Saturday, November 26, 2011

shop-a-holiday on 23rd and shareing & careing

The weekend after Thanksgiving Day, is usually the time I start my holiday cookie orders.....This year I'm taking on a different approach to giving and I'm participating in a local neighborhood event coming up this week by donating over 250 cookies to go into gift bags. 

The event is being sponsored by the retailers in my neighborhood of Astoria, NY. My good friend, Kristie Foster, owner of my favorite indie-clothing boutique, krisTEES, kindly asked me to participate in giving to a very important cause. 

On Saturday, December 3rd, from 12pm - 5pm come out to Astoria and shop the participating retailers on 23rd Avenue and 10% of all sales will go to the Shareing & Careing Breast Cancer Support foundation. 

Madagascar vanilla bean sugar cookies frosted with a hint-of-lemon royal icing. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

pumpkin cheesecake & happy thanksgiving!!!

Not pumpkin pie. But pumpkin cheesecake. It's probably too late in the day to make this, but save the recipe for next year. Or what the heck? Make it this weekend!!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Pumpkin Cheesecake I got this recipe from my sister. Who knows where she got it and how old it is. The last time I made this we were living in San Francisco.....
makes one 10-inch cake 

for the CRUST
1 1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs ***I use Nabisco's Gingersnaps - about 30 cookies***
1  1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter @ room temperature
pinch of salt

for the FILLING
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese @ room temperature
***OR for a lighter cheesecake - use 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese and 1 cup sour cream***
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin ***I only had 1 15-ounce can and it worked perfectly fine***
9 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg ***grind some fresh stuff***
4 large eggs @ room temperature

Prep your springform pan by wrapping the bottom and sides with foil making sure that the sides are completely covered. The cheesecake will be placed in a water bath for baking. 

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Find a shallow baking dish at least 2 inches wider than your cheesecake pan. Set aside.

In a bowl of a food processor grind gingersnap cookies, pecans, light brown sugar, unsalted butter and salt until it looks like wet sand.

Press this mixture into your pan with a removable bottom. You can just press it on the bottom or I like to go up the sides slightly. Set aside. 

Bring a kettle of water to a boil for the water bath.

In your bowl of your stand mixer, cream the cream cheese so that it's smooth and not lumpy. Add the sugar, pumpkin, all spices and vanilla. Mix on LOW until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and add the heavy cream. Mix on LOW. Add eggs 1 @ a time on LOW speed, incorporating each one before adding the other. Careful not to mix too much, especially at a high speed, because you do not want to incorporate air into it. Scrape down sides to make sure everything is mixed in thoroughly.

Set your prepared crusted pan into shallow baking dish. Pour your cheesecake mixture in. Carefully place this on the middle rack of your oven. Gently pour hot water into the shallow pan so that the water level is halfway up the foiled cheesecake pan; making sure you don't get any into your cheesecake.

Bake for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Carefully "jiggle" the cheesecake. It should "wiggle" in the middle when it's done. Remove from water bath and cool completely before placing it in the frig. Refrigerate for 4 - 6 hours or overnight before consuming.
We were doing some pre-Thanksgiving Day dinner quality control so we thought we'd give it a try for lunch. I made a simple caramel sauce with sugar and heavy cream and drizzled it on top. A little smokey sea salt didn't hurt it either.....Have a happy and healthy one!!! gobble gobble

Sunday, November 20, 2011

fall leaf vanilla sugar cookies

Yesterday I got to go see my friend Dave kill it on the drums with Sondre Lerche on David Letterman's LATE SHOW. I greeted the band backstage with these fall leaf vanilla sugar cookies and my friend Dave shared one with the guest on the show, Amy Sedaris. Pretty cool......

Royal Icing
6 ounces warm water
5 tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kilo (2.25 lbs.) powdered sugar
gel food colorings

In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together on LOW speed, warm water and meringue powder, 30 seconds. Add cream of tartar and lemon juice and mix for another 30 seconds.
In the OFF setting, pour in the powdered sugar all at once. Mix on the LOWEST speed for 10 minutes, The icing should look thick and creamy. Cover the bowl with a damp tea-towel or plastic wrap to prevent crusting and drying. Tint with food colorings or thin the icing with small amounts water to reach the desired consistency.

To decorate cookies you'll need the following:
- tinted royal icing
- disposable piping bags
- coupler
- a number 2 round tip
- damp paper towels
- skewers

Once your cookies have cooled completely, you'll need to pipe a flood line. This prevents the icing from running all over the place. Let this dry for at least an hour or more. 

Now is when you can fill-in the outlined cookie. I like to spoon small amounts of icing into the middle of the cookie and then drag towards the sides with a skewer. 

To create a marbled effect, gently drag your skewer through the different colors of royal icing.

Once the royal icing has set for 1 - 2 hours you can pipe on your details. 

Iced sugar cookies need at least 24 hours to dry before packaging in cellophane bags or cookies boxes. If it's slightly humid out, it may take a little longer.


honey white bread

If you've been following my blog lately I've been making a lot of bread. Quick, enrichedlean. You name it, and I'll make it. Like I've said before, you really don't have to be scared about making and baking bread. Your mixer does all of the work! The only scary thing is proofing your yeast. And depending on what type of yeast you're using (active, instant, cake/fresh) will depend if you need to proof it or not. But that's a totally different blog posting.....Most likely you'll be working with active dry yeast, which is easily found in your local grocery store. Just remember if your water is too hot or too cold the yeast will show you it doesn't like it. It's gotta be just right, 110˚F. I usually use my instant read thermometer, but I know most of you don't have one of those. So when testing your water it should feel "warm-ish", tepid or lukewarm.

Back when I was a kid, white bread was a staple in most American homes. Even in my Filipino household we always had a loaf of Wonder on the kitchen counter. I'm not even going to deny that. I particularly liked pb&j on some squishy white Wonder bread and if you did too, you'll make this honey white bread. Move over Wonder .....there's a new white bread in town!

Honey White Bread 2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home
Makes 2 loaves

1/2 cup warm water (110˚F)
2 packages dry active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm whole milk (110˚F)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 extra-large egg yolks ***I used large yolks and it was perfectly fine***
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Place water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. If the bowl is cold, be sure the water temperature doesn't drop below 110˚F. Add the yeast and sugar; stir and allow the yeast to dissolve for 5 minutes. ***If you've followed these steps correctly, the mixture should look foamy***

Add the milk, butter and honey. Mix on medium speed until blended. Add the egg yolks, 3 cups of flour and the salt. Mix on LOW speed for about 5 minutes. With the mixer still on LOW speed, add 2 more cups of flour. Raise the speed to MEDIUM and slowly add just enough of the remaining flour so the dough doesn't stick to the bowl. Add the flour slowly; you can always add more but you can't take it out. Knead on MEDIUM speed for about 8 minutes. adding flour as necessary.

Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a minute, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl with butter, put the dough in the bowl, then turn it over so the top is lightly buttered. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in volume. ***I cover my bowl with plastic wrap and I place it in my oven that is OFF with a pan of recently boiled water***

Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with butter. Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a loaf shape and place each in a prepared pan. Cover again with the damp towel or lightly drape with plastic wrap, and allow to rise again for an hour, until doubled in volume. ***For this second rise, I just leave it in a warm place*** 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350˚F. When the dough is ready, brush the tops with the lightly beaten egg white and bake the breads for 40 to 45 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped. ***You will be safe if you baked it for 45 minutes*** Carefully turn them out of the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

This bread is best when it's fresh! But what bread isn't, right? If you want to freeze one of them, wrap it in a piece of parchment paper and then wrap tightly in two layers of plastic wrap. Defrost in your refrigerator overnight before consuming. The frozen bread doesn't have the freshness of the freshly baked bread, but it's great turned into toast, French toast, grilled cheese, croque monsieur, bread pudding, croutons and your ends make excellent bread crumbs.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

pumpkin bread

I am a California girl at heart. I grew up in San Diego, went to school in Los Angeles and then moved up the coast to San Francisco. So I never really experienced seasons. Rain & fog in SF doesn't count. It was pretty much sunny and warm 365 days of the year and a seasonal treat was a Cherry & Coke Slurpee from 7Eleven. And even those flavors were all year round.

Now living on the East Coast is a totally different story. There are seasons. And seasons mean seasonal flavors. And one of my favorite seasonal flavors is pumpkin. The original recipe called for a brown butter icing which probably took this bread over-the-top! We went out to dinner last night with friends and I didn't have time to make it. Plus, I wanted to give our friends a little loaf of pumpkin bread to enjoy this Sunday morning. And quite honestly, this bread tastes so great just by itself.
So here it is.....pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Bread from the beautiful blog honey & jam

Makes 2 large loaves

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 cups granulated sugar***I cut the sugar down to 2 cups***
1 cup unsalted butter, really soft
3 large eggs
1 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract ***This is not in the original recipe, but a little vanilla never hurts***
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray two medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attached, dump in the sugar. Take the butter and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, so that it is half melted. Dump it into the sugar. Add the eggs. Cream these three ingredients together on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and vanilla (if adding) and combine well.
4. In three batches, add the dry ingredients and mix gently until each batch is just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch.
5. Pour half of the batter into a one of the prepared pans. Fold the pecans (if adding) into the remaining batter and then pour it into the other prepared pan. Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean the top is golden.

6. Cool on wire rack.

Brown Butter Icing
1/2 c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1-3 Tbsp. milk

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, and let it cook till it’s a delicate brown color. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar with browned butter. Add 1 Tbsp. milk. Add more milk as needed to reach spreading consistency.

This bread definitely tastes great all by it's self. But I'm addicted to this yogurt butter by Brummel & Brown. Just a tiny spread of it put it over-the-top for me.

***When I was searching for a recipe for pumpkin bread, I noticed A LOT of them had a considerable amount of sugar in them. I decided to cut the sugar down to 2 cups instead of 3 and I still feel like I could have taken out another 1/2 cup.***

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Please like DOUGH & BATTER's facebook FAN PAGE and you'll always know when I've got something baking in the oven.....

Thank YOU!!!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

cinnamon swirl bread

I bet you're thinking that baking homemade bread is difficult and time consuming. It's really not that difficult but IT IS time consuming and you do need A LOT of patience. But it's worth the wait. Trust me. You can be semi-lazy when making this bread because the only thing that requires work is your poor stand mixer. If it were human it would be pooped after mixing this dough. So stop your whining and grab the ingredients to make cinnamon swirl bread. 

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
Makes two 9-by-5 inch loaves

***The original recipe is Cinnamon-Raisin Bread but since I'm not a fan of raisins in baked goods, I omitted them from my recipe.***

For the DOUGH:
1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 cups warm whole milk (about 110˚F) 
2 pounds 2 ounces (about 6 1/2 cups) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for pans
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons course salt
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the FILLING:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Vegetable oil, for bowl and plastic wrap
Egg wash and for filling - 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Make the dough: In a large bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk; whisk to combine. Add the flour, butter, sugar, 2 eggs, and salt. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined, about 3 minutes. Raise the speed to medium-low and continue to mix until the dough is uniformly smooth and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes more.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat dough into a 9-inch round, about 1 1/4 inches thick. Sprinkle with raisins (if using) and 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and knead until they are just incorporated. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with oiled plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. ***I place mine in my oven (that is turned OFF) with a pot of recently boiled water***

Return the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and pat into a round. Fold in the following manner: Fold the bottom third of the dough up, the top third down, and the right and left sides over, tapping the dough after each fold to release excess flour, and pressing down to seal. Return the dough to the bowl, seam side down, and let rise again until double in bulk, about 40 minutes.

Generously butter two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans; set aside. ***I buy disposable loaf pans from my grocery store which are a little smaller (8 1/2 x 4 1/2) but makes no difference*** 

Make the filling: Combine sugar and cinnamon with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. ***Doing this step will produce a cinnabon-like quality to the bread. It will be oozing with cinnamoney goodness*** Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide in half. Roll out one half to a 12-by-10-inch rectangle; brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with half the filling. Repeat with remaining dough.

***You can also just combine the cinnamon and sugar minus the water. The cinnamon sugar mix swirled into the bread will result in a "tighter swirl" reminiscent to a store bought loaf, but since you're making it from scratch....better!!!! Don't bother brushing the dough with egg before sprinkling the cinnamon sugar on top. Place it on a lightly floured work surface, divide in half, roll out to the size needed and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture***

With a short end of the rectangle facing you, fold in both sides of the dough, about 1 inch. Then roll the dough towards you, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log. gently roll the log back and forth to seal the seam. ***Or do what I do and pinch the seam closed*** Place the loaf in your prepared pan, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rectangle. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap, let rise in a warm place until dough rises above the rim of the pan, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425˚F.

Brush the tops of the loaves with the beaten egg, and transfer pans to a parchment/foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the loaves are golden brown, about 45 minutes. (If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.) Turn out the bread onto a wore rack to cool completely before slicing. The bread can be kept, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature up to 4 days. 

***I wrap mine up in parchment paper and store it at room temperature in an airtight container. After a few days, if we have any left, I transfer it to the refrigerator. This bread also freezes well. I tightly wrap it in parchment paper first and then it's wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap. Thaw your bread overnight in the refrigerator the night before consuming. I never know how long it lasts in the freezer because it doesn't last that long.***

You know the smell of Cinnabon buns when you're walking through a mall? This is pretty close and possibly even better. Anything baked with cinnamon is intoxicating! And when you eat this bread toasted with butter, and/or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, or turned into a pb&j, it's addicting! Thank goodness it makes two loaves.