Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dried Cherry Brioche!

Earlier this month, Dave and I made a trek to Columbus to see our daughter and son-in-law.....AND for the annual "Village Valuables" sale that happens every May in German Village. My daughter and I love poking around all the sales, seeing what kind of goodies we can find. My husband thinks we're a little slow, so he takes off on his own. And my daughter's husband....well, he's not a garage sale guy, so he usually just goes along for the walk for a while then heads home. One of the best parts of the morning is stopping in at Pistacia Vera, the  French bakery in German Village (I's "German" Village.....) for breakfast. It is sooooooo hard to decide which amazing pastry (or pastries - LOL!) we're taking with us for our journey. The chocolate croissants are heavenly, but this time I ordered the orange brioche. I was not sorry!! So tasty, so soft and tender.....I didn't want it to end! But....."sigh" did! What's a girl to do? In my case.....come home and make my own!
Brioche is a bread dough that has a high fat content and is not super-sweet.....we're talking lots of milk, butter, eggs, etc.....which gives the bread a delightfully fine, soft crumb and a golden crust. The shape I've suggested making this brioche in is the classic "a tete" (or "head/crown"). You certainly don't have to form it in this's delicious in any shape!!!  
Dried Cherry Brioche
3 Tbsp. warm water
1 pkg/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast
¼ Cup warm milk
1/3 Cup butter, softened
2 egg yolks
2 Cups unbleached bread flour
1/3 Cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 Cup dried cherries, or any preferred dried fruit
For finishing:
1 egg, beaten
Sugar crystals, if desired
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 and replace in bucket. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. 
Grease 12 large muffin cups. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Set aside 4 of the balls and divide each of them into three equal pieces – roll each of those smaller pieces into small balls. Place the 12 larger balls into the muffin tins. With your finger or thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Place one of the smaller balls in each indentation. Cover and let refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Remove from the frig and let rise covered in a warm place 40-45 minutes until doubled. 
Brush the beaten egg over the rolls. Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar if desired. Bake at 375 for 18-25 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the pan immediately. Best served warm J
                                                                               Adapted from a recipe in Betty Crocker's Best Bread Machine Cookbook


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Twists!!

Brrrrrrr! For an afternoon late in May, it's downright cold here......a little like Fall. I'm a walker, so it's really been brisk first thing in the morning.....long pants and warm jackets are back. And the icy temp really makes me pick up the pace! One great thing about a cooler day like this is that, when I get back from my walk, I don't mind turning the oven on and doing a little baking! Especially when I know how happy I'm going to make someone by making these delicious peanut butter and chocolate twists. 

These really are great - a wonderful, tender.....and beautiful....mix of the one of the world's favorite combos. I won't wish you these chilly May days.....instead, I'll wish you the warmth these tasty rolls bring! 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Twists!

¼ Cup warm water
¾ Cup milk, warmed
1 Tbsp/package Red Star Platinum Instant Yeast
1 egg
3 Tbsp. softened butter
3 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

1/3 Cup creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
1/3 Cup mini-chocolate chips

1 Cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp.+  milk 

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 and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Remove dough from bucket and, on a lightly-floured surface, roll it to an 18”x12” rectangle. In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and honey. Spread this mixture on the dough to within ½” of the edge. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Starting with a long edge, fold one third of the dough over the center third. Fold the remaining third over that, creating three equal layers. Pinch the edges to seal. Cut crosswise into 18 one-inch strips. Spray a 9x13” pan with cooking spray. Twist each strip twice. Lay the “twists” in the pan, making 3 rows of 6 strips/row. (You can also just make individuals strips by placing the twists on a greased baking sheet – I sort-of like the grand look of all those twists rising together J ) . Cover and let rise about 30 minutes, until puffy. Bake in a 375 preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden. While baking, make the confectioners icing, adding enough milk to thin the icing to a “brushable” state.  Remove  the rolls from the  pan to a wire rack to cool. Brush immediately with the icing. ENJOY! 


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Easy Almond Twist!

Last week was sort-of the beginning of the end of the long road we've been on for the past two parents' illnesses, then helping to care for them, then being there for them both at the end of each of their lives, then cleaning out their household (sorting through memory after memory) and finally preparing for the auction. After many prayers, we were granted two sunny, gorgeous days. The auctions went well and by Saturday evening, we were able to stroll through an almost-empty house. 

That night, we came home and collapsed on the couch. I picked up an old cookbook I had kept out from the sale and began to glance through it. Of all things, it was an "idea book" for frozen bread dough from 1976! I winced at some of the ideas, but there were others I thought were clever and very tasty-sounding. It was great to flip reminded me of how much Dad, in particular, really loved my homemade bread. 

When Monday rolled around, I had a morning meeting, so I decided to try one of these easy recipes, though instead of frozen bread dough, I used one batch of the EZ DOH "basic" recipe (see "Stand-by Bread" on the blog). It turned out wonderfully - rave reviews from even my non-sweet eating hubby! 

Make a few memories of your own with this delicious and simple recipe!! 

Easy Almond Twist (makes 2) 

1 – EZ DOH “Basic recipe” for dough (or your favorite sweet roll dough)

Combine the following-
1 Cup finely chopped (or ground) almonds (the original recipe actually called for dried bread crumbs and was called “Mock Almond Twist”
½ Cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract

Make dough and let rise. Punch down dough and divide evenly into two portions. Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14”x 8” rectangle. Spread with half the filling. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with the longer side. Cut in half lengthwise with kitchen shears or a very sharp knife. Carefully twist the two strips together, cut-side up. Shape into a ring in an 8” round cake pan. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise until light. (I covered mine with plastic wrap and let it rise overnight in the frig.) Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Frost warm coffee cakes with a confectioners icing made with almond extract. 


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