Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lemon Coconut Sweet Buns!

It's here! In our house, we count any days after Thanksgiving as "The Christmas Season!"  It's my tradition to decorate the house on the day after Thanksgiving (I'm obviously not a "Black Friday" shopper - lol!) . My hubby manages to make his escape, whether to work or SOMEWHERE else, though he helps with the tree in the evening. I don't mind being alone for the day.....there's something sort-of sacred about spending those few hours decking the halls and contemplating all the blessings of the season while listening to Christmas carols. My rule is that all decorating can be done in a few hours - I want to enjoy every minute....not just look forward to it being DONE. That rule usually allows me enough time to bake up something special, because in the evening, we have the fam over. The grandkids help decorate the tree while the adults sip on warm cider, enjoying good conversation, laughing at the kids and half-watching a Christmas movie.

These lemon-coconut buns have received rave reviews in the past, so they might be my "treat" for this year's decorating event. I'll make the dough before my decorating begins - let it rise while I'm busy; then I'll shape it and let it rise while I'm tidying up the Christmas decor mayhem. We'll all enjoy them warm from the oven that way!

Lemon Coconut Buns 

1 Tbsp/pkg. Red Star Platinum Yeast
¼ cup warm water
2 ¼ Cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup milk, warmed
3 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter, cut in pieces
1 egg
3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
¼ Cup sugar
¼ Cup coconut
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ Cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated, adding a small amount of additional flour if dough is too sticky. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled. While dough is rising, stir filling ingredients together.

Roll dough into a rectangle, at least 14”x 10”. Spread filling ingredients evenly over the dough. Roll up, cinnamon-roll style, starting with long edge. Cut log into 10-12 rolls. Place in a greased 8 or 9” round pan. Let rise until dough reaches top of pan. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes, until golden. Remove from pan to cool.  Combine glaze ingredients. Brush with glaze while warm.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Onion Buns!

Well, it's almost here......the true start of the holidays (even though the media tells us it all started before Halloween!)  My family is buzzing about who's bringing what to our Thanksgiving feast next week. There's always the "givens" - Grandma Jo and her green bean casserole (Short story here: one year as she was going up the steps to our door, Grandma missed a step and dropped the beans in a bush. After rescuing Grandma, my son quickly proceeded to the bush, fork in hand,  to rescue the beans that were dripping through the bush!); Kate and Chris bring the mashed taties; Megan bakes up a mean corn casserole; Hope brings an AMAZING dessert from the pastry shop she works at; Dave and I have our annual "Battle of the Turkeys" - I do a turkey in the oven and he does one on the grill, then everyone votes whose is best (Dave's turkey always wins!) . Of course, I'm up early enough to get rolls baked before the turkey goes in....and those rolls HAVE to be oatmeal rolls (see the recipe on this blog). However, I was at card club this week, where we always have dinner together and I always bring the bread.  I took these onion buns and the girls loved them - one friend (who adores the "Every Thanksgiving's Oatmeal Rolls) commented that she liked these as well as, or better than, the oatmeal rolls! High praise there! It would be heresy for me to change things up at our Thanksgiving table, but if you're looking for a tasty roll recipe for YOUR table, here's a good, simple one! 

Before I give you the recipe, I want to leave you with a little "thankful" prayer/song I wrote many years ago as I was contemplating my blessings: 

Thank You, Lord, for the harvest - Thank You, Lord, for the feast 
For Your love that has no measure, For Your joy that does not cease, 
For Your mercy that is boundless, For Your grace that has no end,
For the privilege and treasure of calling You our Friend! 

May your heart be filled with thanksgiving as you plan, and enjoy, your celebration! 

Onion Buns
  ½  Cup boiling water
1 envelope (1oz. pkg)  onion soup mix
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Cup warm water
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 ½ - 4 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix first three ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk to dissolve soup mix and melt butter. Let cool til warm.
Place the 1 cup of warm water and  the yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients, including the cooled onion soup mixture. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Punch the dough down and divide into 12 equal pieces. Place in a greased 7x12” rectangular pan. Cover and let rise until they have “filled” the pan (or close to it). Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Brush tops lightly with butter. ENJOY!! 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Salted Chocolate Challah!

I was just over at my older daughter's house....we were "Christmas chatting", discussing the fun we were going to have making Christmas presents. Last year, we got together and made amazing little jars of cranberry & orange jam. Kate made some beautiful shortbread to go with the jam. This year, I've already come across several different jelly recipes that we're going to consider. And Kate wants the jelly to be accompanied by some crusty fresh bread. Sounds like an excellent plan to her bread-baking mama! 

Today's recipe would make a DELICIOUS and lovely present for anyone on a gift list - and you wouldn't need to make any jam or jelly to go with it! Just include some wonderful, creamy butter. But who needs to wait until Christmas?  I took it in to work, where it received "ooohh's & ahhhh's" from my chief bread critic there. Make someone happy soon - that includes YOU! Bake this bread!

Salted Chocolate Challah

1 tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
2/3 Cup warm water
1/3 Cup olive oil
¼ Cup honey
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. salt
4 Cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

1 Cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 egg, beaten with 2 tsp. water
Coarse sea salt, or other coarse salt

Place yeast in EZ DOH bucket. Add warm water and stir. Let sit for 1-2 minutes to activate. Add 1 cup of flour, then remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips . EZ DOH-it until dough is smooth and elastic, adding additional unbleached flour if necessary. Remove dough from bucket and “smooth”. Spray bucket lightly with cooking spray, replace dough in bucket and cover. Let rise until doubled.

Working on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll one half into a long, thin rectangle and sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips. Roll the dough up tightly , lengthwise. Carefully stretch and roll the rope as far as possible (I try to get them beyond 20”) . Cut the long rope in half. Repeat with second piece of dough. You will have 4 ropes. Before forming the challah, gently stretch and roll each rope out, getting each one as long as possible. They should be of equal lengths. Now take the ropes and form the round challah. (lots of pics are available online – I used creativejewishmom’s instructions ) . Once the challah is formed, place it gently in a round 10” baking pan that has been greased or sprayed with baking spray ,or place it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. (* see notes) Brush with beaten egg and let rise an hour. Preheat oven to 375. Brush the challah with additional egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 35- 40 minutes, until very brown. You may tent it with foil the last 10-15 minutes of baking to prevent over-darkening. Enjoy!!

*Note 1: At this point, I covered my creation with plastic wrap and let it do an overnight rise in the frig. I took it out of the frig 1 hour before baking, brushed it with the beaten egg, let it rise for one hour, brushed it again with the beaten egg and sprinkled with the sea salt.
Note 2: If you are placing your challah on a baking sheet, it may not hold its form quite as nicely as in a pan 

Recipe adapted from purple house café :
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dave's Favorite Cheddar Onion Rolls!

With snowflakes dotting the chilly breezes, no one wants to be outside for too long anymore. We just "closed up" our deck last week - Boo hoo! Goodbye, picnic table, benches, flower stands, and much miscellaneous until 2015! It's time now to move the entertaining indoors, so as soon as we got things packed up outside, we invited friends inside. Last Sunday, we had a grand time with four other couples for an at-home "Dinner and a Movie". It was a pot luck with styrofoam plates and paper napkins .... Dave and I have resolved that it's not always the place settings, the elaborate
menus, the tablecloths, etc., that makes a table beautiful, but it's the people around the table that make it special. And special it was. No one went home hungry - such great food! And everyone went home inspired - such a great movie! 

I served these cheddar onion knots as sandwich buns that night, though they also make terrific dinner rolls too. This is one of  Dave's all-time favorite recipes. When EZ DOH first came out, this recipe was included as a package insert. It also won blue ribbons at two different county fairs. I promise - THEY'RE TASTY!!! 

Cheddar Onion Knots
½ Cup warm water
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
½ Cup milk, warmed
1 ½ sugar
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
½ tsp. dried onion
1 tsp. salt
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 ½ Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough by patting or pulling sides gently under into a ball shape and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Remove dough from bucket. Punch down and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a short rope – 8-12” long. “Tie” each rope, making a knot (In the pic, I’ve tucked the ends of the knot under the roll. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Let rise 10-20 minutes. Before placing in oven, beat one eg with a small amount of water and brush the knots with the mixture. Sprinkle with additional cheddar cheese or seeds. Bake at 375 for about 17 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!! 

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