Italian Cheese Breadsticks

I started making these breadsticks in 1992, adapted from a recipe in my favorite bread cookbook, Clayton’s Book of Breads.  Be sure to use a good sharp, full-flavored cheese.

Italian Cheese Breadsticks

  • Servings: One to two dozen, depending on size
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2 Tblsp. Fast acting yeast
2 tsp salt
2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1-1/2 cups water, heated to 130 degrees F
¼ cup canola oil
1-1/2 cups good flavored cheese, grated

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place yeast, salt, sugar and 2 cups of flour.

Heat water to 130 degrees F, add cheese and stir to melt, reheat mixture to 130 degrees F.

Pour water/cheese mixture into bowl with flour mixture, add oil.  Beat on medium speed with a paddle beater for 3 minutes.  Remove the paddle beater and insert a dough hook.  Continue to beat at medium speed, adding flour gradually for 6-½ minutes.  You may not need all of the flour.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Punch down dough and using ¼ cup of dough, form into a cigar-shaped roll 5 inches long.  Place on a greased baking pan 3 inches apart.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake breadsticks for approximately 12 minutes until they are golden brown.  Remove to a rack to cool.




Orange and Walnut Biscotti


I like this biscotti better than any I have had in a bakery or coffee shop.  They are not too sweet, have a light orange flavor and a lot of crunchy walnuts, and are very easy to make.

Everything is mixed by hand in one bowl – no mixer – and takes just a little handling to form.  The dough is divided and plopped in big globs on a parchment-lined cookie sheet to make two piles.  Then, with water-dampened hands, the dough is formed into two rustic-looking logs.


The slow baking takes a little time – 25 minutes @ 300 degrees F and then 30 minutes @ 275 degrees to make the crispy slices.


I enjoy these very much just as a quick snack  (they travel well) or dunked in tea or coffee.

Orange and Walnut Biscotti

¼ cup light olive oil
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. grated orange peel
2 eggs
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1-¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, orange extract, orange peel and 2 eggs.  Whisk in salt and baking powder, then with a spoon, stir in the flour and chopped walnuts until blended.

Spoon half of the batter onto one side of the prepared baking sheet, making a rough cylinder.  Spoon the remaining half of batter onto the other side of the baking sheet, making a rough cylinder.  With water-moistened hands, form each cylinder into a a log about 12 inches long x 2 inches wide, allowing a space between the two logs.

Bake @ 300 degrees F for 25 minutes until dough is just cooked through and lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 275 DEGREES F.

Remove each loaf to a cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut diagonally into ¾ inch wide slices.  Place the slices on their sides on a rack that has been placed on the baking sheet.  Leave a little space between slices.  Bake @ 275 degrees F for 15 minutes, turn slices to the other side and bake for another 15 minutes.  Biscotti should feel dry and be golden brown.  Remove rack from pan and allow to cool completely.

Makes about 16 biscotti. 


Twinkie Tiramisu

My youngest daughter loves Twinkies and dropped a big hint when she saw a recipe online for a recipe for Tiramisu that used them as the base.  I borrowed the idea of the Twinkies but otherwise used my own recipe for Tiramisu.


* 5-½ Twinkies
* 4 oz. light cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
* 15 oz. light ricotta cheese
* 2 cups light Cool Whip whipped topping
* 1/2 cup Kahlua or coffee liqueur (to pour over Twinkies)
* One Hershey chocolate Nugget

Place Twinkies in bottom of 9×9 inch dish.

Pour Kahlua or liqueur over Twinkies.  There will be some in the bottom of the dish which the Twinkies will soak up.

In a large mixer bowl, beat together the cream cheese and ricotta cheese until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip whipped topping.

Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the top of the Twinkies.

A microplaner is good to use for grating the chocolate Nugget over the top of the dish.

Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Yield:  6-8 servings 

Since not everyone in the family is that fond of Twinkies, I also made a batch of my original version, using Italian lady fingers…

This recipe was first posted in November of 2008.  Click here for my original recipe.

For the big taste-off, only my youngest daughter and I were willing to try the Twinkie Tiramisu.  We found it to be very similar to the lady finger version –  a little bit sweeter.  My daughter said there was a faint Twinkie “aftertaste”, which I didn’t pick up.

The Italian lady fingers version would be lower in fat and calories, but for dyed-in-the-wool Twinkie lovers, there’s nothing like that jolt of sweet cream filling.

Eggplant Parmesan

One of my favorite dishes is Eggplant Parmesan – but only if the eggplant isn’t mushy.  I discovered this food back in the late 1970s at a Cincinnati restaurant which is no longer in business.  The eggplant was just right.

I first used this recipe back in 1980 from a Redbook cookbook, trying to duplicate the old restaurant specialty.  I liked it best in the mid-1980s when we grew our own eggplant – a Japanese version that was small, had few seeds and had a good consistency when cooked.  I happened to see a Japanese eggplant at the market and thought I would give it a try.  It was very close to my old Italian restaurant favorite.

This eggplant was about 8″ long and about 2″ thick at the widest part.  It had a very thin skin so it wasn’t necessary to peel it.


  • One Japanese eggplant, about 8″ long (about 1 lb.)
  • 1/2 cup undiluted evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • Grating of black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup of spaghetti/pasta sauce
  • 1 cup mozarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Remove ends of eggplant and cut into 1/2″ slices.

Get out three small bowls and in one, place the undiluted evaporated milk; in the second bowl, the flour; and in the third bowl, the Italian bread crumbs.  Dip each eggplant slice in the milk, then in the flour, then back in the milk and in the crumbs, coating both sides of the eggplant.  Repeat with remaining pieces of eggplant.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and place the coated eggplant slices in a single layer in the pan.  Cook until slices are browned on both sides, adding a little more oil if necessary.

Remove from heat and place slices on a piece of paper towel to drain.

Place the spaghetti/pasta sauce in a 9″ baking pan. Arrange eggplant on top of the sauce.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes @ 350 degrees F. Cool on rack for 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve over cooked pasta.

Yield:  4 generous servings

Peach Lasagne

I just discovered this recipe last summer and used it several times when peaches were at their best.  I watched a TV demo on Lidia’s Italian Cooking and thought it sounded wonderful.  It’s a good way to use leftover Italian or French bread.  I would recommend using a hearty bread rather than your favorite supermarket white loaf.


Fruit Layer:

  • 3 lbs. ripe peaches
  • Juice and grated peel of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

Bread Layer:

  • 6 Tblsp. butter
  • 8 slices hearty bread, sliced fairly thin
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. sugar

Crumb Topping:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tblsp. butter
  • 3 Tblsp. slivered almonds

Preheat oven @ 350 degrees F

Peel peaches and cut into 1/4″ thick wedges.  Place peach slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice, lemon peel and 3/4 cup granulated sugar.  Set aside.

Slice bread into the equivalent of 8 thin slices.  In this case, I used some leftover Italian bread.

Melt 3 Tblsp. butter in large skillet and lay in half of bread slices.   Brown on each side.  Repeat with remaining butter and bread slices.  Sprinkle slices with 1-1/2 Tblsp. granulated sugar.

Line the bottom of a 9″ baking dish with half of the browned bread slices – should just cover the bottom without overlapping.  Spoon half of peaches/juices on top, arrange a second layer of bread over surface and a final layer of peaches.

Mix together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and cut in butter.  Mix in slivered almonds.  Crumble over the top of the peach lasagne and bake covered for 50 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes longer.

Serve warm.