Crumpets!!! With 3 times as many exclamation marks.

Yes. They’re that good and worthy of {at least} three exclamation marks. Now that I’ve made crumpets multiple times, {or, um, twice}, I think I’m improving my technique. Case in point: the crumpets have been getting holier without having to go to church or say penance. The more holes a crumpet has,  the better routes for butter saturation. Holy moly.
For my second try, I decided to mix things up.  I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose. I also added honey and cinnamon  for flavor. I think for my next attempt I will use vanilla and maple syrup. I’m tempted to add chocolate chips, but I fear they will interfere with hole production.

Honey Cinnamon Whole Wheat Crumpets

Adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1) Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, and beat vigorously for 2 minutes. A stand or hand mixer, set on high speed, work well here.

2) Cover the bowl, and let the batter rest at room temperature for 1 hour. It will expand and become bubbly. Towards the end of the rest, preheat a griddle to medium-low, about 325°F. If you don’t have an electric griddle, preheat a frying pan.

3) Lightly grease the griddle or frying pan, and place well-greased 3 3/4″ English muffin rings in the pan, as many as will fit.  Pour sticky batter by the scant 1/4-cupful into each ring; a muffin scoop works well here.

4) After about 4 minutes, use a pair of tongs to slip the rings off. Cook the crumpets for a total of about 10 minutes on the first side, until their tops are riddled with small bubbles/holes. They should be starting to look a bit dry around the edges. Their bottoms will be a mottled, light-golden brown.

5) Turn the crumpets over, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, to finish cooking the insides and to brown the tops gently.

6) Remove the crumpets from the pan, and repeat with the remaining batter, until all the crumpets are cooked. Serve warm. Or cool completely, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature. To enjoy, warm in the toaster. Serve with butter, or butter and jam.

Yield: about twenty 3 3/4″ crumpets.

Photos by Paulrus

{twd} little snackie things

I’ve gone diving with sharks, traveled alone to other countries, and presented at major scientific conferences–yet I was scared of deep-frying. I even considered baking this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben, to avoid heating gobs of oil to dangerously high temperatures.

I bit the bullet and jumped into the frying pan(ha!) because of doughnuts. Yes, doughnuts. I’ve been wanting to make traditional, yeasted doughnuts for awhile now but because of the frying-thing put them off. In the screwy logic base that is my head, I figured these scherben things are small and would be good practice for doughnuts which are big (it’s all relative).

Scherben means shards in German and it’s what the mother (Mrs. Vogel) of one of Dorie Greenspan’s friends called them. They are dough rolled paper-thin, cut into strips, fried, and then covered with cinnamon-sugar. I call them little snackie things. Because that’s way more understandable to the co-workers. 😛

Whatever you call them, they’re delicious (0r so I’ve been told. I’m eating vegan this week). Who doesn’t like fried dough covered in sugar?

Thank you so much to Teanna of Spork or Foon? for hosting this week’s selection. She is an awesome blogger, storyteller, and a very creative baker. Because of her I am now ready to tackle doughnuts! If you would like the recipe for the Sherben, visit her blog or buy the book.

{sms} Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

These are the classic cross-hatch chewy peanut butter cookies we all know and love. Very easy to make and very easy to eat.

For some, I made thumbprint Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies using some of the preserves I made last week.

I also made ice cream. I thought Cinnamon-Honey Ice Cream would pair well with the cookies. And it so did. When I was a child my best friend would always eat peanut butter and honey cinnamon sandwiches on white bread for lunch. These ice cream sandwiches reminded me of those lunches. I used David Lebovitz’s Lavender-Honey Ice Cream recipe as the base, substituting ground cinnamon for the lavender. You can find the orginal recipe HERE.

Thanks to Stephanie of Ice Cream Before Dinner for picking Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies this week for Sweet Melissa Sundays. If you would like the cookie recipe, please visit her blog.

cinnamon cranberry walnut bread

The next formula up for me in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was the Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread. Out of raisins, I used cranberries. I also made the bread using half white whole-wheat flour. I was able to make three 7-ounce mini loaves out of half a recipe.

The bread was quick and easy, made and baked in the same day. I used my fresh yeast again, made the optional cinnamon-sugar swirl, and topped the fresh from oven loaves with a cinnamon-sugar topping.

I’m not the first person to say this about the bread: This bread is crack. Which is why I froze one loaf, took one loaf to work, and only ate the third. It was hard to take pictures without eating. No, not hard, impossible.

If you would like the recipe, buy the book: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It’s a great book and I’ve learned a lot about bread baking.

Raisin, Rosemary, & Cinnamon Focaccia

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I made another winning recipe from the Art & Soul Baking–really, you need to get this book–this weekend: Raisin, Rosemary, & Cinnamon Focaccia. I also saw Slumdog Millionaire. If you haven’t seen it yet, Go! It’s a story about destiny, about love, about friendship.

Focaccia is typically made from pizza dough and instead of rolling it out into discs, it is pressed into a jelly roll pan. Dimpled and brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and maybe some fresh herbs plain homemade focaccia is amazing.

The flavor combination of this focaccia at first may seem a bit odd to you, but give it a chance. It works, it really does. It reminds me a of a cinnamon-raisin bagel, but revved up with the kick of rosemary. The flavor first hit me as I mixed the dough and then again has I pressed it into a pan. However, when it was baking in the oven and the scent wafted through my house I knew I was making something great.

This is a breakfast focaccia. It uses milk instead of the typical water to make the dough. This gives the bread a more tender crumb and also makes it a bit sweeter. Instead of sprinkling the focaccia with salt prior to baking, it is sprinkled with turbinado sugar.

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Raisin, Rosemary, & Cinnamon Focaccia

Adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking.
  • 2 1/4 cups (18 ounces) warm whole milk (110 F to 115 F)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 5 cups (25 ounces) bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) plump, sweet raisins ( I used a combo of golden and regular)
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine warmed milk, sugar, and yeast. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the flour and let sit for 10 minutes or so until yeast is activated and foamy. Whisk in another 2 cups of flour and use paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 4 minutes.
  2. Add raisins, olive oil, rosemary, cinnamon, and salt, switch to dough hook and knead until well blended. Add remaining flour and knead for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides and turn dough over in bowl to make sure everything  is well mixed. Knead for another 2 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a tub or bowl and place dough, lightly coating it in oil, into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in size.
  4. Prepare a 12″ by 17″ jelly roll pan by lightly brushing it with olive oil. Scrape risen dough onto prepared pan and lightly punch down to release some of the air. Gently begin stretching and pressing dough to fit the length and width of the pan. If at anytime it seems like the dough is resisting, brush it with olive oil and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Brush the dough with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise  until it is almost double in size approximately 45 to 60 minutes.  Meanwhile place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 375 F.
  6. Remove plastic wrap and dimple dough by gently pressing your finger tips into the dough.
  7. Sprinkle dough with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until bread is a deep golden brown and registers 200 F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a cooling rack and immediately brush with olive oil. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 20 3″ by 3″ squares.

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This focaccia is great plain, but even better smeared with mascarpone. YUM! This recipe as also inpired me to try new flavor combinations. I’m thinking dried cranberries and thyme. I’ll let you know how it turns out…