Monday, January 27, 2014

Orange Cranberry Tea Bread

It's been a cold, hard winter so far my friends and I don't have to tell you we aren't out of the woods yet.  No matter what that wacky groundhog says next week my feeling is we have a ways to go before we can put away that extra blanket and forego that morning ritual of warming the car up for 5 minutes.  And it's not like we can eat our way out of it, although I'm trying!

Take this orange cranberry tea bread, well you can't because my husband and I ate it all.  In like under 24 hours.  Initially Ken turned his nose up like he is want to do unless I'm making chocolate chip cookies.  But after his first cautious taste we were both looping off great honking slices and racing each other to the finish line.

This basically was born out of a desire to turn on the oven but not go out and buy any new ingredients, so it was literately made with whatever I had on hand.  I started with a blueberry bread recipe but only had cranberries in the freezer.  I added extra sugar to account for the extra tartness and didn't even bother plugging in the Kitchen aid, just did it all by hand.  The result was a dense, moist, sweet-tart remedy that took the chill off and brightened up our weekend, at least until it was all gone.

orange cranberry tea bread

1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup raw cane sugar, divided
rind of one orange
2 eggs
1 & 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice   

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; butter and flour a 4 by 8 inch loaf pan, set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter together with 3/4 cups of sugar.  Stir in orange rind.  Beat in eggs until mixture is light and fluffy.  In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour mixture.

Process the cranberries with 1/4 cup sugar to a loosely chopped texture. Gently, but thoroughly, fold cranberries into batter, but be careful not to turn the batter pink!

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on a rack for 5 minutes before turning out of pan.  When bread is totally cool, whisk together confectioners sugar and orange juice until smooth and pour over top.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Artichoke, Goat Cheese and Pine Nut Focaccia

This month's Sourdough Surprise is focaccia and I actually did a dress rehearsal for it a couple of months ago using a recipe I cut out of a newspaper long ago. Last time I stuck to my tried and true Rosemary Focaccia so this time I had to brake out of the rut and shoot for the stars.  I choose an artichoke and goat cheese combo cause I'm a fan of both and I had a hankerin' to see how they would taste with the sourdough version.  I also wanted something that was more like a meal and not just an accompaniment. 

There was only one problem.  The husband doesn't like artichokes or goat cheese and there's no way I was gonna eat a whole focaccia by myself.  I mean I could, but I wasn't gonna.  Solution?  Make little ones, some for me and some for him.  Perfecto!! 

sourdough focaccia 

2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup more water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup starter (discard is fine)
2 & 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
for top:
salt to taste (I used sea salt and black lava salt)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup drained artichoke hearts
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
olive oil
corn meal

Proof the yeast in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of warm water.  In a stand mixer combine 1/2 cup water, olive oil and starter.  Whisk salt into flour and add to mixer.  Mix on low until everything is combined; mix on medium until dough comes away from the side of the bowl. 

Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth.  Transfer dough to a large bowl that has been brushed   with olive oil, cover and keep in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 & 1/2 hours. 

Once dough has risen punch it down and turn it out onto floured surface.  Divide dough into 6 and form disks about 4 inches in diameter.  Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal.  Transfer dough rounds to baking sheet.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. 

After the second rise make indents in the dough with your fingers, cover and let it rise 30 more minutes.  

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Brush all the dough rounds with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, oregano, garlic, paprika and  salt.  Top 3 with goat cheese, artichokes and toasted pine nuts. 

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until focaccia is golden around the edges.  If you feel like going the extra mile you can spray focaccia with water part way through baking, this will give it some extra crunch.  Once out of the oven transfer to a cooling rack to avoid a soggy bottom.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Honey Almond Triangles

If I haven't already given you enough reasons to go out and buy a bag of almond flour, here's one more.  But be warned, like all things fried you cannot eat just one, and these babies go down real easy.  The good news is the main ingredient is almonds, and almonds are good for you so that's how I justified eating, hmmm, lets say several.

I adapted this recipe and made it a bit more user friendly by swappin' out almonds for almond flour, skipping some steps in the process.  They come together super fast and the phyllo pastry fries up in a flash.  They can be put together and kept refridgerated until ready to fry, making this a great make-ahead dessert.

1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon orange rind
1 egg white
6 sheets phyllo dough 
vegetable oil for frying

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon orange rind

For filling, combine almond flour, sugar, cinnamon and orange rind.  Stir in egg white, set aside.  Working with 2 sheets of phyllo at a time (keep the rest under a damp towel to prevent drying out), place one sheet on top of another and cut into 4 even strips.  Starting at one end place 1/2th of the filling at the bottom of the strip. Fold phyllo over to form a triangle.  Keep folding the triangle over itself until you reach the end of the strip, brush with water to secure.  Repeat with the rest of the filling.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot to a temperature of 350 degrees.  Working with 2 or 3 triangles at a time, fry for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until they are golden.  Remove from oil on to a wire rack to drain.

For the syrup, combine all ingredients in a  medium heavy bottomed pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved.  Transfer triangles to a shallow dish and pour hot syrup over them, let sit for about 5 minutes.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Apple Butter Bread

I know I'm supposed to be eating kale and juicing and cutting back for the New Year but to tell you the truth I'm actually riding 2014 in on a wave of caramel.  You've no doubt seen this and this where I made good use of my homemade caramel sauce.  But to spit my best efforts and those of my husband (he puts it on everything) I still had some left.  

And this left-over caramel just happened to coincide with me finding a cache of old Country Home magazines.  One of them had an  intriguing recipe for Apple Cherry Pie loaves, (I even found the recipe on the interwebs).  Well, I started hatching an idea right then and there.  I was fresh out of applesauce but I did have a jar of apple butter I had purchased for a cookie recipe that I never got to make for Christmas (maybe next year).

There was one more piece of the puzzle that makes this bread such a stand out.  The unmade recipe that left me with apple butter also left me with a load of pecans.  Earlier in the week I got an itching to just sugar and spice them up.  Bingo, a recipe is born!   I've included links for caramel and spiced pecans if you don't happen to have any left over!

apple butter bread with caramel and spiced pecan streusel

2 & 1/2 cups unbleached AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 & 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1 cup apple butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup raisins (plump for a minute in hot water and drain)
spiced pecan streusel (recipe follows)
1/4 cup caramel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 4 by 8 inch loaf pan.  In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon.  In a smaller bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, oil and apple butter. 

Add liquid to dry mix and stir just to combine.  Fold in drained raisins.  Pour into prepared pan.  Top with streusel.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan.  Cool an additional 5 minutes before pouring caramel over top.  (To get caramel to pouring consistency microwave on low for 30 seconds or so.)

spiced pecan streusel

1/2 cup unbleached AP flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup spiced pecans

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  refrigerate until ready to use.