Overnight Olive Oil Sourdough Bread

At the start of this year, I checked off one of the things that been on my Baking Bucket List for years by deciding to practice/teach myself how to bake sourdough bread. It took some determination and more than a little trial/error, but I can report that it’s been going rather well.

I’ve found that the most important thing when baking sourdough is maintaining your sourdough starter. It’s often called a pet, and for good reason. You have to give it regular, measured ‘feedings’ and store it in specific way so as to keep it from going bad. The longer you can keep this up, the better quality of your starter, and thus, the better ‘sour’ flavor of your bread.

As the sourdough chronicles continue in my kitchen, my starter pet/baby Donatello (named after the turtle, not the sculptor) is now just about to turn nine months old. He’s full of pep, vigor, yeast and bacteria (the good kind). I’m a pretty proud and satisfied mama.

Ever since the first sourdough bread recipe I shared on the blog, I have been experimenting with others, to see what I like or don’t like and what works best for me and Donatello. The latest one has worked out so well that it’s become a regular staple in our house, to the point where I make it just about every other week.

There are two things about this bread that I think set it apart from some of the other sourdough recipes I’ve tried out over the past few months. First, the actual labor is spread out over two days so that it’s really easy and relatively quick to put together. Because the sponge (the flour, water and starter mixture that’s made on Day 1) is left to set overnight, I also think it improves the fermentation of the dough and overall flavor. Second, the addition of olive oil to the dough gives it AMAZING texture, and flavor. I went ahead and added a blend of my favorite dried herbs to the dough as well, which paired well with the oil.

There’s a reason why this is our new favorite bread. If you’re a sourdough lover/baker, I highly recommend giving this one a try.

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Overnight Olive Oil Sourdough Bread

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (227g) sourdough starter, ripe (fed)
  • 1 2/3 cups (379g) warm water, plus 1/4 a cup, divided
  • 5 1/2 cups (660g) All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (12g) salt
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite dried herbs (I usually do a mix of rosemary, thyme and basil)
  • Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions

On Day 1:

In a medium size bowl, combine the sourdough starter, the 1 2/3 cups of warm water and 3 cups (362 grams) of the all purpose flour. Use a fork or whisk to stir together briskly, until well combine.

Loosely cover the top with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours (I usually let mine sit in the microwave).

After 2 hours have passed, place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to rest overnight and/or up to 16 hours.

On Day 2:

Pour the 1/4 cup of warm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top, then sprinkle the white sugar on top of that. Allow to sit for ten minutes until proofed and frothy.

Take the bowl out of the fridge and add the remaining flour, the salt, the olive oil, the proofed yeast and the dried herbs. Use the dough hooks on a handheld mixer (or a fork) to make a soft dough that cleans the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or oiled work surface, and knead it, adding more flour as necessary, until it’s smooth and springs back when you poke it. If the dough feels too stiff, add a few more teaspoons of olive oil to soften it.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 2 hours at moderate room temperature (below 80°F or so). The dough should become puffy.

Gently deflate the dough. Shape into a boule-like round. (somewhat like a tomato shape) Flour a banneton bowl (or a regular bowl) and place the dough inside, seam side up. Cover with the plastic wrap and kitchen towel and allow to proof for another 45 minutes-to an hour.

About halfway through the second rise, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a 6 quart Dutch oven with the lid on inside the oven. (BE SURE THE HANDLE ON THE LID IS METAL AND NOT PLASTIC)

Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid. (It’s going to be very hot; Don’t burn yourself.)

Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan and sprinkle it with cornmeal. When the dough is finished rising, Turn the parchment line sheet pan upside down and place on top of it. In one swift motion, turn the dough bowl upside down onto the parchment paper, and lift away the bowl.

Grip two sides of the parchment paper and use them to swiftly lift the bread into the Dutch oven. Use a bread lame, or a very sharp knife to slash at least two gashes into the surface of the bread, about 1-1 1/2 inches deep each. You can make a cross, or any other pattern you desire) Place the lid on top of the Dutch oven and place the whole thing back inside the oven.

Allow to bake, undisturbed for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and check the color of the dough. The bread should be risen and slightly golden brown on top. If it’s still pale, place the lid back on and allow to bake for another 10 minutes, then check it again. If it’s golden brown, remove the lid and allow to bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Use an internal thermometer to check the inner temp of the bread. It should be at least 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carefully remove the bread from the Dutch Oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack for at least an hour.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #447.

Lemon Raspberry Cookie Cake

The heat where I live has been pretty intense these past few weeks. It keeps my tastebuds in a summer mood, and with that summer mood comes a craving for citrus, fresh fruit, and/or both.

So far as I’m concerned, lemon is good at any time of year, but there’s just something about the summer and heat that makes it taste even better. Same thing with raspberries. Whenever and however you put them together, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a perfect summer-y bite.

I’ve said it on here before, but one of the most important things in a good dessert for me is texture. I’m typically not a fan of ones that are completely ‘smooth’ or creamy, even when it comes to ice cream. I want to be able to have some use for my teeth.

I’ve made a lot of cakes, but they’re not typically my favorite dessert, mainly because most of the time, cake is a ‘one-note’ dessert in terms of texture. When it’s made right, it’s supposed to be light and soft and smooth. There are only a couple of exceptions to that rule; the cookie cake is one of them.

I first started making cookie cakes several years ago and fell in love with them mainly because they’re everything I like in a dessert, especially when it comes to the texture. While on the one hand, it’s a ‘cake’ it’s also a very loose cookie dough so the finished texture comes out ultra dense, rich and chewy– just the way I happen to like it.

The base of this recipe is an ultra lemon cookie dough batter. And when I say ultra, I do mean ultra; lemon juice, lemon extract and the zest of two full lemons are in this thing. I promise, you will taste the lemon. Added to that are fresh raspberries that I layered throughout the cake. As they baked, they burst and bled out, rather beautifully I think.

I ate this with a huge scoop of whipped cream on top, and it made for several bites of pure summery bliss. Enjoy.

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Lemon Raspberry Cookie Cake

Recipe Adapted from Southern Lady Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or emulsion
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 oz fresh raspberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9-10 inch deep dish pie dish and set aside.

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest and stir together with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat butter and sugar with a mixer at high speed until creamy. Add eggs, beating until well combined. Stir in lemon juice and extracts.

Add the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture in 2 batches, stirring just until combined.

Use a spatula, to spread exactly half of the batter into the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle exactly half of the berries on top, lightly pressing them into the batter so that they are partially submerged. Spread the other half of the batter on top, and sprinkle/press the rest of the berries on top.

Bake until light golden brown and almost set in the center, approximately 50 to 65 minutes. (The middle should be puffed up and slightly firm to the touch.) Cover loosely with foil you’ve sprayed with cooking spray to prevent excess browning if need be.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #445.

Peach Frangipane Breakfast Bundt

Hey guys. After an unexpectedly extended hiatus, I’m finally back.

Long story short, July was extremely busy for me. It was a month of a lot of travel, a lot of work, a lot of studying and very little time, and as such, I found myself having to prioritize where I directed my attention. Unfortunately, blogging kept getting pushed further down the list.

I’m pushing it back up to the top for today, though. Not just because food blogging is a stress-reliever for me, and I could always use some of that, but also because I was really pleased with how today’s recipe turned out when I originally made it and I feel pretty strongly that any of you who decide to try it out will be too.

Peaches are the summer fruit, so far as I’m concerned. And while the go-to desserts are cobblers or pies, I like to try to find as many other ways to bake with them as I can besides just dessert, if for no other reason than to give myself excuses to eat them at all hours.

Frangipane is a smooth rich almond cream that gets made from a mixture of eggs, butter, sugar and almond flour/meal. I’d never made it before now, but I’d always heard that it pairs wonderfully with peaches, so I figure now was as good as ever a time to test that theory out for myself.

What I did for this was put together a standard sweet bread dough, and then an almond frangipane cream that I smeared onto the rolled out dough. Fresh peaches were sprinkled on top, and then the whole thing was rolled into a thick log. I cut the log into slices, then arranged the slices into a tube bundt pan. After a second rise, I baked it off in the oven, then drizzled a thin icing on top.

You can’t really tell from the pictures, but I’ll tell you myself that the frangipane is the real star of this bake. When it’s finished baking, it formed a streusel-like texture inside the dough that gave it a richness that isn’t overpowering or too sweet, and pairs so well with the freshness of the peaches.

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Peach Frangipane Breakfast Bundt

Recipe Adapted from NordicWare and King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

For Bread

  • 3¼ to 3½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2⅛ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg , room temperature and lightly beaten
  • ⅔ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon LorAnn Sweet Dough Bakery Emulsion* optional

For Peach-Frangipane Filling

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups almond Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large, ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes.
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, to brush on dough

For Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Directions

Grease and flour a 16-cup bunt pan and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, cook milk and softened butter over medium heat until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Sprinkle the active yeast on top of the milk, then add the 1 tablespoon of white sugar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until yeast is activated and frothy.

Meanwhile, In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl) use a fork or a wire whisk to mix 1¼ cups flour, the cinnamon, the nutmeg the rest of the granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons salt at low speed until combined.

(If using a standing mixer, use the dough hook attachment or if using a handheld mixer, use the dough hook attachments.) Add warm milk-yeast mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg; beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 cups (250 grams) flour, beating until combined.

Beat at medium-low speed, adding remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time as needed, until a soft, somewhat tacky dough forms, 6 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook. (Depending on the time of year and the temperature of your kitchen, you may or may not need to use it all.)

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 3 to 4 minutes at high speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl midway through to incorporate any residue.

Add the almond flour and cinnamon, stirring to incorporate.

Add the 3 eggs and beat until smooth, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary. Refrigerate the filling until you’re ready to use it.

Once the dough has finished rising, Lightly punch down dough. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean surface, and roll into a 26×7-inch rectangle.  Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about 1 inch border uncovered. Spread the chopped peaches on top of the filling.

Starting with long side opposite border, roll up dough, jelly roll style; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down, and gently shape to 26 inches long and even thickness, if necessary. (If you have time, I would recommend placing the log in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. This will make the next step a lot less messy; but it’s okay if you’re short on time)

Using a serrated knife, cut log into 26 slices (about 1 inch thick each); dip knife in flour as needed.

Arrange slices evenly in prepared pan as desired, placing some slices with cut sides facing out around edges of pan and recoiling any slices tighter as necessary; press slices firmly into each other and grooves of pan. (It’s okay if almond filling spills out, just tuck/smear it back in between the slices once you place them in the pan.)

Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed and dough holds an indentation when pressed, 25 to 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted near center registers at least 190°F (88°C), 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Invert loaf onto a serving plate.

Stir together icing ingredients to desire consistency. Use the tines of a fork to drizzle icing on top of bundt. Allow to harden about 10-15 minutes.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #444.

Strawberry Cookie Tart

There are some desserts that for me, are like some people in my life; they’ll just always be special. The moment of realization with people can come in an interesting conversation we’re having or a fun experience we’re having. With dessert, it’s usually in that first bite. But regardless of which one, I have the same thought: “Yeah. This one is a keeper.”

It’s one of the best feelings ever, and as such, I try to re-experience it as often as I can. This blog makes that relatively easy for me to do with food, which is what we’re doing here today.

For the 12 Days of Christmas 2020, I shared a recipe for a cranberry cookie tart. I raved about it back then as one of the best desserts I’d ever made, and that is still very much true. It’s become a staple holiday dessert for us, and probably always will be.

The only downside is that cranberries are a seasonal ingredient that are mostly only sold for about 2 months during the latter part of the year in the winter. And that’s all well and good, but…what am I supposed to do during the summer?

The answer/solution I came to was making a couple of simple ‘seasonal’ ingredient adjustments so that my new favorite winter-y holiday dessert could become a favorite summertime one.

Whereas cranberries are pretty easy to get during the wintertime, strawberries are just as easy to get during summer, so I decided to swap one out for the other. The filling is the only thing I changed from the original recipe so that instead of cranberries and cranberry sauce, the tart is filled with fresh, chopped strawberries and strawberry preserves. I also threw in some lemon zest to give it an added fresh flavor.

Much like the cranberry tart, the strawberry one was delicious. Which now means I’ve got a ‘keeper’ on my hands for both times of year.

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Strawberry Cookie Tart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of strawberry preserves
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F/160C. Grease a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan* and place this on a baking tray.

Using a food processor or mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and brown sugar vigorously until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. It’s an important step to beat the butter and sugar well together when making shortbread as this ensures the shortbread is light, crisp and will hold together.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt. Add it to the butter mixture and mix until blended (forming large clumps). Turn onto a floured surface and using floured hands, press two-thirds of the mixture evenly into the prepared pan (including the sides).

Spread with the strawberry preserves evenly over the dough, leaving a 1⁄4-inch border and then scatter with the chopped strawberries and the lemon zest.

Crumble the remaining dough into large crumbs and scatter evenly over the filling, covering most of the surface.Bake the tart for 40 – 45 minutes, until lightly browned.

Leave to cool completely in the pan.

*If you do not have a tart pan, I do think that this would also work in a 9-inch round cake pan, you just won’t be able to lift the whole tart out of it. It’ll still taste great though.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #439.

Slice & Bake Almond Butter Cookies

More than a few of the recipes on this blog came about from me buying a kitchen gadget. It’s a minor obsession of mine. Sometimes this obsession can get pricey, but most times not so much (at least that’s how I always justify it to myself.)

These are one of the most recents buys I’ve made. I wanted it to see how they would work for molding slice & bake cookie dough.

Slice and Bake cookies are one of my go-tos for quick and easy batch desserts. They’re also versatile enough recipe to where there are a lot of different possibilities for ways to flavor/enhance them.

If I had any one complaint about Slice & Bakes as a recipe, it’s the shaping step. After mixing the cookie dough you shape it into a log and refrigerate it, after which you can ‘slice & bake’ as many cookies as you want. But as the dough log rests in the fridge, it typically rests on a flat surface, which flattens it out on the bottom and makes it harder to maintain that perfect cyndrilical shape. There’s no effect on the taste whatsoever, it’s just an aesthetic thing.

It’s probably the food blogger in me, but I like a nice presentation when it comes to baking especially, so I was interested in getting the molds not just for the sake of maintaining a consistent shape in cookie, but also being able to make square cookies that reminded me of the ones that come in the blue tins.

For my first go round with the molds, I kept things simple. Almond cookies are some of my favorite, so I decided to go with those. I did grind my almonds up fresh in my Ninja, with the skins on, as I think it adds more flavor. Using almond meal as opposed to almond flour also gives it a more robust texture.

The cookies themselves are buttery, crisp and the ground almonds and almond extract gives them that bakery-style flavor that I think pairs perfect with coffee or tea. They’d also make amazing Christmas cookie gifts. And because they’re slice and bake you don’t even have to bake them all at once. Regardless of whether you choose to get the mold or not, it’s a really good cookie.

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Slice & Bake Almond Butter Cookies

Recipe Adapted from Saveur

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of almond flour or meal
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, almond flour/meal and salt. Set aside.

In another medium sized bowl use a handheld or standing mixer with paddle attachment to cream the butter and white sugar together until creamy. Add the extracts and mix until just combined.

Fold the flour in in 2 batches, mixing just until combined. Scrape the dough out of the bowl with a spatula and mold it into 2 long, rectangular logs .

Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and shape into a square shape. (I used these molds, but using a bench scraper or the inside of a 13 x 9 baking dish works as well). If using the molds, press the plastic wrapped log into the molds, then refrigerate both overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Remove the logs from the molds and unwrap. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, slice cookies about 1/4 inch thick (or to your desired preference). Place about 1 inch apart on prepared pans and sprinkle tops with sugar. (Depending on how thick you cut them, this makes quite a few cookies; you’ll probably have to do this in a few batches)

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Note: no one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #438, co-hosted by Liz @ spades, spatulas & spoons.

Cornmeal Angel Biscuits

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m always testing out new biscuit recipes, to the point where there’s a pretty good collection of them to be found in the Index. You’ll also know that I have a huge appreciation for cornmeal as a baking ingredient, and as such, there’s a pretty sizable collection of cornmeal recipes to be found here too.

I love combining my favorite ingredients together in baking and seeing what happens, and that’s pretty much what today’s recipe is doing. This isn’t the first time I’ve made cornmeal biscuits on the blog, but it is the first time I applied the angel yeast roll technique to my go-to biscuit making process.

Angel yeast rolls are very akin to parker house butter rolls that are extremely rich, and yet extremely light in texture. The only possible way to improve them is to make them in biscuit form, something I’ve been aware of for a long time thanks to my grandmother. Combining the angel roll with the biscuit really comes down to incorporating yeast into the recipe. I don’t know who thought of it originally, but it was a really good idea.

My favorite thing about this recipe are all the different textures it has. My biscuit-making techniques do their job in make it flaky, but the yeast also comes in to give it a light, inner fluffy texture that normal biscuits typically don’t have. But then the cornmeal also comes through to give it a sturdy and robustness and flavor that’s just enough to give it a really pleasant chew.

These made amazing breakfast sandwiches, they also make for really good accompaniments to hearty stews or braises, and they’re yet another winning biscuit recipe to add to the arsenal.

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Cornmeal Angel Biscuits

Recipe Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (about 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 cup white sugar, divided
  • 8 cups all purpose flour, (plus more if needed)
  • 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 cup cold vegetable shortening, frozen
  • 2 cups whole buttermilk (plus more if needed)

Directions

Pour warm water in to a medium bowl. Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the water, then sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the white sugar on top. Allow to proof for about 10 minutes, until frothy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, corn meal, salt, baking soda, remaining sugar, and black pepper and stir with a fork.

Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the frozen butter and frozen shortening directly into the dry ingredients. Stir together until evenly combined.

Make a well in the center of the bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and stir together with the fork first, then use a large rubber spatula to stir the mixture together. If it seems a little dry you may add additional buttermilk until it forms a shaggy dough.

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)

Use a bench scraper or a large knife to divide dough in half. Stack one half on top of each other, then roll into another rectangle, sprinkling the surface with flour if it gets too sticky. Repeat the process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle. (This is a process of layering so that the biscuits will bake flaky).

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface.

Use a bench scraper or very sharp knife to trim the edges of the rectangle. Use a square cookie cutter, or a knife to cut the remaining dough into squares, about 2″ each.

Remove the cut biscuits to the baking sheet you’ve lined with parchment paper, placing them rather close to each other (it will help them rise higher). Freeze until cold, about 15 minutes.

Spray the tops of the biscuits with cooking spray, or brush with melted butter and place in oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. (You may need to cover them with foil to keep from browning too fast. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.)

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #437.

Peach Blueberry Crumble Tart

I almost always mark the arrival of summer by when I can start baking with stone fruit. I’ve said multiple times before that the taste of peaches always reminds me of summer, and although I love nectarines and red plums, peaches will always be my first choice to eat or bake. A little over a week ago, my grocery store finally started stocking peaches; so you guys all know what had to happen.

I don’t think summer baking needs to be super complicated. In the first place, it’s hot, so when/if you use it, you don’t really want the oven to be on any longer than necessary. In the second place, the fruit’s delicious enough to where it doesn’t need a lot of embellishment/fancy stuff done to it. Just keep things simple.

This is definitely one of those recipes that colors safely within the Keep it Simple lines. The ingredients are minimal, there’s very little embellishment given to them, and it comes together relatively quickly as well.

It starts out with a quick vanilla cinnamon crust that gets pressed down into the tart pan and pre-baked ahead of time, which prevents the bottom from becoming soggy from all of the lovely fruit juices. While the crust bakes, you can put together the other two components: the fruit filling, and the streusel topping.

As I say in the recipe itself, one of the best things about this dessert is its flexibility; meaning, the fruit itself can be swapped out for substitutions of whatever you have on hand, or whatever you prefer. Peaches are my first choice, but any other stone fruit will work as well. Similarly, if you’re not a fan of blueberries or don’t have any on hand, raspberries or blackberries or strawberries will work just as well.

The star of the streusel topping for me are the almonds. They add both flavor and texture that plays really well against the flavors and texture of the fruit.

This is a perfect dessert for a summer cookout. I wasn’t at one when I made it, but in case you’re reading this and need a dessert/to make and take along with you to one, look no further: this is the one you want.

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Peach Blueberry Crumble Tart

Recipe Adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients

For Tart/Crust

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries*
  • 2 cups fresh sliced peaches*
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup, firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. chopped raw almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a a 9-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottomm cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix flour, sugar and cinnamon; stir in butter and the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract just until blended and dough clumps together. (If it’s still too dry and you need to add in a tablespoon or so of water, that’s fine.)

Use your hands to press the dough into tart pan, making sure it’s evenly spread/layered to the edges.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine blueberries, peaches, honey and extracts; toss to coat.

For streusel topping: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and almond extract and stir until the mixture is crumbly, with some large chunks remaining. Stir in the almonds.
Spoon fruit mixture into crust; Sprinkle the streusel on top.

Bake at 350° 45-50 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes before serving.

* Note: the peaches can be swapped out for any other stone fruit (nectarines, plums, even apricots) and the blueberries can be swapped out for any other berry.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #436.

Honey Curry Chicken

When I was first learning how to cook,(about 10-11 years ago–yeesh) my mom gave me some advice that is still helping me to this day: get really comfortable good at making a handful of dishes so that you can put your own spin on them, and always have a ready meal to ‘whip’ out at and make at a moment’s notice.

I took the advice, and it’s served me very well. Like a lot of home cooks, I too now have a list of ‘go-to’/’old faithful’ recipes that I depend upon and keep in a regular rotation just because #1, They come together pretty easily, #2, They’re pretty popular with the crowd I’m feeding, #3 I’ve made them enough times to where I can put my own spin on them to the point where I don’t really need the recipe anymore, and it’s just more for occasional reminders when certain things slip my mind.

I’ve shared most of those recipes on the blog already, and today I’m sharing another one. Like the majority of the others, it’s chicken breast (which we prefer) as it’s generally inexpensive and so far as proteins go, also pretty good for you. It’s also very much one of those ‘blank canvas’ ingredients that can be adapted for a number of different cuisines.

I hope I don’t piss any purists off by what I decided to call this recipe. I do recognize that a true/traditional curry from pretty much any cuisine takes hours to make and has a long ingredient list of fresh spices. I admit right off rip that this is very much a quick, nontraditional, ‘shortcut’ to a curry. I use jarred, pre-ground curry powder, and from start to finish, it probably doesn’t take much longer than 2 hours to put together.

But, whether you think it should be called a curry or not, it is good.

The honey and the soy sauce are a really great salty-sweet offset to the bite of the spices, and as it cooks, then sits, the flavors get even better. This is far from a conventional curry, both in the method and the ingredients, but they do work well together, and it’s relatively easy to make–thus explaining why it’s now in our regular rotation.

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Honey Curry Chicken

Recipe by Jess@CookingisMySport

Ingredients

  • 4-6 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into medium sized (about 2 inches) cubes
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 2 cups, plus 1/3 cup flour, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of your favorite multi-purpose seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Saute)
  • 40 ounces of chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 4 tbsp honey dijon mustard
  • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.

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.

Add about 1/3 cup of flour to the pot/Dutch oven. Stir with a whisk over low-medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, just until you can smell the flour begin to toast.

Pour in the chicken broth, bay leaves, melted butter, honey, soy sauce, honey mustard and the spices.Use a wire whisk to stir, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 20 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 an 11×13 and an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray. Place the browned chicken and the onions in the dish in an even layer.

When the curry sauce has reached 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.

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

Serve over white or brown rice.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #435.

Strawberry-Lemon ‘Biscrolls’

It’s just about summer time, and for me, that means I’m trying to bake with as much fruit as I possibly can. The stone fruit isn’t quite ready yet where I am, but the berries and the citrus fruits are–which, is what we’re doing here for today’s recipe.

Aren’t these just beautiful? The lovely swirl probably makes you think they’re breakfast rolls, right?

Well you’d be half-right, and half-wrong.

They’re a roll; and, a biscuit.

I call them, ‘biscrolls’. In a nutshell, they’re the perfect marriage between a breakfast roll, and a biscuit. I’ve been wanting to test this out for a while now, but I wasn’t sure how/if it would even work. Biscuit dough isn’t difficult to put together, but the handling is something to be mindful of. You can’t overwork it, or the biscuits will be tough. Yet the majority of breakfast rolls are made from yeast doughs that have to be kneaded quite a bit so that the gluten will develop properly.

The issue I was uncertain about going into this was whether the biscuit dough could hold up to being ‘rolled’ into a spiral without being overworked. I found a way to mitigate this issue with a little thing called patience.

I started out with my go-to biscuit recipe, adding lemon zest and lemon/vanilla extract to that dough. I kept the method exactly the same in putting it together, especially the overnight rest in the fridge. This will allow the gluten in the dough to relax, and will also thoroughly chill the dough enough to where it’s sturdy enough to be rolled the following day.

On Day 2, I gently rolled out the chilled and rested biscuit dough, spread it with chopped strawberries, butter, sugar, then rolled it up cylinder style (much like you would with regular breakfast rolls). After this, I let the dough rest again in the freezer to allow it to firm up long enough to where the spiral shape would hold up after slicing.

And, voila. I was really pleased with how these turned out, especially the texture. They’re lightly and fluffy on the inside, almost like a yeast roll, but not quite because of the biscuit technique in making the dough. The strawberries and lemons really gave them a fresh and light flavor that was exactly what I was going for. I kept these first biscrolls plain, but I do think if you have sweet tooth, they’d taste even better drizzled with a thin lemon glaze on top, like true breakfast rolls.

Best of all, the flavor possibilities are endless and adaptable for just about any fruit or time of year.

Strawberry-Lemon Biscrolls

Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

For Biscuits

  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  • 2 cups buttermilk, plus more if necessary
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 large lemon

For Filling

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zested

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar with a fork.

Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter into the dry ingredients and stir a few times to combine. Zest 1 full lemon into the dry ingredients and stir again. Make a well in the center of the bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, and the extracts. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and use a large rubber spatula to stir the mixture together. If it seems a little dry you may add additional buttermilk until it forms a shaggy dough.

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)

Pat and roll the dough into a rectangle. Take the two opposite ends and fold them together like a business letter into thirds. Flip it upside down and pat & roll it into another rectangle, sprinkling the surface with flour if it gets too sticky. Repeat the folding process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Spread diced strawberries on a plate lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.

Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface, and gently roll out to a 15 x 9 rectangle. Brush the melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle the white sugar, the lemon zest and the diced strawberries on top of the dough, leaving about a 1 inch border around the rectangle clear.

Roll the dough up the same way you would cinnamon rolls, from the long side, as tightly as you can.

Keep the dough in a cylinder shape, and gently transport to parchment lined baking sheet. Place the sheet pan in the freezer for twenty minutes.

Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough into 10 slices. Place the ‘biscrolls’ back on sheet pan, arranging them close together so that they are barely touching.

Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, until golden brown.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #434.

Coffee Cookies

Although I’ve kicked the habit a few times in the past, I’m at a point in my life where coffee is an absolute necessity.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that my morning coffee ritual is sacred to me. I legit get pissed when something gets in between me and that cup of Joe–not to mention a killer headache.

In the past, I’ve taken my coffee obsession into the kitchen and experimented with it as a baking ingredient, to really great results. After seeing that coffee could make for a really delicious cake and pan of blondies, I think it was rather inevitable that we’d eventually end up here.

A butter cookie is a great blank canvas recipe that allows for experimentation with flavors. When it’s a cookie press butter cookies it’s even better just because there’s so little labor involved in making them. After the dough is mixed, it’s literally as easy as pressing them out through the press onto a pan and baking them off within minutes. Because I was new to this, (and because I had always wanted to try this particular stencil on my cookie press), I took this route for my coffee cookies.

As you can see, this is a very simple, straightforward recipe to follow. The dough holds up very well to baking and still maintaining its shape/design. They’re not too sweet, which makes them ideal as snack alongside, what else? A cup of coffee.

One thing I will say is very important in making these, is making sure that the coffee you use to bake with is one that you would want to drink all on its own. If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook/bake with it is a pretty good rule of thumb to follow in the kitchen in general, actually….but don’t ask me how I know.

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Coffee Cookies

Recipe Adapted from You Can Bake it Too

Ingredients

  • 250 grams butter, softened
  • ⅔ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite flavor of coffee*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plain flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit., Place about 3 baking sheets in the freezer to chill thoroughly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar, until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Add the coffee and vanilla extract and mix just until combined.

With mixer at low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. (Dough will be quite thick.)

Place dough into your cookie press. Press dough out onto ungreased and unlined baking sheets.

Bake until cookies are set and lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pans once. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cool completely.

*Make sure the coffee you use is coffee you would want to drink. I first tried this with regular generic brand instant coffee, and the results weren’t what I wanted them to be. The cookie is going to taste like the coffee, so make sure the coffee tastes good to you.

Note: no one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)

Sharing at Fiesta Friday #432.