Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread

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A rainy day in Maine calls for comfort on a plate. For me, comfort dishes include mashed potatoes, tuna melts, my mother’s tortilla soup, and this perfect cinnamon swirl bread. I live in a divided household of raisin haters and raisin lovers — making carrot cake becomes controversial as you can imagine. I make this bread without raisins though you could add them if you are playing for that team. I have recently found a compromise of golden raisins. I throw them into stuffed naan and sometimes even cinnamon rolls — the haters have not yet complained (to my face at least). The point is that this bread is versatile, pillowy, and completely decadent no matter the filling.

Though I have considered myself a baker for many years I still feel I am a novice bread baker. The first two loaves I ever made tasted good but did not rise. The next loaf was more bland but did rise. The following loaf gave me some confidence and I have not had another bread failure since. I am aware I just jinxed myself and will have to face bland and dense breads in my future. For now, at least, I am still on a roll. (Get it?) However, to this day this cinnamon swirl bread is my favorite and an all time crowd pleaser if it lasts long enough to serve to a crowd.

I have found myself to be a strictly by-hand bread maker. The fanciest tools I use are a glass bowl and wooden spoon. If I use an electric mixer it feels as if I am out of control of the process. In my opinion, why bake bread if you are not doing it for the therapeutic aspect? Some may live busier lives than I and prefer electric mixers that shave minutes off of kneading time. But there is something chemically magical about working the gluten and watching it change before your eyes. I wish working the glutes made them change before your eyes, too. At least 20 minutes of kneading by hand is a good arm workout. I digress. I am sure you can adapt this recipe to fit your preferred electric methods but I have found that the hand and dough method works every time.

If you are interested in compliments that shouldn’t (but do) increase your self worth and making your house smell better than it ever has, I recommend making this recipe. Keep reading for how to achieve this perfect loaf.

Yield: 1 standard loaf

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 7 tbsp salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Filling Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Finishing Ingredients

  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 splash of whole milk

Dough Directions

  • In a small bowl, place room temperature butter in warmed milk, stir until melted
  • Sprinkle yeast over milk and butter, stir, sit for 15 minutes
    • Tip: add a small sprinkle of sugar over yeast to feed it
  • In a small bowl, combine flour and salt
  • In a large bowl, whisk sugar and eggs until fully combined
  • Add milk, butter, and yeast mixture to sugar and egg mixture
  • Put down the whisk, pick up a wooden spoon
  • Work in flour and salt into liquid mixture until a wet dough forms
  • Turn dough out onto a floured work surface (add more flour as needed)
  • Knead dough by hand for 15-20 minutes
  • Oil a large bowl with canola oil
  • Place dough into oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides of dough in oil
  • Cover bowl with a clean towel and place in a warm area to rise for 2 1/2 hours
    • In the winter I place dough on the second floor balcony over our fireplace
      • Heat rises!
    • In the summer I boil a cup of water, place the cup in the microwave with the dough, shut the door, and let the steam do the work

Filling Directions

  • With a spatula, mix the filling ingredients
  • Keep at room temperature until ready to use

Assembling Directions

  • After the 2 1/2 hours have passed, remove dough from warm environment
  • Roll dough out onto your floured work surface into a rectangle
  • Measure dough to be about 9 inches by 24 inches
  • Smear the filling onto the dough rectangle, working out to the edges
  • Roll dough up length wise and pinch the seam to seal
  • Place the dough in a butter greased loaf pan
  • Cover tightly (I use plastic wrap)
  • Return pan to warm environment for another 2 hours for the final rise

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Finishing/Baking Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • After the 2 hours have passed, remove dough from warm environment
  • Mix egg and milk and brush along the top of the dough
    • You may not use all of the egg and milk mixture – just enough to cover
  • Bake for 40 minutes
  • Remove from pan while still warm
  • Allow to cool completely before slicing (while difficult, this step is important)

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Serving Directions

  • I recommend served warm with butter and honey
  • It is great toasted up or used as french toast
  • You will find yourself wanting to savor every bite
  • Enjoy thoroughly

 

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Sesame Chicken Potstickers

To balance out all of these tasty recipes I have been trying, I decided to start doing yoga. I finally found something that calms me the way cooking does.  I have been feeling some Asian inspiration in my cooking and decided to make my own potsticker recipe. It may not be perfectly authentic, neither are my yoga poses, but it tastes pretty great! Juicy, flavorful, and perfect with soy sauce! Take a look at how to make them!

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Yes, I used store-bought wonton wrappers. I am not ashamed to admit it.

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~ground chicken, veggies, toasted sesame oil, spices~

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Apparently, I am a very indecisive person. I could not decide on a folding technique. In the end, I challenged myself and went with the classic crap rangoon shape. It really wasn’t too hard. Fold opposite corners together and pinch!

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Please excuse my wet cutting board background. I went a little egg wash crazy.

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I really wanted to get a plated potsticker picture. Unfortunately, they didn’t last long. Though, maybe that is fortunate because they sure were tasty!

Ingredients:

1 package ground chicken

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 long carrot, shredded

1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp sesame seeds, white or black

1 package wonton wrappers

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 egg

1/4 cup warm water

Soy sauce, for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix ground chicken, garlic, green onions red onion, carrot, sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds.

Place wrappers on a clean and dry work surface. Spoon 1 small scoop of the filling into the center of each wrapper (see photo above). Beat the egg and water together. Using a finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold the opposite corners together on each side and seal/pinch in the morning.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add potstickers in a single layer. Cook until golden and crisp, with the filling completely cooked. (I steamed mine with a lid for about 1 minute before crisping them.)

Serve with soy sauce, if desired.

Honey Oat Bread

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Ingredients:

3 cups AP flour

3/4 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp instant yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup honey

2 tbsp butter

Directions:

Combine flour, oats, yeast, and salt.

In a small (microwave safe) bowl, warm the milk. Add the butter and stir until melted. Stir in honey and water.

Pour milk mixture into flour mixture, mixing until it comes together to form dough. Knead by hand with a generously floured surface. If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is slightly tacky.  

Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Flatten the dough into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle on a clean, flat surface. Tightly roll the dough into a loaf, tucking the ends as needed. Place the shaped loaf into a 9×5 greased loaf pan. Brush the top with butter, and then with honey. Sprinkle with oats, if desired.

Allow dough to rise a second time for about 30 minutes in a warm location.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown

Cool before serving.

To serve: great with jams, butters, cream cheese, cinnamon&sugar, honey, and just about anything you can think of!

Puff Pastry!

Why do I always make a recipe, forget to photograph the process, and only have one photo at the end? I apparently need to give myself a blogging checklist while cooking! 

At least the end product looked great and tasted even better.

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Store bought puff pasty can be a life saver, but homemade puff pastry dough in just 20 minutes is well worth the (minor) effort.

Ingredients:

1 cup AP flour

1/4 tsp salt

11 tbsp cold butter, grated

1/3 cup cold water

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Add grated butter to the flour and salt mixture. Work the butter into the dough using a pastry blender. (Grating the butter helps this step.) Work together until mixture is in pea-sized crumbles. Form a well in the center of the dough and pour all of the water in. Combine dough using a fork. This will be enough water, even if it looks dry. The next step with take care of that.

Form and pat dough into a square on a clean, floured surface. Roll the dough with a floured rolling pin about 9 or 10 inches long. Fold the bottom 1/3 over the middle. Repeat with the upper 1/3. (Fold the way you would fold a letter to put it into an envelope.) Turn the dough about a quarter turn and repeat the folding process. Repeat this technique at least 6 times, adding a little flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour. (I chilled mine overnight.) Roll out dough with flour when ready to use.

 **For the picture in this post, I cut the dough into squares and baked at 425° for about 10 minutes, until the dough was puffed. Before baking, I brushed melted butter on the dough and sprinkled granulated sugar. I served with sweet cream and macerated berries.**
Enjoy!

Drive-In Movie Snacks

No matter where you are from, I am sure you have heard of the It movie coming out recently. I am also sure you have heard of Stephen King. Fun fact: he is from my state and lives in my town! Some of you readers are from various places, so I am sure you can imagine how big of a deal this movie coming out was for our town. Our drive-in movie theater was packed to the point of cars waiting on the side of the road before the gates even opened. Needless to say, we needed snacks!

First on the list? Milky Way Sugar Cookies! I learned of this recipe just yesterday and made them very quickly! I never buy store bought dough, but it was worth it for this quick and easy recipe.

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  1. Stick a popsicle stick into a mini Milky Way
  2. Wrap in sugar cookie dough (looks like a cake pop)
  3. Place on parchment paper
  4. Bake as sugar cookie package suggests
  5. Let cool before lifting
  6. Wrap individually in plastic wrap
  7. Enjoy!

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Next? Meat and cheese pinwheels… but fancier.

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Hot Pepper Jelly and Roasted Turkey (Left)
Buffalo Chicken (Right)

  • Spread cream cheese and hot pepper jelly on tortilla
  • Place roasted turkey and spinach in center
  • Roll and slice

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  • Mix shredded chicken with Frank’s buffalo sauce and cream cheese
  • Add minced red onion and shredded sharp cheddar
  • Spread on tortilla
  • Add spinach
  • Roll and slice

 

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I did not make these, but they are a must for any snack night! You must try these satisfying bites! I discovered them in Texas while vacationing, and I am so happy to have found them back home.

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sweet, salty, perfect

 

Sweet as a Peach

Happy Labor Day! What were you grilling up today?

Fruits I have discovered grill well: pineapple, strawberries, bananas, peaches, peaches, and PEACHES!

Why stick to grilling meat when you can grill your dessert?

Try whipping up my cinnamon sugar crisps, grilled peaches, and honey ricotta spread!

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juicy, sweet, & perfectly golden

Ingredients: (a peach per person — use your discretion)

6 peaches

3 flour tortillas

2 cups whole milk ricotta

1 stick melted Butter

5 tbsp room temperature butter

Cinnamon and sugar (mixed)

4 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Make honey ricotta spread – mix ricotta, honey, salt, and vanilla. Chill until ready to use.

Grill peaches – wash and slice peaches in half and remove pit with a knife or spoon. In a medium dish, mix and melted butter with brown sugar. Lay the peaches face down (so the freshly sliced center is facing down) in the mixture. Place the peach halves on a greased griddle and grill until golden brown with light grill marks. Be careful not to burn. Let cool while preparing the crisps.

Crisps – smear tortillas with room temperature butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Grill both sides lightly until crisp. Cut into triangles.

Assemble as you please!

For another variation of this recipe, check out my blog post from a couple years ago.

https://treatsmagnifiques.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/grilled-peaches-on-toasted-sourdough-with-whipped-mascarpone/

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Don’t forget an extra drizzle of honey!

Sweet Potatoes and Peas

Sweet potatoes and winter squash used to be my two least favorite foods. I used to only eat sweet potatoes at Texas Roadhouse when they were smothered in ooey-gooey marshmallows. And let’s keep it real… I only ate the marshmallows. The only other time I ever tried either of these starchy delights was when they were mashed during holiday get togethers. My mom would graciously always make me a small side of “normal” mashed potatoes (extra creamy, extra buttery). Comment below to let me know if you want the recipe; I could do a holiday special, when the time comes (already counting down the days until Thanksgiving.. okay, okay.. Christmas.. let’s not lie to ourselves). FOCUS, REILLY! Alright, I’m back. Up until this year, my mom always made me my own dish of potatoes. I wonder if I can still get those this year even though I have learned I like sweet potatoes… fingers crossed for me!

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This is us. We clearly dress up for the kitchen.

Now that people are learning to be healthy and are putting avocado on toast and lemon in water, I decided I would embrace the fad and try to like sweet potatoes. I will be honest and say that I made many variations until I discovered how to enjoy the flavor.

Combinations I decided I like:

  1. Mashed sweet potatoes with curry powder and coconut milk
  2. Grated sweet potato cakes
  3. Sweet potato skillet hash with a fried egg
  4. Sweet potatoes and peas… LUCKY YOU! I am even sharing this recipe today.

This isn’t really a rigid recipe measured out perfectly. I trust you to “eyeball” it. Instead of writing a printable recipe, I will list the steps and add a picture for each along the way.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 sweet potatoes, 1 inch squares

Fat of choice (I used EVOO and Kerrygold)

            side note: this butter is an investment well worth it

Salt, pepper, chili powder

Peas of choice

Real maple syrup

Let’s make it!

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Who says all pieces have to be exact? Well, my OCD. But I apparently got over that for this recipe.

Place in a pan with 2 tbsp of water and a drizzle of oil. Cover, and steam for 6 minutes. This really gets the sweet potato party started. 

Add 1 tbsp butter and start to sauté.

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Teapots are not camera shy.

Salt-N-Pepa those babies! Next comes mr. chili powder; whatta man he is.

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I just saw Salt-N-Pepa in concert. Please excuse my unnecessary yet hilarious reference. We were more fun than the people around us, clearly.

Back to the potatoes…

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I find chili powder to be a great addition! It gives the dish flavorful heat and an unexpected bite. Apply as little or as much as you would like.

You can add frozen peas. For this, I added fresh, as I prefer the extra pop in my mouth that I do not always get from frozen peas. EITHER WAY, the dish is excellent. You choose!

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vibrant

Next comes the maple syrup. I used the good stuff. Maybe it is a Maine thing or a being so close to Canada thing, but I could put maple syrup on just about anything. For this recipe, splurging on the real stuff or, if you are a real Mainer, tapping your own trees, is well worth it. The sweetness of the syrup pairs well with the chili powder, and it creates a wonderful coating for the sweet potatoes.

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A little dab’ll do ya!

Sauté the potatoes in the syrup and the extra tbsp of butter until the syrup has slightly thickened.

Next step?

ENJOY!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Welcome back to the blog! It has been a long while since posting, but I have accumulated quite a few recipes to share! I thought I would start strong with this crowd pleasing dessert.

Answer me this… is anything better than pie? It really is the best of both worlds. Buttery crust and silky filling are a match made in.. well, bakery Heaven. Most other desserts are a whole bunch of the same bite. With pie, each bite has it’s own experience.

The only pie better than this pie is my Nana’s apple pie; a recipe I can never share. (Sorry!)

Try different things with this recipe! Have fun with it! A chocolate graham cracker crust works well, toasted peanut topping adds some nice saltiness, and extra chocolate is always a welcome addition. For this post, I will be sharing my standard version of the recipe. Comment below if you would like to hear more about variations!

Here is the link to my dough recipe I used for this pie. I am the first to admit sometimes using store-bought. Trust me… for this pie, homemade is well worth it. This dough is quick and simple to make. 

https://treatsmagnifiques.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/simple-versatile-dough/

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Now, for the filling!

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Ingredients:

2 cups heavy/whipping cream

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 ½ cups peanut butter

2 Tbsp milk

12 oz cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add ½ cup of powdered sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.

In a different bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining powdered sugar until smooth. Add peanut butter and milk, beating until completely combined.

Add whipped cream to peanut butter mixture by stirring in a small amount and folding in the rest with a spatula in 3 separate increments. Be careful to not over-stir, as it could deflate the cream.

Carefully fold the chocolate chips into the batter. I reserved a few for melting and swirled into the top of the filling, as seen in the picture.

Refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Cover, and refrigerate until set. (At least 4 hours).

Enjoy!

Baby Shower Catering

Today I had the honor of catering my best friend’s baby shower for her soon to be daughter and my soon to be niece!

First thing is first: PUMPKIN CAKE POPS!

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Ingredients

 

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 oz white chocolate, melted

Coating

  • 10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • food coloring of choice (I chose a touch of blue)

Directions

With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the graham cracker crumbs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and melted chocolate. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined. Cover mixture tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Chilling is mandatory.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll chilled mixture into balls (about 1 teaspoon per ball) and place the balls on the baking sheets. Chill balls in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Melt white chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Let the warm chocolate sit for 5 minutes to slightly cool before dipping.

Remove balls from the refrigerator and dip them in the chocolate after placing sticks in each ball. Place balls back onto the baking sheet after dipping. Allow chocolate to completely set in the refrigerator before serving.

Yield: 30 cake pops

Pantry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pesto, butter, flour, chocolate chips… the four ingredients that I always assume I have and always neglect to buy, because of said assumptions. Don’t worry, I didn’t put pesto into my cookies. Although, that gives me an idea for savory pesto biscuits… hmmmm.

Well, getting back to my point, there is absolutely nothing worse than craving chocolate cookies and realizing you are out of butter, flour and chocolate chips. Let me tell you, the lack of the three main ingredients did not stop me! I tied up my apron and turned lemons into lemonade… actually, I turned old fashioned oats, coconut oil, and a chocolate bar into chocolate chip cookies. (I see now why they use the lemon saying; it is a lot less wordy).

There is absolutely nothing better than turning those barriers into an even cooler recipe!

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil,  melted*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup ground oats**
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped chocolate***

Pulse old fashioned oats in a food processor until powder consistency.

In a large bowl, beat together coconut oil, sweeteners, egg, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add in the ground oats, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks until combined. Do not over mix.

Use a large cookie scoop or spoon to shape the dough into balls. Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough balls for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chilled dough balls at least 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are set. The centers may look slightly undercooked. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy with lavender chamomile tea, just like me! (Yes, I rhymed. Yes, I am proud of that.)

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*Substitution–1/2 cup of butter, melted

**Substitution–1 1/2 cups wheat or oat flour

***Substitution–1 cup chocolate chip of choice

Yield: 1 dozen cookies