Yesterday was a very bittersweet day. We had a party for my younger brother who is moving to Japan in less than 2 weeks. We are all really happy for him. He has been wanting to go there and applied for the JET program and was accepted. He will be living there for atleast a year teaching English to middle school students. it is a dream of his and I am so happy that it is happening for him. But he will definitely be missed!
We had a party for him at my aunt's house and it was a lot of fun, although it ended with some drama. My aunt fell and had to go go the hospital and my cousin almost choked. So it was eventful if nothing else. We had some wonderful food though! We had London Broil, coleslaw, pasta salad, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, homemade French bread, and tomato slices. I didn't get any pics of the whole spread. But I do have pics and recipes for the dishes I made. I asked my brother what his favorite dessert is and he requested Oreo Truffles. I hadn't made them since the holidays, so I was excited to make them again. They are a bit tedious and messy, but so worth it. And my aunt also asked if I could bring some bread. So I decided to try my hand at making some French bread loaves. It was fun and I will definitely be making them again the next time I want some crusty bread.
I was originally going to make a recipe for Italian bread that I found on the back of my bag of bread flour. But I saw the French bread in Bean's blog and decided to give it a whirl. I doubled it so it made 2 loaves instead of one. The original recipe can be found in the manual for the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. It turned out delicious and was a huge hit.
French Bread (source: Bean's Bistro and the Kitchenaid Mixer manual)
2 packages active dry yeast
2 1/2 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
7 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cold water
Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl (you can warm the mixer bowl by rinsing it with warm water). Add salt, butter and flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. turn to Speed 2 and mix until well blended, about one minute. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer. Dough will be sticky *this is where i may have made a mistake. I added all 7 cups of flour before kneading. the bread came out a bit dry. so next time i will start out by only adding 6 cups of flour and go from there.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll each half into a 12x15 rectangle. Roll dough tightly, from longest side, tapering ends if desired. place loaves on greased baking sheets that have been dusted with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
With a sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts on top of each loaf. Bake at 450 for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Beat egg white and water together with a fork. Brush each loaf with egg mixture. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.
Now for the truffle recipe :-)
Easy Oreo Truffles (source: Kraft Foods, and the WC nesties)
1 pkg Oreo Sandwich Cookies, divided
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
2 pkg (8 oz each) Baker's Semisweet Baking Chocolate, melted
Crush 9 of the cookies into fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin) Crush remaining 36 cookies into fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1 inch in diameter. *i rolled my truffles one at a time and i did not get 42 balls from the mixture.
Dip balls into chocolate; place on wax paper- lined baking sheets. (any leftover chocolate can be stores at room temperature for another use) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.
*i find that the easiest way to melt the chocolate is in the microwave. i also add a small amount of vegetable oil to the melted chocolate to make it easier to work with.