Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maple Pecan Rings!

I must admit....I have trouble writing about anything "maple" in May...."Maple" just seems like a September/October thing. But I guess it's my fault. I don't have trouble BAKING anything maple in May..... I made these maple rings for our local coffee shop a few Fridays ago and then posted the pic on Facebook. It got LOTS of views and LOTS of "likes"! That is what my hubby tells me is a "clue".....Maybe people would enjoy having this recipe! Fortunately, all the maple ingredients are available to most of us year-round, and there certainly is no seasonality to a sweet bread with all these wonderful tastes and textures. So, to those of you who like to occasionally like to serve it up sweet, don't let "maple in May" stop you -

                    Maple Pecan Rings  (Makes 2 rings)                                     
1 packet/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
¼ Cup warm water
½ Cup warm milk
¼ Cup softened butter
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 ¼-3 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ Cup brown sugar
½ Cup chopped pecans
1/3 Cup sugar
¼ Cup maple syrup
¼ Cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp. unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. maple flavoring

In EZ DOH bucket, dissolve yeast in water. Let rest 1 minute.  Add one cup of flour, then remaining dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it till dough is formed, adding additional flour as necessary to make a smooth and elastic dough. Remove dough from bucket. Spray bucket with cooking spray, replace dough, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Remove dough from bucket and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece to a 14x8” rectangle. Combine filling ingredients. Spoon ½ on each rectangle and spread to ½” of the edge. Starting with the long edge, roll up jelly-roll style. Pinch seam and place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet. Cut one roll in half lengthwise, carefully keeping cut side up. Loosely twist strips over one another, keeping cut side up. Join ends by pinching dough together and shape into a ring. Repeat with second roll. Cover and let rise briefly. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Remove from oven. Cool on a wire rack. Drizzle with a maple confectioners icing, if desired. Enjoy! 


Friday, May 23, 2014

Onion Swirled Buns!

If you're like me, you are gearing up for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. We traditionally host a big picnic here, so I like the yard and deck to be in tip-top shape for the occasion. We always hang plants from our pergola for the summer. However, I can't keep hanging flower baskets alive, so ferns have been my go-to for years. I took off to do some "fern shopping" yesterday, only to find that there's some kind of "fern shortage" around our area- Yikes!! Fortunately, after  quite a few phone calls, I found a nursery that had just gotten a shipment in- Whew! I took a quick drive to the store and loaded my cart with three ferns. As I was walking to the register, several panic-stricken women stopped me, asking where I found the ferns. I have a feeling the entire shipment was sold by the time I got in my car to leave!

Anywaaaays.......Gardening, picnics, summer......that's not really what Memorial Day is all about, is it? It's a "day of memory"....a time -  to remember, to think about our generous freedoms , to be humbled by the sacrifice it takes to preserve them, and.... to give thanks. In the midst of our celebration, we are also planning to do just that. We always attend the community memorial service, but this year, we're taking my father, a WWII serviceman. He hasn't needed "taken" in the past....he's always ridden in the parade, stood throughout the service and been an active part of things. But last summer, this 89-yr-old Air Force vet suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side. So.....he will be taken. But I know my dad....he will be so proud to be honor the flag, to hear the 21-gun salute to the fallen, to sing the national anthem and remember.

 After the service, we're taking him to our house for the annual picnic. I'm planning to make these tasty burger buns!! Happy Memorial Day!

1 Cup warm water
2 Tbsp. butter
1 egg
3 ½ Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ Cup sugar
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. or 1 packet  Red Star Platinum yeast 
2 ½ Tbsp. dried minced onion
1 egg white, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water
Seeds, if desired – I used poppy seeds

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let rest 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. EZ DOH-it or knead traditionally till smooth and elastic. Place dough in lightly greased container and let rise till doubled. Remove dough from container and roll out, on a lightly floured surface,  to  a 12”x17” rectangle. Sprinkle with the filling/dried minced onion. Using a rolling pin, press onion flakes lightly into dough.  Roll dough into a log, starting with the short (12”) end. With a sharp, serrated knife, cut dough into 9 equal pieces. Place on a greased baking sheet, flattening them slightly with the palm of your hand to about 3” wide. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise till very puffy. Preheat oven to 375. Uncover buns and brush them with the egg white, then lightly sprinkle with seeds. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a rack. 
Adapted from a KA Flour recipe


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Double Chocolate Crescents!

 As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.”        
Antoine de Saint Exupery

When talking about making homemade bread, I often hear folks say, "I LOVE homemade bread, but I just don't have the time for something like that!"  At shows where I'm demo-ing the EZ DOH, my hubby will start a conversation with people passing by about how easy it can be to make bread.....Folks will often smile, take a warm sample of bread and then spout the aforementioned statement and walk on.  I wish I could just have a few more moments with them to explain that it's not usually about TIME - it's about PLANNING. Time is such a gift... we just need to plan how we are going to use that gift! And how we use it strongly reflects on the things that are a priority to us.

I love that the EZ DOH really does make bread-making fast and simple (Don't mean to sound like an advertisement here, but it is true! LOL!). It enables me to use my time to fulfill several of my "priorities" in life: 1. To pursue my passion for baking without taking too much time 2. To express my love for those around me - by giving them gifts of homemade bread! 3. To open up time for other "priorities"! It all takes just a little planning........

Plan to make these Double-Chocolate Crescents....someone will thank you for the time you took!!!

  Double Chocolate Crescents   
Roll Ingredients
¼ Cup water
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
¼ Cup sugar
3 ¼-3 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 egg

¾ Cup evaporated milk
¼ Cup butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 ounce semisweet chocolate
Chocolate Filling Ingredients:
1 Cup sugar
½ Cup cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ Cup butter
1 egg
½ Cup finely chopped almonds or pecans

To prepare chocolate filling: Mix sugar, cocoa and flour. Cut in butter and blend well. Stir in egg. Add nuts. Mix well.

To prepare rolls : Combine milk, butter and chocolates in a microwave-proof bowl. Heat in microwave for 45 seconds. Stir. Continue heating at 20 second increments, stirring well after each, until chocolates are melted. Let mixture cool slightly, till just warm. In the EZ DOH bucket, dissolve yeast in water. Let rest for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of flour to yeast mixture in bucket, then add sugar, salt, egg, remaining flour and chocolate mixture. EZ DOH-it until smooth and elastic, about 2-3 minutes. Cover bucket and let rise for 20 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 8”x4” oval. Spread chocolate filling evenly over each oval. Starting at the short end, roll each one tightly, pinching seams to seal. With kitchen shears, make 5 cuts on the side of each roll, cutting halfway through. Curve to form crescents and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until about doubled. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar to serve. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Apple Streusel Bagels

I am blessed. Those three little words are PACKED, and they are an understatement of my gratitude. My hubby and I attended a wedding this past weekend at which both of our daughters were a part of the ceremony. One was a bridesmaid; the other sang. As our Hope walked down the aisle, I couldn't help but think of how grateful I was that, four years ago, she married a wonderful man. As our Kate sang a gorgeous song about commitment, I could only think of how she, too, had committed her life and love to an absolutely super guy. And though our son wasn't present, my thoughts traveled in his direction, too, and I uttered a silent "thank you" for the amazing young lady he is happily married to. What more could a parent ask for?

This coming weekend will be a happy celebration, too. Hope's husband will graduate from law school. His hard work, long hours of studying and his exemplary dedication to "running the race well" will be acknowledged by family and friends. We're attending the festivities. I thought I'd bring something along that everyone could enjoy one morning we're together. I'm thinking these bagels will hit the mark - they're fun to make, beautiful and absolutely delish!! Definitely worthy of a celebration. And you can bet while I'm making them, I'll be counting my blessings!

Apple Streusel Bagels

1 Cup apple cider or apple juice, warmed
1 packet/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
2 ½ - 3 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1 ½ tsp. apple pie spice * ("make your own" recipe follows)
½ tsp. salt
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced into small pieces

2 Tbsp. softened butter
3 Tbsp. flour
¼ Cup brown sugar, packed
1/8 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg white, for brushing the bagels

Place warmed cider/apple juice in the EZ DOH bucket, along with the yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast and let sit 1 minute. Add 1 cup of flour, and then remaining bagel ingredients. EZ DOH-it, adding enough additional flour to make a smooth, not-sticky dough. Remove dough from the EZ DOH, spray the bucket and return dough to bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Remove dough from bucket and divide into 8-12 equal-sized pieces. Form a ball with each piece by cupping your hand over the dough and rolling it gently on a lightly floured surface. Poke a hole in the center of each roll, then gently and evenly stretch the hole. Allow these to rise for 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. While waiting, mix the topping ingredients until crumbly. When the water boils, drop bagels in, 3-4 at a time, 30 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bagels from the water and place on a paper towel to drain excess water. Place prepared bagels on a parchment-lined pan, brush with beaten egg whites and sprinkle with the topping. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and baked thoroughly. Cool and enjoy! 

* To make your own apple pie spice, mix 4 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of nutmeg and 1 tsp. of allspice. Tasty and easy! 


Friday, May 2, 2014

Spoon Bread Rolls!

Even at the EZ DOH home, there are times when there is NO bread in the house.....How can that be?!!! It seems I have the EZ DOH going at least once a day, so you'd think there would be an excess of bread, but.....the problem is, I give so much of it away! I need the feedback from folks other than my hubby, and my friends are usually my willing guinea pigs  (You know who you are.....I appreciate you!!).

 Sooooo, it was one of "those" days.....on the run all it's 4 o'clock and I start thinking about making dinner. Ugh.... And I've really got a hankering for some fresh bread,too... I began to leaf through the rather large pile of recipes that I still want to try. "Spoon Bread" caught my eye. I was a little suspect of it, as it's made in muffin pans. When I've tried that type of recipe in the past, the bread turns out a little too "tough" overall, so I just wasn't sure. However, I was in a hurry, so I just decided to go with it.....and I was so glad I did! These rolls were pretty.....they were soft....they were fast......and they were melt-in-your mouth (I let them melt in my mouth twice - I had two!!). And the final test......I had one the next day and it was still so tasty I could have eaten two more!

Be warned - the dough is a little sticky and "batter-y".....I just sprayed my hands with cooking spray so the dough wouldn't stick to me while I shaped them - It really wasn't bad. I've still got a couple of rolls left- I may pop them in the microwave to freshen them up a bit...I'm thinking lunch!!

Spoon Bread Rolls

1 Cup warm water
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
½ Cup warm milk
3 -3 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup softened butter, plus 1 Tbsp butter for brushing tops of rolls
1 tsp. salt
1 egg

Place yeast and warm water in the EZ DOH and stir to dissolve yeast. Wait 1 minute, then add 1 cup of flour, then remaining ingredients, including remaining flour. EZ DOH-it until dough is well-mixed. It will be smooth, but slightly sticky. Spray hands with cooking spray, remove dough from bucket, spray bucket and return dough to bucket. Let rise until doubled. Remove dough from bucket. Spray a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Gently form each roll, smoothing the top. Place in muffin pan, cover and let rise approximately 20 minutes. Uncover dough and place filled muffin pan in a 400 oven. Bake 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from pan immediately. Brush tops with additional melted butter.  ENJOY!!


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