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May 03, 2015
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Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Baked: Chocolate Cherry Cake

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

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I made this simple cake for a friend who loves chocolate-covered cherries. Though it’s never been my favorite combination, they complement each other well, and this cake tempers the sweetness with strong brewed coffee and tart buttermilk. Frozen cherries add a nice tang to the chocolate, too. This rich cake is ideal paired with a post-dinner glass of red wine and great conversation. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Chocolate Cherry Cake
Adapted from Lady and Pups
Makes 1 9-inch cake

1 cup sugar
¾ cup strong brewed coffee
¾ cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp. canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cup flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. plus a pinch kosher salt, divided
8 oz. frozen, pitted cherries, thawed and roughly chopped
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
Chocolate shavings or sprinkles, for garnish

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan or cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
• In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the canola oil, coffee, buttermilk, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and ¾ teaspoon salt until just combined, then fold in the cherries. Pour the batter into the pie pan.
• Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Let cool completely.
• Meanwhile, prepare the ganache by bringing the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chocolate chips and the remaining pinch of salt. Remove from heat, cover and let rest 2 minutes. Whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Let cool completely.
• Turn the cake out of the pan and onto a serving platter. Drizzle with the cool ganache and garnish with chocolate shavings or sprinkles before serving.

The Scoop: Bridge Bread to open a storefront on Cherokee Street

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

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After three years as a delivery-only bakery on South Grand, Bridge Bread has secured a storefront location at 2604 Cherokee St., according to founder Fred Domke. The bakeshop is slated to open doors between mid-May and mid-June, as reported by the Riverfront Times.

Bridge Bread is a nonprofit that provides employment to residents who are struggling with or who are at risk for homelessness in the St. Louis area. The bakers churn out pre-ordered artisanal loaves of sourdough, brioche, cinnamon rolls and other pastries during the week, and volunteers deliver the orders to participating churches from Edwardsville to Wentzville to Belleville on weekends.

Domke said the Cherokee Street storefront will allow customers to get their feel-good carb fix during the week, too. He plans to continue baking operations on South Grand and offer pre-packaged loaves of bread and rolls for purchase at the Cherokee Street shop. While the bake shop won’t have seating, Domke said neighbor Foam has informally agreed to welcome Bridge Bread customers to enjoy a cup of coffee with their roll. The storefront will also serve as a space to test out experimental offerings like the Chocolate Covered Cherry Roll, a cherry pie roll with a chocolate filling.

To start, the retail location will be staffed with volunteers, including Domke, but if the sales volume is high enough, he plants to hire additional staff though the Bridge Bread program. “The mission of Bridge Bread is to provide employment,” he said. “But we’re also dedicated to encouraging conversations about homelessness in our area. This new location will give us more opportunities to engage the community in those conversations and build relationship between people who otherwise may not have met.”

By the Book: Erin McKenna’s Carrot Bread

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

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As fellow gluten-free and dairy-free diners can attest, eating with dietary restrictions is easier said than done. At restaurants, we must ignore our friends’ barely-concealed cringes as we deconstruct an entree to conform to our needs. At home, we spend hours scouring niche food blogs for our next meal. Perhaps the biggest test of my willpower, though, is when an unknowing waiter places an overflowing bread basket in front of me. After years of coveting that basket of forbidden gluten, I was thrilled when my editor Catherine Klene dropped a copy of Bread & Butter: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes to Fill Your Bread Basket by my desk.

Sauce interns get to try a lot of food on the job, and my editors always search for something I can eat among the loot, usually only to be foiled — a slice of cake might be gluten-free, but not dairy-free, or vice versa. That’s why McKenna’s book, featuring indulgent recipes that are gluten-free and vegan, seemed the perfect end to a semester-long quest for “something Tori can eat.”

McKenna, who also passed on the bread basket for two decades due to a gluten sensitivity, now runs BabyCakes, a gluten-free vegan bakery with locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Orlando. Based on recipes pioneered in her bakery, her new cookbook begins with a break down of basic ingredients and baking tips invaluable to those new to specialty baking. From there, her book is broken up into chapters by category: morning treats, breads (of course), sandwiches, pizza and focaccia, kids’ recipes, international cuisine, puff pastries and tarts, snacks, dips and dressings (including vegan butter!), and desserts. While the pain au chocolate looked tempting, I chose the carrot bread because it looked both doable and delicious.

 

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McKenna’s recipes are straightforward and concise throughout, usually taking no more than a page of text punctuated with beautiful photos and colorful design. Her carrot bread calls for walnut oil or coconut oil, vegan sugar, gluten-free baking flour (we used Cup 4 Cup), arrowroot, xanthan gum, shredded carrots and optional chopped walnuts. Gluten-free home cooks already have most of these items in our kitchen pantries.

As an amateur baker, I found McKenna’s instructions easy to follow. The only painstaking part of the baking process was shredding all those carrots. Next time, I’ll do this the night before or use the shredder attachment on a food processor. Also be aware that this recipe takes some time – as a yeast bread, the dough needs an hour to rise, and then requires another 35 minutes in the oven. Keep a good book on hand or start trolling the Internet for more niche foodie blogs.

Despite these few bumps, I found the finished product to be well worth the wait. For someone who hasn’t eaten bread, much less homemade bread, in quite some time, McKenna’s carrot bread truly was a treat. I found the bread to be spongy and light, with a slight texture and crunch from the walnuts. Though the book claims that even non gluten-free and vegan people will love this recipe, my Sauce coworkers claim they could tell the difference. Still, for those gluten-free and vegan among us, this carrot bread is a real indulgence.

 

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Carrot Bread
Makes 1 7-by-4-by-3-inch loaf

3 Tbsp. walnut oil or melted unscented coconut oil, plus more for the pan
1½ cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
4 Tbsp. vegan sugar
2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
2 Tbsp. arrowroot
½ tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1½ tsp. salt
2 cups firmly packed shredded carrots
¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

• Lightly grease a 7-by-4-by-3-inch loaf pan with oil.
• In a small bowl, combine the oil, warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir once and set aside to proof until it bubbles, about 10 minutes.
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, arrowroot, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour in the yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir until it is the consistency of cake batter. If the dough is too thick, add additional warm water one splash at a time. Fold in the carrots and the walnuts (if using). Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan, cover with a dish towel, and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Bake the bread for 20 minutes, and then rotate the pan 180 degrees. Bake until the crust is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
• Let the bread cool in the pan for 1 hour before slicing.

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter

What’s the most creative recipe you’ve used to accommodate someone’s dietary restrictions? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Erin McKenna’s Bread & Butter.

Baked: Green Tea Nun’s Puffs

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

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The moment I read about Nun’s Puffs, I knew I had to make them. Also known as Pets de Nonne or Nun’s Farts (yes, really), they practically melt in your mouth and look like individual Dutch babies: soft, fluffy and egg-y.

Typically these are served as a savory breakfast treat with jams or honey. I wanted to try them as a dessert, though, so I added some sugar to the dough. Since these were served after an Asian-inspired meal, I carried that influence to dessert by adding matcha powder and sprinkling it with black sesame seeds. A final flourish of pearl sugar added the best crunch.

You could very easily eat all of these in one sitting. They are that addictive. The dough is essentially a pâte à choux – the same dough for cream puffs and éclairs – only five or so ingredients. Feel free to omit the sugar and smear some honey instead for breakfast instead of dessert. These delightful little puffs are best eaten still warm from the oven. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Matcha Nun’s Puffs
Adapted from Olga’s Flavor Factory
Makes 12

½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup milk
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup minus 1 Tbsp. flour, sifted
1 Tbsp. matcha powder, sifted
4 eggs
Coarse or pearl sugar for sprinkling
Black sesame seeds for sprinkling

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.
• In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the butter, milk and sugar until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the flour and matcha powder until a dough forms.
• Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat in the eggs 1 at a time until the dough is smooth and lighter.
• Divide the dough evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and black sesame seeds. Bake 30 minutes, until puffed and golden on the edges.
• Let cool slightly (they will deflate as they cool) and serve warm.

Baked: Chocolate-Orange Loaf with Greek Yogurt Sauce

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

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Sometimes the best recipes are born from random ingredients in my refrigerator. During a recent healthy kick, I purchased a big container of Greek yogurt. I wanted to try a simple, citrus-y sauce that would pair well with a dessert. I started experimenting and later paired this tangy sauce with a chocolate-orange loaf, a perfect fudgy vehicle for my creation. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Chocolate-Orange Loaf with Greek Yogurt Sauce
Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe
Makes 1 loaf

1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
½ cup plus 5 Tbsp. butter, softened, divided
1 large egg at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla or orange extract
1 cup buttermilk
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
¾ cup thick Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1¼ cup powdered sugar

• Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a standard loaf pan.
• In a large mixing bowl, rub the brown sugar, white sugar and orange together with your fingers
• Use a hand mixer to cream ½ cup butter into the sugar on high speed at least 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla or orange extract and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the buttermilk.
• Use a spatula to gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined and no streaks of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
• Bake 60 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Let cool completely.
• Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and honey on high speed at least 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
• Beat in the Greek yogurt and orange juice until smooth, then add the powdered sugar into the mixture until incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
• To serve, slice the cake and drizzle with the yogurt sauce or serve it on the side.

Baked: Chicken Potpie with Apples and Brie

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

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I came up with this when my fiancee and I found some brie in our fridge. It didn’t appear to be spoiled, but we couldn’t remember how old it was and didn’t relish the idea of eating it raw, so we decided to bake it instead. While his favorite party dish is brie wrapped in pastry dough with cranberries and pecans, I wanted to try something new. I also really wanted to try out my new Staub baking dish, and so a new chicken potpie was born.

This recipe comes together in 10 minutes thanks to precooked chicken and only requires another 30 minutes in the oven. The apples add a mild sweetness, the crust has a great crunch, and the brie provides a gooey, decadent surprise. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Chicken Potpie with Apples and Brie
8 to 10 servings

2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
1 large crisp apple, peeled, cored and diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. flour
¾ cup chicken stock
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
8 oz. brie, sliced
1 box frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 egg yolk, beaten

• Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick cooking spray.
• In large skillet over medium heat, saute the shallots in the butter until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the apple, thyme, salt and pepper to taste and saute 3 to 4 minutes.
• Sprinkle the apples with the flour and stir to coat the mixture. Add the stock and reduce the heat to low. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Let the mixture simmer 1 to 2 minutes until just thickened. Remove from the heat.
• Spoon the mixture into the prepared pie dish. Cover the top with the slices of brie, then cover with the puff pastry sheets and trim the edges. Brush the top with egg yolk, then poke a hole in the center of the crust to vent.
• Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees and bake another 15 minutes until the puff pastry is browned and bubbling at the edges. Let cool 5 minutes, then serve.

 

 

Baked: Vanilla Bean Pudding with Snickerdoodle Bits

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

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We’re eating snickerdoodles for days here on Baked. Last time I showed you berry potpie with a snickerdoodle crust, and today, I have another way to use up that leftover cookie dough (with instructions on how to make more, in case yours disappeared somehow).

This is the simplest from-scratch vanilla pudding in the world, and its flavor is to die for – especially when spiked with a bit of rum. Snickerdoodle crumbs hidden at the bottom add surprise spice and crunch. Make them well in advance of your next dinner party and garnish each with a cookie on top just before serving. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Very Vanilla Pudding with Snickerdoodle Bits
Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe
4 servings

½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg
2 2/3 cup almond milk, divided
1 vanilla bean, split
A splash of rum
4 Snickerdoodle Cookies, plus crumbs (Recipe follows)

• In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, salt and egg until combined. Whisk in 2/3 cup almond milk. Set aside.
• In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the 2 cups almond milk and the vanilla bean to a rolling boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and slowly whisk into the sugar mixture until it is thoroughly combined.
• Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and let it come to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, remove and discard the vanilla bean, and stir in the rum. Set aside.
• Add a layer of snickerdoodle cookie crumbs to the bottom of 4 dessert cups. Divide the pudding evenly between the cups. If you don’t like pudding skin, lightly press plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding. Refrigerate at least 1 to 2 hours, until set. Garnish each with a snickerdoodle cookie and serve.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

1½ cup sugar
1 stick softened butter
¼ cup canola oil
2 large eggs at room temperature
2¾ cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
⅛ tsp. ground cardamom

● In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the canola oil and the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate.
● Use a spatula to fold in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom until just combined. Mold the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
● Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
● Roll pieces of dough into 2-inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 12 minutes, until golden around the edges. Let cool completely.

 

 

Baked: Snickerdoodle Berry Potpie

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

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I recently opened my freezer and found it overflowing with cookie dough. Rather than make yet another batch of cookies, I decided to get creative with a fruity dessert version of a potpie.

The result: a simple berry pie filling topped with a giant snickerdoodle. The sweet cookie’s crisp edges give way to a soft, doughy center covering bright, cinnamon-spiked berries soaked in mascarpone and maple syrup.

A quick note: You will have leftover dough, especially if you make your cookie top on the thinner side. Keep an eye out for the next Baked column on Feb. 18 for more ideas of how to use it. Enjoy and happy baking!

 
Snickerdoodle Berry Potpie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

1½ cup sugar
1 stick softened butter
¼ cup canola oil
2 large eggs at room temperature
2¾ cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
⅛ tsp. ground cardamom
1 cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1½ lbs. mixed blueberries and raspberries, rinsed and thoroughly dried

● In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the canola oil and the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate.
● Use a spatula to fold in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom until just combined. Mold the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
● Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
● In another large mixing bowl, whisk the mascarpone, maple syrup and the vanilla extract together until combined. Fold the berries into the mixture and pour into a 9-inch pie pan. Set aside.
● Roll the dough out onto parchment paper into a 9-inch round about ½-inch thick. Lift the parchment paper and flip the dough over onto the pie pan and peel away the parchment. Tuck the edges of the dough into the pie pan and trim any excess. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are nicely browned. Let cool and serve.

The Weekend Project: Bread & Butter

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

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A new year always heralds hope of new beginnings and personal improvement. We vow that this year, we’ll cook better: healthier and more often, tackling more projects and challenging ourselves in the kitchen.

Yet three weeks into January, we find ourselves losing resolve. Who has time to embark on ambitious cooking resolutions while juggling work, laundry, bills and the trials of everyday life?

Thankfully, the most impressive and satisfying kitchen creations are usually the most flexible. This month’s Weekend Project is simpler than it seems. Baking your own bread and even whipping your own butter requires just a few minutes of actual activity on your part. If you can stir ingredients together and exercise patience, you’ll have warm loaves of ciabatta and Kugelhopf (an eggy European loaf studded with bacon and onion) smeared with freshly whipped butter on the table by Sunday dinner.

Bread making, that ancient practice of bringing flour and salt to life with yeast and water, is such a basic task, but it is one that can produce great works of beauty and endless variations. Bread is also extremely forgiving. Don’t have the right type of flour? Use a different one. Don’t have exactly an hour to wait around for it to rise? No worries, just toss it in the refrigerator to rise slowly and return to it the next day.

Bottom line: No excuses, people! Here, four simple rules to ensure success with any yeast bread:

 

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Proof your yeast to determine if it’s alive. To do so, take a small amount of the liquid used in the bread recipe (usually water or milk) and warm it to 95 to 115 degrees. You want the liquid warm enough to activate the dormant yeast but not so hot that you kill it. Stir in the yeast granules, and if desired, add a tablespoon of flour, honey or sugar to feed further. Then, simply let the yeast wake up and get the bubbly party started!

After five to 10 minutes, the yeast should be foamy with bubbles and soft brown lumps on its surface. It may even produce a sweet fermented aroma. If nothing has happened after 10 minutes, throw the jar or packets out and buy a new jar, which will keep at least a year in the refrigerator or freezer.

(A quick note on yeast: For the following recipes, be sure to purchase yeast labeled “active dry yeast,” not the “rapid rise” or “bread machine type.”)

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Don’t panic if you can’t babysit your dough all afternoon. A longer rise simply allows the bread to take on a richer more complex set of flavors as the colonies of yeast continue to grow. If you decide to extend your rise, cover the dough with a greased piece of plastic wrap instead of a towel to prevent the top from drying out.

Dough can even be prepared the night before baking. Simply cover it with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This slows the yeast’s metabolism so it will rise more slowly. The next morning, let the dough return to room temperature about 30 minutes before you work with it.

Want to speed things up? Find a nice warm spot to let the dough rest, and it will double in size in just 30 to 45 minutes. And if you’re really rushed, yes, you can just bake the bread. You’ll be amazed at how much it rises simply from a trip to the oven.

 

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Salt is critical to great flavor; in fact, the dough should taste a bit salty before you bake it. Just be sure you don’t add the salt until the last addition of flour, as it will slow the yeast growth. You can even add salt while kneading the dough to give the yeast a headstart.

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Consider the recipe a guide to ingredient amounts, not dogma. After proofing the yeast and adding other enriching ingredients (eggs, flour, butter, etc.), add the flour one cup at a time, mixing continuously until you achieve lightly sticky consistence you can knead. Flour is sensitive to humidity, so the amount may change each time you bake. Use less flour for lighter, airier loaves; use generous amounts of heavier flours for denser, Eastern European-style bread.

 

The Game Plan
Day 1:
Make the compound butters. Make the starter (biga) for the ciabatta.
Day 2: Make the ciabatta. Make the Kugelhopf.

The Shopping List*
1 quart heavy cream
3 anchovies
3 cloves roasted garlic (DIY here)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme)
½ tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 scant Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. active dry yeast
7 to 9 cups bread flour
8 slices bacon
1 onion
5 eggs

*This list assumes you have kosher salt, all-purpose flour, vegetable oil, olive oil, milk, butter and freshly ground black pepper. If not, you will need to purchase those items, too.

 

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Anchovy Garlic Butter
Makes 1 cup

2 cups heavy cream
1-2 cups ice water (with ice cubes)
1 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. kosher salt
3 anchovies, finely minced
3 cloves roasted garlic, finely minced

Day 1: Pour the cream into a blender and whip on high speed until the fat solidifies into yellow butter and separates from the white liquid, 20 to 40 minutes, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
● Place a fine mesh sieve over a mixing bowl and line with cheesecloth or a clean linen towel. Pour the separated mixture through the sieve, collecting the buttermilk into the mixing bowl below. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze the butter to remove any additional liquid. Reserve the buttermilk for another use.
● Return the butter to the blender with the ice water. Wash the butter by blending 3 minutes, then pour the mixture through the strainer again, squeezing to remove any excess liquid. Discard the liquid.
● Place the butter into a mixing bowl and add the salt, anchovies and roasted garlic. Mix together until thoroughly combined. Store the butter, refrigerated, in an airtight jar up to 6 weeks or frozen 3 to 6 months.

 

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Herbed Butter
Makes 1 cup

2 cups heavy cream
1-2 cups ice water (with ice cubes)
1 Tbsp. plus ½ tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme)
½ tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest

Day 1: Pour the cream into a blender and whip on high speed until the fat solidifies into yellow butter and separates from the white liquid, 20 to 40 minutes, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
● Place a fine mesh sieve over a mixing bowl and line with cheesecloth or a clean linen towel. Pour the separated mixture through the sieve, collecting the buttermilk into the mixing bowl below. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze the butter to remove any additional liquid. Reserve the buttermilk for another use.
● Return the butter to the blender with the ice water. Wash the butter by blending 3 minutes, then pour the mixture through the strainer again, squeezing to remove any excess liquid. Discard the liquid.
● Place the butter into a mixing bowl and add the salt, herbs and garlic. Mix together until thoroughly combined. Store the butter, refrigerated, in an airtight jar up to 6 weeks or frozen 3 to 6 months.

 

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Ciabatta
Makes 2 loaves

1 tsp. dry active yeast, divided
1¼ cup warm water (95 to 115 degrees), divided
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing
2 cups bread flour
1½ tsp. kosher salt

Day 1: To make the biga, or starter, stir together ½ cup warm water and ½ teaspoon yeast in a small bowl and let sit 5 to 10 minutes until foamy. Add the all-purpose flour and mix thoroughly to create a small ball of dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight.
Day 2: Remove the biga from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
● Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, pour the remaining ¾ cup warm water and ½ teaspoon yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir together and let sit 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
● Add the biga, 1 cup bread flour and the olive oil and mix thoroughly with a large wooden spoon. Add the remaining 1 cup bread flour and the salt and mix again for 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will appear soupy. Cover with a clean towel or oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 1½ hours.
● Wipe down a clean surface with a damp towel and cover with piece of plastic wrap so it sticks to the wet surface. Dust the plastic wrap with all-purpose flour and scrape the dough onto the floured surface. Use floured hands to divide the dough into 2 halves. Form the dough into 2 10-by-4-inch rectangles.
● Lightly grease a sheet tray with olive oil. Pick up the sides of the plastic wrap and flip the loaves over onto the tray. Sprinkle the dough with more flour, then cover with a clean, floured kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place 1½ hours.
● Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the loaves 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust nut brown and the loaves sound hollow when knocked. Let cool on a breadboard or cooling rack.
● Serve with Herbed Butter or Anchovy Garlic Butter. Bread will keep, wrapped in plastic, 3 to 4 days or wrapped in paper, up to 1 week.

 

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Kugelhopf (Bacon and Onion Bread)
Makes 1 loaf

2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 scant Tbsp. dry active yeast
1¼ cups warm milk (95 to 115 degrees)
8 slices bacon, cut into ¼-inch lardons
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 cups bread flour
2/3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
5 eggs
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper, ground

Day 2: Generously coat a large mixing bowl and a bundt pan with 1 teaspoon each vegetable oil and set aside.
● In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the warm milk and let rest until bubble and foaming, 5 to 10 minutes.
● In a large steel or cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and translucent, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan while sauteing. Remove from heat and scrape the bacon, onions and rendered fat into a bowl to cool. Set aside.
● Add 1 cup flour to the proofed yeast and milk and mix thoroughly using a large wooden spoon about 1 minute. Add another 2 cups flour 1 cup at a time, stirring thoroughly between each addition.
● In small bowl, beat the eggs, then add them and the butter to the dough. Mix thoroughly, then add the salt and pepper and mix again. Add the remaining 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring thoroughly between each addition. Stir in the cooled bacon, onions and grease into the dough until incorporated.
● Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead 3 to 5 minutes until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the dough has a smooth, elastic surface. Place the dough in the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 45 to 60 minutes.
● Punch down the dough and move it to the bundt pan. Cover with the plastic wrap and let rise again until dough reaches the top of the pan, 45 to 60 minutes.
● Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the bread 40 to 45 minutes until the loaf is brown on the bottom and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn the bread out onto a breadboard or cooling rack to continue cooling.
● Serve with Herbed Butter or Anchovy Garlic Butter. Bread will keep, wrapped in plastic, 3 to 4 days or wrapped in paper, up to 1 week.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Baked: Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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Red velvet is hands-down my favorite cake. As much as I love a classic, fudgy chocolate cake, there’s no denying that a tangy cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement to a velvety, lighter chocolate cake.

But as much as I love red velvet, I’m sick to death of standard layer cakes and cupcakes, so I opted to roll this one up instead. While some of the cake fell apart, any mishaps were smothered under a layer of peppermint-tinged frosting. This recipe is also a great way to use up any leftover candy canes still lingering after the holidays. Crush them up and store them in a jar for recipes like these. The result is a delicious and stunning cake with a lovely minty aftertaste that would make for a lovely Valentine’s treat.

 

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll
Adapted from a recipe on The Kitchn
6 to 8 servings

1 cup cake flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
⅔ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. red food coloring
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. vinegar
2 cups powdered sugar, plus more for dusting, divided
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 Tbsp. milk
Crushed peppermint candy for garnish

● Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-by-15-inch jellyroll pan or a sheet pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
● In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. and salt in a bowl.
● In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the vegetable oil and sugar on medium speed until well blended, then beat in the egg. With machine on low speed, slowly add red food coloring and vanilla until mixed.
● Add half the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk until mixed thoroughly. Add the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, scraping down the bowl until combined. Turn off machine.
● Place the baking soda in a small dish and stir in the vinegar. Add the mixture to the batter with the machine running on low until combined.
● Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed. The cake should bounce back when you lightly press the top.
● Spread a clean kitchen towel on the counter and dust with powdered sugar. Flip the hot pan over to turn the cake out onto the towel. Remove the parchment paper. Dust the cake with more powdered sugar, then use the towel to carefully roll the hot cake into a spiral starting from the short side. Let cool wrapped in the towel, about 1 hour.
● Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract until combined. Set frosting aside.
● Carefully unroll the cake and spread with a ½-inch thick layer of frosting. Carefully roll the cake up again and gently move to a serving plate. Spread the remainder of the frosting all over the top of the cake, covering any cracks that may appear. Garnish with crushed peppermint candy.

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