Monday, January 30, 2012

Guest Tuesdays: in the kitchen with Melissah's kale bagels!

Since I'm now living in a house with 3 other girls, I thought about starting this new thing where I post some of the recipes they make! Up this week are Melissah's kale bagels, which came out amazingly well! Toasted up with some cream cheese they are absolutely delicious, and taste as good as- if not better than- bagels you find at the grocery store. More recipes to come... woohoo Guest Tuesdays!!

For the bagels:

One bunch kale, about 8 ounces (225 g), stems and ribs removed, torn into small pieces, thoroughly cleaned
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading

Combine kale, yeast, tamair, olive oil, tahini, and garlic in a large saucepan, cook on medium-high heat until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Transfer and pack down really tight (with a spoon) into a glass measure, and cover with water until reaching the 2-cup mark. Blend with an immersion blender, or transfer to a countertop blender. Check that the temperature is at about 100°F , and stir in the yeast. Set aside for a couple of minutes.

Combine kale/water mixture with salt and flour. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and pliable. Shape into a ball.
Lightly coat a large bowl with about 1 teaspoon of any oil, turn dough around to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 60 to 90 minutes.

Punch down dough. Divide it into 8 equal portions, shape into balls by pulling at the dough from the sides onto the bottom, to cloak. If the dough retracts when you try to shape it, give it 5 minutes to rest until it cooperates.

Insert your thumb in the center of each dough ball, and twirl dough around it until the hole reaches about 1 1/2 inches in size. Let rest for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper, a silicone baking mat, such a Silpat, or grease them with a little oil. Once the bagels have rested, place 4 bagels at a time in the saucepan, and let boil for 1 minute in all, flipping them over after 30 seconds: try to avoid having them get too close to one another.

Scoop out bagels with a slotted spoon. Place on prepared baking sheets. Repeat until all bagels have been boiled. Bake for about 24 minutes, one sheet at a time, until the bagels are golden brown and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Let cool on a wire rack.

Nutella truffles

I'm supposed to be studying for my Psychopathology midterm that is Wednesday, but I haven't started. You know how people procrastinate by cleaning their rooms, doing errands, and, like, hanging out with friends? Yeah I bake. I super bake. I bake until the cows come home. It's both therapeutic and kills time.

I mean, it's actually pretty good for everyone involved. My housemates get to eat truffles, I get to eat truffles, and everyone's stress levels go way down. Obviously a win-win. As for the exam itself, we'll see how that goes. I should start that now. Slash tomorrow...

For the truffles:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Nutella
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso (or 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee) powder
a pinch of salt

For the coating:

1/3 cups walnuts, finely chopped
3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each time until the chocolate is smooth and melted (heating in intervals will ensure you don't burn the chocolate). Set aside.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the softened cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar. Next, beat in the vanilla and espresso powder. Add the melted chocolate and Nutella, beat until smooth. Last, add the remaining 2 cups of confectioner's sugar and beat on medium speed until everything is combined. Place plastic wrap on top of the mixture and put in to the refrigerator to set for about 2 hours.

Once the truffles have set, use a melon baller to scoop the mixture and shape into balls. Coat a third of the recipe in the chopped walnuts, a third in the confectioner's sugar, and a third in the cocoa powder. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Recipe adapted from Friend Tiffanie by me!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sticky buns are my obsession

Like I'm actually obSESSED with them. These are better than any store-bought sticky buns by faaaaar. So doughy and perfect.

For the dough:

4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/2-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the filling:

3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
For my awesome glaze:

4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the eggs and half the sugar. Microwave the milk until just warm to the touch. Whisk the remaining sugar, salt, and yeast into the milk and let stand for five minutes to ensure that the yeast is good. (It should foam.) Add the milk mixture, the butter, and 3 ½ cups of the flour to the standing mixer. Fit the mixer with a dough hook and churning on medium speed until a ball of dough forms. Sprinkle with flour as needed, or until the ball separates from the sides of the bowl about 5-8 minutes. Transfer to an oiled metal bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Cover, additionally, with a dishtowel and place the bowl somewhere warm to proof for 4 hours.

Take the proofed dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Kneed a couple time and sprinkle with flour until the dough is still sticky, but workable. Roll the dough into a 16 by 12 inch rectangle about ¼ of an inch thing. Spread the dough with the tablespoon of butter. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and salt and sprinkle evenly over the dough. Roll the dough up into a spiral log. Stretch the dough into an 18-inch cylinder. Cut the dough with a serrated knife into 12 portions. (For easy cutting, cut the log in half, then in quarters, then cut each quarter into thirds.) Arrange the 12 portions, cut side down for the two end buns, in the baking pan with the glaze, three rows by 4 columns. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

If using refrigerated buns, remove from the fridge the night before baking or at least six hours before baking. Leave, covered, in a warm place until ready to use. This allows the buns to rise a second time. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the proofed buns, uncovered, for about 30-35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the buns register 170ºF on an instant-read thermometer. 

Using an electric mixer, beat together all glaze ingredients. Once the buns are out of the oven, immediately frost the tops with the glaze. Then swoon and foodgasm.

Sticky bun recipe from Bakelist, frosting by me

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

So sometimes it's nice to use packaged mixes. This week was one of those times. And it was great!

For the cupcakes:

1 package Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix, prepared according to directions
3/4 cup chocolate chips

For the frosting:

3 cups confectioner's sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Prepare the mix according to package directions, folding in the 3/4 cups of chocolate chips at the end. Bake according to package directions as well.

On medium-high speed, combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Let cool in fridge. Frost cupcakes as you wish!
Recipe from Trader Joes

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate crinkle cookies

When I worked at Sofra they had a cookie called the Earthquake Cookie. It is my absolute favorite cookie because of its brownie-like consistency (I mean duh, brownie. My one true love). This one isn't quite as gooey as Sofra's, but it's pretty damn close. So if you like brownies half as much as I do, try this cookie!

For the cookies:

1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar (for rolling the cookies)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, coffee/espresso powder, and baking power.

In a separate large bowl, preferably with an electric mixer, combine the vegetable oil and granulated sugar. Beat for 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Add in flour mixture, and mix until combined.

Cover the mixture with plastic wrap (either in the bowl, or just dump it out onto the counter and form a disc). Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in the powdered sugar to coat.

Place on the prepared cookie sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes. When they come out they'll be soft in the middle and slightly crisp on the outside.

Recipe adapted from LOL Foodie.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pecan cookie bars

I first tasted this recipe at Thanksgiving this year when my friend's relative brought it for dessert, and I've been waiting to remake it ever since. It's different from a traditional pecan bar because the crust is less shortbread-y and more cookie-like. It's AWESOME.

For the crust:

8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the pecan bit:

1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3 cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cups of the butter, the granulated sugar and 2 tsp of the vanilla in a large brown with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add flour and baking soda; mix well. Cover.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Press dough firmly onto bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Meanwhile melt remaining 1/4 cup butter; place in medium bowl. Add eggs, brown sugar corn syrup and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix until well blended. Stir in pecans.

Spread pecan mixture evenly onto warm crust. Bake an additional 25-30 minutes or until topping is firm around the edges and slightly soft in the center. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into 60 bars to serve.