Breads and Muffins

Daring Bakers: Focaccia

Pretty much every Daring Bakers Challenge I have ever done has been done frantically, a day or two before the posting date.  This time was different.  Almost 2 weeks ago I made my first herbed focaccia loaf.  But I only took a picture of the finished product, and only with my iphone.  I told myself I’d make another one and take good photos.  I wound up making three more, but didn’t manage to take any good photos.  Of any of them.  Here is the problem, well problems really.  3 kids under 5, an inability to plan ahead, and the worst, bad light.  Each time I made bread it was to serve with dinner which meant I was finishing up the bread right about the time the light in my kitchen was blue and my kids were screaming for something.  Any of you who have ever been around kids between the hours of 5 and 8pm know exactly what I am talking about.

But there is a bright side!  This recipe is wonderful…easy, delicious and with lots of options to make it simple or to add special toppings.

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For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch.

The herbed focaccia recipe I made three times.  Once sprinkled with salt, olive oil and fresh rosemary, the second time topped with sliced tomatoes, olive oil, salt and rosemary.  And most recently I made individual ones with sundried tomatoes and parmesan.

My favorite was the second, the one with sliced tomatoes.  The sundried tomatoes I added at the beginning of baking and so they got a little too charred.  I think you could easily chop them up and add them to the dough for something really great.  But the fresh tomatoes won for me.  I think maybe because this was the closest one to being pizza!

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I tried the Focaccia di Recco, but couldn’t find the right cheese, so it wasn’t quite right.  The recipe calls for Stracchino cheese, but I used shredded mozzarella with just OK results.  If I ever see it on a menu or in a bakery somewhere I am going to have to try it.  It sounds incredible.  Melty cheese sandwihed between thin layers of dough.  Yum.

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If you’ve ever thought about making focaccia but bought a loaf at the market instead because you thought it was too hard, let me encourage you to try this recipe.  You may never go back to store bought!

Herbed Focaccia

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups milk, warmed to about 110°F
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil and kosher salt for sprinkling on top
  • Toppings: fresh rosemary, freshly grated parmesan, sliced tomatoes, olives, sundried tomatoes, onions, etc.

Directions

  1. Whisk together warm milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl.  Let rest until foamy.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine flour and all the spices.  Mix in the cheese, vegetable oil and yeast mixture.
  3. Using a dough hook, mix dough on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, between 1 and 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 450F.  Turn dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper.  Shape into a rectangle or circle, or divide into 4 circles for individual breads.  Press all over with your finger tips, then drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place toppings.  Let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Drizzle with a bit more oil, sprinkle with more salt if desired and top with some fresh grated Parmesan.  Cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Cardamom Easter Bread

Right now as I write this post I am snacking on some of this bread warm from the toaster with my afternoon coffee.  It’s such a treat and I want you to experience the same pleasure.  So do yourself a favor and go make this bread for the weekend!

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Sometimes I hit a wall when I’m writing a blog post.  I am having that experience now with this post.  Big time.  My mind is just a big foggy mess and when I sit down at the computer my hands freeze.  For some reason I feel like I should have something to say other than, “I made this.  It was delicious.  Here is the recipe.”  But that’s all I have!

So.

I made this.

Easter Bread

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It was delicious.

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Here is the recipe.

Hope you all have a very Happy Easter celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Cardamom Easter Bread

Makes 2 loaves, 1 loaf and 4 buns, or 8 buns

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 envelopes (4 1/2 teaspoons) dry active yeast
  • 8-9 cups all purpose flour
  • eggs, one for each bun you plan to make (colored with egg coloring and RAW) and one for the egg wash
  • sprinkles

Directions

  1. Heat milk over medium-low heat until bubbles form on the edges of the pan and the milk is steaming.  Turn off the heat. Stir in melted butter, sugar, salt, ground cardamom and nutmeg.  Let mixture cool until lukewarm, 100-110°F. Stir in the yeast and let sit for about 10 minutes until foamy. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Add 2 cups of flour and mix on low with the dough hook until flour is mixed in.  Add 2 more cups, mix, and repeat until you’ve added 8 cups total.  Turn the mixer up to medium and mix for 3-4 minutes.  If the dough does not pull away from the sides of the bowl add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until it does.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead a bit, then place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  4. Punch dough down and place on a floured surface.  Divide in half.  For Bread: Divide a half into thirds and roll each third into a rope about 14 inches long.  Pinch ends together and then braid the ropes together, pinch the ends together and tuck the ends under.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover and let rise for an hour.  For Buns: Divide the half into 4 pieces, then each piece in half.  Take those pieces and roll them into ropes about 10 inches long.  Pinch the ends together and twist the pieces together, then pinch the ends and connect the ends by pinching them together.  Repeat with the rest and place all 4 buns on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover and let rise for about an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Beat an egg and brush onto buns or loaves.  Sprinkle with colored sprinkles if desired.  Place egg in the center of each bun.  Bake for 20-25 minutes for buns and 25-30 minutes for bread.

 

Almond Heart Danish with Browned Butter Glaze

Grand plans were made to post some lovely pink hued macarons in honor of Valentine’s Day!  In my mind they were beautiful and delicious and enviable.  How hard could macarons be, anyway?  I’m pretty knowledgeable when it comes to baking.  I’d say I’m an advanced amateur.  And I’m seeing macarons everywhere.  If all of those people can make them, then I can.  You know what happens when you start thinking like that?  You get humbled.  Big time.  I overestimated my kitchen abilities and wound up with some cracked and foot-less macarons.  Apparently macaron baking is a skill that requires practice.  Hats off to those of you who make them well.  You have my respect forever and always.  So I will keep working on my macaron making.  Maybe some day you’ll see a post on them!  That is if I don’t get too discouraged and give up.  Sometimes I do that…

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Instead of finicky macarons I went with something I am more comfortable and familiar with, pastry!  This would make a lovely Valentine’s breakfast.  You can bake it the day before and then just warm it up in the oven briefly before glazing.  You could also let it do the second rise overnight in the fridge and bake it in the morning.

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Daring Bakers: Dutch Sweet Bread

I am pleased to say that I have successfully completed an entire year of The Daring Bakers!  Wahoo!  It ended with this Dutch sweet bread that I got to bring to our family Christmas.

Dutch Sweet Bread | Hottie Biscotti

For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread.

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This bread has nice flavor.  It was chewy and is most delicious eaten toasted with a spread of butter.

I’m keeping this post short since I’m currently sitting at the kitchen table at my parents house.  So I’m off to spend some more time with them and laugh uncontrollably at silly things with my sisters.  Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Dutch Sweet Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 cup less 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon ground gingerbread spices
  • 1¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used all purpose)
  • 1¾ teaspoons baking powder

Gingerbread Spice Blend

  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and sugar a loaf pan.
  2. Put the egg, syrup, water, spices and brown sugar in a bowl. Whisk until everything is dissolved.
  3. Add the flour and the baking powder into the bowl and mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the flour is wet. Some lumps are ok.
  4. Pour into the pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Homemade Crescent Rolls

If your childhood was anything like mine you have fond memories of eating Pillsbury crescent rolls.  You’ve likely watched someone experience, or you’ve experienced for yourself, the frustration of getting the tube open after not peeling the paper enough and then banging it on the counter to get it to pop open.  Maybe your mom let you help roll them up and put them on the baking sheet.  And then you got to enjoy their warm, melt-in-your-mouth goodness with dinner.  Pillsbury will always have a special place in my heart, but these homemade crescent rolls might be what my kids remember enjoying.

Crescent Rolls | Hottie Biscotti

This recipe comes from my America’s Best Lost Recipes cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen.

These were surprisingly simple to put together and bake.  You do have to let them rise twice, once after making the dough and once after forming the rolls.

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So you’re looking at a minimum of 2 1/2 hours from start to finish.  If you want to serve them to your kids for dinner start them with enough time.  I didn’t, so my kids ate them for dessert!

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Be sure not to over bake these.  They get a tad dry when cooked too long.  Nothing that a little extra butter can’t cure, though!  If you’re planning to make these and then reheat them for later (think make-ahead Thanksgiving bread) bake them until just slightly golden so you can reheat them without fear of them drying out.

You will probably need to make three sheets of rolls, 8 per sheet, unless you have large cookie sheets and a large oven.  It’s perfectly fine to bake the first two sheets and bake the other right after the first ons come out.  Just be sure to keep them covered.

These do rise during baking, so don’t place them too close together.  Also, try to cook similar sized rolls on the same baking sheet.  Unless you can roll a perfect circle of dough, some wedges will be bigger than others.  They’ll take longer to bake, and the smaller ones will take less time.  If you have different sized rolls on the same sheet some will be over baked while others will be under baked.  I emphasize this point only because I had one sheet that had some quite small and some quite large rolls and I had this problem.  Aren’t you glad you have someone to make mistakes for you?!

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The only thing I might do differently would be to brush these with more melted butter right after baking.  Because there isn’t much better than that.

Crescent Rolls

From America’s Best Lost Recipe

Makes 24 rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 stick plus 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions

  1. Melt 1 stick of butter and let cool slightly.  Mix with warm milk, sugar and eggs.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or a large bowl) mix 4 1/2 cups flour, salt and yeast.
  3. Add in the milk mixture and mix on low until dough comes together, then increase the speed to medium and mix for about 5 minutes.  If dough seems sticky add in a couple tablespoons of flour.
  4. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead a bit and shape into a ball.  Place dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  5. Melt the 1/2 stick of butter and set aside.
  6. Prepare baking sheets (you’ll need 2 large or 3 regular) by lining them with parchment.
  7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 3 equal sized pieces.  Working with one piece, roll into a 10-inch circle.  Brush with butter, then use a pizza cutter to slice dough into 8 wedges.
  8. Take a sliced piece and roll, starting from the wide end, up to the pointed end and place pointed side down on the baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough.
  9. Cover rolls with clean towels or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray and let rise for 45 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 325°F and adjust racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  11. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until rolls are golden.  Do not let them get too dark.
  12. Bake third sheet of rolls if necessary.
  13. Serve warm or let cool completely before packing up to serve later or freeze.

Daring Bakers: Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolache

I’m not sure about other parts of the country, but anyone from central Texas isn’t wondering what a kolache is.  As a kid I have fond memories of stopping in West, Texas , a Czech community on I-35 in between Austin and Dallas, for kolaches.  I made them once in college, right when I was beginning to really enjoy baking, but I haven’t made them since, which is a shame!  I was really excited to have the opportunity to try them again this month.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolaches | Hottie Biscotti

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

We were given the option of making 3 different types of kolaches.  I’d never heard of the first two types, Prague Kolach and Kolache from Chodsko.  Both looked so beautiful but were larger scale, more like a cake or tart, and would be better for a group breakfast.  The Moravian kolaches are the type I am more familiar with and they lend themselves better to sharing and enjoying over a few days since they are individual servings.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolaches | Hottie Biscotti

My favorite kind of kolache are cream cheese and fruit filled.  The recipe we were given for this month used a quark filling, something I’d never heard of.  After looking in to it I found that it’s a cheese spread, somewhat similar to cream cheese.  Instead of searching it out I opted to follow the same instructions and use the dough recipe provided but make a cream cheese filling.  I took another short cut and bought a can of raspberry filling instead of making my own.

The dough recipe seemed weird to me, powdered sugar instead of granulated.  I looked up quite a few other recipes before finally deciding to just go with the one we were given.  It turned out really well!  It rose nicely, was a breeze to roll out and cut and tasted just like kolache bread should.

When I made kolaches 10 years ago I rolled them into balls, made a little hole in the center and filled it with the fruit.  These kolaches are interesting in their assembly.  You divide the dough into discs, flatten it out, dollop on some cream cheese filling, wrap the dough around it and then make an indentation for the fruit.  It creates more of a layer of cream cheese that melds with the bread instead of a mass of cream cheese filling.  Since this was my first time making these I went easy on the filling and had quite a bit left.  I’d definitely use more cream cheese filling next time.

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I loved the raspberry filling, nice and tart and it paired well with the cream cheese and the bread.  Poppy seed is traditional and I have seen many recipes with prune/plum filling.  I had grand plans to make another batch with pumpkin filling, but my grand plans rarely come to fruition.  Maybe next time.

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The streusel topping, posypka, is beautiful and delicious.  Don’t skip it and don’t skimp on it!  You won’t use all of the recipe below, but it freezes well.  So save it for later or make another batch of kolache.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolaches | Hottie Biscotti

These are best the day they’re made, but are still quite good for a couple days, especially warmed just slightly in the microwave.  Just watch out for the fruit filling.  It gets really hot and your mouth will not forgive you for days.

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Kolaches | Hottie Biscotti

If you haven’t tried kolache before, I encourage you to!  They’re fun to make and will yield tasty rewards.  Enjoy!

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Moravian Kolache

Makes 10 large kolaches

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup milk, warm
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 4 teaspoons yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk

Fruit Filling

  • 1 can fruit or poppy seed filling

Posypka (Streusel)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, chilled

 Directions

Dough

  1. In a small bowl mix together yeast and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.  Add 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) warm milk, mix well and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. In a bowl of your electric mixer (or in a large bowl) mix flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, butter, milk and leavened yeast.  Knead with dough hook (or with wooden spoon) on low speed for about 10 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one to two hours until doubled in volume.

Cream Cheese Filling

  1. Beat together all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Posypka

  1. Using a pastry blender combine all ingredients and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 340°F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Roll gently to a thickness of about 1 cm.  Using a 3-inch cutter make as many rounds as you can.  Re roll the scraps and cut as many more as you can.
  3. Take a dough round and flatten it a bit more.  Scoop on some of the cream cheese mixture, about 1 tablespoon.  Gather the dough around the cream cheese and pinch it together.  Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Place 5-6 on each cookie sheet, well spaced.
  4. Brush the tops of each with egg wash and using the back of a spoon make an indentation in each.  Fill with raspberry filling and sprinkle with posypka.
  5. Bake one sheet at a time, 15-20 minutes until tops are beginning to become golden.
  6. Let cool briefly and then eat up!

Daring Bakers: Ensaimadas

Cooking and baking and then blogging about it have not come easy for the last 2 months.  A new baby complicates things, in the most precious way possible of course.  During the baking and photographing of these tasty treats I was struggling to keep my older two from hurting each other and the little guy from getting too fussy.  Thankfully I was able to pull this challenge off!  Being a mom is a tough job, y’all.  Whew.

Daring Bakers: Ensaimadas | Hottie Biscotti

The August Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kurtoskalacs, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!

While a part of me really wanted to try the wedding pastry I just didn’t feel up to the challenge, so I chose the less daring challenge and made these lovely rolled breads.  They seemed so simple that I wasn’t sure if they’d be anything special.  They were in fact simple, but in a really special way.

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The dough is basic yeast dough, not too sweet.  After the first rise you divide the dough into four parts.  You roll each ball of dough into a long rectangle, spread it will softened butter and stretch it out very thin.  You roll that up into a long rope and then wind each rope into a spiral.  Let those rise again, then bake.

The original recipe calls for sprinkling these with powdered sugar after baking, but I was out of powdered sugar.  How this happened I do not know.  So I brushed the breads with egg wash and sprinkled them with raw sugar.  I really liked the textural difference this gave these breads.

As always, I am glad to have been introduced to something I otherwise would never have heard of.  Thanks, Swathi!

And thanks to this little guy who got out his play camera to help me take pictures.

Daring Bakers: Ensaimadas | Hottie Biscotti

Ensaimadas

Makes 4 large breads

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus 1/2 teaspoon for yeast)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • raw sugar

Directions

  1. Mix together warm water, yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl.  Let sit for 5 minutes, until it blooms.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook combine egg, olive oil, salt and sugar and stir.
  3. Add in flour and yeast mixture and knead for about 6 minutes.
  4. Remove from bowl and transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for about 2 hours.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Flour a clean work surface and turn dough out.  Divide into 4 equal parts.
  7. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out into a rectangle, 4 by 8 inches.  Spread with 1 1/2 tablespoons of softened butter and then stretch the dough out to about 8 by 14 inches.
  8. Roll the dough from the long end into a tight rope.  Take the rope in your hands and try to get it into an even thickness and stretch it just a bit longer.
  9. Coil the rope into a loose snail shape onto the parchment lined sheet, so that there is some room for the dough to rise.  Repeat with the other dough balls.  Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  11. Beat the egg with a splash of water.  Brush onto each roll then sprinkle generously with sugar.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  13. Let cool slightly before serving.

Toasted Oat Scones

After having a baby (2 weeks and 3 days ago) I am anxious to have a semi-predictable life again and get back to some of the things I was doing before he was born, like baking, cooking and blogging.  And sleeping, that’d be nice.  However, I have been consistently reminded that life with kids, and especially life with a newborn, is anything but predictable.  I tried and failed to make some coffee cake muffins earlier this week.  I blame sleep depravity, the speed at which I tried to put everything together, not totally thinking through my plan, and holding a screaming baby while filling muffin cups with batter and streusel!  Thankfully they only looked ugly but tasted delicious!

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I was frustrated with myself.  But I realize my expectations for getting back to blogging were set a little high.  It’s just not going to happen like it used to, at least not for now.  I am no longer guaranteed a time in the afternoon where all the sweet children are tucked away in their beds and I can cook, bake, take pictures and type away.  So I’m going to be a little more realistic with blogging and be happy with whatever I can manage for the next couple of months!  And remember to cherish this time with the babies, like so many people who have kids that are now grown, tell me to.  After all, the days are long but the years are short.

This morning I found myself up at 7am with my two older kids while the little man slept in until almost 9:30!  I took advantage of the time and baked up some super simple scones.  This recipe sits right next to the coffee cake recipe I attempted yesterday and is in the ATK Family Cookbook.  I figured it was a sign.

Toasted Oat Scones | Hottie Biscotti

It took me less than 20 minutes to mix these up and get them in the oven.  They’re done baking in 15 minutes and ready to eat in 10.  The ingredient list couldn’t be simpler which yields a simple and satisfying scone with nothing extra to take away from the hearty oats and rich butter.

Toasted Oat Scones | Hottie Biscotti

Eat these plain, warm or at room temperature.  Spread with a little extra butter and jam.  Have one for breakfast, one for mid-morning snack and one in the afternoon with some tea or coffee for a little pick-me-up.  The scones aren’t too sweet, which is nice.  They’re almost like a biscuit, just with more texture and a bit more dense.

Toasted Oat Scones | Hottie Biscotti

I am so glad I stumbled across this recipe, and thankful for the cooperative children who made this blog post possible!

Toasted Oat Scones

From ATK Family Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups oats, old fashioned or quick cooking
  • 1/2 cup half and half (plus 1 tablespoon for brushing on the scones)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on the scones)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into chunks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spread oats out onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment.  Toast the oats for about 8 minutes, just as they begin to brown.  Let cool.
  3. Increase oven to 450°F.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk half and half, the egg and vanilla together and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and pulse a few times.
  6. Add in the butter and pulse until butter is in pieces no larger than the size of a pea.
  7. Pour flour mixture into a large bowl and fold in the milk mixture until it just comes together.  Flour your hands and bring the dough together in the bowl.
  8. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a round about 1 inch thick.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges.
  9. Brush the tops with half and half, then sprinkle with sugar.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden.  Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Daring Bakers: Cinnamon Rolls with Peach Preserves & Cream Cheese Icing

I made these rolls, took pictures and began this post a couple weeks ago since I was expecting a baby mid-June.  I cannot believe I am actually posting this month!  Special thanks to my amazing friend, Carrie, who held my sweet baby boy and also entertained my toddlers and therefore made it possible for me to finish this post this morning!  You’re amazing 🙂

Our baby’s due date was June 19, so I knew I had to get this challenge completed before my typical completion of a Daring Bakers challenge, a day or two before posting.  The day I made these rolls I thought, “It will be good to have these for our house guests after the baby comes.” thinking that this baby would be early like our other two.  But over a week passed before our sweet baby arrived and we’d already finished off a pan!  I froze the other pan after baking it so we did have some for grandparents when they came to see the baby.

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And here he is!  Christopher was born on June 23 and we love him.

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This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!

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This challenge had me excited from the moment I read it!  I love cinnamon rolls, both the making of and the consumption of them.  But I’ve never ventured beyond the traditional cinnamon sugar filling.  This challenge encouraged creativity from the Daring Bakers.  I know some people got incredibly creative, and I admire those people for not only having creative minds but for being brave enough to try something new!  I played it pretty safe and just added peach preserves to the rolls.  I know, it’s kinda lame.  But it’s still  super delicious!

I used a sweet dough recipe from America’s Test Kitchen as the base for the rolls.  In the cookbook this dough is also used for hot cross buns and sticky buns.  It comes together nicely, rises well, is easy to roll out and handle, and bakes into a lovely sweet bread.  It’s a keeper.

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Peach just seemed like a good summer choice, but you could use any kind of jam or preserves in these rolls.  Add in nuts if you like.  Or leave out the jam and make a simple cinnamon roll with a traditional cinnamon and brown sugar filling.

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The icing is sweet with just enough tang from the cream cheese.  You can make it more icing-like by adding less milk, or more like a glaze by adding a little more.  The recipe below makes a generous amount for the 2 pans of rolls.  Ice these when they are still a little warm so that the icing can seep in between the layers and get all wonderfully gooey.  Or you can ice them individually to control the amount of icing on each roll since some people are big icing lovers and others are crazy not so much.

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Peach Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 to 1 cup peach preserves

Icing

  • 5 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tablespoons milk

Directions

Dough

  1.  Whisk the buttermilk, butter and eggs in a small bowl.
  2. Mix 4 cups of flour, sugar, salt and yeast in stand mixer fitted the dough hook.
  3. Add buttermilk mixture to flour, mix on low until dough comes together.
  4. Increase speed to medium low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Add extra flour if dough seems sticky, one tablespoon at a time.
  5. Turn dough out onto clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball.
  6. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until doubled in size.

Fill, Shape and Bake Rolls

  1. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and dust lightly with flour.  Pat the dough fat, and then use a rolling pin to roll dough out into a 12×16 inch rectangle.
  3. Brush dough with melted butter, then spread with peach preserves leaving a 1/4 inch edge all around.  Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the preserves and spread out.
  4. Roll dough into a long cylinder, as tight as you can get it.  Pinch the edge of the dough to seal the roll.
  5. Use a serrated knife to carefully cut into 14-16 buns.
  6. Butter 2 round cake pans and place 7 or 8 buns in each.  Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and let rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Rolls should be pressed up against each other.  To Make Ahead: Pop them in the fridge after covering, before they rise.  Keep them there for up to 16 hours.  When you’re ready, take them out and let them rise at room temp for 1 1/2 hours, then bake as below.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  8. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and puffed.
  9. Let rolls cool for 10 minutes before icing.

Icing (make while rolls are baking)

  1. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until mixed well.  Add in milk, a tablespoon at a time until the icing is the consistency that you like.
  2. Ice rolls in the pan or turn rolls out and ice on a platter.