Girl Versus Dough

introducing: how to make sourdough bread

a loaf of sourdough bread on a cutting board

Weeee! Friends, pardon my ridiculous enthusiasm, but today is a day I’ve been waiting for for a long, long while. I’m here on this snowy Sunday to introduce you to a new, two-week series I am posting on Girl Versus Dough titled: How to Make Sourdough Bread. I hope you are as eager to learn as I am to teach you all about sourdough bread from starter to loaf. Let’s get baking!

Today has literally been years in the making. For a very long time, I’ve been wanting to create an in-depth series on how to make sourdough bread from scratch — like, the kind that is formed entirely from wild yeast, looks like artisan bread and tastes like the kind of bread you get from a bakery but you bake it AT HOME. I’m here to take you by the hand and help you every step of the way until you, too, have a beautiful baked loaf of sourdough in your own kitchen. It’s possible, and you CAN do it. I totally believe in you.

chocolate alfajores

a stacked tower of chocolate alfajores

These chocolate alfajores — South American caramel cookies with dulce de leche-filled centers inside a cookie sandwich — are officially the mascot cookie of our household. The cookies have the taste and texture of a brownie and the caramel center is thick and creamy. So yeah, it’s safe to say this cookie recipe is not going anywhere anytime soon… except straight into our bellies.

When you know you’ve stumbled upon a good cookie idea, you just know, you know?

You know. I know you know.

That’s what happened to me, anyway, when the idea for chocolate alfajores — aka, brownie-like dulce de leche sandwich cookies — came to mind. And I just KNEW. You know?

triple berry cream cheese coffee cake

a close-up shot of a slice of berry cream cheese coffee cake

Never underestimate the powers of a good coffee cake. This Triple Berry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake satisfies in all the ways: it warms your heart, tickles your taste buds and fills your belly. Each bite contains fresh berries, cheesecake filling and an exceedingly thick crumb topping. Serve with a cup of hot coffee or tea for the ultimate coffee cake experience.

I am putting to rest all of my past experiences with coffee cakes — the kind you buy at the store where the dough is spongy (and not in a good way), the cream cheese filling is thin and bland and the icing drizzle on top is pretty, sure, but cloyingly sweet… and the whole thing just isn’t very satisfying.

While I admit, yes, I loved these cakes for weekend breakfasts of my youth, I am (and my taste buds are) older and wiser and enlightened to the idea of what a coffee cake really should be — and it should always and forever henceforth be just like this Triple Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. And I’ll tell you why.

creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese with pancetta + spinach

creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese in cast iron skillet

This creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese is just as easy and satisfying as any homemade mac and cheese, but BETTER. Made with a decadent white cheddar cheese sauce, crispy diced pancetta, fresh baby spinach and fusilli pasta noodles, it’s fancy enough for date night but simple enough for a weeknight family dinner. Prepare thyself to fall in love with a new pasta meal.

Want to know what I love the most about this macaroni and cheese recipe? The CREAMINESS. Oh, but those crispy bits of salty pancetta, too. And the fresh spinach mixed into the cheese sauce. And the spiraled noodles that hug in all that cheesy, creamy goodness. OK, you know what, fine — I love all of it the most. One taste, and I suspect you (and every member of your family) will, too.

golden oreo dirt cups

a golden oreo dirt cup on a cutting board with a spoon next to it

Feel like a kid again with these fancy but fun Golden Oreo Dirt Cups! A from-scratch white chocolate pudding is combined with fresh whipped cream and topped with crushed vanilla sandwich cookies (and gummy worms, of course) for a sweet twist on the classic. Everyone will go crazy for these cups!

Um, hi, my name is Stephanie and I just made the most amazingly basic-but-totally-not-basic dessert recipe: Golden Oreo Dirt Cups. YES I DID.

This recipe came from one of those moments of inspiration that just smacks you in the face. You know what I mean? When you’re just sitting on the couch watching The Bachelor minding your own business when suddenly, BAM: the idea hits you? That’s exactly how it all happened for me.

My first thought was to make a fancy grown-up version of a dirt cup, maybe with dark chocolate or booze. Then my thoughts turned to white chocolate. Then I thought about white chocolate pudding, made from scratch. Then I thought about topping it with Golden Oreos. And then I drooled a bit (OK, a lot).

And well, friends, the rest is history. And here. we. are.

bananas foster upside-down cake

bananas foster upside down cake sliced

In this Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake recipe, a moist, tender, rum-infused spice cake is topped with drippy caramel and sliced bananas to make the most delicious twist on the classic upside-down cake. One bite is all it takes to fall in love with this dessert mashup for life.

We’ve officially entered full-on cabin fever mode around these parts. The snow drifts cover the bottom third of our windows and the wind bends the pine trees outside just beyond our patio and all I can do is sit inside, clad in wool socks with a chunky blanket around my shoulders, and will it to be springtime already. I mean, the groundhog didn’t see his shadow this year, right? Spring has to be just around the corner. Unfortunately, the weather forecast says otherwise.

So instead of pouting about it, I bake. It keeps our home a little warmer, a little cozier, and we all seem to be a little less stir-crazy when dessert is around — especially if that dessert is this bananas foster upside-down cake.