Four Leaf Clover Rolls (KAF)

Today is a good baking day. It is at least 20 degrees cooler than yesterday. Saturday was an out of doors kind of day: picked up dog poo, unwrapped the camper trailer, fixed bicycles, got out the lawn chairs and table, and had lunch outside. Truth be told, Hubby did most of the work. I made the lunch and brought it outside. The poor dog; he did not know what to do with himself at first. He does not seem to like laying on the lawn or sitting on the patio. By patio, I mean a section of concrete squares that surround the basement bulkhead, nothing pretty and designed.

Again I am making something from King Arthur Flour. Their catalog comes in the mail trying to sell me all sorts of baking items and has these few recipes in it. For this recipe they want you to use an Irish-style flour and some baking papers. Well, I used whole wheat flour (Bob’s Red Mill) and a jumbo muffin pan and two  8-ounce ramekins. I used raisins because I did not have currants, and I did not toast the walnuts.

The recipe link is here: the recipe.

My ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour; I always use unbleached but differing brands.
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt; I use kosher salt because I used to watch Alton Brown and i think he always used it.
  • 2 tablespoons honey; remember to spray your spoon with cooking spray first and it will slide right off; I forgot.
  • 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup lukewarm tap water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1//2 cup raisins

20170226_192341860_iosThe instructions are simple and fabulous: Mix and knead all the ingredients until the dough is smooth and elastic. This took just over two minutes in the Kitchen-Aid stand mixer with the bread hook. Grease the bowl, cover, and let rise until puffy about 60-90 minutes. I let mine rest for about 75 minutes.

This makes eight large rolls so I used the jumbo muffin pan and needed two more spaces so I used two 8 ounce ramekins. I sprayed these with cooking spray.

After the first rise, gently deflate the dough. Ha! Mom always called this “punching down the dough. Divide this into 32 pieces. So divide the dough into eight pieces. I like to use a bench cutter/scraper. Cut each of those pieces into four and roll each piece into a ball and place four in each cup. Cover and let rise until they crest over the rim. (I could not find the height of the special papers that KAF was promoting so I figured 60 minutes was in between the 45-75 minutes in the recipe.

Bake in 350 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes. Mine took 27 minutes. Brush with 1-2 tablespoons melted butter, if desired. I desired. And rolls for dinner.

20170226_223715821_ios

I think one of these with a cup of yogurt and fruit would be a fabulous on the go breakfast too. They taste sort of like a yeasted Irish soda bread with a touch of whole wheat. Gotta be healthy, right?

Advertisements

Dark. Chocolate. Eclairs.

Dark: this is the glaze on top.

Chocolate: this is the filling.

Eclairs: this is choux pastry.

Oh my! This is chocolate. For some reason I did not think that the pastry cream would be that chocolate-y. Sometimes my brain does not seem to process the information as well. Or I imagine it to be one thing and go with that thought!  After all the pastry cream has two types of chocolate in it! I think I looked at the picture and imagined the pastry as the filling. As I was making these I was debating as to whether or not to include the chocolate glaze on top. These deserve to be eaten with a cold glass of milk.

I decided to make the King Arthur Flour February bakealong recipe.Here is the link, February: dark chocolate eclairs.

Their recipe said to pipe these into 5 inch strips and it would make 12-18 eclairs. Well, I piped into 5 inch strips, had to pipe a strip along side to use up all the pastry, and this made 24 for me. The whole in my pastry bag could have been bigger.

20170220_191714873_iosEasy choux pastry: 1 cup water, 1/2 cup butter, 3/8 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 4 large eggs; bring water, butter, and salt to boil. Add flour and stir until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time until smooth. KAF instructs to let the flour mix cool for 5-10 minutes before adding the eggs. Pipe this mixture out into 5 inch logs on parchment paper. This will take two baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes; lower the temp to 350 and bake for an additional 25 minutes. KAF then instructs to cut small slit in tops and return to oven for 5 minutes to let steam escape. Well mine did not have any escaping steam so I skipped this step. Let cool slightly and then slice in half to cool completely.

20170220_195654520_iosMeanwhile make the pastry cream. This should be made first, actually, so that it cools. 1/2 cup sugar, 5 tablespoons cornstarch, 4 large egg yolks, 2 cups whole milk, 1/2  cocoa powder, 1/3 cup chopped unsweetened baking chocolate, and 1 tablespoon butter.Bring milk and cocoa to simmer. Combine sugar and cornstarch and whisk in the egg yolks. Pour some of the hot chocolate mixture into the yolks and then return to the pan and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add butter and chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Transfer this to a bowl, bring to room temperature, and refrigerate for about two hours. I was impatient and began assembly prior to the two hours.

Make the glaze with 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate (I used chips), 1 12 teaspoon light corn syrup (this is to make it shine), and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Bring the cream to just simmer and pour it over the first two ingredients. I just put all three in my sauce pan and brought to just boil, and then stirred until smooth. I forgot to read the instructions clearly! It worked out fine.

And the final product is….

20170220_220211193_ios

So I now have to decide if I will assemble all of them and refrigerate them “ready to eat” or assemble them “as needed”. Hmmmm?

Thoughts from my kitchen: this is a rich pastry cream filling. It is not pudding or whipped cream. To make these “lighter” one could use a favorite pudding or mousse. I think my Betty Crocker Cookbook has a choux pastry recipe that makes less so that would be better for just the two of us here at home. And for quick and easy just use whipped cream or a pudding mix. Jello brand is making a simple mix with no artificial flavors and preservatives now. But you must absolutely use cow’s milk and not nut milks for that mix.

 

 

Cranberry-Pecan Quick Bread

This turned out to be a bit of a labor intensive “quick” bread but lovely to eat. But first a few thoughts.

20170209_152310464_ios
Clearly, this is not a picture of the bread!

We are having a major snow storm so I did not have to go to work this day. It is a wonder to be “non-essential” and yet so much expectations and pressure at work to do more with less as each day goes by.

It will be a good day to try a new recipe or bake something yummy. But I have not been too inspired lately. The political situation has taken over my brain!!

In honor of the Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl commercial celebrating immigrants I got out my Anheuser-Busch Great Food Great Beer cookbook to find something to make. I could cook or bake. There are some great recipes in there! But I did not have one or two essential ingredients for some of the main dishes. What? You say. When did that ever stop you? What can I say? There was a lovely gingerbread cake recipe but it called for 1 1/2 cups of butter and I thought that was a lot of butter when trying to lose some weight.

So, it being winter in New England, I got out my The New England Table cookbook to find something. There’s a lovely lemon pudding cake and a cranberry-pecan quick bread. Guess which one I chose? Although I may bake the other as well. Wait and see!

I had everything for this recipe except the buttermilk. But it is so easy to make your own sour milk. And just because I had no milk doesn’t stop me either. I used diluted half-and-half. I also thought I would make it healthier by substituting half the flour with whole wheat pastry flour. I also toast the pecans in a dry skillet on top of the stove instead of in the oven. And I got to use my mortar and pestle to grind cardamom seeds. And that aroma was heavenly!

  • 2 cups flour; I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup unbleached all-purpose
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom; this was two pods
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk; I put a teaspoon of lemon juice in the measuring cup (you can also use vinegar), added 1/3 cup half-and-half, and added water to the 2/3 cup mark
  • finely grated zest and juice of one large navel orange; I zested a fresh orange but used 1/4 cup prepared orange juice; I wanted to eat the orange for my morning snack!
  • 1 extra large egg; mine was just large
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries; oops! the recipe calls for these to be coarsely chopped; I put them in whole
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped; I did remember to chop these

The labor intensity of this quick bread comes about for toasting the pecans, grinding the cardamom seeds, and making the buttermilk. Okay, that may not sound like a lot, but I did not read the entire recipe ahead of time and so scrambled to get these things done while putting together the batter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or butter a loaf pan, standard size of 8 1/2 x 4 inches, and dust with flour. (My standard loaf pans are actually 9 x 5 inches).

Sift or whisk the first 6 dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix the egg with the sugar until it is thick and yellow. Mix the butter, buttermilk, orange zest and juice in a small bowl. (This I forgot to do and had to scramble to put these in together but not as a mixture). Blend this mixture into the egg-sugar mixture. Then add the flour just til combined. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Spread in prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. My oven took only the 55 minutes. Test bread with toothpick or cake tester.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out of pan onto wire rack to cool.

20170209_153705491_ios

I, of course, did not wait for this to cool completely before trying a slice. When cutting warm bread remember to hold the loaf and gently cut with a serrated bread knife.

This was yummy. Not so good for a reduced calorie count for snacking as it is hard to eat just one slice!

Just because baking is a science, doesn’t mean that substitution and innovation results in disaster. Once you know how to bake you can have the confidence to change things up a bit. That may be ingredients but also technique. Happy baking to all!