Playing with Dough

Comedians sometimes confess they use the antics of their families for joke fodder. This practice isn’t always applauded by the family members, however.

As someone who has a blog, I can identify with a comedian’s plight. When you write – you always need new material! Bless my own family for tolerating my gleefully raised eyebrow whenever I spot one of them involved in something with “blog-topic” potential. 😉

Today, the thanks and kudos go to Sir Beads for allowing me to unexpectedly accost him – paparazzi-style – as he attempted to recreate a baked treat he had watched his grandmother make when he was a kid.

Although I never met her, I’ve heard much about this wonderful cook, who was “Grandma” to Sir Beads and his brothers. She was born in old Czechoslovakia but came to the U. S. as a young girl. She eventually married, raised a large family, and was dearly loved by all of them. Sir Beads says he can still see her fingers nimbly handling the dough while she deftly braided a large loaf of bread called “hoska”. And he can still taste the delicious wheel-shaped pastries she made by the dozens called “kolache”.

From Wikipedia:Kolache (also spelled kolace, kolach, or kolacky) from the Czech and Slovak is a type of pastry that holds a dollop of fruit rimmed by a puffy pillow of supple dough. Originating as a semisweet wedding dessert from Central Europe . . .”

curlylineLuckily, I had the camera handy and the batteries charged last week when Sir Beads made “kolache” . . .

I was impressed with how he handled the dough. (It must be genetic!)


Cutting them out . . .


Adding the fruit filling . . .


Brushing them with butter after baking.


A generous sprinkle of powdered sugar once they are cool.


I think: They came out great – absolutely delicious!

He says: “They’re ok . . . but not Grandma’s.” (He adds that he’ll try again.)


I fibbed when I wrote “3-dozen” in the photo just above.

Kindly subtract 4 from that. 😉

(We did have to immediately “check” them . . . just to see if they were ok, don’t ya know.)



Pumpkin Spice Bread Recipe

pumpkinteapotTemperatures in our area went down into the 40’s last night!

Autumn is definitely knocking on the door.

I must admit that I am so looking forward to baking again, though!

During the heat of summer, I avoid the oven if at all possible. No sense in adding fuel to the fire, so to speak. Now, with the cooler weather, it will be fun to make some new recipes as well as the old favorites! Here’s one you might enjoy. 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Bread (Makes 3 Mini Loaves)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin (or 1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Cinnamon Sugar Glaze (below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottoms of 3 miniature (5-inch by 3-inch) loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, oil and water until well combined. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Stir in raisins. Divide batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely. Drizzle with Cinnamon Sugar Glaze. Makes 3 miniature loaves.

Cinnamon Sugar Glaze

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk. Stir in more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until of drizzling consistency.


Friday Favorites


For this week’s Friday Favorites, I found a vintage photo that I couldn’t resist.

These two little ones are serious about their cookie baking!


To go along with the cooking theme, I have a couple of quotes for you – one serious, one funny!

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy.
And, cooking done with care is an act of love.

~Craig Clairborne

This recipe is certainly silly. It says to separate two eggs,
but it doesn’t say how far to separate them.

~Gracie Allen


Her Irish Eyes Were Smiling

irishMy grandmother was born and grew up in Ireland. Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, there’s something I like to do to remember “Nana”, and also to help get into the spirit of the holiday!

“Make paper garlands of shamrocks?” (You ask.)

No . . . ( I answer.)

“Go to a St Patrick’s Day parade?” (You guess.)

Nope! ( I smile.)

“C’mon Crystal – just say it!” (You sigh. 😉 )


Well . . . although I also do this at other times of the year, I especially like to do it for St Patrick’s Day.

First, I gather my supplies.


After mixing, kneading, and baking, I have this.


If you have never tasted homemade Irish Bread, you must try it sometime! I do mean homemade though, because the stuff they sell in stores is nothing like real Irish Bread!

Labeling the store version as “Irish Bread” is like comparing a loaf of generic, air-filled, white sandwich bread in a plastic bag to a mouth-watering, home-baked, crusty, loaf of yeast bread.

Here – let me give you some to try, along with a little butter and nice hot cup of tea!


Whenever my grandmother prepared this snack for me, her Irish eyes were smiling. If you are not familiar with it, think of a combination of cake and bread – sweet but with a heavier texture than cake would have, and liberally sprinkled with regular raisins, golden raisins, and caraway seeds. A recipe can be found here.

A wish for you on this St. Patrick’s Day . . .


May your mornings bring joy,

and your evenings bring peace . . .

May your troubles grow less

as your blessings increase!


Friday Favorites

This week’s Friday Favorites features a vintage “trade card”. These charming little pieces of the past were often used by stores and businesses in the late 1800’s as a way to advertise their products. People enjoyed collecting them during shopping trips and then pasting them into large scrapbooks – a popular pastime of that era. (For more info on vintage trade cards, click here).


As you can see, this card was from a coffee company. I just love it! Something about it reminds me of my sisters and me. I looked for a little poem or short verse to accompany the picture, but had no luck.

I’m no poet, as you’ll see, but I thought it would be fun to add a few lines anyway as a little shout-out to my sisters…

The Little Bakers

Today we’ll be baking – my sisters and me.
Lil Sue’s on her tiptoes – just so she can see!
I’m in my new apron for this cooking fest . . .
And Nancy’s on tabletop giving her best.
But “Mittens” is wondering if when it’s all done,
We’ll give him a morsel to join in the fun!