Apple Butter Pecan Bread

A few days ago I was dropping my niece off for school in the morning and when we got there, the both of us got an unexpected surprise:

We were really cold.

That may seem like a perfectly normal morning for some or most of you reading this post, but for those of you who live on the West Coast of the US or in other areas of the world where’s it’s on the warmer side for most of the year, you may understand the feelings of surprise in getting up in the morning, going outside and feeling as if you need a warmer jacket.

We only recently moved back to the East Coast, and so chilly mornings haven’t really been the norm for us (outside of the dead of winter months like January or February). It was an unexpected, but not unwelcome feeling. It made me all the more conscious of the time of year, and with that, came a really strong desire to kickstart into fall baking.

There are few ingredients/foods that are more suited to fall baking than apple butter. Whether you make it or buy it, whenever and however you eat it, you’re going to get a sense of ‘eating’ autumn. Up until now I’d only eaten and made apple butter in and of itself, but this time I found a really yummy way of baking with it.

Quick bread is another one of those “Impossible to Mess Up” recipes that I love sharing on the blog. Excepting the apple butter, you likely already have the majority of the ingredients in your house, and at this time of year, apple butter should be relatively easy for you to find, whether at. a grocery store or a farmer’s market.

I seriously wish that the smells of this loaf as it was baking could be converted into a candle. They come second only to the actual taste of it, which as you might imagine, are like taking a perfect bite of pure autumn.

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Apple Butter Pecan Bread

Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

For Pecan Streusel

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For Bread

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour (2) 8- x 4-inch loaf pans and set aside.

Make the streusel: Stir together coarsely chopped pecans, flour, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, and salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Crumble into small pieces.

Beat butter and cream cheese in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer (or using a handheld mixer and a medium sized bowl) on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.

Gradually add brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating on low speed just until blended.

Stir in the Apple Butter, and vanilla.

Spoon batter into the loaf pans. Sprinkle top of batter evenly with Streusel Topping.

Bake in preheated oven until a long wooden pick inserted in center of each loaf comes out clean and sides pull away from pans, 50 minutes to 1 hour, shielding tops of pans with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary.

Cool loaves in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely, about 1 hour.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #401, co-hosted this week by Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Pound Cake with Strawberry- Raspberry Compote

This past week I had a birthday. I’m now 32 years old.

Last year, when I turned 31, I was still on my hiatus from blogging, but every year before then, I had a tradition of ‘celebrating’ my birthday on the blog that’s a carry over from my ‘real life’:

I bake myself a birthday cake.

I’ve mentioned it here before that even in the pre-Covid days, as an introvert, I wasn’t much of a celebrator of ‘My’ day. For many years, it’s just passed with little fanfare or fuss. And I’m okay with that.

But I do take the time and effort to make sure that if I don’t have anything else on my birthday, I have cake. A good cake.

And to be perfectly honest, if I want a really good cake, I typically prefer to rely on the girl in the mirror.

My preferences for birthday cakes have varied over the years, and usually it just ends up being a casual decision that I make on the fly depending upon what me and my taste buds are in the mood for.

It may have been a number of things that swayed me in the particular direction of today’s recipe for my 32nd birthday.

My taste for desserts nowadays that aren’t overly sweet. My increased want for simplicity in baking that lets simple ingredients shine with their simple but delicious flavor. Or, it could’ve just been that my schedule is somewhat hectic nowadays and I just didn’t have time to do a three layer cake over the course of two days.

Regardless of the reason, I’d say the results turned out pretty tasty.

This really was the only kind of birthday cake that I wanted this year; a simple, golden slice of pound cake, and a side of sweet & tart fruit to eat with it. The ‘side’ of fruit turned out to be a strawberry-raspberry compote that comes very quickly and easily.

I love several things about this: first, even though it’s a pound cake, it’s not overly sweet. If you’ve made them before, you’ll probably notice that 1 cup of sugar isn’t the norm where most pound cake recipes are concerned. But I actually thought that worked out for the best, especially when the cake is paired with the compote, which is sweet, but also tart, which balances out the flavors wonderfully.

Pound Cake and Strawberry-Raspberry Compote

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour & Epicurious

Ingredients

For Cake

  • 16 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For Compote

  • 1 container (10 ounces) fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 containers (6 ounces each) fresh raspberries

Directions

For Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan

In a large bowl, with a handheld mixer, or in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until very light.

Beat in the sugar gradually and then the eggs, one by one. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and extracts.

Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Stir to combine after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. (I had extra batter leftover; about 1/2 cup’s worth. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if your loaf pan is not deep enough to fit all the batter, DO NOT OVERFILL IT. Overflowed cake batter in the oven is a PAIN to clean up. Just let the excess go.)

Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes, until it springs back when pressed lightly in on top, and a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. If the cake appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.

Remove the cake from the oven, and loosen its edges. Wait 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool

For Compote: Bring strawberries, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.

Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced to 3/4 a cup. (You can check the consistency by examining how it sticks to the back of a spoon after you’ve stirred it.)

Let cool completely before refrigerating.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #400, hosted this week by Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

This past week was the last day of summer. Now that I live in a place where the seasons noticeably change again, I have to say I’m rather ready for the autumn. I’ve missed little things; seeing the leaves change color, brisk mornings that call for pea coats, sweater and boots, cider mills.

Stuff like that.

This recipe happened for a few reasons: I needed a quick and easy side dish for dinner that didn’t take much effort, I wanted it to be light and refreshing, and I didn’t want the summer to end without my having/making some summer squash. This one ticks all those boxes.

My favorite way to enjoy summer squash is a simple roast. Pasta salad is also one of my favorite summer side dishes, so the inspiration for the recipe also comes from there. Think of this as like a summer pasta salad without the pasta.

The list of vegetables you see here are just my personal preference, but you can feel free to swap one or more of them out for what you’re more partial to. Just make sure that the ones you’re grouping together on the sheet pan to roast are going to finish cooking at more or less the same time.

The salad is delicious to serve at room temperature, but I found that it’s even better when you’ve given it about an hour to rest in the fridge.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall….

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Ingredients

For Salad

  • 2 red onions, cut into large wedges
  • 4 red bell peppers, quartered and cut into wedges
  • 4 green bell peppers, quartered and cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2-2 lbs. of yellow and green summer squash, sliced into about 3/4 inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon or honey mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the vegetables in groups on a sheet pan you sprayed with cooking spray. (You will probably have to do this in 2 batches.)

Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss gently to be sure the vegetables are lightly coated with oil. Spread the vegetables in one layer on 2 sheet pans. (If they’re too crowded, they’ll steam rather than roast.)

Roast for 20 minutes. Turn each piece and put the pans back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are crisp-tender. Allow to cool to room temperature., then place together in a large bowl.

Mix all of the dressing ingredients together, then drizzle into the mixed vegetables. (You don’t have to use it all if you’d prefer not to; taste and adjust for your personal preference.)

You can serve at room temperature, but for best results, allow the salad to rest in the refrigerator for about an hour so that the flavors can meld.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #399, co-hosted by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

THE Blueberry Muffins

If you live with children under the age of 10 then you know that they can be very….particular, about what they do and do not like to eat.

Maybe some of you even live with adults who are the same way.

I live with my niece, and although I know she’s not as picky an eater as other little kids I’ve known, she is a girl who knows her own mind and her own taste buds. She likes what she likes. She doesn’t like what she doesn’t like. She’s polite, but if she’s not into something I make, she’ll opt not to eat it and ask for something else.

However.

When she discovers that she IS into something I make, I get requests for it A LOT. And the best (at times, funny) part is, most of the things that go over the best with her, are the simplest to put together.

Case in point, today’s recipe.

My niece LOVES my blueberry muffins.

I mean, to the point where I never have to ask beforehand whether or not she’s in the mood to have them; the answer is literally always yes.

If she’s really hungry, she can put away three or four of these bad boys in one sitting, easily. Which, is a great feeling for me personally.

Outside of a significant other, or a woman over the age of 50, I don’t think there’s any better praise I like getting for my cooking than a little kid. And the second best part of that is, these are some of the easiest things that I bake.

Even if you don’t like blueberries, I think it’s hard to dislike blueberry muffins. They’re just really, really good. I know that it’s super easy in this day and age to go down the baking aisle in the grocery store and pick up a “Just Add Water” mix, but…just hear me out.

It’s just as easy and more than worth it to make them from scratch. It really is.

I’m including two ways to make this recipe: you can make them in regular muffin cups, or you can also bake them in a muffin top pan–one of my more recent kitchenware buys that I’m very pleased with. Both taste wonderful, both are easy to do. Besides that, these are Picky-Eater certified.

What better endorsement could you need to try them out?

THE Blueberry Muffins

Recipe Adapted from AllRecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk, or as needed*
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners, or spray a muffin top pan.

Combine the flour, the white sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium size bowl.

Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup

Add the egg and vanilla extract. If you’re making regular muffins, add the 1/3 cup of milk or as needed to reach the 1-cup mark. If making the muffin tops, add only 1/4 cup of milk

Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups or muffin top cavities.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #398, co-hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.

Mixed Herb Slider Rolls

This week’s post is actually somewhat of a companion to my last one where I came up with what I must say, was a very tasty dish. I made them at the same time, being that it was summer, and that put me in the mood for a really good slider sandwich.

I’m of the belief that you can turn just about any meat dish into a sandwich if you’ve the mind to do so.

(And quite often, I do.)

For me, it really does come down to the bread just as much as it does the meat filling.

Now, could I have just bought a pack of Hawaiian Rolls and made do with those?

I mean, yeah…but.

Hawaiian Rolls can be a bit overrated. They come in the package all smushed and wrinkly, and they’re really not even that big. A slider’s not a full sandwich but it’s not an amuse bouche either.

And anyway, if I’d gone the Hawaiian Rolls route, we wouldn’t be here discussing these today–and these are just so much better

When I find a bread recipe that I like/love, I tend to stay pretty loyal to it, and just experiment with different methods of varying it out and seeing what else I can do with it. Thus, these slider rolls are actually based upon a bread I first made and loved, several years ago, but hadn’t made in a while.

I kept the based bread recipe itself the same, the variation comes in with the shaping and arrangement. Here, I shaped the dough into slider-sized portions, then brushed/dipped the rolls in an herb butter mixture, then placed them close together into 13 x 9 baking dishes.

Be aware should you make these: they make a LOT of slider rolls. Two baking dishes worth. But I did that on purpose as I was thinking in terms of summertime barbecues or even fall tailgating where big batches are ideal for a crowd.

The finished rolls will keep beautifully in the freezer, or you can always cut the recipe in half if you’d prefer to have less.

Texture is everything with these; the combination of cornmeal, white and whole wheat flour gives them BEAUTIFUL, light, and slightly chewy texture that is everything I want in a piece of bread. The flavors added from the herbs and butter really take them over the top.

See recipes below for meat recipes on the blog that I think would make EXCELLENT sliders for these.

Guinness Shredded Beef Sandwiches

Pulled Brown Sugar Chicken

Oven Roasted Tri-Tip Steak

Pulled Jerk Chicken

Roasted Garlic & Herb Smothered Chicken

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Mixed Herb Slider Rolls

Recipe Adapted from Bake from Scratch and Jess@Cooking is My Sport

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tsp, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten, plus one egg, divided.
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 to 5 cups all purpose white flour, as needed
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • Garnish: chopped fresh rosemary, chopped fresh thyme, chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Combine the milk, cornmeal, butter or margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt in medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon and allowing to cook until the mixture if slightly thickened. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Soften active dry yeast in warm water (110 degrees F). Sprinkle the 1 tsp of sugar on top and allow to sit for 10 minutes or until yeast is frothy.

Combine cornmeal mixture, yeast, and 2 well-beaten eggs together in the bowl of a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment to combine together.

Then, using the dough hook attachment, add the cup of whole wheat  first, mixing to combine completely.  Add enough of the all purpose white flour to make a soft dough. It should be a smooth,pliable dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl, but also not too dry.

Place the dough in another greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap, then a damp kitchen towel. Place in a warm place for about an hour.

In a small bowl, stir together melted butter, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and the 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Line two 13 x 9 baking pans with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Divide dough into 24 pieces. With lightly floured hands, working with 1 piece at a time (keep remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying out), roll each piece into a smooth ball. Dip each ball into melted butter mixture, and place into the baking pans. Pour any remaining melted butter mixture over dough in pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle dough with flaked salt.


Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 35 to 40 minutes, covering with foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and garnish with rosemary, thyme, and parsley, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #396.

Roasted Garlic & Herb Smothered Chicken

I thought up this recipe in what’s probably the most ‘me’ way possible:

I was lying awake one night in bed, staring at my ceiling and trying to decide what I was going to cook for dinner that weekend. I had plenty of old options that I’ve made before and would’ve worked, but I wanted to do something new and different. I didn’t feel like being very finicky or working with a lot of ingredients. I just wanted a simple, but hearty and comforting dish.

There are certain ingredients that I know from experience of both taste and cooking can make chicken shine better than others.

Herbs and garlic are right at the top of that list.

By the time I made up my mind about using those ingredients, I still didn’t have an exact play by play for the dish, but I figured that as long as those ingredients remained the main flavor profile, it would be almost impossible to screw up so that it would be inedible.

The recipe title really says it all here, you guys. I brown the chicken first to give it good flavor, then I braise it in a broth/gravy that I made from a base of roasted garlic paste and herbs of thyme, parsley, rosemary and bay leaf.

It turned out exactly how I wanted it to. The flavors here created from the roasted garlic and herbs are just outstanding. It tastes clean and comforting without being heavy and braising the chicken makes it easy to pull into shredded pieces that as you can see, are perfect for sliders (which is another way that I served them).

This was a great experiment and well worth sharing here on the blog.

Roasted Garlic & Herb Smothered Chicken

Recipe by Jess@CookingisMySport

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into medium sized (about 2 inches) cubes
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 3 whole garlic heads
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of your favorite multi-purpose seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Saute)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (1 full bunch) of fresh parsley
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 80 oz. chicken broth*

Directions

For Roasted Garlic:

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Peel the loose skin away from the garlic and cut the tops off of the heads, but make sure the cloves stay attached to each other. Place them on a long strip of aluminum foil. Drizzle them with the oil and sprinkle evenly with salt & pepper.

Draw up the ends of the foil and tightly seal it into a package. Place the foil package in a shallow dish. Roast in the oven for about 50 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then remove the roasted garlic to a small bowl by pressing the cloves out of the remaining skins and into a small bowl with your fingers (they should come out easily).

Set the garlic aside for now.

For Chicken:

Divide the cubed chicken into two 1 gallon sized plastic bags.

In a medium size bowl combine 2 cups of the flour with the multi purpose seasoning and stir together with a fork.

Evenly divide the flour mixture between the two ziploc bags. Seal tightly, then toss to coat thoroughly, so that there is an even layer over meat.

Coat the bottom of a large non-stick stockpot or Dutch Oven with a few tablespoons of canola, vegetable or olive oil. Brown the floured meat over high heat on the stovetop. Don’t worry about it cooking all the way through, just cook long enough to give it some color. When it’s browned, temporarily move the meat to a sheet pan. Don’t overcrowd the pot, you’ll have to repeat/do this in about 2-3 batches to get through all of the meat.

When you’re finished browning the meat, add a little bit more oil to the pot, then add the onions. Cook over medium heat until they’re softened and translucent, 5-10 minutes. Remove the onions from the pot and place them with the browned chicken.

Mash the roasted garlic with a fork until it is in a smooth paste.

Pour the chicken broth into the pot with the garlic paste, the herbs, the bay leaves, the honey and the soy sauce. Use a wire whisk to stir, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes, tasting and adjusting for seasoning (but also keep in mind, it’s going to develop even more flavor in the oven, so it’s okay if it doesn’t taste perfect just yet)

Spray two 11 x 13 baking dishes with cooking spray and place the browned chicken and onions in the dishes. When the garlic-herb broth is at your taste level, ladle it over the chicken so that is is at least half-submerged. (You’ll have extra broth leftover, this is fine) Cover the baking dishes tightly with foil.

Braise in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until the chicken can be easily pulled apart with a fork.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #394, co-hosted this week by the lovely Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Peach Rosemary Breakfast Rolls

The summer really is flying by, isn’t it?

I can’t believe we’re at the half-way mark of August already. Inevitably, the end of summer lights a fire beneath me to make and eat all of the ‘summer’ foods as quick as I can before they’re out of season and the Fall’s here all over again.

I love finding new recipes to try that then give me options to be able to try out yet another recipe. I’ve done it several times before on the blog, with great results. Today’s another one of them.

In last week’s post, I made Peach Rosemary Jam, as a nod to my favorite summer snack: the peach.

Peach jam is always a great thing to have on hand in your fridge for toast or biscuits, or scones but as soon as I first tasted the finished product, I knew it was too good to not at least try to incorporate into something else. Jam is a great for fillings, whether it’s mini pies or tarts or today’s recipe: breakfast rolls.

Since my sister doesn’t like cinnamon rolls (sigh), I’m always trying to experiment with different types of breakfast rolls with different fillings that I can make that still remind me of them enough to where I don’t miss them too much. I’ve had some pretty great results with it thus far and I’m pleased to say that today I’m making another addition to that growing list.

To minimize the labor time for these, I recommend splitting it up over two days. Make the jam at least one day ahead; it could not be easier to put together, but it’ll taste the best when it’s had time to have an overnight rest in the fridge so that the texture can set and the flavors can develop.

After the jam is done, you proceed the same way you would with any sweet roll recipe. I really wanted the jam to be star of these, but I did add a tiny bit of cinnamon to the dough.

Honestly? It’s like getting to eat peach pie for breakfast.

Final note: I did give a recipe for icing for these just in case you wanted the full ‘breakfast roll’ experience. I iced some and left some plain just for comparison, and honestly, I don’t think they need the icing at all. They’re plenty delicious enough on their own.

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Peach Rosemary Breakfast Rolls

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2 teaspoons active yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed to about 100°F
  • 1/2 cup  (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Filling

  • 2 lb. yellow peaches, pitted, peeled, and coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

For Icing (Optional)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • A few tablespoons fresh orange juice

Directions

For Dough

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm milk, then sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of white sugar on top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until proofed and frothy.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment to combine the butter, eggs, 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla, and 1 cup of flour with the yeast mixture until smooth and combined.

Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining flour, along with the salt and cinnamon. Knead for about 5 minutes, until a soft slightly sticky dough is formed.

Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and knead with your hands about 5 more minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable. Grease a separate bowl and punch the dough down into it, then flip it back up so that both sides are oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a damp towel and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

For Filling (I recommend making this a day ahead)

Place the peaches in a large nonreactive skillet. Stir in the sugar and rosemary. Let sit, stirring once or twice, until the sugar begins to dissolve, 5 to 10 minutes.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring frequently, until the peaches start to break down, the liquid begins to evaporate, and the mixture begins to thicken, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. If you find that the chunks of fruit are too big for your liking, use a potato masher to help break them down.

Continue to cook until the jam has thickened, 3 to 4 minutes more; it is done when you can pull a spatula through the jam and the space you clear stays open for 2 or 3 seconds. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools, so make sure to stop a little shy of your desired thickness.

After it has cooled to room temperature, place jam in the fridge to chill.

For Assembly: Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and roll out to a large rectangle, about 10 x 15 inches. Use a spatula to spread about heaping 1 cup of the peach jam filling on top of the dough. Roll the dough up from the long end tightly to keep filling from spilling out. Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to divide in half. Divide each half into 6 pieces so that you have 12 rolls. Arrange the rolls cut side down in the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and damp towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake rolls for 35 minutes on the middle rack or until dough inner temp reaches 190°F. Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the icing together in a bowl. Pour/spoon some of the icing on top of the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving, but they are best eaten still warm.

Linking to Fiesta Friday #393.

Peach Rosemary Jam

There’s no other food that screams summer to me more than peaches. When I bite into a ripe, juicy peach, at once I’m reminded of the things I love about the summer time.

Longer days. Sundresses. Cook outs (pre-covid, anyway). Ice cream at sunset. The taste of grilled meat. Random road trips. Even the heat (to a certain extent.) Peaches all can take me there.

I like to cook and bake with peaches almost as much as I like to eat them, and with this week’s recipe I got to do both.

Making jam sounds like one of those super involved projects that aren’t worth the effort, but it’s not hard, really. The most laborious part of it is prepping the fruit, and then having the patience to let it cook down to the right consistency.

Fruit and herbs is one of my favorite flavor combinations, and the peaches and rosemary make an excellent combination for jam here. I was a little concerned going into it that the rosemary would overpower the peach taste, but it doesn’t. The lemon at the end does the perfect amounting of rounding out the sweet of the peach, the herby flavor of the rosemary with a hint of tartness.

This is good stuff, y’all.

Peach Rosemary Jam

Recipe Courtesy of Fine Cooking

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. yellow peaches, pitted, peeled, and coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Directions

Place the peaches in a large nonreactive skillet. Stir in the sugar and rosemary. Let sit, stirring once or twice, until the sugar begins to dissolve, 5 to 10 minutes.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring frequently, until the peaches start to break down, the liquid begins to evaporate, and the mixture begins to thicken, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. If you find that the chunks of fruit are too big for your liking, use a potato masher to help break them down.

Continue to cook until the jam has thickened, 3 to 4 minutes more; it is done when you can pull a spatula through the jam and the space you clear stays open for 2 or 3 seconds. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools, so make sure to stop a little shy of your desired thickness.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #392.

Iced Chelsea Buns

More than a few of you are probably fans of the British baking competition show The Great British Bakeoff. I know I am. Although it’s a competition, and a lot of the winners/contestants go onto have lucrative careers as culinary personalities, I appreciate that the majority people who come on the show appear to do so solely for the love they have of baking. There’s nothing wrong those things, but there’s no cash prize or guarantee of an influencer gig in Bakeoff; they’re just there to bake.

Veteran watchers of the show know that there are some recipes that make consistent appearances on Bakeoff. Personally, it’s the authentically British recipes that tend to be my favorite; recipes like lemon drizzle cake, sticky toffee pudding, pork pies, and…chelsea buns.

A Chelsea bun is basically a sweet bun made with an enriched dough (enriched meaning it has butter, eggs and milk), then is filled with dried fruit and topped with a glaze, an icing, or in some cases both. One of the judges on Bakeoff, Paul Hollywood, is very vocal about his love for Chelsea buns and as such, is very critical of the contestants when/if it comes time for them to make their own versions.

I’ve tried out several Bakeoff recipes on the blog before, but up until now still hadn’t gotten around to the old Chelsea Bun. However, I have made quite a few enriched sweet roll recipes before, so I knew going into it that the process probably wouldn’t be too different from what I’m used to.

I’ve gotta say, that Paul Hollywood really knows what he’s doing when it comes to bread. The Chelsea Buns baked up very light and fluffy on the inside, with a golden brown finish on top. The plump dried fruit on the inside gave them tiny bursts of tart flavor that complemented the sweetness. I’ve included the recipe for the icing because I typically prefer it myself, but honestly, you could eat these plain and still be a happy camper.

Get the vaccine. If you’re not going to get the vaccine, then wear a mask and practice social distancing.

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Iced Chelsea Buns

Recipe Adapted from Paul Hollywood

Ingredients

For Dough

  • 500 grams (Roughly about 4 1/4 cups) bread flour*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup white sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened not melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed

For Filling

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (50g for both filling and greasing baking pan,) softened but not melted
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups dried cranberries, cherries or currants (or a mixture of all the above if you like)

For Icing

  • 1 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • Zest of about ½ orange (about 1 tablespoon)
  • About 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions

In a large glass measuring cup, pour in the milk, sprinkle in the yeast, and then add 1 tablespoon of the sugar on top of that. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until yeast is proofed and frothy.

Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer (or, if you’re using a handheld mixer or baking by hand, pour it in in a large bowl)

Add the rest of the sugar, the salt, the butter, the egg and 2 cups of the flour. Use the dough hook(s) (or a wooden spoon if you’re making by hand) to combine.

Stir until the mixture is well mixed and starts coming together as a soft dough. You may add more flour here as needed, but the actual amount you will need will vary according to your location and the time of year. Keep in mind, this is meant to be a soft dough and you don’t want to add any more flour than necessary. Only add enough to hold it together

Turn dough onto a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board; knead dough with your greased hands until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Lightly grease the large mixing bowl with butter or cooking spray. Place dough in the greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and a damp small kitchen towel. Let dough rise is a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 

Line a 13 x 9 baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking spray.

Turn the risen dough out onto your work surface. Knead dough briefly, 4 to 5 times. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 21-inches by 10-inches.

Spread 3 tablespoons of softened butter over the top of the dough. Spread the brown sugar evenly over the top to within 1 inch of the edges. Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly over the brown sugar, then scatter the dried fruit evenly over the top.

Roll-up dough jelly-roll style, starting with a long side, rolling the dough quite tightly. Place the roll seam-side down, and gently roll the entire roll on the lightly floured board with the palm of your hands to even-out the roll to the same thickness.

Using a sharp kitchen knife or a bench scraper, slice off the very ends of the roll where the ends are uneven (slice off about ½ inch, the ends can be discarded.) Slice the long dough roll into 12 equal pieces, and place the rolls cut side up evenly apart in the baking pan. (Measure the length of the roll and use the back of a kitchen knife to mark the roll at the half-way point. Then mark each half into 6 pieces. After marking, use a sharp knife to slice the rolls all the way through.)

Cover pan with plastic wrap and the damp kitchen towel again and let rolls rise and spread out in a warm place, about 1 hour. Tip: The rolls should be about doubled in size, spread out with the sides touching, and look quite puffy. If the centers are popped up you can gently push the centers back down with your fingers.

While the rolls are rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rolls are a rich golden brown or the internal temperature reads 180 to 190 degrees F using an instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Remove rolls from oven. Place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool slightly while preparing the icing.

In a small bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar, orange zest, and enough orange juice to make a good spreading consistency. Spread the orange icing on top of the still warm rolls.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #391.

Ginger Syrup & Candied Ginger

Today’s post is 3 + years overdue.

Several years ago, I made a blog post for a curry-ginger cracker recipe that I REALLY liked, and in that post I made mention of my recently learning at the time how to make something called ginger syrup.

Ginger syrup isn’t readily available in most general grocery stores in the US. Sometimes you can find it in specialty shops like HomeGoods, Marshalls or TJ Maxx, but I had honestly never heard of it until I needed it as an ingredient for a recipe I was trying out, couldn’t find it anywhere and had to learn to make it myself.

Candied ginger I was much more familiar with, and it’s an ingredient that is much more easy to find than ginger syrup. However, depending upon the time of year that you try to buy it in, it has a tendency to be rather pricey. This is where learning how to make it for yourself comes in handy; especially when the ingredients are very inexpensive.

An obvious question to answer here is the why: WHY make your own ginger syrup and candied ginger?

The reasons for making candied ginger aren’t hard to appreciate; unlike the store version, DIY is cheaper, you can control the size of the pieces you make, and there are endless possibilities of ways to incorporate it into other sweet treats (see below at the end of this post)

Ginger in just about any form is a very effective natural anti-inflammatory remedy. There’s a particular ginger soda called Vernors that Midwesterners–specifically those from Michigan– that’s potent enough to where we believe it can cure just about anything.

If you suffer from digestive issues, such as IBS or extreme nausea, I’ve found ginger syrup to be an EXTREMELY powerful and fast remedy–to the point where we now have it on hand at all times the same way you might always have aspirin or TUMS in your medicine cabinet. A spoonful of ginger syrup does wonders for my gut–besides that, it’s absolutely delicious.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s actually a 2-in-1. You get a batch of both ginger syrup and candied ginger within about one hour. It’s become a staple in our home, and if you try this recipe out, I think you’ll understand why.

See below for possible recipes with which to used candied ginger that have already been posted on the blog:

Lemon Ginger Sweet Rolls

Ginger Biscotti

Ginger Pound Cake

Chewy Ginger Cookie Bars

Curried Pumpkin and Ginger Scones

Double Ginger Sugar Cookies

Curry & Ginger Crackers

Curried Ginger Scones

Ginger Syrup & Candied Ginger

Recipe By Jess @CookingisMySport

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw, peeled ginger, sliced into coins (about the thickness of a quarter)
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions

Pour the water & 1 1/2 cups of the sugar together in a saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil.

Add the ginger slices and reduce heat to a low simmer and allow to cook for a further 25-30 minutes, until the ginger is tender and the ends begin to curl. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Place the remaining cup of sugar in a shallow bowl, pan, or tupperware container.

Take the ginger (which is now candied) out of the pan and using a fork, toss in this additional white sugar. Spread it out on foil, or wax paper for a few hours to dry.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge: you now have crystallized ginger that you can use however you want; MUCH cheaper than buying it in stores.

The liquid left in the saucepan is your ginger syrup. You’ll want to refrigerate this as well.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #390.