How to make the best oven baked fries

So right now I should be preparing some wedding invitations, but instead I’m here to share my love of french fries. They are my one weakness (maybe because I’m french ha!), when I go to a restaurant I usually get french fries as my side, or a poutine if I can. For those of you who are not familiar with poutine, its a delicious Canadian dish that consists of french fries smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds. In my opinion, its the perfect dish! Some people, like myself, eat it with ketchup, and you can add other tasty things like chicken, beef or lobster. But for now, I’m going to focus on just french fries, because you need the perfect side dish to all those great burgers you’ll be making on the BBQ this summer.

Once again this is a compilation of a bunch of different recipes I have tried over the years. I have recently come across some great tips on Pinterest that have been real game changers! For years I’ve been making home made fries in the oven, they are much healthier and you can add your favorite seasonings and spices. My fries always tasted great, but often they would be too dry, almost like chips, or they would turn into a messy mushy pile because they were too soft and not crispy. I was having a difficult time finding the perfect balance. So I gathered the tips and tricks I came across over the last few months and put them to the test, and here are the results:

What you need:

4-6 large potatoes (approx. 4 portions)
olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic powder
chili powder

Preheat the oven to 420 degrees, place your pan (I use a medium sized cookie sheet) in the oven while its heating up. This is trick #1, once your fries are ready for the oven, the pan will be nice and hot and they will start to cook as soon as they hit the pan. This will help them get crispy on the outside and also keep them from sticking to the pan.

While the oven is heating up, clean and rinse the potatoes, then cut them into strips. I like them a little on the thicker side, I use the classic knife and cutting board combo, no fancy gadgets. And I always leave the skins on, so much better. Once the potatoes are cut place them in a large bowl full of cold water for about 15-20 minutes. This is trick #2, the fries will soak up some of the water and this will help them from getting too dry while they are cooking. You will end up with crispy fries on the outside and fluffy potato goodness on the inside.

Once the fries have had time to soak, drain them, pat them dry with some paper towel and put them back into the large bowl. I always start by adding about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of olive oil first and then toss the fries to make sure they are evenly coated, this will help the seasoning stick to the fries and will also help them from sticking to the pan. I add a dash of salt and pepper, a sprinkle of garlic powder and just a little chili powder for a little kick, once again make sure to mix well so the fries are evenly coated. You can really throw in lots of different seasonings, whatever floats your boat!

By now your oven and pan should be nice and hot, please use oven mitts to remove the pan from the oven (ouch!). Dump the fries onto the pan, you should hear them start to sizzle, but don’t be afraid to move them around, make sure each piece is lying as flat as possible on the pan and the pieces are not all clumped on top of each other. This is trick #3, it will help make sure they cook evenly and that each piece can reach its true crispiness potential.

Bake the fries for 30-40 minutes, depending on how big your batch is. I set the timer for the half way mark, just to check on them, but at this time don’t touch them! This is trick #4, I know every fiber in your body is telling you to flip them over, or even just shake them up a bit, but don’t. The olive oil is going make sure they don’t stick, if you are a bit concerned you can add more oil to make sure, if you try to move them around at this point you will end up with a mushy mess. The fries have not had enough time to cook yet so they won’t just slide around or be flipped easily. Once the entire cooking time has passed, pop them out of the oven and use a spatula to gently move them around the pan, a few may resist, but they should come around with out much trouble. I like to place the fries on some paper towel to soak up some of the left over oil before serving them.

And there you have it! The best oven baked fries you will ever make. I made them tonight to go with some homemade big macs (https://recipesontheriver.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/home-made-big-macs-and-updates/), they were so tasty that I ate them all before I could take a picture. I’ve used this recipe with white, yellow and red potatoes and they all seem to work very well. I have not tried to make them with sweet potatoes yet, that’s next in line for the test kitchen. I’ll let you all know how they turn out!

The Only Cinnamon Bun Recipe You Will Ever Need

One of my favorite things to eat and bake are cinnamon buns, some people might call them pin wheels, but cinnamon bun sounds much tastier. When I first got my professional series Kitchen Aid mixer I set out to make the most amazing cinnamon buns ever, which cream cheese frosting and everything! I decided to test out a recipe I had found on Allrecipes.com, it had lots of great reviews and seemed to be by far the most popular one.

Truth be told, they turned out to be one of the most delicious things I’ve ever baked, but they were A LOT of work. I mean so much work that I didn’t really want to make them again. It’s the kind of recipe where you make the dough and let it rise, and you have to mess around with yeast, you’re pretty much making bread (and bread is my LEAST favourite thing to bake).

Of course, I did end up making them again, they were requested several times. But after a while I decided to retire the famous cinnamon bun recipe, and I vowed to come up with a more simple but equally delicious recipe.

So here it is! The best and only cinnamon bun recipe you will ever need, guaranteed.

Dough:
– 2 cups flour
– 4 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 1/2 cup shortening
– 1 egg beaten
– 2/3 cup milk

Filling:
– 3/4 cup brown sugar
– 2 tbsp cinnamon
– 1/4 cup butter softened
– 2 cups fresh fruit of your choice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix together dry ingredients, add shortening in a little at a time. Whisk milk and egg together and slowly add to the mix. If you’re using an electric mixer you don’t need to use the dough hook, the paddle attachment is fine and the dough is ready once it pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. If you’re doing this the old fashion way knead the dough for approximately 5 minutes.

Once the dough is ready, flour a flat surface and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thick, try to make it into a ruff rectangle shape.

Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, then spread the softened butter onto the rolled out dough. I pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to spread. Once the butter is spread evenly sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mix on top.

At this point you can add some fruit if you like. I have used apples, blueberries and strawberries so far, I normally wash and cut the fruit into small pieces and toss them with a little sugar. I have only used fresh fruit so far, I’m sure frozen would work too if thawed out first, or you could even use some jam too. I can’t wait to use fresh raspberries and rhubarb this summer 🙂 Either way is good, sometimes I’m in the mood for the plain kind and they are just as delicious.

Now you’re ready to roll! Roll up the dough as tight as you can to hold in all the buttery sugary goodness, I like to fold in the two ends when I’m done to help keep it all together. Cut the roll into about 12 pieces, you can make the pieces thicker if you want bigger buns, but the dough does puff up quite a bit in the oven. I use a large bread knife to cut the rolls, the teeth are great for cutting cleanly through the dough.

Place the rolls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, try to space them out a little so they have room to rise while baking. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the rolls. Let cool and enjoy! They are really good warm with a little vanilla ice cream 🙂

BONUS TIME! The dough recipe also doubles as a tea biscuit recipe! Follow the same instructions, but roll the dough out to a 1/2″ thick instead. Use a cookie cutter (I use a small drinking glass) to cut out the biscuits from the dough and bake them on a cookie sheet for about 15-16 minutes at 350. They are ready once they are fluffy and golden brown. Eat them right out of the oven and cover them with butter, mmmmmmm!

So there you have it, a cinnamon bun and tea biscuit recipe in one! It might seem like a long post but trust me, these take about 20 minutes to whip up and in no time they will be all gone! Please take note that this a recipe that I came up with by combining a few other recipes I had already tried. So no links to Pinterest this time 😉

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These are the strawberry cinnamon buns I made last night 🙂