Sep 1, 2015

Checkerboard Tangzhong Rolls | #TwelveLoaves

Checkerboard Tangzhong Rolls

These Checkerboard Tangzhong Rolls are so soft and fluffy. When you separate them, the crumb just pulls apart into deliciously thin ethereal sheets of goodness.

Tangzhong you ask? It is a starter made of flour and water, and sometimes milk, that is cooked to exactly 149 degrees F (well maybe not exactly in my case), cooled, and added to the dough. The resulting bread is amazingly soft. It's the kind of bread that is so good with just salted butter.

See what I mean?

Checkerboard Tangzhong Rolls

Today my opinionated seven year old grandson came to visit and he accepted an offer of a roll for a snack. He promptly ate two.

Me: "I made these myself!"
Grandson: "You make everything yourself!"

Awwww.

Checkerboard Tangzhong Rolls

These rolls are also great for sandwiches and sliders.

This month the #TwelveLoaves bread baking group is baking with seeds! I love the checkerboard pattern that these rolls make in the pan. I used sesame and poppy seeds interspersed with some plain rolls to create this pattern. You could also use flax seeds, or, if you don't like seeds, bran and oats to coat the tops of the rolls. Have fun!

Checkerboard Tangzhong Rolls

For more fun with Tangzhong, check out this Hokkaido Milk Bread and this Tangzhong Whole Wheat and Rye Bread.

For more breads using seeds, check out the links from the other #TwelveLoaves members after the recipe.

Checkerboard Tangzhong Rolls

Ingredients

Tangzhong

90 grams (6 T) water
18 grams (2 T) bread flour

Final Dough

345 grams bread flour
30 grams sugar
7 grams instant yeast
15 grams milk powder (optional, I used King Arthur Flour's Special Dry Milk)
All of the tangzhong
75 to 90 grams whole milk
30 grams heavy whipping cream
30 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
5 grams salt

Topping

Milk
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, bran, or other seed or topping of your choice

Instructions

To make the tangzhong:

  1. Whisk the milk and flour together in a small saucepan until blended. 
  2. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens reaches 149 degrees F, or if you don't have a thermometer, until your spoon forms lines in the mixture. Do not walk away as this happens really fast.
  3. Immediately scrape the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the mixture and let it cool to room temperature.

To make the final dough:

  1. Add the dry ingredients except the salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the tangzhong with the the milk, cream, and egg. 
  3. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and mix on low with the dough hook. Add the salt. 
  4. Add the butter, a little bit at a time, continuing to mix on low. If the dough gets too slippery, switch to the paddle for a minute or two to incorporate the ingredients.
  5. Once the butter is incorporated, knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. 
  6. Transfer the dough to an oiled boil, cover, and let rise for one to two hours, until doubled. You can also let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, up to 24 hours. 
  7. Line a 9 inch by 9 inch cake pan with parchment and spray with spray oil. 
  8. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape the pieces into rolls. 
  9. Dip each roll into milk and then into the seeds of your choice. Or, for better seed placement than I got, sprinkle the seeds over the top of the milk dipped roll. Arrange the rolls in the pan in a pattern of your choice. 
  10. Cover and let rise 1 to 2 hours, until doubled.
  11. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees F.
  12. Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes, until golden. Lift the parchment out of the pan and place the rolls on a wire rack. Remove the parchment and let cool a bit before serving. 
  13. Store extras in a plastic bag. 
Adapted from a recipe contributed by Dave W, a member of the Facebook group, Artisan Bread Bakers.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers. Our host this month is Lora from Cake Duchess and our theme is Seeds. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!




For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads! If you'd like to bake along with us this month, share your Seed Bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

Aug 31, 2015

Apricot, Almond, and Toasted Coconut Muffins | #MuffinMonday

Apricot, Almond, and Toasted Coconut Muffins

Apricot, almond, and toasted coconut muffins baked in mini muffin pans! They make it so easy to justify having just one more. After all, they are so tiny!!

They are filled with toasted coconut, toasted almonds, and lots of dried apricot bits. They aren't overly sweet either, and are perfect for breakfast. Of course, if you want to be sinful, you can eat them warm (or re-warmed in the oven), slathered with some butter and apricot jam... not that I would do that... ahem.

Apricot, Almond, and Toasted Coconut Muffins

I baked the muffins in two of these silicone mini muffin pans, which made them really easy to pop out of the pan. I didn't even have to butter the cavities of the silicone pan. You can bake them in any mini muffin pan, lined or unlined with paper muffin cups, but if your pan is dark, definitely shorten the baking time.

I really don't make muffins often enough. They are so easy, no mixer required. All you need to do is mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, stir it all together, and bake.

Apricot, Almond, and Toasted Coconut Muffins

I am so excited about participating in the inaugural #MuffinMonday. #MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake, you guessed it, muffins. You can see all our of tasty muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page. After the recipe, check out the links for more muffin deliciousness.

Apricot, Almond, and Toasted Coconut Muffins

Makes 22 mini muffins. Recipe adapted from Bite Size Desserts by Carol Bloom

Ingredients

1/3 cup (1 ounce) sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 extra large egg (I had only large eggs, so I mixed two, and measured 4 tablespoons, saving the rest for French toast)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 ounces finely chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup (1 3/4 ounces) whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Toast the coconut in a pie or cake pan in a 350 degree oven, shaking the pan every two minutes, until the coconut is light golden brown. Keep a close eye on it. It shouldn't take more than 7 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place two 12 cup mini muffin pans (I used silicone) on a baking sheet. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. I push the brown sugar through a strainer to remove any lumps. 
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the egg, whipping cream, melted butter, and vanilla. Add it to the flour mixture and stir until the flour is incorporated. 
  5. Add the apricots, coconut, and almonds, and stir until evenly distributed. 
  6. Using a 1 1/2 inch scoop, fill 22 cavities of the muffin pans 3/4 full with the batter. 
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. 
  8. Move the silicone pans to a wire rack and cool. When cooled, turn the muffins out. 
These muffins will keep for up to four days in a sealed container. They can also be individually wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. 

Muffin Monday

Click on all of the links below for more Muffin Monday deliciousness!

Aug 30, 2015

Mini Chicken Empanadas with Cheese and Chiles

Mini Chicken Empanadas with Cheese and Chiles

It was really difficult not to devour more than my share of these Mini Chicken Empanadas when I pulled them out of the oven. They are ridiculously tasty... and so easy peasy to make!

Aren't they cute?

Mini Chicken Empanadas with Cheese and Chiles

An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry which is either baked or deep fried. Their origination is Iberian (Portuguese and Spanish), and there are many iterations of empanadas throughout the world.

This version consists of pie dough filled with cheeses, chicken, and chiles, and baked before serving. They are soooo good!

You can serve these hot or at room temperature. They are perfect for game day as well as tailgating. You can also make these in advance and freeze them before baking. Just bake them when you need them!

Mini Chicken Empanadas with Cheese and Chiles

This week, the Secret Recipe Club members are going tailgating! My assigned blogger is Ashley from Rainstorms and Love Notes. Ashley lives in North Carolina, and blogs about food, love, life, cats, and TV binge watching (totally get that). She's adorable.

Along with the recipe for these empanadas, I was intrigued by these Sweet & Spicy Chicken Wings, these chicken jalapeño bites, these taco bites, and these Chicken and Waffle Bites. I finally settled on these empanadas, as they are so portable! Perfect for tailgating.

Mini Chicken Empanadas with Cheese and Chiles

Mini Chicken Empanada Recipe

Very slightly adapted from Rainstorms and Love Notes, inspired by The Food Network

Ingredients


1 cup shredded chicken (I used meat from a rotisserie chicken)
2/3 C (about 5 ounces) shredded taco cheese 
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tsp diced pickled jalapeño peppers
2 tsp pickled  jalapeño juice
2 tsp fresh sweet cayenne or other fresh peppers (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 package refrigerated pie crust, or homemade pie crust of your choice (enough for the top and bottom crust of a pie)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line one baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the chicken, cheeses, jalapeños, jalapeño juice, cayenne peppers, cumin, salt, and pepper together. 
  3. Unroll the pie crusts and cut into 3 inch circles with cookie cutters or a drinking glass. Gather up the scraps into a ball and roll them out to cut more circles. I ended up with 20. 
  4. Place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the crust. Don't over fill or they will pop open. Using a fork, seal the edges together. 
  5. Bake on a lined baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden. 
Make ahead tips: You can assemble them and freeze them up to 30 days before baking. You can also reheat leftovers in a 325 degree F oven for 10 minutes. 

Aug 23, 2015

Make-Ahead Cold Oatmeal with Honey and Raspberries | #secretrecipeclub

Make-Ahead Cold Oatmeal with Honey and Raspberries

This Make-Ahead Cold Oatmeal with Honey and Raspberries is just about the easiest way to grab a nutritious breakfast that, in my opinion, is way more satisfying than a breakfast bar or a bowl of cereal.

The oatmeal is mixed with yogurt, milk, and honey, and layered with raspberries (other berries would work nicely too), and then allowed to chill overnight in the refrigerator to soften and thicken. Best part? No cooking involved. The oatmeal is eaten cold.

Make-Ahead Cold Oatmeal with Honey and Raspberries

Cold oatmeal you ask?! Yes, cold, as in never cooked. It is delicious! The first time I was introduced to cold oatmeal (or Swiss oatmeal, although I'm not sure the Swiss know about this) was at a company breakfast that was catered by Corner Bakery. It was so perfect for breakfast on that hot summer morning!

You can assemble the mixed oats and raspberries in these glasses, top them with these lids, and put each in the refrigerator the night before, or even two nights before. If you're rushed for time, you can even pack one of the glasses in your lunch with a cold pack and bring it to work. I guarantee this breakfast will carry you through your busy morning.

Make-Ahead Cold Oatmeal with Honey and Raspberries

I found this recipe on the blog, Lavender and Lovage, by Karen (love the name), who splits her time between her home in England and her work at a cooking school in France. Doesn't that sound dreamy? Karen is my Secret Recipe Club assignment. Secret Recipe Club? Find out more about it here. It's a fun group of great food bloggers.

Check out her About page, and you'll find out that she is pretty impressive. Her photography and food styling skills make me seriously envious. I feel a lot of pressure making one of her creations because she does such a beautiful job with her photography!

Before settling on this oatmeal recipe, I seriously considered this Provencal summer gratin, this elderflower, rose, and strawberry sorbet, and these apple pie muffins, among many, many others.

Make-Ahead Cold Oatmeal with Honey and Raspberries

Serves 2


Ingredients


250 ml vanilla or plain yogurt (I used vanilla) 
100 grams rolled (Old Fashioned) oats
6 tbsp milk
4 tbsp honey (you can reduce the honey if your yogurt is sweetened)
175 grams raspberries

Instructions

  1. Mix the yogurt, oats, milk, and honey together in a small bowl. 
  2. Layer half of the mixture into two bowls or glass jars. Layer half of the raspberries on top of the oat mixture.
  3. Divide the rest of the oat mixture between the two bowls/jars, and top with the rest of the raspberries. Cover and refrigerate overnight, and up to two days. 
  4. Serve cold.


Aug 21, 2015

Apricot, Almond, & Olive Oil Cake with Vanilla and Lemon

Apricot, Almond, & Olive Oil Cake with Vanilla and Lemon

This apricot, almond, & olive oil cake is incredibly moist, and the flavors of the apricots, lemon zest, almond flour, and vanilla seeds combine perfectly to create a delicate and tasty cake.

Apricot, Almond, & Olive Oil Cake with Vanilla and Lemon

This cake can be served as a dessert, a coffee cake for breakfast, as well as a tea cake. It stays fresh for a couple of days, and also freezes nicely. Just slice it and individually wrap each piece before freezing to save some for later.

The cake is really easy to make, with no mixer necessary. You can actually make this cake in an hour, start to finish, baking time included. I also think this is a great cake to make with kids.

Apricot, Almond, & Olive Oil Cake with Vanilla and Lemon

This month, the Avid Bakers Challenge is to make this cake from the blog, Scientifically Sweet.
I actually made this cake twice before posting, because the first cake was under done in the center. I definitely recommend using a wooden skewer or toothpick to check the middle. I had used a metal cake tester, which came out clean. Fortunately all was not lost, as the rest of the cake was delicious, which is why I decided to make it again.

This time, I used a darker pan and a toothpick to test the cake, and it came out perfectly. If you don't care for the darker crust from the dark pan, just be sure to test the center.

Apricot, Almond, & Olive Oil Cake with Vanilla and Lemon

Ingredients

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (175 grams) sugar
1 cup milk
zest of one lemon (I used a large lemon)
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (you can substitute 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste)
1 1/3 cups (190 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup (25 grams) almond meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
5 to 6 apricots, quartered (fresh or canned)
Slivered almonds for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter or spray a 9 inch springform or cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. In a small sauce pan, mix the sugar, milk, zest, vanilla bean, and seeds. Heat the ingredients, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, and immediately remove the mixture from the heat. Let cool for about 15 minutes. 
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the almond meal. 
  5. Add the olive oil and eggs, and the milk mixture (remove the vanilla beans), and whisk gently until you have a smooth batter. 
  6. Scrape the batter into the cake pan, smooth the top, and arrange the apricots on top of the batter (they will sink during baking). Sprinkle with the slivered almonds. 
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean from the center. 
  8. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove it from the pan and allow to cool completely. 

Aug 19, 2015

Grandma Pizza | Bread Cookbook Giveaway!


Grandma Pizza

This Grandma Pizza is sort of a cross between pizza and focaccia, and originated from the memories of Donna Curry, the author of the amazing bread baking cook book, Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day.

Eleven years ago, when I first found out I was going to be a grandma, I was in total denial. After all, I was way too young for this role (in my head at least)!


Once my grandson was born, all bets were off. I went into Mama Bear mode. This little boy (who is now almost my height and eleven years old) is the light of my life. Life is not perfect, and crap happens (lots of crap). Being a grandmother has been just about the best job I did not sign up for.


Every time I see this boy, he immediately exclaims "grandma!" and runs over to give me a big hug. I'm pretty sure this won't last forever. Eventually, he'll be too cool, right? I now embrace the title of grandma. This is why, when it was time to choose a bread from Donna's book, I was immediately drawn to Grandma Pizza. Plus, he luuuurves pizza!

Grandma Pizza

One of the joys of this pizza recipe is that you make the dough in advance, throw it into a plastic bag, and then toss the bag into the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you are ready to bake the pizza, you just press the dough into a quarter sheet pan, top it with tomatoes and cheese, and bake! How easy is that?!

This pizza makes amazing leftovers too. We toasted slices of this pizza for breakfast and dipped them in olive oil and balsamic sprinkled with chili flakes. Delicious!

Grandma Pizza

This recipe is from the book Make Ahead Bread by my friend Donna Curry who writes one of my favorite blogs, Cookistry. Donna is into bread... and cocktails! Girl after my own heart. She also writes for several publications, including Whisk Magazine, by Melinda Lee, of whom I am a fangirl.

Her book has 100 recipes for bread that you can make ahead and then bake when you need fresh bread! There are recipes for sandwich loaves, rolls, pizza, breadsticks, and even sourdough.

I am giving away an autographed copy of Donna's book after the recipe for this pizza. This giveaway is for U.S. and Canadian readers. The book is awesome!!

Grandma Pizza

Ingredients

1 tsp instant yeast
13 1/2 ounces (3 cups) bread flour
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups room temperature water
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes (I used the kind that had Italian seasoning and added some garlic), drained
4 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
Sliced fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Mix the yeast, flour, salt, and water together in a bowl until they form a shaggy mass, and all of the flour has been absorbed. 
  2. Toss the olive oil into a gallon sized zip log bag and distribute it to coat the bag. 
  3. Form the dough into a ball and add it to the bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate the dough overnight or up to two days. 
  4. On baking day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  5. Transfer the dough, along with the olive oil, to a rimmed quarter sheet pan (13 inch by 9 inch). 
  6. Using your fingertips, poke the dough to prod it toward the edges of the pan. Take your time if the dough resists. 
  7. Sprinkle the tomatoes over the dough, leaving about a 1/2 inch edge. Scatter the cheese on top of the tomatoes. Scatter the basil on top of the cheese. 
  8. Bake the pizza until the dough is browned and the cheese is bubbly, about 40 minutes. 




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Aug 18, 2015

Pita Bread | Tuesdays with Dorie

Homemade pita bread

Bread is an amazing thing. Combine four simple ingredients, flour, water, salt, and yeast, and you can come up with so many different loaves, rolls, flatbreads, pastries, and other wonderful and delicious breads.

For example, pita bread. How do little rolled out disks of dough suddenly puff up while baking, creating a big pocket of air, ready to be filled with tasty salads, spreads, or vegetables?

It's pretty magical!

Homemade pita bread

This recipe makes 16 pita breads. Fortunately, you can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to a week, and tear off a piece to make a pita bread when you want one. These can also be baked either in the oven or on a griddle.

The dough begins with a sponge, a mixture of the yeast, water, and the whole wheat flour. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor you develop. You can use it within 30 minutes of mixing it, but it's even better to let it rest up to eight hours.

Homemade pita bread

We made some burgers with ground lamb, onion, coriander, allspice, cinnamon, mint, salt, and pepper, and used these pitas in the place of hamburger buns, dressing the burgers with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and yogurt sauce.

I also used these pita breads to make these Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas, another Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, and these Garlic and Sea Salt Pita Chips.

Homemade pita bread

Pita Bread

Ingredients

1 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Mix the yeast and water together in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Add the whole wheat flour and stir until fully combined. 
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 8 hours.
  4. Sprinkle the top of the sponge with the salt, and add the olive oil. Mix with a spoon or dough whisk.
  5. Add the all-purpose flour, one cup at a time, and stir. When you can no longer stir the dough with a spoon, move the bowl to the stand mixer and knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes. The final dough should be fairly firm and shiny. 
  6. Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled, about 2 hours. 
  7. Position a pizza stone on a rack positioned on the lowest position of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500/550 degrees F. 
  8. Divide the dough into four pieces and cover each with a damp towel or plastic wrap. 
  9. Working one piece at a time, divide it into four equal pieces, and form them into balls. Roll each ball into a 6 to 8 inch disk. 
  10. Bake each disk for about 7 minutes, flipping halfway through. The disks should puff up while baking. 
  11. Cool on a wire rack, covered with a towel. 
These are best eaten the day they are made. They can also be wrapped and frozen for up to a month. Reheat in a 350 degree oven. 

Adapted from Baking with Julia, edited by Dorie Greenspan (as in Tuesdays with Dorie!).