Monday, September 30, 2013

Catching up - Sûkerbôlle

I've had fun doing the BBB challenges for the past three years.  But there are a couple previous years that I missed out on.  One of the buddies had the idea of going back and catching up on those recipes.  She will be hosting these catch-up sessions and chose Frisian Sugar Bread for this month's recipe.  The original recipe was baked by the Babes in 2008.  I love cinnamon swirl bread and this is very similar.  Just a wee bit more sugar!  I made just a few tweaks.  Like Sweet and That's it, I made a swirl loaf instead of folding in the sugar grains.  I think I have seen the grains at cake shops, but it's not something I would use on a regular basis.  I also sprinkled crystallized ginger chips on the filling before rolling up.  I do love ginger but I didn't have or make the special ginger syrup, I used powdered ginger and honey.  It baked up gorgeous, but next time I would either cut back on the sugar a bit more and not dampen it, or stick a cookie sheet under my loaf because it boiled over something fierce!  Ah, the smell of burnt sugar.  ☺  I did catch the next two spills out the corner with a sheet.  I'll clean up the first spill when the oven cools down.

Oh, I LOVE what the ginger does for it.  Great version of cinnamon swirl bread; nice and soft and flavorful.


makes 1 loaf

25 g fresh yeast (I used 2 tsp instant yeast)
3 tbsp (45 ml) ginger-syrup (click here to see how easy it is to make it at home) (I used honey + ginger spice)
155 ml lukewarm milk (milk + gingersyrup = 200 ml) (Scald the milk)
500 g all purpose flour (300 g light spelt + 200 g all purpose)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten at room temperature
75 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled down (I just used 70g)
10 g salt (~ 2 tsp)

For the Filling:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
150 grams sugar grains (slightly less sucanat + crystallized ginger chips)

For the top:
Milk for brushing the loaf (or eggwash)
Granulated sugar (or sugar in grain)

Butter a loaf pan.  (I used a 9x5" pan.)  Combine the dough ingredients and knead my hand or machine for 8-10 minutes to get a smooth dough.  Cover and let rise for about an hour until doubled.  (Mine took almost two since I used a little less yeast.)  Turn out the dough onto a board or cloth and fold twice.  Roll it out into a rectangle.  It may need to rest a few minutes between rolls so that it doesn't spring back.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar (and ginger chips) to within an inch of the edges.  Press into the dough.

Roll up from short end and pinch seam closed.  Place seam side down in the prepared pan.  If desired, brush top with milk or egg wash and sprinkle with sugar or pearl sugar grains.  Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Cover loaf and let rise for another 30-40 minutes until the dough springs back but leaves a light indentation when pressed lightly.  Put a small ramekin of water to create steam and help the loaf rise longer.  Bake for about 30 minutes until done.  Turn down to 350º for the last 10 minutes if the loaf is browning too much and/or cover with foil or parchment.  (I turned down.)  Take the loaf out of the pan and cool on a wire rack.  Do this while the sugar is still hot or your beautiful loaf will stick in the pan forever well, you get the idea.  Slice when completely cool.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

BBB - Crunchy Crackers

My Kitchen in Half Cups chose a crunchy, seeded whole grain cracker for this month's BBB challenge. I am a bad buddy and a bit late, but the kids are snack hounds so I am making them anyway. I agree with Tanna, I usually have great luck with King Arthur recipes and I do love their flour. This time though, I went with light spelt and sprouted spelt for my flours and I observed something new. Usually with spelt, if you mix your dough and keep on kneading, the gluten will break down and you will get dough soup. So I just mixed the dough in my kitchen-aid with the paddle until the dough cleaned the sides and then stopped. It was kind of like a firm cookie dough at that point. Then I walked away for just a couple minutes to measure out the seeds to add to the dough. When I went to mix them in, the dough had firmed up significantly and was behaving like a bread dough. I had no trouble kneading in the seeds and I wasn't really afraid of over kneading the spelt gluten either. I will have to experiment with rest periods when using my spelt to see if that enhances the results and protects the gluten. Giving it the chance to hydrate and strengthen without breaking down will be cool if the theory holds true! I rolled these crackers as thin as the seeds would permit. They do puff a bit with the yeast so they won't be super thin, but still super crunchy! I didn't weigh out my topping seeds, just sprinkled them how I liked. I also took a cue from another baker and tried eating them with Boursin... AWESOME!!

Crunchy Crackers
makes 2 cookie sheets worth

198 to 227g lukewarm water (I used about 200g)
170 g whole wheat flour (I used sprouted spelt)
120 g whole spelt flour (I used light spelt)
2 tablespoons sugar (coconut sugar)
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
30 g whole ground flax
14 g sesame seeds (half sesame, half golden flax)
71 g sunflower seeds, midget preferred
28 g sesame seeds
28 g whole flax seeds, golden preferred
sea salt or your favorite flavored salt, if desired
(plus some poppy seeds for color) 

1) To make the dough: Mix and knead together all of the cracker ingredients (except the topping seeds) to a smooth, fairly stiff dough. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water if the dough is dry.

2) Knead in the seeds.

3) Let the dough rise, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's expanded a bit.
(Mine doubled in around 90 minutes.)

4) Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a rectangle approximately 30 x 23 cm, a generous 3 mm thick. This will probably require you to roll the dough until it fights back; give it a 10-minute rest, then come back and roll some more. It may need two rest periods to allow you to roll it thin enough. (Mine rolled out quite easily.)

5) For easiest handling, turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Spritz the dough with water. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the topping seeds, lay a piece of parchment on top, and press the seeds in with a rolling pin. Turn the dough over, peel off the parchment, and repeat. Set the seeded crackers on a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

6) If you don't have parchment, roll on a rolling mat or on a very lightly floured or lightly greased work surface; and transfer the seeded crackers to a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle each sheet of crackers with some sea salt or flavored salt, if desired. Crush the sea salt between your fingers or grind it in a salt mill if it's very coarse.

7) Prick the dough over with a fork, and cut it into rectangles, whatever size you like. Pull the crackers apart just a bit; you don't need to separate them completely. Let the crackers rise for 30 to 45 minutes. while you preheat your oven to 350°F/180ºC; they'll get just a bit puffy.

8) Bake for 20 minutes, until the crackers are a medium brown. Turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes, then open the oven door a couple of inches and let the crackers cool completely in the turned-off oven. When they're completely cool, break apart, if necessary, and store airtight.

(Recipe by: KAF)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lucille Schuyler’s Sticky Buns

Loved by generations of school kids, Lucille Schuyler's sticky buns were the stuff of legends.  Even the principal used to sneak one or two (possibly more) in the mornings when they were on the menu.  They were veritable cafeteria currency.  You could get a lot with a sticky bun, food as well as other cool contraband and fad items of the day.  Nobody was sick on sticky bun day.  If they were, they were pitied.  Mrs. Schuyler was one of those lunch ladies that feed everyone like they were family.  I can't really think of a single school lunch I didn't like.  Well, that pile of canned spinach wasn't the greatest.  But the entrees were good and comforting.  She made the best hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes.  And I fondly remember the school PB sandwiches.  I can't remember what they were served with, but I've looked up what could have been in them.  Peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar.  No wonder they were good.  I had have a serious sweet tooth.  And truth be told, you need one for these buns.  These are not sticky cinnamon rolls, or pecan rolls.  They are simply buttery, sugary sticky buns.  Honey and butter and brown sugar caramel stickiness.  R loved them and had two.  Probably spoiled her dinner...   They may be too sweet for S.  Lucky girl.  But for me, they serve as a reminder and memorial of a special lady.  I wish my kids could have enjoyed hot school lunches of that quality.  I'll do my best to fill in though.  ☺

Lucille Schuyler’s Sticky Buns
As published in Heavenly Recipes Cookbook by Immanuel Lutheran Church Women
Makes 3 pans of 9 buns

5 to 6 c. unsifted flour (I used part all purpose and part light spelt)
½ c. sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. warm milk
2 pkg. yeast
½ c. warm water
½ c. margarine (I used butter.  She'd understand.)
3 eggs

¾ c. margarine (butter)
¾ c. honey
1 ½ c. brown sugar (light brown muscovado)

Melt ¾ c margarine butter.  Add honey and beat thoroughly.  Stir in brown sugar.  Divide mixture among three 9 inch square pans, or the equivalent.

Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, warm milk, yeast dissolved in ½ c. warm water, margarine, and eggs.  Beat 4 minutes at medium speed with mixer.  Remove and stir in enough of the rest of flour to make a soft dough.  Place in a greased bowl, turn to grease top.  Cover; let rise until double, about 45 minutes.  Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured board.  Divide into 3 pieces.  Roll out to about 9x5 inches.  (I did about a 20x10 rectangle for a half batch.)  Spread each piece with about 2 tbsp margarine butter.  Sprinkle with a nice coating of granulated sugar.  Roll up into a long roll; cut into 9 pieces.  Arrange on prepared pans, let rise about 30 minutes or till double.  Bake at 375º for 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool in pan 5 minutes then pour out on a plate.

Be sure to invert them while the syrup is still warm.  Otherwise you will have to gently heat the bottom of the pan over a burner to soften the syrup and get them to release.

Thanks Mrs. Schuyler.  These are in memory of you.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I've found my forever favorite chocolate chip cookie.  And I've probably tried dozens of recipes over the years.  I love the soft and chewy "Toll-house" style cookies you can get fresh at certain fast food places, but not all the additives.  So I don't get them very often.  Well, thanks to a bake sale this weekend where I signed up to bring lots of goodies, I tried a new cookie adaptation.  And I LOVE it!  Soft, chewy and tender and awesomely delicious with brown butter.  Hubby just came home and tried one.  He nodded and ate, and nodded, and mmmhmmm'd and made happy sounds.  ☺  These would probably make an excellent bar cookie as well.  Speaking of bake sales, have you ever seen this way to protect cupcakes while on display?

Worked pretty well!  They are just the little punch cups available at party, dollar, and grocery stores.  I used a pair of salad tongs to place the cupcakes flat in the cups without messing up the icing.  I also made a batch of Iced Oatmeal Cookies as well as the following chocolate chippers.  Plan ahead, this dough needs to chill overnight.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 dozen

¾ cup butter
¾ cup light brown muscovado sugar, lightly packed
½ cup evaporated cane sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
½ tsp baking soda
1/16 tsp cinnamon
2¼ cups light spelt flour
¾ cup mini chocolate chips (Use a full cup for regular sized chips)

In a pot over medium-low heat, cook and stir the butter until it turns golden brown.  (It will foam twice and brown during the second foam which will be clear bubbles vs white foam.)  Watch it carefully to prevent burning.  Transfer it to a medium mixing bowl to cool slightly.  Add sugars and mix until there are no lumps of brown sugar.  Add vanilla and mix.  Beat in egg and yolk with a wooden spoon until the batter has lightened somewhat.  Mix together the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl to combine.  Add to the batter in a few additions and gently stir in with the wooden spoon.  Stir/fold in the chocolate chips.  

Cover and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, preheat the oven to just under 350ºF and form the dough into 2 tbsp balls of dough.  You can roll them with your hands, the dough will be pretty firm.  Place about three inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are just golden brown and the center is no longer shiny.  Don't overbake.  Cool for a minute on the sheet before removing to a rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Brown Butter Maple Blondies

This recipe is the result of wanting to recreate a totally amazing blondie that I make often, but without the need for a trek to Trader Joe's for the secret ingredient.  (That would be their cream filled maple leaf sandwich cookies, to be exact.)  Those bars have been described as crack blondies.  I have people look at me in disbelief and horror (sometimes a glare), if I have not brought them to a function.  They were even requested at the wedding reception of a friend.  Even my mom, who normally is not big into sweets, couldn't stay out of these last weekend.  I can't take credit for the original recipe, but here are the tweaks I made to it so that I don't have to make a special trip every time I whip up a batch.  I know pure maple sugar may not be readily available in all grocery stores, but once you have a bag a little goes a long way.  (Which is nice considering the price of it.)  Normally I like pecans, but in this case the bitterness of the walnuts is a nice contrast to the rich sweetness of the blondie.  I think they turn out just as good this way, but the next time we have a get together with the friends that crave them I will have to do an official taste test to confirm if they go over as well.  ☺

Brown Butter Maple Blondies
makes a 9x13" pan
slightly modified from Heavenly Blondies

1 cup unsalted butter
2¼ cups flour (2½ cups light spelt)
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp sea salt
2 cups light brown muscovado sugar, lightly packed
3 large eggs
2½ tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional, "crispy"/sprouted are best

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a 9x13" pan with parchment.

In a pot over medium-low heat, cook and stir the butter until it turns golden brown.  (It will foam twice and brown during the second foam which will be clear bubbles vs white foam.)  Watch it carefully to prevent burning.  Transfer it to a mixing bowl to cool slightly.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Combine the sugars with the butter until there are no lumps of sugar.  Add the eggs to combine, then mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  About 3-4 minutes.  Mix in vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and stir in just until combined.  Fold in the walnuts.

Turn the batter into the lined pan and smooth into corners with a spatula.  Bake until just golden and lightly browned, about 25-30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Loosen the ends with a knife and use the parchment to lift out the bars.  Cut into desired size squares.

They will store at room temperature for a few days and freeze well.  But they probably won't make it to the freezer.  Or the third day.  ☺