Fig and Toasted Walnut Biscotti

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Fig and Toasted Walnut was the last recipe of ten on my holiday biscotti baking list.  It’s one of three new biscotti recipes I’ve added to my collection this year.

Don’t know why I left making these until last and even hesitated in making them right up to the very end.  It could be because of a few questions about the recipe itself but as usual a couple of minor changes and I was ready to give it a try.

After successfully baking nine double batches of flavourful biscotti and a kitchen ready for major cleanup I hoped for one last double batch good enough to complete my baking.

All done!  And a perfect finale.  Fragrant with warm spices, toasted walnuts and sweet sun-dried figs in a crisp, crunchy biscotti…absolutely delicious.

Sweet success!

Fig and Toasted Walnut Biscotti

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup dried figs finely chopped (stem removed before chopping)

3/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

  1. Remove stem from figs and chop them into a 1/4 inch dice. Dust with flour to prevent figs from sticking together then shake off as much flour as possible
  2. Coarsely chop walnuts.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and brown sugar until creamy.
  5. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  6. Add orange zest and vanilla until blended in.
  7. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  8. Stir in figs and walnuts.
  9. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 40 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  11. Roll each piece of dough into a 2 inch diameter roll.  (Make 2 to 3 rolls depending on size of baking sheet.)
  12. Bake until lightly golden 25 to 30 minutes.
  13. Take logs out of the oven and when cool enough to handle cut logs on the bias into ½ to ¾ inch slices.
  14. Place slices on their side and bake for 6 minutes.
  15. Turn slices over and bake an additional 6 minutes
  16. Cool biscotti on rack.
  17. Makes approximately 28 biscotti.
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Remove stems  from figs and cut into a 1/4 inch dice.  Lightly dust with flour to prevent pieces from sticking together.   Shake off excess flour.

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Toast and coarsely chop walnuts.

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Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda salt, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.

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Beat butter until creamy, add granulated sugar and brown sugar blending until smooth.

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Add eggs one at a time until well mixed.

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Add grated orange zest and vanilla.

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Beat in flour mixture just until mixed in.

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Stir in walnuts and figs.

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Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

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Cut dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 40 minutes.

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Unwrap dough and roll into 2 inch diameter rolls.

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Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden.

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When cool enough to handle slice diagonally into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.  Turn cut side down on baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes then flip over and continue baking for an additional 6 minutes.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Although the recipe didn’t instruct,  I found it necessary to dust the fig pieces with a little flour.  This kept the pieces from sticking together making big clumps of figs in the dough. Make sure to shake off excess flour.
  • This is the first biscotti recipe I’ve made requiring the dough to be refrigerated before rolling.  Even though the dough was not sticky and would have rolled out well I followed the recipe and refrigerated it as instructed with good results.  I wasn’t going to take any chances with my last batch of biscotti!
  • Fancy nutcracker?  One of the best wedding favors ever!

 

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Cappuccino Biscotti

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This will once again be the year of bountiful biscotti baking.

Although the shortbread collection of cookies made for holiday giving last year were very well received, memories of biscotti are still on the minds of those who received them two years ago.

Most biscotti need no embellishment and stand up very well on their own, but off course dressing them up a little if desired makes them extra special.

Along with the all-time favourites, a few new and interesting biscotti recipes have been added to my collection this year.

Unsuccessful at finding a good cappuccino biscotti recipe, the combination of two different recipes worked well in producing the visual effect I was looking for.  Vanilla biscotti dough layered on top of espresso flavoured dough gave the ever-popular look of cappuccino.

A little creativity goes a long way when baking biscotti, a basic recipe becomes a blank canvas with possibilities reaching as far as the imagination.

Earl Grey and Walnut Fig Biscotti… two more products of someone’s imagination and best of all the recipes shared for all to enjoy!  Can’t wait to try them.

Cappuccino Biscotti

Not to make this a super lengthy post I have provided the recipes for both the Vanilla and Espresso Biscotti but not the method or pictures.  Biscotti recipes are generally easy to follow including the recipes used on this post.  If needed, search “biscotti” on this blog for basic method of preparation on other biscotti posts.  Directions on how to put together the Vanilla and Espresso dough for Cappuccino Biscotti begin at the point of both dough flavours already made.

Vanilla Biscotti

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl beat butter until creamy, blend in sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated.
  5. With mixer on low speed add flour until well mixed.
  6. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces.

Espresso Biscotti

4 tablespoons instant espresso

3 tablespoons hot water

2 3/4 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

  1. Dissolve espresso flour in hot water, set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt into a bowl.
  3. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add eggs one at a time.
  5. Add espresso mixture blend in until well mixed.
  6. Add flour mixture a little at a time and beat until it becomes too thick for beater then stir in remaining flour with spatula.
  7. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.

Assembly

  1. Roll Espresso dough into a roll on a lightly floured surface until about 18 inches long.  *see note below.
  2. Repeat for the remaining 3 pieces and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Roll the 4 pieces of vanilla dough to the same length.
  4. With a pastry brush dipped in water brush tops of Espresso rolls until moist.  (This is to make it easier for the vanilla dough to adhere to the Espresso dough.)
  5. Place vanilla logs on top of the Espresso logs and pat down gently making sure they are sticking together.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for about 25 minutes and a tooth pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes then cut into 3/4 inch slices (for longer biscotti cut on the diagonal)
  8. Turn biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and bake 6 to 7 minutes then turn biscotti over on other side and bake an additional 6 to 7 minutes until crisp and dry.
  9. Transfer biscotti onto rack to cool.
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Make Vanilla and Espresso biscotti dough as per above recipes.

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Divide each flavour of dough into 4 equal pieces.

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Roll espresso dough as well as the Vanilla dough int rolls.  Place espresso rolls on baking sheet.

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Brush tops of Espresso rolls with water to moisten and place vanilla rolls on to of espresso rolls patting down gently making sure they are sticking together.

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Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for about 25 minutes until tooth pick inserted in center of roll comes out clean.  Cut into about 3/4 inch slices.

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Place biscotti on their sides and bake for about 6 to 7 minutes then turn over and bake for an additional 6 to 7 minutes until crisp and dry.  Transfer to cooling rack.

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Notes,Tips and Suggestions

  • I use a large baking sheet when making biscotti and am able to make the rolls very long.  If using a standard size cookie sheet make the rolls to fit your sheet and of course you will have to make more rolls.
  • Original recipe instructed to add 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder to 3 tablespoons hot coffee.  After a trial run I didn’t think the coffee flavour came through strong enough.
  • In my next batch I omitted the coffee which I think really doesn’t give much flavour and added 4 tablespoons espresso powder to 3 tablespoons hot water giving a more intense coffee flavour.
  • If you don’t have instant espresso powder regular instant coffee will work as well.
  • You don’t want Cappuccino?  Then just make Espresso Biscotti instead.

 

Bacon and Cheddar Scones

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I have officially entered into the wonderful world of savoury scones!

Although there are several savoury scone recipes in my forever growing collection this is the one I chose to make first.

When it came to cutting the prepared dough I hesitated.  Somehow, I didn’t think the classic triangle was going to be the appropriate shape for these.

I also decided against cutting scones into rounds since re-rolling the scraps never produces scones as light and flaky as those from the first rolling.

Squaring off the dough I had originally rolled out into a round, I decided to cut it into six long strips, the perfect shape for serving with a steaming bowl of soup or crisp tossed salad.

Why did I wait so long to try these!

Although a savoury scone, these tasty, cheesy, bacon studded scones would certainly be welcomed at any breakfast or brunch table as well!

Bacon and Cheddar Scones

about 6 strips low sodium bacon

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup grated old cheddar

2/3 cup buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp.
  3. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside to cool.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt.
  5. With a pastry blender cut in butter or grate butter and add into flour mixture.
  6. Stir in bacon and cheddar.
  7. Add buttermilk and stir in with a fork.
  8. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together by pressing down with palm of hand then folding dough over itself until well mixed and flour is fully incorporated.
  9. Pat or roll into a round and cut into 8 wedges or form into a square and cut into 6 equal strips.
  10. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and brush tops with milk or cream,
  11. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and cooked through.
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Chop about 6 strips low sodium bacon.

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Cook until crisp, drain off fat and place bacon on a paper towel to cool, set aside.

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Grate enough cheddar to measure 1/2 cup.

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Sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt.

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Cut butter into flour mixture or coarsely grate butter, mix thoroughly into flour.

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Stir in cheddar and bacon.

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Add buttermilk stirring in with a fork until dough starts coming together.

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Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface then with palm of hand press mixture down then keep folding dough over itself until it comes together and flour is totally incorporated.

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Pat or roll into about an 8 inch square and cut into six equal strips or form into a circle and cut into 8 wedges.

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Place on parchment lined baking sheet, brush tops with milk or cream.

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Bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden and baked through.

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Enjoy!

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • If grating butter, place in freezer for a while for easier grating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Brownies

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It was a banana baking bonanza at my house this week.  That bag of reduced price bananas purchased at the grocery store last week wouldn’t let me leave until I placed it in my cart.

Problem is, time just got away from me this week and when I finally checked to see how they were doing it was apparent they needed immediate attention.

Most of them went into my favourite banana breads and a couple into a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins.

This was the opportune time to try a new banana recipe.  I’ve had my eye on this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Brownies for a while and it seemed the time had finally come to make it happen.

Can it get any better than chocolate and peanut butter?  Apparently so…just add bananas.

My first batch produced some very moist, fudgy, delicious brownies which are no longer around due to a high demand.

Personally, I prefer a brownie that is somewhere in between fudgy and cakey.  Nothing that an extra quarter cup of flour and  teaspoon of baking powder couldn’t fix.  Perfect for those who prefer this texture in a brownie instead!

One banana left…now you know where that one is going to end up!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Brownies

2 ripe bananas

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cups flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter.

  1. Sift together flour cocoa powder and salt into a bowl.
  2. Into a blender add bananas, melted butter, sugar and vanilla, blend until smooth.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir together until well combined.
  4. Place batter into a well greased 9×9 inch square baking pan.
  5. Using a spoon add dollops of peanut butter over the batter and using a knife or wooden skewer swirl the peanut butter into the brownie batter.
  6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes until set, do not over bake.
  7. Cool completely before cutting into 9 to 12 squares.
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Sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt. ( Add 1/4 cup more flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder for more cake like brownies.)

b2

Blend together bananas, sugar, melted butter and vanilla until smooth.

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Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients…

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…just until well mixed.

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Pour batter into a well greased 9×9 inch baking pan and place dollops of peanut butter over surface.

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With a knife or wooden skewer swirl peanut butter into batter.

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Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes just until set.  Do not over bake.  When completely cool cut into 9 to 12 squares.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • For a more cakey brownie add an extra 1/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder to the dry ingredients.
  • Instead of mashing the bananas and stirring in the butter and vanilla as the recipe originally instructs add them to the blender instead blending until smooth.
  • For easier removal of brownies from pan line bottom of pan with parchment paper.

More Brownies…

http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/search?q=brownies+in+a+jar

http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/search?q=brownies

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

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I’m always on the look out for just one more good muffin recipe.  My already favourite muffins are easy to put together, require minimal time to bake,  can count on turning out well every time and deliciously satisfying.

Then I have several very good muffin recipes requiring a little extra time and perhaps a few special ingredients.  As good as these muffins are they are not my go to recipes and best left for more special occasions. This is not to say that every day breakfast is not a special occasion.

When I came across this recipe for Raspberry Lemon Muffins I admit the accompanying picture caught my attention.  But it was the moderate amount of sugar, Canola oil instead of butter and whole wheat making up for half of the flour in the recipe that was of interest to me.  This recipe was well worth trying.

There was no intention to post the recipe this week as it was just in the trial stage therefore no pictures but they couldn’t be easier to make.

A few slight changes were made to the method of preparation just to make things a little easier (especially if you decide to make these at five o’clock in the morning.)

A truly enjoyable, light, lemony muffin studded with delicious tart, juicy raspberries can make an everyday breakfast a very special occasion.

How could I keep this recipe to myself!

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

zest of 1 lemon (finely grated)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup canola or corn oil

1 large egg

1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
  4. Into a blender add buttermilk, oil, egg, sugar and lemon zest. Blend until well mixed.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add buttermilk mixture, fold together until almost completely blended.
  6. Place frozen raspberries into a sieve, dust with flour shaking off excess.
  7. Gently fold raspberries into batter just until mixed, do not over mix.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.
  9. Yield 12 medium or 8 large muffins.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • No buttermilk? Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar into the 1 cup of milk.
  • If using frozen raspberries break whole raspberries up into smaller pieces, this way you get a better ratio of raspberries in every muffin.
  • Don’t over-mix batter for a tender muffin.
  • Although regular whole wheat flour can be used, wholewheat pastry flour gives a much lighter, fluffier muffin.
  • Using a blender for the wet ingredients mixes the ingredients very well and incorporates air into the mixture for lighter muffins.  Otherwise mix them in a bowl with a mixer.
  • Mix together a second batch of dry ingredients into a Ziplock bag and you’re ready to just add the wet ingredients, berries and bake..  Just don’t forget to label  what’s in the bag.

 

 

 

Irish Apple Cake

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Did I need a new Apple Cake recipe?  I don’t think so but there’s something about the fall and seasonal fresh apples that inspire trying a new apple recipe.

There’s certainly no shortage of Apple Cake recipes and I already have a few favourites we’ve enjoyed for years but this recipe turned out a little different than I expected.

And different it is since the texture and density is unlike any Apple Cake I have made.

My curiosity got the better of me and a little research on the subject ensued.  Turns out Irish Apple Cake also known as Kerry Cake is technically not a cake at all but rather a bread served warm or cold with a little chilled cream or custard.

It seems to be a recipe from the old country originally baked in a covered black wrought iron pot hung over the fire to cook…I can just picture it now!  Apparently back then the category of cake was assigned to any baked good with a little bit of precious sugar added.

Well, this new apple recipe has certainly come with a few surprises, discoveries and a little Irish culinary history.

All in all, sweet apple chunks throughout a slightly dense crumb, topped with a crisp sugary crust.

Another delicious Apple Cake recipe…I mean Bread!

Irish Apple Cake

3 cups cake and pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cups sugar

3 to 4 large Granny Smith apples

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for topping)

  1. Spray 8 or 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon into a large bowl.
  4. Using a pastry cutter cut butter into dry mixture until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
  5. Thoroughly mix in sugar.
  6. Peel and slice apples into thin wedges then chop into pieces and toss into flour mixture coating the apples.
  7. In a small bowl beat eggs and milk and add to dry mixture, stir well to moisten flour. (Dough will be very thick and sticky.)
  8. Transfer dough to prepared pan and flatten top with spatula then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  9. Bake 45 to 55 minutes until top is golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan and place on wire cooling rack.
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Sift together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl.

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Peel and cut 3 to 4 large Granny Smith apples.

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Toss cut up apples in flour mixture until well covered.

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In a small bowl mix together milk and eggs.  (I use a small blender)

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Add milk and egg mixture to flour mixture and…

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Mix together until flour is totally moistened.  Will result in a very thick sticky dough.

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Spread into prepared pan and flatten top with a spatula.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over top.

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Bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 45 to 55 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • I used Golden Delicious apples which worked out very well.

More Apple Cake Recipes…

Harvest Apple Cake   http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/2012/10/harvest-apple-cake.html

Apple Cake   http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/2009/10/appleany-way-you-slice-it.html

Fresh Apple Cake  https://bayberryst.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/fresh-apple-cake/

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

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Although there are plenty of recipes in which to use up all those over ripe bananas I haven’t come across too many requiring only one banana.

When faced with the decision of either letting it go to waste or transforming it into something truly delicious I usually turn to my favourite Banana Scone Recipe.

The original recipe doesn’t include chocolate chips as an ingredient but there’s no law against making a change or two to an existing recipe especially if the results just make it tastier.  Adding some toasted walnuts to these scones sounds just as good to me and that’s the direction I’ll go in for my next batch.

Easy to make, few required ingredients and delicious, but most important of all another banana has escaped tragically ending up in the compost bin!

That makes me happy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

2 cups flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup cold butter cut into small pieces

1/2 cup mashed banana (approximately 1 medium banana)

2 tablespoons heavy cream (35%)

1 egg

1 tablespoon cream (to brush on top of scones)

  1. Into a bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. With a pastry blender cut in pieces of butter until the size of small peas.
  3. Mix in chocolate chips.
  4. Blend together banana, egg and cream. (I use a blender)
  5. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until dough comes together.
  6. Turn dough out on a floured surface and form into a disk shape approximately 8 inches in diameter.
  7. Brush cream over top of disk then cut into 8 equal pieces.
  8. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F. for 15 to 20 minutes until golden in colour.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • As always don’t over handle the dough.   No kneading, just fold dough over itself until it comes together for flaky tender scones.
  • For best results add only the 1/2 cup  banana called for in the recipe.  Adding more will make the dough too wet and compromise the texture of the scones.  (You’ll just have to take my word on that.)

 

No-Knead Artisan Rolls

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Well I’m still happily baking the No-Knead Artisan Bread in “Rosetta” my little red Dutch Oven since the day I first tried the recipe.

There’s just no going back to the commercially baked bread once you’ve made your first loaf and taste the difference.  A new green coloured Dutch Oven has recently joined Rosetta making it possible for more than one loaf to be baked at a time.

I didn’t think this no- knead bread could get any better until my new Dutch oven “Olivia” baked a deliciously fragrant olive and sun-dried tomato loaf.   You just need to try it to understand what I mean.

When I came across this recipe for No-Knead Artisan Rolls I knew it would only be a matter of time until a batch emerged from my oven.

Just as easy to prepare as the no-knead bread using basically the same ingredients this recipe makes a dozen or so delicious crusty rolls.  Although the texture of the rolls differs from the Artisan Bread they are equally chewy and delicious.

I will definitely try adding some olives and sun dried tomatoes into my next batch.

No-Knead Artisan Rolls

4 cups bread flour  ( plus extra for shaping)

2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon dry yeast

2 cups room temperature tap water

  1. In a medium-large bowl whisk together the bread flour, salt and yeast.
  2. Make a well in the center and add the water mixing with a rubber spatula until all flour is incorporated, the dough will be wet and sticky.
  3. Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and leave to rise at room temperature overnight or for up to 12 hours.
  4. Spread a generous amount of flour on a work surface. Dump the dough out onto the floured surface and turn it several times to coat with flour.
  5. Divide the dough into 12-16 equal pieces, turning each piece in the flour to coat.
  6. Shape each piece into a ball, pulling edges under and pinching together to make a smooth top.
  7. Invert balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, pinched side up. This will give you craggy, rustic textured rolls. If the dough is sticky as you’re shaping, just roll the piece in more of the flour.
  8. Cover with a clean tea towel and let shaped rolls rise for 20 minutes, in the meantime preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  9. Transfer pan to preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate pan and bake 5 minutes more or until nicely golden.
  10. Transfer rolls to cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. If making in advance, remove from oven when pale golden brown (about 3-4 minutes less). Cool completely, then freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer rolls to a large zip lock bag and store in the freezer. To serve, allow rolls to thaw, then heat for 3 to 5 minutes at 375˚F.
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In a medium-large bowl combine bread flour, salt and yeast.

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Add water.

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Mix all ingredients together until….

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….it forms a rough shaggy dough.

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Cover bowl with plastic wrap and clean tea towel  Set aside for 8 to 12 hours or overnight.

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Dough will double in volume.

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Place a generous amount of flour on working surface and dump the dough onto the flour.

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Turn it several times to coat with flour. A bench scraper works well for this.

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Cut into 12 to 16 pieces and roll each piece in flour.

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Shape each piece into a ball, pulling edges under and pinching together to make a smooth top.  Invert balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, pinched side up. This will give you craggy, rustic textured rolls.

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Cover and let rise for 20 minutes

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Bake in a preheated 425 degree F. oven for 15 minutes, rotate pan and continue to bake for 5 minutes or until rolls are golden.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • I use coarse sea salt in this recipe and will increase it to 3 teaspoons instead of 2 the next time baking these rolls.
  • These rolls freeze well, defrost and place in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for about 3 minutes for toasty fresh buns.

Welcome Olivia!

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Just in case you missed the No-knead artisan bread update posted several weeks ago…

A quick update on No Knead Crusty Artisan Bread

There hasn’t been a loaf of store bought bread in the house since the first time I made this bread.  It’s hard to take credit for making this truly delicious bread because of the ease in making it.  Everyone who tries it loves it and can’t stop eating it!

It freezes wonderfully, the crust never falls off when defrosting and it doesn’t have to be warmed up to bring back that fresh baked texture and taste.

I have however made a few more changes to the recipe posted earlier which has made it even better and here they are…

*How timely for an enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven to come on sale! I took advantage of the great price and invested in one. I must say that it has been one of the best cooking pot purchases I have ever made.  If you’re serious about baking this bread it’s worth getting one.  It conducts heat amazingly well, to the point that it becomes unnecessary to remove the lid for the last minutes of baking to brown the top.  It also improves on the quality of the crust and rise of the bread.

*A suggestion from my husband to use spring instead of tap water has made a remarkable difference in the taste. (He is one of those people who just can’t stop eating this bread… not sure if that’s a good thing.)

*Lastly, Bread Flour is the way to go for this loaf. Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose which adds strength to the bread enabling the loaves to rise higher.

*Oops, almost forgot, I replaced the regular salt with 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt…perfect!

Meet Rosetta!!  (Yes, I named the pot.)

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Chocolate Banana Bread

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You can walk past a bag of bananas with a reduced price tag on them while shopping and just see bananas past their prime or you can envision them baked into all kinds of tasty things!

I’ve rescued a few or maybe more than a few inexpensive bags of ripe bananas over the years and transformed them into absolute deliciousness!

The excitement of the great banana deal soon fades after getting home and realizing some will need your attention right away and the rest not too long after.

Today I took care of of some bananas purchased a few days ago by baking  Marbled Banana Bread , an old time favourite.  Since there’s no shortage of over ripe bananas and banana bread recipes available I gave this new recipe a try.  Of course it’s a keeper, any new banana bread recipe I’ve made so far has been as good as the one made before.

It seems no matter what other ingredients are in banana bread the banana always shines through.  The list of ingredients in this recipe first caught my attention.  However, the method of preparation needed a little work in my opinion and without saying more has been simplified making it much easier to follow.

Moist tender crumb,  full of banana flavour, chocolaty rich and best of all now easier to make!

Chocolate Banana Bread

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 medium/large bananas

2 eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk or 1/3 cup milk mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.
  3. Combine bananas, eggs, milk and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients stirring until well mixed.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into a greased 9X5 inch loaf pan, add a few more chocolate chips on top of loaf.
  7. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove from pan and continue to cool completely on wire rack.
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Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

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In a blender blend together eggs, bananas, buttermilk sugar and oil

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Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir together until well mixed.

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Stir in chocolate chips.

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Pour batter into greased pan and top with chocolate chips.

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Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 40 to 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of loaf  comes out clean.

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Cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • As always I like to use a loaf pan measuring 11×4 inches instead of the 9×5.  The center bakes evenly along with the rest of the loaf  and makes more uniform size slices.
  • This loaf  takes only minutes to put together and is absolutely delicious.
  • Make sure to use the best cocoa powder possible for best results.

 

Beef Steak Spiedini

this one spiedini

If these spiedini look at all familiar you’re right, they are similar to the Chicken Spiedini recipe I posted several weeks ago.   As much as they look similar they are quite different in ingredients and taste.

What do you do with surloin tip  cut a little too thin and not suitable for grilling as a steak on the barbecue?   Although I wasn’t sure of  the outcome,  rolling it up and making spiedini seemed a suitable alternative at the time.

Since making spiedini was not in the plan when the meat was purchased I only had in-house ingredients to work with.

Pancetta would have been my first choice to roll up in the meat for a little moisture and flavour but the only thing on hand was smoked bacon…why not?  Salt, pepper, a little grated cheese, fresh parsley and a hint of garlic was rolled up in the middle as well.

It actually started to look like one large braciole ready for a pot of simmering tomato sauce until cut into slices and skewered ready for the grill instead.

Surprisingly, the bacon worked out very well giving  a mild smoky taste and adding a little fat to an otherwise lean piece of meat.

Yes, I would make them again, smoked bacon and all!

Beef Steak Spiedini

These are the basic ingredients and method of preparation.  Amounts needed to season the meat and quantity of bacon will vary according to taste and quantity of meat..

boneless steak of choice pounded thin

salt

pepper

grated cheese

fresh chopped Italian parsley

garlic (optional)

smoked bacon

  1. Lay steak flat and season entire surface with salt, pepper, cheese, chopped parsley and garlic if using.
  2. Lay enough bacon slices to cover surface of meat.
  3. Starting at the longest edge roll up tightly then slice into approximately 1-inch thick slices.
  4. Place on wooden skewers which have been soaked in water for about an hour.
  5. Grill on medium high heat for about 5 to 6 minutes per side.
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Place steak onto a piece of plastic wrap and season entire surface with salt, pepper, cheese, parsley and garlic if using.

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Cover with thin slices of bacon.

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Starting at longer side of meat roll up tightly.

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Cut into approximately 1 inch slices.

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Place on bamboo skewers which have previously been soaked in water.

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Grill on medium high heat for approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side.  Do not overcook.

this one spiedini

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • For just a hint of garlic peel and cut a clove of garlic in half and rub on the entire surface of the meat before adding remaining ingredients.
  • Spiedini can be frozen in the raw state once skewered.  No need to thaw completely to cook, semi-thawed is good.
  • Don’t overcook for best results.

Let’s Have a Spiedini Party!!

Salads, sides and Beef, Chicken and Shrimp on the grill!

this one spiedini

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http://someoneinthekitchen.blogspot.ca/search?q=shrimp+skewers