Brioche Rolls

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1 1/ 3 cup milk
3 eggs
1/ 4 cup sugar
4 cups flour
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoons yeast

1. Mix together in a bowl until dough forms. (Or use the dough option on your bread machine.) Let dough rise and then knead again.
2. Divide dough into 12 or 16 large balls and an equal amount of very small balls. Place large balls of dough into greased muffin tins.
3. Press down in the center of each one to form an indentation into which you will place the smaller ball of dough. Cover muffin pans with a clean cloth.
Let rolls rise another 40 minutes or more.
4. Brush tops of rolls with a mixture of 1 beaten egg and 1/ 2 tablespoon of sugar.
5. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
6. Serve warm with butter.
7. ENJOY – I bet you can’t eat just one!

Can we talk? If you’re a subscriber to Somebody’s Mom, my gut tells me that you are already in my corner. I am not a perfect person, but I think my readers “get” me. I appreciate you and am delighted folks take an interest in my passion for cooking.

I have a bread machine that was given to me by my good friend, Kazue, over 15 years ago. When she had to return to Japan after residing in New York for a few years, she left her bread machine behind. Never having owned one, I was thrilled to become the honored recipient. I eventually came to the conclusion that what I enjoyed most was creating different types of dough more than using the machine to bake the actual loaf. I love the fact that it does the hardest part of preparing bread; it kneads the dough for you. I have made every kind of bread dough imaginable in my machine, such as potato, sweet potato, sour dough, dill, etc. I remove the dough after the dough cycle ends and then place it in individual mini loaf pans or muffin pans and allow it to rise again, for extra fluffy breads.

I’ve made Brioche many times before using my bread machine. One sad day, my bread machine started to smoke and the dough overflowed from the dough bucket inside the machine. Not one to waste good dough, I salvaged most of it and shaped it into rolls and placed them in greased muffin pans. To my great relief and delight, the rolls were delicious!

After 15 years of hard use, I figured my little inherited bread maker had lived way beyond its life expectancy. Seriously, if I get 10 to 12 years out of any of my machines, I feel I am ahead of the game. I mentioned to my husband, Tom, that I would be looking to buy a new bread machine, because I couldn’t live without one now. Tom said he could fix it; it’s in his DNA to tinker with something before he throws in the towel to buy something new. True to his word, he took apart the whole bread machine and patiently cleaned every nook and cranny, then put it back together. Perfect! No smoke came out and the pizza dough I made was fine. I should have known he would be able to fix my bread maker from what my friend, Tilly, had told me months earlier. She had a 25-year-old Robot Cupe food processor that wasn’t working. She told me she was confident that Tom could fix it. Sure enough, she asked Tom to take a look the next time he was at her house. He took the look, fixed it, and it is still working as of today.

Some things in life are worth fixing – even old kitchen machines!!

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BUTTERMILK PECAN MUFFINS

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¼ cup butter, softened
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 ½ cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour

¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans

1. Oven 350 degrees.
2. Grease well a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper cup cake liners.
3. In a bowl beat butter, sugar, buttermilk, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the bowl, mixing thoroughly. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
4. In a small bowl mix the ½ teaspoon cinnamon with the brown sugar and pecans.
5. Fill muffin cups ½ way up with batter. Spoon some sugar pecan mixture, and repeat with a little more batter to make up ¾ filling the muffin cup. Sprinkle top with the sugar pecan mixture.
6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 8 to 12 large muffins. Can be frozen after baking.
7. ENJOY! – Sunday morning never smelled so good!…..

Buttermilk is such a great addition when baking muffins and cakes. Buttermilk is usually sold in quart containers only. This is 4 cups. It would be very rare if you use the whole container when baking this recipe. Even when I double or triple this recipe I have leftover buttermilk. That is when I start baking buttermilk biscuits or buttermilk bread. For me it is fun to figure out how to use up the leftover buttermilk. I usually start searching through my very large recipe collection. I have dozens of books and loose paper recipes.

For my Japanese readers, I understand in Japan buttermilk is not common. I found an American company that sells powdered buttermilk packets and I have sent them to my friends in Japan. Also if you check your substitute charts in your cookbooks you may find a way to make buttermilk from adding lemon juice to regular milk. Then you let it sit for a few minutes before using. I have used this method in a pinch when needed, but truthfully I would run out to the store to buy the buttermilk.

I have substituted walnuts for pecans if I have no pecans in the house. My daughter, Marisa, says I am a nut because I always need to have a large supply of pecans, walnuts and almonds in the house, just in case I need them. If heaven forbid I run out of nuts, I have to go the store and buy some immediately. It drives my kids crazy. I put nuts in everything. When you love to cook and bake like I do, you have to have a fully stocked kitchen. So, I replenish all my baking supplies whenever I notice something is running low.

This recipe was originally called Noreen’s muffins because of course, my friend, Noreen gave me the recipe. Noreen lived next door to us in our old neighborhood. Noreen was very pretty, very fit and trim. Noreen never really baked; she lifted weights for fun. However, one day she was watching a television show that showed how to make strawberry buttermilk muffins and she made them. She gave me the recipe. I changed it to cinnamon pecan muffins. That was probably the first and last time Noreen baked. Fast forward 18 years later, Noreen is still pretty and still fit and trim. She didn’t even remember giving me the recipe for the muffins. I did try to make the muffins with the strawberries but they didn’t seem to come out right for me. That’s when I started to experiment with, what else, nuts.

Experiment with recipes; don’t be afraid to change something. Cooking should be fun and interesting. The greatest mistakes I have made have turned into some of my greatest triumphs. Unfortunately, I don’t always remember what I did wrong!

Corn Cheddar Muffins

Corn Cheddar Muffins

  • Servings: 18
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/8 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten

1. Oven 375 degrees.
2. Line muffin pans with paper cup liners.
3. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients together, flour, cornmeal,
sugar and baking soda.
4. Add eggs, sour cream and melted butter. Stir with a wooden spoon
until mixed well. Add cheddar cheese last. Mix again.
5. Spoon into paper liners. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden
6. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen. Serve warm or after completely cooled. Freeze in a ziploc bag immediately for serving at another time.
7. Optional recipe – Use the following ingredients and follow steps one to six.
2 boxes of 8 ounce corn muffin mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup sour cream and 1 stick of
butter, melted.
8. I may be corny, but I make a great muffin!


In the past, I had a recipe for Buttermilk Corn Muffins, but these corn cheddar muffins are made differently altogether. Both recipes are moist and tasty. The muffins can be altered to your own taste. I grew up on corn bread and corn muffins. The best and easiest corn muffins are the ones that usually sell at three packages for $1.00. You can’t beat that price. I always keep the packages in my house. There is nothing like waking up on a cold morning (in my house it is cold!) and having a warm oven on with the smell of corn muffins throughout the house. I try to make the mix the night before because if the muffin mix sits for a while, the muffins come out fluffy and lighter. Most homemade corn muffin recipes are dry and tasteless. If you do try a recipe from a cookbook, try to alter the recipe by adding a little bit more sugar and possibly a bit more shortening (butter, margarine or oil), as this may help the dryness and add to the flavor.

Whenever I make cornbread or muffins, I remember my Uncle Johnny. I grew up in a two-family house. My mom, dad, my grandmother (my father’s mother), my brother and I lived upstairs. My mother’s sister, Aunt Martha, Uncle Johnny and their three daughters lived downstairs. I had a very happy and special childhood living with all this extended family under one roof. We had all the holidays at our house filled with family and friends. In our back yard was a round gazebo covered with grapevines, with a table and wooden benches built inside. All of us would eat our dinner together in the gazebo during the summer. This house and attached special yard was located in the middle of Queens, New York, on a busy street. We had the Long Island railroad and three factories on this little city block. I never realized I lived in the middle of factory workers and rumbling trains every 10 minutes. I knew my family and life was good. That was back in 1968 and this is now. When dad passed away, mom and my aunt sold the house. My cousins, brother and I moved away. Mom lived alone, and my aunt and uncle had an apartment. I tried to recapture that extended family from my childhood by inviting everyone to my home for the holidays. For a few years we were all together, and it was as I remembered. My children had all the benefits of being surrounded by the whole family. As time went by, my aunt passed away, and then my uncle was alone. He would come for a visit and have lunch with my mother and another uncle. I always sent him home with some cornbread. Uncle Johnny loved it. It was just a small thing for me to do; to bake something for someone to take home. When Uncle Johnny went into a nursing home, I wanted to take some cornbread to him, but food was not allowed. I regret not taking it to him any way; some rules are made to be broken for the right reason. After that he passed away.

I still have my brother and cousins. They have their families and children and grandchildren. But I will always miss my house, my extended family and the times we had together.
It’s not where you live, it’s who you live with that makes a house a happy home!

Don’t forget the ones in your life that are getting older. A little bit goes a long way, so take time today to “bake someone happy” and you’ll be happy too!