Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread

February 1, 2023

Oh my goodness! Just look at this gorgeous Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread! You’ve likely seen a loaf of this impressive bread before. It took the internet by storm earlier this year and folks were instagramming it not stop. I gotta tell you, there is a good reason for its popularity among bakers. Not only does this bread look amazing, like a wool roll in fact, but it also delivers on taste. Beneath the crispy light crust, your teeth are going to sink into the most pillowy soft, cloud like bread you have ever had the pleasure of tasting. And is completely customizable. I made this one with a delicate swirl of cream cheese and left over Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce.

But this bread works fantastically with any filling you can dream up, whether sweet or savory. Yup…you could do chocolate, Nutella, cinnamon and sugar or any flavor of jam. You might want try mozzarella and basil pesto, maybe some gruyere and herbs. Seriously – you can’t go wrong!

Today is February 1st. This particular day lies half way between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is St. Brigid’s Day. Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints along with St. Colmcille and St. Patrick. Starting this year, Ireland will be marking her Feast Day with a new permanent Bank Holiday on the first Monday in February, which is February 6th this year. Hooray! Who doesn’t like more holidays?!! According to Irish hagiography, Brigid was an early Christian nun & abbess who preformed many miracles. She also shares the name with an important Celtic goddess who is associated with the festival of Imbolc which was celebrated at this time as well, which suggests that the early church might have adopted the legends of the goddess and transformed them into the Christian persona. Interesting huh? I don’t know how many of you folks out there remembered to put a scarf out last night. You see on St. Brigid’s Eve you should always place a scarf or other piece of fabric outside.

When Brigid passes over the land that night she will bless it. You then can fetch it back inside the next day and thanks to Brigid, it has the power to protect and heal headaches, sore throats and fevers throughout the coming year! What with all the Covid still lurking around, I wasn’t going to take any chances. My little scarf was frozen solid this morning, but is happily thawing away now, freshly imbued with healing powers. As I mentioned, today marks the festival of Imbolc as well as Candlemas, both of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. And speaking of weather divination, 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.

One extraordinary rodent!

I don’t know if good ole Phil will see his shadow tomorrow or not. I must admit, I’m kind of hoping he predicts more winter. We haven’t really seen a winter at all this year. We had a few days of really cold weather, but only a few. And barely a flurry at all. Certainly no snow accumulation. I love winter, so I am feeling a bit cheated. But no worries, I might have some plans to head out to a really cold destination in the future, so even if Spring is on its way here, I’ll get my snow fix regardless! So this is quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking another event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 11th year anniversary of  the my cooking blog! Yup… Eleven years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.

I’ve managed to do an anniversary post nearly every year since. Pretty impressive considering how slack I can be! Last year I shared another Cranberry focused dish – this exquisite Cranberry Chiffon Pie!

And a couple of years ago I was all about this rich & creamy Ground Beef Chili with Chocolate & Peanut Butter. Get. out!

And the year before, I posted about these scrumptious Morning Buns!

One of my favorite recipes that I shared with you on an anniversary was: Model Bakery’s English Muffins:

Then there were those decadent  Banana Rum Muffins:

That jaw-dropping, over the top Crack Pie:

And who can forget that magical “caviar of the South” – Pasture’s Pimento Cheese. Keep this one in mind for the Super Bowl!

But let me get back to today’s recipe – That magnificent Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread.

This bread is made with a tangzhong, which you can actually prepare up to five days ahead of time. Tangzhong is an Asian yeast bread technique in which you cook a small percentage of liquid and flour. Think of it kind of like a roux. Once this mixture has cooled down, you add it to the rest of the ingredients. What will this technique do for your recipe? Well, it pre-gelatinizes the starches in the flour, meaning they can absorb more water. In fact, the flour will absorb twice as much hot water or milk as it would with the cool/lukewarm water or milk that you’d usually use in yeast dough. And the starch is able to hold onto this extra liquid all through the kneading, baking and cooling process. This not only makes the dough less sticky and easier to work with than usual yeast doughs, but the bread will also rise higher since that retained liquid is turned to internal steam during baking. Furthermore your bread will be softer as well as have a longer shelf life. I can definitely vouch that this dough is easy to work with. In order to get that roll of wool appearance you have to divide the risen dough into 4 pieces, roll them out and then cut the bottom half of each piece into little strips or fringe. I was thinking “Good Lord. This is going to be one of those fiddly endeavors that I hate.” But nope! Super easy. Wow, right?!!! But don’t take my word for it (actually you kind of should…) give this recipe a whirl!

Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread

  • Servings: one 9 inch round loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: customized from King Arthur Baking

Ingredients:

For the Tangzhong (starter)

  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) water
  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) milk, whole preferred
  • 2 tablespoons (14 grams) bread flour

For the Dough

  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) milk, whole preferred
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) bread flour

For the Filling

  • half an 8-ounce package (113 grams) cream cheese, softened*
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
  • zest (grated rind) of 2 medium lemons
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons (4 grams) freeze-dried raspberries, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) bread flour

*The cream cheese should be at warm room temperature, at least 68°F.

*For the bread pictured above I simply mixed 113 grams of softened cream cheese with a pinch of salt and 3 Tablespoons of Boozy Orange Cranberry sauce and 2 tablespoons of bread flour.

Topping

  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) milk, whole preferred

Instructions:

To make the tangzhong: Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened, paste-like, and the spoon or spatula leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. This should take 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the strength of your burner.

Remove the tangzhong from the heat and transfer it to a large mixing bowl, the bowl of a stand mixer, or the bucket of a bread machine (whatever you plan to knead the dough in).

To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Place the flour into the bowl with the tangzhong and add the remaining dough ingredients. Mix to combine, then knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 8 to 10 minutes on medium-low speed of a mixer. (The dough may be tacky and stick to the sides of the bowl slightly; that’s OK.)

Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest in a lightly greased bowl or dough rising bucket, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

To make the filling: Combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, and salt, mixing until smooth.

Add the freeze-dried raspberries and flour, mixing until the berries are completely crushed and evenly distributed.

To assemble: On a lightly floured surface, gently deflate the dough, divide it into four pieces (about 170 grams each), and shape each piece into a ball.

Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.

Line a 9″ springform or a 9” round cake pan (at least 2” deep) with parchment and lightly grease the parchment.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it into a 6” x 12” rectangle. If the dough begins to snap back during rolling, set it aside and begin rolling out the second piece. Return to the first piece to continue rolling it to the full size after a couple of minutes, giving the gluten a chance to relax.

Portion 2 heaping tablespoons of filling (about 50grams) onto the top half of the rectangle. A tablespoon cookie dough scoop works well here; use two rounded scoops per piece of dough.

Position the rectangle so its 12” sides are vertical. Starting at the top, spread the filling across the entire width of the rectangle (leaving about 1/4” bare on each side) and down about 6” or 7”, leaving the bottom 5” to 6” bare. If the filling is difficult to spread, warm it in the microwave for 15 seconds and stir; check the consistency. Repeat, if necessary, until it’s an easily spreadable consistency.

Using a bench or chef’s knife or a pastry wheel, cut the uncovered dough at the bottom into very thin strips (anywhere from 1/8” to 1/4″ wide).

Fold the long edges of the rectangle in to prevent any filling from seeping out.

Starting from the filling-covered top and rolling toward the uncovered strips, roll the dough into a log about 6” long.

Lightly press the strips into the rolled log to secure. Place the log, seam-side down, into the bottom of the pan so it’s snuggled up against the pan’s outside edge.

Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, placing them into the pan to form a complete circle around the pan’s outside edge.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cover the wool roll and let it rise for 60 to 75 minutes, until puffy.

To finish and bake the roll: Brush the roll with milk, being careful not to deflate the delicate dough.

Bake it for 28 to 32 minutes, until it’s golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should read at least 190°F.

Remove the roll from the oven and cool it in the pan until you can transfer it safely to a rack to cool completely.

Storage information: Store leftover wool roll bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Orange Cranberry Filled Wool Roll Bread:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Lavatools Javelin Pro Instant Read Thermometer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

Norpro Ravioli/Pastry Wheel


Chocolate Black Cat Macarons

October 31, 2022

So here it is Halloween! I can hardly believe. Once again, I’ve taken a break from blogging since Easter. Last year I did have a good excuse – major home renovation. This year? I got nothing. I won’t even try. But perhaps you will forgive me when you take a peek at these divine, spooky sweet Chocolate Black Cat Macarons I’ve whipped up for Halloween 2022! These sinful little delights boast a crisp outer shell surrounding a lusciously chewy center filled with a silky, dark as your soul, decadent chocolate ganache.

Halloween has always been 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! Our modern holiday of Halloween, actually has Irish origins. Today’s 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)

Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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

To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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

Fireball Cider Cocktail

Or this Roasty Toasty Cocktail

A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

or how about these Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes

A couple of years ago, I had a howling good time making these little rascals:

Reese Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

I loved making these boo-tiful Spooky Ghost Cupcakes!

And last year’s offering was these diabolically delicious <a href="http://<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iLOaolI8Fgc&quot; title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>Malted Chocolate Devil Cupcakes!

So yeah, I’m breaking out of the cupcake mold this year by going with these Black Cat Macarons!

Macarons can be notoriously finicky to make. I was definitely worried that the trick might be on me when I set out to make these, but I had taken efforts to get everything right. My egg whites were aged overnight, my bowls were wiped squeaky clean and I had sifted, pulsed in a food processor and sifted again. I had thoroughly read the recipe several times over. I found watching this video from Sugar Geek Show was also very helpful as far as my batter folding technique.

Truth be told, I didn’t get these to come out perfect the first time. My shells were cracked. Could’ve been I didn’t let them age enough to form the proper skin. Could’ve been I over mixed. Not sure. Yet, I persisted and Voila! So don’t despair ya’ll. Macarons are difficult, but not impossible! I think they are without a doubt worth the effort. And the good news is that even the ones that don’t look purty, still taste delicious!

All right, now that you’ve done all your prep work, get ready to make some amazing bakery quality level Chocolate Macarons! Now I realize I didn’t give you much time to get these done for Halloween – seeings how today is actually Halloween and this recipe calls for aged egg whites. But think of it this way, you will be more than ready to make these spooky macarons next year, or you could just leave the ears and kitty faces off and still be able to enjoy these fabulous treats. The choice is yours. I suppose if you are a real rule breaker you could just make these without aging the egg whites – but you didn’t hear that from me! I did make these Baileys & Coffee Macarons once and did not use aged egg whites. They came out just fine but from what I hear, aged egg whites are the preferred ingredient. But what the heck- Halloween is the perfect time for being naughty! Bake up a batch of these tricksy spooky darkly delicious Black Cat Macarons before the sun sets today! Happy Halloween ya’ll!

Chocolate Black Cat Macarons

  • Servings: 18
  • Difficulty: moderate - attention to detail required!
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recipe slightly adapted from: Sugar Geek Show – design inspired by Posh Little Designs

Ingredients:

For the Shells:

  • 50 grams almond flour
  • 114 grams powdered sugar
  • 7 grams cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 57 grams egg whites aged overnight in the fridge and brought to room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 28 grams granulated baker’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the ganache filling:

  • 2 ounces heavy cream
  • 2.5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Royal Frosting:

  • 1 Tablespoon meringue powder
  • 2 Tablespoons warm water
  • 120 grams powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • green and black gel or powdered food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 320ºF and line a 1/2 baking sheet with parchment paper and a macaron template or a macaron silicone baking mat as I did.

Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond flour, twice if not blended.

Pulse the mixture in a food processor 8-10 times to make the almond flour mixture even finer and texture and to blend the ingredients together. 

Whip the egg whites on low to frothy consistency and slowly add the sugar in thirds.

Once the egg whites turn white and you can see some lines forming in the surface from the whisk, add cream of tartar, whipping on medium until soft glossy peaks form.

Add the vanilla to the meringue during the soft peak stage. Then continue whipping on medium-high until you get stiff peaks that start gathering and bunching on the inside of the whisk.

Add 1/3 of your almond mixture to the meringue. Fold your spatula under the batter and around the edges and then cut through the center until almond flour is mixed in. Continue with the rest of the almond flour and folding until homogenous. (see video)

Gently press the spatula on top of the batter while you turn the bowl to take out some fo the air from the meringue. Continue folding around the outside edge until the batter forms a ribbon and moves like lava. 

Your meringue is ready when it forms a ribbon off the spatula and the batter that settles almost dissolves all the way back into the rest of the batter but still leave a bit of a line. 

Place the majority of the batter in a piping bag fitted with a 1/4 inch piping tip – like a Wilton #12 or Ateco #802. Place a tiny bit of the batter in a separate piping bag fitted with a small round tip. This will be to add the ears to your macarons.

Pipe small rounds about 1″ in diameter on the macaron template.

Go back and using the second piping bag fitted with the small tip add the triangle ears to the top edge of every other macaron round, being sure that the ears level with the height of the round batter.

Drop the pan onto the table 5-6 times from about 5″ above the table to release bubbles. Use a toothpick to remove big pockets of air trapped under the surface. Use a very small amount of water on your fingertip to smooth any rough spots. 

Allow to dry, uncovered until a crust forms on the surface. About 30 minutes – 2 hours or until a dry film develops over the surface of the cookie. For humid areas put a space heater nearby to help dry the cookies faster. 

Bake at 320ºF for about 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned. If not quite brown baked, bake for an additional 1 minute. Cooled cookies should pull away from the parchment paper without sticking. If they do stick, they were not baked enough.

For the Ganache:

Place all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and microwave for one minute. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Heat for another 15 seconds if not fully melted. Place into the fridge for 20 minutes then whisk until smooth. It should be the texture of peanut butter.

For the Royal Frosting:

Combine water and meringue powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add extract and whisk on medium high for about 2-3 minutes.

Mix in powdered sugar until combined.

The icing will be very thick. Add warm water a few drops at a time until the icing is the consistency of toothpaste. 

Divide the thick toothpaste like icing into 2 bowls

Add black food coloring to bowl 1 until desired colors are achieved.

Mix well. 

Transfer finished black icing to a piping bag and seal closed.

Add green food coloring to bowl 2 until desired color is achieved. 

Mix well.

Transfer finished green icing to piping bag and seal closed.

For Assembly:

Once shells have cooled, evenly pipe rounds of ganache into the center of the bottom of each macaron shell. Top with “earred” shells to create a sandwich.

Decorate top “earred” shell with royal frosting to make cat’s eyes and whiskers. Or use mini M&M’s for the eyes as I did. You can draw the pupil on with food safe markers and stick the eye to the macaron by adding a small dot of royal frosting on the back.

Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Black Cat Macarons:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Food Processor

Simple Baker Silicone Baking Mat for Macarons

Oxo 3-in-1 Egg Separator

King Arthur Flour Almond Flour

Ateco disposable piping bags

King Arthur Baking Company Black Cocoa– This is how I got the deep dark color of the macaron shells without using food color

Vanilla Bean Paste

Wilton Icing Colors – Gel will not thin icing


Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes

March 17, 2022

Woo-hoo! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And as per usual, the last post of my St. Patrick’s Day recipe run features a cupcake. And oh what a cupcake it is! Are ya’ll ready for this? Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes!!! Get out, right?! So, instead of making the traditional Tres Leches cake, I made a version of it in portable cupcake form and my innovation did not stop there. Oh no. I replaced one of the Leches with Baileys Irish Cream. The result is an incredibly decadent Baileys drenched dream, just perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

As I mentioned, I have always ended my St. Patrick’s Day run of recipes with a cupcake offering. Last year it was these zingy Irish Whiskey Ginger and Lime Cupcakes

The year before Baileys made an appearance in these Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

and who can forget my Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Guinness takes the stage here with these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

One year I even turned Scáiltín, which is an old fashioned Irish milk punch into a cupcake with these Malted Scáiltín Cupcakes

And I was able to squeeze Guinness, Jamesons and Baileys into these boozy Chocolate Whiskey Dipped Irish Cupcakes

Phew! That is a lot of cupcakes! But let me get back to our featured treat today: Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes. Tres Leches literally means 3 milks. A Tres Leches cake is an ultralight sponge cake, similar to an Angel Food Cake, soaked overnight in a mixture of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cream and then topped with a whipped cream frosting. It is popular in Mexico and Latin America as well as here in the States. For St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be fun to replace the regular heavy cream in the leches mix with Baileys and I was not disappointed. These moist Baileys bombs are to die for!

These cupcakes are easy to make, but you’ve got to have a bit of patience to get all of that Baileys milk mixture to soak in. After poking holes in the cupcakes with a fork, I put the Baileys soak in a decorating squeeze bottle and slowly drizzled it over the tops of the cupcakes allowing it to soak in as I went. I must admit, when I saw the volume of the Baileys soak (I used all but about 3/4 – 1 cup of the liquid. The leftover is awesome in your morning coffee!), I thought there was absolutely no way that the cupcakes could hold it all. I thought when I undid the cupcake wrapper there would be an absolute flood of liquid. But nope, after an overnight rest in the fridge, it was all impossibly absorbed and the cupcakes magically transformed!

So there you have it. These Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes will definitely steal the show at any St. Patrick’s Day celebration. So what are you waiting for? Get baking! I wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy - but time needed for the Baileys/milks mixture to soak in to cakes
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recipe slightly adapted from: Perfect Tres Leches Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

For the Baileys Soak:

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream

For the Frosting:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Baileys
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • cocoa powder to dust over top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-count muffin tins with foil cupcake liners. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Separate egg yolks and whites into separate bowls.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy and light in color. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. The batter will be thick.

Transfer the batter to a large bowl and set aside. Wash the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the egg whites to the clean bowl and beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter so as not to deflate the egg whites. Use an 1/4 cup scoop to evenly divide the batter between the cupcake liners.

Bake for 15-16 minutes until golden brown on top and the cupcakes bounce back to the touch or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool completely.

Pierce the tops of each cupcake several times with the tines of a fork to create holes down into the cupcakes. Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and Baileys together, then transfer to a squeeze bottle. 

Soak each cupcake with the milk mixture, a little at a time, until most of the Baileys mixture has been soaked up. (You might end up with about 3/4 cup liquid left over). It may seem like too much liquid at first, but if you do a little on each cupcake, then let it soak in while you move on to the others, you can return to the first ones and repeat the process a couple of times until most of the milk mixture has been soaked up. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Beat the heavy cream, Baileys, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste in a bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon onto the tops of the soaked cupcakes. Dust with cocoa powder and top with chocolate pearls if desired.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Ice Cream Scoop

Sugar Belle Bottle Coupler Set

Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

Valhrona French Chocolate Pearls – This is what I used to decorate the top of the cupcakes. It is a crispy bit of cereal coated in dark chocolate. This link if for a much, much bigger bag than you would need for just this dessert, but I wanted to let you know what I had used.


Butter Mochi

March 7, 2022

So I don’t know if ya’ll have ever tried Butter Mochi but it is absolutely delish! Both tender and chewy with rich butter and vanilla flavors, you will be hooked with your first nibble! Butter Mochi hails from Hawaii and is kind of like their version of a brownie. It is made with glutinous rice flour and that is what gives it both its soft pillowy marshmallowy center as well as its chewy crackly crunchy top crust. A true texture sensation!

I could not find Mochiko in my local grocery stores and got a couple boxes on Amazon. I have included a link below. Once you have the rice flour, these bars come together quickly and easily and will serve a crowd. I chose not to mix in any coconut as the Husband doesn’t care for it, but would wager coconut would be a great addition for any coconut lovers out there.

If you have never tried this treat, my descriptions are probably not doing it justice. I’ll admit, it doesn’t really look very exciting, rather it looks pretty plain and simple. But don’t be fooled, it will deliver big time on taste and texture. You’ve got to trust me, it is not really like any dessert bar you’ve experienced. We are big Butter Mochi fans around here and wager you will be too!

P.S. Just a reminder – in just 4 days my St. Patrick’s Day recipe blog-a-thon gets going. See one delicious recipe a day all the way up to the big day – March 17th! And if you just can’t wait and want get a jump start on those Irish-y recipes, take a look at my St. Patrick’s Day recipes from previous years. Just click on Runcible Eats/Recipes on the top navigation bar and scroll down to the very bottom. You’ll find ’em under the heading “St. Patrick’s Day”. And believe me, there’s a ton of them!

Butter Mochi

  • Servings: about 24 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Pastry Love by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups (1 pound/455 grams) mochiko (glutinous rice flour or sweet rice flour)
  • One 13.5 -14 ounce (375 to 390 gram) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup (335 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/115 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs (about 150 grams) at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) sweetened shredded coconut *optional*

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Generously butter a 9X13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the mochiko, coconut milk, milk, sugar, melted butter, eggs, baking powder, salt and vanilla bean paste. Whisk together until smooth. Add the shredded coconut if you are using it and whisk it in. Let the batter sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature for the rice flour to full absorb the liquid.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, rotating the pan midway through the baking time, until the top of the cake is golden brown and the mochi feels firm when you press it in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Cut the mochi into small pieces about 2X2 inches square, and use a small spatula to remove them from the pan. Place each piece in a small muffin paper or on a piece of parchment or waxed paper.

Butter mochi can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can also freeze them; put them in a 325° F oven for about 20 minutes to revive and get a little chewy and caramelized on top.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Butter Mochi:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour

Vanilla Bean Paste

Pastry Love by Joanne Chang – LOVE this cookbook!


Apple Dumpling Slices

November 24, 2021

Woohoo! Here it is the day before Thanksgiving! I bet everyone is as busy as little bees in their kitchens today, either that or out there braving the grocery stores (Boo!) Well, whatever it is you are doing, I’m sure you’re crunched for time. That is simply how it is come holiday time. Let this recipe for Apple Dumpling Slices can come to your rescue! Sweet, gooey, apple-y autumn perfection! And…(insert drum roll please) super-duper quick and easy to make!

Now I love some good old fashioned dumplings for sure. I’ve told you all about how my Mom makes Pop-pop Roy’s Old fashioned Apple Dumplings every Thanksgiving. And they are so amazing!

So this is not what I will be making for dessert tomorrow. Can’t compete with Pop-pop Roy’s dumpling gems. I’ve got something else in the works. But I’m just thinking of you. If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, by all means give Pop-pop Roy’s a whirl. But if you are sick to death of being in the kitchen already and the day hasn’t even arrived, this might be the dessert for you! These Apple Dumpling Slices are altogether a totally different thing. They are kind of a cross between an apple dumpling, a cobbler, a cinnamon roll and a pie, if you can imagine that. And sooooo easy to make. You’ll have ’em done, your feet up and a glass of wine poured before you know it!

I highly recommend using the boiled apple cider, but if you don’t have it today, no problem. The recipe will guide you along without it. Though seriously, do get some. It is like a magic elixir! I will also say, when you pour that syrup over the dumpling slices, you might freak out, thinking it is way too much liquid. But don’t despair! It will cook down to a gorgeous gooey perfection of a syrup. Just spoon any left in the bottom of the pan over the dumpling slice and top it with a bit of ice cream. Keep this recipe in your bag of tricks, I’m telling you. Great for Thanksgiving, but very welcome anytime you need a scrumptious old time-y dessert. Folks will think you slaved over this dish all day. And me? I promise, I won’t say a word.

Apple Dumpling Slices

  • Servings: 16 small servings
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Baking

Ingredients:

For the syrup:

  • 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups (227g to 340g) water* (see tips below)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups (198g to 298g) sugar* (see tips below)
  • 1/2 cup (170g) boiled cider – optional* (see tips below)

For the Filling:

  • 2 cups (255g) peeled, diced apple (from about 2 medium apples)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Dough:

  • 2 cups (227g) Self Rising Flour (King Arthur flour is the way to go!)
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup (113g) milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the 4 tablespoons butter for the syrup in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish; glass or ceramic is preferable. Set the dish aside.

To make the syrup: In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the water, butter and sugar until the sugar melts. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the boiled cider. Set aside.

To make the filling: Mix together the cinnamon and apples. Set aside.

To make the dough: Combine the flour and butter in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Work the butter into the flour with a mixer, your fingers, a pastry blender, or pastry fork, (I used my food processor to make quick work of it) until the mixture is crumbly.

Stir in the milk, and mix until the dough just comes together and leaves the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it gently, until it’s somewhat cohesive.

Roll the dough out gently until it’s a rectangle about 10″ x 15″; rolling the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper is helpful here. Scatter the apples evenly over the surface of the dough.

Starting with a long side, gently roll the dough into a log, pinching the edges together to seal. It may tear, but don’t worry; just mend it as best you can. If you’ve rolled the dough out on parchment paper, it can help prevent the tearing.

With a bench knife or serrated knife, cut the log into 16 slices, starting in the middle and moving out towards the edges.

Arrange the slices atop the melted butter in the baking dish as artfully as possible. The slices may want to fall apart, but again, not to worry. The finished product will look just fine.

Pour the syrup over the apple dumpling slices and carefully transfer the pan to the oven.

Bake the dumplings for 40 to 45 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned on top, and the syrup is bubbling. Be careful moving the pan, as the hot liquid can slosh from one end of the the pan to the other very easily.

Let the dumpling slices cool a bit, then serve them with syrup spooned over the top. Annnnd….probably a little ice cream as well!

Store, loosely covered, at room temperature for a day or so. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips:

King Arthur recommends using boiled cider for more pronounced apple flavor. If omitting the boiled cider, or you like your dumplings extra sweet and syrupy, use 1 1/2 cups each sugar and water. If using boiled cider, and you want dumplings that are a little less sweet but still sticky and gooey, use 1 cup each sugar and water.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Apple Dumpling Slices:

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Silicone Pastry Dough Rolling Mat

Boiled Cider – I absolutely love this stuff! It really intensifies that fresh apple flavor in recipes. I also use it in baked oatmeal and have been known to drizzle a bit over ice cream. Highly recommended!


Honey-Oat Pain de Mie

March 9, 2021

Oooo ya’ll….here it is March. I’m excited because that means St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon. Back in the day, I used to start posting Irish-y recipes on March 1st. I would post one every day right up to March 17th. In recent years, having become a bit lazy, I’ve scaled it back. I do have some recipes up my sleeve for this year, but it’s not time yet. But soon, soon. In the meantime, take a look at this fabulous Honey-Oat Pain de Mie I have for you today! This bread is so tender and so moist with just a hint of sweetness from the honey and oats.

Pain de Mie means “bread of the crumb”. The crumb is the soft middle part of bread. This bread has very thin crust and is almost all crumb, hence the name. You will often also hear this type of bread referred to as a Pullman Loaf or Sandwich Bread. It is indeed perfect for sandwiches because when it is sliced, it gives you consistent perfectly square shaped pieces.

The square shape is due to the special pan that it is baked in, the Pullman Loaf Pan. Apparently the kitchens of Pullman railway cars invented this pan for space efficiency. Railway cars are not particularly spacious, and the folks working there discovered if the bread was square shaped rather than the usual domed loaf, they could fit three loaves stacked on a shelf, rather than two.

Now you can bake this Honey-Oat Pain de Mie in a regular 9″X5″ loaf pan, but it won’t have the square shape, nor as fine a crumb, so I’m told. I’ve never actually tried it. And don’t despair if you only have the larger 13″x4″ pain de mie pan. You can still use this recipe. Just increase the ingredients by 50%, but leave the yeast amount as is. Bake it for 35 minutes with the lid on and an additional 8-10 minutes with the lid removed. No matter how you bake it, you’re going to love it! Your house will smell heavenly. And when you take that golden brown loaf fresh from the oven, make sure you run a stick of salted butter over the top. It will make the crust so soft and buttery and absolutely put this bread over the top!

Honey-Oat Pain de Mie

  • Servings: 1 loaf of bread
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (361 grams) All purpose Flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup (89 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) salt
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (64 grams) honey
  • 1 cup (227 grams) to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (255 grams) lukewarm water

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix until cohesive. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes, to give the oats a chance to absorb some of the liquid. Then knead — by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, soft, elastic dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or in an 8-cup measure (so you can track its progress as it rises), and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it’s risen noticeably. It won’t necessarily double in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a 9″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9″ pain de mie (pullman) pan, pressing it gently to flatten.

Place the lid on the pan (or cover with plastic wrap, for a better view), and let the dough rise until it’s about 1″ below the top of the pan/lid, 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic (if you’ve used it), slide the pan’s lid completely closed, and bake the bread for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid, and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers at least 190°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Run a stick of butter over the top, if desired; this will yield a soft, buttery crust. Cool completely before cutting; wrap airtight and store for several days at room temperature.

Enjoy!

PS – You might just be seeing this bread again soon in one of my upcoming St. Patrick’s Day recipes. Stay tuned!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Honey-Oat Pain de Mie:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Dough Scraper

Pullman Pan – Just a tip – while Amazon is very convenient, I actually got my Pain de Mie pan from King Arthur Flour and it is the same pan as the link I gave you, but was substantially less expensive. Just saying.


Spooky Ghost Cupcakes

October 31, 2020

Yay! It’s Halloween! And to celebrate the day, I have baked up a batch of these delightfully spooky Ghost Cupcakes! What we’ve got here is a dark as your soul chocolate chip filled fudge cupcake frosted with a silky pale as moonlight vanilla buttercream frosting. I adorned half of the cupcakes that I baked with marbled chocolate curls and the other with black sanding sugar (yeah, I know for some reason it looks green – just think of it as graveyard grass). Next, I topped them with an oh so scary, yet very delicious, little meringue spirits. Yeah, I do realize that these little ghouls lean more towards cute than creepy, but considering all that has gone on this year, I’m ready to take a big ole helping of cute.

Halloween has always been 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! Sadly, this year is definitely going to be a bit different. Don’t get me wrong – there is a whole bunch of downright scary, some would say absolutely terrifying, things lurking about out there. Things you definitely do not want to encounter. Not that we are venturing out. Like everything else so far in 2020, nearly all social Halloween events have been pretty much cancelled. Rightfully so, yet nevertheless disappointing. So, I’ll be staying in with the Husband and we’ll be dressing weird (actually we’ll likely be in our quarantine clothes…i.e. pajamas), boozing it up and binging on candy, all on our lonesomes.

Our modern holiday of Halloween, actually has Irish origins. Today’s 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)

Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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

To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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

Fireball Cider Cocktail

Roasty Toasty Cocktail

A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes.

And last year a had a howling good time making these little rascals:

Reese Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

Which brings me to this year’s offering: Spooky Ghost Cupcakes!

Just look at these ghastly little ghouls! The cupcakes are rich, fudgy and shot through with chocolate chips. They get their dark sinister shade from the black dutch process cocoa that I used. This cocoa gives baked items a REALLY dark chocolate flavor. To tame it down a bit, mix a little of it in with regular dutch process cocoa. That way you will get a deeper darker shade, but less of the bold, intense flavor.

The frosting is a fluffy vanilla buttercream which I have adorned with some marbled chocolate curls for some of the treats and with black sanding sugar on the rest. And finally, those adorable…ahem…frightful fiends perched on top are made from meringue.

Making meringue is pretty easy if you follow some helpful tips. Firstly the bowl and whisk that you use must be super clean. It can have no oily residue or the egg whites simply will refuse to whip up properly. To ensure it is grease free, you can put a bit of vinegar on a paper towel and wipe the inside of the bowl. The egg whites need to be at room temperature when you start to mix them. Begin at a low speed and slowly increase until you reach medium to medium high. Once the egg whites reach soft peak stage, start to slowly add the superfine sugar to the bowl. Stop mixing when you reach the stiff peak stage. Use a piping bag fitted with a round tip to make your ghosts. Once they are completely cooled you can add the eyes and mouth with a food marker, decorating icing or mini chocolate chips. The mini chocolate chips were pretty easy to use. I just gently pushed the pointy end of the chip into the dry meringue. I must say these meringue cookies are pretty fun as well as tasty. If you are short on time, you could even skip the cupcakes and just make a batch of ghost meringue cookies.

I will warn you that humidity is a terrible thing for meringues! They will absorb any moisture in the air and go from delightfully crisp and airy to sticky and chewy abominations! I had quite an issue with this in steamy old Virginia! The regular day to day weather here is not ideal, but I had the adding difficulty of making these meringues while enduring torrential rains from a hurricane that was passing by! I still managed to make it work, but I would be lying if I said no “colorful” language was heard on the day. So for those of you in cooler and drier climes, this should be easy peasy. But to be safe, once your meringues are cool, put them directly into an airtight container and put that container in a cool place out of any direct sunlight. I would recommend not placing the ghosts atop the cupcakes until right before you are ready to serve.

So what are you waiting for? These spooky specters are just perfect for any Halloween gathering. Ooops! Yeah, that’s not happening. But, I have no doubt that your family or quarantine pod will be delighted to be haunted by these little apparitions. Next year you’ll be ahead of the game and can unleash these unearthly revenants on the rest of society. Happy Halloween ya’ll!

Spooky Ghost Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour for the Bake Sale Fudge cupcakes and Buttercream frosting. Inspired by Baking Addiction for the Ghost Meringue Cookies.

For the Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (85 grams) Dutch-process Cocoa
  • 2 1/3 cups (283 grams) All-purpose Flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (354 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional but tasty
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (255 grams) chocolate chips
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar, cider or white
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) vegetable oil (can substitute 1/2 cup butter if you prefer)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, oil, and vinegar. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing until everything is well combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling the cups about 3/4 full. I always use a 1/4 cup muffin scoop for this.

Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of one of the middle cupcakes comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and as soon as you can handle them, remove them from the pan, and transfer to a rack to cool. Store cooled cupcakes airtight.

For the Fluffy Buttercream frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) boiling water
  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) meringue powder
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (454 grams) sifted confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
  • 32 tablespoons (454 grams) unsalted butter
  • black sanding sugar or marbled chocolate curls for the top of the cupcakes (you could also use chocolate jimmies)

Directions:

Dissolve the sugar (and salt, if you’re using it) in the boiling water, and cool to room temperature.

Use a mixer on low speed to beat in the meringue powder, until the powder is dissolved and the mixture is foamy.

Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form.

Beat in the vanilla, then the confectioners’ or glazing sugar.

Add the soft butter a few tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Frost cake immediately; or store buttercream at room temperature, covered, for a few hours before using.

Once the cupcakes are frosted, add the marbled chocolate curls or sanding sugar as you prefer.

For the Ghost Meringue Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Egg Whites (room temperature!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
  • 3/4 cup Superfine Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract (can be omitted)
  • mini chocolate chips, melted chocolate or black decorator’s icing for ghost eyes and mouth.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

In a large spotlessly clean bowl of a stand mixer beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla. Start with lowest speed and slowly increase until you reach medium speed and the whites hold a soft peak.

Gradually add in sugar and increase mixer to medium-high speed. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Spoon meringue into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  Pipe swirls of ghost shaped meringue onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for about 1.5 hours or until the meringues are dry and crisp to the touch. Turn off the oven and allow the meringue ghosts to continuing drying in the oven for a few hours.

Decorate meringues with ghostly eyes and mouth and then move immediately to an airtight container for storage.

Wait to top the cupcakes with the ghost meringue cookies until you are ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Spooky Ghost Cupcakes brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Spooky Ghost Cupcakes:

 
 
 
King Arthur Double Dutch Process Dark Cocoa Powder
 
Meringue Powder or it is a bit cheaper here: King Arthur Flour
 
Wilton Graveyard Bones
 


Soft Sandwich Bread & Butterflake Rolls

June 11, 2020

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Aaaand……I’m back to bread today – Peter Reinhart’s Soft Sandwich Bread to be exact. This Classic Sandwich Bread is wonderful! It comes together very easily and bakes up very tall with a lovely soft crumb.

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And bonus! This recipe can also be used to make these gorgeous little Butterflake Rolls, or a combination of one loaf of bread along with some rolls, such as I did.

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This dough does require an overnight rest, but otherwise everything about this recipe is quick and easy. And the bread…oh so amazing! There are few things that beat the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen.

IMG_0255This bread is lovely and soft, but sturdy enough to hold up to any sandwich. Wonderful for grilled cheese and delightful when simply toasted and slathered with butter.IMG_0272And speaking of butter – these Butterflake Rolls are the bomb! To make them you roll the dough out, brush melted butter all over the surface, cut it into strips, stack them and then bake them in muffin tins. Just look at all those lovely flaky buttery layers just waiting to be pulled apart!IMG_0298

Truth be told, I originally baked this loaf of sandwich bread to use in another recipe that I have been working on. I don’t want to give too much away, because I hope to post that one soon, but lets just say it is a sandwich like none other! How’s that for a teaser?!! And this bread was nothing short of perfection!

 

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Take my word for it! You will LOVE this Soft Sandwich Bread!

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Soft Sandwich Bread & Butterflake Rolls

  • Servings: 2 loaves or 1 loaf & 10 -12 rolls or a whole bunch of rolls
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon (.33 oz/9 grams) instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons (15 oz./425 grams) lukewarm (35°C/95°F) milk
  • 6 1/4 cups (28 oz./794 grams) unbleached bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (.5 oz./14 grams) salt, or 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 5 1/2 Tablespoons (2.75 oz. /78 grams) sugar, or 1/4 cup honey
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz./85 grams) vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved. Set aside for 1 to 5 minutes.

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, oil and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer, then pour in the milk mixture. Using the paddle attachment mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes.

Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured work surface for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is soft, supply and tacky but not sticky.

Knead the dough by hand for 1 minute, then form it into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 4 days.

On baking day, remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 1/2 hours before you plan to bake.

If you would like to bake two 8″X4 1/2″ loaves, divide dough in half. Each piece should weigh about 25 ounces (709 grams). For a 5″X9″ loaf, like I baked, you will need 794 to 907 grams (28 – 32 ounces). I then used the remaining dough to make the Butterflake Rolls.*see below for shaping method.

Shape the dough into sandwich loaves and place in greased loaf pans to rise. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2 1/2 hour, until it domes about 1″ above the rim of the pans.

About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F. (177°C)

Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 20 -30 minutes. The bread is done when the top is golden brown, the sides are firm and brown, the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is at least 185°F (85°C) in the center.

Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving.

For the Butterflake Rolls:

Roll the dough to a 1/4″ thick rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into four even strips, then stack the strips neatly on top of one another. Use a pastry scraper to cut the stacked strips into 1″ wide     pieces. Place the small stacks on their sides in an oiled muffin tin. Proof and bake following the recipe. It should take 15 -20 baking time total for rolls.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Soft Sandwich Bread & Butterflake Rolls:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Wilton 9″X 5″ Loaf pan

Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday Cookbook

 


Bon Appétit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits

May 21, 2020

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I have been all about bread recently…Skillet Cornbread and then, most recently, Buttery Potato Burger Buns. And guess what? I must be on a roll (ha! pun intended), but I’m going to stay the course today and share a recipe with you for Buttermilk Biscuits. And not any ole buttermilk biscuits, but these golden delicious darlings happen to be Bon Appétit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits!

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Now I must admit the Husband and I do love our buttermilk biscuits and have always been on the lookout for the “best” recipe. I took a look back at my catalog of past recipes and found four different ones for the elusive best buttermilk biscuit. There were the Buttermilk Biscuits that I baked for my Spicy Pork & Chorizo Breakfast Biscuits

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The Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits

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The Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

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And finally those Buttermilk Biscuits that I baked to go with my Nashville Hot Chicken

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That is a lot of Buttermilk Biscuits, no? So what makes these biscuits Bon Appétit’s best?  And perhaps more importantly are they our best? Well, there does not  seem to be any secret ingredient to be found in this recipe – it’s flour, butter, buttermilk, baking powder and soda, a little salt and sugar. Nope, it isn’t the ingredients. It is all about the technique. You need to use cold butter. You need to work quickly and have a very light touch. Overworking the dough will result in tough biscuits. Nobody wants that. Tender, fluffy & flaky are what we are going for!

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As you are mixing these biscuits up, you are probably going to think that the recipe is too dry. Resist the urge to add any more buttermilk. Just continue to lightly work that shaggy, craggy, crumbly dough as best you can into a square that is 1″ tall. As the dough sits it will continue to hydrate. Believe me. I was skeptical as I was doing it, but it really does work! Another trick that makes these biscuits so irresistible is the stacking of the dough. This ends up creating layers of thin sheets of butter. Kind of like that laminated dough I told you about when I made these Spinach Croissants

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It is these little butter rivers running through the dough that expand upon baking to create this lovely tall layers.

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Final tip – when you cut the dough into biscuits, use a sharp blade and push your blade straight down to cut. Do not saw back and forth. This will help to give you biscuits the tallest rise possible.

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And perhaps the best thing about this recipe for me is that you can make up a big batch of biscuits ahead of time and freeze them. Then when you get a hankering for a biscuit, be it for breakfast with some egg and sausage or even country ham, or slathered with butter and drizzled with honey or maybe to go along with your Sunday dinner, just grab however many you want out of the freezer and pop them right into a hot oven. A mere 20 -25 minutes later these exquisite golden tall flaky biscuits will be ready. Now you can’t beat that! But back to that question “Are these Buttermilk Biscuits our best?” Hmmm…these are definitely up there! They were so buttery & golden and rose so high with lots of flaky layers, but I’m not sure the quest is over. Certainly the continued pursuit will lead to even more biscuit sampling, which is always a good thing in my book!

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Bon Appétit's Best Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Servings: 9-12 depending on how big you cut them
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Bon Appétit

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces, plus more melted for brushing over the tops
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Pulse baking powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and 3½ cups flour in a food processor to combine. Add chilled butter and pulse until largest pieces of butter are the size of a pea. Transfer to a large bowl and gradually drizzle buttermilk over top, tossing with a fork as you go to incorporate. Knead mixture a few times in bowl until a shaggy dough forms (mixture will look a little dry), then turn out onto a clean surface and pat into a 1″-thick square.

Using a knife or bench scraper, cut dough into 4 pieces. Stack pieces on top of one another, sandwiching any loose dry bits of dough between layers, and press down to flatten. Lift up dough with bench scraper and dust surface with flour. Roll dough into a 1″-thick rectangle and trim a thin border around sides of dough to create clean edges. Cut into a 4×3 grid to make 12 biscuits (don’t reroll scraps). Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 2″ apart; freeze 10 minutes.

Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt if you desire and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and bake biscuits until deep golden brown on bottom and golden on top, 20–25 minutes.

Do Ahead: Biscuits (unbaked) can be made 1 month ahead. Freeze, uncovered, on baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Do not thaw before baking, but add a few minutes to baking time.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Bon Appétit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits:

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Oxo Multipurpose Scraper

Dough Rolling Mat


Polish Babka

April 10, 2020

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Happy 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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I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make them this year what with all of the quarantining shortages in the stores, but luckily I was able to score some flour and sugar. Hoooray! And not only am I making the traditional Hot Cross Buns today, but I am also going to share a great Easter bread recipe with you: Polish Babka!

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When you hear “Babka” you might think of the Jewish version of the bread, which is often a twisted bread filled with chocolate or cinnamon and topped with a streusel. That is definitely tasty, but not the treat I’m talking about today. Today we look to Poland.

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Polish Babka is a rich, buttery bread which is shot through with rum soaked fruit, brushed with a rum syrup and dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

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Traditionally served on Easter in Poland, there are many different versions of this recipe, with each family claiming the bread made by their “Babka” which means grandmother in Polish, is the best!

IMG_9760Folks in many countries around the world have a special bread that they bake for the Easter holidays. I have shared quite a few of these recipes with you over the years. Last year was Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread.IMG_8091

 

And prior to that was Italian Easter Bread:

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Then there was this Tsoureki from Greece:

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Don’t forget that Slovak Paska:

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And the impressive Russian Kulich:

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That’s a lot of Easter breads huh?!! But let me get back to talking about this Polish Babka. This Babka is a cross between a bread and a cake in a way. You do start with a sponge, which boosts the rise that you get from the yeast, but you don’t have to knead it all, so it is a bit like a batter bread.

IMG_9792A loaf of Babka is often included in the swiecone basket that Polish families take to church with them on Easter Saturday to be blessed. The basket contains food such as meat, eggs, cake and breads, which will be eaten at the Easter meal after Mass. Each of the food items in the basket are symbolic. For example eggs represent new life and the yeast bread represents the risen Lord.IMG_9798

 

If you hadn’t guessed, I love bread. I love baking it and I love eating it. Guess that’s why I could not stick with the South Beach diet! This bread was pretty easy to make and will be a fantastic Easter treat.

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Now you can make a rum icing to drizzle over the Babka if you wish. I have included it in the recipe. Since the Husband really isn’t a fan of super sweet desserts, I chose to just dust our Babka lightly with confectioner’s sugar. But you should do whatever you prefer.

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With its tender crumb and rich rum soaked fruit I’m also looking forward to the French Toast I will be making soon as well.

IMG_9802Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

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Polish Babka

  • Servings: 1 cake with 12 -16 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour (I have incorporated a lot of the advice from the reviews of this recipe from bakers on the KAF site.)

Ingredients:

For the Starter Sponge:

  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) All-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) lukewarm (95°F) milk

For the Babka:

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 57 grams (4 tablespoons, 1/4 cup) softened butter
  • 181 grams All-Purpose Flour (if you do not wish to do the sponge – it is 241 grams (2 cups flour)
  • 43 grams (1/4 cup ) currants or raisins (golden raisins preferred)
  • 43 grams (1/4 cup) candied mixed fruit or candied mixed peel, or mixed dried fruit, chopped

For the Rum Syrup:

  • 99 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) water*
  • 14 grams to 28 grams (1 to 2 tablespoons) rum*

*If you prefer not to use Rum you could substitute apple juice for the water and rum mixture.

For the Icing (Optional – you can just go with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar):

  • 113 grams (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 28 grams (2 tablespoons) milk, or a combination of milk and rum or apple juice

Directions:

Begin by making a starter sponge:  In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix 60 grams of the flour and two teaspoons instant yeast with 113 grams of the lukewarm milk. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to let rise for 1 hour.

Place the raisins and candied mixed fruit in a small bowl and cover with rum. Allow to soak while the sponge is rising.

After on hour, add the rest of the remaining ingredients, except the fruit, to the mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until cohesive. Increase your mixer’s speed to high, and beat for 2 minutes.

Add the rum soaked fruit, beating gently just to combine.

Cover the bowl, and let the dough/thick batter rest/rise for 60 minutes; it won’t appear to do too much.

Scoop the batter into a greased 10-cup Bundt Pan. (If you don’t have a Bundt pan you can also bake the bread in an 8 1/2″ X 4 1/2″ loaf pan). Cover the pan, and let the dough rest/rise for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake the babka for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190°F.

While the babka is baking, prepare the rum syrup. Combine all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil, swirling the liquid in the pan, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.

Remove the babka from the oven. Poke it all over gently with a toothpick or fork, and slowly pour the syrup over the babka’s surface.

When the syrup is fully absorbed (about 20 minutes or so), carefully loosen the Babka’s edges, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack.

If you choose to use the icing: Mix all of the ingredients together, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over completely cool Babka.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Polish Babka:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

SAF Instant Yeast

Baker’s Fruit Blend

Nordic Ware Bundt Pan


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