While I was out taking a 3.41818 mile, or 6016 yard hike today Fran found my Mom’s handwritten recipe for chocolate cookies. She thought I might like to try my hand at them. (The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?) Of course, they won’t be the same as Mom’s, but as I am much older than the last time I had hers, I probably won’t be able to remember anyway.
I used silicone baking sheets instead of greased cookie sheets. Also, the cookies are thinner than she probably made, which is weird because she was, without a doubt, thinner than I am now. I believe I know why the cookies are so thin. After I finished I deciphered the word “spoons” as the method to beat in the eggs and melted chocolate. I used the stand mixer and probably over-beat them.
In the end, the cookies were chocolatey, chewy and delicious. I think Mom would approve, but thinking back on it, Mom approved, or at least praised and encouraged us, no matter what we did, (provided it didn’t involve vehicles with sirens and lights, including ambulances or the police, high school principals or the college Dean of Men.)
Standing in front of our open refrigerator door I noticed a partial tub of cream cheese we bought it for the granddaughters’ snack visit prior to the shelter-in-place order. As I stood there listening to the melodious door alarm-chime wondering what to do with it, I had an epiphany… bagels!! I haven’t made bagels in a couple of years and I was ready to try again. My first batch were ok, but not as good as what you can buy at a good bagel shop. Well, as time marches on my baking skills improve.
Bagels aren’t the easiest bread to make. It takes several proofs, rests and shaping over two days. Luckily, much of the time is consumed by proofing and resting the dough and not hands on activity. I now have some ET bagel topping so I made my favorite bagels as an extra treat.
The recipe I used last time, from ChefSteps, was good, but the resulting bagels were too small. This time I doubled the amount of dough in each bagel (from 65 g each to 130g.) This produced 8 larger bagels instead of 16 small ones.
The bagels are shaped by pressing a forefinger on one side of a dough ball and a thumb on the opposite then pushing straight through forming a hole. Next, insert two forefingers inside the hole and spin around gradually separating the fingers and enlarging the hole to 3 or 4 times the original. The resulting dough rings were about 4” diameter with a 2” hole. After the dough relaxes in the fridge the bagels were about 3 – 3.5” diameter with a 1” hole. NOTE: They will rise in the refrigerator overnight.
It turned out the hole wasn’t quite big enough and the center closed up on most of the bagels. For the next batch I will stretch the dough to a 5” diameter and 2.5” hole. I would like the final hole, after proofing to be 1.5”. NOTE: The bagels do a final rise in the oven and the hole closes in even more.
Bagels from ChefSteps
INGREDIENTS • 350 g Water, plus more for boiling • 650 g Bread flour, divided • 3 g Active dry yeast • 25 g Sugar, granulated, optional • 25 g Diastatic malt powder • 10 g Salt • 25 g Molasses • 10 g Baked baking soda
OPTIONAL • 10 g ET bagel topping • 10 g Black sesame seed • 10 g Dried onion flakes • 10 g Salt, Maldon flake • 7 g Poppy seed • 5 g Sesame seed • 5 g Dried garlic flakes
In a stand mixer bowl, combine 350 g room temperature water, 250 g of the flour, and the active dry yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let the mixture proof at room temperature until it doubles in size and makes frothy bubbles that collapse when you tap the bowl on the countertop. This takes about two to three hours. (Look for a foam that resembles the one on a root beer float. If you don’t see this yet, just give the yeast a bit more time to work its magic.)
In a bowl, combine the remaining 400 g of bread flour with 25 g sugar, 25 g diastatic malt powder, and 10 g salt.
Use the stand mixer and the dough hook, set the mixer to lowest speed. Gradually spoon in the dry ingredients and let the dough mix until it becomes stretchy and smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Working quickly to keep the dough cool, divide it into 130 g portions and set them on a parchment paper lined pan. Keep the entire sheet covered with plastic wrap as you work, tucking each new portion underneath the plastic wrap to keep any crust from forming.
First, form a dome. Make a circle with one hand, place a piece of portioned dough halfway inside it, and use one finger of your other hand to turn the dough while gradually pushing it through the circle tightening the dough as you work around the outside. You want to end up with a nice, taut dome.
Next, turn that dome into a ball. Hold the dome with the concave underside facing up. Pinch the dough closed across the “bowl,” then roll the seam on the work surface until smooth. When you finish each piece, return it to its spot under the plastic wrap on the sheet pan.
Cool the dough balls in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Working with one ball at a time, use two fingers to pinch a hole through the center of the dough, turning it while you work. Once you break through the dough, turn it on its side (like a spinning wheel). Stick both of your index fingers through the hole from opposite directions, and spin them around each other, slowly stretching out the hole until you can fit three fingers through it. Return the shaped dough to its covered spot on the tray. (You might need a second tray.)
Allow to proof at room temperature until a dough ring floats when set in a bowl of water. This will take about 20–40 minutes. (If the test ring sinks, proof a bit longer. The bagel I used for this test stuck to the parchment paper in the refrigerator overnight. Be careful.)
Make sure the tray(s) are wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, and let them cool in the refrigerator overnight to allow flavors to develop.
In a large pot over high heat, bring 5 L water, 25 g molasses, and 10 g baking soda to a roiling boil.
Preheat the oven to 425 °F / 218 °C (Use convection if available)
Working in batches, drop the bagels into the water and boil for 60 seconds, then flip them with a spider strainer or fork and boil for another 60 seconds. Transfer them with their smooth, rounded sides up, to a wire rack on a half-sheet pan.
If you’re adding the seasoning mix—or your own choice of toppings—now’s the time to sprinkle it over the tops of the bagels.
Transfer the bagels to a parchment paper–lined half-sheet pan and move it to the center rack of the preheated oven.
Bake for seven minutes, spin the tray around to ensure even cooking, and continue baking until bagels have a nice, brown color—about seven more minutes.. To be sure they are done check the internal temperature is over 190 deg.
You may have noticed that I’ve been on a no-knead bread kick lately. Kneading dough isn’t a problem. My Kitchen-aide stand mixer and dough hook are very happy to knead the dough for me. What’s nice about this bread, aside from flavor, crumb, crust and appearance, is that it takes less that 10 minutes to mix the dough in the evening. It then ferments overnight, building all that great texture-generating gluten. In the morning simply form the dough into a ball and let it rest for an hour as the oven and Dutch Oven are heating, then bake for 30-45 minutes.
I found this recipe for a whole wheat no-knead bread a week ago and have made several loaves, giving most to friends, neighbors and family. I made two loaves today, one without seeds for my granddaughters, and one with for Fran and me. I use King Arthur’s Artisan Bread Topping which is a mixture of many seed varieties.
Made in a Dutch Oven, this bread has a great crust and excellent crumb and flavor. I find comments from each loaf, delivered while still warm, typically are, “You really outdid yourself with this loaf. It’s the best ever!” There is a feeling of satisfaction when, in these times, you are able to provide a simple, sensory respite for someone.
No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread
• 300 grams (2 1/4 cups) bread flour, plus more for the work surface • 100 grams (3/4 cup) whole-wheat flour • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (table) • 1/2 teaspoon dried instant yeast • 300 grams (1 1/3 cups) cool water (55 to 65 degrees) • Wheat bran or cornmeal, for dusting (may use additional flour)
Stir together the flours, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the water; use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit at room temperature until its surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough has more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.
Generously dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Use a rubber spatula or lightly floured hands to scrape the dough onto the parchment paper in one piece. Use your lightly floured hands to lift the edges of the dough up and in toward the center. Gently pinch the pulled-up dough together, cupping the edges in your hands as needed to nudge it into a round (don’t worry about making it a perfect circle.)
If the dough feels sticky, dust the top lightly with more wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Place the plastic wrap used to cover the bowl of dough loosely over the dough. Place the dough in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it has almost doubled in size. When you gently poke the dough with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for an additional 15 minutes.
About half an hour before you think the second rise is complete, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and place a 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy Dutch oven or pot with a lid in the center of the rack. Preheat to 475 degrees.
Use pot holders to carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven, then lift off the lid.
Uncover the dough. Quickly, but gently slit the top with a lame or sharp knife. If you are going to add seeds, spray the loaf with a light coating of water and sprinkle the seeds over the top. Pick up the four corners of the parchment paper and place into the pot. (Use caution — the pot and lid will be very hot.) Cover with the lid; bake (lower rack) for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid; continue baking until the loaf is a deep chestnut color but not burned, 15 to 30 minutes more. (If you are like me and want a more precise measure, the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread registers 200 to 210 degrees. I use the thermometer on every loaf.) Use the parchment paper to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly before serving or storing. Note: The oven temp is 475 degrees and if you remember Ray Bradbury’s book, you will never forget paper burns at Fahrenheit 451. It will be brown, black and crispy. Be gentle.
No, I’m not in Oklahoma, I am still sheltering-in-place in California. In the Galaxy on Orion’s Belt post I mentioned I was going to remake the mousse desserts using Agar Agar rather than gelatin. Agar is a plant based thickener while gelatin is animal based. Well, the agar was delivered this week and as I and still sheltering-in-place, I am still baking, so here we go.
Last week Fran asked for some shortbread cookies so I made a batch this morning. I cut them into rounds, just smaller than the large end of my silicon hemisphere molds. The plan is to fill the mold about 2/3rds of the way with mousse, push a frozen vanilla cream into it and seal the bottom with the cookie. As I planned to coat one end of the shortbread cookies with chocolate, and will have some left over, I will coat the bottom of some of the hemisphere desserts with some, then mirror glaze them.
So the plan was good, but the execution was lacking. The cookies were too big so I cut them down, but they were also too thick. I couldn’t properly fill the mold with vanilla cream and cookie and still have 1/8” space for the chocolate. The new plan is to dip the bottom of the bombe in chocolate, re-freeze and then coat with the agar mirror glaze.
The agar mirror glaze was easy to make, but cooled too quickly and coated the bombes with a thick glaze. Luckily, this glaze, while sticky, was much better than the gelatin version. Portions of the glaze were placed in small bowls and dyed. When ready to coat the mousse bombes some of the colored glaze was poured on a larger aliquot of yellow glaze and poured over the bombe.
The good news is, Quality Assurance certified the mousse as exceptionally light and creamy. The cookies were a bit thick so it was suggested a pan of brownies would be a better base. The chocolate bottom was a nice addition and should be continued.
The directions for the agar agar said you should cool the glaze to 80 – 90 degrees. I found this temperature too low resulting in a thick glaze. I also need to find a better way to mix the various colors with the base color while maintaining the temperature of the dyed glaze at 90-100 deg, maybe place them in a warm water bath until ready to use.
Anyway, they are delicious and worth making!!
INGREDIENTS • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour • ¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut with a round cutter just smaller than the opening of the mold. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Vanilla Cream Filling
INGREDIENTS • 3 tbsp all purpose flour • 1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine) • 1/2 cup butter (or Trans fat-free shortening) • 1/2 cup granulated sugar • 1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil. When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.
When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter (or shortening) and sugar together in a medium bowl until light.
Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
• 5 1/4 ounces 148 g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped • 14 ounces 396 g cold heavy cream • 3 large egg whites • 1-ounce 29 g sugar • Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, optional • Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish, optional • 6 ounces 170 g semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped • 1-ounce sugar 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir chocolate until melted. Turn off the heat and let stand.
Beat the cream over ice until it forms soft peaks. Set aside and hold at room temperature.
With a mixer, whip egg to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm.
Remove the chocolate from the bain marie and using a whisk, fold in the egg whites all at once.
When the whites are almost completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream.
Fill each well of the hemispherical mold about halfway. Push a frozen vanilla cream drop in each well and top with a shortbread cookie. Make sure the cookie is below the top of the well.
Place the mold in the freezer until solid.
When frozen solid remove the mousse from the mold .
Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.
Coat the top of each cell with a thin coat (1/8”) with melted chocolate and return to the freezer to set.
Agar Mirror Glaze Recipe
• White Chocolate 8 ounces (220g) • Sweetened Condensed Milk ½ cup (140g) • Granulated Sugar 1 cup (200g) • Corn Syrup ¾ cup (245g) • Cold Water 7 tablespoons (100ml) • HOT Water ½ cup (120ml) • Powdered Agar 4 teaspoons (16g)
Bloom agar in the HOT water (120ml), let stand 5 minutes
Combine the corn syrup, the other measure of COLD water (100ml) and the sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pot and get it warmed to at least 150°F add the bloomed agar and bring to a boil.
Allow it to boil rapidly for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and add the condensed milk and whisk smooth
Pour the entire hot mixture over the chocolate and whisk smooth
Pour through a strainer into a clean container and color as you like.
Pour over cakes & pastries once it has cooled to 80 or 90°F
Actually, it’s brown, not scarlet, but it is pumpernickel. Day 5 of shelter-in-place saw the grilling of English muffins, an apple pie and finally a loaf of pumpernickel. Previously I made dark rye both with and without that nicer chewy, crunchy crust and white sandwich breads. The last time I made pumpernickel it didn’t go well, but with my recent success I decided to try again. Good move!!
This is a recipe from King Arthur Flour, my favorite Vermont baking source. This has great crumb, flavor and crust. Definitely a keeper.
Pumpernickel Bread – KAF
• 4 cups (482g) AP flour • 1 cup (96g) pumpernickel flour • 3 tablespoons (21g) rye bread improver, optional • 2 tablespoons (11g) black cocoa, for dark pumpernickel color • 1 teaspoon Deli Rye Flavor, optional • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt • 2 teaspoons instant yeast • 1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (425g) lukewarm water
Combine all of the ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until the dough is elastic and slightly sticky.
Let the dough rise in a lightly greased, covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours; it should become puffy.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface. Gently deflate it, and shape it into a ball.
Place the shaped loaf onto a lightly-greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or into a Dutch oven and cover with the lid.
Let the loaf rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Slash the loaf diagonally in several places.
Bake the loaf for 35 to 45 minutes until it is crusty, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center reads 190°F to 200°F. If using a stoneware baker, remove the lid for the final 5 minutes of baking for a crusty top.
Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.
Tips from our Bakers While both the rye dough improver and the rye flavor are optional, we recommend using them if you can. The dough improver helps to improve the loaf’s rise and texture, while the rye flavor adds authentic pumpernickel flavor.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were really true. Try to stay healthy. Take a walk, run or bike ride. Practice social separation and wash your hands frequently… You all know that. Do NOT socially isolate yourself from friends and family. Not all health is physical.
Now, here is a funny story. While at the market last week, Fran and I separated to expedite our essential expedition from sheltering-in-place. We wouldn’t want the Isolation Police to be upset. Somehow, when separated, one of us put our groceries into the wrong cart. One that was partly filled with someone else’s groceries. When I got to checkout I though we forgot our shopping bags in the car. Fran went out and they weren’t there. While she was gone I started to check out. I noticed we had a half dozen apples that I didn’t remember putting in the cart but “assumed” she did. When she returned to the market she found our original cart, with the grocery bags. I had already checked out so just kept the apples, which brings us to the reason for this post.
Last week we talked about making an apple pie and not, through a fortuitous mistake, now had the ingredients, and no thanks to an unfortunate circumstance had the time to make a pie. I had less than 2 lbs of apples so had to find a recipe that uses less than the 3 lbs we usually need. I found one this morning.
Classic Apple Pie INGREDIENTS
• 7 cups (840 grams) sliced apples • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar • 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar lightly packed • 1/4 cup (32 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled) • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg • 2 pie crusts homemade or store-bought • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter cut into pieces • 1 large egg • 1 tablespoons milk • Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top optional
Preheat oven to 400°F. Adjust oven rack to the lower third position.
Add the sliced apples and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl, toss until well combined. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined. Pour over the sliced apples and mix until the apples are fully coated with the dry ingredients. Set aside for 15-20 minutes while you prep the pie crusts.
Roll one of the pie crusts out to about 12 inches in diameter, transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, gently fit it in the dish, and trim any excess dough from the edges. Place in the refrigerator. Roll out the second pie crust dough and either cut lattice strips, decorations or leave whole to fully top the apple pie.
Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the filling into the pie crust (making sure to leave as much juice as possible in the bowl) and spread around into one even layer. Dot with the pieces of butter. Top with the second pie crust and decorate the edges (if topping with a full piece of pie crust, make sure to cut some slits in the top).
Whisk together the egg and milk until well combined. Brush on top of the pie and around the edges. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
Bake in the lower third of the oven at 400°F for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or until the top of the pie is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cover the edges of the pie with a pie crust shield as needed to prevent excess browning. You may also cover the top of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much before it’s finished baking.
Once the pie is finished baking, remove from the oven, and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
I have been baking a lot of bread recently. With the self-isolation, several of our friends were unable to find bread in the nearly empty supermarkets and as I really like to bake I am giving a lot of bread away – a loaf or two a day. Luckily, I bought an extra 10 lbs of bread flour a couple of weeks ago, along with 5 lbs of AP flour and 4 lbs of sugar.
Today, I am taking a break from bread. I made a raspberry curd filled tart. I really like my chocolate tart with orange drizzle, but saw and adapted the Raspberry Curd to use with my tart shell. Luckily, the curd can be made in advance and refrigerated so today I only had to make the tart shell. (Don’t let me kid you. I also made 2 loaves of white sandwich bread for friends.)
Raspberry Curd • 3 cups raspberries • 1/2 cup sugar • 1 tsp Meyer lemon zest • 2 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice • 2 Tbsp water • 2 large egg yolks • 2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch • 1/8 tsp salt • 1 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, diced
Tart Shell • 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes • 200 g almond flour (I may increase this by 50g, not sure yet) • 60 g icing sugar • ½ tsp vanilla • ¼ tsp salt • 2 eggs (100g) Topping
For the raspberry curd, combine raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Bring mixture to a boil (about 5 minutes); reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Place in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Wipe pan clean and strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cleaned pan and discard solids.
Whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.
Stir yolk mixture into raspberry mixture; bring to a boil over medium-low heat (about 5 minutes). Be careful, the mixture can burn if heat it so high. If it does, do not scrape the bottom of the pan.
Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat (the mixture should coat the back of a spoon).
Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth.
Place curd into a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
Chill curd in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week (if making in advance).
For the tart shell: Mix butter with sugar (I break up the chunks of butter by rubbing them into the sugar with my hands)
Add salt then vanilla
Add egg and mix well
Stir in flour. Mix by hand until incorporated. I did this in 3 parts mixing well between each.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min until it firms up a bit.
Butter (spray) tartlet pan
Coat hands with flour and press the sticky dough into tart mold
Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
Add pastry weights to the pan
Bake in preheated oven 350o F (175o C) for 17 – 20 min
Remove pastry weights with 5 min left in the bake
Remove pastry shells from pans and let cool on wire rack To assemble tart, spoon raspberry curd into cooled tart shell and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula.
Arrange raspberries over filling in a decorative pattern.