Apple Cider Pound Cake

It’s that time of year again.

Even though I live on the West Coast and the seasons don’t really ‘change’ here, late September is the time of year that I finally start to accept that autumn is upon us and that I can and should start baking those autumn flavored foods.

Oh yeah. Late September is also my birthday.

I turn thirty today y’all. 3-0.

It’s not that I think 30 is old, but it feels weird that I’ve reached it. I have literally no idea where the last decade went. It’s been a whole lot of change and transition. I can honestly say I never would foresaw any of it. But I am grateful. My 20s were…something lol. I’m looking forward to 30 hitting much differently.

My birthday usually passes by without very much fanfare. But for the past few years, I have given myself a tradition/present of baking myself a birthday cake. I had a little less time this year to go all out than I did last year, but I still wanted my cake, so I just went with something nice and easy–but still delicious.

If there’s one thing that autumn put me in the mind of and the mood to have, it’s apple cider. I’m a Midwestern girl, so cider mills, cider and apple cider donuts and the like are a huge part of my childhood. It feels weird if I go without them. This year for my 30th birthday on the West coast, I thought I would give myself a present that would remind me of the Midwest.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve seen that I have a huge interest in making a bunch of variations on pound cake. It’s a Blank Canvas recipe; wonderful on its own, even better the more flavor variations you can give to it.

This pound cake is flavored with all of the autumn spices, as well as one full cup of apple cider. The smells alone while it baked reminded me of being back in the Midwest. After it finished baking, I rubbed it with a cinnamon sugar coating. It’s that cinnamon sugar coating that really made me feel as though I was biting into a denser, richer apple cider donut. It’s truly delicious.

Happy autumn to all, and Happy 30th to me.

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Apple Cider Pound Cake

Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10-16 cup Bundt pan.

In a medium size bowl combine the flour, spices, salt and baking powder and stir together with a fork. Set aside. Combine the apple cider with the vanilla extract in a small bowl, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, or using a large bowl and a hand-held one, cream together the butter and flour until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula in between.

Add the flour and the apple cider mixtures alternately the the egg-butter mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

Pour and spread the batter in the bundt pan. Lift and tap the pan against the countertop a couple of times in order to prevent air bubbles while baking. Place the bundt pan on a sheet pan.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven, for about 50-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Mine baked fast, so check it early, especially if you have a gas stove) Cakes are done at an inner temp of 195F-200F.

Transfer cake to cooling rack set inside baking sheet and cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert directly onto cooling rack.

For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating: Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle warm cake with cinnamon sugar, using fingers to rub it onto sides.

Cool cake completely for about one hour before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.

Linking to Fiesta Friday #295, co-hosted this week by the wonderful Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau.

Lemon Ginger Sweet Rolls

When you’re the unofficial ‘designated cook/baker’ in your house, a part of the job is cooking to suit the tastebuds of your audience. Special requests excluded, it’s not all about you; gotta feed everybody. Plus, there’s no point in making something that you have to to eat all by yourself (I also can’t really afford to do that).

I think I’ve mentioned here before that my sister doesn’t like cinnamon rolls. I do. But I’m willing to compromise. So I’m always having to find and bake alternatives that satisfy both our tastebuds. This was one of them. Because one thing she does love is citrus, this was another.

Recently I’ve been doing a bit more baking with lemon and really enjoying it. Even though we’re in September and rapidly approaching fall, global warming has us still experiencing those intense summer temperatures. So it becomes a bit easier to still have a taste for the summer flavors, and we all know lemon is certainly one of them.

With my last citrus rolls, I went with a combination of orange, ginger and cardamom to great results. This time around, I only needed to make a couple of adjustments. Ginger and lemon is a classic flavor combination, so I decided to really go for it here.

The dough is flavored with lemon and ground ginger, but for the curd filling I decided to go ahead and add minced crystallized ginger, just to give it that added spiciness. You can always buy crystallized ginger from the store, but my personal recommendation is for you to just make it yourself. It’s easy, cheap, and you get more bang for your buck. There’s a tutorial on my Instagram page if you’re interested.

I mean, what can I really say about these y’all? You’ve got eyes. The lemon in both the dough and the lemon filling keeps the flavors fresh and sharp. The icing on top (that is perfectly optional by the way) of course adds sweetness, but then that ginger comes in to give it that spicy kick that offsets the sweet.

These are really, really, REALLY good and I don’t say that lightly. I did good.

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Lemon Ginger Sweet Rolls

Adapted from a Previous Recipe on Cooking is My Sport

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
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 4 tablespoons, (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup candied/crystallized ginger, finely minced

For Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • A few tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

Directions

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, lemon zest 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, ground ginger and nutmeg . 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.

In the meantime make the filling: in the bowl of the standing mixer use your fingers to rub the sugar together with the lemon zest until fragrant. Add the butter and beat together with the paddle attachment until it’s creamy. Add the ginger and nutmeg. Slowly drizzle in the lemon juice until it’s thin, but still creamy. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until you’re ready to fill the rolls.

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 the lemon filling on top of the dough. Sprinkle the crystallized ginger on top of the filling in an even layer. 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 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.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #193.

Soft and Chewy M&M Cookies

For weeks leading up to this post, I had a crazy craving for two things: chocolate chip cookies, and M&Ms. It was a busy time for me so I didn’t have a lot of extra time to bake. Plus, every time I went to the grocery store, I kept forgetting about my craving and didn’t just grab some M&Ms from the check out line. Figures.

When things started to slow down and my attention span to the kitchen was able to improve, you can be sure that I got to work on satisfying my craving. It wasn’t too hard a fix. M&Ms are pretty readily available pretty much anywhere. And when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I don’t think I’m blowing my own horn too loudly when I tell y’all that I have that on lock.

Whether we’re talking about in life, or the kitchen: once you find the Right One, there’s just no need to go looking for another. I’ve been using the exact same recipe for chocolate chip cookies for several years now. I don’t need to try any others. This one is perfect.

A few months ago I made a post where I talked about a practice I called Recipe Recycling. It’s basically where you take the bare bones of an existing recipe, then make some additions or substitutions to turn it into something slightly or greatly different. I shared my Right One chocolate chip cookie recipe years ago on the blog. Now I’m here to share the Recycled Right One chocolate chip cookie recipe.

You guys ready for the super complicated, lengthy process of recycling this recipe? Pay attention. It’s a real doozy.

Swap out the chocolate chips for M&Ms. Keep everything else the same.

And that’s it. Seriously.

One small little ingredient change makes such a wonderful difference, and dare I say, an improvement. M&Ms have a little bit more of a bite to them than normal chocolate chips and chunks, and I was surprised by how much I loved the flavor of the candy in the cookie. Craving = completely satisfied.

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Soft and Chewy M&M Cookies

Recipe Adapted from Land O’Lakes

Ingredients

  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups M&M candies

Directions

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, combine butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.

Add eggs (1 at a time) and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl down with a spatula often, until well mixed.

Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until well mixed. Stir in candies.

Refrigerate dough for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.

Heat oven to 375°F.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-14 minutes or until light golden brown. (Do not overbake.) Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #288, co-hosted this week by Angie and Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Sausage-Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

When I get into conversation with people about my love of food and cooking, sometimes I’ll get questions about how I learned. Sometimes I get asked for advice as to how to help someone else, who isn’t a huge cooking fan, still become a better one.

I’ll tell y’all like I was told by the cooks I learned from: start with something simple. Something so simple, you would have to go out of your way to mess up.

Once you pull that dish off, practice it a few more times until you get comfortable with it. Maybe even so comfortable you don’t need the recipe itself anymore–you just throw the stuff together and it still turns out, because it’s just that easy. Once you reach that level of comfort, that’s when you can start experimenting and flex a few more of your cooking muscles.

Trust me, they’re under there.  You just gotta work em out a little bit more to see them.

Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, everyone needs to have a set of what I like to call ‘Go-To’s’ for the kitchen. Go-Tos are recipes that can be thrown together with minimal ingredients, minimal effort, and a minimal recipe and still turn out a perfectly satisfying meal.

Breakfast Casserole was one of the first simple recipes that I began practicing when I was first learning how to cook. It’s simple, it’s minimal, it’s nearly impossible to mess up. Because the recipe itself is versatile, there’s plenty of room for experimentation and variation in the ingredients. To this day, it’s one of my Go To recipes that I always find myself coming back to when I know I’ve got to cook something for dinner, but don’t feel like putting up much of an effort. Cause that happens, even to me.

A breakfast casserole is basically where you throw all of your favorite omelette fillings together, pour beaten eggs and milk over them, then bake it in the oven until it’s firmed up. All of us love different things in our omelettes, so that’s where the versatility of this recipe comes in. This exact recipe is what I like, but don’t feel as though it’s carved in stone; swap out the individual ingredients to fill it with whatever you prefer to eat in yours.

The most important thing to ensure that breakfast casserole turns out is to make sure you’re using enough eggs and milk to cover all of the solid ingredients in the pan. Too little liquid and the ratio of the bake gets thrown off and it won’t hold together when you cut into it.

That’s really all there is to it, y’all. This one goes into the “You Can’t Screw This Up Category” for sure, so I would recommend trying it out for yourself. It’ll brighten your day–or weekend.

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Sausage Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork sausage (or turkey)
  • 1 lb spicy ground pork sausage (or turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 2 bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1 30 oz package of Frozen shredded hashbrowns (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • Salt and pepper, onion powder
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese  of your choice (I think Cheddar or Swiss would work fine for this)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 11 x 13 baking dish.

Brown the sausage in a large greased skillet, until no longer pink. Drain and set aside in a bowl, but save about 1/3 cup of the sausage grease.

Pour a few tablespoons of the reserved sausage grease back into the skillet, then saute the onions and peppers in it until they are softened and have a bit of color to them. When they’re done, remove them to the bowl with the sausage crumbled and stir together. Set aside.

Prepare the hashbrowns according to the package instructions, using the remaining reserved sausage grease to cook the hashbrowns in, seasoning them generously with salt and pepper. When the hashbrowns are finished, stir them together with the sausage and veggies.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, milk, using a large whisk to stir until the yolks are all broken up. Season the mixture generously with salt, pepper and onion powder.

Spread the meat and veggie mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the egg mixture over the top, using a spatula to make sure the filling is coated and mixed in thoroughly with the eggs.

Place the baking dish on a sheet pan, then bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until puffed/firmed up and the center is clean when pierced with a butter knife. In the last 15 or so minutes of cooking, sprinkle the cheese on top and move the baking dish up one row in the oven to help it brown more on top.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #287, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Rita @ Parsi Cuisine.

 

Peach Cobbler Bars

There are some foods that just taste like they were made for summer.

When I think of stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots), I think of summer. When I eat stone fruit, it’s usually summer. A large part of this is because stone fruit season is during the summer months. But I also think it just comes down to the flavors.

They’re sharp and bright and fresh. They’re sweet, juicy and refreshing–all of the tastes that you want on hot summer days.

I can never let the summer pass without making SOME kind of fruit dessert, specifically a stone fruit one. I just can’t do it.

Fortunately, I do make a pretty mean peach cobbler.  However, if I had to give ONE downside to it, I would say that cobbler’s don’t exactly ‘travel’ well. Divvying it up after that first day can also be a little bit tricky.

Today’s recipe is a twist on the original and solves both of those pesky cobbler complications without being any more difficult to make than the original.

Most peach cobblers are made with a fruit filling on the bottom, and a puffy, biscuit-like crust that gets plopped on top, then baked for about an hour. The main difference here, is that there’s crust on the top and bottom, and the texture is slightly different.

If I had to liken it to anything, I’d say the crust is like a cross between shortbread and pie crust and it comes together very easily. The easiest way will be if you have a box grater to cut the butter into the flour, but if you don’t it’s not a big deal. Just cut it into small cubes and smash it up with a fork or pastry blender. Unlike some cobblers whose crusts can get drowned in filling, this crust holds up very well for all of the juicy peach filling that gets poured on top.

I think what I love most about this dish is that all of the proportions are just right. There’s just the right amount of peach filling to crust. Neither one overwhelms the other. The flavors of the peaches are sublime and they bake to a perfect, juicy gooey consistency. This is a PERFECT dish for traveling to summer barbecues, cookouts, potlucks or the beach. Once you give it enough time to cool, the bars cut very easily, and they’re simple to place into individualized portions.

Best of all, even if you’re a beginner baker, you can pull this off. So get to it. Summer will be over before we know it.

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Peach Cobbler Bars

Recipe Adapted from Taste of the South

Ingredients

  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 8 cups peeled, pitted, and diced fresh peaches, nectarines, plums, or apricots (any stone fruit you want to use will work) (about 8 peaches)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter, (whole, or cubed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • About 1/4 cup-1/3 cup milk, if needed

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray it GENEROUSLY with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a  large bowl combine 1 cup of the brown sugar with the cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir in the peaches, orange zest and orange juice until the peaches are evenly coated. Set aside.

In another large bowl combine the whisk together the other 1 cup of brown sugar with the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. If you have a box grater, use it to grate the butter into the dry ingredients. If you do not, then cut the butter into cubes and use a fork or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until they are crumbly and resemble bread crumbs in texture.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, and vanilla. Make a well into the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet, using a large fork to stir together just until combined. If after stirring, it is still too dry and crumbly, you may add the milk, a little bit at a time until it does hold together into a craggy mass. (It doesn’t have to be perfect or super wet).

Press 3/4s of the flour mixture into the bottom of the lined baking dish. You can use your fingers, the bottom of a measuring cup or a spatula you’ve sprayed with cooking spray. (Don’t worry about making it perfect, just try to aim for as even a layer as you can so you get an even bottom crust.)

Pour the reserved peach filling on top of the bottom crust and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining flour-butter mixture, trying to get an even layer out of it, breaking it apart with your fingers if need be (It’s going to spread out and fill out while baking, so again, don’t stress about making it perfect).

Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven until browned, set and bubbling, about 50-60 minutes. (You may have to cover the top with foil if it browns too quickly for the middle to set up.)

Allow to cool for about 30-40 minutes before cutting into bars.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #286, co-hosted this week by Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Rosemary Pound Cake

When it comes to the list of my favorite fresh herbs to use in the kitchen, rosemary is right at the top.

I love the clean, fresh smell. I love that the leaves are easier to pluck off the stems than some other herbs (looking at you thyme).

Up until today, pretty much all of my culinary uses for rosemary were for savory dishes. I can’t and don’t do without it at the holidays when I’m roasting my turkey. It lends itself so well to braises and stews of all kinds, but especially those with poultry.

For this past year’s 12 Days of Christmas, I baked with it for the first time in savory rosemary and thyme flavored crackers that I really enjoyed.

Today’s post marked the first time I ever baked something sweet using rosemary. I was really intrigued going into it, but also a little nervous. The general concern with using rosemary in whatever you’re cooking, is over seasoning with it. Like lavender, too much rosemary in a dish can make it up tasting like soap. Blegh.

I said in a post a couple months back that pound cake is a blank canvas recipe. That means, that It tastes wonderful all on its own, but the addition of extra ingredients can take those muted flavors and turn them into something even tastier. I’ve tried this concept multiple times with other pound cakes on the blog and I thought that it would interesting to try and see what rosemary could do as a flavor booster.

I was very pleased with how this turned out. The texture itself is just as pound cake should be, but the obvious star is the rosemary. It gives such a unique, but delicious flavor that manages to temper the sweetness of the cake, while also giving a freshness that can almost fool you into thinking it’s “lighter” than pound cake actually is. It almost makes it taste more….grown up, flavor-wise. If that makes any sense.

This is an easy and special dessert and I think you should try it. The End.

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Rosemary Pound Cake

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour (make sure it’s not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking power
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or preferably vanilla bean paste)
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup milk

For Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • A few teaspoons of water or milk

 

Directions

Grease and flour a 16 cup tube pan (Or 2 9×5 inch loaf pans). Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium size bowl combine the flours, baking powder, salt. Stir together with a fork, then set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using a handheld one) cream together the butter, sugar, chopped rosemary and vanilla on medium speed until pale and fluffy (it’ll take about 4-5 minutes).

Add the eggs and the egg white, 1 at a time, mixing just until combined after every addition.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the milk (starting and ending with flour) mixing just until combined after every addition.

Spread the batter into the prepared tube pan (or loaf pans). Tap pan a few times against the countertop to minimize air bubbles.

Place the pan on a sheet tray and bake on the middle rack of the oven, 50-65 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with only a few crumbs attached. (The baking time will be dependent upon which pan you used.) Inner temp of cake should be 195-200F.

Allow the cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes before turning out of the pan and allowing to completely cool.

If desired, stir together both ingredients for the glaze, until it reaches the consistency you want. Use the tines of a fork to drizzle it on top of the cooled cake. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes, until glaze has completely hardened before serving.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #284, co-hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Cornmeal Garlic Herb Bread

My mom once gave me some pretty sage advice about cooking:

Practice, study and get comfortable with a recipe, then do whatever you want to it in order to “make it your own”.

They’re words that I now regularly not only cook, but also bake by when I can.

You want to know what the best part of knowing how to bake bread is?

I mean, apart from being able to eat it afterwards. Nothing tops that.

Once you become comfortable with a particular dough recipe, you can do pretty much ANYTHING you want to do with it.

Remember: baking is essentially, a scientific experiment/reaction of ingredients. So long as the key components get included and mixed together in the proper order and technique, there are certain recipes that will allow for variation and addition of a ‘personal flair’.

Bread dough is one of them. So long as your yeast is proofed, all your ingredients are there, your dough is smooth and given enough time to rest, then you can do practically anything you want to it after that first rise.

You can lump it all together into one, throw it in a loaf pan and bake one standard bread loaf. You can shape it into individual dinner rolls or buns. You can fill it with stuff. You can twist, braid, wrap, sculpt–seriously, just about anything you want or could think of.

That’s really kinda what we’re doing here today.

I first used this bread recipe to make standard, simple round cornmeal dinner rolls. Then, when I got more comfortable to it, I umped the ante with the recipe to shape them into pretty flower buns. This third iteration has me shaping it entirely differently, and filling it with a delicious herb butter that I made from scratch.

Don’t be intimidated by the finished product: I promise that it isn’t as nearly complicated to make as it looks. And like the first two versions, it’s really delicious.

Cornmeal Garlic Herb Bread

Recipe Adapted from a Previous Recipe by Jess@Cooking is My Sport

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pkg (1/4 oz) active dry yeast (That’s 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110°-115°)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour

For Herb Butter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
  • About 1 heaping tablespoon  of your blend of favorite herbs, finely chopped (I used rosemary and thyme, but basil, parsley, or chives are also great options as well)
  • 2-3 finely minced garlic cloves (depends on your taste for garlic)
  • A pinch of both salt and pepper

 

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 is 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 tbsp of sugar on top and allow to sit for 10 minutes or until yeast is frothy and activated.

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 1 cup of flour, mixing to combine completely. Continue to add the flour in about 1 cup increments, just until the dough begins to come together around the hook. (You may not need to use all the flour, this is dependent upon the time of year and your location).

Once it has, turn off the mixer and scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface that you’ve sprinkled with flour (like a pastry mat or a smooth countertop). Use your hands to firmly knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10-12 minutes. You can use additional flour (about 1/4 cup at a time) if it’s still too sticky; I also prefer to rub my hands with canola, olive or vegetable oil before kneading and that helps a lot without having to add more flour..

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.

Meanwhile make the Herb Butter: Combine all of the ingredients together and stir briskly with a fork until it is smooth and easy to spread. Set aside until bread has finished rising.

Generously grease a 9 inch square or circle cake pan or general baking pan.

Sprinkle flour on your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Roll out the dough to a rectangle, around roughly 10 inches wide and 12 or more inches long.

Use a spatula to spread the herb butter generously and evenly over the dough, leaving about 1 inch of open space around the edges.

Starting from the shortest end closes to you, carefully roll the dough into a log. If any filling falls out, just tuck it back in. If the dough sticks to the counter, use a bench scraper to gently pry it up. When done rolling, pinch the dough to seal it closed. Dip a very sharp knife in water and gently, but swiftly, slice the log down its entire length, creating two halves with lots of layers (kitchen shears will work for this too.)

Turn the halves so that the layers are facing up. Press the two halves together at the top, then twist the halves around each other, creating a spiral. Press the halves together again at the bottom. Wrap the braid into a round, courounne shaped loaf.

 Carefully lift the loaf into the center of the greased cake pan.

Cover it with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rest until puffy and risen, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spray the top of the loaf with cooking spray. Place it on top of a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven, about 45-50 minutes, covering with foil if it browns too quickly.

(Bread is done at an inner temp of 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit, and because this loaf has so many layers, I HIGHLY recommend using an instant read thermometer to gauge when it’s done.)

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #282 cohosted this week by Angie and Antonia @ Zoale.com.