Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread

April 19, 2019

IMG_8091Happy Good Friday everyone! Wait…can you say that? You hear a lot of “Happy Easter” but not really “Happy Good Friday”. Hmmm…well I’ll ask you to indulge me today because I am very happy today! My Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns that I make every year ( you have to bake them on Good Friday or they don’t have all of the special powers) are well under way!

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And not only does the house smell completely irresistible, what with all the baking buns, but I am also ready to share a new recipe with you for Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread.

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This tender, sweet and citrus-y yeast bread is shot through with swirls of a chocolatey nut filling. It looks so festive and tastes Ahh-mazing! And here is the truly amazing thing, I have somehow managed to get this blog out BEFORE the actual holiday. Last year I didn’t get the recipe for my Italian Easter Bread published until Easter had come and gone. So this year is definitely an improvement in that regard.

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I tried to play my tardiness off last year by saying “Oh, you’ll be way ahead of the game for Easter 2019”. But now I guess now you’ll have to pick between the Italian Easter Bread and this Cozonac or be ahead of the game with a recipe waiting in the wings for Easter 2020!

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I love trying out Easter breads from around the world. I’ve already told you about my Italian Easter Bread last year. The year before I made Tsoureki from Greece.

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There was also the Slovak Paska:

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As well as the impressive Russian Kulich:

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But let me get back to the bread at hand today.

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Cozonac has Romanian origins. It is traditionally baked during both Easter and Christmas. Soft and tender, this bread is slightly sweet and flavored with orange & lemon zests as well as rum. Ha! Now you’re talking huh? The delicious filling has also got a bit of rum in it, so take care that you don’t get too festive over this holiday. Walnuts are typically used in the filling, though the filling ingredients do vary from region to region. I used ground almonds. I think pecans would also be quite tasty.

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Cozonac was pretty easy to make, though keep in mind it does require two rising times and a bit of finesse as you have to roll out four different sections of dough, spread the sticky filling evenly and then roll them up and twist the rolls together. That’s how you get those beautiful spirals in your finished loaves.

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And for all of your effort, you are most definitely rewarded with not one but TWO loaves of this scrumptious bread.

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It is a decadent indulgence just as it is, and I bet it will make some phenomenal French toast. I’ll have to let you know about that. So what are you waiting for? I’ve actually given you a bit of time to get this baked for Easter this year. I promise, you won’t be sorry! Happy Easter!

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Cozonac - Romanian Easter Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

recipe from: She Loves Biscotti

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 720 grams (approx. 6 cups) bread flour
  • 8 grams (2¼ teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 200 grams walnuts, almonds or pecans finely ground, about 2 cups
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

Directions:

Make the dough:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and sugar.

Add the butter and stir until butter is almost melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the butter/milk mixture is cooling, add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast to the mixing bowl of a stand mixture, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined.

Once the milk/butter mixture has cooled to luke warm (98°F/36°C) add it to the flour/yeast and combine on low speed for 2-3 minutes.

Allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes.

In the meanwhile, grate the orange and lemon zest and set aside.

With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the are just combined.  Scrape down bowl and mix for about 1-2 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract, rum and salt.

Switch to dough hook attachment.

Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, mixing until combined. Once all the flour has been added, continue to knead for a few minutes.

Add the citrus zests and continue to knead for about 6-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. NOTE: If you find that the dough is still sticky, add a few more tablespoons of flour.

Place the dough in a lightly buttered dough rising bucket or bowl. Make sure to turn the dough over in order to completely coat the dough with the butter.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Allow to rise for about 2 hours or until double in size.

In the meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Make the filling:

Over medium heat, in a small sauce pan, whisk together the milk and sugar.

Add the ground nuts and stir until a paste-like consistency is reached. This should take about 15 minutes. Stir often. (I used Almond Flour because it was easy – being ground and ready to go.)

Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to stir until a paste like consistency is achieved.

Set aside to cool.

To Assemble the Cozonac:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place oven rack at bottom third of oven. Butter two (9 x 5 inch) loaf pans.

Punch down the risen dough and divide into four equal parts. I use a kitchen scale just to make sure I’ve the pieces are equal.

On a rolling mat or lightly floured wooden board, roll out each section into a large rectangle (about 11 x 14). Spread out the 1/4 of the nut mixture (approx. 1/2 cup) to within 1/2″ from the edge for each rectangle.

Starting from the long end, roll the dough to form a log. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Pinch the ends and the seams together.

Twist two pieces of the dough log together and place in prepared loaf pan. Do the same with the last two pieces of dough logs.

Brush the top of the dough with a beaten egg. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap. Allow them to double in size. This can take 45 – 60 minutes.

Sprinkle a little Demerara sugar over the top and bake for about 45 minutes. Feel free to place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the tops to prevent over browning.

Allow bread to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

Cozonac brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cozonac:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Hand Held Zester

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

Silicone Pastry Dough Rolling Mat

King Arthur Flour Espresso Powder

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Overnight Leftover Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Strata with Crispy Hash Browns

March 14, 2019

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So I know, I know…St. Patrick’s Day hasn’t even happened and here I am talking about corned beef leftovers. But I just want you to be ready, you know…have a plan, be one step ahead…you get it. And this Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Strata will do that for you. A strata is basically a savory bread pudding. And this one has layers of gorgeous corned beef and creamy Irish cheddar. But wait, I’m not done. If that didn’t have your mouth-watering, it is topped with crispy hash browns!

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And here is the amazing thing – you do the majority of the preparation the night before you want to serve it. So after you enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage, you take a few seconds to assemble this strata. The pop it in the fridge and get on out there to enjoy the parades or parties or whatever shenanigans your heart desires. When you get up the next morning all you have to do while you’re having your coffee and swearing that you’ll never drink again, is bake the strata. While it’s baking prepare the hash browns and voila! Your recovery brunch is ready! I’m assuming, of course, that you did partake in a few green beers…Not only will folks be thrilled by your big Corned Beef feast on St. Patrick’s, but you can wow them and cure their hangover the next morning with this yummy strata.

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Overnight Leftover Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Strata with Crispy Hashbrowns

  • Servings: 4 -6
  • Difficulty: oh so easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 6 – 8 slices (8 oz.) challah, sliced into 1″ cubes
  • 1 lb. leftover corned beef brisket, chopped or sliced
  • 8 oz. Irish cheddar, grated (I used Kerry Gold Cheddar)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 10 oz. frozen mini potato hash browns (you can substitute in tater tots, or if you are feeling industrious, make a fresh batch of  hash browns from any leftover potatoes you might have from your St. Patrick’s Day feast)
  • minced fresh chives for garnish

Directions:

Butter an 8X8″ square dish. Spread 1/2 of the bread cubes over the bottom. Top with 1/2 of the corned beef and then scatter 1/2 of the cheese over that. Repeat the layering, ending with the cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half-and-half, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined. Pour the custard mixture evenly over the strata. Cover the strata with plastic wrap and weigh it down with heavy cans, bottles or pie weights. Chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Remove the strata from the fridge 20 minutes before baking and let it come to room temperature.

Bake until the center is puffed and the edges have pulled away from the sides – approximately 50 – 60 minutes.

Let strata stand while preparing the hash brown topping.

Cook hash browns according to package directions. You want the hash browns to be crispy, so possibly cook a bit longer than the package recommends.

Arrange the crispy hash browns over the top of the strata. Garnish with chives.

Enjoy!
Overnight Leftover Corned Beef Strata with Crispy Hashbrown Topping brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Overnight Leftover Corned Beef & Irish Cheddar Strata with Crispy Hashbrowns:

Kerry Gold Cheddar

Le Creuset Square Baking Dish

 

 


Meyer Lemon Curd

March 13, 2019

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Who isn’t ready for a bit of sunshine after so many months of dreary, dark and soggy weather? Well, I’m not sure that I can order that up for you. Good ole Punxsutawney Phil, my favorite varmint, said that Spring was coming soon. But maybe in the meantime you can make due by whipping up a batch of golden bright Meyer Lemon Curd, which is veritable sunshine in a jar. I got the recipe for this Lemon Curd from one of my best friends, Theresa Storey. A couple of years ago, Theresa published her first cookbook where you can find the recipe for this Lemon Curd along with over 100 other delicious seasonal fruit recipes. It is called Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa runs a business, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. Theresa grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

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Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents. The Green Apron has won 12 Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, 7 International Great Taste awards and is listed not only in McKenna’s Guide, but also in Georgina Campbell’s Guide. The Green Apron is also now offering workshops on sustainable living, preserving and bee keeping.

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Theresa’s book, Fruit on the Table is a top 10 best-selling cookbook in Ireland , has won a Gourmond award there and has been selected to compete for an International Gourmond award. In her book, Theresa follows the seasons and tells you how best to keep fruit on your table all year round. It is an absolute treasure trove, filled not only with her family recipes for jams, jellies and chutneys but it also runs the full gambit of meals, including recipes for cocktails, snacks , mains and going all the way through to desserts. And it doesn’t stop with the mouthwateringly delicious recipes, Fruit on the Table also gives you the low down on growing your own fruit, the ins and outs of preserving, tips on foraging as well as drying fruit. I’m proud to be sharing these recipes from her book this year and I shared quite a few last year as well, but I’m telling you, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve just gotta get ahold of this essential cookbook. And if you find yourself in Limerick, you simply must stop by the Limerick Milk Market and pay the Green Apron shop a visit!

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Over the years, I’ve shared quite a few of her fantastic recipes with you. Last year I kicked off my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon with her Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream.

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I told you about her Batley Cake

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which I filled with her deletable boozy Irish Whiskey Marmalade (also used to fill these tarts.

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And this year, I’ll be sharing her Lemon Curd recipe. Quite the game-changer, this quick & easy curd can be made in the microwave. You will have it ready in absolutely no time at all….well maybe 15 minutes or so.

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Theresa used regular lemons in her recipe. I was lucky enough to have some Meyer Lemons in hand, so I used them. Meyer Lemons, which originated in China, are a cross between a regular lemon and a Mandarin Orange. This results in a somewhat sweeter, really vibrant tasting lemon without the acidic aspect. They are a gorgeous golden-yellow colour, kind of like egg yolks and have a much thinner skin than regular lemons. Because they are smaller than regular lemons, I used 5, rather than three, to make this recipe.

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This delightfully sweet yet tart spread is delicious smeared on scones, swirled into your morning oatmeal or yogurt, or simply eaten by the spoonful! Brighten up your day with this reminder that the sun will soon reappear.

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Meyer Lemon Curd

  • Servings: 14 oz.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 3 large lemons ( I used Meyer Lemons which are a bit smaller. I ended up using 5 Meyer lemons).
  • 110 grams (4 oz.) butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225 grams (8 oz.) sugar

Directions:

Wash the lemons and carefully grate the zest off all three. Juice two of the lemons and measure the juice. You want about 5 tablespoons. If you don’t have enough, juice the last one.

Put the butter in a small bowl and microwave on medium heat for a bout one minute until soft and starting to melt. remove from the microwave, stir to distribute the heat evenly and then set aside.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until just combined. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir through.

Add the softened ed butter and whisk the whole lot together until combined

Place the bowl of curd mixture into the microwave and cook on medium heat for one minute. Take it out, give it a quick whisk and put in back in for another minute. Cook it in one minute burst on medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (It takes me about 5 minutes.) Beware of overcooking: it thickens as it coos.

Taste the curd. If it needs more lemon, add some more juice, one teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with the flavor, and then microwave ti for another minute to incorporate the newly added juice.

Now it is ready to eat, so pour it into warm sterilized jars, lid and seal. The curd will keep 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Meyer Lemon Curd brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Quick & Easy Meyer Lemon Curd:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Canning Magnetic Lid Wand

Norpro 600 Jar Lifter

Ball Canning Funnel

Progressive Hand Grater/zester


Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce

March 12, 2019

 

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Breakfast for dinner? Absolutely – especially if it is this dish! Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce is just amazing. Now, I know when you hear bacon, you might be thinking breakfast. But this is a pretty hardy meal and everyone knows, bacon is good anytime – breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevenses, lunch, tea, dinner, supper, late night snack…I think you get the picture.

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The bacon I used here is not the streaky bacon you are likely more familiar with. This is Irish Bacon or rashers. It is traditionally cut from the back of the pig rather than the belly, which is from where streaky bacon is cut. It is similar to Canadian Bacon, but I would say has a very different flavor. Irish Bacon, or rashers as they are usually called are cooked until done, but are not until crisp like American bacon. Truth be told, the original recipe for this dish calls for uncured loin of pork. A pork chop essentially, but I happened to have some rashers on hand, so there you have it. If you have pork chops, feel free to sub them in!

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One thing I can tell you is you are absolutely going to love this decadent, silky Colcannon Butter Sauce. I think the Husband wants to put it on everything now. And potato leek cakes are right up our alley as well. Can’t do wrong with fried potatoes, not to mention the leeks. We can’t get enough of them! All in all this meal was truly a winner and would be a perfect alternative to a corned beef & cabbage feast. Or maybe make it the day after St. Patrick’s…who says you can’t have it all!

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Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices Irish Bacon or Rashers
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, green & white parts separated and finely sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 medium egg yolk

For the Colcannon Sauce:

  • 50 grams (1/4 stick) butter
  • 5 cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • a small potato, finely diced
  • 4 Tablespoons white wine
  • 200 ml heavy cream

For Garnish: handful of cherry tomatoes (if desired)

Directions:

Make the potato cakes: Fry the dark green part of the leek in a little butter, and mix well with the potato, flour, cream and egg yolk.  Place the potato mixture into the refrigerator to cool. The mixture becomes easier to handle and shape when cool. Once it has chilled, then mould into four to six small round discs. Set aside until ready to serve.

Make the Colcannon Butter Sauce: Melt half the butter in a pan and add the cabbage and potato. Cook slowly for 5 mins, then pour in the white wine and reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce by half. Season and remove from the heat. Stir the rest of the butter into the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

Cook the Bacon: Heat a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. Fry the rashers of bacon until they are golden on each side. Should only take a few minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

Add a bit more butter to the pan. Sweat the remaining white part of the leeks and some tomatoes if you desire. Season to taste. Remove from the pan and set aside. Fry the potato cakes in the remaining butter for 2 minutes on each side.

Enjoy!

Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Bacon & Potato Leek Cakes with Colcannon Butter Sauce:

Donnelly Imported Rashers – This is for an 8 pack of bacon. More than you need for this recipe, but you might be feeding a crowd for all I know…


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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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


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