the grocery store to pick some up, suddenly turned my simple morning treat plans into something that wasn’t so simple any more.  I wouldn’t be deterred though and with the scones still on my mind, I set about making a small batch of apple sauce.

Start with some apples
Ready to be pureed

As a baby Sidney was a huge fan of applesauce so for a period of time it felt as though I was making batches on a weekly basis.  I don’t follow a formal recipe for applesauce; rather I use what is on hand.  For this batch I peeled, cored, and chopped up five medium sized red apples, added them to a pan with about a half cup of water and threw in a cinnamon stick. I let the mixture simmer over low heat for about twenty minutes.  What resulted was a slightly tart and cinnamon infused puree.  I could have eaten it as it was but that would have defeated the whole purpose for making the sauce.  At last I could finally move on to my primary cooking project.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp apple pie spice or ground cinnamon (I used ground cinnamon)
1/2 cup cold butter
3/4 c chopped fresh apple, cut in 1/2 ” pieces (peeled mine but you can also leave the skin on)
3/4 cup cinnamon chips
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (I make my own)
3 tbsp coarse white sparkling sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1)  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and spice.
2)  Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it is ok for some larger chunks of
     butter to remain unincorporated.
Flour and butter
3)  Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.
4)  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.
5)  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
6)  Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it.
     Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment.
7)  Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment paper or pan, and divide it in half.  Gently pat and
      round each half into a 5″ to 5 1/2″ circle about 3/4″ thick.
8)  To make the topping:  stir together the course sugar and cinnamon.  Brush each circle with milk, and
     sprinkle with the topping.
9)  Using a kitchen knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
10)  Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about
       1/2″ of space between them, at their outer edges.
Ready for the oven
11)   For the best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes,
        uncovered.  While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. (Do not skip the
        freezer step).
12)  Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
13)  Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly in the pan.  Serve warm.
Yield:  12 scones
Ready to eat

Apple Skillet Cake

Fall is apple season and during a recent trip to the market I scored several varieties of red, yellow, and green apples.  I’m not sure what types they were- the green ones looked similar to Granny Smiths, the red ones Macintoshes, and the yellow ones Golden Delicious.  All of the apples were grown in the Korce  region of southeastern Albania.  Korce is also home to an annual apple festival held each October and if you ask most Albanians, they will tell you that Korce apple are the best.  At least this is what my nanny and the woman and the local market assure me.

Spiced apples ready to go
With an abundance of fresh apples in hand, I set out to bake a sweet that featured this fall fruit.  Opting for easy, I selected King Arthur Flour’s Apple Skillet Cake.  This being Albania, however, I had to make substitutions with the ingredients I had on hand.  The first was with the flour.  I’m a huge fan of King Arthur Flour–it is the only brand I buy in the States– but after receiving several powdery filled shipments in the mail, I’m resorted to buying flour locally.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I find that I have to read the labels -whether they are in Albanian, Italian, or Greek- carefully since many flours have baking powder mixed in.  The recipe called for green apples but since I had a variety of types on hand, I went for a mixture.  I do this when I make  apple pies as well and personally prefer the different tastes and textures.  I compensated for the sweetness of the apples by reducing the amount of brown sugar slightly.
Apples and batter ready to bake
While the types of apple juice available in the stores is numerous, I have been unable to find anything that even closely resembles the apple cider called for in the recipe.  Thanks to Sidney’s love of all things juice, I had a carton of green apple juice on hand. I doubled the 3 tablespoons the recipe called for and boiled it down into a reduction.  The resulting syrup lacked the depth of flavor found in cider but I think it did the trick of adding moisture to the apples nicely.  To compensate for the lack of spices in the juice, I also increased the amount of apple pie spice the recipe called for.  I don’t usually use pre-made spice mixtures and think my own combination of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and a dash of ginger is far superior to any store bought mix.  As part of my last spice shipment from Penzeys Spices, however, I had received a complimentary sample of apple pie spice so I decided to thrown this into the mixture.
I love any recipe that calls for using my big heavy cast iron skillet so was especially excited when I saw that the recipe suggested using one for baking.  Fortunately, my finicky, European sized oven is just large enough to hold the skillet.  On this day the oven decided to run hot so I knocked 15 minutes off of the baking time and the cake emerged sweet, moist and golden brown with that crust you can only get from cooking with cast iron.  After allowing the cake to cool slightly I had a slice with a cup of tea. The verdict:  easy and good and the perfect treat for a cool autumn afternoon.

Of course, a slice eaten with coffee for breakfast the next morning was also good.

With a bit of whipped cream, ready to eat!


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