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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Let me tell you a little story…

Once upon a time there was a girl named Amy who was in the Daring Bakers. She saw that the challenge for this month was croissants.  She was so excited. Who doesn’t love a hot, buttery, flakey pastry in the morning. She knew Nate and his family do, so she was looking forward to giving him a delicious breakfast on the weekend.

She was a little nervous but knew if she followed the recipe that it would all be ok. Sure, they may not be the best, or prettiest croissants in all the world (and most certainly not in France), but she was pretty confident in her ability to be good at most things the first time she tries them.

Things started to go awry when she added the flour and the recipe said it should all “come together”…but it was instead a big, flaky, dry mess. She added a little more water but ended up having to knead it way more than the 8-10 times it said in the recipe,  just to get it to have some semblance of a dough ball shape to it.

Then when she went to roll it out with the butter inside, probably 1/4 of the butter squished out the side. Still, Amy was not deterred. No baking endeavor ever goes perfectly, right?

She thought of the time she left the eggs out of the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving only to remember when the pie had been in the oven for a few minutes. She remembered taking the hot pie out of the oven and pouring out the filling, adding eggs, reforming the melted dough and putting it back in the oven. And then she remembered with a smile how everyone told her it was the best pumpkin pie they’d ever eaten.

“It will all be ok,” she told herself. She wiped her sweaty brow and persevered.

Little did she know that she’d spend the next 10 hours of her life baking, and waiting, and baking and waiting, while the dough rose and slowly got formed into not such bad-looking little croissants.

“They look croissant-y enough, ” she told herelf. She stuck them in the fridge for their last rise overnight.

The next morning she couldn’t sleep. She had croissant dreams. She awoke with a start at 6:17 and knew she had to get up. She took the sheet of formed croissants out of the fridge to warm up and rise more, and preheated the oven. About an hour later she gave them a light egg wash, crossed her fingers, and shoved them in the oven.

 She peeked at them through the oven window every few minutes, making sure they were puffing up and browning nicely. Everything looked ok, or so it seemed.

The timer went off and out they came. Evenly browned and awfully cute. She let them cool a bit, snapped some obligatory photos and then broke one in half. The inside was not light and fluffy. It was doughy and dry. She thought perhaps they were just deceptive-looking croissants, so she took a bite. Dry, tough, and generally not good.

Amy was so disappointed! What did she do wrong?? She followed the recipe to a T. She pouted, she fretted, she complained to Nate, and then she moped around for the next few hours, replaying the whole thing in her head. She was mad at herself. She was angry that she had wasted a whole day to make some dry, crescent rolls. Eventually she distracted herself enough to forget it and get on with her day.

Several days later she decided to log onto the Daring Bakers forum and see if anyone else had a problem with their croissants being tough. There before her very eyes were posts saying that the recipe must be incorrect because it seemed like too much flour, and then a confirmation that the flour amount was indeed 3 times more than it should have been.

She wasn’t sure if she should cry with relief that she didn’t suck at baking, curse that she ever doubted her croissant-making abilities, or be incredibly angry that she devoted 12 hours of her life (and an entire day of her weekend) to making an incorrect recipe. I think she did all three and felt much better.

And so, when her confidence, energy, and enthusiasm are restored, Amy will attempt these delectable pastries once again, and hopefully she will triumph.

The end.

Blog-checking lines: The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

The recipe was long and detailed, but if you’d like to see a similar recipe/tutorial, visit here. I promise it has the correct amount of flour in it 😉


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lemons brown bananas, make banana bread!

My mom recently decided to bestow 3 extremely brown bananas on me. I suppose not everyone would appreciate such a gesture, but I was ecstatic! It’s rare for me to remember to buy bananas, and even less likely for me to have ones ripe enough for a perfect banana bread.

If you’ve ever made banana bread with yellow bananas, you’re doing it wrong. Even ones heavily mottled with brown spots aren’t quite there. The best bananas for bread have to be brown and so soft that they’re falling apart. If you happen to have bananas in this state and don’t have time to be baking banana bread, remove the peel and put them in a ziploc in the freezer until you’re ready.


Please don’t forget to peel them before you freeze them. I made this mistake once, and that’s all it took. It’s literally impossible to remove the peel, and just messy after it defrosts. Trust me.

Anyway, I wanted to make some changes to my family’s absolute favorite banana bread recipe. I’m not one to alter perfection, but I had some buttermilk leftover from making baked chicken fingers, and didn’t want it to go to waste. I also, for some unknown reason, had the idea that I wanted to throw some polenta into the recipe to give it a little crunch.

When I first took the bread out of the oven and cut myself a slice, I wasn’t sure what to think. It wasn’t the bread I was used to, and I’m not big on change.

But when I had another taste the next day, I kind of liked the subtle, crunchier texture. I mean, it’s not the recipe from childhood, but that’s ok. I can always go back to the old recipe, but I think this one might stick around for a while.


Chocolate Chip Polenta Banana Bread

Recipe by Me

Print this recipe!

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup polenta
1/2 cup light buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Grease bottom of a loaf pan.

Mix together sugar and egg, by hand or with mixer. Mix in bananas, butter, and buttermilk.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, polenta, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to banana mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into loaf pan.

Bake 50-60 minutes til golden, and toothpick comes out clean.

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As I’ve mentioned before, not only is Nate a loyal Trader Joes (TJs) customer, but a creature of habit who eats the same exact items for breakfast and lunch every day of the week. I’ve tried to take him with me to the supermarket that’s nearby (TJs is a 40 min walk), but he just won’t go.

So you can imagine his distress when he discovered that TJs discontinued his beloved Lemon Ginger Scones that he used to eat each morning along with his cereal, yogurt, and giant glass of grapefruit juice (yes, this boy eats a humongous breakfast). This, of course, gave me a challenge to reproduce these delicacies that he couldn’t do without.

I had only tried my hand at making scones on a few occasions, but I figured it couldn’t be too difficult. Over the course of a couple of months I tried several recipes, but only one got the thumb’s up from Nate.

The recipe came from a cookbook I’d requested at Christmas: A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg (the creator of the blog Orangette). I had stumbled across its title in several other blogs, touting its greatness.

I read through the whole book in a matter of days. It weaves her life story from childhood to present day, alternating with the recipes that defined those memorable times in her life. I loved every word of it and highly recommend it both for the recipes and the tales.

So you can imagine my delight when I came across her recipe for Lemon Ginger Scones! I had thought I’d have to just find a regular scone recipe and alter it for the correct flavor that Nate desired, but I didn’t have to. I followed her recipe except doubled it so the scones would last Nate a while. They had a bit too much liquid when doubling, so I added more flour. The next time I made them I added only enough liquid for one batch. although still doubling the rest of the ingredients, and it was just right.

They’re flaky, moist and delicious. These are now a staple in my kitchen…and on Nate’s breakfast plate 🙂

On an unrelated front…

Nicole from HeatOvento350 has nominated me, among others, for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you so much, Nicole 🙂

The rules of the award stipulate that you share seven random facts about yourself and pass the award on to 15 new found bloggers. So here we go:

1) Almost every movie makes me cry (and even commercials sometimes!)

2) My most favorite fruit is the mango, and I’m sadly allergic to them (did you know they’re in the same family as poison oak??)

3) When I was 10, I had 7 teeth pulled at once without being knocked out, but I never had to wear braces.

4) I will never sit alone in a restaurant, but go to the movies by myself all the time.

5) Much to Nate’s amusement, I trained for the Mr. & Mrs. Penn amateur bodybuilding competition when I was in college, and then couldn’t compete because I got mono a few weeks before (I wouldn’t have won anyway).

6) I completed a year of Architectural grad school, and have a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, have worked as a Civil Engineer, but currently work in IT in the financial field.

7) Despite #6, I really just want to be a housewife.

Ok, there ya go! I now nominate the following 15 bloggers to play along. If you’ve already done this before or just don’t feel like it, that’s perfectly ok, but here you go:

EspressoAndCream

SugarPlum

SweetPeasKitchen

Mis Pensamientos

KissMyBroccoli

MakeItNaked

Tri2cook

TheCulinaryChronicles

BackToTheCuttingBoard

SweetAsSugarCookies

AFoodLoversJourney

RufusFoodAndSpiritsGuide

InGoodTaste

GetOffYourTushAndCook

LaCaseDeSweets


Lemon Ginger Scones

Adapted from
A Homemade Life

Print this recipe!

makes 16*

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup half-and-half (plus more if dough is too dry), and more for glazing
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, rub the butter into the flour mixture, squeezing and pinching with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and there are no butter lumps bigger than a pea. Add the sugar, lemon zest, and ginger and whisk to incorporate.

Pour 1/2 cup half-and-half into small bowl or measuring cup and add the eggs. Beat with a fork to mix well. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture,and stir gently to just combine. The dough will be dry and shaggy, and there may be some unincorporated flour at the bottom of the bowl. If the dough seems too dry, add more half-and-half, 1 Tbsp at a time.

Using your hands, squeeze and press the dough into a rough mass. Turn the dough, and any excess flour out onto a board or countertop, and press and gather and knead until it just comes together (sometimes I knead in the bowl so I don’t have to dirty my counter). Don’t overwork the dough. As soon as the dough holds together, divide it in two and pat each portion into a rough circle about 1 inch thick.** Cut into 8 wedges.

Place wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Pour a splash of half-and-half into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the cones with a thin coat to glaze. Bake for 10-14 in, or until pale golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool slightly, and serve warm.

 *If you want to halve the recipe, halve all ingredient amounts, EXCEPT the half-and-half.
**If halving the recipe, pat dough into 1 circle instead of two.

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Ho-tteok is a variety of filled Korean pancake, and is a popular street food of South Korea. According to Wikipedia, it is usually eaten during the winter season, which works out well for this blog post 🙂

It is believed that hotteok originated from Chinese merchants who immigrated to Korea after the late 19th century. Unlike many Chinese pancakes, which often contain savory meat fillings, hotteok are stuffed with sweet fillings, to suit Koreans’ tastes. They traditionally contain a filling of brown sugar, chopped walnuts or peanuts and cinnamon, that melt when the cake is fried.

I think I first had Hotteok at a Korean supermarket I went to while briefly living in Texas. It was being made right there in front of me, and it came out so fresh and hot that I burned my mouth on the sweet, sugary filling inside because I couldn’t wait for it to cool. Needless to say, it was delicious. You’d think I would have learned my lesson but I always burn my mouth on hot foods due to my impatience.

The main reason I chose to make this (other than going along with the Asian theme of my last post) is because, out of curiosity, I bought some glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour) the last time I was at the Asian supermarket. I don’t know what I was thinking, really. I thought you could just use it in place of white flour in any recipe. I believe you can  with regular rice flour, but the glutinous type is mainly used in Asian desserts. It’s chewy, from the gluten I suppose, which makes it workable and good for stretching around fillings.

These days, the types of hotteok have been changing continuously. Many variations have developed since the early 21st century, such as green tea, pink bokbunja, corn, and more. In my case, I decided to alter the traditional filling by using crunchy peanut butter in place of the nuts and adding some banana because…well because you can’t have peanut butter without banana (or chocolate) 😉

Though the glutinous rice flour can’t be found in a standard supermarket, you can find it in most large Asian grocery stores, or you can order it online. I highly recommend trying it. And with the leftover, you can make mochi ice cream!

The batter was so delicious that I may try thinning it out and making waffles with it. Whether you choose to make this for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack, I can guarantee you won’t be able to wait to eat it either…and when you burn your mouth, don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉

I submitted my recipe to Yeast Spotting!

 

Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancake) stuffed with Brown Sugar, Peanut Butter and Banana

Adapted from One Fork, One Spoon
makes 8-10 small pancakes

¼ cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
1 cup flour
¾ cup glutinous rice flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

filling:
¼ cup brown sugar
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 banana, diced

Stir together the lukewarm water, one tablespoon of sugar, and active-dry yeast in a small bowl until the sugar and yeast dissolve.  Let it sit for 10 minutes, during which time it will start to bubble and foam.

Combine the flour, glutinous rice flour, salt and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a large bowl.  Add the yeast-sugar mixture and the milk.

Using your hands, bring the dough together into a sticky ball.  Knead it a couple of times, for about two or three minutes.  The dough will be sticky, but it should still come off your hands and stay together.  Cover with plastic and place in a warm spot for 3 hours.  (I put my oven on 200 for 30-40 seconds then turned it off and put dough in and turned on oven light)

After 3 hours, the dough will have doubled in size.  It will look pretty puffy.  Knead the dough a couple times until it becomes more elastic, but keep in mind that it will never become a smooth, elastic ball of dough.

Combine the brown sugar, peanut butter and cinnamon in a small bowl. Chop banana into small pieces and put to side.

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.  Make sure your pan is hot before you start — your pancake should sizzle when it hits the pan or it won’t form a good crisp crust.  Oil your hands and pinch off a piece of dough, about 2-3 tablespoons.  Knead it into a smooth ball and then stretch it out into a loose circle, creating a depression in the middle.  Fill the depression with the sugar mixture, about a tablespoon worth.  Stretch and seal the dough around the sugar mixture and flatten it between the palms of your hands.

Drop the flattened ball of dough into the pan.  The oil should be hot enough to sizzle.  Smooth some oil on your spatula and press down on the ball of dough, flattening it further.  Continue making balls of dough until the pan has 3 or 4 pancakes in it. Be careful not to crowd the pan.

Fry the pancakes until golden-brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan and let them drain on a paper towels or a wire rack.  Serve warm.

 

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