Showing posts with label sparkle sugar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sparkle sugar. Show all posts

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Pumpkin Zing


The yellow and brown leaves were swirling around this week in the brisk breezes. Autumn is such a great time of year. Pumpkins are showing up at the market and in front of the hardware store, ready to add their cheery color and wicked smiles once they become jack o'lanterns. Although this is the season of the year when things are ending in nature, it is often a time of new beginnings for me.

A couple of days ago a new stove and new dishwasher were installed. Any renovation of the kitchen that involves new cabinets or flooring or lighting or counter tops or new doorways or fewer wall will have to wait a while. The entry project has taken far longer than expected and Sweetie and I need a break from the stresses of construction. A new stove and dishwasher, however, are fine because they were installed in the very same places that the appliances they replaced lived. They are both stainless steel and quite beautiful in a way.



I decided that the best way to try out the new oven was to make a quick bread. Very little time is wasted if the loaf doesn't turn out well. We had some super ripe bananas, so banana bread went in first. Then I gave in to the rush of fall feelings and made pumpkin bread. Both were done in a much shorter time than in the recipe, probably because this oven has a convection feature. Unfortunately both were a little burnt on the bottom, too. I think I'll need to bake things on a rack that is higher in the oven.

Have you ever wanted to combine the flavors of pumpkin bread with the zing of a triple ginger molasses cookie? That's what I did and it is an exciting bread. The texture is moist from the pumpkin and the color is a nice deep orange, but the best part is the flavor. Pumpkin is the first note, but it is followed by spices of cinnamon and cloves and a burst of ginger. I sprinkled some sanding sugar on top as a reference to the sugar that the cookies are rolled in and it give a bit of a crunch which is really nice.

The banana bread was my usual one, so no recipe today, but I do want to give you the pumpkin bread recipe. It's a keeper.



Super Ginger Pumpkin Bread
a very gingery, molasses-y, nutty, pumpkin-y sweet bread

 2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 cup canned solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup milk
¼ light (mild) molasses
2 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts
Sanding sugar topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan.


Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl (both flours, soda and powder, spices).

Put the crystallized ginger, fresh ginger, pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, molasses and eggs in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended.

Add the dry ingredients and begin to combine. Add the nuts and mix just until all are well blended.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Top with sanding sugar, sprinkled on thickly. Bake in preheated oven 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan five minutes, then turn out of pan and cool on a cooling rack.

Monday, March 26, 2012

More Spring Bread


When my friends and I met and I showed them what they could do with thawed frozen bread dough, the most popular bread was a beautiful Almond Raspberry braid with almond paste and raspberry jam filling and a topping of sliced almonds and sparkling sugar. It looks complicated, but is actually pretty easy. The most difficult part was spreading out the bread dough. I guess when they make frozen bread dough they make a dough that isn't very elastic so that it retains the loaf shape its frozen in.

The key to spreading the dough out far enough to be able to do this kind of braid is to be patient. You can roll it or just use your hands to spread it out on a lightly floured board, then let it sit five minutes and spread it a bit further, then again after another five or ten minutes. Be persistent and you will succeed!

I made this braid in advance of our Bread Baking day and then again on the day. For the first trial run I cut the dough with a pizza cutter. On the second baking day I used a sharp knife. Each worked about as well as the other, so choose the cutter that works for you.

Here are some photos showing the dough spread out and layered with almond paste and jam, then cut, then braided, and then how it looked baked. Isn't it beautiful?





Rolling the almond paste out on a board dusted with confectioners sugar seems to work really well. You want the almond paste to be thin enough that when you are eating the pastry that the filling doesn't ooze out too much. I like using seedless jam but seeded jam will work, too. If you prefer another flavor over raspberry, by all means use apricot, strawberry, blueberry or any other favorite jam. Just make sure that it isn't too watery (for the same reason that you want the thin almond paste layer).

This gorgeous pastry looks like you spent hours and hours in the kitchen but in fact it is quick for a yeast dough treat. One of my friends tried it within a few days of seeing me make it and she was thrilled with her braid...and her family ate it up very, very quickly! This is a great recipe to make for Easter or a fancy brunch. Just be ready for rave reviews.

Raspberry Almond Braid

Thaw 1 lb. frozen bread dough, flatten it on a lightly flour board. Working gently, stretch dough to 10 x 12" rectangle.

Take a package of almond paste and divide it in half. Reserve half for another use. Roll one half into a rectangle 11 inches long by 3 inches wide on a board sprinkled with powdered sugar. Take this rectangle and place in the center of the dough rectangle.

Spread 3-4 tablespoons raspberry jam over the almond paste rectangle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, make diagonal slices along the two long sized of the rectangle, cutting almost to the almond paste. The cuts should be about an inch apart.

Fold up the ends about an inch over the almond paste and jam. Then take each of the dough pieces, first from one side, then from the other, and stretch them across the filling. Continue to braid the dough up to the end, then tuck ends under.

Place on parchment or silicone mat lined pan, cover with oiled plastic wrap and a tea towel and let sit until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Brush top of braid with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water) and sprinkle with sliced almonds and sparkling sugar. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven until golden brown, about 30-45 minutes. Let cool. If desired drizzle with a glaze of orange juice mixed with confectioners sugar. Slice with serrated knife to serve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oatmeal Bread with a Twist

For Bread Baking Day 30 hosted by Natasha at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, we are asked to bake twisted bread – bread with a twist. Although my favorite puff pastry nibbles probably qualify…you cut the puff paste into strips, coat with seeds or pesto or cheese and then give them a few twists before placing on the baking sheet and baking til crisp and golden…I always think of braids when I put bread and twist together.

To start this bread I mixed some sourdough starter with a flour and water mixture and added some molasses, then let it sit for a few hours to develop the wild yeasts and flavor.

Looks like happy yeast in this 'starter plus flour, water and molasses'.

Cooked and cooled oatmeal…just oats and water…gives additional flavor and body (plus I just love oatmeal). Salt and bread flour are the only other additions, plus rising time for the first rise. (I was interrupted a couple of times while beginning this bread, so I hope I have put down the actual measurments. Please feel free to add additional water or flour if needed to make a supple dough.)

I divided the dough, with one piece being a two pound piece, later shaped for sandwiches in a loaf pan (posted about over at the Bread Bakers Dog here).

Now comes the twist. The second piece was cut into three pieces, each weighing almost the same amount (more fun with my excellent new scale!) and then each piece was individually shaped into a long rectangle, about 10 inches long and two inches wide. Down the middle I ran some Meyer Lemon Marmalade, a Christmas gift whose time has finally come. The long edges were pulled together and sealed with a pinch, to create three marmalade filled ropes. Those ropes were what I braided for the twisted braid.



The rest is the ususal…second rise, egg wash, bake until golden, cool a bit, enjoy.

I could also see this being good with jam instead of the marmalade….or grated dark chocolate…mmm. The jam sort of sunk to the bottom of each rope when baked so the bottom part of the slice had more sweet lemon flavor than the rest, with just a little in the middle of the slice. The sparkle sugar helped carry the sweetness to the top. If you prefer a less sweet experience, skip the sparkle sugar and use a bitter orange marmalade instead of the lemon one.

Oatmeal Sourdough Braid with Lemon Marmalade
1 ½ cups 100% hydration sourdough starter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons molasses
2/3 cup rolled oats
1 1/3 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
3-4 cups bread flour
1 egg beaten slightly with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon (about) clear sparkle sugar

Place the sourdough starter in a medium bowl. In another bowl whisk together the flour, water and molasses. Add to the sourdough starter and whisk to combine. Leave on counter, uncovered, 2 or more hours until the yeasts look very active…you will see tiny bubbles rise to the surface.
While the yeast mixture is becoming active, cook the oatmeal in the water and set aside to cool completely.

Once the yeast mixture is active, place it in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the cold oatmeal and stir to break up the cereal. With the mixer set at lowest speed with the dough hook attached, add bread flour until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl and knead with the mixer until smooth and supple and tacky but not sticky, about 6 -10 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes to completely combine all elements.

Gather dough into a ball and place, rounded side first, into an oiled bowl or container large enough for the first rise. Turn the dough over to entirely coat it lightly with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk.

Divide dough, shape, let rise again, and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until golden brown. If you like you can brush on a wash of beaten egg right before baking.

Lemon Twist

Take a pound of the Oatmeal dough and divide into three pieces. Take a piece at a time and flatten the dough into a long thin rectangle, about 10 by 2 inches. Spoon a thin ribbon of lemon marmalade down the middle. Pull the long ends together and pinch to seal, creating marmalade filled rope. Place the rope, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon mat. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough.

When all three ropes have been filled and placed next to each other, braid them loosely, tucking the ends under. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Brush braid with beaten egg (and sprinkle with crystal sugar if desired) and bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when bottom is tapped. Remove from baking pan and let cool on a wire rack.

In case you have an interest in the upcoming bathroom remodel, here is the sink and countertop for the vanity, as seen in the showroom. Ours will take about three weeks to arrive.