Chocolate! Peanut Butter! Scones!

Need I write more? Who doesn’t love the combination of chocolate & peanut butter? Hannah of BitterSweet had the genius of making scones with them. Scones! Yes, scones. A treat you can call breakfast.

Chocolate-Glazed Peanut Butter Scones was the second recipe I tried from Hannah’s book, My Sweet Vegan. Not only is there peanut butter  (chunky!) in the scones, there is peanut butter (smooth!) in the chocolate drizzle.

Like all scones, the dough quickly came together. Instead of making four large scones as directed in the recipe, I made 12 mini-scones. The texture was very scone-like–a little dry, crumbly, and with just a hint of sweet. I’ve made vegan scones that were more cake-like in texture. When I make a scone, I want it to taste like a scone and they did.

I baked them for a meeting and they were enjoyed by all. The problem with making minis is that people can’t just eat one and they were gone quicker than it took to bake them–12 minutes.

If you would like the recipe, buy the book.

Cheddar Cheese and Mustard Loaf

cheddar-cheese-and-mustard-bread

My sandwich bread for the week, the final variation of the old-fashioned white bread recipe in Sur la Table’s The Art and Soul of Baking. I’m surprising myself with how much I enjoy baking my own bread every week.

{TWD} Rugelach

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Recipe #293

In July, I went blueberry (and cherry and raspberry) picking with my mom and my aunt at Hick’s Orchard in upstate New York in the Adirondacks. It’s near Lake George, so if you are ever in the area check it out.

It was tons of fun and would definitely do it again. We made blueberry scones, mixed berry cobbler, a cherry pie, and lots of blueberry jam. Looking at these pictures is making me miss summer. And it’s only just gotten *relatively* cold here in Southern California. I’m a summer-girl through and through.

My aunt and my mom.

My aunt and my mom.

So, why am I writing about blueberries in November?

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was Rugelach, chosen by Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal.
You can go to her blog to check out Dorie’s recipe.

I’ve never made rugelach before. The dough is fairly simple–just flour, cream cheese, and butter. The filling is basic–jam, chocolate, currants, a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. It should have been easy, in retrospect maybe it was but I just didn’t realize it.

I followed the recipe for the dough, made it the night before and stuck it in the refrigerator. For the filling, I used my homemade blueberry jam (yup that’s right) instead of the apricot or raspberry that was suggested. I also used Trader Joe’s orange-flavored dried cranberries instead of currents, almonds instead of walnuts or pecans, and milk chocolate instead of bittersweet.

Assembling these things is the point where it got sticky {literally}. I think there is a window of opportunity for rolling out the dough when it is not too cold, but not too warm. I missed it. The dough got sticky real fast. I used more than a light sprinkle of flour to make it not stick. My uncooked rugelach looked fugly, even after I brushed on an egg wash and sprinkled the cookies with sugar. On top of that, I wasn’t impressed with the little tastes of raw dough.

Fugly rugelach

Fugly rugelach

Somehow my oven worked its magic and the cookies came out looking gorgeous. Not only that, the rugelach taste great. The flavors of the dough, jam, sugar, chocolate all melded together. Even P, my picky husband [ex-husband since 2009], loved these. He calls them “arugulas”. 😛

Oven magic

Oven magic

{TWD} Pumpkin Muffins

Recipe #287

I’m not a pumpkin fan. I don’t crave pumpkin pie around Thanksgiving, nor do I get excited when Starbucks rolls out their pumpkin lattes every year (I wish they would bring back their maple lattes!). It’s not that I hate pumpkin, it’s just that I’m indifferent towards it.

My husband on the other hand loves pumpkin pie, but has a thing against whole pumpkins. Strange. I bought two miniature pumpkins to use in my photos and he wanted to make sure I wasn’t using them in the muffins and that he didn’t like seeing them on the counter. He never ceases to amaze me. After 14 years of knowing the man, you would think I would know all his idiosyncrasies. He certainly keeps me on my toes.

The offending pumpkins

The offending pumpkins

Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp chose this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Pumpkin Muffins. You can find the recipe on her blog. So for the first time in my life I bought canned pumpkin.

The original recipe called for golden raisins and instead I used orange-flavored dried cranberries. I also used 1/2 white whole-wheat flour and 1/2 whole-wheat pastry flour, so the muffins could be 100% whole-wheat without being dense. I learned this trick from making these pancakes.

The recipe also called for using raw unsalted sunflower seeds as a garnish on top of the muffins. Because I have a no-nuts husband (shhh…I used walnuts in the batter just chopped them up super-tiny 😉 ), I decided to garnish my muffins with a buttermilk icing. The icing was super easy to make: 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1  and 1/2 tablespoons of buttermilk, and 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. I found the orginal recipe on chow.com. I whisked the ingredients directly in a sandwich bag and snipped of a corner to pipe the icing onto the muffins. It wasn’t the neatest method, but I didn’t want to dirty another bowl. I’m lazy like that. 😛

These muffins were good, not outstanding. My husband loved these (walnuts, pumpkins, and all). I loved the icing, though. The tang of buttermilk with the apple-cider vinegar works well.

World Bread Day 2008: Anadama Bread

I am a bread baker. I make the bread my family eats. This sounds strange to me. Although the ingredients are very simple, the process always seemed too mysterious, too magical. This year I’ve fallen {hard} in love with baking. I’m still a beginner, learning and experimenting my way through pounds and pounds of flour.

Always on the look out for new challenges, I’ve decided to participate in World Bread Day today. I made anadama bread, using a formula from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread.

I was unaware of anadama bread prior to buying and reading this book. Apparently this is a popular bread on the East Coast, particularly New England. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and for the most part have lived in California my whole life. The story of the creation of this bread involves an angry husband, cornmeal mush, and molasses. You can read about it here.

The formula was pretty straightforward and didn’t involve a lot of hands on time. It does take 2 days due to creating a ‘soaker’ of 6 ounces of coarse cornmeal and 8 ounces of water on Day 1.

Anadama Bread (Baker’s Precentage Formula)

Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Soaker:

  • Cornmeal     100%
  • Water     133%

Dough:

  • Bread flour     100%
  • Instant yeast     1.1%
  • Soaker     69.1%
  • Water     39.5%
  • Salt     1.9%
  • Molasses     19.8%
  • Unsalted butter     4.9%
  1. On Day 1, create the soaker by mixing the water and cornmeal together in a small bowl. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.
  2. The next day, mix half the flour, yeast, soaker, and water in large mixing bowl. Cover and let ferment for approximately an hour or until mixture starts to bubble.
  3. Add rest of flour, the salt, molasses, and butter; Mix on low speed using paddle attachment until ingredients form a ball. Add flour or water if necessary. Flour–if it is too wet; Water–if it is too dry.
  4. Switch to dough hook and knead on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes until dough is firm but supple and pliable. The dough temperature should read 77 to 81 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
  5. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let the dough ferment for 90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Remove the dough from bowl and divide it into equal portions. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled bread pans. Mist tops of loaves with spray oil and cover.
  7. Proof for 60 to 90 minutes, or until loaves have crested and risen above the top of the pans.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap from loaves, mist with spray oil, and sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Place bread pans on sheet pan.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until loaves are a golden brown and the internal temperature reads 185 to 190 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. The loaves will sound hollow when you thunk them on the bottom.
  10. When done, remove immediately from pans and cool on wire rack for at least an hour.

Overall, this bread was yummy and satisfying. It made great sandwich bread. The cornmeal added great texture and heartiness. The molasses added a deeper flavor compared to white sandwich bread. I will definately make this bread again.