Spiced Japanese Milk Bread


I always struggle a bit with enriched doughs but they always taste great.  This is one of my better ones. I added some of my own spices to this recipe.


3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons unbleached bread flour

320g unbleached bread flour
1 tablespoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
50g cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 cup scalded whole milk (cooled)
5 whole pieces of star anise
1 large egg
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) melted unsalted butter

Cinnamon-sugar filling
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1.5 Tbsp. cinnamon


Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.

Place the saucepan over low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the tangzhong to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature.


Place milk and star anise in saucepan scald by storing occasionally and letting the milk use start to foam and boil.  Take it off the heat and let cool.  Scrape off skin and strain out star anise then measure out 1/2 cup.

Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms.

Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased covered bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

Cinnamon-sugar filling:

Cream the butter with the sugar, and then add the cinnamon. If easier, you can mix the ingredients with your fingers. You will get a moist, chunky/sandy mixture.

Gently deflate the dough, squishing out all the bubbles you can, and pat it out to a 9×15 rectangle.

Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar filling on top of the dough, leaving a one-inch border all around the filling. Pat out the filling so it adheres to the dough. Sprinkle about 1 tsp. water over the filling.

Starting from a short end of the dough, roll up the dough tightly until you get a jellyroll. Pinch the seam closed with your fingers. Place the jellyroll, seam-side down, in a lightly greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy. Brush the loaf with milk or egg wash and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190°F. Remove the loaf from the oven, and cool it on a rack.


Whiskey & Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend over at Ritzy Mom blog made a version of these so I decided to make my own. Thanks for the inspiration!


240g flour
220g  rye flour
260g butter, room temperature
250g brown sugar
150g sugar
1 ½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon whiskey
200g chopped bittersweet chocolate
125g chopped walnuts
flaked salt for sprinkling


Add rye flour to a pan and toast it slightly.  Make sure you move it around as it will burn quickly.  Put into a bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients.

In stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla and whiskey.

Add the flour until just combined.  Fold in the chopped chocolate chunks and nuts by hand. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with silpat or parchment.

Using a small ice cream scoop place the cookies about two inches apart on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of flaked salt.  Cook for about 15-18 minutes.

Chocolate & Coffee Sandwich Cookies


They are kinda like grown-up Oreos.

190 g flour
75 g cocoa, extra dark
2 tablespoons powdered espresso
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
315 g sugar
142 g unsalted butter
1 large egg, room temperature

113 g unsalted butter, room temperature
95 g shortening
350 g powdered sugar
50 g cocoa powder, extra dark
1 tablespoon powdered espresso
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Into a medium-size bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture; continue beating until dough is well combined.

Measure out 15 g size drops of dough and roll them into a ball.   Place them about 2 inches apart. Flatten them with a glass to about 1/8 inch thick.  Be gentle as you peel it off the glass.

Bake until cookies are firm, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through.  I also like to drop the cookie sheet on the counter so that they deflate and crack. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening until well combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar, and cocoa. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, and beat to combine. Set aside in a pastry bag at room temperature until ready to use. Pipe about a teaspoon on each and flatten with cookie on top to make a sandwich.




Pear & Fragipane Tart


Mondays were made for pâte sucrée. A little overdone but color = flavor!


Tart Shell
121 g powdered sugar
190 g unsalted butter
2 eggs (75 g)
1 vanilla bean
279 g plain flour
70 g cornstarch
2 g salt


2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 1⁄2 cups raw unblanched whole almonds, finely ground
2⁄3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon almond liquor
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 pears, peeled, quartered and cored
1/3 cup apricot jam


Grease fluted pie plate with butter and set aside.

In a bowl, add flour, cornstarch, and salt and stir until combined.  Set aside.

Using stand mixer with paddle attachment cream sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time until evenly combined.

Slice vanilla been in half and scrape out and add to butter sugar mixture.

Add the flour mixture to stand mixer and on a low speed, mix until just combined then use a spatula to ensure flour is mixed in.

Transfer to parchment paper, flatten into a disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Roll out dough to 13×13 sq and press into greased, fluted pie pan. Leave the dough hanging over and trim after baking. Prick base and freeze for 10 minutes.

Line pastry with parchment paper/aluminum foil.  Fill with pie weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove paper/foil and then bake for 5 min more. Remove from oven and let cool while making filling.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until golden brown. Remove and let cool. In a bowl, stir together the ground almonds, sugar, eggs, almond liquor and vanilla extract, salt, lemon zest and melted butter. Spread evenly in the tart shell. Slice each pear quarter crosswise into slices 1/8 inch thick, keeping each one together. Lift using an offset spatula and place where desired on top of filling.

Bake the tart until the filling is firm to the touch in the center and slightly golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cover sides of crust with foil of browning too quickly.

Warm jam in a small saucepan over low heat until it liquefies. Pour through a sieve over a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the top of the tart with a thin coating of jam when it comes out of the oven.

Chocolate Espresso Shortbread


They are small, simple, and utterly delicious.


255 grams salted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
100 grams granulated sugar
50 grams light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
295 grams flour
2 tablespoons espresso powder
170 grams semi- or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped in chunks
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling


Beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed. Add flour and espresso powder, and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chunks, mix just until incorporated. Mixture will look crumbly.

Divide between two sheets of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap and use your hands to form the dough halves into log shapes about 2 to 2 1/4 inches in diameter. Chill until totally firm, about 2 hours in refrigerator or 1 hour in freezer.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line one or two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch thick rounds. You’re going to hit some chocolate chunks, so go fast.  Arrange cookie slices on prepared sheets and sprinkle each with a few flakes of salt. They don’t spread too much, so you can gang up a lot of them. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to get golden brown. Let cool slightly before transferring to a rack to cool.

Micro’s Lamingtons


Micro loves anything from Australia so I thought I’d make these.  I worked with this recipe from eatlittlebird.com


185 g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
40 g cornstarch
200 g unsalted butter, room temperature
230 g sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
125 ml whole milk, room temperature

500 g powdered sugar
200 g bittersweet chocolate
15 g unsalted butter
125 ml milk
325 g desiccated coconut


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 7″ x 10″ inch baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and cornstarch into a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in stand mixer.  Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add vanilla.

Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and fold in gently.  Gently stir in half the milk. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and fold gently.  Then add the rest of the milk and stir gently.

Pour in prepared dish and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

After 5 minutes, turn out cake upside down and let cool on wire rack. Using a serrated knife, cut the sponge into even squares. Freeze cake for an hour.

For the chocolate icing, ,melt the butter and chocolate over low heat in a double-boiler.

Add the powdered sugar and whisk in the milk until you have a thick, but slightly runny, mixture.

To assemble, pour the dessicated coconut onto a large plate.

Using two forks, dip a piece of sponge into the chocolate icing mixture, making sure that all sides are coated, and allow any excess icing to drain off.

Then roll the chocolate-coated sponge in the dessicated coconut, and place the lamington on a wire rack to dry.

Let them lamingtons sit on a wire rack for about 30-60 minutes.

Brioche Burger Buns


More hamburger buns but this time, using a brioche dough. Because butter is always better. Thanks to The Spruce Eats for this recipe.


For the Starter:

2/3 cup milk (lukewarm, about 85 F)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3 1/4 ounces)
3 tablespoons sugar

For the Dough:

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (14 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs (lightly beaten)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (4 ounces, at room temperature)
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon cornmeal

For the Egg Wash:

1 large egg
1 tablespoon water


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the 3/4 cup of flour and the 3 tablespoons of sugar. With the paddle attachment, mix the sponge until you have a smooth batter.

Remove the beater, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let stand for about 30 minutes or until you see bubbles over the surface of the dough.

With the dough hook, mix in the 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons of flour, the salt, and the 4 beaten eggs. Once the dough is formed, knead with the dough hook for about 4 minutes. Scrape the bowl down a few times.

Add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue kneading with the machine, scraping the bowl from time to time, for about 5 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and shiny.

Oil a large bowl with olive oil or vegetable oil.

Using a bowl scraper or spoon, scrape the dough into the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Punch the dough down; fold over a few times.

Cover with plastic wrap again and let rise for 45 minutes.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. With floured hands, shape into balls. Flour your palm and flatten the balls to make thick disks.

Arrange the rolls on the parchment-lined pan. Cover with a lightweight kitchen towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 F.

Sprinkle the tops of the buns with a little cornmeal, then gently turn them over so the cornmeal dusting is on the bottom.

Combine one large egg with one tablespoon of water; whisk to blend well.

Brush the egg mixture gently over each roll. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if desired.

Bake for 7 minutes at 400 F.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for 10 to 12 minutes longer until golden brown.

Carmen’s Mexican Chocolate Caramels

Some people are so sweet that you feel the need to make them their own candy.  Carmen is one of those folks.


cups heavy cream
24 small dried red chiles seeds removed, broken into ½-inch pieces
10 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
3 teaspoons cinnamon
cups granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
2 teaspoons fleur de sel or other type of flaky sea salt


Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with two perpendicular pieces of parchment paper, so that there is overhang on all four sides. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, add the chile pieces, give it a quick stir, remove from heat, and cover. Allow the chiles to steep in the cream for at least 30 minutes. Remove the chile pieces with a slotted spoon and discard.
Return the strained cream to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, add both chocolates and the cinnamon. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring the sugar, syrup, water, and table salt to a boil in a 5 to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring but gently swirling the pot occasionally, until the sugar is a deep golden color, about 10 minutes.
Tilt the pot slightly and carefully pour the chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture (it will bubble and steam quite a bit). Continue to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 255 degrees F.
Add the butter, stirring until it has completely melted, then immediately pour the caramel mixture into the lined baking pan (do not scrape any caramel clinging to the bottom or side of the pot, as these pieces will have crystallized). Let the caramel stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with the fleur de sel. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours.

Using the parchment overhangs as handles, carefully lift the caramel onto a clean, dry cutting board. Spray a pizza cutter or large knife with non-stick cooking spray and slice the caramel into 1-inch squares. Wrap the candies individually and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Farmhouse Buttermilk Cake


I came across this recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine who got from King Arthur Flour. This could be your “Sure, stop by for cake and coffee” when you don’t have any cake and they are only an hour away.  Delicious.



¼ cup butter very soft
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour


3 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons half and half
teaspoon salt
¾ cup diced pecans


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9″ round cake pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine the butter and brown sugar and stir until smooth. Add the egg, beating again till smooth. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the flour, baking soda and salt evenly over the top and still until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and/or the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center.

During the last 10 minutes of baking time, prepare the topping. Stir the butter and the sugar together. Add the milk, pecans, and salt. The glaze will be thick, but pourable.

After the cake has baked for 30 minutes, pour the topping over the cake and return it to the oven for another 10 minutes (for a total baking time of 40 minutes). Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the pan.

Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt, if desired and serve warm or at room temperature. Topping will firm up as the cake cools. Cake can be served in the pan or on a serving platter or cake stand. To serve on a platter, invert cake onto a dinner-size plate then invert again so that topping is up.

Linzer Cookies


For Father’s Day, I made my Dad one of his faves. I found this recipe at NY Times.


435 g flour
75 g almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
340 g unsalted butter
250 g sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberry jam
Powdered sugar for dusting


Whisk together flour, ground almonds or almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together on medium-high until the mixture is light, fluffy and pale, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, and beat until everything is well combined, again stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary.

Add in dry ingredients all at once and mix on low speed, just until incorporated.

Divide dough in 2 equal pieces, and wrap each piece in cling film, patting into a 1-inch-thick disk. Chill at least 2 hours, up to 5 days ahead.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper so it’s about 1/8 inch thick. (Because of the almonds, the dough may crack in places while you’re rolling it out. This is O.K., just patch it up with scraps.)

Using a round cookie cutter 2 1/2 inches in diameter, cut out as many circles as possible. Take half of these circles and cut out a 1-inch circle from the interior of the larger circles, creating a doughnut shape that will become the top of the cookie. If at any point the dough becomes too soft to cut and cleanly remove from parchment paper, slide it onto a cookie sheet and chill for a few minutes in the freezer or refrigerator. Gather any scraps of dough, combine them and roll them out, chilling as necessary. Transfer dough circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet spaced 1 inch apart and bake until the edges are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

To assemble the linzer cookies, spread about a teaspoon of raspberry jam onto the flat sides of the larger circles. Dust the tops of the cutout circles with powdered sugar and place on top of raspberry jam.