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Apricot Bread

Apricot Bread

2 sticks of butter, melted and cooled
1 C granulated sugar
½ C brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
3 C flour, all purpose
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 C almonds, sliced
8 oz dried whole apricots
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease 2 9×3 loaf pans.

Chop the dried apricots into very small bits. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Add lemon juice. Simmer slowly until apricots well-hydrated, tender and most of the water has been absorbed or evaporated. Add the almond extract and stir. Cool completely.

Mix the butter and sugars well. Add the eggs and beat until well combined. Add the dry ingredients, including the almonds. Fold in the apricots.

Divide batter between the two pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until testing confirms the center is completely cooked.

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Carrot muffins

Romance carrots
The pelleted Romance carrots I planted in the fall weathered the days of freezing tempatures unscathed. I prefer the pelleted seeds because they space perfectly and grow perfectly. I developed a new recipe to follow my clean eating goals.

Carrot muffin ingredients
Soft white wheat berries
Carrot muffins
Muffins and eggs
 
Carrot Muffins

1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut oil, melted
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups finely shredded carrots
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup chopped dates
1 T ginger chips
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups fresh milled soft white wheat

Mix sugar and oil. Add eggs, carrots, coconut, pineapple, pecans, dried fruits, vanilla and mix. Add all dry ingredients. And mix. Scoop into greased muffin tins and bake 25 minutes at 350F. Makes 24 small muffins.

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Apple Honey Challah

I love the recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Honey Apple Challah. I’ve made it a half dozen times, sometimes giving the loaves away to my Jewish friends celebrating the Sabbath or a holiday. I’ve made it with and without the apples. I prefer to make it in a three strand braid instead of the four strand knit that Smitten Kitchen uses. I’ve substituted butter for the oil and it is good, but the oil is best. I’ve used pecan oil and peanut oil as well as the standard vegetable oil. I used whole wheat flour for part of the flour, too. You can grate orange peel into the dough and it adds some depth. But following Smitten Kitchen’s recipe exactly is a sure fire winner. It never fails.

Honey Apple Challah

Apple Honey Challah

 

Bread
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard 1/4-ounce packet) active dry yeast
1/3 cup (79 ml) plus 1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup (79 ml) neutral oil, plus more for the bowl
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) table salt
4 1/4 cups all-purpose (530 grams) or bread flour (578 grams), plus more for your work surface

 

Apple filling
2 medium baking apples, cut on a mandolin into matchstick pieces

Squeeze of lemon juice, to keep them from browning

 

Egg wash
1 large egg
Coarse or pearl sugar for sprinkling (optional)

 

Make your dough: Whisk yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into 2/3 cup warm water and let stand until foamy, a few minutes.

 

With a stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixture, whisk together yeast mixture, oil, remaining honey (1/3 cup), eggs and yolk. Switch to dough hook and add 4 1/4 cups flour and salt. Use dough hook on a moderate speed until it pulls all of the flour and wet ingredients together into a craggy mass. Lower the speed and let the dough hook knead the dough for 5 minutes, until smooth, elastic and a little sticky.

 

Both methods: Transfer dough to large oil-coated bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.

 

Add apples to dough:  Turn dough out onto a floured counter and gently press it down into a flat, oblong shape. Spread apple over the flattened dough. Fold the dough over the apples and knead mixing the apple bits into the dough. Upend your empty bowl over and set it aside for another 30 minutes.

Weave your bread:  Divide dough into 3 pieces. Weave them like a traditional challah. Transfer the dough to a parchment-covered heavy baking sheet or baker’s peel (if you’ll be using a bread stone). Beat egg until smooth and brush over challah. Let challah rise for another hour but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Bake your loaf: Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you’re using it. Bake in middle of oven for 40 to 45 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed. It is done in 40-45 minutes or when the center of the loaf should be 195 degrees.

 

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Woven Apple Breakfast

Woven apple breakfast

Woven Apple Breakfast

400 F

 

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed overnight in the fridge

1 small to medium apple, peeled and thinly sliced

¼ c chopped nuts

¼ c dried fruit (cherries, raisin, blueberries, crannies)

¼ c brown sugar

1 egg, scrambled

Crystalline sugar for dusting

 

Mix the apple, dried fruit and brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

Roll puff pastry out onto a parchment line backing sheet to 10 x 14 inches. Cut herringbone ‘slats’ down each side.  Pile the apple mixture down the middle of the puff pastry. Fold in the two ends and then alternating from side to side, fold over the puff pastry slats as if braiding. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

 

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

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The Soup

I wanted Italian Wedding soup, the kind with the tiny little meatballs, but I am so picky about pre-prepared food items with ground “beef”. I suspect what is labeled as “beef” is really various cow parts. So, I found an easy recipe on-line for an Italian Wedding soup [here] and made a quick run to The Fresh Market at lunch. I made a slight substitution of half the pork for lamb. When we go home, The Younger Son helped me hand roll all the meatballs (2 lbs of meat). I doubled the recipe so we’d have meatballs in the freezer to make the soup again if it was a hit. It was a hit. I think I’ll finely julienne the curly endive the next go around.

Italian Wedding Soup

w/ a side of Butter dipsAfter dinner, we cut the Halloween cake I made. I got the recipe from Williams & Sonoma in honor of National Chocolate Day, which was Monday. Yum.

Halloween Cake

Decadence

 

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Cardamon Pear Bread

I never buy fruit for the express purpose of baking with the exception of apples for pie at Thanksgiving. I bought four large Barlett pears last weekend for a dinner gathering but used only two. Pears eaten like an apple or peach is not my preference. I’ll slice them into a salad, like I did for the dinner party with shaved hard, pungent cheeses like Asiago, Romano and provolone picante and then drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and cracked black pepper. So, the two orphaned pears sat on the counter all weak, their previous attained bruises darkening. So, I peeled them and pureed them and made this bread. I used home milled flour, 2 cups soft white wheat and 1/2 c hard white wheat. As always I increased the amount of nuts from 1/2 c to 1 cup.

Cardamon pear breadCardamon pear bread with lemon cardamon glazeCardamon Pear Bread

1 large or 3 small loaf pans

1 c freshly pureed ripe pears (about 2 medium, peeled and cored)

½ c extra virgin coconut oil

1 egg

2 tsp grated lemon peel

¼ c milk

2 ½ cups flour

½ c granulated sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cardamom

½ c walnuts

Mix the pear puree, oil, egg, lemon peel and milk in the mixer on low using paddle attachment. Add the flour, sugar, and other dry ingredients. Add nuts. Pour into greased pan(s) and bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes (for single large pan) or 35-45 minutes for smaller pans.

Glaze:

1 c powdered sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp ground cardamom

1-2 Tbsp milk or cream

Mix and them spoon over the still warm loaf/loaves.

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Banana Walnut Bread

Banana bread Banana walnut bread

I bought a Nutrimill Classic, a grain mill made by Bosch, the same Bosch that makes drills and equipment in the cordoned off section of Lowe’s. I bought the mill so I could start grinding or milling my own flour. They call it super flour because it has all the true parts of the wheat and hasn’t been processed. I decided to start slow and easy….and to follow the instructions. Martha Stewart’s banana bread recipe is always a stalwart: steadfast and true. Here is the recipe as I have adopted it from The Martha Stewart Cookbook, Collected Recipes for Every Day.

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup soft white wheat
  • 1/2 c hard red wheat
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup very ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/2 c Greek 2% plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c shredded coconut

Mix the butter and sugar well, add eggs. Add dry ingredients and then bananas, yogurt and vanilla. Lastly add nuts and coconut. Bake at 350F for 55 minutes in a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray.