Monday, April 30, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-apart Bread

I actually made this cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread several weeks ago but never got around to posting it. I enjoyed it with my coffee for breakfast and my evening snack! I really liked how the edges were crispy from the sugar.

Mmm doesn't that look good?

Crisp on top. Yum!

So good with a giant cup of coffee!
Makes 1 loaf

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/3 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, browned

To make the dough; whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs and set aside.

In a small pot, melt together milk and butter together just until the butter has melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two to cool down slightly. You don't want it too hot or you'll kill the yeast. 115-125F is perfect according to Joy the Baker.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Add the eggs and stir until the eggs are combined into the batter.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir for about 2 minutes.  It will be a little sticky.

Lightly grease a bowl and place the dough into it.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about an hour in a warm place. I like to turn the oven on 200 just for a few minutes to warm it up. It shouldn't be hot, just slightly warm. 

Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling and set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter in a pot until browned. Be careful, once it starts to brown it will get dark really fast.  Set aside.

Grease and flour your standard sized loaf pan.

Punch down your dough (it should be double in size now) and knead 2 tablespoons of flour into it.  Cover with a clean towel and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. I'm not sure of the dimensions of mine after i rolled it, but it was about 1/4" thick. Brush the browned butter all over the dough and then sprinkle it with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. 

You're supposed to get 36 squares but I didn't manage to do that. I cut mine in 4 then started cutting squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan. Place a towel over the pan and let it rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size. Mine seemed to rise more on the bottom than the top, so i flipped the squares over (that's why the top is so flat in the picture above) and let it rise another 20 minutes or so. Either way it was still yummy!

Preheat the oven to 350F and place the rack in the middle.  Place the loaf pan onto a baking sheet, or on top of a piece of foil in the oven. You may be sorry if you don't take my advice. You could end up with a sugary mess at the bottom of your oven when you're done.

Bake it for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is a dark golden.  Don't take it out too soon or it won't be cooked inside. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Flip the bread out onto a plate, then flip it again so the crispy edge is up. 

Serve warm or room temperature. It's nice if you heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds the next day. I'm sure it would also be good with cream cheese frosting.

Adapted from Joy the Baker.

Linking to Recipe of the Week
Bread & Muffins

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Baked Kale and Spinach Chips

I think these kale and spinach chips are amazing! They're really crispy and fun to eat. My kids even love them! There are lot of recipes posted online for these. Some suggest using higher cooking temperatures with shorter cooking times, and others suggest using lower temperatures and longer times. I decided on one from smitten kitchen for the kale. Then I decided to try it with spinach. be sure to dry your greens very well and don't use a lot of oil. A little bit is really all you need. Use them instead of crackers or potato chips. And I'm sure you can season these many different ways!

I used a whole head of kale.
Cut it up into bite size pieces then wash it and spin it.
Use paper towel and get it as dry as possible.

All nice and crisp. Yum!

My spinach came washed. If yours isn't, then you can wash it, spin it and pat it dry just like the kale.

Ready for the oven.


Kale Chips
1 head of kale, washed, dried and cut up
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon course salt

Preheat the oven to 300F and line a baking sheet (or 2) with parchment.

Place the kale in a giant bowl and toss it with the oil. Use your hands and get it all coated. Place the pieces on the baking sheets, try not to pile it up. Mine weren't exactly in a single layer, but it worked out okay.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until they're crisp. I had to toss mine once or twice. The outer pieces were crisping up faster. Probably because my pieces were overlapping. But it was a huge bunch of kale!

I tried storing them airtight but they were limp the next day. Next time I'll wash and cut up the kale and keep it in the fridge, then only bake off what I plan to eat that day.

Spinach Chips
2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Mix all the ingredients with your hands in a large bowl until all the spinach is well coated. Place in a single layer (as best as you can) on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until crisp.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Chicken

Okay, it doesn't get any easier than this. I think it took me less than half an hour to make this soup including the chopping! Yesterday I roasted some chicken breasts by lifting the skin, squeezing lemon juice on the meat and sprinkling it with Montreal Chicken Seasoning. I placed the skin back over the meat and squeezed on more lemon juice, and sprinkled on more seasoning. I baked it at 400F for about an hour (it had bones). Anyway, my point is, I saved the juices and added them to this soup today along with some of the chicken.

2-4 servings

1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 heaping tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 cup roasted lemon chicken juices
(or 1/2 cup chicken broth and a squeeze of lemon)
3 cups of 2% milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast

In a nonstick pot, saute the onion, mushrooms and potato in the oil and butter until they start to brown. About 4 or 5 minutes. Stir in spices and flour and cook for another minute. Add another teaspoon of butter if it seems to be getting a little dry.

Stir in the chicken juices until everything's well combined then add 2 cups of the milk. Mix the last cup of milk with sour cream and add that too. don't worry about the sour cream lumps, they'll disappear once the soup starts to simmer.

Stir in he chicken and simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through and the soup has thickened. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins - Crazy Cooking Challenge

I have to admit, I chose a pretty amazing recipe for this Crazy Cooking Challenge! This month it’s all about blueberry muffins. I used frozen blueberries instead of fresh and I think that’s why my batter turned purple, but you can use fresh if that’s what you have. I absolutely love these muffins!  Of course, they lose a bit of the crunch the next day but I liked the muffin better. I usually prefer muffins and quick breads the day after they’re made. I got this recipe from a nice blog called carnaldish. I'm #35 in he linky party.

Yummy in my tummy!

Nice fresh lemon.

The blueberries after they've cooked down.


My purple batter. It probably wouldn't be purple if you use fresh berries.

You can swirl the cooked berries into the batter if you want.

If you like my muffin, click #35 below!

Makes 12-16 muffins

Lemon-Sugar Topping
⅓ cup white sugar
1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
Blueberry Topping
2 cups frozen blueberries, divided
1 teaspoon white sugar
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup 2% milk
juice of ½ a lemon
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/8 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup canola oil
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For Lemon Sugar Topping; Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined and set aside. I just used a small fork to do this.

For Blueberry Topping; Bring 1 cup of the blueberries to a boil in a small pot with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon zest. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. You can mash the berries with a fork if they’re fresh, the frozen ones didn’t seem to need any mashing.

For the muffins: Stir together the milk and juice of ½ a lemon. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. I did this because I didn’t have buttermilk. If you have buttermilk, you can use 1 cup of that instead.

Soak 1 teaspoon of lemon zest into 1 tablespoon of lemon juice while the berries cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line 16 muffin cups with paper liners. The original recipe said it made 12, but I got 16 out of it. You can make them a little bigger if you want. In that case, only line 12 tins with paper liners. It’s up to you!

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl and set aside. Whisk 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until creamy. A minute of whisking will do.

Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Add the lemon zest that’s been soaking in lemon juice along with the milk and vanilla until combined. The recipe said to drain the zest and discard the juice. But why would I do that? I just put the whole thing in. These are lemon blueberry muffins after all!

Fold the wet mixture and remaining cup of blueberries into the flour mixture just until it’s most. Lumps are okay.  

Divide the batter among prepared muffin cups. Then, place some of the blueberry topping in the centre of each muffin. You can swirl it around with a tooth pick but I didn’t.  Sprinkle lemon sugar on top then bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool them for a few minutes in the tin then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Coffee Microwave Cakes with Chocolate Glaze

I just can't get over how amazing and moist these cakes are. Here's another cake straight from my microwave in just over a minute. This one is also egg free. Last time I made the Individual Microwave Lemon Cakes. I used a small bowl this time instead of a ramekin. Just make sure whatever you use is microwave safe and that the batter doesn't fill it more than half way.

Makes 1 cake (or 2 smaller ones)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons 2% milk
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon warm water
1 tablespoon chopped milk chocolate
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

In a measuring cup, mix all the dry ingredients for the cake with a fork. Add the oil, milk and coffee water. Mix until well combined. Just a few seconds. Stir in the chocolate.

Pour into your bowl or mug and microwave on high for 1 minute and 10 seconds. Test it with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. If not, put it back in for another 10 seconds. Try not to overcook it. If you're making 2 cakes out of this, start with 45 seconds per cake.

Mix the 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar with the cocoa powder then add a few drops of milk. add enough milk so the mixture is thin enough to drizzle over your cake. Drizzle away. Serve the cake warm.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Individual Microwave Lemon Cakes

I can't believe this came out of my microwave. I've made the chocolate mug cake recipe that's all over the Internet and it comes out pretty chewy, so I thought for sure any microwave cake would come out the same way. I guess I was wrong! This one reminds me of a cross between a cupcake and a pancake. I added a lemon glaze which kept it moist. And, I didn't use any eggs.

3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
splash of vanilla
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
lemon juice

Mix the dry ingredients in a measuring cup with a fork. Add everything else except the glaze ingredients and divide the batter between 2 ramekins (or cups). It should come about half way up.

Microwave on high for 45 seconds, then use a toothpick to test it just like you would a regular cake. If it's not ready, put it in for another 15 seconds. It shouldn't take longer than that. That is probably even too long. Of course if you're like me, you'll end up eating both cakes, so you could always just pour the batter into one larger  ramekin and cook it for a bit longer. You can either leave it in the ramekin or run your knife along the edges and it should drop right out onto a plate.

To make the glaze, mix 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar with enough lemon juice to make it thick but runny. Spread it over your warm cakes. Serve warm.