Monday, December 8, 2014

Cereal Muffins

Hi, all!

This post is a bit different for me. It marks a transition of sorts.

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day, which is always exciting. I love finally getting to post what I've spent a month thinking about,and I love going through all of the blogs in my group waiting to see who shared a recipe from my blog.

But today's post marks my last with the Secret Recipe Club.  At least for now.

I'm sure you've noticed that my posting has slowed down significantly. And for that I apologize. This blog has been such a wonderful thing for me for so long.  Through this blog, I have been a part of amazing communities and have met some really wonderful, true friends.

As time goes on, though, things in my life have changed, and what is best for me at this time is to take a little break. Not from cooking and baking - that is something that I'll always do. But for a little while, I am going to do it just for me and my family.

It was with a heavy heart that I handed over the reins of The Daring Kitchen, and now, that I take a break from SRC.

Knowing that this would be my last SRC post, and that I'd only be posting sporadically for a while at this point, I wanted to make sure to choose something special. Which was made easy by the fact that my assigned blog this month was From Grandma Loy's Kitchen. This blog is always amazing, and has such fantastic recipes, collected over a delicious lifetime and shared with love.

There were so many things that I wanted to try, but one caught my eye and I just couldn't get it out of my head. Simple as it sounded, it also sounded absolutley perfect: Cereal Muffins.

I mean, with two kids, all kinds of activities and very busy mornings, what could be better? Two easy breakfasts, all rolled into one!

The recipe is pretty simple. It recommends using bran cereal, Cheerios or corn flakes.  I chose to use multigrain Cheerios.


To start the recipe, pour milk over the cereal and let it sit.


While those soak, I prepared the rest of my ingredients. I did make one change. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of oil. No problem, But. What goes great on cereal, that can also be used as an oil substitute? Bananas! Little man helped me mash.


Soaked cereal, mashed banana, some dry ingredients and one beaten egg.


Yup - ready to go. Now just mix everything together...


 ...and scoop into muffin tins!


And a short 20-25 minutes later...


Yum.

Now... while these were baking, I had a fun idea. Different cereal. Fun cereal. Leftover Halloween cereal!


Yes, I know that Frankenberry is completely against the way I usually food shop... food coloring, fake everything... but after Halloween when the supermaret puts in on sale for 67 cents a box... well, makes it hard to resist. And, so you know, we don't eat it for breakfast. After school snack only. Or... in muffins.

For theses, I used oil instead of banana, and the results were... colorful. And fun.


And absolutely delicious. I will say that both little man and I preferred the Cheerios version, but little miss absolutely loves the Frankenberry variety. Which is just fun.

Grandma Loy, thank you so much for this super fun recipe. I know I'll be making these with just about every cereal that comes into my house from now on.

And to the whole SRC crew - thank you. I can't even begin to tell you what it's meant to me to be a part of this group. You are all amazing bakers, cooks, photographers, bloggers and, most importantly, pepple. And I'm honored that I got to spend so much time being a part of this wonderful group.



Cereal Muffins
(only slightly modified from Grandma Loy's Kitchen)

1 1/4 cups milk (I used coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups whole-bran cereal, or 2 cups Cheerios, or 3 cups corn flakes (or any cereal you choose! Choose the measurement listed for the cereal most similar in shape or consistency to the cereal you choose.)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (if you are using a sugary cereal, you can reduce this)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil (can substitute mashed banana if the flavor goes with the cereal you choose!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 12-well muffin tim with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine milk and cereal in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Add beaten egg and vegetable oil (or banana) to the milk and cereal and mix well.
Add dry ingredients.  Mix only until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy).
Fill prepared muffin tin cups almost full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Enjoy!

Note: Grandma Loy provided the following yummy ideas for variations. Simply add any of these to batter before adding dry ingredients:
Blueberry - Add 1 cup fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries or 1 cup well-drained canned blueberries.
Apple - Peel and finely dice 1 medium apple (3/4-1 cup).  Toss with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Pineapple - Add 3/4 cup well-drained crushed pineapple.
Bacon - Add 4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled.
Cranberry - Add 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November Sourdough Surprises - Dinner Rolls

We all know that sourdough can make some flavorful, hearty breads.  But this month, Sourdough Surprises challenged us to try a different kind of bread - soft, pillowy dinner rolls. Now, soft and light aren't usually words one uses to describe a sourdough bread.  But guess what - it can be done!


I chose this recipe for garlic rolls, and they came out so well - reminiscent of soft breadsticks.  


And the insides?


Soft and pillow-y! Exactly as a dinner roll should be! Slathered in butter, these were super easy to eat. I served them with a hearty chicken noodle soup and they were perfect for dipping and for sopping up every last drop of soup-y goodness. 

Did you join us this month? Link up and share your delicious creations!




Garlic Sourdough Dinner Rolls
(from Nourishing Time)

For the dough:
1/2 cup fed sourdough starter
1 large egg
2/3 cups warm water
5 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp dried sweet basil
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt (leave this out if you use salted butter)

For the topping:
4 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
4+ cloves freshly chopped garlic

Combine the wet ingredients and the basil, mix well.
Add the flour, then the salt, and knead the dough until soft and smooth.
Leave the dough to rise for 4-8 hours. If you are want to start the dough a day in advance, you can let the dough rise for 2 hours at room temperature, the cover it and place it in the fridge. The next day, before you are ready to proceed, simply let it warm up a little and then move on to the next step.
Divide the dough in 16-20 even balls and arrange evenly in greased containers. I got 16 balls out of this dough, and used two 8-inch cake pans.
Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for an hour or so.
While the rolls are rising, mix up the topping in a glass bowl and set it aside at room temp until you’re ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stir the topping and brush most of it on top of the rolls, then stick in the preheated oven to bake for 22-25 minutes.
Once the rolls are done baking, brush the rest of the topping on so it has a little shine. These rolls do not get very dark, if you want them darker you may turn the broiler on for just a minute or two.
Enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Scones

I can't believe it's Secret Recipe Club time again! But I'm super excited for this post. Because I got a super awesome blog assignment this month.

This month I was privileged to spend lots of quality time over at Pale Yellow.  This blog is full of so much deliciousness, it's insane. And Tracy, the awesome blogger who creates all of the deliciousness, is really a girl after my own heart. From the fact that she shares her love by feeding people to the recipes she chooses to share, I knew I'd gotten a good one.

There were many recipes I wanted to try, but her recipe for Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Chips just spoke to me. The pumpkin, the spices - it is just absolutely perfect for the season.

I made a couple of simple changes, but kept the full spirit of the challenge. The first change was that I didn't have cinnamon chips. I know. That's kind of a biggie. But I increased the amount of cinnamon called for in the recipe and called it somewhat even. I also used regular (unbleached) all purpose flour instead of the gluten free version.  Oh, and I don't have allspice, so I used cardamom instead.

The scones come together beautifully.  It starts with the dry ingredients - including a beautiful rainbow of spices.


Then it was time to incorporate the butter. Rather than cube the cold butter and cut it in, I grated the frozen butter and then just mixed it into the dry ingredients  with my fingertips. So much easier.


Once the butter is incorporated, the wet ingredients, including eggs and pumpkin puree, are gently kneaded in until everything holds together.


And then it's time to shape the scones...


...and add a delicious finishing touch. Or... let the kiddos add the finishing touch. A nice sprinkling of turbinado sugar.


The kids are very generous with their sprinklings.


And then they bake.  And it's magical.


These were the absolute perfect breakfast for a day off from school and both the kids and I really enjoyed them. Just the right amount of pumpkin, just the right amount of spice - absolutely perfect for a crisp, Fall morning.


Tracy, thank you so much for this recipe and for all of your delicious inspiration! I can't wait to try out more of your delicious recipes!


Pumpkin-Cinnamon Scones
slightly adapted from Pale Yellow

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup turbinado sugar or any other coarse sugar

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger.  Cut the butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender to incorporate into the dry ingredients.  Blend until you have pea sized pieces. Or grate the butter using a box or rotary grater and use your hands to incorporate it into the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla.  Add this to the dry and mix until just combined.
I used my hands to lightly knead the dough together.
Divide the dough in half and place one half on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Shape the dough into a long rectangle with greased or floured hands and then divide into thirds with a greased bench scraper.  Cut each third diagonally with the bench scraper.  Lightly move the triangles away from each other.  Repeat with the other half of the dough on a second baking sheet.
Brush the top of each scone with the half-and-half and then generously sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 30 minutes.  While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the scones for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool slightly before eating on a wire rack.

Enjoy!



Monday, October 20, 2014

October Sourdough Surprises - Croissants

This month's Sourdough Surprises challenge was something that I have been wanting to try for quite some time. Croissants.

I've made croissants before, but not with sourdough.

And I've made sourdough laminated dough before, but not for croissants. So this was very exciting.

When looking for inspiration, I came across a recipe for sourdough pumpkin croissants and I just knew that I was going to try them. I mean, not to sound like a cliche, but at this time of year, I love just about everything pumpkin. So to incorporate it into this challenge? Oh yes.




Now, usually when I make sourdough recipes, I like to have all of the yeast be of the wild variety. Meaning, no commercial yeast.  As you might notice, this recipe does contain commercial yeast in addition to the sourdough.  The author of this recipe is someone I completely and totally admire and trust. So if she used both sourdough and commercial yeast, I am absolutely not going to question it.

I do not have process photos for this because I prepared the levain late at night, the dough early in the morning, and then the rolling and shaping steps were so hands on that I didn't want to grab the camera.

But trust me.

It is fun. And totally do-able.

All it takes is time. And a little bit of patience.

But it is so worth it.

These croissants are absolutely delicious. Dangerously delicious.



Neither the pumpkin nor the sourdough flavors were all that strong, but they were still outstanding.

I can't wait to make these again.


Sourdough Pumpkin Croissants
(from The Fresh Loaf)

For the Levain:
35g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
59g water
105g flour (recipe called for bread flour, I used all purpose)

Mix together all ingredients and leave at room temp for 12 hours.

For the Final Dough:
422g flour (recipe called for bread flour, I used all purpose)
68 g sugar
10 g salt
7g instant yeast (I used active-dry)
21g softened butter
200 g pumpkin puree
120g water
all of the prepared levain

287g butter for the butter-packed to roll in

Mix together everything but the rolling butter and knead until gluten starts to form. In my stand mixer, this was accomplished by kneading (with the dough hook) for 3 minutes at the first speed, the 3 minutes at 3rd speed. The dough is not very smooth, but not sticky. Put the in fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
While the dough rests, cut the roll-in butter into pieces and put the pieces between two sheets of plastic or wax paper. Use a rolling pin to tap the butter until it's soft enough to roll, then roll it between the two sheets until it's a 7.5X7.5inch square. Let this rest in fridge until you need it.
Once rested, roll the dough out until it's double size of the butter sheet, 11X11inch in this case. Remove the butter square from the refrigerator and tap it until it's roll-able, and the texture is similar to the dough. Place the butter square diagonally in the middle of the dough square, then fold up the corners of the dough and seal in the butter. Pay attention to corners and edges, you don't want spots where there's no butter.
Roll out the butter/dough package into a 8X24inch rectangle, then fold into thirds, like you're folding a business letter, folding the bottom third up over the middle, then the top third over the other two sections.
Put the dough in fridge to rest for 1 hour. Then take out dough and repeat the rolling and folding 2 more times, which gives 3 folds in total.
Put in fridge and rest again, this time for at least 90min. Then roll out to 9X36inch, 1/8inch thickness.
Cut into triangles, 4.5inch wide at the base, 9inches tall. Don't hesitate to cut off inperfect edges if you want a pefect crumb.
Roll up each triangle fairly tightly, stretching out the tip with one hand when you roll the bottom with the other hand. Place each rolled triangle onto an ungreased baking sheet.
At this point, you can proof right away, fridge overnight and proof next day, or freeze (defrost overnight in fridge before proofing if you decided to freeze.). Brush with egg wash both before and after proofing. Croissants should proof for about 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to  375 and bake for an additional for 15 minutes.
Enjoy!




Monday, October 13, 2014

Bazlama (Turkish Flatbread)


Happy Monday! Second Monday of the month, know what that means? Secret Recipe Club time!

This month I was assigned to a blog that was new to me, and I couldn't be happier about it. Rachel Cotterill is an amazing blogger. She is a writer (like, actual published author!), a photographer, a PhD student, and an all-around amazingly impressive person. Seriously, check out her blog - her travels, her adventures - she is amazing.

I was seriously torn about what to make this month. I really wanted to try her squash and chickpea stew, and have been craving scones since seeing her recipe. But I was totally intrigued by her post about Turkish Flatbread, and just knew I had to try it.

The ingredients themselves are not what are intriguing - it's a pretty basic bread recipe: flour, salt, yeast and water.  But what's intriguing is how the bread is cooked. The bread is not baked in the oven like most yeasted breads, - it is cooked on a pan on the stove, more like tortillas. I had to give it a shot.


The dough comes together super easily.

I did all of the kneading by hand, which I love. There's nothing quite like getting a real feel for your dough. And when it really starts to come together and smooth out, when you're kneading by hand, you know it right away. I love that.



Then the dough rests - and rises!

Shaping this "loaf" is a simple matter of rolling the risen dough into a ball, then rolling it out to about an inch thick. I tried to roll it to approximately the size of the pan I would be using.



And then you cook!

Five minutes on each side to get things started, then a few minutes more on each side, flipping regularly, until it's golden brown on each side and sounds hollow when tapped.



I think I had my heat up a bit too high, so my bread cooked pretty quickly, but it wasn't a problem.

I served this bread as a side with dinner, cutting it to be almost like bread sticks. Some of us buttered our pieces, but the bread tasted delicious even on its own.



And the next day, I found myself dipping the leftover breadstick pieces in hummus for an afternoon snack - yum!

Rachel, thank you so much for your beautiful blog and your delicious inspiration. I look forward to making lots more of your recipes and to following along with your future adventures.

Bazlama, Turkish Bread
(from Rachel Cotterill)

Makes 1 large loaf

350g (12oz, 2 cups) plain flour
1tsp salt
10g (1tbsp) instant dried yeast
200ml (7fl.oz) lukewarm water

Whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast.
Gradually add in the warm water, mixing with your fingers, ensuring that no dry patches of flour remain. As with any bread, the exact amount of water required will depend on the humidity, so pour slowly, and be prepared to add more as required.
Knead the bread for five minutes, until the dough is smooth and flexible.
Set the dough in a lightly oiled bowl (turning to coat all sides), cover with plastic wrap, and set to rise in a warm place for about half an hour.
Gently deflate the dough, give it a gently knead, and form it into a smooth ball.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the ball out to about an inch thick, trying to keep the thickness as even as possible. The bread should be about the size of a dinner plate.
Warm a dry frying pan over a medium heat (do not add any spray or oil!), and place the bread onto the pan.
Cook for about five minutes on each side to begin with, then continue to turn regularly until both sides are golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Be patient - it could take up to about 20 minutes total, and be sure to keep an eye on it as it cooks.

Enjoy!




Saturday, September 27, 2014

September Daring Bakers' Challenge - Kolache

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

I was super excited for this month's challenge. I'm not sure if you remember, but I've actually made kolache before. It was a Sourdough Surprises challenge a few months back (okay, more like almost a year ago!) and, in case you don't remember that post, it's here, and they were amazingly delicious.

So when I saw that I'd have the opportunity to make them again (read: the kick in the pants that I needed!), I was super excited.

Our hostess Lucie was awesome, and provided us with several different recipes for several different styles of kolache. Which, I'm going to be honest with you, was all new to me! I didn't know there were so many varieties!  I wanted to make ones similar to the sourdough ones I'd made, so I chose to make Moravian Kolache. The main difference between these and the sourdough version that I made (other than, you know, the sourdough...) is that these Moravian kolache have two fillings rather than just one.

But first, we need dough! The dough comes together really easily.

In one bowl, some yeast is prepared - mixed with sugar and milk, some flour sprinkled on top...


...and whoa does it take off!


Then, in the bowl to the stand mixer, all of the rest of the ingredients are combined! This includes flour, confectioners' sugar, egg yolks, a bit more milk (I used coconut milk) and some butter (I used coconut oil).


Add the yeast mixture, knead for ten minutes and the result is a beautiful, silky, smooth dough.


And that yeast continues to work its magic, as an hour later...


And then we're ready to roll!

I don't have a biscuit cutter, so to make my circles, I use my favorite cutter:


A drinking glass.

Then came the hard part. The filling. Or... fillings. The fillings that Lucie shared with us for the challenge recipe are a quark (cheese) filling for the inside and a plum jam filling for the top. I wanted to keep these dairy free for little man, so I decided to play around with different things that I had at home.

I first tried a s'mores inspiration.


That's a marshmallow that I put on the dough round, then wrapped it up, then put some chocolate chips on the top.

Then I tried to go somewhat similar to the traditional version in the challenge.


That's a small spoon of non-dairy Greek-style coconut milk yogurt for the inside, then a drizzle of homemade peach jam on the top.

And just for fun I made one more version.


There's Biscoff in that one.

I had to bake them in shifts, seeing as I had so many pans going, but the results?


Totally worth waiting for.

And we each had our favorite. Little man went with Biscoff. Little miss, s'mores.


Daddy and I? We couldn't get enough of the yogurt and peach ones.


Seriously, you can't go wrong with these. The dough is amazing and the possibilities are endless for flavors, fillings and combinations. I definitely think I'll be making these a lot more often.

Lucie, thank you so much for this delicious challenge and for the amazing inspiration!

To see the challenge as Lucie presented it to us, which I highly recommend, because there are lots of other amazing recipes to try, check it out here.


Moravian Kolache
(slightly adapted from September Daring Bakers' Challenge)

for the dough:
4 teaspoons active day yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk, warm, divided (I used coconut milk)
3-2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter, melted (I used coconut oil)
2 egg yolks

Filling or fillings of your choice

In a small bowl, mix together the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add 1/4 cup of the warm milk, mix well and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl) mix flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, butter (coconut oil), remaining 3/4 cup 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 about one hour until doubled in volume.
Meanwhile prepare your fillings and set them aside.
Prepare streussel topping -  In a medium bowl, mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup flour. Add 1/4 cup cold, diced butter, and, with your fingers, mix all ingredients until crumbly.
When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 340 degrees.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it with rolling pin to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Cut into rounds of approximately 4 inches around.. Press each piece flat with your hands and fill with filling of your choice. Wrap the dough around the filling into a “purse” shape. Put each kolach onto a prepared baking sheet with seam down. Press each kolach in the middle to create a little dent in the middle. Brush it with egg wash and fill holes with your second filling. Sprinkle it with streusel topping.
Bake for about 20 minutes to golden brown.
Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pan-Fried Cinnamon Sugar Bananas

Seems like all I ever post these days are challenges, doesn't it?

I suppose that's because that's... umm... most of what I've been posting.

And for that, I do apologize. Things have been super crazy - still settling into the new house, getting used to the new kitchen. little miss still settling into her new school, and even little man has started school now! I'm also doing a little bit of part-time work, volunteer coaching at little miss's school... basically keeping super busy!

But, whether I'm posting or not, we're still eating, of course, and it's still fun to experiment with new recipes!

So I was recently looking around for something new and fun to try and came across something that looked too easy and delicious not to try - pan fried bananas.

And it's really just as easy as it sounds.

Start with some ripe bananas and slice them up.


You don't want to go too thin on your slices, because they'll disintegrate as they cook, and yo don't to make them so thick that they won't cook through...

Then pop them on a sautee pan, sprayed with cooking spray, over medium  heat.

Once they start smelling good, sprinkle the tops with some cinnamon sugar. I didn't measure, just did a light sprinkle - probably about a teaspoon or so.


Continue cooking for another couple minutes, then carefully flip them over and sprinkle the other side with more cinnamon sugar while you're at it.

Still with me?

Now here comes the hard part. Take them off the pan and try not to eat them all at once.


I know they don't look all that impressive, and, yeah, I know I overcooked a few of them (silly me looked away from the pan to pour some orange juice for the kids...), but oh. my. gosh.


Caramalized, cinnamon-y banana-y deliciousness. In just a few minutes.


And, seriously, you can do anything with these. Add them to yogurt. Or cereal. Serve them on ice cream. Or, ahem, just dig in and gobble them all right up.

I bet you have some bananas sitting in your fruit bowl or on your counter right now. I dare you to try these. And I can't wait to hear what you think!


Pan-Fried Cinnamon Sugar Bananas
(based on Dizzy, Busy & Hungry!)

2 slightly overripe bananas (I used 3)
Cinnamon sugar to taste (anywhere from 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons)
non-stick cooking spray

Slice the bananas into rounds, approximately 1/3 inch thick.
Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Warm over medium heat.
Add the banana rounds and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
During the last minute of cooking on the first side, sprinkle about half of the cinnamon sugar over the banana rounds.
Flip the rounds, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon mixture, and cook about 2-3 more minutes, until the bananas are soft and warmed through.

Enjoy!
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