Sunday, July 27, 2008

Not Much Baking Going On-A late TWD entry

I just don't feel like baking much in the summer. The thought of heating up the house, just makes me get in the car and go the Dairy Queen along with everyone else in town. The lines at our local downtown Dairy Queen are 10 or so people long these days.

But as I clean our my fridge to go on vacation next week (another reason I have not been baking)I came across the ingredients to a recent TWD, cherries, rhubarb and plums. So I baked up a batch of cobbler to go along with my Summer vegetable soup.

It is so beautiful, the deep reds and fluffy biscuit top. The house did not get to hot and I have a wonderful fruity treat.

Now I am going to make some zucchini muffins with our endless supply of garden zucchini.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Kitchen Table

I have one of those kitchens that have character but just suck to cook in. No counter space and strange set up. I love the old built in cabinets and crown molding but it is not functional. I also hate the cheap newer sink and counter. But changing things is so expensive so I have been making due.

When this house was built in the 20's the kitchen was not supposed to be the center of the house like it has become today. I have been looking for ways to change the kitchen ever since we moved in.
This week I got a butcher block center island/table and I am so pleased. I how have a great work surface that is next to the sink and the stove. If only my fridge was in the kitchen instead of the hall. But I am happy with the addition.

Last week I found an old bread box that I thought would fit under my counters but did not, but will work out great under the new table.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

TWD-Apple/Cheddar Scones

Scones are really a treat. I have a great neighborhood bakery, The New Day Bakery, that makes great scones. It is one of my weekend morning treats to my self. The owner Christine, makes all kinds of scones. Some of my favorites are Blueberry/Peach, Pear/Almond, and I love the cheese omelet scone. So this weeks TWD pick is both sweet and savory with the apples and cheese. A great snack, apples and cheese. Should only be better in a scone. I have never quit masters the slight hand it takes to make great biscuits/scones. So here we go again.

I only looked briefly at the list of ingredients and knew I needed butter milk but thought I had everything else. No. I did not note it called for dried apples, so I used fresh. Over all these were some of the best scones I have ever made. they rose nicely and the bottoms did not burn. Not to crumbly or to cake like.. I like the extra crunch from the corn meal, but using fresh apples did not impart much apple flavor. So I think the dried would have really added something. I think the basic scone mixture would go well with a ton of other flavors like cranberries or peaches or even spinach and feta cheese. Oh I also always bake my scones together and then slice them after baking. I feel they are much moister that way.

Oh,sorry for posting early, but I am sending my computer off to be fixed in the morning and will be unable to post on Tuesday.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Coconut Cream Merange Pie

The other day we were in the car driving around Morgantown, teaching Will how to drive, and we heard a description of a dinner on NPR that included Coconut Cream Pie. The whole car said" Oh that would be soooooo good". So today I made the pie. I made a custard with whole milk, egg yolks and cornstarch. Added some butter and coconut extract. Used the egg whites to make the topping and added some shredded coconut on top. The extract I have is really great tasting and the custard is SO yummy!. My egg whites beat up nicely with the addition of cream of tarter and then browned on the peaks in the oven. I cant wait for dinner so we can all dig in.

Monday, June 9, 2008

TWD-Poached White Peach Tart

I am back from the beach and ready to bake. I just got my computer back today and checked the choice for tomorrow and found the Strawberry tart. Well I have no strawberries but I do have some very nice white peaches and a small jar of peach jelly bought two weeks ago at our local farmers market. So my tart is going to be mad with peaches that I am poaching in a half red half white wine syrup and putting over the peach jelly and see what we get.

Friday, May 30, 2008


After a recent trip to NYC, my friend Molly and I were lamenting the availability of good bagels in Morgantown WV. We both had a few truly great bagels in New York. they are available everywhere and toasted with cream cheese, they are the best.

So I decided to make a batch and see if I could make some good ones.

I have to say, that like any yeast bread, bagels are very satisfying to make. I love the smell of yeast rising and baking. My house smelled soo so good. I did an overnight cold rise in the fridge and baked them on day two. I made plain and some with toasted sesames on the top.

This picture is taken when the bagels are in the water bath being boiled for a minute. This step gives the bagel the chewy outside texture and only takes a minute to do.
I only made a dozen. I used the recipe from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. I love Julia Child and Dorie Greenspan and this is a great cookbook. The bagels recipe is on pages 87-90. It is to long to type out, but this is a great resource and anyone interested in baking should get this book. I liked her advise to throw a few ice cubes in the bottom of your 500 degree oven when you put your bagels in to bake. It creates steam and helps the texture of your bagels while baking.
These bagels have come out of the water and I have brushed on some egg/water and coated them with sesame seeds. On my baking stone I put down some cornmeal the prevent the bagels from sticking. I like the added texture too.

Everyone should make bagels. They taste so good fresh and are no harder to make than bread.

My bagels had no real hole in the middle. In the recipe it says to make big holes before boiling and I thought I did, but after baking they were just indentations. Good for sandwiches though. These bagels were eaten so quickly that no sandwich got made with them.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

TWD-Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

This weeks Tuesday with Dorie recipe picked by Madam Chow of Madam Chow’s Kitchen has chosen… Pecan Honey Sticky buns. The buns are made with Dorie's wonderful brioche dough that we made the Raisin Snail's with a few months ago. Last time I had some trouble with the dough, combining the butter, but this time I softened the butter a bit more and used the bread hook and it was much easier to make. I froze half the dough to use later. My mom used to make pecan buns all the time when I was growing up and I love the flavors of pecans, cinnamon and honey syrup. My moms recipe was just a traditional yeast bread dough. I love the brioche dough in this recipe.

The syrup was easy to put together and I cut down a bit on the pecans. I love pecans but thought the amount in the recipe would overwhelm my kids.

The pecan buns can out great. The brioche dough melts in your mouth and the cinnamon filling was perfect.

I took some over to friends and they both said "Oh My God!" when they bit into them.

I will definitely make these again.

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

Makes 15 buns
For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces1/4 cup honey1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)
For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar1 tablespoon ground cinnamon3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)
Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).
To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.
To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.
To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).
With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.
Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.
The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.
What You'll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):
2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour2 teaspoons salt3 large eggs, at room temperature1/4 cup sugar3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
What You'll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg1 tablespoon water
To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.