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Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

 

I was sitting at lunch with my best friend S, who had gotten a sandwich from the deli/corner store. She pulled out the sandwich, took off the bread, and began hollowing out her sourdough in an attempt to be “healthier.” I knew people did that with bagels, but with bread? I didn’t know it at the time, but I subconsiously do it too. I reach for the whole wheat bread when I can, even though it’s just a slightly less processed version of white bread. Whatever. I love bread too much to give it up. I had planned on making a whole wheat yeast bread that seemed really simple to make. But then, a) I couldn’t find the right sized pan and I didn’t want ugly bread and b) there was molasses on my packet of yeast so I didn’t feel like using it (because I’m a princess). Then I stumbled along this New York Times article/ (gotta love the NY Times) for a quick bread version of whole wheat bread. I loveloveLOVE quick breads. They can be a little dense, as dad thought this bread turned out, but it has a light molasses-ey flavor at the end. It’s denser than your average whole wheat bread, but also a little sweeter and chewier and moister (hah M, because that’s a word).  Recipe, adapted from NY Times (link above)
        Ingredients:
             oil or butter for greasing pan
             1 2/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt, or 1 1/2 cups milk and 2 tbsp white vinegar
             2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
             1/2 cup cornmeal (I used regular flour since I didn’t have cornmeal)
             
1 tsp salt
             1 tsp baking soda
             1/2 cup molasses (I used 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup honey for a sweeter flavor)
  

  • 1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-by-4-inch or 9-by 5-inch loaf pan, preferably nonstick.
  • 2. If you’re using buttermilk or yogurt, ignore this step. Make soured milk by warming the milk gently — 1 minute in the microwave is sufficient, just enough to take the chill off — and add the vinegar. Set aside.
  • 3. Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir the molasses into the buttermilk, yogurt or soured milk. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients (just enough to combine) then pour into the pan. Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
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    It’s amazing with yogurt and preserves.
    It’s good for lunch.
    It’s good with peanut butter too, in case you’re wondering (actually, there are better pairings. The thick pb and dense bread didn’t work out as well as I had hoped)  

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    Fast Cinnamon Rolls

    My favorite spice is cinnamon. I put it on everything, from my morning oatmeal to whatever baked good I can fit it in. Not only is the flavor amazing, there are health benefits too. It can lower cholesterol, maintain sugar levels (and therefore weight loss?), and a whole bunch of other things that I won’t bore you with.

    So I made cinnamon rolls. The process to make cinnamon rolls is kind of ridiculous. It is a yeast bread, so it requires kneading, proofing, rising, and a whole lot of waiting.

    Who wants to wait for these? My other problem was that I didn’t want anything too heavy. A cinnamon roll can often leave one feeling like, well, a big, round, buttery cinnamon roll, so I was looking for a lighter version. I adapted a recipe to make it lighter, and while it does compromise some flavor, it is an acceptable substitute. The dough turned out to be more biscuit-like and doughy on the inside with a light crunch on the outside. I didn’t use the glaze, but I’m sure it would only make them better.

    Fast Cinnamon Rolls
    adapted from http://www.recipezaar.com/Quick-Cinnamon-Rolls-No-Yeast-293243
    Makes 12 2-inch rolls
    Dough:
            2 cups flour
            2 tbps sugar
            4 tsp baking powder
            1 tsp salt (optional)
            2 tbps butter, softened
            ¾ cup + possibly more

    Filling
            4 tbsp butter, melted
            ½ cup + 1 tbsp brown sugar
            3 tsp cinnamon

    Glaze
           ½ cup powdered sugar
           ¼ milk

    Directions
    1. Mix 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp brown sugar and spread over bottom of 9×9 pan
                 (note: This made a nice light bottom coating. If you want more, just mix more butter and sugar together)
    2. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
    3. Cut in the 3 tbsp butter. Allow lumps
    4. Stir in milk to form a soft dough
    5. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface into a rectangle about ¼ in thick
                    (note: I didn’t need to flour it because the dough was pretty dry. I actually had to add more milk because it was SO dry)
    6. Mix the rest of the filling and spread it over the dough, covering all of it
                    (note: I used less butter and ½ the sugar than the original recipe to make it healthier.)
    7. Roll up the dough long-wise so it’s like a big log. With a sharp knife slice into even sized rolls
    8. Bake for 20-25 min at 400 F (I usually err on the side of overdone, but they were perfect at 20)
    9. Once finished, drizzle glaze and serve warm

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    Summer in Winter


    So it’s the middle of winter and I start craving lemon.
    shoot.
    And then I start craving lemon bars.
    shoot again.
    So what do I do?
    That’s right…make lemon bars.
    …”But lemons aren’t in season”
    But I really wanted lemon bars so I tried an experiment. They don’t really replace the lemony tanginess of a real lemon, nor do they have the extra layer of flavor from the zest, but they taste like lemon bars for the most part. I don’t really have a recipe, so the lemon part was too sugary (like crunchy sugary-is that supposed to happen?). I think another egg or egg yolk would help emulsify the lemon batter.

    Instead of using the juice of a lemon, I replaced over 1/4 of the sugar with lemonade powder. I’m probably breaking some culinary law-either that or a famous chef has just passed out on the floor. But that’s the beauty of baking-it can be as scientific or artistic as you want it to be.

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    Merry Xmakjh

    I hope your Christmas was fabulous. If you don’t celebrate it, I hope your December 25th was nice and wintery.

    I made pancakes in the morning. Snowman pancakes, to be exact.
    Snowman pancake

    In the afternoon I made gingerbread cookies. Because my oven is temperamental, I overbaked them and they need to take a swim in the milk pool before being eaten. Flavor-wise, they’re delightful and they made the kitchen smell so Christmas-ey!
    The icing is royal icing with a drop of liquid green food coloring.
    Gingerbread heartsI

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