Whole Wheat Focaccia with Roasted Grapes and Goat Cheese

Whole Wheat Focaccia with Roasted Grapes and Goat Cheese:

Before we sit down to chat and eat this whole wheat focaccia I think you should go out, buy some seedless grapes, come home, roast them with the tiniest amount of olive oil, and try one. I really, really hope you´ll be as amazed at their sweet flavor as I was. Almost a candy in the form of a soft grape. 
Then the conversation about this whole wheat focaccia with roasted grapes and the mandatory amount of olive oil it needs, will go smoothly and you´ll be as excited about it as I am.

I don´t remember the first time I baked or had focaccia really, but what I do remember with absolute clarity, is the first time I had a focaccia that forever stayed in my mind, as is explained in this post about a walnut, potato and blue cheeseone.

Through the years I made it so many times, using so many recipes, and most of them were perfectly amazing, with a lot of olive oil that seeps into the dough and leaves a mate finish on top, and myself with an incredulous look, like where did the olive oil go? 
But the flavor wouldn´t be the same if all that fruity oil didn´t permeate the surface of the dough, it would be more of a regular bread dough with some sort of olive taste. 
So I liberally drench it in olive oil, the good kind, the strong kind, because that´s how I like it.

This is the first time making a whole wheat version, which includes about half bread flour. It´s difficult to achieve the sponginess of focaccia using only whole wheat flour, but I don´t discard making a few tries, after all I do make a 100% whole wheat bread with a crumb like you wouldn´t believe it, a recipe by Beth Hensperger, whose challah is the first bread I ever made.

On to the grapes, so sweet and juicy. The first time I roasted strawberries I felt the same way. I had made a tapioca pudding with coconut milk and decided to roast a mango and strawberries after seeing it on another site. Can I roast everything from now on? It really makes things better. It puts me in a very good mood, and isn´t that one of life´s aims, to be happy? Let´s roast then.

Focaccia adapted from The Italian Baker, by Carol Field 

Roasted grapes from No Need to Kneadby Suzanne Dunaway

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1 ½ cups warm water
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cups superfine whole wheat flour
About 2 ½ to 3 cups bread or all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
About ½ cup olive oil, to sprinkle before the topping
Roasted grapes, recipe below
2 or 3 Tbs fresh rosemary
Sea salt
1 cup feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the yeast and water with a pinch of sugar. Let stand 5 minutes or until foamy.
Add the olive oil and whole wheat flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until blended and attach to the mixer with the dough hook. Gradually add salt and bread flour, ½ cup at a time while mixing at medium low speed. Knead for about 5 minutes and check to see if it needs more flour. It should be elastic and just a bit sticky. If it´s pooling too much in the bottom of the pan or too wet add more bread flour, by tablespoons, until you have a velvety dough that doesn´t stick but is not stiff. I prefer to err on the wet side, since focaccia doesn´t have to be formed into any shape and a too stiff dough will mean a tougher bread.
Coat a clean bowl with olive oil, transfer dough, turn to coat in the oil, cover and let rise until doubled at room temperature, about 1 to 1 ¼ hours.
Oil two 9x13x2 inch baking pans. Preheat oven to 400º.
Transfer dough to a barely floured board and divide in two. Gather each half, place it inside the pans and, with oiled hands, press toward the borders until you fill the whole pan. If the dough resists, wait a few minutes and then stretch again with your fingers.
Liberally sprinkle with about ¼ cup olive oil each dough, scatter roasted grapes and rosemary on top, add sea salt to taste and let rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until almost double, 35 to 45 minutes.
Dimple the dough with your fingers one last time, and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and top looks dry and crusty.
Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes, transfer to wooden surface, add crumbled feta cheese on top, more olive oil and black pepper to taste.
Cut into squares and serve.
Makes 2 focaccia.
Roasted grapes: Preheat oven to 350º. Put about 4 cups seedless grapes, the sweeter the better, and sprinkle with only 1 teaspoon olive oil, rolling them around to coat. Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, until they begin to collapse and brown.
Don´t over roast them at this point because they will continue cooking with the focaccia.



Chocolate-Peanut Meringue Kisses …

From Martha Stewart:


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces roasted salted peanuts, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine egg whites, confectioners’ sugar, and pinch of salt. Set bowl over (not in) a pot of barely simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is warm and frothy and sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and, using an electric mixer, beat mixture on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then fold in peanuts and chocolate. Transfer mixture to a quart-size zip-top bag; with scissors, cut a 3/4-inch hole in one corner.
  2. Pipe 30 mounds (1 inch tall and 1 1/2 inches wide), 1 inch apart, on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake, using the handle of a wooden spoon to keep oven door slightly ajar, until dry to the touch, about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack before peeling off parchment.


How To Make Amaretto…

What You Will Need:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Vodka
What To Do:
  1. Into a heavy bottom sauce pan add: water, sugars and bring to a boil. Cook until sugars are well dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for approximately 15 minutes.
  2. To pan add: extracts and vodka. Mix to combine.
  3. Pour Amaretto into desired jars and cap. Store in a cool/dry location.
I have recipes that use
I think it would be cheaper
to buy the vodka than
the bottle of
Amaretto ?? 


Elephant Ear Cookies…

from Martha Stewart:


  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for surface
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • All-purpose flour, for rolling
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (from one 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • 1 large egg, beaten well


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast pecans on a baking sheet until fragrant and lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. Grind pecans, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until very finely chopped (mixture should resemble very coarse sand).
  3. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Place puff pastry sheets side by side on floured parchment; press together at seam to form a 9 1/2-by-18-inch rectangle. Roll out to an 11-by-20-inch rectangle using a rolling pin. Transfer pastry on parchment to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. Brush generously with beaten egg, and evenly sprinkle with pecan mixture, patting it into dough. Starting with a short side, use one hand to roll up as tightly as possible, holding unrolled portion firmly with other palm. Brush off excess flour with a dry pastry brush as you are rolling, and press sides back into shape (they tend to splay). Roll tightly in parchment.
  4. Freeze dough until firm, about 20 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1-inch slices. Generously sprinkle a work surface with granulated sugar, and coat both cut sides of dough slices in sugar. Press dough slices to flatten slightly. Roll out into 6- to 7-inch rounds on sugared surface, sprinkling more sugar on top as needed. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 3 per sheet; refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Bake in batches until golden brown, 17 to 18 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool on baking sheets.



Cook’s Note

Lend Me Your Ears
Elephant ear cookies are rolled out on a sugar-sprinkled work surface to ensure that they’re evenly coated.



Peanut Butter Filled Cuppy Cakes …

Don’t be fooled by this simply dressed cupcake.
We hid its sweet secret inside:
a creamy, fluffy peanut butter filling.

  • Prep Time20 minutes
  • Total Time45 minutes + cooling
  • Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray, then dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a mixer, beat in eggs, buttermilk, oil, and 3/4 cup water on medium until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Divide batter among cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes and let cool completely on rack.
  3. In a large bowl, using mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter on high until fluffy, 3 minutes; fold in marshmallow topping. Transfer to a zip-top bag and cut off one corner to make a 1/2-inch opening.
  4. With a melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake base and set aside (these pieces will plug cupcakes after filling). Hollow out each cupcake a bit more, discarding crumbs. Fill cavities with peanut butter mixture and replace plugs. (Refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 1 week.) To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar. 
From Martha Stewart :)


Bake a Cake Inside an Orange Peel for a Tasty Campfire Treat…

from Lifehacker by Alan Henry

Bake a Cake Inside an Orange Peel for a Tasty Campfire Treat Want a delicious campfire dessert? Once you’ve enjoyed the tasty insides of an orange, fill it with chocolate cake batter or your favorite mix, wrap it up in foil, and then place the package on the smoldering coals of your fire. In about a half-hour, you’ll have a delicious single-serving cake, ready to eat.

Just slice an orange off at the top, and hollow out the pulp on the inside (don’t waste it!) and fill the bottom about three-quarters the way with the batter. Wrap it up and make sure it’s resting on a spot of your campfire that’s away from any direct, intense flames so it can cook slowly. After about a half-hour, you’ll have a tasty treat.

The approach here is similar to the egg in an orange method we’ve covered before, but has the side benefit that the taste of orange actually goes well with chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake Baked in an Orange | CHOW via BoingBoing

Squirmy Jelly Worms…


2 packs (3 oz) Raspberry jello
1 pkg unflavored gelatin (for extra firmness)
3/4 cup whipping cream
3 cups boiling water

15 drops green food coloring
100 flexible straws (or enough to fill your container)
Tall container (1 quart or 1 liter carton of milk)
Combine gelatin in bowl and add boiling water.
Let it cool to lukewarm and then add the whipping cream and 15 drops green food coloring.
Gather your straws (don’t forget to flex them out) and put them in the container. It’s important that the straws have a tight fit so the jello stays in the straws. For this reason, a 1 liter carton may be better; you will probably get longer worms since there is a tighter fit. If you have a bigger container, a rubber band around the straws is helpful. Or you could just add more straws to fill the container.
Add the gelatin mixture to the straw-filled container and let it set until firm.

There are multiple ways you can remove the worms from the straws. You can roll a rolling pin over the straws and squeeze them out or you can hold the straws over warm water. The worms will slip right out.
Recipe as seen Instructables.

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