Diet Wrecker

If you’re on a diet or otherwise trying to avoid sweet-stuff, seriously, abandon ship/post now. This one contains ALL the butter. Also sugar. Lots of sugar

Still here? Awesome, let me begin gushing about these cinnamon rolls.

These are not the typical cinnamon rolls with a cinnamon-sugar mixture laced through. These have a spiced cinnamon-brown sugar mix laced in, with cardamom and coriander. I would have used the star anise called for in the original, but a) we didn’t have any left when I thought we did and b) the grocery store didn’t have any on the shelves (what the heck Wegmans, weird place to fail on me).

Very, very addictive. We had a couple friends over for a little dessert party hang out – pretty sure all four of us had at least two rolls each. Which still left an entire pan of more. This, dear readers, is why I irregularly take baked goods into work – my desk is not in the same area as where we usually leave food for everyone. Therefore, no mindless snacking. Not saying I never eat what I bring in. Just, no where near as much as I would if we kept the excess in our apartment.

Fair warning, this is a long recipe, in terms of time. There’s two different dough rises and ingredients should come to room temperature before even starting. Look elsewhere for a quick dessert, but these can be made ahead, frozen, and then finished the day you need them.

Man, I really want another cinnamon roll right now…

Spiced Sticky Rolls
(with Cream Cheese Frosting)

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 2 nine inch pans, ~ 24 rolls
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 24; Desserts: 2 recipes left

Dough

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, lightly warmed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tsp butter, unsalted, at room temperature (if at all possible)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp (ish) of vanilla extract (pretty sure I accidentally poured in more than a tbsp…)
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups flour

Filling

  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon OR 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom OR cardamom seeds
  • 1 cup brown sugar, dark
  • 1 cup/2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature

Icing

  • 4 oz cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/2 cup milk (or less if you like thicker icing)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, more if desired (for thicker icing)
  1. Dough:
    1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and set aside until a bit bubbly, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the milk mixture, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough becomes very thick.
    2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and warm, about 7 minutes OR switch the stand mixer to a dough hook and knead until taut and smooth, about 5 minutes.
    3. Wipe out your bowl and lightly oil it. Shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, and then turn to get it coated with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside, in a warm place, to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  2. Filling:
    1. Grind together any whole spices you are using until fine, then mix in the pre-ground spices. Mix the spices with the brown sugar, then cream the sugar mixture into the butter.
  3. Lightly grease two 9″ cake pans or one 9×13 inch pan. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14 by 24 inches. You’ll want a big work surface for this. Once rolled out, slather the butter mixture thickly across the dough, making sure to spread it nearly to the edges. Roll up along the long side of the dough, into a taut and tight roll – this works better with two people rolling the dough in sync.
  4. Cut the dough roll into 24 individual rolls – we found our sharp chef’s knife worked better than a bench scrapper. Divide the rolls among the prepared pans, then cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 350°F
    1. Making tonight: Bake until just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes (ours were slightly gooily underdone [still delicious!] at 18 minutes). Drizzle (or douse…) with the icing (described below) and serve warm.
    2. Making ahead: Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool. Freeze in their pans or a freezer bag. To finish, allow to thaw in the refrigerator over night and bake in the morning at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. Frost with icing (described below) and serve warm
  6. Icing:
    1. Beat the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar together. Add more sugar as necessary to achieve your desired thickness/consistency.

First from the new batch

Somehow, or other, I managed to actually try one of the recipes that made it through elimination off a computer screen. See friends had a cookout for the July 4th weekend and asked us to bring a dessert – I’ve got some of those to try! So Adam and I whipped up a batch of the Blackberry-Rhubarb Crumble. It being rhubarb and berries season at Wegmans. But uh, slightly … modified. See Adam’s mom makes these fruit crumbles in a deep black (oven-safe) bowl that tastes really good and is easy to serve, having been baked in the serving bowl and all. Her’s involves significantly more alcohol than any I’ve ever made though 🙂

I think this recipe needed a) a smaller dice of the rhubarb and b) the 9″x13″ baking pan specified. I’m sure the depth of the bowl affected how things cooked and that I would have gotten a more even bake with a flatter dish. Adam’s mom’s version goes in at a lower temperature for longer, I think.

::sighs:: I had a voice dictation of the recipe from her. Deleted that after transcribing it into my computer. The first one that was stolen. No back up. Very sad Laura. Thing I was actually most upset about, since everything else was replaceable. I may be able to convince Capers to dictate the recipe again. Some year when we’re in the same place for a holiday.

Any rate, the end result for the crumble I did make was a bit too astringent and acidic from the rhubarb (hence the need for a smaller dice, so it would have cooked more), the blackberries didn’t quite go with, and I definitely needed more sugar to counter-balance everything. End vote was, not good enough bones shown to try and fiddle with it.

Hurray, one less recipe to copy out!

Blackberry-Rhubarb Crumble

serves 8-12
original from TheKitchn.com

Fruit

  • 18 oz blackberries, rinsed
  • 1 lb rhubarb, rinsed & cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • small pinch of kosher salt

Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 tbsp butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Toss the blackberries and rhubarb together, gently, with the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Pour into a large, oven-safe, deep bowl.
  3. Whisk together the flour and baking powder, then stir in the brown sugar, breaking up any clumps.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and work the two together with your hands. Squeeze and pinch until clumpy with loose crumbs at the bottom of the bowl. Drop the clumps over the fruit then shake the crumbs evenly over the top. Sprinkle with pecans, then pour the melted butter evenly over everything; make sure to wet everything.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown and crumble baked through, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool before serving (suggest serving with ice cream).

 

We’ve replaced the camera, so pictures will start happening again (yay!)

Those are no muffins

Apparently rhubarb season is really short in our area – tried finding some at Wegmans for two weeks and nada. Was randomly at Eastern Market last Saturday and the first place asked at said that the season had just passed. But the second place had some out (hurrah visual recognition!) – aaand only took cash. I don’t really carry cash any more but I had a little bit and at $6/lb, only needing a stalk, two bucks covered it. So, very lucky there.

This one was the second strawberry-type muffin I’ve been saving for the summer and I am very glad to a) eat them and b) finally get them out of my binder! I don’t make breakfast stuff too often and am glad I made the time for these.

All that said, these Strawberry Rhubarb muffins (with cinnamon streusel topping) are NOT muffins.

They’re cupcakes.

Seriously, they’re sweet enough to taste like one and I really don’t care if you don’t make cupcakes with fruit or require frosting on top of your cupcakes – these are sweet enough to fit my category description.

Doesn’t keep me from eat one at breakfast though 🙂

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins CUPCAKES with cinnamon streusel

12 cupcakes
Original from Cup of Sugar, Pinch of Salt
Recipe Count – 7 left
Section Count – Black Binder:  4 more left, Subsection – Breakfast: 0 (all done!)

Filling:

  • 1 cup strawberries, stemmed & quartered (quartered, then measured)
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, peeled if needed & diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

Muffins

  • 1.5 cups unbleached white flour (if you’ve got your local Glut equivalent, otherwise all-purpose flour is just fine)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly (if it re-solidifies, the microwave on LOW power works well)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup milk

Topping

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cubed butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Filling (Can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated): In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the strawberries, diced rhubarb, and sugar. Sauté until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry and allow to boil. Once mixture has thickened, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease muffin cups or line.
  3. Mix together the topping sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon with a fork until it looks like coarse sand. Set aside.
  4. Combine the muffin flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, and egg; mix into the flour mixture.
  5. Fill muffin cups to about 1/3 full then create a small indentation in the middle. Fill with about tbsp of strawberry-rhubarb mixture. Fill remainder of muffin cup with batter (right to the top) and sprinkle with topping.
  6. Bake until golden brown & a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffin

That really wasn’t a dough….

It was really more like softened butter mostly held together in a flour structure. I mean technically it was dough and it certainly baked like dough (like it should), but holy gods, that was the butteriest dough I have ever worked with. And I bake a lot! Not pastry chef levels of a lot, but for a home baker? What the [expletive] was I making, you ask?

Brioche

And for those of you who, like me, have/had never heard of brioche before, the Wiki page.

Yes, this one has chocolate. Adam taste tested for me. I don’t think he minded:Adam

Why the [expletive] was I trying to make a pastry involving three different rises (one 4-12 hours long), involving an ingredient that I can’t eat, and enough butter to kill half the cardiologists at the AMA? Well… I’ve never tried brioche before, and Adam is doing a French themed Feastly in July – I claimed the dessert in order to participate (and have an excuse to try more dessert recipes) so brioche seemed appropriate. And I definitely want to try the recipe at least once before serving it to people who’ve paid for a dinner.

Honestly, I think the only reasons this one worked for me on the first go are threefold:
1) I may have mentioned I’ve baked a lot?
2) We own a marble pastry board. Yes, I know that is utterly ridiculous. We put it on our wedding registry figuring that we were just noting things we’d buy eventually. Because I like making lists and this way we could export it and save the idea. And then our family and friends bought out our registry. We were very confused. Highly gratified, don’t get me wrong. But also confused.
The relevant bit being that we own a marble pastry board. Which really did make working with a very buttery dough easier.
3) Adam’s aunt and uncle own a bakery. Which means Adam has watched his uncle transfer very buttery, wet dough from one surface (like a marble board) to another (like a wood cutting board you’re comfortable taking a knife to the dough on). The trick is to lay down one layer of plastic wrap on top of the dough and then roll the dough onto a rolling pin, like you’re rolling up a scroll. … That may not be the best analogy there, but it’s the one I’ve got, so we’re going with that. 🙂 The plastic wrap keeps the dough layers separated, the rolling pin lets you walk the dough to the new surface and then you just unroll. It’s a neat trick. And thankfully one I don’t need to execute very often.

I would not recommend these brioche to y’all. I mean, they’re tasty and interesting. But heck, see above on how I got it to work. And that’s before I’ve mentioned that I started on Tuesday night, left the dough in the refrigerator about 8-10 hours longer than is called for, and finished up on Wednesday night. I’ll probably use these guys for the Feastly, but then I’ll be able to start on a Saturday morning (and I’ll be using an sweetened egg wash on the brioche before putting them in the oven next time). Also, marble  pastry board. Plus I like crazy hard baking challenges. I just don’t, in good conscience, recommend that anyone else try it. Unless you’re a pastry chef – ’cause then you’re probably giggling that I think brioche are kinda tricky.

So, from the Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary edition, I present

Brioche au Chocolat

make ~20-30 pastries
Recipe Count – 11 left
Section Count – Dessert Binder:  5 more left, Subsection – Dessert breads: 2 more

  • 1/3 cup warm milk, 105°F-115°F – original called for whole milk and although I used 2%, I would really recommend sticking with that whole milk – it’ll give a richer dough and really, that’s what you should be going for
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (i.e. leave it out on the counter at the start of the recipe and it’ll be soft by the time you need it)
  • Your favorite type of chocolate (dark or semi-sweet recommended)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1-2 tbsp milk or water, optional (I did not use it this time but will in the future, so am including it here)
  1. Combine the milk and yeast in the bowl you will be mixing in the flour – preferably the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Allow to stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour, the eggs, sugar and salt; mix by hand or on low-speed, gradually stirring in the other 1 cup of flour. Mix until all ingredients are blended, about 5 minutes.
  2. Knead the dough: with a dough hook on low to medium speed for 7-10 minutes or by hand for about 15 minutes. Using a dough hook, the dough should clear the side of the bowl but may stick to the bottom. If kneading by hand, slap the dough down on your work surface, lift half of it up with both hands (it’ll be sticky and part will remain stuck to the surface), and slap it down over itself. Dough is kneaded when it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky.
  3. Vigorously knead the butter into the dough until completely incorporated and the dough is again smooth. Transfer dough to a buttered large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place (75°F – 85°F ideally) to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Punch the dough down and knead briefly. Refrigerate, covered, for 4-12 hours, until doubled. Do not leave in too long to rise or the dough will taste yeasty.
  5. Punch down the dough and roll out into an 18″x15″ inch rectangle. Cut into 3″ squares and place a generous sliver of chocolate on each square. Fold the dough over the chocolate and, if desired, brush with the egg yolk mixture. Place dough packets on an un-greased baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap (I used the plastic wrap we used to transfer the dough) and allow to rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
  6. 15-20 minutes into the rise, start preheating the oven to 400°F.
  7. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Serve when reasonably certain chocolate will no longer burn your mouth. 🙂Finished Brioche

Muffins!

In planning for this week’s food, I checked in my ‘pantry staples’ section and thought maybe I’d try caramelizing a batch of onions in  a slow cooker – store some in the fridge for use this week, the rest in the freezer for slow use over several months. But when Adam’s reaction is ‘… no. nope. no, absolutely not’, well, since he’s the one more likely to use caramelized onions, I’m willing to ditch the recipe. So that’s why the recipe count below is one less than the eagle eyed among you would be expecting.

Back to the drawing board and/or thinking cap I went – wait a minute, it’s berry season around here. There’s strawberries. As you may guess, I like strawberries (and blackberries and raspberries…). And we have this big bag of sliced almonds from our local food co-op / bulk food store. Which makes it the perfect time to try out Muffins

strawberry-almond muffins!

Hurray a switch-up in my mornings!

Strawberry-Almond Muffins

Original from HeatherHomeMode
Makes 14 muffins

Recipe Count – 12 left
Section Count – Black Binder: 6 more left, Subsection – Breakfast: 1 more

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (did I mention the food co-op/bulk food store we go to? Substitute whole wheat or bread flour here at your discretion – the taste/texture will differ a bit, but it’ll work)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (yep, 1 tbsp – these make fairly fluffy muffins)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (let the butter sit out on the counter for about 10 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups roughly chopped and loosely pack strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line or spray with cooking spray a muffin tin.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand – but it’s much easier in a stand mixer). Add the eggs one at a time; beat after each addition until fluffy. Mix in the milk and almond extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir until just blended – the dough will look wet and almost cake-batter like. Fold in the strawberries and almonds.
  5. Fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Finish2 Finish1

Fudgy Brownies

Yeah, I needed that break – Adam’s work went into overdrive and he was getting home around 10/10:30 every night. And somehow, despite doing a load of dishes every night, they seem to keep piling up.

We seem to have gotten on top of them now… even after hosting a nine person party/Feastly this weekend. In which there was all the baking – me and baking produces a lot of dishes.

Any rate, in preparation for that Feastly, I tried out a new brownie recipe – Adam wanted to make brownie pops (square of brownie on stick really. with icing!) and while we have an excellent brownie recipe, hey excuse to experiment with a new dessert recipe! I’ll take one of those. But wait, you (might) say – Laura, doesn’t chocolate give you migraines? Yes, yes it does. This is what Adam and friends from college (i.e. 10 years) are for – they get chocolate baked good, and I get honest feed back. Honestly, these are the friend who have been giving me feedback since the day I started learning to cook. They’re awesome for still being willing to try my stuff after those first couple of months 10 years ago – I had to learn to use salt. Any salt.

So these brownies – they originate (for me) from Edible Sound Bites and are very rich. To the point of I’m wondering if maybe I should look up how fudge is made, leave out the flour, baking powder, & eggs, and just refrigerate until set – violá, fudge. Huh… maybe I should actually try that. The weird cooking challenges/experiments I come up with for myself while writing these blog posts. If anyone else tries that before I do, please leave a comment on how it went!

As brownies, they need a contrasting point to them – add hint of cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick, add your favorite nuts for a texture contrast, and/or just own the richness – add some toffee or caramel for a different type of sweet.

Rich Fudge Brownies

Originally from Edible Sound Bites
Makes an 8″ x 8″ pan of brownies – cut to your preferred serving size

Recipe Count – 16 left
Section Count – Dessert Binder: 6 more left, Subsection – Cupcakes & Brownies: no more

  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp pur vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8″x8″ baking pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain marie or by placing the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl which fits snugly in a saucepan of simmering water, without the bowl touching the water. Stir consistently until melted, then set aside to cool for 5 minutes. You do not want it to cool completely – the brown sugar is easier to mix in if the chocolate is still warm. Add the brown sugar and vanilla; stir to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Separately, mix together the flour and baking powder, then add it to the chocolate batter, mixing well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center is almost firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Set on a cooling rack and allow the brownies to cool in the pan. Cut and serve.

 

Update – yep, skipping the eggs, flour, and baking powder to refrigerate the chocolate mix does make fudge. And judging by the look on Adam’s face, pretty good fudge too.

Rugelach and maybe a publication?

Sooo… originally I was going to be writing up a vegetarian pho recipe Adam and I had for dinner… oh maybe 2 weeks back now. But sitting in my inbox this evening was an email going ‘so people from X heard about your Purim themed Feastly event, would you like to contribute a recipe and photo?’

YES

I don’t care who the publisher is (I know, but I haven’t submitted the recipe & photo yet, so I don’t think I should bandied their name about), getting paid, or any of that. Someone I’m not family with or close friends with asked me to write/publish/share a recipe. Dude. Very, very flattering, whatever happens.

 

Rugelach – these are awesome little pastries with a nice (to me) mix of bread-like taste, sweet (apricots), and crunch (pistachios). Also very dangerous – I don’t think anybody took just one to start with. And nobody stopped after the first pass 🙂 This is very  much a dairy recipe and not a make ahead recipe. But you do need a large chunk of time the day of, since it involves a 2-6 hour (passive) block of time for the dough in the refrigerator. Plan ahead for this one, in both time and ingredients. I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep cream cheese stocked in the fridge and have to plan to pick it up. Who knows, for you, that might be the apricots or the pistachios. Butter, flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon, though, those I’m hoping y’all already have 🙂

Apricot-Pistachio Rugelach

makes about 30 pieces
original from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

(I really do recommend this book to anyone who enjoys baking – my go-to pastry dough comes from here)

Dough

  • 1/4 lb cream cheese, at room temperature & cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup / 1 stick / 4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature & cut into small pieces
    (If you can’t find unsalted or only have salted butter around, go ahead and use it – just omit the 1/4 tsp salt in the dough)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a food processor (easiest method) or large bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse or mix with a pastry blender (or two forks) until the dough begins to clump together. Lightly flour a work surface, turn the dough out onto it, and gather it into a bal. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, press lightly into disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but no more than 6.

Filling

  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, roughly cut up
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
    (chopped then measured)

Optional: confectioners’ sugar (for dusting/presentation)

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the apricots and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and/or evaporated, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool slightly , the transfer to a food processor or use an immersion blender and process to a fairly smooth purée. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and pistachios; set aside until dough is ready.

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly flour a work surface. With one disk at a time, roll the dough out on the work surface into a 7 inch circle. Spread 1/4th of the filling evenly on top. With a long knife, cut into 6 wedges. Starting at the outside edge of the wedge, gently roll up each wedge towards the point. Place each piece at least one inch apart on the baking sheets and bend the ends towards the center. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the baking sheets on wire racks for about 5 minutes, then transfer the rugelach to the wire racks to cool completely. While still warm, use a sieve to dust them with confectioners’ sugar, if using.

Rugelach