Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Soft Sandwich Bread

Carbs, glorious carbs!

I went on the lookout for a recipe that would make perfectly soft sandwich bread. I found it. Simple as that.

I want to try it next time with whole wheat flour and increase the honey so I would have a honey whole wheat! Yum! Because you roll it up, you could probably roll just about anything in it. You could make a delicious cinnamon raisin bread, or orange craisin bread or whatever you want! Don't worry, I plan on trying all of these combos.

This recipe hails from Delia Creates.

Soft Sandwich Bread
Yields: 2 9x5 loaves

2 1/2 cups hot water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp salt
6 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tbsp dry active yeast

1. Whisk together water, oil, honey, and salt.

2. Add 3/4 cup flour and the yeast. Mix until it's mostly incorporated. Add half the remaining flour and knead in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. You don't necessarily have to use a stand mixer-- you can do it by hand. Just knead normally. Add the remaining flour and knead for about 5 minutes.

3. Let rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes in a warm place.

4. Plop dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Roll each until it's 9 inches wide by about 30 inches long. Roll it up and put it into a greased 9x5 loaf pan. Let rise, covered, for 30 minutes in a warm place (or about 2 hours in the fridge if you want to slow down the rising time... I did this and it rose beautifully!)

5. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when you tap the tops of the loaves.

6. Optional: brush finished loaves with butter (This probably shouldn't be optional because... butter)

After second rise

With homemade raspberry jam... recipe coming soon!

Bon appétit!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lemon Sponge Cake with Raspberries

Who doesn't love lemon when it's sweltering outside? 

Lemon is one of those flavors that savors strongly of summertime.

I found a cool pan in my kitchen. I wanted lemon cake. I like raspberries. This is the result.

Lemon Sponge Cake

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
[I halfed the recipe]

Beat egg yolks with sugar until lightly colored. Alternate adding lemon juice and flour and mix until incorporated.

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they're stiff. Add baking powder and salt and beat until the egg whites hold a stiff peak. 

Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Put into two greased and floured 9" pans and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. 

Remove from pan after cooling. Top with pastry cream and fresh raspberries. 

Pastry Cream

  • From Martha Stewart

    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tbsp flour
    2 tbps cornstarch
    2 cups whole milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Beat egg yolks and sugar until they're lightly colored. Beat in flour and cornstarch. 

    In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil, making sure to whisk constantly. Remove from heat and add the milk slowly into the egg mixture.

    Put the mixture back into the saucepan and bring it to a boil while whisking. Keep whisking and let it boil until it is thick (about 3 minutes). 

    Remove from heat and return mixture to the mixer. Beat it with a paddle attachment. Add the vanilla and beat it for about 5-6 minutes, or until it's down to room temperature. Store it in the fridge to cool it down. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Crusty French Bread

I've been on a bread baking binge. 

This recipe is so crusty and the inside is so tender. It tastes almost like a sourdough to me, and it was so good. Also. . . it's the easiest bread ever. No knead?! Count me in!

I really can't praise this bread highly enough. It's the Crusty Bread recipe from Simply So Good and it really is that good. I know that I can't even begin to do this bread justice, so I'll just give you the recipe. 

Crusty French Bread

Yields: 1 loaf

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp active dry yeast (rapid rise)
1 1/2 cups water (room temp or a little warm will do)

1. Mix together the flour, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until it's all incorporated. It will be a sticky mess in the bowl.

2. Let the bowl sit for 12-18 hours. 

3. Heat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Pour the dough out onto a heavily floured counter. Cover the top with plastic wrap to let it rest for 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, put a cast iron skillet or casserole dish or le Creuset in the oven to heat up. 

4. Take the baking dish out of the oven and drop the dough into the bottom of the dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After about 20 minutes, place a pan filled with water in the bottom of the oven and take the foil off of the bread. This will crisp the bread up. 

5. Take the bread out and let it cool on a cooling rack.

Bon appétit!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Quick French Baguettes

Fresh bread.

Is there anything in the whole world that's better than fresh bread? [Hint: no]

I got a package of pans in the mail the other day. Amazon is magical, you guys. You just type in some stuff on your computer and real things come to your house. It's like there's a baking pan fairy. I ordered four tart pans, one madeleine pan, a mini cheesecake pan, and two baguette pans. 

It was a happy day, y'all. 

I found this recipe from Kelly Nixon that only takes 1 1/2 hours to make baguettes. It really only took me about an hour, because mine always rises faster than hers did. I've made this bread many times, using both a baguette pan and a baking sheet with a silpat. 

This bread is really crispy on the outside and warm, dense, and soft on the inside. 

The secret making the bread have a crispy crust?



Yeah. Seriously. It works, you guys. It seems like steaming the bread should make the bread soggy, but it totally doesn't. It makes it crispy. Whoodathunkit?

Quick French Baguettes

Yields: 2 baguettes

1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (split)
2 tbsp honey
3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
5 ice cubes

1. Combine honey with 1/2 cup warm water. Add the yeast and stir with your finger. Let it sit and activate for 5 minutes. 

2. Mix the flour and salt in a mixer. Add the water with the yeast and mix with the dough hook. Mix with the mixer for 1 minute, or until combined.

3. Pour out of mixer bowl onto lightly floured surface. Knead for 2-6 minutes, or until elastic. Do the fingerprint test. If you can press your finger very lightly into the dough and the dough pops back out slowly, it is elastic enough. Put it back in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 25-30 minutes or until doubled in size.

4. Punch down dough and divide in half. Shape into 2 baguettes by trifolding the dough (like you fold a letter). Pinch the seam closed and repeat the process twice until it's about 14 inches in length. Fold the ends round. Set in a baguette pan or a lined cookie sheet (baking stone would probably work well too). Cover with a dish cloth and let rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Set an old (non-glass) baking dish on the bottom oven rack. 

6. When the rising is done and the oven is ready, quickly put the baguettes in the oven and throw the ice cubes into the old baking dish in the bottom. It should steam. 

7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Enjoy with Nutella.

Bon appétit!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I like chewy cookies. Why do people even bake crunchy cookies?

Did you know that brown sugar is the ingredient that keeps cookies chewy instead of crunchy?! I didn't know this.

I don't really have anything else to say about these cookies except that they are good, y'all. They have very slightly crispy edges and the lemon and white chocolate work together beautifully.

Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields: 18-20 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg and lemon juice and beat for about 1 more minute.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Add slowly to the butter/sugar mixture until just incorporated. Add in the white chocolate chips and mix until they're evenly distributed.

3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Scoop cookies out onto a cookie sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper. Bake for 8 minutes [they will appear to be not done, but they will continue cooking after you take them out]. Let the cookies sit on the pan for 10 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.

Bon appétit!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Imagine for a second you live in a house made of chocolate. Barring the constant melting, that house would be SWEET (pun intended). You could eat anything you want, and the smell would be beyond your wildest dreams.

That, my dear friends, is how my house smells right now. My home is chocolate bliss right now.

I decided to send a package to my sister who lives in San Francisco. I wanted to include in the package something baked and delicious for her to eat. She's been doing some weird Keto diet, but she's promised to abandon her diet for a day if I send something homemade. 

I made a mini pound cake to go with the big one so my family here would have something to taste. I feel like it's pretty cruel to bake something so fragrant and chocolatey and then just ship it all off without anyone here getting to try it. This pound cake is so good! The chocolate flavor is just so rich and deep. I tweaked the recipe from Tutti Dolci

Chocolate Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Ribbon
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp mini semisweet chocolate chips

2 tbsp pecan pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. Combine sour cream and buttermilk in a small bowl. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour mixture, beating just to combine. Add sour cream mixture, then finish with remaining flour mixture.
Pour half the batter into prepared pan; dollop with cream cheese mixture and swirl layers together with a knife or wooden skewer. Top with remaining batter and smooth with an offset spatula; sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans, if desired. Bake for 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; carefully remove cake from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

There's the cream cheese ribbon! The tangy flavor of the cream cheese really balances the rich chocolate flavor of the cake. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Banana Cream Cheese Muffins

Bananas are a staple at my house.

They're the perfect food:

  • They're totally healthy.
  • They taste great.
  • They come in their own convenient packaging, naturally.
  • They're yellow, which is obviously the happiest color.
  • They have an excellent source of potassium, K?
  • They make a great snack.
  • You can totally mail them with the proper postage. 
  • They can sing
  • They make the best baked goods even when they're brown and mushy. 
  • You can do this with them (because why not?)
I've made many things out of old bananas, and I've even started buying the oldest looking bananas at the grocery store just so I can bake with them. 

Yesterday, I began craving a muffin around 10 am. By the time I baked the muffins around 3 pm, I had to practically pry my hands away from them so I wouldn't consume all of the muffins before my parents got any. 

I had pinned a banana crumb muffin recipe from Eat At Allie's many moons ago and I was itching to try it (isn't that phrase disgusting? I think it ranks somewhere between "Keep your eyes peeled" and "Party pooper")

We had an obscene amount of cream cheese (Sam's Club, anyone?), so I wanted to add some cream cheese into the recipe. I thought of those delicious Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins that have been circling Pinterest for a while. 

Banana Cream Cheese Muffins

Yields: 12 Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 or 3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup powdered sugar

4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cold butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. 
2. Beat bananas, sugar, egg, and butter together. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Scoop with a cookie scoop into a muffin tin lined with muffin papers. 
3. Beat cream cheese with egg and powdered sugar. Scoop about 1 tbsp of the cream cheese mixture on top of the muffin batter in each cup and swirl it a little bit with a knife. 
4. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the sugar and flour. Sprinkle the crumble on top of each muffin cup. 
5. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Bon appétit!