Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bread Baking Day #75: Favorite Weekend Breakfast Breads

This month's Bread Baking Day challenge is hosted by Immer wieder sonntags....  The theme is one of my favorites:  breakfast breads.   Immediately, this calls to mind two things -- sourdough and scones.  (No, it's not a yeast bread this time, but it is quick and really delicious.)   

My choice was Sourdough Pumpkin Spice Scones with Cinnamon Chips.  I made this recipe twice, fine-tuning it the second time around.   Adding toasted, chopped pecans would also be another tasty variation.  

For the first go-round, I made the basic recipe; the second time, I added the cinnamon chips, because I felt it needed something extra.  I also cut the dough into smaller squares, rather than eight large triangles.  One word of caution, the dough is really dry, so it might require a bit more starter or more than 2 tablespoons milk until the proper consistency is reached.

At any rate, the scones are well worth the effort.  You can even mix all the dry ingredients the night before to save a few minutes in the morning.

Hope you all give it a try and enjoy the delicious results.

Thanks, also, to Zorra for originating this wonderful event.

Sourdough Pumpkin Spice Scones with Cinnamon Chips

2 1/2 cups flour, either all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves (to taste)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cinnamon chips (or more, if desired)
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup 100% hydration sourdough starter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons milk (might need a bit extra)

Stir the dry ingredients together; cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the cinnamon chips.

Combine the wet ingredients.  Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture; mix until just combined.  Add the milk to achieve a soft biscuit-like dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured board and pat into a 9-inch circle.  Cut into either 8 wedges, or smaller squares (about 9 pieces).  You can brush the tops with milk if you wish.

Place on a parchment-lined baking pan, about 1/2-inch apart. Place in the freezer while you heat the oven to 400° F.  

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Muesli Rolls -- A Babe at last!

It was a typical morning -- rise a little after 6 am, dress, walk the dog, count the number of hot air balloons floating in the sky.  Then, return home, put the kettle on to boil, turn on the computer, and read news and email.  

Only, this particular day was far from typical.  There, in my inbox, was an email inviting me to become an actual, living, breathing Babe!   How could I say anything but yes?  Truly, I was thrilled.  

My first task as a Babe was to bake these delicious Muesli Rolls, chock full of seeds, fruit, and chocolate.  Almost a meal in themselves.   These gems were brought to us by the Kitchen of the Month, Karen: BakingSoda of Bake My Day.  

While I spent a small fortune buying the various seeds that I didn't have on hand, they will be useful for future baking projects.  I swapped out apricots for dried tart cherries, and did include the chocolate bits.  There's something about the combination of nuts, seeds, cherries, and chocolate that I love.  (Reminiscent of a certain Trader Joe's trail mix.)  

I also brushed the tops with egg white so that the malted wheat flakes would adhere, and I heated the oven only to 425, not wanting to repeat of the previous smoke alarm incident.

I'm still playing with the effects of high altitude and a too-hot oven, so, I think my square rolls came out a bit flatter than others.  They are still tasty, nonetheless.  

Be sure and check Karen's website for instructions and for links to the other Babes, and, of course, the guidelines for how to be a Buddy.  (I'll get the hang of all this eventually.)


Muesli Rolls 
by Dean Brettschneider - Bread makes 15 rolls
450 gr (2.3/4 cups) strong bread flour
50 gr (1/3 cup) wholemeal or whole wheat flour
40 gr (1/2 cup) jumbo rolled oats
8 gr  (2.3/4 tsp) instant dry yeast
10 gr (2 tsp) salt
30 gr (1.1/2 Tbs) treacle or blackstrap molasses
20 gr (1 Tbs honey
20 ml (4 tsp) olive oil
370 ml (1.1/2 cups) water
40 gr (scant 1/2 cup) walnut pieces (chopped small)
30 gr (3 Tbs) linseeds/flaxseeds
20 gr (2.1/4 Tbs) sesame seeds
80 gr (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
80 gr (2/3 cup) pumpkin seeds
40 gr (1/4 cup) dried apricuts, cut into pieces
80 gr (1/2 cup) small chocolate chips/drops (optional)
100 gr (1 generous cup) jumbo rolled oats to decorate
Place flours, oats, yeast, salt and wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, combine to form a dough.  Tip dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes, resting it for 1 minute every 2-3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Check dough throughout kneading for stickiness; add a little more water or flour if necessary to achieve a soft dough that's  not too firm.

Add walnuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate(if desired). Knead until well incorporated and combined into dough.  Place dough in  a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for approximately  1 1/2, until dough has doubled in size. Gently knock back dough in bowl by folding it back onto itself several times. Cover again and leave for a further 30 minutes.

Tip dough upside down onto a lightly floured work surface.  Sprinkle flour over top of dough (which was on the bottom of the bowl).  Very carefully turn dough over and gently flatten to 2cm (3/4 in) thick.  Using a dough scarper or large chef's knife, cut dough into 7cm (2 3/4in) squares.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops with water, Sprinkle entire surface of each roll with rolled oats, and pat down gently to stick them on.

Line a baking tray (cookie sheet) with baking (parchment) paper.  Place rolls onto lined tray (sheet), leaving a 2-3cm (3/4-11/4in) gap between each roll.  Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave to prove for 30-45 minutes, depending on room temperature.

Place rolls on baking tray (cookie sheet) in a preheated 230C/450F/Gas 8 oven, apply steam and quickly close oven door.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning tray around halfway through baking if needed Remove rolls from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

The Bread Baking Babes are:
Bake My Day - Karen  
blog from OUR kitchen - Elizabeth  
Bread Experience - Cathy  
Feeding my Enthusiasms - Pat/Elle  
girlichef - Heather
Life's a Feast - Jamie  
Lucullian Delights - Ilva  
My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna  
My Kitchen In Half Cups - Tanna
Notitie Van Lien - Lien  
Thyme for Cooking - Katie (Bitchin’ Bread Baking Babe Biblioth√©caire)
Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen  
Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Novel Dessert -- Lemon Gems

Several months ago, March to be exact, I accompanied a friend to an Author Event at a local historic theater.  The author was Alexander McCall Smith.  I had heard of him before; many of my friends said how much they enjoyed his stories, but I, alas, had never read any of his books.  

That changed after hearing him speak.  What a delightful and generous person he was! And, I can't imagine how many different types of stories are swirling around in his mind.  Along with the obvious series (lady detective in Botswana), I set out to explore some of his lesser advertised novels.  In this particular case, that would be Corduroy Mansions, a description of the lives of an eccentric group of Londoners and one precocious dog.  

I've been aware of the Novel Food event for years, but I'm not usually prepared to participate.  I read books for a living, non-fiction books, so finding time for any pleasure reading (other than cookbooks), is a challenge.   However, inspired by the March event, I decided to make time for pure escapism.

So, the latest Novel Food event and my reading of Corduroy Mansions coincided at the perfect time.  

Two of the novel characters, Caroline and James, spend an afternoon making cookies.  Not just any cookie, though, but Lemon Gems from Nigella Lawson's cookbook, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, which just happens to be on my bookshelf.  And, sure enough, there was the recipe.

Lemon Gems are divine.  I have to share, or I will eat them all, probably with dire consequences.  If you have or can acquire a copy of Lawson's book, I highly recommend giving them a try. 

Lemon Gems
(adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess)

1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
scant 1/4 cup almond flour (or almond meal)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Lemon curd, either 1 jar or homemade

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar; add egg yolk, lemon juice and zest, and salt.  Gently fold in the flour in two additions, followed by the almond flour and cornstarch.  Chill the dough for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Form the dough into 1" balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1" apart.  Make an indentation in each ball, using your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and firm.

Remove from oven and immediately fill each cookie with a scant 1/2 teaspoon of lemon curd.  Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 40 cookies.