The Yolks on Me!

After baking something last week that required a lot of egg whites I had about 8 egg yolks left over. Of course, not being one to waste anything I put them in a container and stored them in the fridge. As they will only last a week or so I decided I needed to use them, and since today is my “day off” and remembering Creme Pat uses lots of egg yolks (4) and choux pastry uses lots of egg yolks (4) I suddenly had a solution. Eclairs!

I also watched an old episode of GBBO where Brendan made choux swans I really wanted to try my hand at them.

I made a batch of choux and piped a couple of dozen eclairs. I made about a half dozen of them shorter and thicker. Those would become the bodies of the swans. When cooled, cut the top of the swan bodies off with scissors. Then cut the tops lengthwise to form wings. Use a fine circular piping tip (#8) to pip the swan head and neck. Pipe a thin (5mm) ‘S’ about 5cm high. These will bake in about 10 minutes. If the necks are thinner they will burn. Trust me on this.

To assemble, pipe a good amount of Creme Pat into the body of the swan. I dipped the swans head and edges of the wings in the chocolate glaze used to coat the eclairs. Gently, (trust me again) push the bottom of the neck into the Creme Pat, then add the wings, chocolate edge up. Take a picture. Enjoy.

Raspberry Scone

Raspberries were on sale here last week so I bought a double pack to add to my Raisin Bran. Unfortunately, the weather changed about the same time and for me Raisin Bran is a summer breakfast. This weather deserves oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar… or perhaps some delicious raspberry dropped scones.

Don’t over mix the dough. If necessary add a tablespoon or two of water to make the dough stick together when trying to make a doughball, which is a snowball made of dough.

These scones are basically a free-form biscuit made by forming the dough into six or seven 200g balls, (each about the size of a small fist) placing on a parchment lined baking sheet and flattening to about an inch thick.

Raspberry Drop 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
• 150-175g fresh raspberries
• 1 cup heavy cream
• Coarse or turbinado sugar for topping

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and zest. Pulse a few times to incorporate.
  3. Add the cubed butter and pulse to incorporate. The mixture should resemble very coarse sand.
  4. Empty the flour mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the cream and stir until just barely incorporated.
  5. Gently fold in the berries. It’s fine if the raspberries break up a little – it adds a nice pink stain to the dough. 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.
  6. Spoon the dough into 12 equally-sized pieces on the parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle some coarse or turbinado sugar over the top, if desired.
  7. Bake for 16-19 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The scones should be lightly golden and cooked through.
  8. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack.

Hand Pies and Pan Au Chocolat

So, I had some puff pastry left over from the torsades last week, AND I had a half pint of fresh raspberries left over from my breakfast cereal. What am I to do?

I know! I can use some of my 11#s of chocolate for Pan Au Chocolat and puff pastry and raspberries for some hand pies. I posted both recipes and methods elsewhere in this blog so won’t bore you with repetition.

Twist and Shout – With Chocolate

In a continuing search for places to use chocolate I found Chocolate Torsades. The name derives from the French ‘tornado’ for ‘twist.’

There really isn’t a recipe for this. I used my creme patisserie recipe from the eclairs, (I had some left over.) I also had a leftover sheet of puff pastry, and of course lots of existing chocolate. (Still trying to exhaust the old stock.)

French Chocolate Torsades (Puff Pastry Twists)

INGREDIENTS
• 4 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of flour
• 1 1/2 cups of milk
• 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla
• 1 tablespoon of butter
• 1/4 teaspoon of salt
• 1 sheet Puff pastry (270 g)
• Chocolate chips dark or milk
• 1 egg for egg wash
• Sparkling sugar

METHOD
For the custard

  1. Whisk eggs and milk together and add to all other ingredients (except vanilla) to a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil whisking constantly
  3. Cook until thickened (it will look lumpy, its ok)
  4. Sieve lumpy mixture into a bowl and add 1 tsp vanilla, mix thoroughly
  5. When incorporated, cover with plastic directly on the cream and cool.

    For the Chocolate Torsades
  6. Preheat oven to 410 degrees (215 Celsius)
  7. Roll out puff pastry about 14 inches long or just use the store bought roll
  8. Spread a thin layer of the vanilla custard on top
  9. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top
  10. Fold in half and cut into strips
  11. Twist each strip a few times to create the twist
  12. Whisk one egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of the twists with the egg wash
  13. Place chocolate torsades on baking sheet with parchment paper
  14. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar
  15. Bake at 400 degrees (215 Celsius) for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

The Problem With Golf

You don’t hear it mentioned often, but there is a major problem with the game of golf. Although it is possible the problem is with those who play golf.

I play three times a week, which means there are four mornings a week that I don’t play golf and therein lies the problem. What am I going to do with those four mornings?

Sadly, sort of, I saw a new recipe for cinnamon buns this week, and I am not playing golf this morning…. so.

King Arthur Baking published this recipe for Perfectly Pillowy Cinnamon Buns. Often, once the bun cools, while still flavorful, it becomes more dense. Not these! They remain soft and fresh up to four days after baking. The secret is using a tangzhong in the dough batter. Tangzhong is a mix of milk and flour which is mixed and heated to a thick paste before adding the rest of the dough ingredients. It’s easy, you only need to know to do it.

I made the recipe as listed below, except not having whole milk I mixed 2% milk and whipping cream in a 80:20 ratio. I also only used the cream for the icing. The result is outstanding! We are waiting for the QC report, but manufacturing gives these rolls a big thumbs up!

Perfectly Pillowy Cinnamon Rolls


https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/perfectly-pillowy-cinnamon-rolls-recipe

INGREDIENTS

Tangzhong
• 1/2 cup (113g) whole milk
• 3 tablespoons (23g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

Dough
• 2/3 cup (151g) whole milk, cold
• 2 1/2 cups (300g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
• 2 teaspoons instant yeast
• 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, softened

Filling
• 1 tablespoon (14g) butter, melted
• 1/2 cup (107g) light brown sugar, packed
• 2 tablespoons (15g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
• 4 teaspoons (10g) cinnamon
• 1/16 teaspoon (pinch) salt

Icing
• 3 tablespoons (42g) butter, melted, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/16 teaspoon (pinch) salt
• 1 1/2 cups (170g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
• 1 to 2 tablespoons (14g to 28g) milk, cream, or buttermilk; enough to thin to desired consistency

METHOD

  1. To make the tangzhong: Combine both the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened, paste-like, and the spoon or spatula leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. This should take 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the strength of your burner.
  3. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl, the bowl of a stand mixer, or the bucket of a bread machine (whatever you plan to knead the dough in).
  4. To make the dough: Add the ingredients to the mixing bowl in the order listed; the heat from the tangzhong will help to warm the cold milk.
  5. Mix — by hand, on low speed of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, or in a bread machine set to the dough cycle — to bring the dough together. Next, knead the dough until it’s smooth, elastic, and tacky. This will take up to 15 minutes by hand, 10 to 12 minutes on medium-low speed of a mixer, or the length of the dough cycle in a bread machine.
  6. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable cover.
  7. Let the dough rise until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes (depending on the warmth of your kitchen).
  8. To make the filling: While the dough is rising, put the melted butter into a medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients, stirring until the mixture is the texture of damp sand. Set aside.
  9. To assemble the rolls: Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper.
  10. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and press it into a 10” x 12” rectangle that’s about 1/2” thick. For evenly shaped rolls, try to pat the dough into an actual rectangle (with corners), rather than an oval.
  11. Sprinkle the filling over the dough, covering all but a 1/2” strip along one long side.
  12. Starting with the filling-covered long side, roll the dough into a log.
  13. Score the dough lightly into eight equal 1 1/2” to 2” pieces. Cut the dough at the score marks, using dental floss for the cleanest cut. If you don’t have dental floss, a bench knife or sharp knife will work.
  14. Place the rolls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them so there’s at least 2” between each one and they’re 2” away from the edges of the pan; a 3-2-3 arrangement works well. To prevent them from unraveling while they rise and bake, tuck the ends of the spirals underneath the rolls so that they’re held in place.
  15. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap or a reusable cover and let them rise for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on the warmth of your kitchen). The rolls should be puffy and the dough shouldn’t bounce back immediately when gently pressed.
  16. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake, position a rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  17. Bake the rolls for 14 to 18 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of one roll reads 190°F. Bake for the lesser amount of time for extra-soft rolls, and the longer amount of time for rolls with a bit more color and slightly firmer texture.
  18. Remove the rolls from the oven, place the pan on a rack, and brush the hot rolls with 1 1/2 tablespoons (21g) of the melted butter. Let the rolls cool for 10 to 15 minutes before icing.
  19. To make the icing: Combine the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (21g) melted butter with the remaining icing ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing with a spatula until smooth.
  20. Ice the rolls and serve immediately. If you’re planning to serve the rolls later, wait to ice them until just before serving. Store icing at room temperature, tightly covered, until you’re ready to use it.
  21. Store completely cooled rolls, un-iced and well wrapped, for a couple of days at room temperature; or freeze for up to 1 month.
  22. To reheat leftover rolls: These rolls stay wonderfully soft for at least 3 days. The best way to enjoy them for breakfast is to bake them the day before, store them tightly sealed (and un-iced) at room temperature overnight, then the next morning lightly cover the rolls with foil and warm them in a 300°F to 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Spread with icing and enjoy.

Tips from the KAB Bakers

With origins in Japan’s yukone (or yudane), tangzhong is a yeast bread technique popularized across Asia by Chinese cookbook author Yvonne Chen. Tangzhong involves cooking some of a bread recipe’s flour in liquid prior to adding it to the remaining dough ingredients. Bringing the temperature of the flour and liquid to 65°C (149°F) pre-gelatinizes the flour’s starches, which makes them more able to retain liquid — thus enhancing the resulting loaf’s softness and shelf life.

These rolls are bakery-sized, meaning big enough to enjoy as an indulgent breakfast or snack. For smaller-sized rolls perfect for a side dish at brunch, score and divide the dough into ten 1” to 1 1/2” pieces and bake for 13 to 16 minutes.

Do you enjoy your cinnamon rolls with tangy, thick cream cheese frosting instead of vanilla icing? Stir in 4 to 6 tablespoons (57g to 90g) softened cream cheese to the icing along with the other ingredients. The softer the cream cheese is, the easier this will be to do. Resist the urge to add more than 2 teaspoons of milk until the icing is fully mixed. If it’s too thick for your liking, add more milk a teaspoon at a time to get it to the consistency you prefer.

Wondering about all the liquid choices for thinning the frosting? Milk is certainly the most convenient, but if you have cream or buttermilk, the former will add an extra layer of richness, while the latter will add a subtle tang to balance out the sweetness.

A Day In The Life – Act I

So, I started the morning with Pain Au Chocolat, (making, not eating.) I have some opened chocolate I need to use before I open the new bag. To me, baking is a hobby so I like to make everything I can from scratch. I don’t use mixes or other short cuts…. except for puff pastry. In the past I made puff pastry a few times and must admit that what I make is not nearly as good as what is available in the super market.

I buy two brands of puff pastry. Trader Joe sells a box with two 10”x10” sheets. TJ’s is good when you don’t want a huge puff when baked. If you knock it before baking it will puff less than 100%, which is what I used for todays pastry. Pepperidge Farms puff pastry also comes in two sheets per box, but each sheet is conveniently individually wrapped. This pastry puffs 200% if baked without knocking, a little less if you do. Pepperidge Farms is available year round, while TJ’s is only available from roughly Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Buy a few boxes and put them in the bottom of your freezer. I do.

Using Trader Joe’s puff pastry makes Pain Au Chocolat a snap. There is the added benefit it is also delicious.

Pain au Chocolate


INGREDIENTS
Puff pastry (Trader Joe’s)
Chocolate ( I used Guittard’s 63%)
Confectioner’s sugar

METHOD

  1. Roll out puff pastry
  2. Dust with confectioner’s sugar
  3. Cut into 2” wide (Trader Joe’s Puff Pastry – cut 5 long strips, then cut each in half)
  4. Lay chocolate at one end, roll one time, press down gently and roll again, press gently again
  5. Add second row of chocolate and roll one last time, press gently
  6. Chill overnight or at least 2 hours.
  7. Brush with egg wash
  8. Bake 360 deg 20-25 min on parchment lined baking sheet

Chocolat de Couverture Noir

On a visit to a Restaurant Depot my Q.C. Department convinced me to buy 11 lbs of bulk Chocolat de Couverture Noir. (64% is dark chocolate is not very bitter. I use 73% for dark bitter chocolate.) My question is… what should I make with it?

I am thinking Pain au Chocolat, chocolate croissants, chocolate chip cookies and/or brownies. Note the fluidity on the package. This chocolate is suitable for coating caramel, creams, berries and other confections.

Last year I made an over the top chocolate/orange tart. My neighbor’s orange tree has a abundance of oranges too high up for her to harvest. Hmmm……

Maybe something I made before: Eclairs? Chocolate Babka? Soufflés? Chocolate pudding? (Try the easy home made chocolate pudding recipe.) Chocolate chip scones? Lava Cake? Chocolate Fudge? Oh yes, chocolate fudge!!! (Maybe chocolate/peanut butter fudge, the QC department doesn’t like Chocolate/peanut butter fudge.)

Andy other suggestions?????

I care. You Care. Eclairs!

It’s Wednesday and I don’t (usually) play golf on Wednesday. What will I do to occupy my time? What will I do? Well, I froze some choux pastry a couple of months ago, just to have some for an emergency. Choux freezes well but should be used within a few months. Plus I had some leftover chocolate glaze. All I needed was some creme patisserie (which I made before dawn today,) and I could have some eclairs! (I also made a loaf of bread later in the morning.) A very full day!!

Recipe and technique are here: https://abatteredoldsuitcase.com/2016/12/19/a-b-c-d-eclairs/

Babka “Yada, yada, yada”

I am not sure there is much better than a fresh, warm, chocolate babka. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this bread/pastry/cake I strongly suggest you don’t wait but either make or buy a loaf. Warning, this recipe could ruin you for store bought.

I was going to take a few pictures to illustrate how to make and shape a babka, but the woman who posted this recipe did a great job of it. https://prettysimplesweet.com/shaping-babka. Copy and paste this link into your browser for details.

Chocolate Babka

https://prettysimplesweet.com/chocolate-babka/

INGREDIENTS
For the dough:
• 3¾ cups (530 g) all-purpose flour , plus extra for dusting
• ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon (10g) instant yeast
• 3 large eggs
• ½ cup (120 ml) water
• ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
• ⅔ cup (150 g) unsalted butter , at room temperature, cut into small cubes
• Neutral oil (sunflower, canola) for dressing
For the chocolate filling:
• ½ cup (50 g) powdered sugar
• ⅓ cup (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
• 130 g dark chocolate , melted*
• ½ cup (120 g) unsalted butter , melted
• ⅔ cup (120 g) chocolate chips or chunks OR 1 cup (100g/3.5oz) pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
For the sugar syrup:
• ½ cup (120ml) water
• ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

METHOD
Making the dough:

  1. Place flour, sugar, and yeast in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed until combined. Add eggs and water, and mix on medium speed until dough comes together, 2-3 minutes. Add salt, then butter, adding a few cubes at a time, mixing until incorporated. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until dough is completely smooth, elastic, shiny, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. During mixing, you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Place dough in a large bowl brushed with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for at least half a day or overnight.
  3. Grease two loaf pans (9×4 inch) with oil and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Divide dough in half and keep one half covered in the fridge.
    Making the filling:
  4. Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and butter until you have a spreadable paste.
  5. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle measuring 15×11 inches. Position dough so that a long side is closest to you. Using an offset spatula, spread half of the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving a ¾ inch border all around. Sprinkle half of the pecans or chocolate chips on top of the chocolate.
    Shaping the dough:
  6. Use both hands to roll up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side closest to you and ending at the other long end. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade, then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect thick cigar. Rest the cigar on its seam.
  7. Trim about ¾ inch off both ends of the roulade with a serrated knife. Then use the knife to gently cut the roll in half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam, essentially dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lifting the left half over the right, to create a simple two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top. Carefully lift the cake into a loaf pan. Don’t worry if there are gaps in the pan since the cake will rise and will eventually look fine, even if you feel like it’s messy at this point. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1½ hours. Repeat to make the second cake.
  8. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C, making sure to allow plenty of time for it to heat fully before the cakes have finished rising. Remove plastic wrap or tea towels, place cakes on middle rack of oven, and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean with no dough attached.
  9. While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring water and sugar to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from heat and set aside to cool. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush the syrup over them. Use all of the syrup, even if it looks a lot. Let cakes cool until they are warm, then remove from pans and let cool completely before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  10. Babka will stay fresh for 24 hours in an airtight container at room temperature. Don’t place in the fridge.
  11. Babka freezes well for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave on counter or overnight in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

  • To melt butter and chocolate, place them in a heat-proof bowl, and heat in the microwave in 20 second-intervals, stirring in between each interval, until melted and smooth (or alternatively, set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally).

Do You Know The Blackberry Muffin Man?

I recently picked another quart of blackberries from my garden and decided some fresh blackberry muffins would be a nice treat. Actually, half of the QA department thought it was a good idea and why would I object?

I found this recipe from an Oregon blackberry grower—how could I go wrong? I actually saw the same ingredients, ratios and method on several websites. Well, they all got it right. These are easy, quick and delicious.

Although the blackberries were fresh from the garden I froze them for a couple of hours. This kept the blackberry juice from diffusing out into the muffin batter. I also cut them in half to help the dispersion throughout the batter.

BLACKBERRY MUFFINS
INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BATTTER
• ½ C all-purpose flour
• ¾ C sugar
• ½ t salt
• 2 t baking powder
• ⅓ C vegetable oil
• 1 egg
• 1 t vanilla extract
• ⅓ – ½ C milk
• 1 C fresh frozen blackberries or fresh (cut in half)

FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
• ½ C sugar
• ⅓ C all-purpose flour
• ¼ C butter melted
• 1 t ground cinnamon
• Optional – ½ t ground cardamom
METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F .
  2. Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin liners.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
  4. Add oil to a 1 cup measuring cup. Add egg and enough milk (⅓ – ½ cup) to fill to 1-cup line. Add vanilla and almond extract (if using) and whisk to combine.
  5. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in blackberries.
    To Make Streusel Topping:
  6. Mix together sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and cardamom with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  7. Divide batter evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. When muffins are done, cool for a few minutes in the muffin pan before removing to cool on a wire rack.