Category: not bread
I hesitated to publish this post because those who are looking for a recipe for cronuts from start to finish are going to be disappointed. However, it may prove helpful for those looking for clarification on how to take puff pastry and use it to make a fried doughnut-shaped but croissant dough-based delicacy.
First things first: what is a cronut?
The Cronut (TM) is a trademarked name for a croissant-doughnut hybrid created by Dominique Ansel in May of this year. It immediately sparked an international craze and fans flocked to his bakery, sometimes standing in line for hours, for the chance to score one of the limited number of treats made each day. Many other bakers and bloggers have attempted to recreate the cronut.
Here is a picture of a Cronut (TM) from the website:
Also, Cronuts (TM) are filled with cream and topped with glaze, as you can kind-of see from the picture. However, I don’t want to give myself a heart attack and I don’t really like super sweet pastries, so I limited embellishment to a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
I myself have never eaten a true cronut so I can’t say for certain that what I made tastes anything like one, but it is tasty. I ended up making these because my sister made a huge amount of puff pastry for a Thanksgiving dish she was making, and ended up with a lot leftover.
Here is how we took the puff pastry and made it into our version of cronuts.
You will want to start with cold but not frozen puff pastry dough. Our dough was unleavened and made with salt, water, butter, and flour.
1. First, pour some oil into your pot so that it rises about two inches. You are going to be almost deep-frying the dough, but not quite. Let it slowly warm up to about 330-350 degrees F.
2. Now, take your puff pastry and roll it out. I think the reason my cronuts did not rise as high as Dominique Ansel’s is that I rolled the dough out too flat. Maybe next time I will leave it thick. Using one large and one small round pastry cutter, cut out the dough into circles.
3. When the dough and the oil are ready, carefully place the dough into the pot.
4. The first cronut was a little wonky, but I got better about timing as it went on. Once the first side is nicely browned, flip it over. The cronuts will puff up as they cook because of the butter trapped between the layers of puff pastry.
5. As they finish, use the handle of a wooden spoon to remove the cronuts from the pot and let them cool on a paper towel over a plate or a cooling rack. Sprinkle the hot cronuts with powdered sugar.
6. I love seeing the layers of dough!
On the outside they mostly resemble doughnuts and doughnut holes. But when you open them you can really see the difference:
I have to say, these are a fun, special occasion treat. I’d probably still make regular doughnuts though. Maybe I just need to try the real thing?
Chocolate red wine cake
If you’ve never heard of Smitten Kitchen, you need to.
I had heard her mentioned off and on for a few years, but it wasn’t until I heard an interview with her on the Diane Rehm show that I realized how awesome she was.
Smitten Kitchen is the blog of Deb Perelman, who lives in New York and cooks awesome things.
During her interview with Diane Rehm, she rattled off a recipe for cucumber and cabbage slaw. Since then I’ve made it a bunch of times and it’s really simple and delicious.
Then, during Passover, a dear friend was coming to dinner who was keeping kosher. I found a recipe for chocolate caramel matzo crack and it was seriously so good. I was considering hiding it before she came over so I wouldn’t have to share.
Deb (can I call you Deb?) has never steered me wrong. Everything I make of hers looks exactly like her pictures promise it will. I need to buy her book already.
So my third recipe of hers was one I’ve been wanting to make since I first came across it a few years ago.
I made this cake for my book club and they just loved it. The combination of the chocolate and red wine was amazing, and the cinnamon gave it just the right amount of spice.
I won’t give the measurements because I would rather she get the hits on her blog, but here is a list of the ingredients and how I made it:
You will need:
Butter, room temperature
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
dutch cocoa powder
Once you have all your ingredients, now you will want to mis en place them.
Mix together your brown and granulated sugars into a bowl.
Mix together the flour, chocolate, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a measuring cup. This will make it easier to add a little bit at a time to the final dough.
Now measure out your wine and add the vanilla to it.
I should mention, at this point you will want to preheat your oven and prepare your cake pan. Butter it up, then cut a circle out of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan. Now grease that too. Take a few tablespoons of flour and, holding the pan in the sink, shake it around until the pan is covered with flour. Dump any excess flour into the sink.
Take your butter and add it to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat it about a minute until it’s nice and fluffy. Then add the sugars and mix to combine.
At some point you will add the eggs. I can’t remember when. Maybe now?
Yeah, that seems right. Add the eggs and the wine-vanilla mixture.
Now take your flour-cinnamon-cocoa mixture and pour it into a sifter. Gently sift it into the bowl of the stand mixer.
Stir every so often so the flour is incorporated. Don’t worry if it looks weird and clumpy. That’s what Deb said and I believed her. Follow her instructions and she won’t lead you astray. I promise.
Now take a spatula and scrape everything into your prepared cake pan and put in the oven. It bakes for something like 55 minutes.
I forgot to take pictures of the final product as a whole cake, but here’s another action shot:
It’s a really, really delicious and very grown-up cake. We ate it sprinkled with powdered sugar and it was perfect, but Deb has a recipe for a mascarpone whipped topping, which I can imagine just takes it over the top.
Another recipe from Smitten Kitchen that is a keeper! And no, this is NOT a sponsored post! I just think her recipes are awesome and am more than happy to shill for her for free 🙂
Bacheofe a la Saveur
I’m glad that title didn’t scare too many of you off!
This weekend in DC was like a microcosm of the month of March itself: sometimes rainy and cold, sometimes sunny and warm. It doesn’t know what it wants to do. But it was sunny enough on Saturday that we were out and about running errands, and then rainy and cold enough on Sunday that this delicious Alsatian stew was just the thing to warm us up.
What is Bacheofe? Also spelled baeckeoffe, backenoff, or baekaoffa, it’s a wine-simmered Alsatian stew with meat and vegetables interwoven with potatoes. The name means “baker’s oven,” because (according to Larousse Gastronomique), housewives would assemble the stews on Monday morning and drop them off at the bakery to cook in the residual heat of the ovens to be retrieved in the afternoon. The neat thing about bacheofe is the thin rope of dough around the rim that seals the top to the dutch oven.
I came across bacheofe in Saveur magazine, hence the title “a la Saveur.” The author’s version includes a bacon lattice on top, which I couldn’t resist. You can find the recipe here: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Bacheofe-Alsatian-Stew. It takes two days, so plan accordingly.
You will need:
1 lb boneless beep chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb boneless pork shoulder, same treatment
1 lb boneless lamb shoulder, same treatment
kosher salt and black pepper
3 cups (one bottle) dry white wine. I used a sauv blanc but a gewürztraminer or other sweet German wine is more typical
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp juniper berries
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 medium carrots,sliced
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 small leeks, sliced
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup duck or goose fat
3 lbs yukon gold potatoes
1 lb thick-cut bacon
1 cup flour
5 tbl water
1. Place beef, pork and lamb in a bowl (I used a large glass baking dish) and season with salt and pepper. Add the wine, parsley, juniper berries, garlic, bay, carrots, onions, leeks and thyme.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until day 2.
2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rub an enameled dutch oven with the duck fat so it has a nice thick coating.
3. Slice the potatoes into thin slices and layer them with the marinated meat and vegetables, remembering to season in between each layer.
4. Make sure the last layer is potatoes.
5. Mr. Bread Maiden getting fancy with his photography.
6. Place your bacon slices on top of the potatoes. Doesn’t that look pretty?
7. Pour the left-over marinade over the bacon.
8. Now comes the tricky part: making the dough. In a small bowl, add the flour. Pour the water over the flour and mix together until it just forms a dough. If it can’t absorb any more flour, don’t force it.
9. When the dough forms a ball, flour a clean surface and knead the dough a little bit. If it’s not malleable, let it rest for about 10 minutes until the dough relaxes. Roll or squeeze the dough into a snake.
10. Wrap the dough around the rim of the dutch oven. Place the lid on top.
11. Bake in the oven for 3 1/2 hours.
12. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Break the seal using a knife or plastic spatula (if using an enameled dutch oven) if you need to.
Butternut squash, white bean and bacon soup
We interrupt this bread blog to bring you one of my favorite recipes ever: butternut squash soup. It is so delicious, so healthy and filling that I had to share it.
I found it on Grubarazzi but made several changes.
You will need:
1 pack of bacon
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
box of cherry tomatoes or can of chopped tomatoes
2 cans cannellini beans
1 bunch sage
2 springs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
pinch of red pepper flakes
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1. fry up the pack of bacon in a large saucepan. Move the crispy bacon to a plate to cool. Leave the drippings in the pan.
2. Fry the onion in the bacon drippings until they are golden and translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and butternut squash and fry for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the broth and bring to a simmer.
5. Add the herbs, beans, tomatoes and spices. Let the vegetables soften, about 45 minutes to an hour.
6. Chop up the bacon and add to the soup.
7. Turn the heat off and let the soup sit. When the soup has cooled enough to handle, blend in batches. Taste and season as needed.
I hope you like this soup! I served it at a party and got rave reviews. The beans provide a great heft to the soup instead of milk, a roux or heavy cream, which makes it great for people who can’t process gluten or lactose.
Peanut butter oatmeal bars a la Pinterest
The moment I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it. Slam dunk, right?
This recipe has it all: oatmeal, peanut butter, bananas, eggs, milk. Super healthy and perfect for a quick breakfast.
You will need:
1.5 cups of quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder (not actually sure why this is in the original recipe since it didn’t rise at all, but whatever)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
butter (for greasing baking dish)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish and set aside. I used glass; apparently in the original recipe it calls for metal. I don’t know which works better.
2. Mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Gently whisk the egg then add to the dry ingredients with the vanilla.
Or, you know, just add the egg in without whisking.
4. Mash up the banana then add it to the ingredients.
If you were me, at this stage you would look around and realize Little Bread Toddler was hard at work throwing his socks and your baking supplies into the garbage.
5. Stir in the milk and peanut butter.
6. Pour the mixture into your greased baking dish and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the top is pretty firm.
7. Let it cool, then cut into squares or whatever shape you like and eat, or wrap individually in plastic wrap to store in the fridge or freezer.
So how were they?
I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, and it wasn’t what I was expecting. I mean, the recipe had everything going for it. I don’t know what happened. Not enough cinnamon? I know I didn’t grate a whole teaspoon’s worth, but the recipe also had a bunch of brown sugar, and it didn’t really taste sweet at all. Or peanut buttery at all.
I don’t get it. I think if I make them again, I’ll add more spice and more peanut butter. I’m also thinking if you added raisins, chocolate chips, nuts or shredded coconut that might liven them up a little. Or maybe I just think that because that would make these bars taste more like my easy granola bars.
I was a little disappointed because Pinterest is supposed to be a way to share things you really like… and this recipe was a bit of a dud.
Have you ever been disappointed by a recipe posted and re-posted all over Pinterest?
Easy Granola Bars
Our first year in Austin, we were awakened one early Saturday morning to “Eye of the Tiger” blaring outside. After about ten minutes when it didn’t stop, we got dressed and went outside to find the source. Much to our surprise, the music was accompanying the annual Austin marathon, and our house was just steps from mile 21!
That morning, Mr. Bread Maiden made the commitment to run the Austin marathon before we graduated. And two years later, he did.
In the pocket of his running shorts, he packed the following granola bars.
Yes, this recipe really is that simple. It’s quick too.
YOU WILL NEED:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of any kind of flaked oats or grains (I like oats and maybe barley flakes)
1 cup dried fruit (raisins, figs, dates, currants, prunes, apricots, etc.)
2 cups nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, flax seeds)
1/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup shredded coconut (also optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter a large glass baking dish. Set aside.
2. Combine the honey, brown sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the brown sugar melts and it all mixes together. Turn off the heat.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oats, dried fruit, seeds and nuts, and chocolate and mix together with the paddle attachment.
4. With the stand mixer stirring the granola, pour in the honey-brown sugar mixture. The mixer should encounter some resistance.
5. When everything is mixed up, use a spatula to thunk it onto the baking dish, then smooth it out so it’s an even layer. Take care to push it into the corners of the dish as well.
6. Pop the dish into the oven and bake maybe 15-20 minutes until it’s a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool, then cut into squares, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze until you want to eat them.
The thing I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t call for corn syrup. Yes, the corn syrup gives granola bars that nice, chewy consistency. But I’d rather use natural, not-really-processed ingredients, wouldn’t you? In any case, when we looked at the fancy goos and energy drinks touted to boost running performance, we were kinda grossed out. These are much healthier, and you know every ingredient that went into these. Because you made them yourself!
Crema chocolate cake
I could’ve called this post “how to use up leftover sour cream, crema, yogurt, buttermilk, whipping cream, or milk.”
Because that’s what I did. But it could also be called “the best chocolate cake ever.” Because it’s true.
I made this cake because a few months ago, two of my friends happened to have their birthdays on the same day.
They also happen to be father and daughter.
They also happened to be coming over to visit the Bread Maiden household that VERY DAY! Of course I just had to make a cake, right?
Stop reading right here if you love overly-sweet cakes where the sugar literally hurts your teeth, or where the cake itself is merely a vehicle for the frosting. This is not that cake. This is a CHOCOLATE cake, with lots of real chocolate. Because it’s not crazy-sweet, it pairs nicely with any frosting you like.
And thus, being forewarned, we proceed forth to make Alton Brown’s Devil’s Food Cake. The original recipe is here.
YOU WILL NEED:
1 cup boiling water
4 ounces (by weight) Dutch-process cocoa
10 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar
5 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
4 ounces cake flour or other low-gluten flour, like pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 1/2 ounces sour cream, at room temperature
2 large whole eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Oh, you say you don’t have sour cream? I also didn’t, but had some crema, which is a condiment popular in some Latin American countries that I had bought to use in tacos. According to wikipedia, crema is cream that has been “soured” with bacteria. I figured it was close enough to the sour cream indicated in the recipe, since it has the same texture, nearly the same fat content, and similar acidity and “zip” as sour cream. In it went. If you want to use regular (whole fat) milk or cream instead, make sure to throw in a tablespoon of white vinegar and wait an hour for it to thicken it up.
2. Whisk the boiling water and cocoa powder together in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the sugar, flours, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
4. Whisk the oil, sour cream (or what have you), eggs and egg yolks together in a pourable vessel, like a measuring cup.
5. Add the oil mixture to the cocoa and water mixture and slowly whisk to combine.
6. With the mixer on low speed, add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture over 30 seconds. Continue to beat on low speed for another 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat on low speed until the batter is smooth, 10 to 15 seconds.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when pressed and reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees F, 30 to 35 minutes.
8. Cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, and then remove cake from the pan and cool completely before frosting, about 1 hour.
I don’t have a frosting recipe to recommend because I didn’t make a great frosting this time around. I didn’t have enough powdered sugar and was too lazy to buy more, so I ground up some regular sugar in the food processor, which resulted in a crunchy frosting. Not what I was looking for, but my friend (whose husband and daughter were the guests of honor that day) swore up and down it was delicious.
Which is why I’m lucky to count her as a friend.
My Favorite Quiche Crust Recipe
This is my favorite recipe for quiche crust. It’s just a pie crust, and you use a food processor so it couldn’t be easier.
You will need:
2/3 cup plus 6 tablespoons all purpose flour (157 g)
6 tablespoons butter (82 g)
2 tablespoons lard or shortening (28 g)
pinch of salt
a few tablespoons of ice water
1. Measure out your butter and lard into a bowl and put in the freezer to get it cold.
2. Take your food processor.
3. Pour in the flour and salt and pulse to combine. Take your cold butter and lard and add it to the flour. At this point you can also mince up some fresh parsley and add it too. Pulse until it forms small crumbs.
4. Add the ice water, a spoonful at a time, pulsing between each addition. The dough will slowly come together. First it will look like this, but keep adding more water.
5. You want it to look like this.
6. If you can take your fingers and squeeze it into a dough between your fingers, it’s ready. Pour the dough out onto your countertop and form into a ball. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
7. Take your dough out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out. You don’t need to roll it thin; you will use your fingers to spread the dough into the pie pan.
8. Gently move the dough to a greased glass pie pan. Using your fingers, push the dough out and up the sides of the pan. Cut off any overhanging pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you preheat the oven to 435 degrees F.
9. Take the dough out of the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Poke the dough a few times with a fork. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and fill with uncooked beans or rice.
10. Bake the crust for about 7 minutes, then turn the oven off, remove the parchment and beans, and let the crust sit in the oven to dry out until you are ready to fill it.
11. Meanwhile, mix up your filling. We used kale and bacon, but you can use anything with this all-purpose crust. We like Julia Child’s basic quiche recipe, shown here. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven.
12. Nom nom. Delicious! This crust is so basic that you can use any filling, and you can spice it up with spices, herbs, or other seasonings.
Chicken Pot Pie, Version I
Chicken pot pie is a great recipe for leftovers. It does take a weekend afternoon-to-night to assemble everything and bake it, but once it’s done you can freeze it and reheat it on an especially busy weeknight. If you have some of the ingredients (chicken stock, cooked chicken) lying around the house, it might take an hour to assemble.
This recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen.
|credit: America’s Test Kitchen|
When Mr. Bread Maiden and I were watching the episode, I thought the way they used a crumble topping instead of a biscuit topping was sacrilege. That could not POSSIBLY be the best chicken pot pie. You know why? Because *I* make the best chicken pot pie, and it uses the biscuit recipe I outline here.
But, you know what? ATK’s crumble may not be the *best* topping. But I thought about what it would take to make my biscuit topping, and how I had already made chicken stock from scratch, and roasted a chicken from scratch, and cooked vegetables and mushrooms and made a sauce, and it was 8:30pm and there were tons of dishes in the sink … and I went with the crumble.
If you want to be a domestic goddess and make all the elements yourself, I suggest you make one element per day so you don’t go crazy and exhaust yourself, like I did.
By the way, even though this recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen, they put their recipes behind a paywall. So I found the recipe here, at Food, Folks and Fun.
YOU WILL NEED:
If you already have chicken stock and leftover cooked chicken, please feel free to skip the next two steps.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Set a roasting or baking rack into a deep roasting pan.
3. Rub a chicken with melted butter, salt and pepper and place on the baking rack. Put the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes.