Check Out My Buns!

How many great discoveries were the result of a simple mistake? Sometimes you just step in it. Lucky for me, after I tested the vitality of my yeast in the Tangzhong bread post, I realized I had the perfect starter for another yeast bread. Again, as luck would have it, the other half of our QA department mentioned she would love some cinnamon rolls. Oh lucky day!!

And, it’s good to learn from your (my) mistakes. While the recipe called for a 9×13” pan I suggest you use a pan large enough to provide an inch of room around each bun to allow room for further rise and oven spring. While not visible in the lousy the rolls over grew their space in the pan and “erupted” ending up very messy

Next time I will use an 11×5” pan and the final product will be more attractive. Nonetheless, they tasted phenomenal! After our QA samples we refrigerated a couple more and froze the rest to thaw, warm and test later.

Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS

Cinnamon Roll Dough:
• 1 cup milk warm (105 degrees F)
• ½ cup + 1 TBS granulated sugar divided
• 1 TBS Active dry yeast
• 2 large eggs room temperature
• 6 TBS butter melted
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
• 1 cup brown sugar packed
• 2 ½ TBS ground cinnamon
• 6 TBS butter softened

Cream Cheese Frosting:
• 1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
• ¼ cup butter softened
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/8 tsp salt

METHOD
Cinnamon Roll Dough:

  1. Warm milk in the microwave milk for 45-60 seconds. It should be warm but not hot to the touch (about 105 degrees F).
  2. Place milk into the bowl of your standing mixer, then add 1 TBS sugar and 1 TBS yeast to the warm milk. Stir and let it sit (proof) for five minutes or until it becomes foamy.
  3. Add the ½ cup sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the mixture in the bowl of your standing mixer. Use a dough hook to stir until combined
  4. Add 4 cups flour, salt and cinnamon and stir the dough hook, starting on low and increasing to high.
  5. Knead dough in the standing mixer until a large ball is formed. The dough should be smooth and only slightly tacky to the touch. If the dough seems too sticky and is not forming a ball, add more flour 1 TBS at a time until a smooth ball is formed.
  6. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead with your hands until it is smooth and elastic (about 3-5 minutes). Form it into a ball.
  7. Grease a large bowl and place the dough inside.
  8. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and put the bowl in a warm place to rise.
  9. Let the dough rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
    Filling:
  10. While the dough is rising, make the filing. In a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until mixture is homogenous (uniform throughout). Set aside.
  11. Alternately, you can combine the cinnamon and sugar. Then melt the butter and brush it on the rolled dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on the butter-brushed dough. (I think this way is easier)!
  12. Assemble Cinnamon Rolls
  13. Sprinkle a large work surface with flour.
  14. Gently press the gas out of the dough and form it into a rectangle.
  15. Roll the dough into a 24×12” rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
  16. Spread the filling all over the dough using greased hands or a greased spatula. This process can seem difficult but it gets easier as you spread it. (Alternately: if you only combined the cinnamon and sugar, then melt the butter and use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter all over the dough. Then sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar and pat it down gently to insure it sticks).
  17. Roll up dough cut into 12 equal sized rolls (feel free to measure and cut each roll to be 2” long).
  18. Line a 11×15 inch glass baking dish with parchment paper and lightly grease. Then place rolls in 4 rows of three, evenly spaced.There should be some room between each roll to allow for oven spring.
  19. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  20. Bake Cinnamon Rolls
  21. Once rolls are doubled in size, bake them in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. They will rise more in the oven. (NOTE: Check the center cinnamon rolls and make sure they are baked through. If your oven bakes cool or unevenly you may need to increase the baking time up to 10 minutes longer. If the top starts to brown before the center is baked, tent the baking pan with foil to prevent further browning).
    Cream Cheese Frosting
  22. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Do NOT chill the frosting. Keep it at room temperature until the cinnamon rolls are baked.
  23. Once the cinnamon rolls have bene removed from the oven, spread the cream cheese frosting on them while they are still warm.
  24. Cool & Serve!
  25. Let cool and serve warm.

Notes

  1. To make ahead:
    a. After the cinnamon rolls have been assembled in a baking dish, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and cover with a tea towel or aluminum foil and place them in the refrigerator.
    b. In the morning, remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature and finish rising (this takes about 30-40 minutes).
    c. Then bake according to recipe instructions.
  2. To Freeze:
    a. Assemble the cinnamon rolls in the baking pan.
    b. tightly cover with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil or a lid.
    c. freeze for up to 1 month.
    d. To bake, remove cinnamon rolls from the freezer the night before you’d like to bake them.
    e. Let them come to room temperature and rise overnight, then bake according to the recipe instructions.
    f. If filling “oozes out”
    g. If you find some of the cinnamon/sugar filling at the bottom of your baking pan when you pull them out of the oven, immediately place a lid or a baking sheet over the top of the cinnamon rolls and flip them upside down (invert them). This will cause the filling to reincorporate into the rolls!

Tangzhong Pillowy White Bread

Tangzhong was developed in Asia and used in both China and Japan as a method of keeping bread soft and fresh. Tangzhong is a mixture of flour, water and milk, heated while stirring until the “water roux” thickens. The tangzhong is added to the rest of the ingredients and processed more or less normally. The result is a soft, pillowy white bread (see how I cleverly incorporated the title into the body of this post?)

I found the rise and proofing times were much longer that suggested in the recipes. I thought my yeast may have lost potency so I tested it in a water/sugar solution. (1/2 cup water @ 110-115F, 1 tsp sugar, 2 1/4 tsp yeast. Mix and after 10 minutes the mixture should have grown to 1 cup. It was fine. The problem is I now had the beginnings of another bread/pastry or something. QA Department to the rescue—See subsequent post on cinnamon rolls.)

The long proof times were likely due to the cooler temperatures in the kitchen today. (It was only 62F when I started.)

Tangzhong Pillowy White Bread

INGREDIENTS

Tangzhong
• 3 tablespoons (43g) water
• 3 tablespoons (43g) whole milk
• 2 tablespoons (14g) Bread Flour

Dough
• 2 1/2 cups (298g) Bread Flour
• 2 tablespoons (14g) nonfat dry milk
• 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon instant yeast
• 1/2 cup (113g) whole milk
• 1 large egg
• 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, melted

METHOD

Tangzhong

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
  2. Place the saucepan over low heat and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the tangzhong to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to lukewarm.

    Dough
  4. Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by mixer or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms; this could take almost 15 minutes in a
    stand mixer.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk. (120 min in cool kitchen)
  6. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into four equal pieces; if you have a scale each piece will weigh between 170g and 175g.
  7. Flatten each piece of dough into a 5″ x 8″ rectangle, then fold the short ends in towards one another like a letter. Flatten the folded pieces into rectangles again (this time about 3″ x 6″) and, starting with a short end, roll them each into a 4″ log.
  8. Place the logs — seam side down and side by side — in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  9. Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 60 minutes, until puffy. (I put the dough into a proofing oven for this and let it rise until the tops of the rolls were even with the top of the pan.)
  10. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  11. Brush the loaf with milk and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center reads at least 190°F.
  12. Remove the loaf from the oven and cool it in the pan until you can transfer it safely to a rack to cool completely.
  13. Store leftover bread, well wrapped, at cool room temperature for 5 to 7 days; freeze for longer storage.

I Ain’t Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More

My friend, Maggie, and I have been trading recipes, tips and techniques for a while now. A couple of weeks ago she sent me this recipe for her biscuits, and it is outstanding. Making the batter takes 10-15 minutes, then 15 minutes in the oven and they are ready.

I followed her method exactly, except I cut the biscuits out with a 2” circular cutter. I then bunched the leftovers into a ball, patted them out and re-cut, twice. This provide a good sample for our Quality Assurance Department, who graded them A+

Maggie’s Six Biscuits

INGREDIENTS
• 1 tsp Baking Soda
• 1 tsp Salt
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 1⁄2 tsp Baking Powder
• 1 1/2 c AP Flour
• 1 stick Cold Butter
• 3/4 Sour Milk or Buttermilk (I soured whole milk with a bit o’lemon juice)

METHOD

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in the butter (fingers or pastry thingie, your choice) til it’s a shaggy mess … remembering
    that the less it’s messed with the flakier it’ll be.
  3. Once it’s at the shaggy mess stage begin adding the liquid a bit at a time until it’s a soft dough …
    keeping in mind then”remembering” bit notes above.
  4. Knead it a tiny bit.
  5. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, pat it into a rectangle about 1/2” high, spread some
    melted butter on it,
  6. Fold in half, pat it into a rectangle about 1” high, spread some melted butter on it.
  7. Cut into 6 pieces, place on parchment papered baking sheet, bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.

Lemony No Snicket

As we hunker down at home I realize I have to stop reading new recipes! Despite exercising nearly as much as pre-Covid19 my baking is up around 400%. While all this baking is increasing my skills, it is also increasing my belt size. Luckily, as we are sheltering-in-place stretch waist warmup pants are all the rage.

I saw this recipe from PopSugar online and as I had lemons and raspberries all I needed was the plain Greek yogurt, which was procured during our sanctioned grocery shopping yesterday. Speaking of grocery shopping, we find it difficult to buy a weeks, much less two weeks worth of groceries in one trip. Any suggestions?

The only change I made to the recipe was to substitute equal quantities of olive for canola oil. The intense flavor of the fresh raspberries complemented, but didn’t overpower the lemon. It may be fun to remake these muffins using AP flour rather than whole wheat. I’m thinking it may make a lighter muffin. We have weeks more hunkering down here. Who knows? Obviously, only the Shadow knows.

I also baked these using Convection, which dropped the temperature from 400 deg to 375. I set the timer for the lower range (18 min) and took the muffins out at 20 min.

The batter is very thick so folding in the berries without mashing them is difficult. Be gentle. Be patient.

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

from PopSugar

INGREDIENTS
• 1 lemon
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
• 1/3 cup canola oil
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ cups fresh raspberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 large (½ -cup) muffin cups with cooking spray, or line with paper liners.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar.
  3. Add yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla. Pulse until blended.
  4. Combine whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the yogurt mixture, and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter (it will be thick) among the muffin cups.
  5. Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 18 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm.

When You Wish Upon A Star…

 

(a Cinnamon Star Bread that is,) “Makes no difference who you are.”
I saw this recipe on KAF as part of their CINNAMON STAR BREAD BAKEALONG: CHALLENGE #16.   These are fun ways to improve and augment anyones baking skills, no matter who you are, plus they result in a delicious product (when executed properly.)

Dusted Completed bread

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

  • 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup potato flour
  • ¼ cup nonfat dry milk
  • ¾ cup + 2 to 4 tablespoons lukewarm water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

FILLING

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

METHOD

  1. First, measure the flour by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Next, sift the flour, potato flour, and dry milk through a strainer; this is an important step to prevent lumps in the dough. (If you’re using instant mashed potatoes rather than potato flour you can skip this sifting step.)
  2. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead —I use a mixer and dough hook — to make a soft, smooth dough.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 60 minutes, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  4. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
  5. On a lightly greased or floured work surface, roll one piece of dough into a 10″ circle. Place the circle on a piece of parchment, brush a thin coat of beaten egg on the surface, then evenly sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar, leaving 1/4″ of bare dough around the perimeter.
  6. Roll out a second circle the same size as the first, and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the layering process — egg, cinnamon sugar, dough circle — leaving the top circle bare.
  7. Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide. I used a 3/4 cup measuring cup and scored the center of the top ring. With a bench knife or sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layers.
  8. Using two hands, pick up two adjacent strips and twist them away from each other twice so that the top side is facing up again. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with eight pairs of strips.
  9. Pinch the pairs of strips together to create a star-like shape with eight points. Be sure the ends are well pinched or they will separate.
  10. Transfer the star on the parchment to a baking sheet. Cover the star and let it rise until it becomes noticeably puffy, about 45 minutes.
  11. While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  12. Completed breadBrush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg. Bake it for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s nicely golden with dark brown cinnamon streaks; the center should register 200°F on a digital thermometer.
  13. Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.
  14. Store any leftover bread, well wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

…Thrill on Blueberry Hill

Having just washed some rust and dirt from my hands caused by carrying some rebar I bought at Home Depot (for the uninformed, rebar is a steel rod with ridges for use in reinforced concrete, or in my case, stakes for anchoring wooden tripods framing  our frost blanket tripodnew citrus trees to hold frost blankets,) I caught up with Fran who was just leaving the produce section of the supermarket, when she said: “Look, I bought some blueberries.”

 

 

Hence:blueberry muffins cropped
Jordan Marsh BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
by KAF
INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2½ cups blueberries, fresh preferred
  • ¼ cup sugar, for topping

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin; or line the tin with papers, and grease the papers.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and beating well after each addition.
  4. Beat in the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
  5. Add the flour alternately with the milk, beating gently just to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  6. Mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries. Add the mashed and whole berries to the batter, stirring just to combine and distribute.
  7. Scoop the batter by the heaping 1/4-cupful into the prepared muffin pan; a muffin scoop works well here.
  8. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar atop each muffin, if desired. It’s traditional — go for it!
  9. Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes, until they’re light golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
  10. Remove the muffins from the oven, loosen their edges from the pan, and after about 5 minutes transfer them to a rack to cool.

TOPPING

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon

Mix together sugar, flour, butter, and teaspoons cinnamon. Mix to a coarse granular consistency, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Guess Who Came to Dinners?

We just had a weekend guest, and sadly, put her on a plane to return to her home last night. This woman prefers to eat healthy, in moderation and occasionally diet. Boy did she come to the wrong place!

We started with some rugelach. I made apple/cinnamon, chocolate and hand pies
chocolate/blackberry. They are very similar except the for filling.  I added an apple tart, (I got to use my new spiralizer so am happy.) Fran and I had some fruit dumplings from Apple Hill (much like my hand pies but bigger, so I added blueberry, apply and blackberry hand pie/filled rough puff pastry dumplings. For dinner we had my homemade pizza margherita: sweet/salty sauce, home made dough (ala pizza 2 Independent Pizza in Seattle), basil and fresh mozzarella, baked 6 minutes at 600 degrees in my gas grill. I added some garlic bread knots to accompany.  It was so good, I made second one for Sunday night.  Unfortunately, we at all the garlic bread knots, so I made some chocolate mousse with pink whipped cream topping. Oh, we also had a salad.

mousse

RUGELACH

INGREDIENTS

CRUST

  • 16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature (2 T cream cheese = 28g. 3/4 Cup = 12 T, ¾ C = 4oz.)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flourrugelach1

FILLING CINNAMON RAISIN

  • 1/2 cup brown sugarrugelach2
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or currants
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • water for brushing dough

DARK CHOCOLATE:

  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp unsweetened cocoa power
  • ¼ Tsp cinnamon (optional)

TOPPING

  • granulated sugar or coarse white sparkling sugar
  • milk or cream

METHOD

  1. To make the dough using a mixer: Beat together the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and salt until smooth. Add the flour, mixing to make a stiff dough.
  2. Divide the dough into three equal portions. Press each gently into a disk. Make the disks as round as possible, smoothing their edges; this will allow you to roll the disks into a perfectly round circle, making the resulting rugelach more attractive.  (Note how :perfect this dough circle is.) Wrap the disks in plastic, and chill the dough for about 1 hour, until it’s firm but not rock hard. Or chill longer (up to overnight), then warm for about 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature, until the dough softens enough to roll out without cracking.
  3. To make the CINNAMON RAISIN FILLING: process the sugar, walnuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon in a food processor or blender until finely chopped and well combined (but not pasty). Don’t have a food processor? Simply stir together the filling ingredients; your filling will be chunky rather than smooth.
  4. To make the CHOCOLATE FILLING: Whisk together 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder; add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired. Sprinkle atop rolled-out dough. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) mini chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate.
  5. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place it on a generously floured surface. Roll it into a 10″ circle and brush it lightly with water. For a flavorful touch, brush the rolled-out rugelach dough with a thin layer of boiled cider, warmed apple or 

    currant jelly, or puréed fruit preserves, instead of water.

  6. Use your fingers to spread about 1/3 of the filling onto the round, going all the way to the edges and gently patting the filling to help anchor it to the dough.
  7. Using a pizza cutter, baker’s bench knife, or sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal wedges. Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end. Place the rolls point-side down on a baking sheet; lining the baking sheet with parchment will help with cleanup. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough.
  8. Brush the rugelach with milk or cream; and sprinkle with granulated or coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Refrigerate the rugelach while the oven is preheating.
  10. Bake the rugelach for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool right on the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  11. Store leftover rugelach in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

APPLE TART

TART SHELLS

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 100 g cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 60 g icing sugar (Splenda?)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg (50g)

APPLE FILLING

  • 3 apples (sliced thin or spiralized with skins on)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon

METHOD

  1. Mix butter with sugar
  2. Add salt then vanilla
  3. Add egg
  4. Stir in flour.
    1. Mix by hand until incorporated
    2. Add 3-5 Tbl water to make dough sticky
  5. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min
  6. Butter tartlet pans
    1. Roll dough to about ⅛” thick
    2. Lay over tart mold and press into all crevices
    3. Roll top to cut off excess
  7. Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
  8. Add pastry weights to each pan
  9. Bake in preheated oven 350o F (175o C) for 17 min
    1. Remove pastry weights with 5 min left in the bake
    2. Remove pastry shells from pans and let cool on wire rack
  10. Fill cooled tart shell with sliced apples. I put them in a spiral shape but any way will do
  11. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the apples.
  12. Cover exposed edges of tart with aluminum foil to prevent over browning.
  13. Back at 375 F for 20-30 min. When apples have reduced and mixture is bubbling.
  14. Remove from over and cool on a wire rack.

Sweet and Salty Pizza Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons (4 large leaves) fresh basil, coarsely chopped

METHOD

  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over a medium heat until hot.
  2. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring and mashing tomatoes with potato masher until crushed.
  4. Stir in basil.
  5. Place in small bowl; cool to room temperature This sauce may be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated or up to 2 months ahead and frozen.

Fig and Oatmeal and Chocolate, Oh My!

I am expecting to harvest over 100 pounds of fig from our single tree in the back yard. We are leaving the very high figs for the birds and squirrels. They don’t seem to understand that and keep raiding my allotment on the lower branches. To date I ate figs, froze figs, made fig preserves, fig spread, fig newtons, fig cake and now fig/oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies. Daniel is making some figgy pudding, I am planning some fig hand pies and we gave away 20 lbs to friends, family and neighbors. What’s next, Fig fudge? Fig ice cream? Fig bread? You know, sometimes there may be too much of a delicious thing.

cookie and milk small

I searched a number of recipes to find one I liked for fig cookies. The one I chose also had oatmeal and chocolate. Think oatmeal/chocolate/raisin cookies except the fig imparts a softer and more subtle flavor and texture the raisin would. I upped the fig content being sure to not use any fully or over ripe figs. They would kick up the moisture content making the cookies too soggy. I also omitted the coconut (not a favorite of Fran.) Chilling the batter is essential. I chilled for 2 hours and it may not have been enough. The first batch were a little flat, the second were better.

Fig and Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Based on post from fiveandspice at Food52.com

Makes about 2-dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons salted butter, at room temp.
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 9 ounces chopped dark chocolate (I like 70% cacao)
  • 1½ cup chopped fresh figs (not over ripe)

METHOD

  1. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes) in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the mixer as needed.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together all the remaining ingredients. Stir these into the butter mixture on low speed until fully combined with no dry floury patches left.
  3. Refrigerate the dough 30-60 minutes before proceeding. Heat your oven to 350F. Scoop the dough in 2-3 Tbs. scoops onto baking sheets. Bake each sheet one at a time (keep the full sheets that aren’t being baked in the fridge until it’s their turn) until the cookies are golden around the edges but still look a tad doughy in the middles, about 15-18 minutes, rotating each baking sheet halfway through the bake time.
  4. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Clouseau, Clafoutis Hasenfeffer Incorporated

Honey Whole Wheat Clafoutis With Raspberries

One of my favorite bits from the old Peter Sellers Inspector Clouseau Pink Panther movies (imagine Clouseau’s fake French accent)

Clouseau: Does your dog bite?
Hotel Clerk: Non.
Clouseau: [bowing down to pet the dog] Nice doggie.
[Dog barks and bites Clouseau in the hand]
Clouseau: I thought you said your dog did not bite!
Hotel Clerk: That eez not my dog.

I saw this recipe online and followed it back to the source (Ellie Krieger, Special to The Washington Post) and as I had a pint of raspberries left over in the fridge I thought this would make a good, perhaps even, elegant breakfast, rather than a dessert.  Actually, clafoutis [klah-foo-TEE] is a basic pancake which is baked rather than cooked on a griddle, but it sure sounds fancy.

The recipe calls for pastry flour (low gluten) to make a more tender, “pancake” type structure. Not having any whole wheat pastry flour, I substituted regular whole wheat flour and added a little cornstarch. I didn’t have a lemon so substituted ½ teaspoon of key lime juice for a little tartness. I made a half recipe, used a 6” pie plate and topped it with some fresh Vermont maple syrup, cutting the ingredients below in half. Perhaps next time I would add a little baking powder to help the rise some.

 

Using low-fat milk, whole wheat flour and honey rather than sugar increases the healthfulness of this recipe. I did dust the oiled pie plate with a little caster sugar. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t do that again. It didn’t add anything to the clafoutis.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 9 ounces (2 cups) fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, for serving

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate or ceramic dish with cooking oil spray.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, milk, honey, butter, lemon zest and salt in a mixing bowl until well incorporated, then gradually whisk in the flour, to form a smooth batter.
  3. Pour into the pie plate, then add the raspberries; top sides down will help them to stay upright as you work. Bake (middle rack) for 40 to 50 minutes, until the clafoutis is golden brown and center is set.
  4. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and serve right away.

Biscuits – Revisited

I made buttermilk biscuits again this morning and added a few pictures to this old post. For second breakfast I tried one with just butter to QC check the biscuit flavor and one with home made blackberry jam, just because I could.

Biscuits, a.k.a. “breakfast” are delicious and are best with a dab biscuit_0002of butter, or butter and jam, or just jam, or with bacon and eggs, or… You get the idea.

Wikipedia defines: “A biscuit in the United States and parts of Canada, and widely used in popular American English, is a small baked good with a firm browned crust and a soft interior. They are made with baking biscuit_0003powder or baking soda as a chemical leavening agent rather than yeast. They are similar to British scones or the bannock from the Shetland Isles.”

Biscuits, soda breads, and cornbread, among others, are often referred to collectively as “quick breads,” to indicate that they do not need time to rise before baking.

 INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Using fingertips, rub 3/4 cup chilled butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until evenly moistened.
  3. Using 1/4 cup dough for each biscuit, drop biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm.