Monday, December 28, 2009

Carob Pumpernickel Bread

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays! Mine have been full of baking, eating, and visiting with family & friends. I got some new cookbooks for Christmas and can't wait to start making my way through them! Abby also got spoiled with cat toys and catnip.

I've had pumpernickel bread before but maybe only a couple of times and never paid much attention to it. I was intrigued by this carob pumpernickel bread in The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest because it uses instant coffee, molasses, carob powder (which I need to find more uses for so I can use up my bag!), and rye flour. There are other ingredients but these are the ones that drew me in. The bread was easy to make and the loaves rose beautifully. I was scared they wouldn't rise that much because I've made some no knead breads that stayed fairly flat, but I guess that's because they were no knead (even though in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day it says they will rise?) Anyway, I loved the texture of the carob pumpernickel bread - nice and dense with a good chew (if that makes sense), but wasn't a huge fan of the flavour as it was kind of bitter. Apparently pumpernickel breads are bitter though so I obviously can't hold that against it.

The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest has an excellent guide to bread making, including shaping, different things you can put on to make a crust and their effects, answers to many baking questions, and of course lots of yummy loaves. I think I've mentioned it before but The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest is one of my new favourite cookbooks!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Buttermilk Honey Bread
Christopsomos - Greek Celebration Bread
Oatmeal Knots

Carob Pumpernickel Bread
Adapted from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest

The Mix
1/2 cup carob powder
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
1 cup hot water
5 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp salt

1. Combine everything, and mix until it forms a uniform paste. (A blender does this well.)

2. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

The Sponge
2 cups wrist temperature water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
a drop of molasses
1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour (Ashley note: I used 190 g.)

Place water in your stand mixer bowl. Add yeast and molasses. Whisk in flour. Cover and let rise 30 to 45 minutes. Beat in the mix.

3 cups rye flour (Ashley note: I used 378 g.)
about 4 more cups whole wheat bread flour (Ashley note: I forgot to measure this!)

Add the flour to the risen sponge/mix a cup at a time. Use the paddle attachment of your mixer to mix the flour in until thick. Change to the dough hook, and mix for 6 minutes.

Oil or butter a bowl generously. Place the dough in it, swish it around, then invert dough, and return to bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth from Sponge Stage, and return it to a warm place to rise. The dough is risen when it has doubled its bulk (usually this takes 1 hour). Grease two 8"x4" loaf pans generously with butter or oil.

Flour your fist and punch down the dough. It will instantly deflate. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes - well kneaded dough has an ear lobe like texture. Add bits of flour very gradually (if necessary) and knead in each addition thoroughly. Don't add large amounts of flour at once, or your bread may have flour traps. Divide your dough in half.

To make a regular bread pan loaf, place the dough into the greased pans, press it hard into the corners and floor of the pan, take the dough out again, and return it upside down. This gives the bread a handsomely shaped surface. Once again, cover the dough with a damp cloth, and put it in a cozy place to rise. It is read to bake when its bulk has doubled. (This final rising often goes more quickly than the others.) Preheat the oven to 375F 15 minutes before baking.

Bake at 375F for 40 minutes. The bread is done if it gives off a hollow sound when thumped. Remove the bread from its pan right away, and cool it on a rack. Cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Toasted Pecan Eggnog Ring

One of the first things I did after finishing my finals was make this eggnog cake! I loooove eggnog so I always want to make baked goods that have eggnog in them. Unfortunately the two eggnog things I've made (eggnog cookies and eggnog bars) didn't really taste strongly of eggnog, so I didn't get my hopes up about this eggnog cake but thought I'd try it. Well, I was super happy when I tasted this cake to find out that it totally tasted like eggnog! I think it's due to not just having eggnog in the cake but also having bourbon and spices. In addition to the wonderful eggnog-y flavour, this cake has a nice soft slightly dense texture. If you like eggnog, I'd highly recommend trying this out while eggnog is still available!

This recipe calls for sifted cake flour, but you know, I really hate sifting flour. So I pretty much never do it. How many of you bakers out there sift your flour? Another random fact about my baking habits is that I rarely toast nuts when a recipe calls for it. This is because I forget I'm toasting them and end up burning half of them. However, for this recipe I paid close attention and toasted them as perfectly as I could! I'm not sure how big a difference it really made though.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Maple Walnut Cake
Applesauce Spice Bars
Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake
Mom's Banana Apple Bread

Toasted Pecan Eggnog Ring
Adapted from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More

I didn't use the eggnog glaze but I'll include it for those of you who want to try it.

2 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp cake flour (Ashley note: I used 285 g for the 2 1/2 cups.)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup premium-quality eggnog
1/4 cup bourbon, such as Jack Daniel's
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 1/2 cups (packed) very fresh light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Eggnog Glaze
1 cup strained powdered sugar, spooned in and leveled
2 tbsp warm eggnog
1 tbsp light corn syrup

1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 325F. Generously butter a 9 inch bundt pan, dust with flour, then invert it over the kitchen sink and tap firmly to remove the excess flour. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the eggnog, bourbon and vanilla. Set aside.

4. Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddled attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in colour, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, taking 6 to 8 minutes. (Ashley note: Is this really necessary? I'm not sure it is but I did it as she directed.)

5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

6. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the eggnog mixture, dividing the flour mixture into three parts and the liquid into two parts, starting and ending with the flour.

7. In a small bowl, toss the pecans with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a large spatula, fold in the nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes. (Ashley note: Mine took about 55 minutes.) The cake is done when the top is firm to the touch and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

8. Remove from the oven and let stand on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and carefully lift off the pan. Turn the cake right side up onto a cooling rack, and place it over a rimmed cookie sheet. If you're going to make the glaze, start it while the cake is cooling.

Make the glaze
9. Whisk the powdered sugar, eggnog, and corn syrup together until smooth.

Finish the cake
10. Using a fork or a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the cake while it is still warm. Let stand at room temperature until the glaze is set.

Store under a glass cake dome or covered with aluminum foil for up to 5 days. This cake may be frozen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Frijoles, Etc. Casserole

I finished my last final on Tuesday!! I'm so happy! Thanks everyone for all the good luck messages. =) I hope all the other students' exams went well. Now to find time to catch up on my blog reading. I'd love a whole day to just sit and read everything, but I also need to start planning my Christmas cookie baking and get baking! My blog reader goes all the way back to November, yikes.

This is another delicious recipe from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest! The preamble describes it as a "savoury cobbler", which I love the sound of. I'd love to hear about any other yummy savoury cobblers you guys have made. I'm really happy to have found this one because it's super delicious, satisfying, has lots of vegetables and beans, is healthy, and is easy to make! Those are all of the things I like most of my meals to be. Well they don't have to have beans but I love when I find a recipe with beans that's tasty like this one! You could omit the corn bread topping and just eat the bean/vegetable mixture over rice. I think I'll try that next time. This is a recipe that I need to put in my regular rotation.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Black Bean Chilaquile
Chayote and Corn Enchiladas
Walnut and Mushroom Nut Roast
Refried Beans

Frijoles, Etc. Casserole
Adapted from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest

1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups minced onion
1 tsp salt
10 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp chile powder
4 medium (7-inch) zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 medium bell peppers or mild chiles, cut into small strips
6 cups cooked beans (3 15 oz cans) (Ashley note: I used adzuki beans. The recipe suggests pinto beans.)
freshly ground black pepper
cayenne to taste
1 packed cup grated Cheddar cheese (Ashley note: This is optional. I can't remember now if I added it - probably.)
1 batch Corn Bread Batter (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Get out a 9x13 inch baking pan.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet or a Dutch oven. Add the onion and half the salt, and saute for about 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat - until the onion begins to soften.

3. Add half the garlic plus the cumin, basil, oregano, chile powder, zucchini, bell peppers/chiles, and remaining salt. Stir, cover, and cook voer medium heat for 5 minutes longer.

4. Remove from heat; stir in the remaining garlic and the beans. Season to taste with black pepper and cayenne, and stir in the cheese, if desired. Transfer to the prepared pan, and spread it out. Add the corn bread batter, distributing it as evenly as possible over the top.

5. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is very firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted all the way through the corn bread topping comes out clean. Serve hot, with salsa or plain.

Corn Bread Batter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup yogurt
1 egg
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powde,r and baking soda into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir in the cornmeal, and make a well in the center.

2. In a separate container, beat together the yogurt, egg, and oil. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir just enough to thoroughly blend.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maple-Walnut Cake

I'm mostly finished my finals - just one left on Tuesday! Finally started really Christmas shopping and we just bought our first Christmas tree! Exciting. We haven't put any ornaments on it yet because we're waiting to see if Abby will leap into it (she's been pretty good so far). And it snowed today!! I'm hoping for more snow overnight and tomorrow but who knows. We don't get a lot of snow here in Vancouver.

I made this maple walnut cake back in October for my boyfriend's dad's birthday - maple walnut cake with a maple cream cheese frosting. It was really easy to make, and was yummy but unfortunately didn't taste distinctly maple despite the 1 1/2 cups maple syrup in the cake and 2/3 cup maple syrup in the frosting! I think it's hard to get the maple flavour without maple extract or something though - what do you guys think? This cake actually reminded me of carrot cake (and there's nothing wrong with that!) The cake itself was really soft and crumbly (good, but I prefer dense), and the maple cream frosting was super delicious. But how can cream cheese frosting not be delicious?

The method for making this cake is the strangest I've ever encountered. You mix the dry ingredients and then add the butter and maple syrup and beat until blended. I've never beat the flour and butter together before! I'll show you a picture of the inside of the cake, only because if I were you I'd want to see it regardless of what it looked like (the icing is smooshed everywhere, and for some reason there's a backwards slice of cake sitting in front of the rest of the cake).

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Lemon Lust Cake
Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake
Applesauce Spice Bars
Carrot Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese-White Chocolate Icing

Maple-Walnut Cake
Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

The frosting is supposed to have 6 cups of sugar - I cut it back to 4 and it was still plenty sweet. I would start making the frosting when you put the cakes in the oven because the frosting involves boiling butter and maple syrup together and letting it cool to room temperature. And as you can see, I made a 2 layer cake so I had 1 layer and icing leftover. My cake carrier doesn't fit 3 layer cakes very well! (Though now I have a new one so this will no longer be an issue yaey.)

Makes an 8 inch triple layer cake; serves 12 to 16

1 1/3 cups walnut halves
3 cups cake flour (Ashley note: I used 350 g.)
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup, preferably light amber
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk (Ashley note: I used 1% milk.)
Maple Cream Frosting (see recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with a round parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Spread out the walnuts on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and lightly toasted, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a dish and let cool. Leave the oven on. When the nuts are cool, set aside 1/3 cup for garnish. Finely chop the remaining toasted walnuts.

3. Combine the chopped walnuts, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low, blend well. Add the butter and maple syrup and beat until blended. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, and milk. Add this liquid to the batter in 2 or 3 additions, beating until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl well after each addition. Divide the batter among the 3 prepare pans.

5. Bake for 32 to 35 minutes (I baked mine for 25-28 minutes), or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks, gently peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

6. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it evenly right to the edge. Repeat with the second layer and another 2/3 cup frosting. Set the third layer on top and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting, swirling the frosting decoratively with an offset palette knife or the back of a spoon. Garnish with the reserved toasted walnut halves.

Maple Cream Frosting
Makes about 3 1/2 to 4 cups

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup maple syrup
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Place the butter in a wide medium saucepan and melt over low heat. Add the maple syrup, raise the heat to medium-low, and boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so the syrup does not burn.

2. Pour the hot maple butter into a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature.

3. Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat well with an electric mixer to lighten. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Scrape down the bowl well and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the maple butter and mix until completely blended.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Indian Stir Fried Cabbage

When I first made this, I couldn't decide whether to photograph it or not. I used to blog about every single recipe I made, but now I only post about stuff that I like. And we ended up liking this Indian spiced stir fried cabbage. All that's added is turmeric, mustard seeds, garlic, salt and cayenne, so it's a really simple side dish to add to your meal and a great way to use up any leftover cabbage. And cabbage is such a wonderfully cheap vegetable!

Thanks for all the well wishes about my exams! I wrote 2 today and have 5 left. Good luck to all the other students out there.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Pink Beans with a Cardamom-Yogurt Sauce
Curried Mushroom and Peas
Spicy Indian Chickpeas/Chana Masala
Sweet Potato Badi

Indian Stir Fried Cabbage
Adapted from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes

When I first made this dish, I totally burned the mustard seeds - they burnt as soon as they hit the oil. So my advice to you is to add the mustard seeds, then immediately after just dump the cabbage in. I reduced the amount of salt to 1/2 tsp (from 1 tsp) because 1 tsp was quite salty for me - but also delicious, so it's up to you.

2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 lb green cabbage, sliced very thinly
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne

Make the tadka: Heat oil in a large wok over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the wok with a lid or spatter screen. After the seeds stop sputtering, add the cabbage. Add the turmeric, garlic, salt and cayenne and toss well.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir occasionally until crisp-tender. (The original recipe suggests you cover and steam the cabbage for 5 minutes but I don't have a cover so just mixed it around for 5 to 10 minutes.) Serve hot.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Buttermilk Honey Bread

I'm going to attempt to keep this post super short because I really must be studying for my finals (sewage, pools, soils, environmental assessment, hydrogeology, intro to environmental health). I'm also super behind on my blog reading but will eventually catch up. My finals are scheduled pretty close together so I'm not sure if I'll be updating again before I'm done (on the 10th). So I shall leave you with this supremely delicious buttermilk honey bread which is possibly the best white bread I've ever had. Do you not want to just slide down those beautiful little mounds in the braided loaf?

The thing I love most about this bread is that it's a good solid/dense bread. Not dense in a bad way at all - it's like the pound cake of white bread. Mmmm. And the dough is really easy to work with - I do not enjoy sticky doughs. PLUS you can use up that extra buttermilk in your fridge that you have no idea what to do with. Why don't they sell buttermilk in 500 mL cartons? At least not here. We have to buy 1L and I think I've only once found a use for all 1 L of it.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Christopsomos - Greek Celebration Bread
Oatmeal Knots
Soft Pretzels

Buttermilk Honey Bread
Adapted from Annie's Eats who adapted it from Rosa's Yummy Yums from The Bread Bible

Yield: 2 loaves (rectangular or free form)
(Ashley note: I made one 8"x4" loaf and one 8" braided wreath.)

3/4 cup warm water (105-115F)
1 tbsp. instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, warmed to take off the chill (or brought to room temperature)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp honey, warmed until runny
1 tbsp salt
6 – 6 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (Ashley note: I used a total of 818 g.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the water, yeast, sugar, buttermilk, butter, honey, salt, and 4 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until a dough has formed. Switch to the dough hook. Continue mixing on low speed, adding the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until a smooth dough is formed that clears the sides of the bowl. Continue kneading on low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 60-75 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently punch it down. Grease two loaf pans (if using). Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape as desired. (To shape into a braided wreath, follow the instructions below.) Cover the loaves lightly with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise until fully doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

To make a braided loaf (from Annie's Eats): Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (a silicone rolling mat works well), divide it in half, and then divide each half into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 18” log. Working with three logs at a time, make a braid, pinching the ends together. Coil the braid into a lightly greased 8” or 9” cake pan, shaping it into a wreath-like circle and pressing the ends together where they meet. Repeat with the remaining logs.

Twenty minutes before you want to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Center a rack in the oven. Just before putting the loaves in the oven, brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with topping, if desired. Place the pans on the center rack and bake about 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through the baking time. If the tops brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Remove the loafs immediately to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing.