Saturday, November 29, 2008

BBD: Colored Breads

This one was a toughy, after deciding that brown (or any of its derivatives) was probably cheating and that is white a color argument to involved, I turned to Foodgawker and found the perfect recipe, Pumpkin Sage Rolls.

Even if these hadn't turned out yellow/orange I would have claimed they had and used photoshop to prove my point.

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls (Family Fun Magazine)

3-3/4 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 pkg or 2-1/4 tsp instant or bread machine yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup canned or frozen and thawed pureed pumpkin or squash
1 lg egg
1/2 cup water
8 fresh sage leaves, slivered (or 1-1/3 teaspoon dried leaves)
1/2 cup butter

1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt, and set it aside.

2. Pour the milk into a microwave-safe bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the honey, squash, egg, and water. (The liquid mixture should be less than 110°; anything hotter might kill the yeast.)

3. With a fork, blend the squash mixture into the flour mixture until you have a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Two hours before baking, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 6 sage leaves into the dough. Melt the butter and set it aside in a small bowl. Divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 6 portions. Divide each portion into 3 pieces. With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and dip it into the melted butter. Place 3 balls in a muffin cup. Continue until 12 muffin cups are filled.

5. Drizzle or brush each roll with 1/2 teaspoon of the leftover melted butter and then sprinkle them with the rest of the sage. Let the rolls rise in a warm spot (at least 70°) until they're double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The 3 balls of dough will rise together to form a cloverleaf shape.

6. Heat the oven to 350°. Bake the rolls until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.

Temper's Take:
These were a nice surprise, I expected them to be much more sagey then they were. The pumpkin really didn't do alot other then add some color and some moistness, maybe when I toast them the pumpkin will perk back up. I suspect that part of my problem was that darn room temperature thing, I really didn't get the rise I wanted and then I got impatient and didn't let them brown as much as I should. :(

They are exceedingly excellent with a trickle of Caramel syrup though. MMmmm

Cookie Carnival: Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

After a brief hiatus I'm back with another Cookie Carnival cookie. This one is a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie, from Regan Daley from her absolutely fabulous MUST-HAVE book, In The Sweet Kitchen. Not my normal fare but hey chocolate chip cookies! gotta be good right? Yep, they were good, all three batches, only one approached soft though.

My problems? Room temperature may vary greatly from the norm with no central heat and I may have a wee problem with overcooking cookies. Maybe I will give them another go this summer when no air conditioning raises the temp a bit.

The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
3 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
16 oz. flavorful bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly butter them, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

2. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

3. Using your hands, shape knobs of dough about the size of a large walnut and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Stagger the rows of cookies to ensure even baking. Bake 12-15 for smaller cookies, 14-17 for larger ones or until the tops are a light golden brown. If the cookies are neither firm nor dark when they are removed from the oven, they will cool chewy and soft. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. If somehow they don't get inhaled immediately, they may be stored airtight at room temperature for up to one week.

Temper's Take:
Good cookies, nothing spectacular and Toll house still rocks my chocolate chip cookie boat.

Friday, November 28, 2008

DB: Bacon Caramel Cake

This months Daring Baker challenge was Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting. The initial reviews came back OMG sweet but very good, and not being one to shy away from sugar I was looking forward to it. I will admit the Caramel portion of the recipe had me a bit worried me and candy just don't have a good history (I fail at no-fail fudge).

To put a spin on things work had a 'Bacon Off' where we were challenged to make a bacon flavored dessert. With a bit of help from Heather I tracked down Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Frosting and wouldn't you know it the recipe looked awfully familiar. SO for this challenge I made Bacon Caramel Cake. (my changes are in green)

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (8 Tblsp Butter and 2 Tblsp Bacon drippings)
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup of minced bacon, cooked and drained

Preheat oven to 350F, Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds mixing in bacon bits at this time, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (8 Tblsp Butter and 2 Tblsp Bacon drippings)
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon Also big thanks to the host this month; Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Jenny of Foray into Food, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go, Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo)

Temper's Take:
It may just be the sugar high talking but the bacon was pretty decent in this cake. The guys at work ate it all so they seem to have agreed (Indra didn't but I think she was still mad that I didn't let her eat more bacon before adding it to the cake). People were right this is a very sweet very rich cake. But it was surprisingly easy, despite the caramel aspect. And let me say I never knew I would find so many uses for a jar of caramel syrup, definitely good stuff! will I make this again? You know I think I might. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

DB: Pizza!

Look what I found! It was hiding on my other blog waiting to be published. See what happens when you don't read your own blogs!

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).
4 1/2 Cups all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast
1/4 Cup Olive oil
1 3/4 Cups Water, ice cold
1 Tb sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespoons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches in diameter), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice. Remember it is Pizza, it is all about the cheese!

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Temper's Take:
I went with the classics, Hamburger for Indra and Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage for me. I had to resort to rolling the dough out because it tore and got all thin as soon as I picked it up and then had a big roll of dough on the edge. It was fun to try but I don't think I am cut out to toss pizza. When everything is all said and done I think that a Pumpkin Rendang Pizza would have been killer.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bedino Blanc

Remember this post where I speculated what a white chocolate version with coconut and pound cake would be like? Well I tried it. It was good, very good.

Bodino Blanc [my version]
Ingredients for 4 servings
3 ounce White chocolate. chopped
1 can Coconut milk
2 large eggs
3 cup cubed (1/2 inch size), toasted pound cake
Confectioners' sugar, for serving
Softly whipped cream, for serving

Recipe Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, with a rack in the center. Butter ramekins or mold well

2. Combine the chocolate and coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is partially melted. Remove from the heat and stir until completely smooth.

3. In a bowl, beat the eggs well. Whisk in the chocolate mixture; fold in the cake cubes. let the mixture stand for 15 minutes to absorb some of the liquid.

4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Cover the top with a buttered sheet of foil, buttered side down. Set the pan in a roasting pan and place in the oven. Pour in enough hot tap water to reach about halfway up the sides of the pan.

5. Bake until the pudding is nearly set, but still slightly wobbly, about 35 minutes (the timing can vary based on the size and depth of the pan; do not overbake).

6. Carefully remove the pan from the water bath and cool to lukewarm on a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, and serve warm, with softly whipped cream.

Tempers Take:
Not as rich as the chocolate version but darn good, the coconut flavor came thru nicely and while the Pound cake started out a little dry and crunchy it was soft and melty by the time I was done. This was even good cold the next morning for breakfast. I kept thinking I needed something a wee bit tart to set it off, maybe some lemon sauce or a little pineapple preserves. I also wish I had let it sit longer so the pound cake could have absorbed more flavors.

This recipe is definitely a keeper for stale cakes of all descriptions, flexible and simple it makes something old new again.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

R2R: Beef Rendang

This month challenge for Recipes to Rival was Beef Rendang. Since I have had limited exposure to curry in my life and have definitly never made it before it was a great challenge.

My first thought when seeing the recipe is that would be darn good with pumpkin, and you know it was. I made half beef and half pumpkin. I really should have done them seperately because of the diffrent cooking times but I am lazy.

The night I made it I had a couple of tortillas with beef and sour cream that was delicious. The rest I packed up and took for lunch the next day with jasmine rice. I learned two things. Rendang is even better the next day and the lights at work are great for pictures.

The pumpkin rendang was great, if I had been thinking I would have had some pepitos to sprinkle on top for crunch. Or maybe some toasted coconut.....

It took me almost 5 hours of simmering to finish this. If / when I do it again I think I am going to try the crockpot so it doesn't have to be watched as closely. I also think I need to make the pickles next time and maybe some flat bread to round it all out. I used sour cream as my condiment of choice but I am thinking a little cucumber and yogurt would be even better. There are just so many options.