The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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gothicgirl

Originally posted on 10-16-2010 at Evil Shenanigans



Pizza is one of those things that is either done very well or done very badly. I don't waste my time on bad pizza. Honestly, there is no excuse for gummy crust, plastic cheese, and manufactured toppings when fresh, wholesome ingredients are available. With that in mind I went on a little shopping spree for toppings, and I'm ashamed to admit I went a little overboard - about $50 overboard! - on toppings and exotic cheeses, but trust me when I say it was totally worth it!


For me this pizza has the perfect balance of smokey, spicy, sweet, and savory all on a crisp and chewy crust. The secret of this pizza is not loading it down with toppings and cheese. Each topping packs a lot of flavor so a little goes a long way. My rule of thumb is to add enough so each slice gets a little of the love! This is also a good place to break out some good cheeses, none of that ready-shredded business. Last, and by no means least, is the crust. My crust is made with a Texas beer, Shiner Bock. A lot of pizza recipes have you proof your crust for a day or two in the fridge to develop flavor. Using eer rather than water gives you that long proofed flavor with out the actual long proof.


Sweet, Smoky, and Spicy Pizza on a Bock Beer Crust Yield 4 medium or 2 large pizzas


For the Bock Beer Crust:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 teaspoons instant yeast)
1 1/2 cups Shiner Bock, or any bock, beer
1/4 cup water
Olive oil for brushing


For the herb sprinkle:
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dry thyme


For the cheese blend:
2 - 6 ounce Fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced thin
1 cup smoked young cacioavallo, or smoked provolone, grated
1 cup fontina fontal, grated
1/2 cup grana padano stravecchio, or Parmesan


For the toppings:her
2 cups Simple Tomato Sauce (recipe here)
1/2 cup caramelized onions
4 strips Candied Bacon, cut into 1″ pieces (recipe here)
3 ounces hard Spanish chorizo, sliced thin
1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced and browned
4 - 1/2″ slices of fresh pineapple, grilled and cut into 1″ pieces
Fresh basil for garnish



In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the hook attachment, combine the flour, semolina flour, baking powder, and salt.


In a small bowl proof the yeast, if using active dry, in 1/2 cup of beer. Once foamy, about ten minutes, add it to the dry mixture along with the remaining cup of beer and the olive oil.


Mix on low speed for three minutes. The dough should be fairly sticky but form a smooth ball. If the dough seems dry add the water one tablespoon at a time until no dry flour remains. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes.


Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and form it into a smooth ball. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.


Heat the oven to 500 F with a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven for thirty minutes before you are ready to bake.


Once fermented turn the dough out on a lightly floured cutting board. Gently press the dough to degas then divide into four equal pieces. Round the pieces and let rest, covered, for ten minutes. (You can place any dough you don't need in a freezer bag and freeze for up to two months at this time.)


Once rested form the pizza crust to your desired size and thickness by picking up the dough and gently stretching in a circle. Transfer the dough round on a semolina dusted square of parchment on a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the herb mixture.


Bake for two minutes, then remove the crust from the oven, discard the parchment.



Spread 1/4 to 1/2 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the pizza, then spread 2 tablespoons of the caramelized onions over the sauce. Add 4 or 5 slices of the fresh mozzarella, 1/4 cup each browned mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grilled pineapple chunks. Next add 1/4 cup each of the smoked young cacioavallo and fontina fontal. Add 5 or 6 pieces each of the chorizo and candied bacon. Finish with freshly grated grana padano stravecchio.


Bake the pizza for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is crust is brown. Garnish with fresh torn basil, if desired.



Enjoy!


 

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gothicgirl

Posted on Evil Shenanigans on 3/23/2010 


I think pita bread may be magic.


Honey Wheat Pita Bread   


Not that it will grant wishes or anything, but I think the way it goes from thin, flat dough into a hearty pocket of bread fascinating.  Aside from the fascination factor, the versatility of pita bread is endless.  Stuff them with lunch meat for a sandwich, top them with sauce and cheese for a pizza, or bake them until crisp for chips.  Yes, the pita is very versatile.


Honey Wheat Pita Bread 


Notes on this recipe ...  First, they come out best if you can bake them on a raging hot pizza stone or cast iron skillet.  The stone, or skillet, should be heated for at least thirty minutes before baking for the best, and most puffy, results.  Second, these pita are made with whole wheat graham flour because it has the nutty flavor I wanted for this recipe, but if you do not have that standard whole wheat flour will work just as well.  Third, kept in a plastic bag the pita last for up to four days at room temperature.   


Honey Wheat Pita Bread   Yield 8 pita


1 cup whole wheat graham flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups water, heated to 110 F
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil


In a large measuring cup combine the water and yeast.  Let stand for ten minutes, until foamy.


Honey Wheat Pita Bread Honey Wheat Pita Bread


In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast mixture, both flours, salt, honey, and oil.  Mix on low speed for three minutes then check to make sure the dough is not too liquid, but it should be sticky to the touch.  Mix on medium speed for five minutes.  Cover with plastic and let rise until double in bulk, about an hour.


Heat the oven to 475 F with a pizza stone, or 9″ or larger iron skillet, for thirty minutes.


Honey Wheat Pita BreadHoney Wheat Pita BreadHoney Wheat Pita BreadHoney Wheat Pita Bread


Once the dough has risen turn out onto a floured surface and press out the excess gas.  Divide the dough into eight equal pieces.  Roll the dough into balls then cover with a towel and allow to rest for twenty minutes.


Honey Wheat Pita Bread Honey Wheat Pita Bread Honey Wheat Pita Bread Honey Wheat Pita Bread 


Once rested roll the dough into a thin circle, about 1/8″ thick.  Place the dough on the heated pizza stone and bake for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and puffed.  Cover the baked pita with a clean towel and repeat with the remaining dough.


Honey Wheat Pita Bread 


Enjoy!


Honey Wheat Pita Bread

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gothicgirl

Posted on www.evilshenanigans.com on 11/25/2009 here


Ready for something a tad more advanced?  It takes time to make, but it is SO worth it.


Butter Croissants


I fell in love with croissant making a few semesters ago in my Laminated Dough class.  Bread making is among my favorite things to do in the kitchen, but making laminated doughs (doughs with butter sandwiched between the layers) tops that.  It takes time to make laminated dough and the process has taught me a lot about being patient in the kitchen.  Some things can't be rushed.


Butter Croissants


Making croissants at home is not a hard thing to do.  Yes, it will seem intimidating the first time when you see all the steps all at once, but  it is really just three stages, which makes the whole process less intimidating for me.


Stage 1 - Mixing the dough and making the butter block


Stage 2 - Marrying the butter with the dough and doing your three turns (folding the dough into thirds, like a letter, and turning 90 degrees)


Stage 3 - Make-up and baking


Butter Croissants


A few things to note:


I proof these croissants in the refrigerator overnight then allow them to set, at room temperature, for an hour before baking. The long, cold proof gives the dough more flavor and allows the butter to chill completely before the final proof at room temperature.


The oven gets a spritz of water from a spray bottle before the croissants go in, and another when I put them in the oven.  The steam helps the croissants get nice and big.  You want that.


Give yourself two or three days to make these.  If I do not have a full day to make the dough and do the turns, about 6 hours for stage one and two,  I make the dough and make the butter block the first day, do the turns and make up the croissants the second and bake the third.


Cook the croissants until they are well past golden brown. The edges should be quite dark and the tops a robust brown color.  This does two things, it gives the croissants more flavor and it ensures they are done all the way through.


Once made up into croissants you can freeze the dough and store it for as long as two months.  Just put the frozen croissants in the refrigerator overnight to defrost and let stand for an hour and a half before baking.


This dough can also be used for some pretty awesome danish!


Butter Croissants


Roll your sleeves up, get out your butter and remember, no fear!  You CAN do this!!


Butter Croissants   Yield 5 pounds of dough (about 48 croissants)
Adapted from Professional Baking, 4th Edition by Wayne Glisslen


For the pre-ferment:
7 ounces water, warmed to 110F
1/2 ounce dry active yeast
5 ounces bread flour


For the dough:
2.5 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces whole milk
1 1/2 ounces water
2 pounds bread flour


For the butter block:
1 pound 4 ounces butter (I use salted for croissants, but unsalted is also good)


Egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon cream
2 teaspoons water


 


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Begin by preparing the pre-ferment.  In the bowl of a mixer, or in a large bowl, mix the water, yeast, and bread flour.  Mix until it forms a very wet dough.  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.


While the pre-ferment sits prepare the butter block.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Between two sheets of parchment paper arrange 5 sticks of cold butter into a rough square.  Using a rolling pin press and pound the butter until it forms a rectangle about 1/4″ thick.  Place this in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Once the pre-ferment is rested add the ingredients for the dough and mix on low speed for three minutes.  Increase the speed to medium for two minutes.  You do not want to form gluten, you are just trying to form a rough ball of dough.  Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until it forms a relatively smooth ball.


Butter Croissants Butter CroissantsButter Croissants


Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover until it is double in bulk, about 50 minutes.  Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and, using the palm of your hand, press out the air bubbles.  Form another ball and return to the bowl.  Refrigerate for an hour.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Once the dough has rested for an hour remove it and the butter block from the refrigerator.  Turn the dough out on a a lightly floured surface and press out the air.  Using a rolling pin form a large rectangle roughly  12″ x 24″.


Butter Croissants


Take the butter block still wrapped in parchment and see if it covers 2/3 of the rolled out dough.  If it is too small roll it out until it fits, leaving a 1/2″ border around the edges.  You can use your fingers to spread the butter if needed, just make sure that the butter does not develop any holes.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Fold the dough with out butter over the center of the dough.  Fold the buttered side in.   At this point check to see of the butter is getting soft.  You want the butter cool and firm, but if it is starting to melt let the dough chill, covered, for twenty minutes before you make the first turn. ( If you work quickly you can incorporate the butter and do your first turn before you have to chill.  Your first time you may not be able to.  That is completely ok.)


Butter CroissantsButter Croissants Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Turn the dough 90 degrees, or with the long seam facing horizontal to you.  Dust the board and the dough well with flour and roll out the dough into a rectangle that is about 12″ by 20″.  Dust all the flour from the dough and fold one third of the dough in.  Dust the top of the dough again to remove any flour and then fold the other third over the top.  Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.


Repeat this process two more times.


Once you have completed three turns, and the dough has rested for an hour, you are ready to roll out and make up your croissants.


Divide the dough in half.  Wrap the half you are not using and return to the refrigerator.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


On a well floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/8″ thick.  You may need to let the dough rest during this process if it starts to spring back.  If so, cover with plastic and return to the refrigerator for ten minutes.  Once rolled out cut the dough in half lengthwise with a pizza cutter.  Now, holding your cutter at an angle cut triangles from the strips of dough that are about 4″ wide at the base.  Cut one strip at a time.


Butter Croissants Butter Croissants Butter Croissants


Working with a few triangles at a time, chilling the rest, stretch the dough gently at the base until it is about 5″ to 6″ wide, then stretch the dough lengthwise so it forms a long triangle.  Working from the base, roll the dough onto itself, stopping to stretch the unrolled dough half way through.  Place the dough with the point on the bottom and tuck the edges in to form a crescent shape.  Place on a parchment lined sheet pan.


Cover with plastic and chill for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best.


Heat the oven to 400 F, prepare the egg wash, and fill a spray bottle with water.  Set the dough out to proof for an hour at room temperature while the oven heats.


When you are ready to bake spritz the inside of the oven with water.  Close the door and wait thirty seconds.  Brush the croissants with egg wash, then put the pan in the oven and spritz again and quickly close the door.


Butter Croissants


Bake for 18 to 22 minutes for medium sized croissants, or until the tops are very brown and they sound hollow when tapped on the side.  Rest on the pan for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool slightly.


Butter Croissants


Serve warm.


Butter Croissants


 

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gothicgirl

Posted on EvilShenanigans.com on 6/19/09


Is there anything more comforting than the smell of warm cinnamon rolls?  If there is, I can't think of it right now.


 Cinnamon Roll Bread 


 


While I love the traditional cinnamon roll, and believe me I do, I thought it would be fun to take my cinnamon roll dough and make it into a swirled loaf.  I tried that very thing with my regular recipe and it was a disaster.  The buttery filling left the bread wet and the eggs and fat in the dough left the center of the loaf gooey in the center.  Gooey in a bad way.  Not tasty.


 


Cinnamon Roll Bread 


 


So, I changed the recipe by reducing the amount of filling, the number of eggs and the fat in the dough.  The resulting bread was soft, fluffy, tender, and perfect for toasting and buttering for breakfast!


 


Cinnamon Roll Bread  


 


If you have any left that is past the freshness prime you can cube it up and use it in bread pudding.  I can't tell you how good that was! 



Cinnamon Roll Bread   Yield 1 10" loaf and 6 cinnamon rolls


1/3 cup water, (warmed, 110F)
2 teaspoons dry active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, warmed
1/4 cup sugar
1egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups white bread flour

Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Glaze:

4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk


Cinnamon Roll Bread 


Combine water, sugar and yeast. Allow to activate until frothy, about 10 minutes.


Cinnamon Roll Bread Cinnamon Roll Bread Cinnamon Roll Bread In the bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook, add the yeast mixture, buttermilk, egg, melted butter, flour and salt.  Mil on second speed for three minutes, then check the hydration.  The dough should be lightly sticky but not cling to the fingers.  Adjust as necessary adding additional white flour or water. 


 


Cinnamon Roll Bread Cinnamon Roll Bread 


Mix on medium high speed for eight minutes, then remove from the bowl and round the dough, making it into a smooth round ball.   Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover.  Allow to rise until the dough doubles in volume, about 60 to 90 minutes.


Cinnamon Roll Bread Cinnamon Roll Bread 


While the dough rises prepare the filling by mixing the butter, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.  Cover and set aside.


Cinnamon Roll BreadCinnamon Roll BreadCinnamon Roll Bread


Once risen, remove the dough from the bowl and, on a well floured board, press out the air with the palm of your hand.  Stretch the dough until it is the size of a half sheet pan (18″ x 15″).  Spread the filling evenly over the dough then, starting on the short side, carefully roll the dough into a log. 


 Cinnamon Roll Bread Cinnamon Roll Bread 


Measure the dough to 9 1/2″ and cut it.  Place into a greased 10" loaf pan.  Slice the remaining dough into six pieces and pace into a greased 9″ cake pan.   


Cinnamon Roll Bread Cinnamon Roll Bread


Cover with greased plastic and allow to rise for 40 minutes, or until the dough is doubled, about an hour. 


Preheat oven to 375F while bread rises.


Cinnamon Roll Bread Cinnamon Roll Bread 


Bake the loaf for 45 minutes or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.   The rolls bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and the bread is pulling away from the sides of the pan.


 


Cinnamon Roll Bread 


While the rolls cool prepare the icing by mixing the butter, powdered sugar, and milk until smooth.  Once the cinnamon rolls have cooled ten minutes cover them with as much icing as desired.  


Cinnamon Roll Bread


Eat warm.  


Cinnamon Roll Bread 


Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.  Wait at least an hour before slicing.


Cinnamon Roll Bread

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gothicgirl

Posted on EvilShenanigans.com on 6/12/09


I have been on something of a pizza kick lately, and not those commercially prepared pies with flavorless cheese and mushy veggies.


DSCF2897


I can directly pin-point when this all started.  It began at the Mushroom Council lunch when Chef Kent Rathburn made us a grilled mushroom pizza.  I knew in that moment that I would be making a pizza with grilled mushrooms.  This is the result.


DSCF2890


I used mushrooms that were available at the grocery store, portobello and white button, and added some red pepper for extra flavor.  I will say this, grilling mushrooms is an easy way to add a soft smoky flavor and meaty texture to a pizza, and it may be the only way I do it from now on!


DSCF2880


I decided that instead of sauce I would just put diced tomato on my pizza, and along with some lovely fresh mozzarella cheese I would add some creamy ricotta.  Of course, I added some pepperoni.  It is my favorite topping.  I'm not ashamed to admit it either.


DSCF2896 


The crust is homemade, and I decided almost at the last minute to add about 1/4 cup of my sourdough starter to it.  The starter added a nice tangy bite to the crust, which has a crisp exterior and a soft interior.  If you do not have any starter do not fear.  It is entirely optional, and the crust is still beautiful with out it.


Grilled Mushroom and Ricotta Pizza on Sourdough Wheat Crust   Serves 4-6


Sourdough Wheat Crust:
1 cup water heated to 95F
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup sourdough starter, optional
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white bread flour
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the bowl
1 teaspoon salt


Grilled Mushrooms and Peppers:
1 pound portobello mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper


Other Toppings:
Ricotta cheese
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Diced tomatoes
Pepperoni
Fresh oregano, minced
Fresh Basil


DSCF2839


Prepare a sponge by combining the water, yeast, starter, sugar, honey, and what flour in a bowl.  Stir to combine and allow to sit covered, at room temperature, for ten minutes.  The sponge may not be terribly foamy or bubbly.


DSCF2840


To the sponge add the remaining ingredients and mix with the dough hook on low speed for 3 minutes. Adjust the hydration as needed (the dough should be tacky but not cling too much to your fingers).  Increase the speed to medium and mix for 8 minutes.   Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a ball on a lightly floured surface.


DSCF2842


Transfer to a bowl coated with olive oil, turn once to coat, and proof for two hours, covered, at room temperature.  After the initial proof, degas the dough and store, covered well, in the refrigerator for 24 hours, or up to three days. 


 DSCF2877


Pull the dough an hour before you are ready to bake it.  While the dough warms up prepare your toppings and heat your oven to 500F with a pizza stone on the bottom rack, if you have one.  


DSCF2879


With the flat of a knife crush two large garlic cloves.  Mix them with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Add the sliced mushrooms and bell pepper strips and allow sit five minutes.


DSCF2882


Transfer to a perforated grill pan and cook, over a very hot grill, until starting to soften, about five to ten minutes.  Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.


DSCF2872DSCF2875


Divide the dough into two large or four small balls and, using your hands, stretch it into a thin circle.  


DSCF2883


Transfer the dough to a pizza peel that has been dusted generously with corn meal.  Top the pizza with a thin layer of ricotta, diced tomatoes, oregano, mozzarella, pepperoni, and the grilled mushrooms and peppers.


DSCF2891 


Cook the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and brown and the cheese has melted and begun to brown as well.


DSCF2899 


Allow the pizza to rest for five minutes before slicing.  Top with torn fresh basil.


DSCF2898


Enjoy!

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gothicgirl

Posted on 5/26/09 at evilshenanigans.com


Do you impulse buy?


 Chipotle Gouda Cornbread


I do.   My impulse buys are most often food related.  Last week I discovered a really great local cheese shop in Dallas and I could not help but go in and shop.  I got some terribly expensive, and very tasty, sea salt caramels, some disappointing dark chocolate, and two superb cheeses.  One was a sharp cheddar made in Texas, and the other was a raw milk Gouda, also made in Texas.


Chipotle Gouda Cornbread 


The cheddar has been easy to use in sandwiches, egg dishes and such.  The Gouda was different.  I had picked it on impulse with no plan for it.  So, I had a think and decided to add it to some cornbread along with some extra spices, and some left over buttermilk.


 Chipotle Gouda Cornbread 


The texture is soft and creamy, there is a slight smokey flavor followed by a gentle spice, and it is some of the best cornbread I have ever had.


Chipotle Gouda Cornbread  Yield 18 muffins or 1 - 9″ round loaf


5 oz all-purpose Flour
5 oz corm meal
1 1/2 oz sugar
.5 oz baking powder
.75 oz non-fat dry milk
4 oz Gouda cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon dry chipotle powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 egg, beaten
9 oz buttermilk
.5 oz honey or corn syrup
6 oz butter, melted


Heat the oven to 350 F and spray a 12-cup muffin pan, or a 9″ cake pan, with non-stick spray.


 Chipotle Gouda Cornbread Chipotle Gouda Cornbread


In a large bowl mix the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, non-fat dry milk, and spices until well combined.  Add the cheese and stir to combine.


Chipotle Gouda Cornbread 


In a separate bowl mix the egg, milk, honey or corn syrup, and butter. 


Chipotle Gouda Cornbread 


Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the went into it.  Fold the mixture gently, mixing until the dry ingredients are just moist.  Do not over-mix.


Scoop into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup half way with batter, or pour the patter into the prepared cake pan.


Chipotle Gouda Cornbread 


Bake for 18 to 20 minutes for muffins, or 25 to 30 for the cake pan.


    Chipotle Gouda Cornbread 


Allow to cool in the pan for 3 minutes before turning out of the pan.


Chipotle Gouda Cornbread


Serve immediately.


Chipotle Gouda Cornbread


 

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gothicgirl

Posted on www.evilshenanigans.com on 4/17/2009


Cheddar and Garlic Drop Biscuit 


Often when I make dinner I skip any kind of bread item.  It isn't that I don't like bread with dinner, on the contrary I love bread with every meal, but I usually forget to make or buy bread and so we skip it.  I justify it by thinking of all the calories I am missing.


However, sometimes I remember the bread and when I do I usually make these biscuits.  They take five minutes to prep and get into the oven, they bake in 15 minutes and, if you have left-overs, they keep pretty well for a second meal - just reheat them in a 325 F oven for ten minutes. 


Cheddar and Garlic Drop Biscuit 


These biscuits are perfect for a homey meal, and they are good for when you have company for dinner.  During the week they are not a chore to get into the oven, and you can easily double the recipe for a large gathering with little additional effort.


For the most part I am a traditional flaky biscuit kind of gal, and I will post a recipe for traditional cut-out biscuits one day, but these fluffy cheese streaked biscuits hold a special place in my heart because they are quick and delicious.


Garlic Cheese Drop Biscuits     Yield 12


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter, melted


Heat the oven to 350 F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.


Cheddar and Garlic Drop Biscuits - Dry Ingredients 


Blend the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and garlic powder into a large bowl.


Cheddar and Garlic Drop Biscuit - Ready to Rub the Butter inCheddar and Garlic Drop Biscuit - Butter Rubbed In 


With your fingers, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand with pea sized lumps of butter in it.  Stir in the shredded cheeses.


Cheddar and Garlic Drop Biscuit Dough 


Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk in.  With a spoon, gently mix until the dry ingredients are just moist.  Do not overmix.


Scoop the biscuits onto the parchment line sheet (roughly 1/3 cup - I used a large disher) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.   The tops will be pale, but the bottoms will be lightly golden brown.


Cheddar and Garlic Drop Biscuit - Cooling 


Brush the tops with the melted butter and place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tops become golden.


 Cheddar and Garlic Drop Biscuit 

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gothicgirl

Poted on www.evilshenanigans.com on 4/20/2009


If given the choice of any dessert I want, I almost always pick the cookie.  I adore them.  During the Holidays I tend to eat and bake so many cookies that I get a little tired of them and I can't stand to make them until Spring is fully underway. 


Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies


These cookies have a delicious secret hidden in them.  A mixture of ground almonds, mini-chocolate chips, vanilla sugar, and cinnamon.   I love little suprises like this in my desserts.  People always think you slaved to make something so impressive, but I must confess ... these are so easy to make!  The dough is supple and easy to work with, and they hold the filling well. 


Fresh From the Oven 


Once baked they maintain their shape well, and once cool completly are sturdy little things.  The dough is not terribly sweet, it is more like a pie dough than a cookie dough in many aspects, so the dusting of powdered sugar is a welcome addition.  If you do not want to roll or dust your cookies, and often I feel that step is one step too many myself,  feel free to add a tablespoon or two of additional sugar to the dough.


These cookies are crisp, buttery, delicate, and remarkable good.  They keep for as many as five days in an air tight container on the counter.   


Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies 


Plus, they just look darn pretty!


Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies   Yield 36 cookies


Dough:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or 2 tabplesoons sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla)
1 cup salted butter
2 tablepsoons milk
1 tablespoon water


Filling:


1/2 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
3 tablespoons mini-chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons water


Powdered sugar for dusting


Heat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.


Filling 


Mix the almonds with the sugar, chocolate chips and water.  Mix well and set aside.


Making the Dough Dough


In the bowl of a food processor add the flour, cinnamon, sugar, milk, water, and butter.  Pulse the mixture until it forms a ball.  You may need to add up to an additional tablespoon of water.


Dough Rolled into a Log Roll the Dough


Roll the dough into a log about 18″ long, then cut into 1/2″ slices.  Roll each slice into a ball.


Starting the Cup Formed into a Cup  


Take one ball of doug, press your finger into the center, then shape the ball into a cup. 


Filled CupPull the Edges InPinch the SeamAll Rolled Up  


Fill each cup with a little of the filling then pinch the dough closed.  Roll gently between your palms to round the ball and place seam side down on the prepared pans.  Repeat with the remaining dough.


Ready to BakeFresh From the Oven  


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden.  Cool completly on the pan.


Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies 


Roll in powdered sugar before serving.


Almond and Chocolate Filled Butter Cookies

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Posted on www.evilshenanigans.com on 4/13/2009


If you do not like chocolate jam packed inside a fudgy brownie, turn back now!


 Dark Chocolate Chip Brownies


This recipe is adapted from one we made in culinary school.  The brownies we made were ok, but we did not use dark chocolate or dutch processed cocoa powder.  I do and the result is superior.  There is also more chocolate chips in my version.  I see it this way, if you are going to have chocolate, why go half-way? 


These are really easy to get mixed up, they cool pretty quickly and are wonderful covered in a shiny layer of dark chocolate ganache.  Again, why go half way?


Frosted Brownies 


The brownies are rich, chewy, melting, and fudgy.  I like them warm, with the kiss of the oven still on them, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or some whipped cream and a drizzle of fudge sauce.  As good as they are warm, however, I also like them cold from the refrigerator.  For some reason these brownies are SO GOOD cold, which makes them excellent for the summers here in Texas when it is ten kinds of hot.  There is nothing like a cold, chewy brownie when it is 105F outside.  Trust me!


Dark Chocolate Chip Brownies 


You can easily double this recipe.  In fact, the original recipe was enough to fill a full sheet pan.  I scaled this down to a quarter of that amount - mostly because my thighs could not take it.  Just know you can scale it up easily and with much success. 


Dark Chocolate Chip Brownies   Yield 20 brownies


3 oz butter
2 oz dark chocolate, at least 62%, chopped
Sugar 14 oz
4 oz golden syrup or honey
3 oz butter
5 oz eggs (about three large)
.75 oz water
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5.25 oz cake flour
1 oz dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 oz chocolate chips


Heat the oven to 350F and prepare a 1/4 sheet pan (9″x13″) with non-stick spray, line the bottom with parchment and spray again.


Melted Chocolate and Butter 


In a bowl combine the butter and the chocolate.  Microwave for 30 seconds, stir then microwave for an additional 15 seconds.  If the mixture is not completely melted heat at ten second intervals until completly melted.  Set aside to cool slightly.


In a bowl combine the sugar, golden syrup/honey, and second portion of butter.  Mix until well combined. 


Disolve the espresson the the water.  Add that along with the eggs and vanilla to the sugar mixture.  Mix to combine.


Stir in the melted chocolate mixture.  Blend well.  Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well so that the mixture is completly combined.


Batter - Mixed 


Sift the dry ingredients then add them to the wet mixture.  Mix until just beginning to mositen then add the chips.  Mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated and there are no lumps.


Batter in the Pan Brownies - Out of the Oven


Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the center is just set.


Brownies - Turned out of the Pan 


Cool completly in the pan before turning out into a cutting board. 


Brownies Topped with Ganache


Frost and slice as desired.


Dark Chocolate Chip Brownie

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Posted on www.evilshenanaigans.com  4/8/2009


I am a bacon devotee.  I'm not sure if you have noticed, but I love the stuff!  That's why when I was challenged to create a sweet and savoury bacon muffin I jumped at the challenge!


Maple and Bacon Muffins 


But, this is a tale of sadness, regret, but eventual triumph! 


Two months ago, on a cold January evening, I was contemplating new ways to use bacon in my baking when my husband asked, "Can you make a bacon cupcake?"  A cupcake?  No, not that, never that.  However, a muffin I could do!  So, off to research.  I formulated a recipe with a brown sugar crumble and gave it a whirl.


Maple and Bacon Muffins 


They tasted great, but looked about as pretty as homemade soap.  Not a shining moment for me, but I moved on.  Next I tried no crumble and more maple.  They were far too sweet and had the texture of sticky cornbread.  BLEH!   Long story short (too late, right?), after a few more failures I struck the right balance of salty and sweet in a tender, bulging muffins!  It is this that I present to you, the perfect brunch bread. .. Maple and Bacon Muffins!   


Maple and Bacon Muffins   Yield 1 dozen


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup real maple syrup


Heat the oven to 400 F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners, or grease and flour the pan well.


Dry Ingredients 


Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt well.  Mix in the crumbled bacon.


Wet Ingredients 


In a separate bowl mix the milk, eggs, oil, and maple syrup.


Complete Batter 


Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it.  Fold gently until the dry ingredients are wet.  It will be lumpy.


Scoop into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.


 Maple and Bacon Muffins - Cooling


Serve warm.


Maple and Bacon Muffins

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