Orange & Rosemary Shortbread

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It’s all about cookies during the holiday baking season. These orange and Rosemary shortbread pack a punch when it comes to flavor.

INGREDIENTS

156 g cups sugar
zest from 2 oranges
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (chopped roughly)
226 g unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
320 g flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
coarse sugar for rolling

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, orange zest, and rosemark. Use your fingers to work the flavors into the sugar.  The sugar will become a little moist and start to smell delicious.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until incorporated.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

With the mixer on low, gently add dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Mix until ingredients are well combined and a stiff dough is formed.

Divide dough in half and make two logs about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Pull two sheets of plastic wrap and coat them with decorative sugar.  Roll the logs to coat them.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator (and plastic) and slice dough into ¼ inch thick cookies and place on prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.

Bake until cookies are just golden at the edges, about 16-18 minutes.

 

 

Date & Pecan Biscotti

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I make it a point to always have some biscotti around the holidays.  You can swap out the flavors for anything you have in your kitchen and will not be disappointed.  Well, unless you pick gross flavors.

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 pound of crisco
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Zest of two oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2  cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups chopped dates

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Cut in crisco until small crumb consistency.  Add beaten eggs and vanilla until just combined. Fold in pecans and dates.

Split dough into 2 equal pieces.  Form two longs about a foot long each and about 1 1/2 to 2″ wide.  Bake them for approximately 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  Slice each loaf into 1/2″ pieces. Place them on the cookie sheet and return to oven to toast for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, flip over to other side to toast evenly.  Let cool and decorate with melted chocolate or powdered sugar.

Fave dei Morti

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I worked with this Italian recipe from Le Delezie di Patrizia. I made some changes. They are best dipped in cappuccino.

INGREDIENTS
300 g toasted almond flour
150 g flour
250 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 whole eggs + 1 additional egg white
30 grams of butter
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients together until smooth. I rolled mine into two logs and cut 1/4″ pieces.  Flattened them a bit on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  I sprinkled powdered sugar on when they came out of the oven.  You can make any shape you want.

Blueberry Lemon Curd Muffins

fullsizeoutput_339b.jpegI had some leftover lemon curd and blueberries from Sunday’s Pavlova so I made muffins.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 cup of sugar
8 Tbsp butter, melted and browned
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream + additional for topping.
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup lemon curd

DIRECTIONS

Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter over medium heat and brown (little brown specks appear and it turn golden brown but not black).  Take off heat and let it cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl whisk egg, and then add sugar, whisk until just mixed. Add the butter to the sugar and egg and whisk, then whisk in the yogurt and heavy cream.

Fold the blueberries into the flour and then gently fold in the egg/yogurt mixture just until just mixed. Do not over mix.

Place 1 Tbsp batter in each muffin cup, add 1 tsp curd, and then top with remaining batter, filling each 2/3 full. Drop 1/2 teaspoon of heavy cream over muffins before baking. Bake muffins for 10 minutes at 425 then lower oven to 375 and bake for 12-15 more.  Let cool before eating.

Cannoli Cake

A flavor-filled cake soaked in a rum syrup and coated with a light cannoli filling. Let’s hope it is someone’s birthday today.

INGREDIENTS

Cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
zest of one orange
Juice from half an orange
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup finely chopped chocolate
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted pistachios

Frosting:
175 g ricotta
3 tablespoons candied citrus peel finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Syrup:
Juice of half an orange
3 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup sugar

Topping:
1/4 cup finely chopped chocolate
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted pistachios

DIRECTIONS

Cake:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans.

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl until well combined.

I’m bowl of stand mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Then beat in orange zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract until well combined.

Combine the milk and orange juice.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients an the milk/orange juice into the butter/sugar mixture, beating after each addition until just combined.

Fold in chocolate and pistachios.

Pour cake batter into prepared pans, spread to form even layers. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.

Cool cakes slightly then remove from pans and finish cooling completely on wire racks. Level cakes before frosting.

Syrup:

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar is melted.  Let cool.

Frosting:

Pour cream into stand mixer.  Whip to medium peaks. Add ricotta, candied citrus peel until blended.

Assembly:

Take the first layer and brush with syrup. Add a layer of frosting. Top with second layer and brush with syrup.  Cover the rest of the frosting and scrape frosting on the sides. Sprinkle chocolate and pistachios on top. Refrigerate.

 

 

 

 

Happy Cookies

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These cookies will put a smile on anyone’s face.

INGREDIENTS

370 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup yogurt
215 g sugar
Zest from 1 orange
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking large sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to blend. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat yogurt, butter and sugar, and zest until fluffy. Add egg and extract and blend again. Add flour mixture and beat just until flour disappears. In some cases, this dough will feel too soft to roll into balls in your hands; if so, let it chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or so before using.

Use a small ice cream scoop to make balls of dough and roll them briefly in the palms of your hands before dropping them in a bowl of rainbow sprinkles and gently rolling to coat them evenly. Place the sprinkle covered balls to the fridge for 20 minutes.

Transfer balls to baking sheets at least two inches apart. Use the bottom of a glass to press down on the cookies until they are about a 1/2-inch thick. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they look underbaked but lightly golden underneath.

Let set on the baking sheet on a rack for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool the rest of the way.

Granola

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I modified Blue Bottle’s Recipe with what I had in the cupboard.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, coconut oil, and water.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly while sugar dissolves and begins to boil.  Set off heat and add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the room temperature oil/sugar mixture and coat evenly. Transfer to a rimmed 13″x18″ inch baking tray. Pat down to an even layer and bake for 75 minutes, break up granola into a few big pieces and flip halfway through. Make sure it is all dried out and not sticky.  Let dry completely before storing.

Black Sesame Pumpkin Pie

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This is what you do when you have extra black sesame paste.

INGREDIENTS

Crust
1 1/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup refrigerated black sesame paste
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Filling
2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the chilled black sesame paste into the dry ingredients.  Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork. Form a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges.  Freeze for 30 minutes while you preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove pie shell from freezer. Line pie shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack for about 20 minutes. Remove parchment paper with pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes more until it is slightly browned.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes while you make the filling. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, heavy cream, spices, and salt until smooth. Return the pie shell to the baking sheet and pour in the filling.

Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges of the filling are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Lemon & Black Sesame Rolls

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I love anything that can be made the night before and taste this good. I borrowed tips and tricks from every baker I know.

INGREDIENTS

Tangzhong
71 g water
71 g milk
28 g flour

For the Dough:
500 g all-purpose flour
100 g sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
7 g kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
115 g unsalted butter
115 g milk
115 g unsweetened yogurt
Zest of 2 lemons
approx. 10-12 tablespoons of heavy cream to pour on top of rolls before baking

Filling:
1 cup toasted black sesame seeds, finely ground
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Zest of 1 lemon

Frosting
225 g  cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250 g powdered sugar
20 g fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Tangzhong: Combine all of the starter ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from the heat, and set it aside to cool.

Dough: Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and baking soda until thoroughly combined. Add tangzhong and stir.

Melt butter over low heat, then stir in milk, yogurt, and lemon zest. Add this to flour mixture and stir to combine. With the hook attachment, knead on low for about 15 minutes.

Cover bowl and set aside until it doubles in size.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 12-inch square. Spread the black sesame filling evenly over dough to form a log with seam side down.

Using twine (so you don’t mush the roll) cut it into 1″ slices and arrange in a 9″ x13″ pan lined with parchment. Cover with foil and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Filling: Toast sesame seeds slightly.   Let cool and grind in a spice grinder or food processor. Add the sugar and pulse again.  Place the sugar and sesame seeds into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment and add softened butter and lemon zest.  Mix until smooth and combined.  Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. You can refrigerate this in advance. Before using, bring to room temperature to ensure it has a spreadable consistency.

Frosting: Add softened cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add vanilla, lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Mix on low and then increase speed until smooth.   Should take about 5 minutes.

Bake: In the morning take rolls out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature while you preheat oven to 350F.  Pour heavy cream over rolls before baking (1 scant tablespoon over each)/ Bake for about 30 minutes with aluminum foil on and then remove and bake for another 15 minutes until browned. Frost when they are still warm and serve as soon as you can.

 

Concha Pan Dulce

I love baking treats from different cultures.  I can’t believe it has taken me this long to make these Mexican sweet breads. I used this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

Concha Dough

3 tablespoons warm water

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup melted butter

1 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup white granulated sugar

3/4 cup evaporated milk (you can also use regular whole milk)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 large eggs, at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Food Coloring Gel

DIRECTIONS

Concha Dough
To the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the hook attachment (you can also do this in a large bowl and knead it by hand!), add the warm water. Pour the active dry yeast on top and mix in into the water. Allow to stand until foamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If it doesn’t get foamy then you’ll need to do it again.
When the active dry yeast is foamy, pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, granulated sugar, evaporated milk, salt, vanilla, ground cinnamon and eggs. Break up the eggs with the back of a spatula and allow the dough hook to mix it up a bit, about 30 seconds.
Next, pour the flour in all at once and run the machine for about 5 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is soft and smooth. If you’re doing this by hand, once the dough comes together, you’ll want to dump it out onto your floured counter and knead it for about 10 minutes, until it’s nice and smooth.

Rub a large bowl with oil or spray it with cooking spray and place the dough in the center of the bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Topping
In the bowl of stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment (you could also mix this by hand if you don’t have a mixer), add the butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth, about 1 minute.
Divide the dough in two. To one part of the topping, add a drop of food coloring gel. To the other topping, add the cocoa powder and knead until it’s cohesive.

Assembly
Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Or better yet, weigh them into balls of 100g. Form the balls of dough into rounds. Repeat until you’ve worked through all of the dough.
Take about 2 tablespoons of the topping and rollout using our palms, flatting it into a thin round. Drape it over the round of dough, patting down lightly. Using a knife, cut grooves in the topping like a clam shell. You can also do other types of cuts like criss cross, circles, etc. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool. Serve with hot chocolate or coffee.