Hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving has a safe and peaceful one this year, a much needed culinary respite from life’s trials and tribulations. (Note: you have the means to read this, no doubt we are the most fortunate of all.)
This year I decided to take a turkey to our family dinner.
Amazingly, each batch of pumpernickel bread seems to be better than the previous. Today I enhanced my recipe with KAF Cake and Bread Enhancer.
This product is an emulsifier which “enhances” the ability of fats and liquids to combine more easily. This in turn makes the bread (or cake) softer, moister and stay fresh longer. Other than this addition (one Tbl per cup of flour) this recipe is the same as the last one. The result was exactly as advertised, great taste, soft, moist and delicious.
A quick story about how I came to have Cake and Bread Enhancer. I was visiting my home state which also happens to be the home of King Arthur Baking. We decided to take a road trip, not that I needed anything. Well, a couple of hours and -$395 later I had the mini loaf pan, enhancer and dozens of other baking items I did not need. QC no longer allows me to go into that store with any credit cards.☹️
I watched Valerie Bertinelli make manchego cheese and fig puff pastry straws on YouTube so I said to myself …why not?
If you have read other posts of mine using puff pastry you know while I have made it from scratch before, I prefer either Pepperidge or Trader Joe’s puff pastry. Pepperidge Farms puffs up 2 or 3x more Trader Joe’s so choosing which to use depends on what you are making. This time, I used Pepperidge Farms puff pastry.
This recipe resulted in a flavorful treat with a good snap, provided you bake them long enough. They are best warm so if you have them in more than one sitting, warm them up in an oven or toaster-oven. Be sure they are warm!
Oh! I also made a batch of blueberry drop scones for freezing for quick breakfasts
Manchego Cheese and Fig Straws
• All-purpose flour, for dusting • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed • 1 tablespoon fig jam • 1 cup grated manchego cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling • 1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two 18-by-13-inch sheet pans with parchment paper.
Dust a work surface lightly with flour. Roll out the puff pastry into a 14-by-12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, cut the dough in half horizontally: Measure 7 inches up the side, mark the dough and cut in half, using the mark as a guide.
Evenly spread the fig jam over the bottom half of the dough, leaving a little room at the edges. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the jam. Top with the other half of the dough, pressing down lightly to adhere to the cheese and jam. With a pizza cutter, cut into 1/2-inch strips (about 24 strips).
Twist each strip four or five times, then pinch the ends together to prevent unraveling while baking. Place the twists on the prepared baking sheets.
Mix the egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and brush onto the twists. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.
Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before releasing the straws from the parchment with an offset spatula. Let cool completely.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
I wanted to try a new recipe for blueberry muffins that purported to yield soft, moist, not dense muffins. I also had some new ‘tulip’ muffin papers to try. These were advertised to not need a muffin pan (read that as one less pan to wash.) In use, the papers were too thin, therefore too flimsy to not need the support of a muffin pan.
The papers would have been good had I squeezed them into a pan small enough to help them maintain a round shape. They weren’t bad, but not perfect. Perhaps a heavier paper, or using 2 or 3 of them to make the papers stiffer? On the positive side they did not leak resulting in a clean pan which require no washing.
The recipe was very good. The muffins were not stodgy, rather were moist, soft and just a bit crumbly. Nearly perfect, or at least very good.
While the oven was hot I also made a batch of apple/raisin ‘scones’. Scones are in quotes as they are un-traditional. I made them in an ring mold pan to force them to rise up the sides rather than spread horizontally. (They did.) The same brown sugar and cinnamon crumble was used on both the scones and muffins. It was a good experiment, but I prefer my standard, traditional drop berry scones topped with sparkling sugar.
I was bored as the scones baked so using Dan’s modified waffle recipe I made a batch of waffles to freeze and nuke for a quick breakfast before an early tee time.
I just cancelled golf for tomorrow due to a forecast 100% chance of 55 degree rain. Now… what to do with another day off? Hmmmm….
INGREDIENTS Streusel Topping • ½ cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Muffins • 1¾ cups (220g) all-purpose flour • 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1 teaspoon baking powder • ½ teaspoon salt • ½ cup (115g) room temperature unsalted butter • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar • ¼ cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar • 2 large room temperature eggs • ½ cup (120g) room temperature sour cream or plain/vanilla yogurt • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract • ¼ cup (60ml) room temperature milk • 1½ cups (250g) fresh or frozen blueberries METHOD
Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or use cupcake liners. Grease/line a second pan with 2 liners because this recipe yields about 14 muffins. Set aside.
Mix all of the streusel ingredients together. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract on medium speed until combined. By hand, add the dry ingredients and milk into the wet ingredients and stir gently, no more than 4 stirs. Gently, fold in the blueberries.
Spoon the batter into liners, filling them all the way to the top. Top each with streusel, gently pressing it down into the surface so it sticks. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 18-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205-210 °F or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 23-25 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Apple/Raisin Ring Scones
INGREDIENTS • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour • 1 tablespoon baking powder • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt • 1/3 cup sugar • Zest of 1 small lemon (I used a small mandarin orange) • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes • 1 cup diced apple • 1/2 cup raisins • 1 cup heavy cream • Brown sugar/cinnamon streusel (see above)
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and zest. Pulse a few times to incorporate.
Add the cubed butter and pulse to incorporate. The mixture should resemble very coarse sand.
Empty the flour mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the cream and stir until just barely incorporated.
Dice the apples leaving the skin. Use the outside of the apple removing a majority of the inside without skin. The skin will add some color to the scone. The dough should just be moist, not wet, but also not crumbly or powdery looking. If it looks too dry, add a tablespoon of cold water.
Add and mix in the diced apple and raisins
Spoon the dough into 6 ring molds sprinkle some streusel over the top, if desired.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The scones should be lightly golden and cooked through.
Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack.