Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pimped Out Peanut Butter Cookies

My sister made a version of these cookies for our family after she had sampled some classic peanut butter cookies that a coworker made for the holidays. She forwarded me the recipe, and because I'm known never to leave well enough alone, I was tempted to tamper with it...and so I did.

This is what resulted: a super easy, slight twist on the classic peanut butter cookie. I like to think what makes the cookies different are our fresh chicken eggs (thanks girls!), but I think it's the blinged-out topping that makes it a little more unique. In my ever evolving quest to experiment with recipes, next time I may have to dip half of the cookie in chocolate!

Pimped Out Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c. natural peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. rolled oats
roasted + salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
sea salt and turbinado sugar for 'blinging'

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the peanut butter and sugars together. Add egg and vanilla extract. Add flour and oatmeal until just combined. Stir in the peanuts if you desire!

Roll a rounded teaspoon full of dough into a ball and dip the top in the sea salt + turbinado sugar mix. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and "criss cross" the tops with a fork (my favorite part besides eating them!).

Bake for 8 minutes. Cool on pan until set, then transfer to a rack to cool. Makes a dozen cookies.

Posted by Dawn

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simple Brioche Dough

Today I made Brioche à tête to go along with a butternut squash soup we are having for dinner. A brioche à tête is formed and baked in a fluted round, flared tin; a large ball of dough is placed on the bottom, topped with a smaller ball of dough to form the head (tête). I have also included how to bake it in loaf form. I love this bread because of it's versatility; I use it to make sweet or savory bread puddings, Pain Perdue (French toast), even cinnamon rolls. Stay tuned for Brioche Monkey Bread, posting soon hopefully!

Simple Brioche Dough

1/2 cup whole milk
2 large organic eggs
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (use only the best quality butter you can buy please)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast (= 2 1/2 teaspoons)

Bread Machine method:
Add all ingredients in order to your bread machine. Set on the dough cycle. When cycle is done (usually 1 1/2 hours for most bread machines)

By hand method:
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat until it's just warm (110-115F)

Remove pan from heat and pour milk into a small bowl. Stir in the yeast and 1 cup of the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 min.
Combine the butter, sugar, salt and eggs in a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment (or food processor). Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and process until smooth.

Add the yeast mixture and process again until smooth. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

For mini brioches:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place 15 mini brioche tins on a baking sheet. Lightly spray with organic canola oil. Divide dough into 15 pieces, pulling a little piece off for the top. Roll into balls. Place larger ball into brioche tins, then make an indentation with your finger in center of each. Lightly brush with egg wash and top with smaller ball (the "tete" which means head in French). Brush the head with egg wash, cover lightly with clean towel and allow to rise in warm spot 20-30 minutes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

For a loaf:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Shape the dough into a loaf and place into 8 1/2 or 9 inch non-stick loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and allow rising for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Using a sharp knife, score the loaf length wise with a sharp knife. The score the loaf 3 times at equal intervals across. This makes a professional looking loaf and helps it bake evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from pan and place the loaf on its side on a cooling rack. Alternate side after 5 minutes (this prevents the loaf from compressing)

Posted by Luisa

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Soft White Buttermilk Bread

I was craving open faced turkey sandwiches today, which is good considering all the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving we need to use! I found a recipe online but tweaked it a bit (real butter instead of shortening & half the amount of sugar). It resulted in a light, fluffy bread, perfect for open face sandwiches - or any sandwiches for that matter! This recipe makes 2 loaves.

Soft White Buttermilk Bread

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 cups bread flour
2 packages dry yeast (5 teaspoons)

Bread Machine Method:
Add all ingredients in order to machine and press the dough cycle.

By Hand Method:
In a bowl add lukewarm water. Sprinkle yeast on top and set aside. Add buttermilk to a saucepan and heat to lukewarm. Add buttermilk and melted butter to yeast. Blend together. Add dry ingredients. Place onto a floured surface. Knead for 8 - 10 minutes. Place dough into a oiled bowl. Turn dough to cover all sides with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap till double. Punch down gently.

To Bake:
Cut dough in half. Place into 2 loaf pans. Cover and allow to rise again. Bake at 375degrees for 25-30 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Posted by Luisa

Friday, November 26, 2010

Simple Puff Pastry

Why buy it when this version is just as easy as making a pie crust? Thought this would come in very handy for the holidays...

Simple Puff Pastry

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted organic butter, cold
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
ice water

Cut the butter into 1/4 inch pieces. Place 1 1/3 cups of the flour and the 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor. Add 1 stick of the cut up butter, pulsing until combined. Add the remaining stick of cut up butter and 1/3 cup of flour to the food processor, tossing the butter pieces until the butter is coated with flour. Pulse 3-4 times to just combine (you want to see specks of butter there still). Add about 1/3 cup ice water and pulse until the dough just forms a ball. If you need to add more water, do so.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out to form a 10x14 inch rectangle. Fold into thirds, creating a 3x14 inch rectangle. Fold into thirds again, this time forming a 3x4 inch rectangle (dust lightly with flour each time you fold and roll). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (dough may be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month).

Note: I always fold and roll a few extra times to create more layers. More layers = more puffy :-)

Posted by Luisa