Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…


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Chocolate Granola

You may have noticed my love of granola.  We don’t really eat breakfast cereal for a number of reasons, but sometimes you just need something yummy to put into your raw milk.  I saw a recipe for Hot Chocolate Granola and I was inspired to try something similar.  
I started with my regular granola recipe.  I mixed together 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup maple syrup, and a splash of vanilla.
 In a separate bowl, I mixed together 4 cups of oats, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, and a few pinches of salt.
I mixed the wet and dry ingredients together, spread it on a baking sheet, and baked it at 350*.  The hardest part was knowing when it was done, since it was already pretty dark!
This recipe is definitely a keeper.  It is reminiscent of those chocolate cereals that turn your milk into chocolate milk.  MMM!


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What To Do With Whey

After making ricotta cheese the other day, I was left with more than a quart of whey.  I wanted to use it, but I already had a plethora of lacto-fermented veggies, which is what I usually use it for.  After some extensive research (Google), I decided to try making bread with it.  I found a recipe that seemed hard to screw up, which was important to me after my last bread disaster. 
To start, I melted 5 T of butter in 1 cup of milk and 3/4 cup of whey. 
As it melted, I mixed together 5 cups of flour, 2 t salt, 1 T coconut palm sugar, and 4 1/2 t yeast.
When the butter was melted, I added it to the dry ingredients.
I used the stand mixer to knead it together for about 5 minutes.  Then, I shaped it into 2 funny-looking loaves.
I placed the loaves on the toaster oven, crossed my fingers, and hoped it would rise.  It did!
It baked in the oven 425* for about half an hour.  I would show you a picture, but John dug into it before I could.  It is a simple-tasting bread, but I like the idea that the whey added a little something extra.  Even if there is no nutritional value to it, I used a byproduct of cooking that would have otherwise gone to waste. 
Other things I used the whey for? 
Soaking Beans
Cooking Rice for this delish risotto!  I will share THAT with you next time.
This post was shared on Your Green Resource and Pennywise Platter Thursday!


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Most Complicated Raisin Bread. Ever.

I posted on Facebook about a month ago that I was attempting a complicated (for me) bread recipe.  I am finally recovered from that experience to write about it.  
Before I jump into the story, let me just say that I’m sure the original recipe is fine, and I don’t have the patience or the eye for detail to make it correctly.  
 I should have gotten the clue when I assembled the ingredients that I was out of my league. 
The recipe made 3 loaves-too much in my opinion. I decided to cut it in thirds.  Given the fact that original amounts were things like one and seven-eighths cups, it went against all common sense. But, I didn’t listen to common sense.  
I stayed on course, soaking the raisins to make them nice and plump.
Soaking the oatmeal…
Proofing the yeast…
and THAT was all before I even started the actual mixing!  Picture me, with my calculator, desperately attempting to make something happen.  I mixed the yeast together with the other ingredients.
Then, I added in the soaked oatmeal and kneaded it.
And kneaded it and kneaded it.
Have I ever mentioned that I am terrible at kneading?  I am terrible at kneading.  Anyway, I tried to mix in the raisins at this point.  Oh yeah, and the cinnamon, which I had forgotten about. 
Then, I let it rise… and rise… and rise.  Nothing really happened.  Let’s just say that it didn’t rise or look anything like the original photos. 
I baked it anyway, and it was dense, obviously.  I was also surprised by the dull flavoring.  For all the ingredients, math, and work, it was very blah.  
Lesson learned.  When a recipe is WAY TOO HARD, it is probably not worth it.  In my world, the recipes have to be user-friendly.


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Yummy Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Apparently I am jumping back into the swing of things by making lots of desserts.  Up this time?  Peanut Butter Cookies.  
I can’t believe how east these cookies were.  I decided at around 9:15 at night that I Had. To. Have. Cookies.  I didn’t have any butter defrosted, and there wasn’t much left in the fridge.  That severely limited the cookie choices I had.  I started with this recipe and went from there. 
First, I combined a cup of my home made peanut butter, a little less than 3/4 of a cup of turbadino sugar, an egg, a tsp baking soda, and a splash of vanilla in a bowl.  
 Then, I mixed it together.
Third?  Rolled it into little balls.
Lastly, I baked it at 375* until they looked done.
The verdict?  They filled a need, but they weren’t amazing.  I think the sugar needed to be more finely ground.  And I needed less of it in the cookies.  On the plus side, they were quick and easy and used very few ingredients.  With a few more tweaks, they will be a great quick snack!

This post was shared on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!


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Cranberry-Cider Muffins

While the weather has been wacky here in NJ this year, there has been a definite chill in the air more often than not this month.  Perfect baking weather!  We received cranberries in our CSA recently, and I decided to make cranberry muffins with them.  YUM!
First, I assembled the ingredients (mostly to photograph, but also to be prepared):
Then, I mixed together 1/2 cup grassfed butter and 1 cup of coconut palm sugar.  That’s John’s favorite sugar to bake with at the moment.  
They were beaten together, and then 2 pastured eggs were added to the mix, one at a time.
In a separate bowl, I stirred together 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
I slowly poured the dry ingredients into the first bowl.  
As I did that, I also added in 1 tsp and 1/2 a cup of Apple Cider.  Every recipe I saw called for orange juice, but I didn’t have any.  I decided to go seasonal and use the cider.  
Now, it was time for the cranberries.  I chopped up 2 cups in the food processor.
When they were all chopped, I folded them into the batter. 
Each was spooned into a muffin spot for baking.
After 25 minutes at 375* they looked like this:

They were so delicious!  Moist, tart, AND sweet!!!!


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Freezer Sandwich Bread

I’ve already shared a few bread recipes with you, but I have another one!  This one is meant to be frozen before it is baked, and then it can be defrosted and baked whenever.  This is perfect for crazy busy weeks when I still want home made bread.  
To make this bread, I started by heating up 4 cups of whole milk with 1/4 cup of butter.  The original recipe called for water and dry milk, but I am not a fan of dry milk.
While that heated up, I mixed together 4 packages worth of active dry yeast , 1/2 a cup of rapadura, and 4 t of salt.
Next, I stirred in 4 cups of flour.
Once the bowl was hooked up to the stand mixer, I slowly mixed in the milk/butter mixture. 
As the mixer turned, I stirred in more flour.  The recipe called for a total of 11.5-12.5 cups.  I think I used a total of 8 cups.  I knew it was done when it looked like, well, dough.  I let the stand mixer knead it for 10 more minutes.
It was a HUUUUGE chunk of dough.  This recipe is supposed to make 4 loaves of bread, so you can imagine how much dough this is.  
I kneaded it by hand for a few minutes, and then let it rest.  After 15 minutes, I split it into 4 equal pieces.
Then, I shaped each into a loaf, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and froze them.
I took one out this week and baked it (at 375 for about a half hour) after letting it defrost and rise.  What did we use it for?  You’ll just have to wait and see!


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Sandwich Bread

We love bread over here at Crest Cottage.  I have a great Crusty Bread recipe that I love, but I was still searching for a sandwich bread recipe.  This one is definitely a contender!
This is made with white flour, not whole wheat flour.  I know, I know, you would think that I would be all “Only whole wheat!!  No White Flour!!”  I’m not.  While I would LOVE to find a good whole wheat sandwich bread recipe, but I haven’t yet, and there is no shame in that.  This bread was delicious and home made with pretty darn good ingredients.  That is good enough for me. 
The great thing about this recipe is that I was able to use up the last little bit of less than fresh raw milk that John doesn’t really like to drink straight.  I started by warming 1 cup of it to about 105*
Then, I stirred it into 2 1/4 t of active dry yeast and 1 T Rapadura.
Since the recipe called for skim milk (yuck!) and I used whole milk, I wasn’t sure about adding in the tablespoon of melted butter that the recipe called for.  I added it anyway. 
Then, I added in 3 cups of flour and some salt. 
Here comes the hardest part.  I didn’t do this in the stand mixer.  I thought I would be fun to knead it by hand.  HA!   I had to keep adding water because it was too dry.  I couldn’t even get it to combine.  Once it was the right consistency, though, it was great!

I covered it and let it rise for what seemed like forever.  In reality it was probably 3 hours.  Our house is really cold.  

Once it was doubled in size, I punched it down and let it rest for a few minutes.  Then, I rolled it out.  
Next, I rolled it up into a loaf and stuck it in a loaf pan.  !
Then, THAT had to rise.  
Just before I stuck it in the oven, I brushed it with more butter. 
Baked at 400* for about a half hour?
This is DEFINITELY going into our standard rotation!


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My Favorite Bread!

After last Monday’s bread fail, I should probably share a successful baking episode.  This is my favorite bread to make.  It takes some planning, because it has to rise for at least 18 hours (at least in my cold house) and then another two, but if you make it in the morning and then bake it the next day, it works perfectly. 
I follow this recipe.  To the letter.  Here’s the play-by-play. 
Yeast in the bowl-
With all the flour and salt (I use 1/2 WW and 1/2 UB White)-
Mixed and risen-
Folded and rested-
After the final rise-
Baked to perfection-
I forgot to score the bread, so it cracked, but let me tell you, it still tastes wonderful!  


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Help my Hot Dog Buns!

It is with a heavy heart that I share this with you.  My buns were a complete and utter failure.  They look like dog biscuits and taste like dust.  But, I need to share it with you and beg for help.  
HELP!
It began innocently.  The saurkraut looks like it is ready to eat, and John picked up some nitrate/nitrite free hot dogs up to try them with.  I just kneeeewww (sense the sarcasm?) that I could make the buns, so he didn’t get them.  Sigh.  If I only knew.  I grabbed this recipe and thought, “Hmm… Easy and Perfect?  GREAT!”

First, John melted down 1 cup raw milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, and 1 T honey.

 While it cooled down to 120*, I mixed 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1.25 t yeast, and 1 1/2 t salt.  
When the liquid was cooled, an egg was beaten in. 
Then it was all combined.
I added another cup of flour as I mixed it.  
I rolled it out and cut it into 16 dog-sized pieces. 
Each piece was shaped into a bun-type shape.
So far so good, right?  Well.  It never rose.  At all.  I know the yeast was good, because as I was making this, I used more of the yeast for another loaf of bread (which actually worked really well).  Our house is cold, so I had it in the oven that had been preheated for a minute and then I left the light on.  I waited a LONG time, and it never changed.  I baked it anyway, hoping for a little oven spring.  
Nothing.  They still look like this, only a little darker.  We both had a bite, and couldn’t even choke them down.  
So, I ask you: 
1) What do we do with them?  Breadcrumbs?  Any other ideas?
2) How the heck do I make hot dog buns?!?!

This post was featured on the Hearth and Soul Bloghop!