Category Archives: Morning Pastries and Quick Breads

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!

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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!

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More like a tortilla than a pancake but still good!

Here is Beatrice Ojakangas in action.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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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.

Danish Braid

This week our group of dedicated bakers is braiding dough and enticing family and friends with Danish goodness. We are baking a Danish Braid, a recipe by contributing baker Beatrice Ojakangas. It is soooooo good to be back and rejoining the Tuesdays with Dorie group after a long summer without any baking!

If you are curious to find out the exact amounts of flour, yeast, and other ingredients for this recipe, please visit Bea’s web site. She has included a few recipes that could be made using the same basic Danish Pastry Dough, such as Danish Pecan Snails and Old Danish Christmas Kringle. You could even see her in action making the Danish Braid.

The dough is quite straightforward to make. It takes a few resting periods, folds and turns, and an undisclosed number of questions, such as: Is left towards the bathroom or towards the coffee machine?

I decided to make the almond and prune filling. Since we do not have a microwave, I cooked the prunes, water and sugar for the prune filling on the stove for half an hour or so. Extremely bad idea! I ended up with caramelized prunes stuck to the bottom of the saucepan… So I made the prune lekvar that we used for the Rugelach sans the walnuts. I think the two fillings were a bit too much. Next time, I will make only a fruit filling and sprinkle the pastry with chopped nuts instead.

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Do you see the moustache?!

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Thanksgiving morning was yummy with slices of Danish Braid and almond milk cappuccinos! O, yeah, I braided my hair too 🙂

Croissants

It’s Complicated!

Watching Meryl Streep make croissants for Steve Martin looked so easy and classy!

This week our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group’s kitchens are experiencing a croissant epiphany after a three day baking project involving lots of butter, flour, dough rolling and folding.

Tackling croissants at home was a fussy, long-lasting, messy and intricate adventure. I did not even bother cleaning the kitchen counter. This is how it looked for 3 days:croissant_counter

A couple of years ago I made Mirelle Guiliano’s croissant recipe from French Women Don’t Get Fat. Now was the time to try the recipe by Esther McManus. I ended up with a compilation between the two recipes. Blame it on the lack of fresh compressed yeast! I used the proportions from Mirelle Guiliano’s recipe and the folding and shaping technique from Esther McManus’s recipe.

Now was my chance to make almond croissants for first time…Half of the dough was for almond croissants and the other half was for plain croissants. See, I was thinking that almond croissants will be for the breakfast and we can make sandwiches with plain croissants for lunch.

For almond croissants, I shaped them the night before and in the morning on Bake Day I brought them to room temperature for about an hour before putting them in the oven.almond_croissant

For plain croissants, I let the dough rest in the fridge overnight and shaped and proofed the croissants after we ate all the almond croissants 🙂 This was the better technique – the dough was easier to work with and the butter has worked its magic in all the dough layers. So next time I will stretch croissant baking over four days. This is a half-eaten plain croissant shot in eating action:plain_croissant

Word of advice: If you put the baking sheet with the proofed croissants on the stove, when preheating the oven, there will be butter and almond filling leakage.

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If you would like to add extra buttery complexity to your life, please visit Amanda from Girls Plus Food who is the host for this week’s recipe.

Note:

For the dough: 1 cup milk, 2tsp active dry yeast, 2 ¼ cups plus 3 Tbs flour, 2 Tbs sugar, 1tsp salt, 12 Tbs butter.

For the glaze: 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbs milk

Buttermilk Crumb Muffins

Coincidence or not today our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is making Buttermilk Crumb Muffins and also the USA Presidential Elections are happening.

Would blog posting and commenting about muffins on Elections Day determine who is the winner? Are Presidential Candidates food preferences a contributing variable for obtaining electoral votes? If you are curious about these, please check the latest issue of the Food Network magazine.

Maybe we are part of a baking conspiracy. Is it Mitt Romney or is it Barack Obama who enjoys eating muffins? And I am talking about muffin tops and stumps and all, no matter if the butter is sinking to the bottom of the muffin.

Since the amount of oil and sugar in the recipe made me a bit uneasy, I had to attempt somehow a healthier version. I ended up using oats, half the sugar, ¼ cup of oil and applesauce in lieu of the vegetable shortening, dried pears and walnuts for some additional experimenting in food alchemy. The exact amounts are at the very end of the posting.

If you would like to get involved in Muffin-gate, please visit our Birthday Girl Alisa of Easier Than Pie who is the host for the recipe.

Note:

For the batter – 1 cup old fashioned oats, soaked overnight in 1 cup of yogurt; 1 cup flour; 1 cup light brown sugar; ½ cup apple sauce; ¼ cup grapeseed oil; 5 dried pears; spices; 2 eggs

For the topping – ½ cup coarsely walnuts, ¼ cup brown sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg

Despite my attempts on using less oil, this is how some members of our family enjoy their muffins…

Popovers

Today we are rewinding! Our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group is catching up on recipes that we have not had a chance to make. For me, this is the Popovers recipe from two months ago.

Do you remember the scene in Sabrina (1954) when the Professor in the famous chef’s school in Paris inspects the students’ soufflés?

Too low. Too pale. Too heavy. Too low. Too *high*, you are exaggerating. Fair. So-so. Sloppy.

When he looks at Sabrina’s (Audrey Hepburn), he says that it is much too low. It turns out that she had forgotten to turn on the oven!

Making the popovers, I was quite nervous if I might get similar results. I had only two eggs on hand and the original recipe calls for three…The eggs are quite an important ingredient here because they give the needed bust for the batter to rise. I kept thinking if the recipe will prove its name right and if the batter would pop in the muffin pan during baking.

The sequence of steps to make the recipe was quite straightforward for my sleepy Saturday morning: turn on the oven, make the batter, pour the batter in the baking pan, bake the popovers, do not open the oven door, do not open the oven door, do not open the oven door and eat! And, voilà!

It is quite amazing that simple ingredients such as flour, milk, eggs, tiny amount of salt, and butter could create puffy and crusty magic. This is another recipe that could be fancied up for any baking occasion. Think about adding cheese or fresh herbs or chocolate chips or orange zest to the batter.

I made these popovers a bit healthier by using ¼ cup of Bob’s Red Mills hazelnut flour and ¾ cup of all-purpose flour. I also added 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary for some extra zing.

If you would like to watch in fascination through your oven door how the popovers pop, please visit Paula of Vintage Kitchen Notes and Amy of Bake With Amy who are the hosts for the recipe.

Pecan Sticky Buns

Who is that man?!

He thinks of himself as “handsome, remarkably wise, and just plump enough – in fact a Man in his Prime”.

He has a propeller on his back and lives on the rooftop of an apartment building in Stockholm.

He is best friends with Lillebror and plays with him when Lillebror is lonely and needs to have a friend over.

He loooooooves cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate.

Of course, this is Astrid Lindgren’s Karlsson who lives on the roof.

Reading the recipe for the Pecan Sticky Buns, I felt a bit like Karlsson when he would complain about the amount of cinnamon used in his beloved cinnamon rolls. So I knew I had to make some adaptations in order to enjoy the recipe.

I followed the brioche dough recipe to the ‘z’ and I only added vanilla and the zest of one meyer lemon. For the filling, I used brown sugar instead of the white sugar, raisins soaked in rum, and increased the amount of cinnamon twelve times. For the topping, I substituted maple syrup for the brown sugar, reduced the amount of butter and could not resist not to add the rum, in which the raisins have been soaking for 24 hours.

If you would like to get the propeller on your back going in no time, please visit Lynn and Nicole who are hosting this week’s recipe of our Tuesdays with Dorie baking group.

Note: The proportions below are for half of the original Pecan Sticky Buns recipe.

Dough: Add 2 tsp pure vanilla and the zest of one meyer lemon when adding the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of flour to the dough.

Filling: Sprinkle the dough with a mix of 3 tbs brown sugar and 1.5 tsp cinnamon, and ½ cup of raisins soaked in rum, and the required amount of pecans.

Topping: Melt 1/3 cup maple syrup and 2 oz butter over medium heat. After the mixture comes to a boil, add the rum and boil for one minute.

I am not crazy about the brioche dough that we used in this recipe and I am still trying to decide if I would like to use it in the future or not.

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