A rainy weekend was spent in the kitchen baking Sour Cherry Focaccia. The same master dough recipe that was used for making Vanilla Cloverleaf Sweet Rolls, was the foundation of this delicious focaccia with tart cherries and almonds.
Again, as with the Vanilla Cloverleaf Sweet Rolls, the only change I made to the original recipe was to add additional flour (about 3-4 tablespoons) to the dough while mixing. Both times the dough was wet. I slowly added spoonfuls of flour to the dough until it was still soft, but did not stick to the sides of the mixing bowl.
I have a busy day ahead of me in the kitchen, making a Pavlova birthday cake for my daughter's 20th! Find the recipe for Bon Appétit's Sour Cherry Focaccia HERE.
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Pain aux Olives -- Olive Rolls -- filled with small, salty, Nicoise olives.
Olive bread has always been a favorite of mine. Big, crusty, rustic loaves of olive bread; slices spread with a thick layer of salty butter. But these small olive rolls are also a favorite. I bake the rolls and store them in the freezer; rewarming in the oven when ready to eat.
During the summer months, when I have fresh thyme in my garden, I will add that to the yeast dough. In the winter I substitute 1/3 the amount of dried thyme leaves.
I'm planning on serving them with a fresh Orange and Olive Salad (recipe HERE) and a Chickpea Purée with Crisp Croutons (recipe HERE). The small balls of yeast dough can be placed on parchment-lined baking sheets, or onto oiled baguette pans as I did. I like the oval shape the rolls get from baking in narrow channel pans.
• 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) dry yeast
• 3 3/4 cups unbleached flour
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon wheat gluten
• 2/3 cup warm milk (lukewarm)
• 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
• 1 cup pitted, coarsely-chopped Nicoise olives
• 4 teaspoons finely-chopped fresh thyme
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup lukewarm water and set aside for 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and wheat gluten and mix well.
2. Add milk and melted butter to yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly, then gradually add to flour mixture, stirring with wooden spoon. Mix in enough lukewarm water, up to 1/3 cup, to form a soft, sticky dough, then turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 10-15 minutes. Form dough into a ball; wrap with plastic and set aside for 5 minutes.
3. Working on a lightly-floured surface, flatten dough with your hands into a rectangle about 8-inches-by-11-inches. In a small bowl, combine olives, thyme and olive oil. Evenly spread olive mixture over dough, then form into a ball and knead until dough is smooth - about 5 minutes. It's a slow process incorporating the olives, but be patient. Shape into two 16-inch long cylinders, then cut each into 8 rounds. Shape each round into a tight ball. Arrange on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets (or well-oiled baguette pans as I've done), loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 450˚ F. Place pan of water in bottom of oven, then uncover rolls and bake until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and serve warm. Makes 16 rolls.
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Do you like walnuts? I do. In fact, I am extremely fond of every single nut that's out there. That isn't the case, however with my husband. Or at least it wasn't always the case. That's all changed. When I married my husband (40 years ago...) he wouldn't touch a nut. He made it very clear that his family didn't like nuts and didn't eat them. That mindset even rubbed off on our daughters. They wouldn't eat anything that contained nuts, because... that's just not what our family did (well, except for me). When I come upon stubbornness (as far as eating is concerned) I take it on as a challenge; a challenge to change what I view as undesirable behavior.
It took work -- an unbelievable amount of work, and years; but I can now say that my husband and two daughters eat nuts, and seem to even like nuts. I constantly drilled the health benefits of walnuts. They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and an excellent source of Omega-3, both of which contribute to lowering "bad cholesterol" and raising "good cholesterol" (read about walnuts and their health benefits HERE).
And aside from the fact that this bread is loaded with chopped walnuts, healthy olive oil and walnut oil are also added to the batter. Could this Walnut Bread be any better for you? Serve with flavored butters, cream cheese, or goat cheese and a drizzle of honey.
CORRECTION: My husband just told me he still hates nuts, but he has no choice in the matter... He should be thanking me!
recipe from the New York Times | October 1, 2009
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 4 large eggs
• 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons walnut oil
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
PREHEAT OVEN to 375˚F
1. Oil a loaf pan and line with waxed paper, if desired. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk or yogurt, olive oil, and walnut oil.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and quickly whisk to combine. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake on the middle of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
4. Remove the walnut loaf and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding. Continue to cool on a wire rack.
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I am going to tell you something that you may not know -- I am happiest when I'm in my kitchen baking. You're not surprised to hear that, you say -- I do, after all, have a blog called Passions to Pastry. But I loved baking, or at least the concept of a bakery, at a very young age; before I even knew how to bake. I remember when I was about seven years old, searching our property and my aunt's next door, for the perfect "retail outlet". This would be a huge, hollow tree with a large hole in the trunk. I would stock my pies, tarts, cakes, and cookies inside the tree and sell to hungry customers through the walk-up window (i.e. hole). I can still remember my total and utter disappointment at not being able to find anything that met my specifications. To this day, if I ran across the perfect tree, I would probably entertain serious thoughts of setting up shop.
I've never told my husband about this either, but I don't think he'd be the least bit surprised. He's always asking me (with great trepidation) what's going on inside my little head. (Oh... he knows me well, and also knows from experience that he will be roped into becoming an accomplice to any plans I have brewing.)
Today I was able to spend an entire, happy day in my kitchen baking. These are buttery, brioche-like rolls infused with vanilla (take note of the tiny black specks of vanilla seeds in the yeast dough above). Spread with the easily-made fresh strawberry jam, they are quite a treat.
Before baking, the yeast rolls are brushed with milk and sprinkled with sugar. I used strawberry sugar, purchased at G. Detou on my last trip to Paris, but coarse or pearl sugar would be suitable substitutes.
Vanilla Cloverleaf Sweet Rolls with Strawberry Jam
adapted from bon appétit | April 2012
• 2/3 cup whole milk
• 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
• 1 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
• 2 large eggs, room temperature
• 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, * plus additional if needed
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon melted
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
• All-purpose flour, for dusting
• 1 tablespoon whole milk
• 2 to 3 tablespoons coarse or pearl sugar
• Strawberry jam (recipe follows)
1. Heat milk in a saucepan on top of the stove, or in the microwave in a 2-cup, heat-proof container until warm (110˚ - 115˚). Add 1 tablespoon sugar and the yeast. Whisk to blend. Let set for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Add the eggs and whisk to combine.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the flour. Pour in the milk mixture and stir briefly to combine. Add the 1/2 cup softened butter, one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all of the butter has been incorporated, mix on medium-speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix/knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and shiny. * My dough was extremely sticky, probably due to my large eggs being VERY large. I used an additional 3 tablespoons flour, adding 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough was not as wet, but still soft, and was no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
3. Brush a large bowl with a portion of the 1/2 tablespoon melted butter and place the dough in the bowl. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining butter and cover with plastic wrap.
4. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free location for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until double in size. (If you would like to make the dough one day ahead, prepare through step 3 then refrigerate. When your are ready to proceed, remove from the refrigerator and let rise in a warm, draft-free location for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until double in size.)
5. Using the additional 1 tablespoon melted butter, brush the cups of a 12-cup muffin pan. Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly-floured work surface, roll half of the dough into a 12-inch log (cover remaining dough with plastic wrap). Divide the rolled log into 6 equal pieces. Take one piece and divide into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a small ball by cupping your hand over the piece of dough and rolling it against the work surface. When you have 3 small balls, place them together in a muffin cup. Repeat with the remaining 5 pieces and then the remaining log.
6. Cover the muffin pan loosely with a large piece of plastic wrap (I brush some butter onto the plastic to prevent sticking) and place the pan in a warm, draft-free location. Allow the dough to rest for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough rises slightly more than 1/2-inch above the rim of the muffin pan.
7. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Brush the tops of the rolls with the milk and sprinkle with the sugar. Place the muffin tin on the center rack of the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the rolls are puffed and golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve with the Strawberry Jam (recipe below).
The rolls may be baked, cooled completely, and stored in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to one month; thaw at room temperature and reheat in a preheated 350˚F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
• 1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled and quartered
• 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, halved, cored, and coarsely grated
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Combine strawberries, grated apple, and sugar in a 2-quart sauté pan. Cook over medium-low heat, crushing the strawberries with the back of a spoon, until sugar is melted. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens; about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice, and let cool. Strawberry Jam can be kept jarred and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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We're finally having some bone-chilling, cold weather. Finally. Friday I actually saw a mailman going door-to-door with his satchel, delivering mail in shorts. This is Minnesota, for goodness sakes! It should be cold in January... The weather finally turned this morning and making Cheese & Sausage-Stuffed French Toast was the perfect way to spend a lazy (cold) morning.
It will take a little longer, but Chicken, Apple & Fresh Sage Sausage Patties are a healthy alternative to Brown-and-Serve-Sausages in this recipe. Either way, this stuffed French toast will make a great breakfast or brunch.
Cheese & Sausage-Stuffed French Toast
• 1 8-ounce package brown-and-serve sausages or Chicken, Apple & Fresh Sage
Sausage Patties (recipe here)
• 8-ounch loaf French or Italian bread
• 6 slices Muenster or Provolone cheese
• 5 large eggs
• 1 cup milk
• Pinch of kosher salt
• Warm pure maple syrup
• assorted fresh fruit
1. Prepare brown-and-serve sausages, or make Chicken, Apple & Fresh Sage Sausage Patties
2. Cut six 1 1/2-inch-thick slices from the bread. Halve each slice with a serrated knife, stopping before you have sliced all the way through the piece of bread. The slice should be hinged. Open the pocket and fill with a piece of cheese and sausages. I found I needed 1 1/2 of the chicken & apple sausage patties to fill each bread slice.
3. In a large shallow dish, beat the eggs, milk, and salt until blended. Place the filled bread slices in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides of the bread.
4. In a large (cast iron) skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Cook the stuffed bread until golden brown on both sides. Add more butter if needed.
5. Remove French Toast from the pan and plate. Drizzle with warm maple syrup and serve with fresh fruit.
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January always brings out the bread baker in me. Maybe it's because the heat is cranked up in the house and the radiators are toasty warm -- a great spot for yeast dough to rise. I was planning on baking a loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread and eating slices toasted and slathered with butter. But then, I ran across this recipe for Cinnamon Bread Twists and everything changed. They seemed like the perfect morning treat alongside my cappuccino. I substituted Nutella for the two tablespoons of apple butter that was called for; probably influenced by the chocolate-hazelnut panettone I just devoured over the holidays from acclaimed Minneapolis bakery Patisserie 46 (definitely worth visiting if you're ever in the Twin Cities). Best eaten the day they are baked, but still pretty good the day after -- ENJOY! recipe HERE via the FOOD NETWORK
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I made this Frosted Sweet Dough with Currants for the first time several years ago. It's a recipe my mother made often, and I absolutely loved it! The bread is typically braided and my mother always formed the braid into a circle, which was then frosted after baking. I ate my slices after dipping them in a large cup of hot chocolate.
I made the bread today not only because I wanted to eat it along with my cappuccino in the morning, but mainly because I wanted to experiment with a technique I saw on another website. Let me say... I was unsuccessful in replicating the beautiful bread I saw on La Petite Pâtisserie d'Iza
, and named "Buns Geldine". Take a look at the brioche dough that was cut with diagonal slits, rolled into a rope, and then formed into a bun. The result was so beautiful, I hoped to recreate it in my kitchen. You'll see that my bread didn't come close.
I think I failed to achieve the look I wanted by rolling the dough too thin. And, I probably didn't space my slits far enough apart. I don't believe making a bread other than brioche contributed to my (disappointing) results, but the next time I try this, it will be with brioche dough -- and, rolled thicker!
I do have to say... regardless of the way my bread looked, it tasted fantastic, as always. Although my mother made this sweet dough bread year-round, I only make it now during the holidays -- a very special, sweet treat for my family.
• Frosted Sweet Dough with Currants •
• 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
• 1 cup warm water (105˚ to 115˚)
• 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 cups unbleached flour
•1/3 cup sugar
• 1/8 cup vegetable shortening (non-hydrogenated!)
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup currants
• Powdered sugar icing
1. In a small bowl, soften the yeast in 1/8 cup of the warm water.
2. With a dough hook, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, shortening, salt and the remaining water. Beat in the egg and softened yeast, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients.
3. Add the currants and as much of the remaining flour as needed to form a moderately stiff dough, beating for 8 to 10 minutes. Place dough in a large greased bowl; cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until double in size.
4. Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half; cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Shape each portion of dough into a 2-foot-long rope. Fold and twist dough into a pretzel shape. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; cover and let rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled (or, before the last rise, the dough can be placed in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. Removed from the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to bake the pretzels and let rise in a warm spot).
6. Bake the pretzels in a preheated 350˚F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden. Place the breads on a wire rack to cool.
7. PREPARE the FROSTING: Mix approximately 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and enough milk to make a good spreading consistency.
YIELD: 2 pretzels or "buns"
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Christine is the lucky winner of the book Little Flower: Recipes from the Café. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on this post!
After reading a Wall Street Journal review of Little Flower: Recipes from the Café, making something from Christine Moore's newly-released cookbook was paramount for me. From what I read, I was already in love with the book. I found this recipe for
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salty Caramel Sauce online through LA Weekly, which also had a stellar review of the book (read review here). I quickly got to work making the bread pudding, and let me just say, my husband and daughter are crazy for this! Silly me... I halved the recipe, thinking the size was far too large for 2 or 3 people. After giving a big portion to my neighbor this morning, there is nothing left, to our dismay. Think Thanksgiving dessert! I would happily replace my favorite pumpkin pie with this bread pudding. And every recipe for breakfast, lunch, and dessert in this book sounds that good.
I feel very fortunate to be able to give a copy of Little Flower: Recipes from the Café to a reader of LivingTastefully. All you need to do to be entered into the drawing, is leave a comment -- all viewers outside of the U.S. included! You will have through midnight October 12 to enter. A winner will be chosen the following day and announced through this post.
recipe from Little Flower: Recipes from the Café by Christine Moore
• 8 cups day-old crusty bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
• 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
• 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 2 egg yolks
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon allspice
• 1/8 teaspoon cloves
• 1/4 pound (about 1 cup) Little Flower or other high-quality sea salt caramels
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until bread starts to color, about 15 minutes. Generously grease a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole with butter or cooking spray. Arrange toasted bread cubes in a single layer in the prepared casserole. Whisk together the pumpkin, 2 cups cream, milk, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Strain the custard through a sieve before pouring into prepared casserole. Let soak for 15 minutes. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the cover and return to the oven to bake until custard is set, about 25 more minutes.
2. When the pudding is almost finished baking, melt the caramel with the remaining 1/2 cup of cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat when caramel has completely melted. Pour caramel sauce over the pudding immediately after it comes out of the oven.
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Oh no, it doesn't end with the cucumbers. Zucchini have taken over my garden and my yard. I cautiously approach the plants, slowly lift up the leaves, and there they are -- just what I feared -- zucchini the size of a watermelon. That's what happens when I ignore them for a few days. There are more zucchini out there than I will ever have an appetite for. Why can't the squirrels, mice, and my French Bulldog Pipi eat the zucchini instead of my tomatoes? Again, neighbors are the (grateful?) recipients.
And I almost feel as though I should apologize for passing along another zucchini bread recipe... Almost. I have done various types of sautéed zucchini, stuffed zucchini, and zucchini fritters. The one redeeming thing about zucchini bread (or muffins) is it freezes well. And that's what I've been doing; about 3 loaves a week. This time, the zucchini bread is studded with plump dried cranberries; tasty when spread with salted European butter :-P
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 3 large eggs
• 1 cup canola oil
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups shredded zucchini
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350˚F
1. Place the dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak 10 minutes to plump; drain and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the zucchini and mix just to combine. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry. Mix until almost all of the flour is incorporated. Add the walnuts and plumped cranberries and fold through the batter until evenly distributed and no flour remains.
3. Divide the batter between 2 oiled and floured 9x5x3-inch bread pans. Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from pans.
It's always a struggle for me "up north" (aside from the fact that I'm a city girl). I will prepare for days before leaving home, but it always seems as though I'm unprepared when we arrive at our destination. I will pack crates of fresh food and dry goods, but always end up lacking... something. Plus, it doesn't help that I will never feel comfortable in any kitchen but my own. The "up north" electric oven bakes much hotter than my gas range at home. This translates into burnt baked goods at times. Dinner at the lodge? I'd much rather, but it doesn't happen often.
Ok... enough complaining! It's almost 10 degrees cooler here than at home. There's a lake. There's a pool. I made fresh Sweet Cherry Muffins this morning for breakfast, and they were very good -- even though they lacked the cinnamon. Something else I forgot to pack.
+ recipe adapted from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook +
• 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 large egg, slightly beaten
• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 1 cup milk
• 2 cups cherries, pitted and chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease a muffin tin.
2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the egg, oil, and milk. Stir only until dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Batter will be lumpy. Gently fold in the cherries.
3. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly before removing from muffin tin. Makes approximately 16 muffins.
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