Posts Tagged ‘Yeast’

The end of the month means that it’s time for another Daring Bakers’ challenge!

This month, Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

I stayed pretty simple with the soaking syrup and the filling. I really wanted to use up items that I already had, and even though I had a lot of ideas, I kept it simple and easy. For the soaking syrup, I made a honey syrup with equal parts honey, sugar, and water. For the filling, I used an already-made whipped topping and then covered that with fresh strawberries. The texture of the Savarin is different, but I don’t mean that in a negative way! It is like a cross between a bread and a cake. The recipe is a little time-consuming, so this isn’t something that you can just whip together. That said, it would be a wonderful addition for a Mother’s Day brunch.


Natalia provided us with the Savarin recipe, along with detailed instructions and photographs. My honey soaking syrup was 1 cup each of honey, sugar, and water. I put the 3 ingredients into a saucepan, brought it to a boil, then let it boil for 5 minutes. I kept it warm until I was ready to soak the Savarin. Later, when the Savarin was ready to serve, I filled the center hole with whipped topping and fresh strawberries.


Made with love, not calories!


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“A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top…In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Lent, beginning with the evening of Mardi Gras (the evening before Ash Wednesday) through Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion.” (Source)

I made these for the March Twelve Loaves challenge. The challenge was to make a bread that you would associate with Easter or St. Patrick’s Day. I chose to make Hot Cross Buns- and I added chocolate chips!

Hot Cross Buns

One Year Ago: Coconut Thumbprints with Blood Orange Curd

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
Recipe lightly adapted from Joy of Baking

1 cup milk
1 packet (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, divided
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

In a microwave safe dish (or mug), warm the milk until it is lukewarm (about 100 degrees). Whisk in the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes and allow to foam.

In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, spices, and salt. Once the yeast is foamy (after 10 minutes), add the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add in the melted butter and one egg and mix until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook, and add in the chocolate chips. Continue mixing on low speed and allow the dough to knead until it is smooth and elastic (add a little more flour if necessary).

Spray a medium sized bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough into the bowl, turning once to coat both sides. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot until almost doubled (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours).

Once the dough has risen, gently punch down the dough. Place it on a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush the tops of each dough ball with the egg wash. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray, then gently cover the balls of dough. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the balls of dough with the egg wash again, and bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let cool.

To make the glaze:
Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk (starting with 1 tablespoon) until you reach the desired consistency. Once the buns are cooled, drizzle or pipe on the glaze. Enjoy! 

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Made with love, not calories!

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I seem to be all about the baking challenges this month!

Lindsay, from Love and Olive Oil, is doing a Kitchen Challenge. This is her way of tackling recipes that are intimidating, and she is starting with homemade croissants.


Croissants are made from a laminated yeast dough. The dough is rolled out and a thin block of butter is added. The dough gets folded and rolled, folded and rolled…multiple times. This is a long process (about 10 hours), but really, the hands-on time is rather short (though you will get an arm workout!). The end result is flaky, buttery, and delicious! The recipe makes 22 croissants, but you can easily freeze some of them (which is what I did), to bake up whenever the mood strikes!

The recipe I used is from Cook’s Illustrated. I am going to ask that you click on the link for the recipe, as I could not explain the process any better than they do. They also provide step-by-step pictures (there is even a video!) which really helps.

If you like croissants, but have never made your own, I highly recommend trying it!

Oh, and my next batch is going to have chocolate in them! 🙂


I’m linked at: Tumbleweed Contessa, Cornerstone Confessions, Create With Joy, Addicted to Recipes.

Made with love, not calories!

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King Cake

Mardi Gras is fast approaching (February 12th), so in order to celebrate, I made a King Cake!

“In the United States, Carnival is traditionally observed in the Southeastern region of the country, particularly inNew Orleans, Mobile, AL, other towns and cities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, on the southeast Texas island of Galveston, and Louisiana. In this region, the king cake is closely associated with Mardi Gras traditions and is served throughout the Carnival season, which lasts from Epiphany Eve to Fat Tuesday.” (Source)

I filled my King Cake with apple pie filling, which isn’t a traditional filling, but what can I say- I’m a rebel! (yeah, right!)

Also, how great of a pastry is this? Purple, green, and gold sugar is sprinkled over the top! Yeah, I like colorful, sparkly things!

King Cake/Bake, Run, Live

Photo courtesy of Nick

I used this recipe from All, and the only thing I did differently was to use apple pie filling instead of the brown sugar-pecan filling the recipe provides.

King Cake/Bake, Run, Live

Made with love, not calories!

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The December 2012 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the talented Marcellina of Marcellina in Cucina. Marcellina challenged us to create our own custom Panettone, a traditional Italian holiday bread!

Chocolate and Orange Panettone

“Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan (in Milanese it is called “paneton” Milanese dialect (pronunciation IPA: /paneˈtuŋ/)),[2] usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy,southeastern FranceBrazilPeruMaltaGermany and Switzerland, and is one of the symbols of the city of Milan. In South America, especially in BrazilArgentinaUruguayVenezuelaColombiaPeru and Chile, it is a Christmas dinner staple and in some places replaces roscón de reyes/bolo rei (King cake).” (Source)

What a fun challenge to end the year! Despite my best intentions to complete the challenge earlier in the month, I procrastinated and just finished making my panettone a few days ago (though I made the candied orange peel a few weeks ago- that counts for something, right?!).    However, I’m going to say that it ended up being perfect timing, as I was able to share some of it with Nick’s parents on Christmas Eve, and wth my parents on Christmas morning.

If you have a baking to-do list like I do (it’s currently 107 items long!), and panettone is on that list, I highly recommend the recipe that Marcellina gave us to use. I used the panettone recipe and the recipe for candied orange peel. Both recipes are easy to follow, however, I will say that both recipes take time. This just means that you need to plan a little more when making them! Marcellina let us choose our own “add-ins” for the panettone, so I went with candied orange peel (yup, already mentioned that!) and 70% dark chocolate. If you visit Daring Bakers‘, you will see what the rest of the participants used to flavor their panettone!

For the recipes, please visit the Daring Bakers’ link, as Marcellina has some really great detailed information (and pictures). For the panettone papers, I found mine on Amazon, as my local cake/candy store doesn’t carry them.

Chocolate and Orange Panettone

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Have you ever come across a picture that features food, and thought “I have to make this”?

I do. Sometimes it’s a gentle thought- hmm, that sounds good, or hey, that looks simple and quick. Then there are times that it just smacks me right in the face! MAKE ME!!!

That’s what happened when I saw a picture for a yeasted meringue coffee cake. I had never heard of such a thing, but I knew I needed to make it. Regardless of the ingredients. Regardless of how long it might take. Regardless that I had other recipes planned out to make. This picture just took over.

And I am so glad it did 🙂

One year ago: Caramel Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake
Recipe from Life’s a Feast

4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 package dry active yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mini chocolate chips

3 eggs whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup sugar

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

To make the dough:
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, water, and butter. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted.

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Using a hand mixer, gradually add the warm liquid and mix until well blended. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. Add in the eggs and 1 cup of flour and mix for another 2 minutes.

Switch to a wooden spoon, and add in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic (adding additional flour as needed).

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl (I used cooking spray). Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap and set aside to let rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

To make the filling:
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, then set aside. Note: I found it easier to sprinkle on the mini chocolate chips separately, instead of combining it with the cinnamon-sugar.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until foamy. Add in the vanilla bean paste and slowly add in the sugar while the mixer is running. Beat the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.

To assemble the meringue cakes:
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough to a 20 x 10 inch rectangle. Spread half of the meringue onto the dough, leaving 1/4 inch around all the edges. Sprinkle on half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then half of the mini chocolate chips.

Starting with the long side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style. Pinch the seams closed and very carefully transfer the dough onto one of the prepared cookie sheets. Form a ring with the dough and tuck one end into the other end, then pinch the dough to seal it. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, make cuts along the outside edge of the roll, spacing about 1 inch apart, without going through the inside edge of the dough (see pictures below).

Repeat the process with the remaining half of the dough.

Lightly cover the coffee cakes with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Make your egg wash by combining the egg and water and mixing well. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully move the coffee cakes from the parchment paper onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

Note: These are best eaten the same day or the next day.

Dough- before rising

Dough- after rising

Meringue spread on the dough…

then topped with cinnamon-sugar and chocolate chips!

I’m linked at: Chocolate, Chocolate, and More!, Flour Me With Love

Made with love, not calories!

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Remember Friday’s recipe for Armenian Nutmeg Cake? Well, this recipe was the 2nd recipe option for the Daring Bakers’ challenge. We were given 2 recipes, but only required to make and post one of them.

Well, I was intrigued by both recipes, so I made them both!

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

According to the information Jason gave us, vanilla scented nazook is the most common, so that is the filling I made. To help bring out the vanilla flavor, I used vanilla bean paste and vanilla sugar (but pure vanilla extract and regular sugar will work just as well!).

Makes: 40 pieces
Prep time: 4 hours (1 hour active, 3 hours resting)     Bake time: 30 minutes

Pastry Dough:
3 cups flour, sifted
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

Egg wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten

Make the pastry dough:
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the flour and dry yeast. stir to combine. Add in the sour cream and butter and mix on low speed until it is well combined. Switch to the dough hook attachment and continue mixing until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl (you may need to add a little more flour). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours (I left mine overnight).

Make the filling:
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, vanilla sugar, butter, and the vanilla bean paste. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Set aside.

To make the nazook:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into 4 even pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the pieces into a ball, then roll out into a large oval or rectangle. Roll the dough until it is thin, but not transparent (it doesn’t have to be an exact size). Spread 1/4 of the filling on top of the dough, making sure to leave 1/4 inch around the edges. Starting from one of the long sides, begin rolling the dough- making sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Once the dough has been rolled, place it seem side down and flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash, then with a sharp knife (or pizza cutter) slice the roll into 10 even pieces. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, leaving about an inch between each pastry.

Repeat with the remaining 3 sections of dough. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Note: This is a subtle vanilla-flavored pastry. Feel free to add spices or finely chopped nuts to the filling!

Made with love, not calories!

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