Pigs in a Blanket Baked Brie

February 20, 2019

 

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So look-y here! Pigs in a Blanket Baked Brie is what’s on the menu today! I was absolutely amazed when I saw this gorgeous creation from Host the Toast (check it out! a beautiful blog full of great recipes) and could not wait to try my hand at it. I was sure it would end up as one of those situations where you see this gorgeous culinary creation, but your attempt to reproduce it ends up an unrecognizable epic fail. Not so with these little piggies. I would say Host the Toast’s presentation is still better than mine, but mine is not too shabby if I do say so myself.

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It is actually quite easy to do. I do recommend watching the video that Host the Toast did showing how it’s done before you try it for yourself.

Watch the video showing how to make it from Host the Toast! 

The one tip that I have is make sure that your pie crusts have warmed a bit before you try to fold the top one around the Brie wheel. You don’t want to have the pastry crack at all because it will allow that melted Brie to leak out a bit. You can see mine sprung a bit of a leak, but I think most of the Brie stayed within its pastry case.

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Perfect for any gathering from potluck to fancy cocktail party. And what a dream Super Bowl Snack! You’ll be the MVP on the refreshment front for sure! (Only second to whoever brought the beer). I’ve made it several times now and folks just can’t stop ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing over it. But sure you only hear that for a few seconds, because what’s even better than hearing all that admiration is that fact that this dish is really yummy. It will be scarfed down in no time flat! I mean come on – buttery, flaky pastry wrapped around a creamy gooey herbed Brie with smoky cocktail sausages – yeah….I bet that tastes just awful right?

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Pigs in a Blanket Baked Brie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Host the Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) wheel Brie Cheese
  • 2 pre-made (store-bought) circular pie crusts
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional – I did not use it)
  • 36 cocktail sausages
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • sesame seeds/poppy seeds for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Carefully cut the top from the Brie wheel and set aside. Place the Brie on one of the unrolled pie crusts. Sprinkle the exposed cheese with garlic, chives and rosemary if you are using it. Replace the top on the Brie Wheel.

Lay the second pie crust over the brie. Carefully press the edges of the pie dough up against the brie and smooth over the bottom crust.

Cut even-sized strips all around the brie, like a sun, making 18 total cuts. Place one cocktail sausage at the outer leftmost corner of one of the strips at a slight angle. Roll it inward to wrap in the pie dough and press the edges to seal. Continue all the way around the dough until all of the top layer of strips have a cocktail sausage nestles within them.

Move on to the bottom layer of strips and do just as you did above, wrapping until all of the cut strips contain sausages. You may have to gently lift the top layer to snuggle the bottom layer up under them.

Brush generously with egg yolk and sprinkle with any seed garnish that you may be using.

Carefully transfer the Brie to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the pastry is deep golden-brown, about 30 – 40 minutes.

Allow to cool for 5 – 10 minutes. Cut the top off the baked brie and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Pigs in a Blanket Baked Brie brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Pigs in a Blanket Baked Brie:

Hillshire Farms Cocktail size Lit’l Smokies – this is for 3 packs of them, but hey they freeze well and you’ll be ready next time you need to whip this amazing snack together.

 

 

 

 

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Twice Baked Breakfast Popovers

February 14, 2019

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Now I know you probably were most likely expecting some sort of gorgeous confectionary treat for a Valentine’s Day post. Some sugary, chocolatey delicious explosion. I know. And you can believe me when I say that is exactly what I would want. Truth be told…in a the shape of a cupcake for me. However, I wasn’t making myself a Valentine’s Day treat, I was making one for The Husband. Though one year I did get away with serving him up some cupcakes by making them Gin & Tonic Cupcakes:

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Sneaky right? But I can’t really do that every year. As I’ve mentioned before, he doesn’t even really like chocolatey desserts. (I know…weird right?!!!) And if he is going to get worked up about a dessert, it would probably be a fruit type thing like this lovely Cashew Crusted Blackberry & Lime Tart:

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But this year, I didn’t really have any dessert recipe in mind. Then it occurred to me… the Husband really likes eggs. I mean he really likes eggs. Like he says he “never gets tired of them” and “could eat them every day” kind of likes eggs. And he loves popovers.

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And who doesn’t like bacon? So although a bit unconventional, here is an incredibly tasty savory Valentine’s Day treat: Twice Baked Breakfast Popovers!

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Yup, that is freshly baked, golden brown popovers – hot from the oven

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Look at that steam1

just stuffed full of moist fluffy eggs, crispy bacon and gooey cheese. Yum right?!!!

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These delicious little devils were right up the Husband’s alley. And lucky for me they were quick and easy to make. The most difficult thing was not opening the oven to peek in on the popovers while they were baking. Frying bacon and scrambling eggs…peice of cake! And speaking of cake…the Husband didn’t miss it all! Valentine’s Day is all about spoiling your sweetie with their favorite treats. Just so happens my darlin prefers eggs over chocolate!

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Twice Baked Breakfast Popovers

  • Servings: 6 standard sized popovers, 12 medium-sized or 18 minis
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Popovers:

  • 4 large eggs, warmed in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes before cracking
  • 340 grams (1 1/2 cups or 12 oz.) milk (skim, low-fat, or full-fat), lukewarm
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 177 grams (1 1/2 cups or 6 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 43 grams (3 tablespoons or 1 1/2 oz.) melted butter

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped, white and light green pieces separated from dark green pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Position a rack on a lower shelf. The top of the fully risen popovers should be about midway up the oven. What you don’t want is for the tops of the popping popovers to be too close to the top of the oven, as they’ll burn.

Grease the wells of the popover pan. Make sure the oven is up to temperature before you begin to make the popover batter.

Use a wire whisk to beat together the eggs, milk, and salt. Whisk till the egg and milk are well combined, with no streaks of yolk showing.

Add the flour all at once, and beat with a wire whisk till frothy; there shouldn’t be any large lumps in the batter, but smaller lumps are OK. OR, if you’re using a stand mixer equipped with the whisk attachment, whisk at high-speed for 20 seconds. Stop, scrape the sides of the bowl, and whisk for an additional 20 to 30 seconds at high speed, till frothy.

Stir in the melted butter, combining quickly.

Pour the batter into the popover pan wells, filling them about 2/3 full.

Make absolutely certain your oven is at 450°F. Place the pan on a lower shelf of the oven .

Bake the popovers for 20 minutes without opening the oven door. Reduce the heat to 350°F (again without opening the door), and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown. If the popovers seem to be browning too quickly, position an oven rack at the very top of the oven, and put a cookie sheet on it, to shield the popovers’ tops from direct heat.

While the popovers are baking, prepare the bacon egg and cheese filling. Fry the bacon until crispy, then crumble it into 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces. Set aside.

Beat the eggs with the milk or cream, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the light green and white parts of the scallions and cook until softened. Add the egg mixture and cook, stirring until the eggs have just barely set. Remember, the eggs will cook further after they have been placed in the popovers. You do not want them overcooked.

Transfer the scrambled eggs & scallions to a mixing bowl and allow them to cool slightly. Then add the bacon and cheese.

Once the popovers are out of the oven and cool enough to handle, cut a slit in the side of each popover but don’t cut them completely in half. Spoon the egg mixture into the hollow portion of each popover.

Place the stuffed popovers on a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with any remaining cheese and bake at 400°F for 10 – 12 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Remove the popovers from the oven, garnish with he dark green scallions and serve hot or warm.

Enjoy!

Notes:

*You can buy a popover mix from King Arthur Flour (amazon link below as well) if you don’t want to make the popovers from scratch – although they are pretty easy to make.

*You can make these popovers in a muffin pan, though I do recommend getting a proper popover pan (link supplied below). If you are using a muffin pan make sure you grease it well, covering the area between the cups as well as the wells.

Twice Baked Breakfast Popovers brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Twice Baked Breakfast Popovers:

King Arthur Flour Popover Mix

Nordic Ware Grand Popover Pan

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Series 5 Qt. Stand Mixer

Scanpan Classic 10.25″ fry pan – I love my Scanpan frying pan! Wouldn’t scramble an egg in any other!

 


Nutella Star Bread

February 5, 2019

 

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So I gotta ask….are there any Nutella fans out there? Cause let me tell you I love me some Nutella! I did actually didn’t even know it existed until I was living in Ireland and my friend Theresa had a jar. I watched with amazement as she spread it over her toast. I was like “What! You can eat chocolate on toast!” I had no idea it was a thing. Yup, love at first bite. And I love bread as well. So making this Nutella Star Bread was a no brainer for me!

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It is not by chance that I’m blogging a recipe which features Nutella today. Today February 5th is World Nutella Day. This celebration of all things Nutella was started in 2007 by Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso as a day to celebrate, get creative with and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

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A couple of years ago, the founders have transferred Nutella Day to Ferrero the company who owns that most beloved spread. Take a peek at their Facebook page and see how folks are celebrating the day! I love Nutella so I usually try to participate with a Nutella laden recipe every year. One of my favorite Nutella creations was this Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart which was quite stunning if I do say so myself.

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And there was the amazing Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka:

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And for quite a few years I was on a cookie streak. I made some Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies:

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And there were these irresistible Salted Peanut Butter & Nutella Sandwich Cookies – sweet salty bliss I tell you!

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I was still loving the salty / sweet thing when I blogged about  Salted & Malted Nutella Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies feature silky, decadent Nutella, creamy caramel, nostalgic malted goodness and rich chocolate chips, all rolled up together in a crunchy chewy salted cookie.

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But let me get back to talking about the recipe I’m sharing today: Nutella Star Bread. I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour blog. The folks at King Arthur made it with a Cinnamon Sugar filling, which is delicious as well. That Christmas-y version is a staple around here come December.  So being very familiar with the recipe, I thought it would be quite easy to swap out the cinnamon sugar for Nutella, what with it being World Nutella Day and all. Worked like a charm!

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Visually stunning, everyone is always super impressed and thinks it must be soooo difficult to make. Truth be told it is pretty easy. It just involves making up an easy yeast dough, dividing it into 4 parts and rolling them out to 10″ circles and then a little layers, cutting and twisting of the dough.

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And I must say this treat isn’t all looks, this decadent, Nutella stuffed bread practically melts in your mouth!

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So what are you waiting for?! Grab you a jar of Nutella and dive right in! Great as a dessert, for breakfast or with a cup of tea or coffee, you just can’t beat this time-tested comfort food treat. So get your Star Bread baking and have a Happy Nutella Day!

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Nutella Star Bread

  • Servings: one star loaf - about 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 241 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 46 grams (1/4 cup) potato flour or instant mashed potato flakes
  • 35 grams ( 1/4 cup) nonfat dry milk
  • 198 grams to 227 grams (3/4 cup + 2- 4 Tablespoons) lukewarm water, enough to make a soft, smooth dough
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 25 grams (2 Tablespoons) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

Nutella Hazelnut Spread ( I used about 1/2 of 13 oz. jar)

Directions:

First, measure the flour by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Or better yet, measure the weight of the ingredients using a handy-dandy kitchen scale. It is much more accurate than the using cups measurement systmen. 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.)

To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 60 minutes, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces – again a kitchen scale really comes in handy here. Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.

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 and carefully spread the Nutella over it, leaving approximately 1/4″ – 1/2″ bare dough around the perimeter.

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 — Nutella spread, dough circle — leaving the top circle bare.

Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide. With a bench knife or sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layers.

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.

Pinch the pairs of strips together to create a star-like shape with eight points. Remove the cutter.

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.

While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Brush 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.

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.

Store any leftover bread, well wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Enjoy!

Nutella Star Bread brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Nutella Star Bread:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Series 5 Qt. Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Whole Milk Powder or here from King Arthur

 

 

 


English Muffin Toasting Bread

February 1, 2019

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Here it is…February already. And tomorrow, my favourite varmint, Punxsutawney Phil, will be stepping out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and letting everyone know if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or if instead Spring is on the way. So far this Winter we’ve had a couple of pretty snows, but really it has been pretty mild overall…you know aside from that crazy Polar Vortex that hit us Wednesday night. The Husband and I were prepared for it though. We’ve got a little holiday coming up soon where we are headed somewhere much colder than our usual Iceland visits. Stay tuned for that! Needless to say, we love winter, so I’ve gotta admit, I’m hoping that the little Punxsutawney critter sees his shadow!

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One extraordinary rodent!

Phil & all the folks up in Punxsutawney aren’t the only ones celebrating now. February 1st, which falls half way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, also marks the festivals of Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day and Candlemas, all of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. Quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking an event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 8th year anniversary of  the my cooking blog! Yup… Eight years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.

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Last year I was negligent and didn’t post anything at all on February 1st. I do have a wee bit of an excuse though. I was off on an incredible holiday in Scotland. I just posted about the first leg of our trip in Glasgow and am working on writing up the second leg now. But a couple of years prior, I did share one of my favorite recipes with you: Model Bakery’s English Muffins:

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And let me take this opportunity to remind you of some of the other “anniversary edition” recipes I have shared. There was the one for those completely decadent  Banana Rum Muffins:

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That jaw-dropping, over the top Crack Pie:

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And who can forget that magical “caviar of the South” –  Pasture’s Pimento Cheese:

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But let me get back to today’s recipe: English Muffin Toasting Bread! I don’t know about you, but I love English Muffins. As I mentioned, one of my all time favorite recipes is the Model Bakery’s English Muffins.

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Those muffins bake up wonderfully fluffy and light as a cloud, yet are substantial enough to hold up to any breakfast sandwich you might send their way. The reason I don’t have a constant supply of those Muffins here in this house is that although the recipe isn’t particularly difficult to make, it does involve several steps and dough rising times. In fact, you have to be organized to make a biga the day prior to baking. I’d love to say that I am that organized and have everything all scheduled out, but I’m afraid it isn’t so. That was why I was so delighted to find King Arthur Flour’s recipe for English Muffin Toasting Bread.

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This bread is ridiculously easy to make. You literally just mix it all up, slap it in the pan for about a 1 hour rise and then pop it in the oven. You heard me right…a yeast bread that requires no endless kneading and not one bit of fiddly shaping. The resulting bread makes the perfect toast and has a rough craggy texture very reminiscent of English Muffins. Indeed, it’s just the perfect vehicle for lashings of salty butter and sweet fruity jam.

img_7235Not to mention it can stand up to any egg sandwich you want to throw its way.  Now in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that if I could wave a magic wand and have either the English Muffin Toasting Bread or one of the Model Bakery’s English Muffins appear with a poof in front of me, I would probably go for the actual English Muffin. But I must have slept through the Breakfast Bread conjuring class at Hogwarts and I can’t seem to pull that spell off no matter how hard I try. So the Model Bakery’s Muffins will likely remain my “flashy special occasion kind of thing”. Whereas the English Muffin Toasting Bread is my “roll out of bed and whip something really yummy together in a flash” kind of thing. Believe me, you’ll be amazed how easy this bread is to make. It’s a good thing too because as quickly as folks will devour a loaf, you’ll be making another before you know it. Get to baking!

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English Muffin Toasting Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf bread
  • Difficulty: super easy!
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 361 grams (3 cups) All-purpose Flour
  • 14 grams (1 Tablespoon) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 227 grams (1 cup) milk
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) water
  • 25 grams (2 Tablespoons) vegetable oil or olive oil
  • cornmeal to sprinkle in pan

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.

Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.

Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.

Using an electric beater, or stand mixer with beater attachment, beat at high-speed for 1 minute; the dough will be smooth and very soft. If you don’t have an electric mixer, beat by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and starting to become elastic.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.

Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.

Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, 1/4″ over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

English Muffin Toasting Bread brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for English Muffin Toasting Bread:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Series 5 Qt. Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks


Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas

January 26, 2019

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The Husband and I went on an amazing trip this time last year and seeings how yesterday was Robbie Burns Day, I’ve just got to tell you about it. That’s right- January 25th is the birthday of Robert Burns. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. On January 25th folks throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, will be remembering him with a Burns Night Supper. Robbie Burns has indeed inspired me to share this recipe for these delicious Scottish Pies, sometimes also called “Scotch Pies” which is perfect for a casual Burns night supper.

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I’m often inspired by our travels to come home and make one of the dishes from the area we visited. Although I have done a few of these blogs in the past, I am woefully behind on them. But I am really going to be doing some backtracking and telling you about our past travels, boring you with our vacation photos, offering a few recommendations on hotels, tours etc. and sharing a recipe or two in the process. So let me get on with it! At the end of January 2018, we set out for the Shetland Islands via Glasgow and with a stopover in Iceland on the way back. The Shetland Islands are a group of islands which lie between the north Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, 104 miles north of Scottish mainland. It is the same latitude as southern Greenland and closer to Norway than Scotland. Now I bet you’re wondering, “Why exactly did you go there in the middle of winter? Wasn’t it cold?” Well, truth be told it wasn’t really much colder than it is in Virginia in the winter, temperatures hovering slightly above freezing. However it was a whole lot more windy and wet. The precipitation did come down as rain vs. snow, but oh my Gawd was it windy! And why January? Because that is when the town of Lerwick, the largest in the Shetlands with a population of about 7,500, holds its annual Up Helly Aa, a viking festival, which we had been itching to go to for years. But before I get into the big event, our first stop was Glasgow.

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Spoiler! Keep tuned for next post about this amazing Viking fire festival!

I had actually visited Glasgow previously. It was the husband’s first visit. Glasgow has been overlooked as a destination for years, losing tourists to the fancier, more posh Edinburgh. And while I think Edinburgh is a gorgeous city, I have always been partial to Glasgow. To me, Glasgow felt much more laid back, friendly and comfortable. In recent years, the city has undergone a revitalization, seeing a large influx of bars, restaurants and shops. The place is absolutely buzzing with excitement. We were lucky enough to have ended up there during the annual Celtic Connections music festival. The husband and I love going out to see live music, so this was right up our alley. We saw the Deslondes, one of our favorite bands which hails from New Orleans,

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in an amazing venue – Òran Mór. Located in Glasgow’s vibrant West End, Oran Mór was formerly the Kelvinside Parish Church, but has now been transformed into a truly unique venue, offering up two bars, a restaurant, a nightclub as well as a live music hall.

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We also saw ever enduring (celebrating 30 years together this year) English folk/punk band The Levellers at Glasgows Old Fruitmarket – another unbelievably cool music venue tucked away in Glasgow’s stylish Merchant City.

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The Fruitmarket, was as the name suggests, originally a market where fresh fruit and vegetables were sold up until the 1970’s. The amazing renovation manages to retain all of the period charm of the original building including all of the ironwork, balconies and beautiful vaulted ceiling.

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Although we didn’t have a lot of time in Glasgow before venturing further north, we were able to visit Glasgow’s stunning cathedral,

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stroll through the Necropolis (Glasgow’s large Victorian cemetery),

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visit the iconic Cloisters of the University of Glasgow,

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explore the extensive Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

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spend a luxurious afternoon at Blythswood Square Spa

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and relax in one or two (or so….) of the local pubs.

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We also did manage to get out of the city for one day. Frank Jones, the owner of Wee Adventours, picked us up in his very luxurious Land Rover and whisked us away from Glasgow out on an action packed day of adventure. We knew that we did not want to get crammed onto a big bus full of tourists to be rushed from stop to stop. We wanted something a bit more personalized and relaxing and that is what we got with Wee Adventours. The lovely Frank was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, so friendly, funny and charming, it felt as though we had known him for years. Having worked in the tourism industry for some time, he was very knowledgeable about the history, customs and landmarks of Scotland and enthusiastic to share it with us. He spent a little time before the day of the tour finding out what our interests were and then customized an itinerary just for us. We did a small hike around Loch Lomond

img_3232 (3)and visited the town of Sterling. We had a great time at Doune Castle which is not only where Monty Python’s Holy Grail was filmed, it is also Castle Leoch from The Outlander television show and was further used as the set for Winterfell in Game of Thrones pilot.

 

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Last but not least, we visited charming Glengoyne Distillery for a tour and a Whisky & Chocolate tasting. Just an amazing day!

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Already an action packed holiday and we hadn’t even got to the main event! Turns out, much to my delight, the Husband absolutely loved Glasgow and said he couldn’t wait to return. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that we really made an excellent choice when we decided to stay at The Dakota Deluxe Hotel. The Dakota was fantastic! They offer free airport transfer during the week, which was so nice. Everyone we met who worked there was so friendly, charming and ready to help in any way they were able. The spacious rooms were decorated tastefully and the beds were very comfortable. The location was perfect, we were able to easily walk to most everything that we wanted to do. We look forward to our next stay, which will definitely be happening!

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Funky rope dog found in the Dakota’s reception.

So this is how we actually found ourselves in Scotland, Glasgow is particular, on Robbie Burn’s birthday. In the past I’ve shared lots of recipes with you that would be great for your own Burns Night celebration. There were these Cranberry Bannocks:

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And these Drop Scones – which might be better for Burns Breakfast – perhaps served around 2 am after a wee too much indulgence in the pubs.

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There was Steak Auld Reekie served over Crispy Tatties & Neeps:

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Dundee Cake with Hot Whiskey Marmalade:

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Scotch Egg Pie:

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Cock-a-Leekie soup:

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Which I always serve with this Scottish Harvest Bread, called Struan:

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And who could forget thyme impressive and delectable Scotch Eggs!

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Which I have also done deviled:

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Last year, we did not attend a big, formal Burns Night Supper, but did enjoy a lovely dinner in Fault & Blame – a fantastic, laid back pub located on in Glasgow.

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It was there that was we were served these delicious Scottish Pies with mushy peas and mashed potatoes. Absolute heaven I tell you!

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Now I know I’ve told you how we absolutely love meat pies. This blog is chock full of recipes for them. I’m pleased to say that the Scottish Pie (sometimes called Scotch Pie) is no exception to our pro-pie stance. A Scottish Pie is a small, personal sized double crust meat pie, usually made with mutton or minced lamb. Very popular in Scotland, and actually throughout the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada & Australia, these pies are often found at football matches resulting in the nickname – “football pies”. But these pies are not a modern invention, oh no no no. In the middle ages the Scottish church really had it in for these little treats. They viewed them as decadent luxurious English style food, cautioned their parishioners against the perils of indulging in them and advised them to stay clear. Thank goodness these little delights were able to endure the test of time! The pastry is a hot water crust pastry, the lid of which is placed 1cm or so lower than the edges of the pie. This recessed space is often topped with mashed potatoes, baked beans, brown gravy or even an egg. Very portable and quite tasty served hot or cold, they are the perfect fast food!

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I served my Scottish Pies with mashed potatoes and Mushy Peas. Mushy Peas are a traditional side dish and are pretty much exactly what they sound like – peas which have been cooked until they are mushy. Anyone who is from the American South should be familiar with this vegetable preparation method. There is one difference though. The peas traditionally used for Mushy Peas are marrowfat peas, not the usual pea you would find in an American grocery store. Marrowfat peas are peas which have been allowed to dry naturally in the field rather than be harvested whilst young. The resulting peas are larger and have a much higher starch content than your regular pea. This gives them a smoother, creamier consistency which is desired in properly prepared Mushy Peas. Now, you can use a regular pea to make this dish, but if you’d like to try for a more authentic experience, use marrowfat peas for sure. You can find these type of peas in British specialty shops or simply on Amazon. I have supplied the link below. And do remember that since you are using dried peas, an overnight soak in salted water is required to soften the peas prior to cooking. Don’t forget to put them into soak before you head off to bed the night before!

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I will admit, the hot water crust pastry used to make the pie casing is a bit of a challenge if you’ve never done it. Before you ever get started, you’ve got to go find some lard. I would’ve thought it would have been no problem. I started searching around my local grocery store and when I couldn’t find it, I asked one of the employees, ‘Sorry – could you tell me where the lard is?” The reply I got was “What is lard?”. Hmmmm…..so that is what we’ve come to…folks don’t know what lard is anymore! After a few different stops at a few different stores, I was able to get ahold of some. Lard is absolutely necessary in the hot water crust recipe as it is what makes that crust strong enough to stand up to the filling. Then, I had to actually shape the little pie cases while that pastry was warm. I used some mini cheesecake springform pans ( 4″ diameter pans – not the really really small cheesecake pans) that I had, but you can also shape them over a canning jar, ramekin, or even the bottom of a glass. This method is a bit more tricky as you have to thoroughly grease the item you are using for a mold and then once the pastry has hardened you have to gently tease it off of the mold. I tried each method and the springform pans are much, much easier. I have supplied an Amazon link for them below.

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All that fiddly work was so worth it in the end! These pies were crisp, juicy savory perfection! And I think it was quite appropriate that while writing this post, I was also able to reminisce about our lovely time in Glasgow one year ago. Sure didn’t Robbie Burns write Auld Lange Syne in 1788. He definitely understood the pleasure in remembering the fun times past that we’ve shared with our friends and loved ones. I did intend to have this post on my blog for January 25th. However as Rabbie so knowingly said “The best laid schemes o’ mice an men, gang aft a-gley” (translated “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”). I can definitely say my plans did go a-gley, but here it is, a day late. I will say, you can enjoy Scottish Pies and Mushy Peas year round. And just think you’ll be so prepared for Burns Night next year! So remember to raise a wee dram on January 25th for Scotland’s National Poet on his birthday. And by all means, make yourself some of these indulgent Scottish pies. Don’t worry for your soul, you can repent tomorrow. (PS – Don’t forget to check back soon to see all the action from the second leg of this journey – The Shetland Viking Fire Festival Up Helly Aa!)

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Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas

  • Servings: 4 -8 Pies depending on the diameter
  • Difficulty: moderate - in making the pie casings
  • Print

recipe from: Mother Earth News (for the Hot Water Pastry) 

Ingredients:

For the Pastry:

  • 450 grams (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten and at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (200ml) water
  • 80 grams (3/4 stick) butter
  • 80 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) lard

For the Filling:

  • 450 grams (1 lb.) minced lamb (I couldn’t find lamb and used ground beef)
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 -4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 Tablespoon flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. First make the pastry.

Mix the flour, salt, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in the egg and toss a liberal covering of flour over the egg.

Place the water, butter, and lard into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. When the liquid boils, pour it on to the flour, mixing with a spatula as you go.

When cool enough to handle, gently knead the pastry until all the egg streaks have gone and it is smooth.

Separate 1/4 of the pastry and set aside to use to make the pie lids. Make sure it remains warm.

Thoroughly grease the jelly jars, ramekins or mini cheesecake springform pans that you will be using to form the pastry cases.

Roll the pastry out to 1/4″ thickness. Measure the diameter of the cases you will be using and add twice the depth to the diameter. This will give you the appropriate size of the circle of pastry you will need to cut to fit your cases. The pastry cases should have sides approximately 2 – 21/2″ tall or can be taller as you prefer. Once you have finished shaping your pie shells, place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that they can firm up.

In the meantime, prepare your filling. Heat a small amount of oil in a large sauté pan until hot. Add the lamb or beef to the pan and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. If the meat has released a lot of grease, drain off at this point and reserve. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Sautee the minced onion in 1 Tablespoon of the reserved drippings until it is soft. Add the minced garlic and sautée for 1 minute. Return the meat to the pan and mix to combine. Add the thyme leaves, nutmeg, beef broth, & Worcestershire sauce and stir until combined. Simmer for 1 -2 minutes and then add salt and pepper to taste. Finally sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of flour over the meat mixture. Stir to combine and allow it to simmer for a few more minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Remove the pastry cases from the refrigerator. Gently slide them from the jelly jars or ramekins if you are using them. Place your cases onto a parchment lined baking sheet to be filled.

Divide the meat mixture between the pastry cases, pressing it down well.

Roll out the reserved pastry dough to form the lids. The lid should be cut using the diameter of the case as a guide. Paint the edges of the pastry case with a bit of egg wash and them fit the lids on top, crimping the edges with your fingers to seal the pies.

Brush pies with the remaining egg wash. Cut a hole in the lid of each pie to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve hot or cold as you prefer. If you are serving hot, consider topping the pies with mashed potatoes & gravy with a side of mushy peas!

Mushy Peas

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces dried Marrowfat peas
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 200 ml boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • lemon zest to taste
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Directions:

As I mentioned, these peas need an overnight soak. So the evening prior to which you want to serve them, dissolve two teaspoons of baking soda in boiling water.  Place the dried marrowfat peas in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them so that they are covered by at least 3 inches of water.  Give the peas a stir then leave them to soak for at least 12 hours.
On serving day, drain and rinse the peas. Place them in a large pot with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and allow the peas come to a simmer.
Continue to cook for 30 minutes or so until the peas are broken down. Add the butter, lemon juice and zest. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
Serve immediately as the peas will continue to thicken the longer they sit. Should you need to reheat them, adding a bit of water will help.
Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Batchelor’s Marrowfat Peas

Wilton 4″ Mini Springform Pans

Links for Planning your vacation in Glasgow, Scotland:

Accommodation:

The Dakota Deluxe Hotel – Luxurious & stylish boutique hotel in a superb location in the city. Absolutely love our stay here!

Tours:

Wee Adventours – Specializes in exclusive personal tour services for small tourist groups. Owner Frank Jones has over 10 year guiding experience and is passionate about his country. For all you Outlander fans, he does an amazing Outlander tour which will take you to many locations around Glasgow & its environs were the popular series has filmed. Frank is available for day tours or multi-day journeys. For a luxury custom experience, give him a call!

Restaurants & Pubs:

Òran Mór – Formerly the Kelvinside Parish Church, this is a truly unique live music venue which also boasts two bars, a restaurant, and a nightclub as well.

Fault & Blame – Sad to report, as of November 29, 2018 Fault & Blame has closed. It was a wonderful venue.

Slouch Bar – Our favorite pub in Glasgow thus far. Fantastic, comfortable pub serving homemade food every night until 2 a.m. Burgers, wings, pizzas as far as the eye can see. And one of the meats on their meat-lover’s pizza is haggis! You can’t pass that up!

Mother India Cafe – Glasgow has been voted Britain’s curry capital many times. So if you visit Glasgow you have to try out one of their many south asian restaurants. Glaswegians definitely like it hot, so if you do as well, you’ll be in good company. We asked several locals where their favorite place for a curry was and Mother India kept coming up. A stalwart for many years, Mother India has several locations in Glasgow. We went to the Cafe located just opposite the Kelvingrove Museum. It did not disappoint! The tapas sized portions were spectacularly spiced and the service impeccable. Definitely a must!

Things to See:

Glasgow Cathedral – A fine example of Scottish gothic architecture, with a breathtaking array of stained glass, this Cathedral is the oldest building in Glasgow

Necropolis – Approximately 50,000 folks are buried in the 37 acres of Glasgow’s Victorian city of the dead. It is located on a hill just adjacent to Glasgow Cathedral.

The Cloisters at the University of Glasgow – The Cloisters, also know as The Undercroft are a group of impressive archways and are an iconic part of the University of Glasgow. They have made appearances in many television shows and movies, such as Outlander. And although Harry Potter movies were not filmed at the University, certainly it was the inspiration for that School of Wizardry. Surrounded by the beautiful castle like architecture and soaring spires, you will feel like you have actually set foot on the campus of a real life Hogwarts!

Kelvingrove Art Museum & Gallery – Free to enter, The Kelvingrove boasts 22 themed galleries. You can find it all here – with over 8,000 items on display there is plenty to explore!

Doune Castle – You probably don’t know it, but you have likely seen Doune Castle many times. This 14th Century castle is featured in Monty Python & The Holy Grail, it was Winterfell, home of the Stark Clan, in Game of Thrones and is also Castle Leoch, home to Colm MacKenzie and his clan, in the Outlander television show. Highly recommend a visit here!

Loch Lomond – Located in The Trossachs National Park this picturesque (The Bonnie Shores o’ Loch Lomond) freshwater lake (or Loch) contains many islands and is surrounded by hill, including Ben Lomond. You will find many hiking and cycling paths there.

Glengoyne Whisky Distillery – Located in Dumgoyne, a short bit north of Glasgow (approx. 40 minute drive), this picture perfect whisky distillery has been in continuous operation since 1833. It is unique in that it produces Highland single malt whisky that is matured in the Lowlands. The Distillery is located on the border with its stills in the Highlands. The whisky is then sent across the road, to the Lowlands, to mature. They offer many fun & informative tours, classes and tastings.

Things to Do:

Blythswood Square Spa – Housed in the luxurious Blythswood Square Hotel, this 10,000 square foot facility boasts a thermal suite, two relaxation pools, nine treatment rooms, lounge and cafe. All right there in Glasgow’s city center.

Celtic Connections Music Festival – Annual music festival held every January in Glasgow since 1994. Features over 300 concerts, ceilidhs, talks, late night sessions and workshops. Whilst the focus is on Scottish music, you will also find international folk, roots and world music artists.

 

 

 

 


Amish Dinner Rolls

November 20, 2018

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Hold on a second…you mean I have actually been able to get a Thanksgiving recipe all done and dusted and on my blog BEFORE Thanksgiving?!!! Good Lord in Heaven above – I must be super organized for once. Finally got my act together and all of that… As much as I’d like to say that is what is happening here, I must confess, things might not be as impressive as they seem at first glance. I actually made these rolls last year. Yup – last Thanksgiving and I still had a hard time getting this blog post ready to go with all of the holiday preparations and well…life…going on around here. Oh well, the important thing is here they are – delicious, soft buttery Amish Dinner Rolls – just in time for your Thanksgiving feast.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I have shared some great Thanksgiving recipes with you in the past. Like who doesn’t love my Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce?

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Or my Smoky Bacon Cream Biscuit Dressing?

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Those adorable little Inside Out Pumpkin Muffins filled with Cider Cinnamon Cream Cheese

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And who can forget that Thanksgiving Pie – Toffee Blonde Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust with Pumpkin Ganache!

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And I’ve even given you a few tips on what you can do with all of your leftovers – like making these little Pirozhkis into Holiday Leftover Pies:

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But I freely admit, I’ve often had a hard time sharing these gems with you in a timely fashion. Someone actually took me to task for it last year. I will point out that all of these recipes will work for other meals, like say Christmas. It will be here before you know it! But let me get back to my very timely post that I have published today – two whole days in advance! I love a lot of things about these Amish Dinner Rolls. The fact that they are indeed delicious is high up on my list. But these rolls are very easy to transport. I baked mine in a 9″x13″ baking tin that has one of those plastic lids. So when it was time to head out to Mom’s, I just popped those rolls back into that pan, snapped the lid on top and off I went. The pan protected them somewhat from getting squished in the journey and when I arrived, I just slid them right into the oven again to warm. Easy peasy!

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Another great thing about these rolls, which is really awesome is that you can make them up a day or two before the big holiday event. They stay fresh-tasting at room temperature for several days. So maybe you won’t have to actually get up at 3 am to sit through two rises of the dough and baking time to have these fresh on your holiday table. And I’ve managed to get this post published two whole days ahead of time, so you could technically make these today or tomorrow and you’re golden!

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And back to their taste – Folks will go wild for these tender, moist Amish Dinner Rolls! I would say they would be great for sandwiches the next day, but I’m betting there won’t be one crumb of them left! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Amish Dinner Rolls

  • Servings: 16 -24 rolls
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (85 grams) softened butter
  • 1 Cup (213 grams) unseasoned mashed potatoes, lightly packed ( 1 large potato should yield enough mash for this recipe)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (water in which the potatoes were boiled is preferable)
  • 4 1/4 Cups (510 grams) unbleached all – purpose flour

Directions:

Mix and knead all of the ingredients together to make a smooth soft dough. You can do this by hand, bread machine or stand mixer. I used my stand mixer.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled. This should take 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted work surface and gently deflate. Divide the dough into 16 large balls or 24 smaller ones. Round each ball into a smooth roll.

Place the rolls in a lightly greased 9″x13″ baking tin. The rolls will be a bit crowded and will be very like pull-apart rolls with a golden top and unbrowned sides. If you prefer, you can place them further apart and they will brown all over. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the rolls for 20 -25 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and turn them out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool. Brush with melted butter.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store the rolls wrapped in plastic for several days at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Amish Dinner Rolls brought to you today by: Runcible Eats (www. leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Amish Dinner Rolls:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

 


Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes

October 26, 2018

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So woooo-hooo! This year I am on it! I am actually blogging about a Halloween recipe, prior to the actual date of the holiday. Last year I didn’t get my Halloween Cupcakes up on my blog until November, so quite an improvement. Now just look at these adorable Frankenstein Cupcakes I have for you this year!

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And these cupcakes aren’t only cute…no siree! They are absolutely delish! The cupcake portion is a decadent Black Velvet cupcake, which is so moist it practically melts in your mouth and it is frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting, which is my all time favorite frosting. Unlike American or Simple Buttercream icing which can be very heavy and taste somewhat greasy – this frosting is perfectly sweet light and fluffy.

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Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Halloween actually has Irish origins. Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

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Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

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Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

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Roasty Toasty Cocktail

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And last year’s Halloween treat which combined whimsical and boozy altogether with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening – Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

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But let me get back to what’s on the Halloween treat menu this year: Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes.

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I was inspired to make these when I saw Your Cup of Cake’s blog featuring them. You should definitely take a look at her blog before you decorate these little monsters. She has a video that shows exactly how she did it. However, she used a different cupcake for her cake portion, as well as a different frosting. I really adore these Black Velvet Cupcakes. Not only are they the perfect darkest of dark shade of black, but they simply taste amazing. And I’ve already told you how I love Swiss Meringue Frosting, so smooth and silky! So I made a few changes to the ingredients to suit my taste, but credit Your Cup of Cake for the perfect design!

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All if all, these cupcakes are pretty easy to make. Decorating them is a bit fiddly. Getting the frosting smoothed to the correct shape for the Frankenstein head took some attention. The candy scars took a bit of time the way I did them, but I like the taste of white chocolate better than that gel frosting you find in a tube in the supermarket. Unwrapping all of the Rolo candies was a bit of a pain….But just look at these little monsters! The end, without a doubt, justifies the means here. Folks will go mad for these and you’ll be the belle of the Halloween ball! Sooo…I’ve actually given you enough time this year…what are you waiting for? Get into your laboratory – errr kitchen – and create a batch of these Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes today! Happy Halloween!!!

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Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes

  • Servings: 18 cupcakes
  • Print

recipe: Frankenstein Design by Your Cup of Cake, Black Velvet Cupcake recipe: Craftsy

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1½ cups butter (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons black gel food color
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa powder (dutch process)
  • 2 pinches of salt (approx. 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons of white vinegar (distilled)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder

For the frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • green gel food coloring

For the decorations:

  • Wilton googly candy eyes – unless you want to make eyes with Ghirardelli white chocolate melts and M&M’s as described below.
  • Rolo Candy
  • Chocolate Jimmy Sprinkles
  • Ghirardelli White Chocolate Candy Melts
  • Red gel food color

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350° F and fill the wells of a cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. Add black food color until desired shade is reached. Remember – once baked the cupcakes will have a darker color. My batter looked more grey than black, but once baked the cupcakes were very dark.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla paste and mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa and salt together.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, adding buttermilk between each addition. Mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, mix the baking powder and vinegar together. It will bubble and fizz. Add it to the batter and mix until just incorporated.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for  20 – 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low-speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add green food coloring gel to frosting until it reaches desired hue.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to assemble the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with a large round tip & pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Use a knife or offset spatula to flatten the frosting. Turn the cupcake upside down and press into a bowl/plate filled with chocolate Jimmy sprinkles. Press on the eyes (see note below) and use an extra sprinkles to make the eyebrows and mouth . Use Rolo candies to make the bolts. You could also use chocolate chips, bits of a Tootsie Roll or maybe even a mini marshmallows. Press the bolts into the side of his head. Put on a little “stitch” (You can use red store-bought frosting, I used a gel food color to color Ghirardelli white candy melts.

I used Wilton Candy eyes on these Frankenstein cupcakes, mostly because I was a bit pressed for time. There is certainly nothing wrong with those candy eyes, and they don’t really taste bad, but for more tasty eyes you can melt some of the Ghirardelli white candy melts. Place the melted candy into a piping bag and then pipe out little white eyes onto parchment paper. Place M&M candies into the white chocolate before it hardens to make the “iris” of the eye and voila – There you have it – tasty candy eyes. For the “stitches” I colored the white chocolate with red gel food color and then piped it onto parchment paper. Once it hardened, I transferred the stitches to the Frankensteins.

Enjoy!

Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes:
Wilton Mini Candy Eyes 
Wilton Large Red Candy Eyes
King Arthur Double Dutch Process Dark Cocoa Powder
Ghirardelli White Candy Melts
Wilton Icing Color – Gel Food Color

 


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