Archive for May, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie – Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

May 27, 2008

I think this was my favorite TWD week yet! Madam Chow was up to bat and chose Dorie’s Pecan Honey Sticky Buns. The day before the recipe was announced, my husband and I sat on the couch together practically drooling over the picture of these sticky buns in Dorie’s book so I squealed with delight when I saw the announcement.

The sticky buns start with a brioche dough which I’ve never made before. It wasn’t really hard to do, but I thought my poor stand mixer was going to explode. After 10 minutes of mixing, my dough still looked more like batter so I ended up adding quite a bit more flour to it. So that caused me to worry that I’d really messed up the dough but it rose like a champ. I punched it down every 30 minutes for 2 hours just like Dorie said and was able to roll it out with no problems the next morning. After I filled and rolled the dough up, I had to stick it in the freezer for a few minutes because the rolls weren’t keeping their shape as I tried to cut them. Worked perfectly.

These sticky buns did not disappoint. They were gooey and sticky and delicious right out of the oven. I don’t usually like honey and found it to be a bit overpowering at first, but after my 4th sticky bun (yeah…) I really started to like it. My only complaint is that after I put them in the fridge they were really hard to separate and I broke them all in half trying to get one. By that point, though, I wasn’t so much worried about appearance as I was wanting to shove them in my mouth.

I see these become a regular in our weekend breakfast routine and I plan on telling everyone I know about them. Mmm. To see the rest of the sticky buns check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll.

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)
For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)
Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).
To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.
To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.
To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you’d like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).
With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they’re very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.
Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.

The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful – the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

What You’ll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!)
2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
What You’ll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can– this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you’re doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you’ll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

Mango Buffalo Wings.

May 24, 2008

I’ll admit that the reason I was drawn to this recipe when I saw it on Elle’s New England Kitchen is because the recipe specifically calls for Frank’s Hot Sauce and I have a slight obsession with it. And then I read more and saw that the recipe won the Royal Foodie Joust. And the sauce has mango! I had to try them.

The wings were really good. I think I would’ve preferred baking them without sauce and then coating them but the husband loved them. The recipe included a mango lime cream dipping sauce. Neither one of us liked it. It was good on its own but not with chicken.

Mango Buffalo Wings
from Elle’s New England Kitchen

Mango Buffalo Wings

20 chicken wings
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (or another hot sauce, if you prefer)
1/2 cup pureed mango
1/4 cup melted butter or canola oil

Heat oven to 400°. In a large ziptop bag, combine flour and dry spices.
Add the wings to the bag, seal, and toss to coat.
Place the wings on a plate and chill in the fridge for about 30-35 minutes.
In a bowl, mix the pureed mango and hot sauce. Stir in melted butter or oil.


Mango Lime Cream Dipping Sauce

1 1/2 cups pureed mango
1/2 cup sour cream
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tsp brown sugar
3/8 tsp cardamom

Add all ingredients to food processor or blender and process until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Israeli Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots.

May 22, 2008

I’ve been dying to try Israeli couscous since I first learned of it’s existence. I finally found some at The Fresh Market about a month ago and it’s been sitting in my pantry ever since. I had no idea what to do with it! I finally settled on a recipe I saw over on Starting from Scratch that includes pistachios and dried apricots. I probably should have thought about the fact that I hate dried apricots but her pictures were too pretty to think negative thoughts like that.

Needless to say, I didn’t like it. It wasn’t just the apricots though. I didn’t like the texture of the couscous. It was just an inbetween size that I didn’t like. It wasn’t small like regular couscous but it wasn’t big like normal pasta. The husband and the kid both gobbled this up so I’m sure a person with a normal relationship with food would love it.

Israeli Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots
from Starting from Scratch

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground cumin
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
zest from 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, chopped to the size of raisins
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
juice from 1/2 lime

Preheat a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Place the garlic and oil in the pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the couscous, raise the heat to medium, and stir pretty constantly for 4 to 5 minutes; the couscous should start to toast. Add the water, cinnamon stick, cumin, cardamom, pepper, salt, and lime zest. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat again to as low as possible and cover. In about 10 minutes, most of the water should have been absorbed. Add 2 T of the mint, and the apricots, pistachios, and lime juice. Stir, cover again, and cook for 5 minutes more. At this point, the water should be thoroughly absorbed. Remove the cinnamon stick, fluff the couscous with a fork, garnish with the remaining mint, and serve.

Chicken Piccata.

May 22, 2008

I’ve been bookmarking chicken piccata recipes for months now. I have at least 10 of them saved but I have been to scared to give it a try. For some reason I have myself convinced that I hate lemons, especially lemon on chicken. Plus every recipe that I find serves the chicken over pasta and I don’t like that idea.

Well not too long ago Chocolate Shavings did a chicken piccata post and the chicken was by itself on a plate with a couple slices of lemon! Perfect.

This is officially my new favorite way to cook and eat chicken. The sauce was amazing and I couldn’t stop spooning it on top of my chicken. I didn’t expect to like the capers but they weren’t as bad as I expected. Not something I could have every night but decent.

I’m planning on making this again in a few weeks but making a lot more so we can have leftovers.

Chicken Piccata
from Chocolate Shavings

2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons of capers, washed and drained
Sliced lemon, for serving
2 teaspoons of dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and dried oregano.

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the capers, and swirl to combine. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts.

Tuesdays with Dorie – Random.

May 20, 2008

Well it’s Tuesday and I should be posting madeleines which is the recipe chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home but let me tell you about my only experience with madeleines. I was pregnant, in the first trimester. Oh yes, the morning sickness trimester. That didn’t end well.

Luckily Laurie, our fabulous founder, gave us the option of going back and completing a recipe that we may have missed or one that the group did before we joined. So that’s what I did. And then I got bored and did another. But wait. I got bored again and did a third Dorie recipe for the week.

The first was Quintuple Chocolate Brownies which was the second recipe the group did. It was originally chosen by Chelle of Sugar & Spice way back in January. These brownies were fabulous. The husband says that they are the best brownies in the world even though I didn’t have any nuts to put in them. They were a little time consuming but most of that was chill time. Well worth the wait though. For the recipe, hop over to Chelle’s blog.

My second recipe was Brown Sugar Shortbread which I assume was chosen by Laurie since it was the very first recipe. These little cookies spread like crazy! Whenever I’ve made shortbread before it’s stayed where I put it, but these came out huge. Very tasty though. A little chewy from the brown sugar but they still “melt” like regular shortbread. I didn’t see the recipe on Laurie’s site but Chelle has this one too.

My last one for the week was Orange Berry Muffins. It was once again chosen by Chelle. Girl’s got good taste, right? The muffins are pretty amazing. I didn’t expect much from them but the orange really makes them perfect. I made them just a few hours ago and the husband and kid have already gone through half of them!

I’ll be back on schedule next week. Hopefully.

To see the rest of the TWD posts, check out the blogroll.

Strawberry Scones.

May 20, 2008

Lately I can’t seem to leave the grocery store without strawberries. I really think they just hop into my cart as I’m walking around. This past week I had some that desperately needed to be used (so I could go buy more of course) and went searching for a good scone recipe.

I found the perfect recipe over at Good Things Catered. They turned out great, although they could’ve used a few extra minutes in the oven. They were sweet, but not too sweet. In other words, the perfect accompaniment to my 6 cups of coffee in the morning.

Strawberry Scones
adapted from Good Things Catered

2 1/4 – 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour (depends on how ripe your strawberries are)
1/4 c. granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1/4 c. strawberry yogurt
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp lemon zest
1 c. fresh strawberries, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment.

In small bowl, combine egg, yogurt, milk, zest, whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and whisk to combine. Using pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour until all pieces are smaller than pea-sized. Add strawberries, and toss to coat. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix in lightly with fork until dough just comes together.

Turn dough out onto well floured work surface and pat into large ball. Cut dough in half. Shape half of dough into flat disk shape and cut into 8 slices. Place on baking sheet and repeat with other half of dough. Sprinkle tops of scones with sugar and place in the oven. Bake until turn slightly brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

When I Grow Up, I’m Going To Be a Cinnabon.

May 16, 2008

It’s not often I get to cook breakfast for all three of us. With the husband’s schedule and my need for three cups of coffee before I’m fully functional, most days Landon and I have oatmeal or Kashi waffles. This weekend though, the husband has THREE WHOLE DAYS off.

I decided to make some cinnamon rolls last night, leave them in the fridge, let them rise in the morning, and then bake them off. Well… I made the rolls. I left them in the fridge. And they didn’t want to rise this morning. I blame my refrigerator. It likes to freeze things occasionally and I think my rolls were the recipient of it’s little prank today. I ended up turning the oven on for a few minutes, turning it off, and then putting the rolls in and they rose perfectly.

What they looked like this morning.

I’m not a cinnamon roll person. I think they’re one of those things that you either love or you couldn’t care less about. I used the “Clone of a Cinnabon” recipe from AllRecipes but I don’t think I’ve ever had a Cinnabon so I can’t tell you how much like the original they really are. But they were good. Much better than any cinnamon roll I’ve ever had.

Clone of a Cinnabon
adapted from AllRecipes

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 packet dry active yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Dissolve yeast in warm milk in a large mixing bowl. Mix in sugar, margarine, salt and eggs. Add flour slowly until combined. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size.

Once dough has doubled in size, combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat over to 350.Roll out dough to a 16 by 21 inch rectangle. Spread butter evenly over dough and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Cover and let rise until doubled. (Or refrigerate overnight and allow to rise in the morning.)

Bake rolls in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. While rolls are baking combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Spread frosting oven warm rolls before serving.

Birthday Cupcakes.

May 15, 2008

On Monday the husband called from work to tell me that we were throwing a very small birthday bash (4 people! woo!) for his best friend Trevor. Of course I needed to bake something for the occasion. It took me all of 20 seconds to decide that Trevor needed rainbow cupcakes. It just seemed fitting.

Now let me tell you my secret. I used a boxed cake mix. Yup. It was last minute and I was already worn out from a fight with wheat bread (that I lost) so luckily I keep a box of french vanilla cake mix for emergencies. All I did was divide up the batter into four bowls, add color to each bowl, and drop a spoonful into the cupcake liners. Easy peasy. And so pretty!

I always make my own frosting though. Canned frosting just feels wrong. I used a stick of butter, a block of cream cheese, a couple squirts of fresh lemon juice, and then I add powdered sugar until it gets to the right consistency.

The look on Trevor’s face was priceless when the husband came out carrying the rainbow cupcake but that could’ve been because he had put a lit cigarette on top when he couldn’t find any candles. Who knows.

Fig Bars.

May 15, 2008

Time to kick off the new blog and I’m going to do it with one of the best things ever.

Homemade fig bars. Like Fig Newtons but more addictive.

I go through phases where I am absolutely obsessed with Fig Newtons. I can’t walk out of a store without buying a box and then I usually shove the entire box in my face on the drive home. I just adore them. There’s something so great about the gooey fig “jam” with the little crunchy seeds all wrapped in a cakey crust. Mmm.

I bookmarked this recipe during my most recent Fig Newton phase which was only a few weeks ago but I’ve been having trouble finding figs around here. I managed to find some at Walgreens of all places recently so it was finally time to try the recipe.

These are nothing like Fig Newtons to me. They are every bit as good and maybe better, but they don’t have much in common. The outside had the texture of a sugar cookie instead of the soft exterior that Fig Newtons have. The filling is amazingly good! I had some leftover so the kid and I had it on english muffins for breakfast the next day. I fully intend on making a batch of the filling just to use as a spread.

I’m submitting this to Tasty Tools because this is the month of the MIGHTY BLENDER. I’d post a picture of my blender after the figs went through it but believe me, it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Homemade Fig Bars

from The Boastful Baker

Filling:
1 cup finely chopped dried Black Mission figs
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest

Cookie Dough:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 large egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Make the filling: Combine the figs, water, apple juice and sugar in a medium sauceapan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 1-2 hours until the figs are so soft that they’re spreadable.

2. Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the orange zest and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and allow to cool.

3. Make the dough: Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the egg white and vanilla and beat in. Scrape down the bowl and paddle again. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

4. Place racks in middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12 x 16 rectangle. Cut into 4 equal strips, each 12 x 4 inches. Spoon a line of filling down the center of each strip. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheets, seam side down.

6. Using a serrated knife, slice each log on the diagonal into 10 cookies. Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

Newness.

May 15, 2008

Soo…

I guess I decided to move my blog. Only problem is Blogger won’t let me remove myself from one of my blog groups so I’m unable to import all my old posts at the moment. Hopefully soon I’ll get it all worked out. But from now on I’ll be posting over here. Exciting stuff, right?


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