Cantuccini

It is time to test a classic Italian recipe by contributing baker Nick Malgieri.

On Sunday I was hoping that after I do all the food prep for the week, I will get myself a glass of vino and enjoy a marathon of Scandal. Midway through veggie chopping, I was imagining how I have to measure ingredients, wash mixer bowls and mixer attachments after making this week’s cookie recipe. No, I had not read the recipe just yet and this is what happens when you are pre-programmed from your previous biscotti baking experiences. I was in for a pleasant surprise!

No matter if you call them cantuccini or biscotti di Prato, these cookies are super fast and simple to make. In less than five minutes you could have them in the oven with only one mixing bowl to wash. Although the recipe states to knead the dough on the counter, I did that in the mixing bowl.

It would be interesting to try the original recipe used by Antonio Mattei when he first made these in the nineteenth century in the small city of Prato. Nowadays the dough is made with cake pastry flour, 18% of the dough is almonds, 1% of the dough is pine nuts, and more egg yolks than egg whites.

Cantuccini by Nick Malgieri

I subbed the white sugar for raw coconut sugar and the cantuccini are deliciously crunchy! The first baking took around 20 minutes and the second baking – less than 10 minutes. So good!

Here is the recipe. All proportions are the same except for the baking powder. In Baking with Julia, Nick calls for 2 tsp baking powder.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Potato Lefse

Happy Tuesday! Potato Lefse by contributing baker Beatrice Ojakangas is on the menu today for our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group.

Call it childhood programming but I like my pancakes on Sunday. One of my favorite pictures of my mom is in our kitchen holding the crepe spatula :) I like crepes, I like pancakes and I looooove waffles! I can’t deny it but I am always up for experimenting and trying a new recipe. OK, I am getting up the couch and confession time is over…

potato lefse

If you are new to lefse, try not to get discouraged after reading an authentic Norwegian recipe and counting the number of rarely used kitchen utensils that you need to have in order to enjoy potato pancakes. Potato ricer, griddle, grooved rolling pin, lefse stick, and lefse cozy are all part of the lefse batterie de cuisine. Making the rich mashed potato-based dough is easy by using a potato masher for the potatoes, rolling pin for transferring the rolled out pancake to the pan, and a cast iron skillet to bake the lefse.

The lefse ingredients are easy to find in each kitchen: potatoes, butter, cream, sugar, and flour. If you feel like experimenting, try equal amounts of oat flour and all-purpose flour – it is really tasty, believe me!

IMG_3322

Transferring the lefse to the pan. You could still see tiny potato pieces in the dough.

Traditionally , lefse are enjoyed heavily buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. We enjoyed them for lunch with roasted eggplant and tahini dip, crumbled feta, green garbanzos, lettuce and tomatoes. Next day they still tasted good after being warmed up in a skillet. And I am not explaining why the peanut butter jar is e-m-p-t-y!

IMG_3333

More like a tortilla than a pancake but still good!

Here is Beatrice Ojakangas in action.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Mocha Brownie Cake

This recipe for Mocha Brownie Cake is from Marcel Desaulniers, the world-renowned guru of ganache and the author behind ‘Death by Chocolate’. It takes a bit of a commitment to make this cake, but the resulting chocolate blackout is amazing!

Mocha Brownie Cake

I might be a bit too late to join the small dessert party. I still don’t know if I will ever claim that I have had a life-changing experience eating a cupcake that would throw me in baking cupcakes in all imaginable colors and flavors for years to come. Never the less, small cakes are perfect serving size and you do not have to worry about dirtying a knife and figuring how to best cut a cake sans a cutting guide…

Mocha Brownie Cake

Can you believe this cake is gluten, grain, and dairy free? So delicious and so mini and without any resemblance to a cupcake! The original recipe makes a 9-inch cake and uses dairy and all-purpose flour.

 
Mocha Brownie Cake
Adapted from Baking with Julia

Makes a 3.5 inch cake.

Ingredients

Cake

2 tbsp and 1 tsp Bob’s Red Mills hazelnut meal
1 ml baking powder
pinch of salt
25 gr dark chocolate, melted
15 gr unsweetened chocolate, melted
15 gr coconut oil
1 egg
50 ml coconut sugar
1 ml pure vanilla
2 tsp coconut yogurt

Ganache

70 grams dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ cup coconut milk
1 tsp strong espresso

Directions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of three generously buttered (use coconut oil, if you would like) ramekins with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together hazelnut meal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Melt together the dark chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and coconut oil.
  4. Mix the egg, coconut sugar and vanilla until the mixture doubles in volume. Slowly add the melted and cooled chocolate.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients into the melted chocolate mixture.
  6. Add the yogurt and mix until well incorporated into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter into three ramekins.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of cakes come out clean.
  9. Cool the cake completely.
  10. For the ganache, combine the coconut milk, chocolate, and espresso in a small pan. Heat over very low heat until the chocolate has melted.
  11. To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake and spread it with one 1/3 of the chocolate ganache. Refrigerate the cake until ganache is set, about 5-10 min. Repeat with the remaining layers. Pour the remaining ganache over the top and the sides of the cake. Allow the icing to set in the refrigerator for an hour.

Buttermilk Scones

Time for buttermilk scones by Marion Cunningham! Sounds like a high-tea snack, does it not? If you are wondering what are the tender secrets shared between British scones and Southern biscuits, you might enjoy reading this article in the New York Times.

Buttermilk Scone with Caramelized Onion and Parsley

Call it a coincidence, but I just finished reading Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone. Ruth shares the story how she had met Marion Cunningham for a first time at a party honoring James Beard. She describes her as a tall blonde with turquoise eyes, silvery blonde hair pulled in a low ponytail and goes on to exclaim that Marion is “the most beautiful old person” she had ever seen. If you would like to see Marion in action preparing the buttermilk scones, please visit PBS.

Buttermilk Scone with Caramelized Onion and Parsley

I reduced the sugar in half from the original recipe and I added some spices, fresh herbs, and caramelized onions. We enjoyed scone sandwiches for lunch on the weekend with avo, turbo stinky goat cheese, walnuts, and red peppers. The recipe is super easy and forgiving and you could add whatever extra ingredients (nuts, seeds, dried fruits, chocolate, herbs, cheese) you are in the mood for.

Buttermilk Scone with Caramelizef Onion and Parsley

 Happy Birthday, Mom!

 Buttermilk Scones with Caramelized Onion and Parsley

Adapted from Baking with Julia

 Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 ½ tsp non-aluminum double acting baking powder ( I use Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder.)
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
1 ½ sticks (6 oz) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup + 2Tbs buttermilk
1 tbs lemon zest
½ cup caramelized onions
½ cup parsley, finely chopped

 Directions

  1. Position the oven rack in the middle and heat the oven to 425 F.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper and mustard powder.
  3. Add the cold butter pieces and using your fingers work the butter into the dry ingredients until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of peas.
  4. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest, caramelized onions, and parsley. Mix with a fork until the ingredients are just moistened and the dough holds together into a ball.
  5. Knead the dough very briefly on a floured surface and cut the dough in half.
  6. Shape one piece of dough into a 7-inch circle, ½ inch think. Cut the circle into six triangles and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes until golden.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Caramelized Onions – Slow Cooker Method

*This is the best method! I put the slow cooker on the patio and all the onion smell is eliminated.

 Cut onions thinly in half moons. Toss gently with 2 tbs of grapeseed oil/olive oil and cook on high for 10-12 hours. Stir the onions a couple of times during cooking.

Chocolate-Mascarpone Mini Cheesecakes

This week our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is trying to seduce the most serious cheesecake lovers with a scrumptious dessert! The recipe for the Chocolate-Mascarpone Cheesecake is by contributing baker David Ogonowski and it contains cream cheese, mascarpone, sour cream, and dark chocolate.

choco mascarpone cheesecake

Is your heart starting to beat a little bit faster after reading the ingredients list?

This cheesecake contains all-purpose flour. Since I was on a mission to make this beauty gluten-free, I used Bob’s Red Mills Hazelnut Meal. When prepping the cake I was also getting dinner ready. The joys of multitasking! Beets, fennel and orange salad was on the menu that night. So no surprises here that the orange zest ended up in the cheesecake batter. The decision to use full-fat ricotta instead of mascarpone cheese was made when grocery shopping the previous day. Hello, Scrambled Eggs with Ricotta and Caramelized Onions!

The original recipe makes an 8-inch cake and it encourages you to use your favorite type of cookie crumbs for the crust. My gluten-free crust was from ground hazelnuts, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. I used 1/3 of the recipe and ended up with 12 mini cheesecakes baked in a 12-cup muffin pan.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Chocolate-Mascarpone Mini Cheesecakes

Adapted from Baking with Julia

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup hazelnuts
1 tbs coconut sugar
3 tbs coconut oil, melted

Filling

230 gr cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup Bob’s Red Mills hazelnut meal
¼ tsp vanilla
orange zest from one orange
75 gr full-fat ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
40 ml sour cream
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Directions

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts with the coconut sugar until finely ground. Add the coconut oil and pulse until the mixture resembles moist sand. Press the crumbs into the muffin pan (approximately 2 tbs per cup). Bake for 10 minutes.

3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at low speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating for another 3-4 minutes. Add the hazelnut meal, vanilla, orange zest, and ricotta and beat just until incorporated.

4. Add the egg and beat the mixture until well mixed. Add the sour cream and mix until well incorporated.

5. Melt the chocolate and add 1 cup of the cheesecake mixture into the warm melted chocolate. Then mix the chocolate into the cake batter.

6. Place the muffin pan into a roasting pan and place on the center rack of the oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the muffin pan. Bake the mini cheesecakes for 15 minutes.

7. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and cool to room temperature. Chill the mini cheesecakes for at least 6 hours before serving.

Onion Bialys

Have you had a bialy before?

This week our Tuesday with Dorie baking group is exploring a culinary baked goodie from Bialystok, Poland. Similar to a bagel, the bialy has it’s own personality thanks to the sautéed onions that are sprinkled on top of this doughy roll.

onion bialy

So, here is my question. If we have one bialy, we should have more than one bialies. Or is the plural form an exception to the rule so we could always associate the bialy with Bialystok?

Back to onion bialys. The recipe is by contributing baker Lauren Groveman. And that sautéed onion makes all the difference. My husband keeps saying that when I start frying onions, he can’t think of anything else… We enjoyed the bialys for lunch slathered with veggie cheese spread (cottage cheese, greek yogurt, fresh veggies, spices, extra virgin olive oil) along with curried cauliflower soup. Comfort food, indeed!

onion bialy peek

I made half a recipe and we did not completely O. D.

Shortening is a major page-turner in a cookbook for me. The onions got sautéed in grapeseed oil and I also used some whole wheat flour. I washed the bialys with an egg white before heavily sprinkling them with poppy seeds.

Vanilla Chiffon Roll

I always thought of chiffon as a fabric but as it turns out it doubles as a cake. This week’s recipe from our Tuesday with Dorie baking group is for Vanilla Chiffon Roll by contributing baker Mary Bergin.

vanilla chiffon roll

It is a chiffon cake rolled around chocolate walnut mousse. Since my oven is not big enough to accommodate a large jelly-roll pan, I decided to make a cake. After halving the recipe, I ended up with two 8-inch cake layers and enough mousse to spread in the middle. Instead of walnuts, I used roasted hazelnuts for the mousse and the final result was like dark chocolate Nutella. To finish the cake, I covered it with dark chocolate ganache. We enjoyed it on a lazy Sunday with some red wine. Half of the cake was enough for four of us.

For the recipe, please follow the link.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Country Bread

Happy New Year, Everyone! This is our first Tuesdays with Dorie post for 2014! Our recipe is for Country Bread by contributing baker Joe Ortiz.

country bread

Coincidence or not I bought a banneton in December and I did not get to use it with everything else going on. I have never used a banneton in the past so I was excited to try to proof the country bread dough in it.

country bread top

According to Dorie, with this country bread loaf you get the look of Pain de Campagne without having to deal with levain. This recipe takes around 12 hours of rising time for the dough plus one hour for baking. I started on Friday night and baked the bread on Sunday. I refrigerated the sponge overnight and the following day I did the two rises of the dough and put the dough in the fridge again. On Sunday, once I pre-heated the oven, I took the dough from the fridge and put it straight onto the baking sheet.

country bread slice

This bread is dense and crusty. The taste reminded us of hearty whole wheat bread. So far we enjoyed it with soup, we also made avocado and Asiago cheese sandwiches and PB & dark chocolate toast.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! And Happy 2014!

If you would like to see Joe Ortiz in action, please visit the PBS web site.

Gingersnaps

As always in December I promise myself that I will not be baking any (!) cookies and then I don’t know what happens but I keep baking and questioning if there will be enough cookies for everyone on my list. There are times when I hear myself: “You just went through a 5.5 lbs of flour in a week, are you sure you need to go get another bag?”

gingersnaps

I have been on a quest to find a good gingersnaps recipe for quite some time. As part of my searches, I decided to bake the gingersnaps from Baking with Julia last December. The cookies were a total disaster…I ended up making cheesecake crust with them and I still could not hide their sogginess and blandness. So, I admit that I was not enthusiastic at all when our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group picked this as one of our December recipes.

The only change that I made to the recipe was to increase the spices three times and to try the molasses glaze. The cookies took way longer to bake that the recipe suggested. They were crunchy with a very prominent molasses flavor and quite dense. I do not think that I will try this recipe for a third time. And if I do, I will use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour, increase the spices, and skip the molasses glaze.

Do you have a good and tested gingersnaps recipe? Dorie’s Speculoos recipe from Around My French Table has been the closest to what I am looking for.

If you would like to give this recipe a try, please follow the link.

Challah

It’s Hanukkah! Imagine how many families around the world are breaking challah, the quintessential Jewish bread, as part of their celebratory meals and gatherings! We are proud to join in as part of our Tuesday with Dorie baking group.

challah

The challah recipe is by contributing baker Lauren Groveman. It is a brioche type of bread that is less sweet and less buttery than the traditional brioche. What goes into the dough seems to vary based on the different recipes, however, as some fellow bakers commented this recipe is not pareve and cannot be eaten with meat dishes.

challah_zig_zag

Braiding the challah is fun. I went with the traditional three-stranded braid. Don’t you love the zig-zags on top? But there are other possibilities of how to shape the bread. Think six-stranded braid or two braids on top of one another!

challah_slice

We tasted the bread right out of the oven, however, the taste was a bit to eggy to be enjoyed with our dinner. The remaining of the loaf stayed on the kitchen counter for a few days, then it went into the freezer, then it went into the slow cooker and transformed itself into an apple bread pudding.

bread_pudding

The bottom crust of the challah became too thick for my liking. That seems to be a problem that I keep experiencing with brioche dough. Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

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