Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Food trends can be fickle things.  When I first encountered the recipe for this chocolate zucchini bread, low fat food was all the rage, despite the amount of extra sugar fat substitutes added.  This recipe called for a fruit based fat substitute, going so far as to recommend a particular brand.  I don’t think you can even find something like that on the shelves anymore.  Also, to make the servings smaller, the recipe was originally divided into two bread pans, which made for a very flat loaf of bread.

I never did like using applesauce in place of oil in baked goods.  The substitution changed the texture, making bread denser but also more spongy.  I decided to put the fat back into the recipe, along with adding more chocolate.  Because all the batter goes into one loaf pan, it takes a while to bake.  My husband and I discovered that the bread tasted even better after a few days, getting even more moist and flavorful.

adapted from Eating Well, January/February 1999

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

2 c all purpose flour
¼ c unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 ¾ c sugar
1 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 c grated zucchini (1 large-ish)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat an 8x4” bread pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a different bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla together. Slowly add in the melted chocolate, whisking as you pour. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the zucchini. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into the bread pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, about 55-60 minutes. Cool the bread on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert pan to release the bread and cool completely.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/08/chocolate-zucchini-bread/

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Braided Nutella Bread

It’s World Nutella Day!  What a wonderful time of year.  It is the seventh anniversary of the event, and my fourth year participating.  Thank you Sara of Ms. Adventures In Italy and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso for hosting this event.

World_Nutella_Day_badge

With the growing number of bloggers celebrating the day, it’s getting difficult to come up with a unique recipe.  I remember a beautiful braided bread on Shawnda’s site last year, with pesto tucked between the twined layers.  I thought that substituting nutella for the pesto would be fun.  I feared that the nutella would ooze out of the bread and become a sticky mess, but those fears were unfounded.

Still, I ended up making 5 loaves of this bread to get the recipe just right.  That’s a lot of flour. And nutella.  The first loaf looked beautiful, but was too dense.  I baked the following few loaves at too high a temperature.  Finally, I got the times and temperatures just right.  Then, I made one more just to test the final recipe.  Whew!  That’s a lot of carbs for one week of recipe development.

original recipe

Braided Nutella Bread

Braided Nutella Bread

Ingredients

½ tsp active, dry yeast
1 c warm water (100-105 degrees)
2 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
⅓ c nutella
Cornmeal for dusting
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbs water to use as an egg wash

Instructions

  1. Dissolve yeast in ¼ c of the water. Let sit for 10 minutes to activate.
  2. Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add yeast and the remaining water, and mix on low with a dough hook attachment. Turn speed up to medium, and knead dough until satiny smooth, about 7 minutes. Dough should hold its shape but still be a little sticky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl with a damp towel, set in a warm place, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to form a rectangle, roughly 12” x 15” in size. Spread nutella in an even layer on the surface, leaving a ½ inch border of dough. Roll tightly and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with cornmeal. Split the dough down the middle, leaving one end intact. Twist ends around each other, making sure to turn cut side towards the top. Cover dough with a towel and let sit 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush surface of the bread with the egg wash. Bake bread for 20 minutes. Raise temperature to 425°F and bake until lightly browned on top, about 5-7 minutes more. Remove from oven, and let cool before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/02/braided-nutella-bread/

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Cranberry Walnut Bagels

Here’s my morning routine: I wake up, and spend an hour trying to get out of bed.  Once I finally do, I have 30 minutes to get out the door.  I shower and dress.  Then I change my outfit.  I get my lunch packed and get my son’s breakfast.  Then I change my outfit again.  Then I make my breakfast and race out the door because I’m already five minutes late, which means that I’ll arrive at work 15 minutes late.  It’s probably not the most efficient use of my time, but I seem to make it barely work.

When I get a day off from work, all I want to do is get up in the morning and bake bread.  There’s something indulgent about knowing you have enough time in the morning to let dough rise.  Bagels are a special treat, because they take lots of pre-planning.  You put the prepare the dough and shape the bagels the night before, and then bake them the next morning.  These bagels remind me of a cranberry and walnut studded quick bread that we used to have growing up.  I also whipped a little bit of orange zest and juice into some cream cheese which complimented the bagels fabulously.

adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

by Peter Reinhart

 

Cranberry Walnut Bagels

Cranberry Walnut Bagels

Ingredients

Sponge
1 tsp instant yeast
4 c bread flour
2 ½ c warm water (about 95-100⁰F)
Dough
1 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs honey
3 ¾ c bread flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs packed light brown sugar
2 ¾ tsp salt
1 ½ c chopped dried cranberries
¾ c chopped walnuts
To finish
1 Tbs baking soda
Cornmeal for dusting

Instructions

  1. Day one: for the sponge - stir in the yeast into the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand.) Add water and stir until just combined. Mixture should form a sticky batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. Mixture should swell to nearly double in size, and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.
  2. For the dough - add the other 1 tsp yeast and honey to the sponge and stir. In a separate bowl, stir together 3 c of flour, sugar, light brown sugar, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sponge and mix on low with a dough hook attachment. Mix until the dough forms a ball, then slowly add the remaining ¾ c of flour. In the last minute of mixing, add the dried cranberries and walnuts.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, adding a little bit of flour if the dough is still sticky. The kneaded dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. It should read 71-77⁰F and feel satiny and pliable, but not tacky.
  4. Divide dough into equal portions (about 3.75 oz). Form into balls. Cover with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly coat with non-stick spray. Poke a hole into the center of each dough ball and gently stretch to form a ring. Place each dough ring on the baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Coat lightly with non-stick spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 20 minutes.
  6. Check bagels by filling a small bowl with room temperature water. Drop one bagel in the water, and if it floats within 10 seconds of being in the water, then bagels are ready to be chilled. If the bagel doesn’t float within the time stated, pat it dry, return it to the pan, cover, and continue proofing the dough until it passes the test. If the bagel does float, pat it dry, return it to the pan, cover, and cool pans in refrigerator overnight.
  7. Day 2: Preheat oven to 500⁰F with two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon ready.
  8. Remove dough from the refrigerator and gently drop them in water a few at a time. Cook for 1 minute, flip bagels, and cook for another minute. (For chewier bagels, cook for 2 minutes per side.) While bagels are boiling, sprinkle some cornmeal onto the same parchment-lined baking sheets. Remove bagels from water and place onto prepared pans. Place in oven and bake for about 5 minutes. Rotate pans from top to bottom, and from front to back. Lower oven to 425 ⁰F
  9. and continue baking another 5 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove pans from the oven and let bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/01/cranberry-walnut-bagels/

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Fig and Rosemary Focaccia

 

We recently planted a fig tree in our backyard. I’m really, really hoping it thrives. A freshly picked fig straight off the tree is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I braved a swarm of mosquitoes for a pint of figs from a tree growing wild on the side of the street. (This was during my poor grad school days in North Carolina.) They were totally worth the bites.

 

There was a recent article in the New York Times about all the fig trees growing in Brooklyn. I figure, if all those New Yorkers can do it, why not me? My mother-in-law had a fig tree growing at her previous house, so she is giving us lots of tips. Hopefully in a few years, I’ll be enjoying tree-ripened figs again.

 

This recipe makes an extremely large batch of bread. I’ve taken it to parties, where there was no problem of it being eaten. At home with just the three of us, it’s another issue. I have a few strategies for using it all up during its brief shelf life. First, I trimmed off the edges and gave them to Tyler, because he loves munching on “crunchy bread.” Second, I gave a sizable chunk away to neighbors. Second, we used it for sandwiches – prosciutto, arugula, and goat cheese was my favorite kind. Last, I cut up the sections with no figs and cubed them for croutons (mostly from the borders of the focaccia.)  One of these days, I’ll find a recipe I like that makes a smaller loaf.

 

loosely adapted from Gourmet, February 2000

Fig and Rosemary Focaccia

Fig and Rosemary Focaccia

Ingredients

3 packages of active dry yeast (1/4 oz each, not rapid rise)
2 ¼ c warm water
⅓ c olive oil, plus more for coating bowl and baking pan
7 c all purpose flour
1 Tbs salt
2 ½ Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb ripe figs
Coarse salt for sprinkling (sea salt, fleur de sel, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Pour yeast in the bottom of a free-stand mixing bowl. Whisk in water and let stand for 5 minutes. Give yeast a stir to make sure all of it is melted. Place flour and salt in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Pour half of the flour mixture into the bowl with the yeast. Add 2 Tbs of the rosemary. Set aside the remaining rosemary.
  2. Using a dough hook, mix on low. Gradually add the rest of the flour mixture and turn speed up to medium. Knead for about 5 minutes, until dough is soft and a little sticky. Pour some olive oil into the bottom of a large bowl. Swirl oil around the sides. Using floured hands, remove dough from mixing bowl into olive oil-coated bowl. Flip dough over so both sides get oiled. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Coat an 11x17” baking pan with olive oil. Gently press dough into the pan. It’s okay if it doesn’t fill in all the corners. Lightly mist the top of the dough with nonstick spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise another 30 minutes until roughly doubled in size again. Meanwhile, trim the stems off the figs and cut figs in half lengthwise.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  5. Once dough has risen, stud the top with the halved figs, cut side up. Gently push the figs into the surface of the dough. Sprinkle reserved rosemary and coarse salt over the top of the dough. Bake in oven until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/09/fig-and-rosemary-focaccia/

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Biscoff Stuffed French Toast

 

I am currently in the Pacific Northwest for a week attending my husband’s family reunion. It’s the first time all his siblings (five, including himself) and their parents have been together sice our wedding four years ago. I’m frantically putting together some posts so I can keep publishing while I’m away.

 

I think I’m one of the last people in the country to try Biscoff spread. I had tons of the cookies in Europe (they were served with every cup of coffee and tea we ordered). The spread is ah-ma-zing. Caramel, cinnamon comfort. And when added to french toast and served for breakfast? It made my entire day.

original recipe

Biscoff Stuffed French Toast

Biscoff Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients

2 eggs
2 Tbs milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 dashes cinnamon
2 dashes salt
4 slices of bread, about 1 1/4" thick
2/3 c biscoff spread
2 Tbs butter

Instructions

  1. With a whisk, beat the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a shallow bowl. On the bottom side of each slice of bread, cut a slit, making sure not to cut through the other sides of the crust. Pipe the biscoff spread into each pocket of bread. (I used a piping bag and a #10 tip, but you could also put biscoff in a zipper seal bag and snip off a corner and pipe that way.)
  2. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Dip both sides of each bread slice into the egg mixture. Cook in the skillet until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/08/biscoff-stuffed-french-toast/

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Sticky, Sticky Buns

Breakfast for me is a routine thing. I’ll go through phases of what I like to eat, and then will stick with it for months at a time. For a while, it was a waffle with peanut butter. Then, it was steel-cut oats. I hardly ever do something special for breakfast. So, I decided to buck the trend.

I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I saw them on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery won the sticky bun throwdown with these ooey, gooey creations. The recipe is a little involved, but well worth it. The brioche is sooo buttery. These helped me get out of bed on those cold mornings when I just wanted to hide under the covers.

recipe by Joanne Chang
as seen on foodnetwork.com

Sticky, Sticky Buns

Sticky, Sticky Buns

Ingredients

Brioche Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold water
5 eggs
1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
Goo
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Filling
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecan halves, chopped

Instructions

  1. For the dough: Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer as needed to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.
  3. Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.
  4. Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  5. For the goo: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, to combine. Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Strain to remove any undissolved lumps of brown sugar. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. You should have about 3 cups. (The mixture can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
  6. To finish the sticky buns: Combine the ¼ c light brown sugar, ¼ c of granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half the pecans in a bowl.
  7. Divide the dough in half. Use half for this recipe and reserve the other half for another use.
  8. On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1/4- inch from each end of the roll to make them even.
  9. Use a bench scraper or a chef's knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. (At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)
  10. Pour the goo into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the goo. Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching-almost tripled in size, about 2hours.
  11. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top. The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 325 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/01/sticky-sticky-buns/

 

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Banana Bread Waffles

Bananas. I love them when they’re just a touch green. I hate them when they’re soft and speckled. I’m always looking for ways to use them up once they get to that point. This recipe is a great way to use them up. I posted these on The Life of Rylie’s Saturday Play Date a few weeks ago. They are super easy to make, and they freeze well for later. Since I’m still on a waffle kick for breakfast, I end up using the bananas eventually.

adapted from Seven Spoons

Banana Bread Waffles

Banana Bread Waffles

Ingredients

4 Tbs butter, melted
1 c plus 2 Tbs milk, warmed a little
1 tsp vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbs packed light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp yeast
½ tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten lightly
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1 ¼ c)
3 Tbs sour cream or Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, and vanilla. Mixture should be warm but not hot. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, yeast, and salt. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Stir in the beaten eggs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  3. Thirty minutes before you want to make the waffles, take the batter out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. The batter should be doubled in size. When ready to make the waffles, stir in the mashed bananas and sour cream. Use a light hand to thoroughly combine. Heat waffle iron and bake according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/08/banana-bread-waffles/

 

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Calzones

I can’t decide which I like more – pizza or calzones. They’re essentially the same thing: dough, cheese, sauce, and fillings/toppings. Pizza has more has a higher toppings to crust ration, whereas calzones are the opposite. I guess my favorite depends on whether I’m in the mood for carbs or not.

Calzones take about the same amount of time to put together as pizza, which if you use pre-made dough is not much. I find this especially helpful on busy weeknights when I don’t have time to prep dough. My local supermarket sells pizza dough near the bakery section, in a little refrigerator along with pizza fixings.

I’m not normally a pepperoni eater, but on this occasion it sounded really good. Combined with mushrooms, it tasted great! Some of my favorite fillings are spinach, tomato, artichoke, meatball, and pineapple, although not all at once. What are some of your favorite fillings/toppings?


Original recipe

Calzones

Calzones

Ingredients

1 batch pizza dough (or store bought dough)
Filling
8 oz. mozzarella, cut into small chunks
4 oz pepperoni slices
Small carton button mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
Other
1 c marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. Place a pizza stone (if available) in oven. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Follow instructions for pizza dough through punching the dough down. (If you’re using store bought pizza dough, let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, then punch down.) Divide dough into 4 equal portions.
  3. Working with one piece at a time, roll dough out to form a flat circle (or as close to a circle as you can get.) Place ¼ of each of the mozzarella, pepperoni, and mushrooms on one half of the dough. Sprinkle with a bit of garlic.
  4. Fold over the other side of dough, covering the filling. Pinch ends together, making sure to completely seal. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, spreading it to cover the surface.
  5. Place calzones on hot pizza stone and bake until browned on top, about 10-15 minutes. Check a few times to prevent calzone from burning. Let cool for 5 minutes, and serve with a side of marinara sauce.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/08/calzones/

 

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Baguettes

 

While on vacation in Europe last month, we spent a few days in Paris. I had been to Paris once before, about 12 years ago. I had already done a lot of the typical tourist things, so on this trip I wanted to explore the city in a different way. Since we left the tyke in Belgium with family, we did lots non kid-friendly activities – like museums, bike tours, eating leisurely at sit-down restaurants and cafes, and drinking lots of wine. Check out my album, which includes pictures I took while on a photo tour.

I also took a four hour long bread baking class. I mean, what better place to learn to make baguettes than Paris? Along with the baguettes, we also made two types of brioche, and fougasse. Chef Pino was patient, informative, and a thorough instructor. Best part was that we got to taste all the bread at the end of the class, and we took the rest with us when left. Hubs and I devoured the baguette and half the brioche on the train ride back to Belgium (along with some exquisite macarons from La Duree.)

Once home, I immediately tried to replicate the baguettes. The method I had learned didn’t quite work here, so I had to find a recipe that was adapted for American ingredients. I remember having some success with the recipe in Mireille Guiliano’s book, so I added a few things I learned from the class to this recipe.

I love the crisp crusts on these baguettes, along with their soft insides. I also learned that baguettes are only good for about 4-6 hours after baking, after which they go stale. If you don’t plan on eating all four baguettes within that time, you can save the dough for later. Once you shape the baguettes, wrap them in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. They will last a few days that way. When you are ready to bake, unwrap them, place on baking sheet, cover with a dish towel, and let rise at room temperature until doubled.


Adapted from Mireille Guiliano

Baguettes

Baguettes

Ingredients

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 ¾ c warm water
5 c unbleached flour
2 tsp kosher salt
Spray bottle of water

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine yeast and ½ c warm water. Stir gently to dissolve yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir in remaining 1 ¼ c warm water. Mix dough until it is sticky enough to knead (or use a dough hook in a stand mixer.) On a lightly floured surface, knead about 10 minutes. Dough should be slightly sticky and smooth with no lumps. Coat a large bowl with a thin layer of non-stick spray. Place dough in the bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1-1 ½ hours.
  3. Remove dough from bowl to a very lightly floured hard surface. Pick up dough, and slam it onto the surface a few times. (Don’t be gentle. This helps remove air pockets. Be careful, because flour will fly in a few different directions.) Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each into a baguette shape. Tuck ends under to form a smooth surface. Transfer loaves to a lightly greased baking sheet (or baguette pan), cover with a damp towel, and let rise until nearly doubled in size.
  4. Place about 2-3 cups of water in a baking pan and place on the bottom rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Do not open oven door until you are ready to bake the baguettes. Score loaves diagonally across the top with a sharp knife. Spray tops generously with water. Place baguettes in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350˚F and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack before slicing.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/08/baguettes/

 

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Filled Meringue Coffee Cake


The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.


I was very glad that this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was a relatively easy endeavor. Some challenges require a few days of preparation, but this coffee cake came together in one day. I didn’t stray too far from the original recipe – I did halve it so that I only made one cake, and I added shredded coconut to the filling.


I’m also becoming more confident with using yeast. I’ve found that the dough likes when it proofs on the stove and with the oven turned on to the lowest setting. The dough is happy in this environment, and obliges by rising.


Source: Jamie’s family recipe collection

Filled Meringue Coffee Cake

Serving Size: 2 coffee cakes, about 10 inches in diameter

Filled Meringue Coffee Cake

The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

Ingredients

For the yeast coffee cake dough
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
For the meringue
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
For the filling
1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut, plus more for the topping
Egg wash
1 beaten egg and confectioner’s sugar for dusting cakes

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough:
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted. With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
  6. Prepare your filling. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.
  7. Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue: In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
  8. Assemble the Coffee Cakes:
  9. Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue.
  11. Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
  12. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.
  13. Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings. Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Sprinkle with shredded coconut. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
  15. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/03/filled-meringue-coffee-cake/

 

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