Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Orange Marmalade Loaf

For my last week at my rotation in SA, I decided to make this Orange Marmalade Bread from the book, Making Fresh Bread from Love foods. The picture in the book of this bread looked delish. Plus, I figured with all of the awesomeness from the last bread (the Cinnamon Raisin one) that I would continue the trend. Enjoy!

4 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp superfine sugar
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water
2/3 cup lukewarm milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
7 tbsp orange marmalade

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp superfine sugar
1-2 tbsp candied orange peel

Directions (Makes 1 loaf)

1) Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast. Make a well in the center and pour in the lukewarm water and milk. Stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together, then knead with your hands for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

2) Brush a bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball, put it into the bowl, and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.

3) Brush a 7.5 x 4.5 x 3.5 inch or 19 x12 x 9 cm loaf pan with oil. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and punch down with your fist. Roll out to a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Spread the marmalade evenly over the dough leaving a 1/2 inch border along one long side. Roll up the dough like a jelly roll and put it into the prepared pan, seam side down. Put the pan in a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

4) Preheat the oven to 425 F. To mae the topping, beat the egg yolk with milk and sugar in a bowl and brush it over the top of the loaf. Score the top and sprinkle with the orange peel. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Overall, this bread was not to my taste and I do not anticipate making it again. I give it 2 out of 5 stars. People at work enjoyed it but it basically tasted like plain bread with marmalade inside of it. If you are a huge marmalade lover...you may love this recipe and you can disregard my comments about this recipe. This may be the bread for you. However apparently, I don't like marmalade that much. It is too sweet and orangey. (I know it isn't a word but it should be.) In addition, the bread itself tasted like a plain white bread. It was nothing special. A plain white bread after all of the waiting and work.....so not worth it. I had to wait over two hours for this bread to rise. Mind you, I watched TV and ran during this time and was not lacking in entertainment. But the bread did stop me from going out on the town. My last note about this bread is that maybe it would have been better if I had access to the candied orange peel that this recipe calls for. I was unable to find this ingredient at the store and thus decided to make the recipe without it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

It was calling my name... I had to make it. I saw this Cinnamon-Raisin Bread recipe in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook book and I was sold on creating this recipe. In all of my bread making experience too, I had never attempted a bread recipe with yeast that requires baking in a conventional oven. This is not to say I haven't used yeast at all. My mom gave me her bread maker last year. I was totally stoked about it too. I got back to my apartment and tried making french bread with yeast 4 times. Each time, the bread did not rise sufficiently. Frustration and impatience with the machine overcame me and in turn, I have not tried to use the machine in months. Honesty, I think my failure with the bread maker has more to do with the inconsistent electricity to old apartment that was built in the 1920s. (I may be a little bias though : ) ) Long story short, my success with yeast breads is nonexistent. Despite this, I was quite excited about this bread and expanding my repertoire. : )

This recipe makes 2 loaves


For the dough
1 envelope (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 cups warm milk (about 110 F)
2 pounds 2 ounces flour (about 6 1/2 cups), plus more for dusting
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for bowl and plastic wrap

For the filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1) Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the east 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 speeds until all 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 pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes more.

2) Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat out dough into a 9-inch round, about 1 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with raisins and cinnamon, and knead until they are just incorporated. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

3) Return the dough to 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 doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

4) Make the filling: Combine sugar and cinnamon with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide in half. Roll out one half to a 12-by10- inch rectangle; brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with half the filling. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

5) Generously butter two 9-by 5-inch loaf pans; set aside. With a short end of the rectangle towards you, fold in both long 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. Place the loaf in a prepared pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining rectangle. Cover pans loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until dough rises just above the rim of the pan, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F.

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

My first comment about this recipe is that it took a lot longer than I anticipated. I need to read more carefully ahead of time. The recipe took about 4 hours to make. Mind you, I was not continuously a slave to the kitchen during this time. I spent a lot of time during the recipe waiting for the bread to rise. Actually there was a little over 2 hours of waiting for bread to rise.

Next, after placing the bread in the oven there is a little comment in the directions about "tenting" the bread with aluminum foil. I would highly advise this. The bread is suppose to take 45 minutes. At 20 minutes, I checked on the bread to flip it in the oven and there was a large amount of smoke emanating from the tops of the loaves. The loaves turned a little brown on top. I immediately took out the loaves thinking there was no way that I could have overcooked the loaves. They were only in the oven 20 minutes!! I promptly tented my loaves with foil and then watched the bread like a hawk.

Overall, I give this bread 5 out of 5 stars. I definitely plan on making the bread again. Wow! Sugar dripped from the inner circle of the bread as I consumed it for breakfast. It is a perfect breakfast and a great treat. Thanks Martha for another awesome recipe!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Apple Crisp

On my second day of my Lubbock adventure, I went to the Apple Butter Festival in Idalou with my friends. It was raining outside. So unfortunately, apple picking and the hayride were not an option. However, we did get to eat some delicious barbecue and taste honey, jelly and apple butter. (of course) I bought some apples and honey at the festival. In addition, I also bought a little book with all Apple recipes. Interested to try one of the recipes when we got back to the house, I picked a recipe where all of the ingredients were already available, Apple Crisp.

5 apples, sliced and peeled
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oats
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup apple juice or water

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place half the apples in an oiled 9- x 9- inch pan. Blend together remaining ingredients, except juice, and crumble half the flour mixture over the apples. Cover with remaining apples and flour mixture. Pour juice over top. Bake 35 minutes.

Overall, I give this recipe 3 out of 5 stars. It is not the awesome cooks in the kitchen what lead me to this particular rating. : ) The apple crisp just wasn't right. The texture wasn't what I expected. I expected more of an apple pie taste with a crumbly top. However, the apple crisp was more bland and soft. I wanted it to be crunchier...like the crisp in its name. I don't know what I can do to improve it but I will let you guys know. My friend who baked with me was not as critical on the recipe and commented that she thought it was good.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lemon-Cream Cheese Cupcakes

This weekend, I am in Lubbock visiting two close friends. Being excellent hosts, they have packed this weekend full of adventures from visiting Llano winery to their favorite restaurants. I think they are trying to convince me to move to Lubbock. : ) Tonight, we are going to a little party and it was suggested to bring something to share. By now, you realize that I love baking and my friend shares this love. We wanted to bring something easy to share and different than what we normally cook. Her husband loves peanut butter. So I suggested to branch out from peanut butter just this once. In the end, we settled on this Lemon-Cream Cheese Cupcake Recipe from one of the Kraft magazines.


1 pkg (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 pkg (4 serving size) Jell-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding and Pie Filling
1 cup water
4 egg whites
2 Tbsp oil
1 pkg (16 oz) powdered sugar
1 pkg (8 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp, lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, egg whites and oil in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 min. Spoon batter evenly into 24 paperlined 2 1/2-inch muffin cups.
2) Bake 21 to 24 min, or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min., remove to wire racks. Cool completely.
3) Meanwhile, beat sugar, cream cheese, butter and juice with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Frost cupcakes.

Makes 24 servings, 1 cupcake each.

Jazz It Up: Stir 1 tsp, grated lemon peel into frosting mixture. Garnish with additional grated peel.

My first comment about this baking experience is that I want a Kitchen Aid Mixer. Wow! This was my first time using one and it was so awesome. Second, be patient. We were really patient to ice these cupcakes (as in we left the house for 4 hours to drink wine and then returned) and the icing turned out great in turn. This also may be because my friend iced them instead of myself. I am not going to lie. I truly lack a gift in icing. However, I hope to hone in on this skill soon.

Overall, I had a great time making these cupcakes with my friend. I would give them 3.5 out of 5 stars. They were easy to make and very moist. They were quite good. I would consider them a solid potential choice for future cupcakes in a hurry to make.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chicken, Red Grape, and Pesto Pizza

I was browsing the September 2009 Cooking Light magazine when I found this Chicken, Red Grape and Pesto Pizza recipe. I talked my mom into buying the ingredients and made the pizza for dinner earlier this evening. I actually have never made a pizza from scratch...so this was a first. (even though the dough wasn't from scratch)


1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated thin-crust pizza dough
Cooking spray
1/3 cup refrigerated pesto
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 ounces shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onions

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. On a lightly floured surface, pat dough into a 12-inch circle; gently place dough on a pizza pan coated with cooking spray. Spread pesto evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges. Arrange grapes evenly over dough; top evenly with chicken. Top with garlic and mozzarella; sprinkle with Romano and pepper. Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with onions. Cut into 12 wedges. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 wedges) Calories: 364 per serving

Overall, this pizza turned out really good. I loved the tomato pesto sauce that my mom bought to go on this pizza. It was a pleasant (and much welcomed) addition to the recipe. My main complaints are as follows: The dough was a little watery and the pizza cooked a lot faster than I anticipated. The water I believe came from the grapes which seeped fluid while cooking. I don't think I could have prevented this. I loved eating with chicken with grapes. Although it sounded like a strange combination when I first read the recipe. Despite these two complaints, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to make pizza and plan on making pizza again in the near future. I give this recipe 4 out of 5 stars. : )

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shortbread Fingers

I did not actually make these Shortbread Fingers. So I can not take credit for them. However, they tasted so good that I could not resist posting them. My little sister Andrea made these from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. Enjoy!

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

1) Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter a 12-by-8-inch rimmed baing sheet and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on long sides. Whisk together flour and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy on medium speed, 3 to 4 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar; continue to beat until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally, until just incorporated. (It should have the consistency of soft cookie dough.)
3) Using a small offset spatula, evenly spread dough in prepared baking sheet. Chill in the freezer or refrigerator until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.
4) Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until shortbread is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar. While still hot, use a large knife to cut shortbread into 4-by-1 inch pieces. Cool completely in the pan. Shortbread can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Banana-Caramel Cake

I had the day off from work today to celebrate Labor Day. I spent the day hanging with a friend from med school who also happens to be doing an away rotation in San Antonio. After some window shopping in Stone Oak and walking around the neighborhood, we were at a standstill of what to do with the remainder of our afternoon. So we turned to baking. My mom just bought the Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. We sifted through the book, which is amazing btw, and decided upon this recipe, Banana-Caramel Cake. The only things we had to buy were the Mascarpone cheese for the icing and bananas.

Making the Cake:
1 1/2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed plus 3 ripe bananas, sliced lengthwise for filling
1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups plus 1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
Mascarpone Frosting ** (see below)
Caramel Sauce **(see below)


1) Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter two 9 by 2 inch round cake pans; line bottom with parchment. Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; set aside.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat 1 1/2 sticks butter and 1 2/3 cups sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two parts, beating until combined after each, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the reserved banana mixture, being careful not to overmix.

3) Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes on the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes, and let them cool completely, top sides up.

4) Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar into a large skillet; cook over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until sugar is caramelized. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 3 tablespoons butter until melted. Return pan to medium heat. Add the sliced bananas; cook until slices start to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Gently turn the bananas, and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 2 minutes more.

5) Using a serrated knife, trim tops of layer to make level. Place one layer on a cake plate; arrange caramelized banana slices on top. Place remaining layer on top. Using a large offset spatula, spread Mascarpone Frosting over entire cake, swirling to completely cover. Drizzle Caramel Sauce over the top of the cake, or serve some alongside each slice. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered with a cake dome, for up to 3 days.

Mascarpone Frosting
1 pound mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
-->Directions: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream and confectioners' sugar until medium soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to overbeat. Use immediately.

Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream
-->Directions: Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Cook sugar in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until starts to melt around edges; then shake pan to melt remaining sugar. Continue to cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until golden amber, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stirring constantly, add cream in a slow, steady stream. If necessary, return pan to heat for a few seconds, stirring until mixture is smooth. Place caramel in a bowl in the ice bath; let stand until cold, stirring frequently.

This recipe is quite labor intensive. It took us a little under four hours to make. However, it turned out to be a keeper and the cake was quite good, 4.5 out of 5 stars. My favorite part about the cake was the caramelized banana middle layer. It is not something you normally expect but it has the right amount of sweetness to really accentuate the cake well. The most difficult part of the recipe (in my humble opinion) was making the caramel sauce. The sauce is requires a great deal of stirring and became quite clumpy and stiff when we added the cream was first added to the sugar. It may be just easier to sprinkle premade caramel on the top for decoration. : ) All in all, I recommend making this recipe sometime...just make sure you have a lot of time.

PS In the pictures above, you can clearly see a nice icing job. I do not take credit for this. This was my friend's handy work. I probably needed to watch her more closely to try to learn some about icing. : )

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies come to you from Martha Stewart's Cookie book. My dad took my family and I out to dinner tonight. Afterward, my little sister and I decided to conquer the kitchen together. (May I add that she is much better at conquering the kitchen than myself. Alas, maybe someday I will achieve these types of accomplishments. : ) )The decision to make this particular recipe was not easy. We skimmed through quite a few books and finally agreed upon these.

for the dough:
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (4 ounces)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

for the filling:
1 large egg
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Make dough: Process pecans in a food processor until finely ground (you should have about 1/2 cup). Put mascarpone and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until well blended. Add flour, ground pecans, and salt; mix just until dough comes together. Alternatively stir together ingredients with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.

2. Roll dough into sixteen 1 inch balls; press into bottoms and up sides of cups of mini muffin tins.

3. Make filling: Whisk the egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, butter and salt in a bowl. Stir in pecans. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons filling into each muffin cup.

4. Bake until crust begins to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely in tins on wire rack. Unmold. Tassies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Andrea did more of the work on these little treats. We had to double the recipe because I made a butter error early on. The first two pans we placed the treats directly in the pan, molding them in the muffin tin itself. The Tassies looked really nice like this but were impossible to get out of the pans intact. The turned into a crumbly mess! So the last pan, we made the treats inside little muffin tins. This worked out much better!

I did not like the treat when we first took them out of the oven. The consistency of the dough just didn't taste right (not sweet enough?) and had a weird texture. I expected them to taste more like pecan pie and instead they had a unique taste to them. However, after refrigerating these treats overnight, they tasted quite good and a lot like pecan pie. It is funny to me how some desserts need some time to be awesome. The mascarpone cheese in the dough may be why these needed some refrigeration and cooling action though. Overall, I give the Pecan Tassies 3.5 out of 5 stars. Next time, I plan on modifying the recipe some to see if I can somehow make the dough a tad bit sweeter.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chicken Fricassee

I am spending time with my family this month on an away rotation. As a result, I probably will be cooking a lot. Here the supplies in the kitchen are more readily available and so is time. My rotation here is less time intensive. Awesome, right? : ) So my mom and I picked out this recipe yesterday from her Chicken Cooking Light Cookbook. The recipe sounds fancy and upscale. However, in reality it was super easy to make and more of a comfort food. Hope you enjoy Chicken Fricassee!!

Ingredients :
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon slat
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 (8 ounce) bone-in chicken breast halves (skinned)
2 teaspoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups julienne-cut carrot
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken, toss well to coat. Remove chicken from bag; reserve flour mixture. Melt butter in a lare nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken , breast side down; saute 5 minutes or until chicken browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm
2. Add onion, celery, and garlic to pan; saute 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in reserved flour mixture and cook 1 minute. Add broth and wine; bring to a boil. Add carrot. Return chicken to pan, breast sides up. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until chicken is done. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve over rice, if desired. Yield 4 servings.
Calories: 265 (14% from fat)

Overall, I will definitely make this recipe again. It was delish! Super easy to make. There was more waiting involved with the recipe than actual labor. So if you are super hungry when you get home from work, this may not be the recipe for you because of the 25 minute simmer and wait step. However, if you have a little time, it is well worth the wait!