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Friday, November 4, 2011

Cheddar Scallion Buscuits

By Jessica

 

 We made these yummy things at the organic bakery I used to work at. We could eat pretty much whatever we wanted there. These buscuits were amazing coming right out of the oven. It was a great opportunity for me to realize I had zero self control. It goes along great with any kind of soup or salad dish.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour (make your own here)
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (make your own here)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, bench flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (Garlic butter would be a bonus)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Into a bowl, sift together the self-rising flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk, cheese, and green onions and, using your hands or a rubber spatula, stir just until the buttermilk and flour come together to form a dough, being careful not to overmix.

Lightly flour a work surface with the all-purpose flour. Turn out the dough onto the surface and press into a disk about 1/2-inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Using a 3-inch round cutter dusted in flour, cut into rounds. (Be sure to press straight and downward when cutting the dough -- a twisting motion will prevent the dough from rising.)

Reform the scraps in order to make 7 biscuits. Place on a small baking sheet and brush the tops with the melted butter. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from the oven and baste with remaining butter. serve hot or at room temperature.



 Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reeses Pieces Cookies

By Jessica

Whenever I make a dessert I end up throwing a good bit out simply because I cant don't eat it all and my husband doesn't usually help much (go figure). So when I went to help my old workplace relocate I took these to share.  My fellow bakers said they enjoyed the molasses taste, and of course the construction workers scarfed them up. If you use regular brown sugar they will look lighter and have the normal cookie taste. They have a slightly different texture due to the oatmeal. If you want you could leave that out without any harm being done. Mine are a little on the dark side because I didn't have any brown sugar and made my own. Normally you take a little molasses and mix with granulated sugar until the regular sugar is slightly tinted and absorbs the molasses, which will make brown sugar.   I did a typical lazy Jessica thing and didn't really do that step. I just poured some molasses and the sugar in the mixer. So that's why they are dark and also have more of a molasses taste which you may enjoy. 






Ingredients:
  •         2 cups all-purpose flour
  •         2 teaspoons baking soda
  •        1/2 teaspoon salt
  •         1 cup unsalted butter, softened 
  •         1 cup smooth peanut butter
  •         1 cup sugar
  •         2/3 cup brown sugar (can be light for lighter cookies)
  •         2 eggs
  •         1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  •         1/2 cup rolled oats (optional)
  •         1 cup peanut butter chips
  •         Large Reese’s pieces bag
Directions: 
 
Preheat oven to 350 F. 
  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  In the bowl of your mixer cream butter, peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy.
   Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, then incorporate the dry ingredients. Slowly add oats and peanut butter chips.
   Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes. I just put in the whole mixer bowl.
  Using a large cookie scoop (3 Tablespoons) drop dough onto a plate of mini Reese’s Pieces and form into a thick cookie disc by smashing down the dough ball a bit. I fit 6 cookies to a baking sheet.
   Bake for 10 minutes.
You can make regular-sized cookies with a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop (bake for about 7 minutes).
Yields 12 monster size cookies and 36 regular.
 
 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Granola

By Jessica



And the pumpkin saga continues....I really cant get enough of this gorgeous gourd. I have an insane craving for a pumpkin cheesecake but I am not even going to fool myself on the health benefits of that. Maybe for Thanksgiving. I have been bad lately about timing my food which wasn't a problem till I made granola for the first time. I didn't realize that it would get hard after it cools off so I slightly overdid it. The recipe called for pumpkin seeds which were a bit like chewing on wood to me. Not ideal. They may help against prostate cancer and osteoporosis though.
In its family tree the pumpkin has the highest amount of vitamin A which is packed with anti-oxidants.This will definitely give you a good morning start.


Pumpkin Granola
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (you may used canned if you wish)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds(optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Add the oats, dried cranberries, raisins, almonds, and pumpkin seeds if using. stir until granola is evenly coated.
Spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and stir the granola around. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container. Granola will crisp up once it has cooled down.


Courtesy The Pastry Affair



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones

By Jessica
I couldn't help it. Yet another pumpkin scone recipe. I wanted to try this whole wheat recipe. You cant really tell too much of a difference using whole wheat except in the color and the flavor may be better if anything. I used my new favorite glaze recipe.




Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed.
  • 1/2 cup raisins, chocolate chips, dried cranberries or apricots (optional)
  • Raw sugar and pecans (optional)*
Highway to heaven:- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment paper on your sheet pan.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the pumpkin, cream, vanilla and egg until combined. Place bowl in the refrigerator while preparing the dry ingredients.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
- Using a pastry blender, two forks or a food processor, quickly work the cold butter cubes into the dry ingredients. Work until the mixture resembles a crumbly, sandy mixture.
- Add the cold wet ingredients to the crumbly mixture using a rubber spatula. Only stir until combined. If the mixture is too dry add just a little more heavy cream or another liquid.
- Carefully combine your add-in of choice (chocolate chips, raisins, apricots). Knead the dough briefly, if needed.
- Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a circle and cut into sections like a pizza. Place on lined baking sheet.

- Bake for 16-17 minutes.  Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
*Glaze with the spice glaze in this recipe if you wish (I would ). There is also the option of basting the scones prior to baking with egg and sprinkling with sparkling sugar and pecans. Serve warm or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Adapted from a DashofSass.com

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flour power!

By Jessica

All the different variety of flours can be confusing, which is why i figured it would be good to know what distinguished them.  When speaking about "soft" wheat means that it is lower in gluten. "Hard" wheat means it is great for breads because it is higher in gluten (the stuff that makes dough elastic resulting in a better bread).

I dont give a sift! 
Well you should!
Sifting flour is very important for your lighter cakes and baked goods. It removes any clumps and results in a finer product. 

Bleached vs. Unbleached:
Fresh flour has a yellow tint to it after it is milled. it isn't until it is exposed to oxygen that it turns whiter in a month or two and is subsequently better for baking. Letting the flour age naturally this way is not exactly efficient or economical which is why they add chemicals to mimic this process. 

What do they use to bleach?
Usual bleaching agents are: 

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Calcium peroxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Chlorine
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Azodicarbonamide
  • Atmospheric oxygen, used during natural aging of flour
Just because a flour is unbleached doesn't mean other additives are not introduced, in particular potassium bromate. Bromate helps the baking process yet primary concern comes from studies where lab rats show tumors after exposure. I know.... I cringed too. The U.K. and other countries ban the use of these chemicals in flour. In some countries where bleaching is prohibited due to health concerns, commercial microwaves can mimic the process of bleaching. Since nutrients are lost in the bleaching process U.S. law requires nutrients to be added back in or "enriched". 
Unbleached tends to have a higher protein amount which means its better for things such as eclairs, puff pastry, yeast breads. Bleached flour is chemically treated will work better for pie crust, cookies and pancakes. 
 Anatomy class!
I bet you always wanted to know what the anatomy of a grain looked like!


 

It should be noted that there is a difference between Northern and Southern flour. The Yankee flours have a higher protein content which makes it great for bread. The Confederate flours are great for pastry making since they are lower in protein.

All purpose: Flour that does not have any leavening agents added. Its a blend of hard and soft wheat which makes it versatile. It has a bit less protein than bread flour. This can be bleached or unbleached.

Whole Wheat: Is derived from the wheat kernel. It still had some of the germ and bran to it which gives it a brown color.  Contains protein, iron and fiber which come from the small remains of the grain that are left in the flour. Baked goods do not rise as well when using this. If you use this in recipes instead of all purpose flour use 7/8 of a cup for every cup of regular flour. It has a shorter shelf life (about five months) unless refrigerated. White whole wheat is flour that is made from the hard white wheat rather than traditional red wheat. White whole wheat is better for pastries because of its low gluten and protein content.

Cake: This is made from the endosperm of wheat (the softest part of the wheat kernel ) and therefore has a soft texture. It has the lowest level of protein of any wheat flour. This bleached flour is best for light cakes and baked goods because of its lack of gluten (the stuff that makes bread...bread).
For 1 cup cake flour:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour minus 2 Tablespoons
  • Two Tablespoons of cornstarch.

Pastry:  Like Cake flour, pastry flour is also made from soft wheat. Its gluten content is less than all purpose flour but more than cake flour. Makes a tender but crumbly crust and great for muffins, biscuits, cookies and more.
 For 1 cup pastry flour:
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 2/3 all purpose flour
Self rising: Has baking soda and salt added prior to packaging. most recipes that use this wont call for other leavening agents since has them already in it.
For 1 cup self-rising flour use:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt.
 Bread: a high gluten flour that contains malted barley and vitamin c or potassium bromate added. These help to develop yeast and improve the elasticity of the bread. When making a bread flour substitute keep in mind that the end result may not always be pleasant.
For 1 Cup bread: 
  • 1 cup all purpose flour plus 1 Tablespoon.

Spelt: is from spelt wheat. It is used as a substitute for people with gluten allergies. has a nutty, sweet flavor much like whole wheat.