Italian Hard Rolls

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009






I love the smell of fresh bread in the house.

There are so many recipes of great breads I took and put in my "to do list" but because of the long rise time (sometimes more then 12 hours) I almost always find myself baking all kinds of rolls and buns instead.

For the holiday a friend bought me the great book "A passion for baking" and there was an Italian rolls, so cute and mouthwatering that makes me run to the kitchen and make them.



Italian Hard Rolls- Adopted from A passion for baking

2 Hour Sponge

1 cup warm water (100 F to 11o F)
2 1/2 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups bread flour

Dough
1 cup warm water (100 F to 110 F)
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups bread flour
all of the sponge (2 hour sponge)
Finishing touches
flour, for dusting
melted butter or olive oil

Direction:

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the 2 hour sponge, mix ingredients in a mixer bowl just to combine a pudding like consistency.
cover loosely and let bubble and stand for 2 hours.

For dough Add water, honey, olive oil, salt, and flour to sponge in mixer bowl and stir to combine.
Attach dough hook and knead on lowest speed of mixer about 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessarily to make a chesive, elastic dough.
Remove dough hook and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray.
cover entire bowel with clean towel and let rise 45-90 minutes or until almost doubled.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate.
Divide dough in 12 portions. Shape into oblong rolls.
Place rolls on preared baking sheet and let rise 20 to 30 minutes, until puffy. score rolls, leave them plain, or snip them with scissors for decorative effect. Dust with flour if desired.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray rolls lightly with water, spritz oven and wall.
Bake until done and rolls are brown all over, 25 -28 minutes.
For shiny rolls with less crispy crust, paint with melted butter or olive oil before baking.

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Gingerbread House - Daring Bakers

>> Friday, December 25, 2009














The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.
Thank you Anna & Y.



December challenge was an excitement and unique experience for me.
I never thought I would build something amazing and adventurous like the Gingerbread house.
It allowed me to express my creativity through a fun activity.
The family and I all gathered together and decided to house a once homeless Gingerbread man.

My husband helped assembled the pieces together
My little son jumped to color the Gingerbread man
and all the other family members helped decorate the cute house.



I choose Y recipes - Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
(from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas)

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. [Y rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred them to the baking sheet. Any scraps were saved and rerolled at the end.]

5. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren't using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.


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Christmas Fruit Bread

>> Wednesday, December 23, 2009






It's the most beautiful time of the year
The street are decorated with lights and snowy look.
The shops are full with last minute buyers
Everything is so special and magical.

This was the first time I made Christmas fruit bread, each year I see the recipets in the food magazines and this year I decided to bake one.

Filled with dried fruit and currants, delicious and festive.

Happy Holidays !




Christmas Fruit Bread - Adopted from my 2 pee'north

(for one loaf)

125 g butter
125 g sugar
4 medium sized eggs
peel of one lemon
250 g rye flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
300 g dried fruit of your choice
125 g raisins
125 g currants

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease loaf pan with butter. Then add all-purpose flour to it to cover the butter layer.
Remove any flour which don't stick to the butter.
Put loaf pan into freezer until use. Butter, flour and freezing will make it easier to remove bread after baking.

Cut the dried fruit into small cubes.
Use the fruit you like most.
Mix butter and sugar until creamy.
Add one egg and mix on medium speed for about one minute. Repeat step with the remaining three eggs.
Add the finely grated peel of one lemon.
Mix the flour with baking powder, sieve and add to the butter mixture.
Mix just until combined.
Fold in dried fruit, raisins and currants.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan form.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. After 30 minutes increase temperature to 375 F. and bake for another 30 minutes. Fruit bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the fruit bread cool in form for about 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and store for at least one day.

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Italian cherry cream cheese coffee cake

>> Saturday, December 19, 2009







For our Christmas/Hanukkah party in the office I received several amazing cook books.
I guess my friends began to understand my passion for baking.

I was skimming one of the cookbooks, and I found this beautiful Italian coffee cake, I couldn't wait for the right time to make it.

In the original receipt they used plum, but because this isn't the season, I decided to use cherries.


Using the cherries was a good decision on my part, the cake was not just beautiful, it was also
tasty.

Italian Cherry cream cheese coffee cake - Adopted from a passion for baking

Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling
30 cherry, halved and pitted
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Direction:
Preheat over t0 350 F.
Generously spray a 9- or a 10 inch spring-form pan or a fluted, deep tart pan with nonstick cooking spray and place pan on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

For cake:
in a food processor, cream butter and sugar until well blended
add eggs and vanilla and blend until smooth. Fold in flour, baking powder, and salt to make a soft batter.
Spread batter on bottom and sides of pan (Batter will appear thin in pan).

For Filling:
Prepare cherry. Place them cut sides down on cake batter in pan.
Mix cream cheese and remaining ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk and spread over fruit in pan.
Bake until top is browned and appears set. about 45 t0 50 minutes.
Cool well before serving.


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Jelly Doughnuts

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009




I love the holidays, festival of light, Hanukkah.
8 days of celebration and great food.
Every year I search for the best jelly doughnuts , the kind that reminds me the one's I used to eat back home, the perfect amount of sprinkled powder sugar -
and red strawberries jam inside.

This year a friend of mine who's learning in the culinary institute, sent me a brand new recipe. She warned me that I should forget everything I knew before about doughnuts, because these is the winning recipe.
I didn't think twice, checked that I have all the ingredients and ran into my kitchen to prepare them.



The best jelly doughnuts ever!

7 cups + 2 Tbsp. flour
3 envelope active dry yeast
3.5 oz. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 yolk
2 eggs
1 3/4 room temp. milk
2 1/2 ounces of butter room temp.

Strawberry jam for filling
Sugar powder for dusting
Canola oil for frying the doughnuts

Direction:
In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the dough except the butter and mix it for 7 min.
add the butter and mix for another 4 min.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean towel and let it rise for 50- 60 minutes, or until the dough double his size. (the best way is to keep refrigerated over night).

Divide the dough to equal 50 gram balls and and round them on a oily surface.
It is important to starch and band the dough downwards.
Keep the balls on oily surface and let them rise again for 40 minutes.

In a deep fryer or a wok, heat 4 inches of oil to 380 degrees F.
(Check the temperature with your cooking thermometer.)

add the doughnuts to the oil and fry for 3 minutes each side.
They will be golden brown on both sides when done.
Lift the doughnuts out with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain them well on paper towels.
Dust lightly with confectioners sugar.
Add to each doughnuts a good strawberry jelly
Enjoy!



Happy Holiday !

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Chocolate Covered Pretzels

>> Monday, December 7, 2009







The combination of sweet and salty is one of my favorite.
Salty pretzel covered with melted chocolate and some crushed candy..

They are so beautiful and so yummy so easy to make and great to add to the cookies plates.



1 bag of pretzel
1 bag of chocolate chips

5 candy canes-crushed


Direction
Melt he chocolate in tin double boiler.

Dip in pretzel to coat.

Shake off excess.
sprinkle the crushed candy and let dry until set.


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