Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake

May 1, 2020

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Today is May 1st or May Day as it is known. Now when I say “May Day”, I am not referring to the more modern, political International Worker’s Day type thing. Or the distress call – though given the state of the world currently, I can understand why you might have thought I was calling for help. No, I am talking about the ancient festival of Spring that is/was celebrated throughout many countries. For my part, I’m going to celebrate with this Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake.

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You might be familiar with May Day celebrations held in England. There, a May Queen is crowned and you will likely see Morris Dancers and folks dancing around a Maypole. Today I am looking back in time to Irish traditions.

IMG_9947In Ireland the day is known as Lá Beltaine, which roughly means “the day of the fires of Bel” – Bel being a Celtic God. Halfway between the Spring and the Summer solstice, Beltaine celebrates the arrival of summer and the fertility of the coming year. Yellow flowers such as primrose, rowan, hawthorn, gorse , hazel and marsh marigolds were placed at windows and over doorways. A Maybush, often a hawthorn tree, was decorated with flowers, ribbon and bright shells and sacred wells were visited to pray for health.

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Photo from Facebook Page May Day – Bealtaine

This was also the time in Ireland, back in the day, when cattle were driven to their summer pastures. And quite significantly it was believed that the veil between our world and the world unseen was very thin. It was more likely that you might encounter fairies or other supernatural beings out and about at this time. That notion made folks very nervous. So lots of the Beltaine traditions were done to protect oneself, livestock and crops from any mischief or ill will. Bonfires were lit throughout the country. It was believed that flames, smoke and ashes have protective properties. Livestock were driven between the fires and people walked between them as well, Indeed they sometimes even leap over them. All fires in the house were extinguished and then relit from the communal Beltaine bonfire.

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The festival was associated with fertility, not only of the land, but also the people. Just think about that Maypole…yup, symbol of fertility. In order to have a more youthful and beautiful complexion, women would wash their face in dew, preferably gathered from beneath a hawthorn tree at dawn on May 1st. I have been trying to do this for years here in Virginia, but I don’t have a hawthorn tree. I have a crab apple, which is in the hawthorn family, so that is my go to. Unfortunately, I’m not really an early riser, so the dew is almost nearly all burned off by the time I schlep on out of the house. Furthermore, I’m often quite suspicious of any wetness I do find under the tree. Anybody out there have any idea what washing your face in fox or cat urine accomplishes? But I digress…

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Maybe I should make the effort to get out of bed earlier this year…

Interestingly enough, I had originally considered doing a recipe for little fried honey cakes. I found an article online (so you know it had to be true…) that said they were made for Beltaine and left out as a gift for the fairies the night before. I really did not want to fry any dough, since that would not only use up all my oil (pandemic quarantine concerns….) but would also make my house smell like a chipper. So I reached out to some friends in Ireland to ask if they knew of any traditional Beltaine recipes. They did not, but were horrified to hear that anyone would consider leaving treats out for the fairies. As far as they are concerned, doing anything whatsoever to draw any sort of attention from the fairies was to say, at the very least, quite foolish. Having recently read The Call by Peadar O’Guilin (creepy and somewhat terrifying, Hunger Games-esque modern Irish fairy story – have you read it? You should!) I can definitely see the wisdom in that line of thought!

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So I arrived on the idea of baking, not frying, a honey cake. Honey has long been associated with Beltaine. Not surprising since it is considered to have aphrodisiac qualities and is often associated with fertility. So I figured a honey cake would be a great match for the holiday.

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Truth be told, this recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. Deb calls it the Majestic & Moist Honey Cake and she baked it for Rosh Hashannah – Jewish New Year. In Jewish tradition, honey symbolizes excitement for a sweet New Year. Hey given what 2020 has dished out so far, a “Sweet New Year” sounds really good right about now! Can we just hit reset and have a do over sans deadly pandemic?

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This Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake is quite tasty., filled with spices and incredibly moist with crispy chewy delicious caramelized crust. I used Irish Whiskey in the mix for my Beltaine nod to Ireland. This recipe does make quite a lot of cake. Although I baked it in cutesy little beehive pans, you should probably consider doing a big ole bundt! Happy Beltaine ya’ll!

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Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake

recipe very slightly adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  teaspoons (about 8 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (340 grams) honey
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup warm (235 ml) coffee or strong tea
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Irish whiskey (I think Jack Daniels would work well too)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Mix on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.

Enjoy!

Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer
Nordic Ware Bundt Pan
Nordic Ware Bee Hive Cakelet Pan – This is the pan I used for the cakes in my pictures. However, this pan only makes 6 cakes at a time and they are pretty small. With the amount of batter this recipe makes you will be baking these for hours with just the one pan! You might also want to use a bundt pan or 9″x13″ pan in addition to this pan.
The Call by Peadar O’Guilin – creepy modern day Irish fairy store I mentioned above. Technically you do not need this to make the Beltaine Spiced Honey Cake, but it really is a good read if you like scary fairy stories, Hunger Game, Game of Thrones type things.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman – This recipe is not actually in the book, but I have never been disappointed in a Smitten Kitchen recipe, so you might want to get a copy!

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

 

 

 


Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes

March 15, 2018

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So today is the Ides of March, but there is nothing to fear here. I’m serving up a bunch of these Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes to anyone who might darken my doorstep!

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That’s right – little individual sized Baileys spiked chocolate cheesecakes topped with Baileys whipped cream and drizzled with an Irish Whiskey laced chocolate. Hmmm…on second thought, perhaps your liver should beware the Ides with all that booze!

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These decadent little devils are rich, creamy and just the perfect serving size. Recently I’m somewhat obsessed with canning jars. Not only are they adorable, but they also make serving folks at any gathering a breeze. No worries with slicing cakes or flimsy serving plates. These supremely portable jars are the way to go!

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Easy to make and even easier to eat, these Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes are a St. Patrick’s Day delight!

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Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes

  • Servings: 12 - 4 oz. canning jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Irish Baking Adventures

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 200 grams Graham Cracker crumbs (you can use Digestive Biscuit crumbs if you like)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

For the Cheesecake filling:

  • 360 grams cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 200 grams melted milk chocolate
  • 120 ml. sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 70 ml Baileys Irish Cream

For the topping:

  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 75 gram confectioners sugar
  • 60 ml Baileys
  • 200 grams chocolate, melted – for drizzling
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey (optional – once the chocolate is melted, stir in the Whiskey if desired).

Directions:

Preheat the 325° F (160°C). Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Place 1 Tablespoon of the crumbs in the bottom of each jar and pat down firmly to create a crust.

Place the cream cheese, sugar and cocoa in a stand mixer and mix on a low speed until combined.

Add the sour cream, vanilla, melted chocolate and Baileys. Continue to mix on low speed until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated before adding the next.

Divide the batter evenly between the jars.

Place the jars in a large roasting pan or baking dish with sides. Carefully add hot water to the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the jars. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until the center is set. Remove from the water bath and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, cover and refrigerate until cold.

Just before serving, whip cream on high until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and Baileys and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Pipe the whipped topping onto the mini cheesecakes and drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chocolate candies if desired.

Enjoy!

Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

 


Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème with Baileys Whipped Cream Topping

March 13, 2018

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I am so excited about the recipe I have for you today…Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème! Why so excited, besides that fact that I’ve got 2 days of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-palooza done and dusted (only 4 more days to go…)? Well, I am excited about that, but I’m also thrilled because these little treats are quite possibly a game changer for me. Not only were they delicious, and I’m talking a swoon-worthy kind of dessert, but they were so easy to make. I’m serious. No baking. Just a few whrrrr’s of the food processor, a bit of stove top warming and some chill time. And then before I knew it I had these simple yet elegant, boozy, rich, salted caramel chocolatey decadent desserts, ready to be garnished and served.

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Pots de Crème (pronounced Po – think how southerners might pronounce “poor”- de Krehm) are a french custard which dates back to the 17th Century. Traditionally served in little pot shaped dishes (hence their name) or demitasse cups they are usually baked at low heat in a water bath. Their consistency is similar to a chocolate mousse but more dense yet not quite as firm as a flan. But this recipe today is for the new fangled Pots de Crème. As I said…no baking is involved. I’m telling you these little dreams are so easy to make you could do it first thing in the morning, while you’re still sleeping…perhaps before you’ve even had your first sip of coffee (or tea). Well, that might not be true, but they are pretty dang easy.

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However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a couple of really important things you must do to ensure the success of this recipe. First of all, those eggs need to be room temperature. I promise you it will not work if you pull the eggs straight out of the fridge. Easiest thing to do is just set them out the night before. Oh come on! They are not going to go bad sitting out over night! But if this makes you nervous, you can let them soak in a bit of warm water to bring them up to room temperature. Again, I said warm water. Not boiling hot water. You don’t want to cook them at this point. Next important thing to remember is that it needs to be HOT cream, not room temperature and definitely not cream straight out of the fridge. That cream has to melt all the chocolate as well as kill any bacteria that might be in those raw eggs, so don’t mess around. Warm it to just shy of boiling. Put it in the microwave if you must and nuke it…nuke it real good! And finally once you’ve added the very HOT cream, make sure you run the blender long enough that the chocolate is thoroughly melted and uniformly mixed. That is pretty much it. You just pour it into whatever containers you plan to serve it in, leaving plenty of room for the whipped cream and pop them into the fridge. In 3 -4 hours they will be set and ready to serve.

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I made a version of these a few years ago with Baileys and coffee. I was inspired to reboot it this year when I saw that Valhrona had come out with a Salted Caramel Chocolate. I love salted caramel and couldn’t resist doing this recipe over with new ingredients. Valrhona also has these Dark Chocolate Crunchy Pearls that I used for my topping. I did not see these available on amazon and it looks like Valrhona might only supply Sur la Table with this item. Valrhona also makes a Dulcey white chocolate which has toasty buttery shortbread notes to it. I can see I’ll have to give that a whirl as well. In the meantime, please enjoy these Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème and don’t forget the Baileys whipped topping!

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Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème with Baileys Whipped Cream Topping

  • Servings: 6 -10 jars - depending on the size of your jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Valrhona Lait Caramelia
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (possibly more depending on your mood…) Bailey’s Irish Cream, separated
  • 1 cup piping HOT whipping cream
  • an additional 1/2 pint cold heavy whipping cream
  • chocolate shavings or cocoa powder or even fresh fruit, for additional garnish

Directions:

Pour 1 tablespoon (or a bit more if you’re feeling a bit saucy) of Bailey’s Irish cream into the whipping cream and stir. Place into a small saucepan over low heat. Stirring occasionally, heat until just shy of boiling.

While cream is heating, add chocolate and room temperature eggs (really – I can not stress it enough – not cold out of the fridge, but room temperature eggs) to a blender or food processor and pulse, about 5-6 times, until the chocolate is broken up into small bits. Small folks, try to make it as easy as possible for that cream to work its melting magic.

Once cream/Baileys mixture is hot, with the blender running, slowly stream in the Baileys cream and continue blending until the chocolate melts and the mixture thickens.

Pour the mixture into 6-8 small mason jars, martini glasses, ramekins or tea cups and refrigerate for 3 -4 hours or until set.

Right before serving the pots de crème, add whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixture and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining tablespoon (and perhaps a bit more…) of Baileys until well mixed.

Dollop the Baileys whipped cream on top of the pots de creme and serve with chocolate shavings or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Enjoy!

Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com) 

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème:

Valhrona Lait Caramelia

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

 

 


Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread & Rolls

November 18, 2016

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Now here is one lovely recipe to add to your Fall baking repertoire – Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread and/or Cinnamon Apple Rolls. You will love how scrumptious your house smells when it is filled with the cozy, comforting aroma of cinnamon and apples. But you know what you’ll really love? How delicious this soft, tender and sweet bread tastes. I’ll consider you pretty dang accomplished if you can keep from eating it all in one sitting!

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I know you might be thinking that this bread looks a bit complicated. But don’t fear. It is actually pretty easy to make. I used to be awfully intimidated by any recipe that called for yeast. Now I don’t even give it a second thought. It really isn’t that hard and the results for your efforts are so worth it. So to make this bread have such a lovely swirled appearance, you simply roll your filled dough up as though you were making a jelly roll or cinnamon buns.

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Then rather than cutting the individual rolls, you cut the roll in half lengthwise and twist the two pieces together. Now I will admit, the filling does leak out a bit, but don’t freak out, there is still plenty of filling left inside. The day is not lost. I will say that the original recipe called for a King Arthur Flour product called Clear Jel (link provided below). Apparently this powder thickens fillings and sauces without giving them a starchy taste. I didn’t have any on hand, though will be getting some in my next King Arthur Flour shipment, so I used flour as the thickener for this batch. Since I already know I will be making this amazing bread again, I’ll try that Clear Jel out next time.

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This recipe is pretty versatile too in that you can make either two loaves of twisted bread, two pans of apple cinnamon rolls or one loaf of twisted bread and one pan of rolls. So if you are really anxious about trying the twisty bread, make the rolls. They are pretty easy-peasy.

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Your family will be thrilled with this delicious Fall treat! And don’t forget, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. How amazing would it be to wake up with that turkey hang-over the day after and have a batch of this Cinnamon Apple Bread waiting for you? Just saying…

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Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread & Rolls

  • Servings: 2 loaves of twist bread or 16 to 18 rolls or 1 loaf and 8 - 9 rolls
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

  • 3 1/4 cups Pastry Flour Blend or All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour OR 1/2 cup dried potato flakes
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup room-temperature or lukewarm milk

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup peeled, grated apple (1 to 2 large apples)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon boiled cider (if you don’t have boiled cider, just use 2 tablespoons heavy cream. The boiled cider just bumps up the apple flavor. There is a link below to where you can buy it.)

Directions:

To make the dough: Whisk together all of the dry ingredients , then add the butter, flavor, egg, and milk, mixing until a shaggy dough forms. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the liquid fully, making it easier to knead.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes; it should feel slightly sticky and soft. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if the dough feels firm or dry. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it’s almost doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The amount of time this takes will depend on the temperature of your kitchen; yeast works the fastest at about 85°F, but we prefer the flavor the bread gets from a longer, cooler (about 70°F) rise.

To make the filling: While the dough is rising, make the filling. Whisk together the sugar, ClearJel, and cinnamon. (If you substitute flour for the ClearJel, the filling will be runny at first, but will firm up when baked.)

Toss the grated apple with the lemon juice, then add that to the ClearJel and sugar mixture. Mix well, and set aside.

To assemble the loaf: Gently deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface. Fold it over once or twice to remove the excess gas. Divide the dough in half. Roll the first half into a 10″ x 12″ rectangle. Spread half the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1/2″ margin clear of filling along all sides.

Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log, taking care to pinch the edges closed as you are rolling. This will help keep the filling from leaking out. Finish your roll with the seam on top, rather than underneath of the roll and then seal that edge. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise. Place the half-logs, filled side up, side by side on a well-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Keeping the filling side up, twist or “braid” the two logs together, working from the center to each end. Pinch the ends together. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cover the twists lightly, and set them aside to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

To make rolls: Follow the directions above to the point where you’ve rolled the dough into a log. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, then cut each log into 1″ slices. Some folks recommend a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut the rolls. I prefer using a strand of unflavored dental floss. Place the slices cut side up in well-greased or parchment-lined pans, placing them close together (though not touching) for soft-sided rolls, or about 2 inches apart for crustier rolls. Allow the rolls to rise until they’re puffy. 

To bake the bread: Bake the loaves in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes (or the rolls for 18 to 20 minutes), until they’re lightly browned. Check the loaves after 20 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if they’re browning too quickly around the edges. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for about 1 hour before glazing and serving.

To make the glaze: Mix together all of the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over the loaves or rolls once they’re cool.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread and Rolls brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread & Rolls:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

SAF Instant Yeast

Clear-Jel

Boiled Cider


Pop-pop Roy’s Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

November 22, 2011

My Granddad, “Pop-pop Roy”, as I called him when I was younger, loved these Apple Dumplings. Grandda wasn’t a big sweets eater. Other than those Apple Dumplings, my only memory of him indulging in any sugary treat was Ginger Snaps. He did love his Ginger Snaps. I have fond memories of sitting on his lap when I was about 4 or 5, watching “Hogan’s Heros” and sharing those cookies. He would put each cookie on his knee, put his thumb right in the center and press down. The cookie would neatly break into 4 equal pieces and he’d give two to me and take two for his own.

Granddad at 2 1/2 years. He's the little one in the white hat.

Other than those cookies, desserts were scarce in his house. But he did have a weakness for Apple Dumplings. My Mom would always make up a batch of Apple Dumplings for him on Thanksgiving. In fact, he would always make sure to inquire a weeks or so ahead of time as to whether they were on the menu or not. (They always were 🙂 )No matter what manner of other exotic and alluring desserts were up for grabs that day, he would always choose the Apple Dumpling. Mom would then package up several more for him to take home.

Couldn't resist another of these pics. Granddad is the one in the middle.

Granddad passed away at the age of 91 in 2008. We still make his Apple Dumplings on Thanksgiving.

Pop-pop Roy (1917-2008)

As it turns out, my husband also loves Apple Dumplings. When we were first dating, we went to my parents house for Thanksgiving Dinner. Like Grandda, Jay chose the Apple Dumpling, topped with a bit of vanilla ice cream (of course!) for his dessert. We had been doing the South Beach Diet pretty intensely in the months leading up to this and had decided to totally ignore it for the day and eat whatever we wanted. Well, the incredibly tasty and sweet Apple Dumpling was quite a shock to his previously sugar starved system and he went into a sort of sugar coma. Unfortunately it was while he was driving us home! You know how you sometimes say that a particular treat is “to die for”? Yeah, well we almost did! I guess it wasn’t really that bad. It just involved him attempting to continue straight on as the road turned. I can just see us trying to explain it to the law…”No really Officer, I haven’t been drinking. It was Pop-pop Roy’s Apple Dumpling!” It all ended just fine. No harm done. I was not in a sugar coma and after the swerving, believe me, I was wide awake. I switched places with him and drove us the rest of the way home, while he slept it off. The experience did not scare Jay away from Apple Dumplings at all, though he definitely respects their power now. And he made sure I learned that recipe from my Mom. Indeed I did and I just made up a batch.

Hot out of the oven!

They taste fantastic! I used my beloved HoneyCrisp apples for these, and yes, I use a whole apple rubbed in cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg for each dumpling. Then I top each sugar and spiced apple with a knob of butter and cover them with a short crust. Once they are completely enrobed in that buttery pastry, I drizzle a decadent gooey cinnamon syrup over them and pop them in the oven to bake. The house smells amazing!

The Apple Dumplings are delicious! And they remind me of my Granddad. Make some for your family this Fall;  they will absolutely swoon. Just make sure no one has to drive that evening!

Pop-pop Roy’s Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

Recipe from: my Mum!

yield: 6 Apple Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon plus more for dusting apples
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg plus more for dusting apples
  • 1/4 cup butter plus more to dab onto each apple before covering with pastry
  • 6 small to medium apples

for the pastry:

  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Add sugar, water, cinnamon and nutmeg to saucepan. Cook on medium heat until sugar melts and mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until incorporated.

Pare and core apples. Set aside.

Place flour, salt and baking powder in food processor. Pulse just to combine. Cut chilled butter into 1″ cubes. Add to flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once and pulse until dough forms.

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Roll out 1/4 inch thick. Cut into six 5 inch squares.

Arrange an apple on each square. Sprinkle generously with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot with butter.

Fold pastry around apple until it is entirely covered. Place Dumplings 1 inch apart in greased  9×13″ baking pan. Pour the prepared syrup over the dumplings.

Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is browned and apple is softened. You can check the apple texture by poking it with a wooden skewer or knife. If pastry is getting to brown, but apples aren’t yet soft enough, cover with foil.

Enjoy! but remember – friends don’t let friends drive under the influence of these dumplings!


Witches’ Froth

October 28, 2011

Oooooooo! Spooky, Spooky! That’s right, this is the dessert that is a favourite among all witches’ covens. Witches’ Froth is a baked apple mousse. Very light, apple-y and refreshing, especially so after we’ve been chowing down on all of those heavy Halloween chocolate goodies. I first came across this recipe all the way back in May on the blog, Girl Cooks World: Gluten Free Recipes from Around the Globe. Apparently this is a Hungarian dessert (Boszorkanyhab in that language…I think I’ll just stick with calling it “Witches’ Froth)

It has a bunch of stuff I love like apples and vanilla and booze (not Jack Daniels this time but Rum). I knew this would be a perfect and unique adult treat for Halloween and have been planning on whipping it up ever since. I was not disappointed. Very yummy and once the apples are done baking, it comes together in a snap. I served this treat a couple of different ways, in spooky fall tree glasses and as a cute mini dessert/taster  in little dark Belgian chocolate cordial & toasting cups topped with candy corn.

Witches’ Froth

Recipe from: Girl Cooks World

Yields: 4 servings in glasses and many little dessert cups

Ingredients:

  •  4 baking apples
  •  1 cup vanilla sugar
  •  2 egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons rum
  •  2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  •  whipped cream, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and bake the apples for 50-60 minutes, until softened.  Let them cool, peel and core them, and puree the pulp in a blender or food processor.

Stir in the egg whites and sugar and beat 10 minutes with an electric mixer, until fluffy and thick.  Add the rum and lemon juice and continue beating for another 5 minutes.

Spoon into individual serving glasses or bowls and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: This dessert uses raw egg whites, so please be aware that there is a small risk of salmonella contamination.


I scream, you scream…Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

August 15, 2011

Yummy! Home-made Ice Cream is a wonderfully nostalgic summer indulgence for many folks. As a kid I can remember our neighbor had an old ice cream maker complete with a hand crank and all that rock salt, that he would roll out during the summer months. I don’t know if the ice cream that came from that contraption was really that much better, or it was the whole seemingly magical experience that made it seem so. Flash forward to present day and you will find that Jay and I have invested in a modern, Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and I can definitely say it produces some fantastic ice cream and there is no hand crank with which to toil away. 🙂 We recently took advantage of the outstanding strawberries found in abundance this summer and made some Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream. It was so creamy and delicious, it would truly give Ben & Jerry a run for their money if I do say so myself.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Yield: Makes ten 1/2 Cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Cup sugar, divided
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 2 hours. Strain the berries, reserving juices. Mash or puree half the berries.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low-speed to combine the milk and remaining granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 -2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, reserved strawberry juice, mashed strawberries and vanilla.

Turn your Ice Cream maker on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the reserved sliced strawberries and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe from The Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker Recipe Booklet.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Frozen Banana Pops

July 24, 2011

Sheesh! It’s been HOT around here. I know, I know…it’s summer in Virginia. What did I think it would be like? Well, I knew it would be hot, but I wasn’t thinking it would be over 100°F. Not to mention that our lovely Virginia humidity has kicked it and had it feeling like it was 120°F!!! We’re talking serious record-breaking HEAT! Well, I’m sorry. That is totally out of line! No one signed up for this suffocating nonsensical weather! No one wants to feel like their walking into a blast furnace every time they open the front door. It’s too dang HOT! That’s why these frozen banana pops were just right for dessert! Chocolatey, peanut buttery, frozen nostalgia on a stick. Awesome! Very easy to prepare and guaranteed to make folks smile. These frozen yummies might even make you momentarily forget the state of the mercury outside. I must admit, it didn’t really work on me. But then again, I am somewhat permanently grumpy during the summer months in Virginia….

Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Frozen Banana Pops

recipe from Back to her Roots

Yield: 8 frozen Banana treats

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag chocolate chips – I used dark chocolate, but use whatever chip you prefer 🙂
  • 1/4 heaping Cup of peanut butter
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 8 Candy-making sticks or wooden skewers
  • Whatever Toppings you prefer. I used mini chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers and multi-coloured cake sprinkles. Some other ideas-crushed up peanuts or the nut of your choosing, white chocolate chips, mini M&M’s or your favourite candy bar crushed up, coconut…get creative!

Directions:

Peel the bananas. Cut  a bit off of each end and then cut bananas in half.

Gently insert skewer in the bottom of each banana.

Place skewered bananas on cookie sheet and place in freezer for 30-45 minutes.

While bananas are chillin out, prepare the toppings of your choice.

Shortly before bananas are due to come out of the freezer, prepare the chocolate peanut butter coating. In a microwave safe bowl, place the bag of chocolate chips and the heaping 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Nuke the mixture for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted and thoroughly combined.

Remove bananas from freezer. Dip each banana half into chocolate peanut butter coating, using a spoon to aid in completely covering the banana with the coating. Gently shake off excess coating.

Before chocolate can completely harden, dip pop into your chosen topping, twirling and/or using a spoon to distribute topping equally over the length of the pop.

Place covered banana pops back on cookie sheet and put back in freezer for 1-2 hours.

Store in freezer in freezer-safe ziplock bags.

Enjoy!


Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

July 21, 2011

Heavens! I knew this recipe was going to be great the moment I saw it on Food on Fifth and I sure was right! Spoonbread is a slightly sweet cornmeal based dish popular in the southern U.S. I don’t know why it’s mostly popular there. They must be keeping it a bit of a secret cause it is super tasty. Jay and I just finished scarfing down our first servings, and it will be time for seconds any moment now! Spoonbread is really not so much “bread” but more like a soufflé or an airy cornmeal bread pudding. When you add in those fresh blueberries…it’s just unbelievably yummy. I couldn’t even figure out how to classify it…is it for breakfast or is it a dessert? I do declare, the answer is that it is for both and probably several other meals of the day if you’re lucky.

Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

recipe from Food on Fifth

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 Tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs – separated
  • 1 teaspoon salt – the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of salt, which is what I used. My husband totally digs salt, so he was quite pleased with it. If you don’t like as much salt, you could probably reduce it by 1/2.
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling over the top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

In saucepan bring buttermilk and sugar to low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of pan, slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Turn heat down to low and stir with the whisk for 8 minutes. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

Beat egg whites with salt until stiff. Set aside.

Whisk butter and vanilla into cooled cornmeal mixture.

Add egg yolks to mixture and whisk until blended.

Stir in cream with whisk.

Gently fold in egg whites.

Pour 1/2 mixture into buttered baking dish and top with 1/2 blueberries. Spread the rest of cornmeal mixture over berries. Top with a scattering of the remaining berries.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown and it is firm but wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

* This recipe doesn’t make a whole mess of spoonbread. The dish I used is an 8×10 oval gratin style dish. An 8×8 dish would likely work fine. Or individual ramekins might be nice.


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