Friday, November 28, 2014

Paris-Brest to Celebrate a Harvard Victory

Loyal readers, you may not know it, but Erica and I have a deep-seated rivalry: 

We used the annual playing of the Harvard-Yale football game as the backdrop for our most recent challenge. Sadly, our local TV stations didn't think this the big match-up, so we could only get score updates via the internet. But we nevertheless donned our school colors to bake.

The Paris-Brest is actually quite easy -- an amalgam some of our previous challenges. We whipped up some pate a choux dough, and piped it into circles. We were actually quite proud of our pastry skills.

Next up, we attempted to carmelize some almonds and hazelnuts. Not sure what happened here, but the sugar crystalized, rather than browned. Maybe our heat was too low? But we figure that since we were just going throw this into a food processor, this would probably do just fine.

 
Erica doubted our ability to cut the pastry in half, but our knife skills seemed to have improved. 


The almond/hazelnut paste then gets folded into a cream, and piped into the halved pate a choux and topped with silvered almonds. The final product was delicious if a bit sloppy. For any of you that have ever had a Chocolate Hazelnut Croissant from La Boulange in the bay area, the innards tasted identical to that -- which was a bit of a revelation for me. So delicious. 

But the sweetest thing? A Harvard victory - 31 to 24. 

Paris-Brest

Servings: 6 small Paris-Brest
Pâte à Choux
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (100 ml) whole milk
1/3 teaspoon (2 gm) salt
1 teaspoon (4 gm) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) (2-2/3 oz) (75 gm) cold butter
¾ cup plus 4 teaspoons (200 ml) (3.5 oz) (100 gm) cake flour
3 medium eggs, beaten
two handfuls of slivered almonds
egg for the brushing
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180° C/gas mark 4 and sift the flour.
2. In a nonstick saucepan pour in the milk, water, sugar and salt. Add the butter in small pieces and put on medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil. Add the flour in one shot to the boiling liquid. Stir vigorously with a wooden spatula. Cook on the stove on a very low heat for a few minutes, until the dough becomes firm, smooth and homogeneous. The dough must be dry and detach from the bottom of the pan easily.
edium speed. Before adding the next egg make sure that everything is well blended. This way, the air will be incorporated into the dough and when baking it will make puff the Paris Brest which won’t deflate out of the oven.
4. If you don't have a standup mixer proceed mixing the eggs directly in the pan where you cooked the dough, after allowing it to cool down. Work the egg with the wooden spatula until all the egg is incorporated before adding the next one. The dough should be smooth, like a thick cream.
5. Cover the baking sheets with baking paper or a silpat mat. If you use baking paper you can trace some circles of 4¾ -inches (12 cm) to help you out piping the circles. I use a silpat mat that already is specially designed to help out piping, that could be helpful too. To pipe the Paris-Brest use a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch (10 mm) plain nozzle and pipe two circles, the outer one of the diameter of the circle you drew. Pipe a third circle on top, using the star-shaped nozzle. If you don't have one use a fork to trace some lines on its surface, this will help the choux pastry to rise properly. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with slivered almonds.
 6. Bake in a moderate oven 350°F/180° C/gas mark 4 for about 23-25 minutes, in a static oven. To get rid of any moisture in the oven you can keep the door slightly open. This way the dough will dry out completely during baking. The Paris-Brest should be golden brown, with a uniform color. Let cool completely on a rack before slicing and piping with the crème mousseline.

Praliné
1/3 cup (80 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) whole almonds
1/3 cup (80 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) whole hazelnuts
6 tablespoons (2¾ oz) (80 gm) caster sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) water
Directions:
1. Put the sugar into a non-stick pan, over medium heat. Add water and bring to a boil.
2. When the sugar reaches 250°F/121° C (without thermometer you will need to reach the stage at which the sugar begins to boil and the syrup starts to become more and more dense), add the nuts all at once. Mix well with a wooden spoon to coat all the nuts in the sugar. At this point, the sugar will start to sand, i.e. crystallize again. Continue to stir. The sugar will melt a second time, this time caramelizing.
3. Once all the nuts caramelize, remove the pan from the heat. Pour the entire contents of the pan on a heat-resistant silicone mat or on a marble slab lightly oiled with vegetable oil.
4. Let cool completely. Break into smaller pieces and grind with a mixer until you have a thick paste.

Crème Mousseline
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2 egg yolks
¼ cup (60 ml) (2 oz) (55 gm) caster (superfine) sugar
3 tablespoon (45 ml) (2/3 oz) (20 gm) cake flour, sieved
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (135 ml) ( (4.4 oz) (125 gm) European-style butter, made from cream, with 83% fat content
3 oz (80 gm) praliné
1 vanilla pod, sliced open length wise
Directions:
1. In a small saucepan bring the milk to a boil with the vanilla pod. Put aside and let cool for about 10 minutes. In a bowl whisk the eggs yolks and sugar until they become white.
2. Add the flour and whisk until all mixed through.
3. Mix half of the milk in the egg, until all uniform. Pout into a small pan and put on medium heat. Cook until the cream thickens, stirring the cream continuously. When thick transfer into a bowl and cover with cling film touching the cream. Let cool.
4. In a bowl mix the softened butter with the praliné. Add to the cooled cream until homogeneous.


The November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Boo! Scaring up a Sachertorte


We were a bit late this month because we were waiting for a special guest to come visit and enjoy our baking with us. Sara baked the cake all by her lonesome in the morning -- and did a great job. We both remarked that it was more chocolately than sugary (a good thing in both our books), and much moister than other Sachertortes we've tasted. Then I and several friends joined her in the evening for an Austrian-themed vegetarian dinner, which was delicious.


Before dinner, I made an apricot-strawberry glaze and coated the cake with it. I had less success with the chocolate glaze. It got seriously clumpy and thick after I added the chocolate to the simple syrup. I tried to thin it out with water and,while it was shiny, it did not pour as needed, so the end product didn't have the beautiful sheen of a true Sachertorte. We ran out of chocolate before we could attempt to write "Sacher" on it... probably for the best given past adventures in cake decorating.

 

Nonetheless, it was very, very tasty and enjoyed by all.

Happy Halloween!

The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.

--
Sachertorte
Servings: 12-16

Preparation time: 

This cake is best made in stages, as it needs time for the various components to set/chill before 
continuing:

1. Cake: 30-60 minutes prep, 35-45 minutes baking, several hours cooling

2. Apricot glaze: 10 minutes prep, 5 minutes assembly, 5-10 minutes to set

3. Chocolate glaze and decoration: 10 minutes prep, 5-10 minutes assembly/decoration, 1 hour to set/chill

4. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving

Equipment required:
  • 9-inch (23 cm) spring-form or other high-sided pan
  • parchment paper
  • small heavy-bottomed saucepan
  • small/medium heat-proof bowl
  • spatula
  • stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachments, or hand-held electric mixer
  • 2 large bowls (stand mixer bowl + one other)
  • fine mesh sieve
  • heat-proof spoon
  • candy thermometer (optional but nice)
  • cooling rack
  • serrated knife
  • 8½-inch (22 cm) cardboard cake round
  • whisk
  • large metal offset spatula
  • plate or baking sheet
  • waxed paper
Cake 

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup (180 gm) (4½ oz) (125 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 9 tablespoons (135 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) confectioners’ sugar (aka icing sugar or powdered sugar)
  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature (see note above about egg whites)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (120 ml) (7 oz) (100 gm) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (120 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (for volume measurement, spoon gently into 
  • measuring cup and level top)
  • pinch fine grain saltAssembly
  • Apricot Glaze (see recipe below)
  • Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below)
  • Writing Chocolate (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
Directions

1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 with a rack in the centre of the oven. Butter and flower the sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. 

2. Place the bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and heat over a small saucepan of barely simmering water (make sure that the bowl is not touching the simmering water) or in the microwave until just melted. Set aside to cool completely, stirring often.

3. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or electric mixer on medium speed until very light and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat again until light and creamy.

4. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat until well-mixed and very light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.6. In a scrupulously clean bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with about one tablespoon of the granulated sugar on high speed until foamy. Gradually add in the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating the whites until they form soft, shiny peaks - they should hold their shape but flop over on themselves.

7. Vigorously stir about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until just a few wisps of egg white remain. Do this carefully so as not to deflate the egg whites.

8. Stir together the flour and salt and sift half of it over the chocolate mixture. Fold in with a spatula until almost incorporated. Sift over the remaining flour and fold to combine completely. 

9. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared springform pan.

10. Bake in the preheated moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 oven for 35-45 minutes (mine took exactly 40 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will crack and dome in the middle as it bakes but will flatten out as it cools.

11. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and remove the sides. Carefully invert the cake onto a rack and remove the bottom of the pan and parchment paper, then turn the cake right-side up onto a rack and allow to cool completely.

12. Assembly: Turn the cake upside-down so that the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is now the top. Cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.

13. Place 1 cake layer on the 8½-inch (22 cm) cardboard cake round and spread it generously with about half of the apricot glaze. Allow it to soak in.

14. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the top and sides with the remaining apricot glaze. Work quickly before the glaze has a chance to set and use a metal offset spatula to smooth the top. Place the cake on a rack set over a plate or baking sheet lined with waxed paper and allow the apricot glaze to set.

15. Make the chocolate glaze (it must be used immediately, while still hot) and pour it over the top of the cake, first around the edge and then in the middle. Spread the excess glaze over any bare spots using a metal offset spatula. Before the glaze has a chance to set, move the cake to a serving platter.

16. With the writing chocolate, pipe the word “Sacher” in the middle of the cake and add any decorative flourishes you wish. Chill the cake until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour.

17. To serve: Let the cake come to room temperature for about 1 hour before serving. Whip the cream to soft peaks (this is best done in a cold bowl with cold beaters). If desired, sweeten it with icing sugar to taste.

18. Cut the Sachertorte into wedges with a large sharp knife dipped in hot water and wipe off the blade between cuts. Serve each wedge of cake with a large dollop of whipped cream. 

Apricot Glaze
Servings: 1 quantity (about 1 cup)

Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup (300 ml) (14 oz) (400 gm) apricot jam or preserves
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) rum (or other liquor) or water
Directions

1. Boil the jam and rum/water in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and drips slowly from the spoon, about 2-3 minutes.

3. Strain through a wire mesh sieve, pressing firmly on the solids. You should have about 1 cup of glaze. Use warm.

Chocolate Glaze
Servings: 1 quantity

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 g) granulated sugar½ cup (120 ml) water
  • (4 oz) (115 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Directions

1. Place the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Attach a candy thermometer and cook, stirring, until the mixture reaches 234˚F/112°C, about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use the method explained in this video.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. It might thicken up quite a bit. If it does, return it to low heat and add a few drops of water if necessary to thin it out to a runny, pourable consistency. The glaze should be smooth and shiny.

4. Off the heat, stir the glaze for 30-60 seconds to cool it slightly, then immediately use it to glaze the cake.

5. Any excess glaze can be stored in a container in the fridge and added to a mug of hot milk to make hot chocolate.

Writing Chocolate
Servings: 1 quantity

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) (1.8 oz) (50 gm) chopped good quality chocolate
  • ½ - 1 teaspoons vegetable oil
Directions

1. Heat the chocolate until just melted, then stir in enough vegetable oil to get a pipeable consistency. If necessary, let the chocolate mixture cool slightly to thicken so that it is not too runny.

2. Place the chocolate in a disposable piping bag or small Ziplock bag and snip off the tip to make a small hole. I recommend a practice run on waxed paper before writing on the cake.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips
The cake can be stored up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chodské koláče, or when cheese didn't make something better

We were tasked this month with making Chodské koláče, or a Czech circular pastry with fresh cheese and poppy seeds. Erica and I started the day working up our appetites by taking a nice bike ride over the golden gate bridge. We were certainly loving the late September "summer" of SF. 


Next, Erica whipped up some pretty tasty dough, while I took a walk through the eastern european markets in my new neighborhood looking for "quark" -- a type of fresh, creamy cheese. The internets assured me that Russian tvorog or farmer's cheese would be close enough, so I picked up the brand we usually use for pierogis.

The pastries were easily assembled after the dough finished its rise -- you mix the cheese with butter, sugar, egg whites and seasonings (rum, vanilla and lemon), to top a circular pastry, and then make a poppy-seed paste to decorate the final product.

Despite our post-ride hunger, the final products were unfortunately not our favorite result. The pastry dough remained tasty, though relatively minor, and the poppy seeds provided an interesting kick. But the cheese was simply too cheesy when mixed together with the other sweet flavors -- none of us had more than a few bites.

As always, our artistic skills were quite impressive.

 a spiral
 some lines
 a very fancy star
oh, and a bicycle! Well done us.

I will report that a few hours later, we brought home one of the pastries to my husband, who has spent significant time in the czech republic and eastern europe. He rather liked the final product, and assured us that it tasted just like some of the pastries he'd had abroad. So perhaps it was our baking skills that lacked, but our palettes....

Until next time!

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kürtőskalács, for real


This challenge marks the first use of Sara's new kitchen by the Baking JDs and we are excited for many more to come. Sara had had these pastries before but they were new to me. I think they would be the perfect complement to coffee, although we had them after a delicious summery lunch.


Sara made the dough before we went to a yoga class, so it was easy to complete this challenge after we got back from class and enjoyed lunch with friends. First we rolled out the dough and then cut it in a spiral shape.


Very pretty.


After wrapping a rolling pin in aluminum foil, I spun it around and as Sara wrapped the dough. Teamwork!


We (incorrectly) assumed that my silicon rolling pin (the pink one above) would be OK in the oven without being wrapped. Whoops. This was our casualty this time around -- pieces of it were apparently plastic and melted. Still appears to work, at least!

Anyway, we baked the pastries, rotating them partway through, and they came out beautifully. Our only possible mistake was that we may have rolled the dough a bit too thin. Also while our cinnamon-sugar coating stuck well to the outside, our nuts did not. More finely chopped? More butter?


Regardless, the kürtőskalács slipped right off the pins and were so tasty. They also smelled divine.

Thanks for another fun and delicious challenge, Daring Bakers!

The August Daring Bakers' Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kurtoskalacs, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!

--
Recipe: Kürtőskalács (Chimney cake)
Servings: 4

Preparation time
Preparing dough 15 minutes, first rise: about an 1 hour
Cook time: 20 minutes in oven if you using roast function. Baking at 25 minutes

Equipment required
Bowl
measuring cup
weighing balance
roasting pan
2 baking sheet
4 rolling pins [we only used 2]

Ingredients

For the dough:
1¾ cups (8½ oz) (240 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) (7 gm) active dry yeast OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 14 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast
2 tablespoons (1 oz)(30 gm) sugar
1/8 teaspoon (3/4 gm) salt
1 large egg, room temperature
3 tablespoons (1½ oz) (45 gm) melted butter
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, lukewarm temperature

For baking/grilling:
melted butter
sugar

For the topping:
Approximately ½ cup (3½ oz) (100gm) sugar
For walnut sugar topping
About 1 cup (4 oz) (115 gm) ground walnuts, mixed with about 1/2 cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (1/4 oz) (6 gm) cinnamon

Directions
If you are using active dry yeast, add ½ teaspoon sugar to lukewarm milk and set aside for 5-10 minutes until it proofs (becomes foamy).

After proofing: 

You can use the other yeast types directly along with the flour.
In a large bowl combine, flour, sugar and salt. To this add egg, milk, melted butter, and yeast.

Stir the mixture until it comes together to form a dough, and then knead for about five minutes.

It will be sticky. Don’t be tempted to add any flour. Grease your hand if needed.

Transfer to a well greased container

Allow the dough to rise for 60 minutes at room temperature until doubled in volume
Prepare the rolling pins by covering them with aluminum foil, do at least two or three layers, to protect the pins from burning in the oven.

Make sure to cover the rolling pins very well. Brush them with melted butter.

Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal parts about 4 oz (115 gm) of each.

On a well floured surface spread one portion of the dough

Shape into 1/6 inch (4 mm) thick square-shaped sheet.

Using a pizza cutter [or a sharp knife!] cut the dough into a long ribbons of about 1/2 inch (13 mm) wide.

Wrap one end of the dough strip around the spit/rolling pin, tucking in the end so the dough doesn’t unwind.

Keep the dough very thin (under ¼ inch (6 mm)) as you stretch and wind it on the rolling pun. Then roll the whole thing slightly on the counter top to flatten it/press it together.

Brush with melted butter

Roll in sugar

Place in roasting pan and bake in a preheated moderately hot oven 375°F/190⁰C/gas mark 5 for 25 minutes.

If using roast function (375⁰F/190⁰C) in the oven it will take about 20 minutes.

If you are grilling (broiling) over the fire cooking time is about six minutes, until it starts to take on a dark golden color. Turn the rolling pin at once least once (or more) throughout baking time to ensure uniform cooking.

When cake is done roll it in sugar again

If you are using other toppings brush more butter, then roll the finished cake in the toppings of your choice.

Tap the mold on a table top to release the cake and set it up right to cool.

It will release easily like this.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kürtőskalács, but of course

The baking JDs have been delinquent this month (in posting, not in baking). We'll get a post up soon!

The August Daring Bakers' Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kurtoskalacs, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Who Likes Surprises?


There has been a lot of excitement this month, which almost derailed this challenge. The big, happy excitement is that Sara and her husband, Will, bought and moved into a new house. This is a major feat anywhere, and especially in San Francisco. The less big, less happy excitement is that I was traveling -- for business and pleasure -- for most of the second half of the month. So finding a time to get together and bake proved challenging.

For that reason, I decided to forge ahead and bake a thematic surprise cake that Sara and Will could enjoy with me. The cake I chose -- the House Cake from Surprise-Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke (very fortunately available in Kindle version from the San Francisco Public Library!) -- was very daunting for me at the outset.


It began at 7 am with four white cakes, which I baked and popped in the freezer. I only had 9-in. cake pans, although the recipe called for 8-in. pans, but I went with what I had and it worked fine. Strangely I had four of them, as well as two smaller pans. I have no idea where all those cake pans came from.


Chocolate and red velvet cakes followed. The chocolate was especially delicious even though (or perhaps because!) I didn't cut the milk chocolate bits small enough, so they didn't melt fully into the cake as they were supposed to. The two cakes looked quite similar when baked, but the red velvet had the prettier batter.


I also made a whole lot of butter cream frosting. The amount of butter and confectioners sugar involved was shocking. After chilling, I staked two cakes together with frosting in between and begin cutting out the house. You can see the funnel shape for the roof below; I cut a straight-sided cylinder for the body of the house. I was supposed to use round cookie cutters to size the cut-outs but I didn't have any so I free-handed it, which made me a little nervous. 


My cakes were a little domed but I am not adept evening them out with a knife, so I just relied on frosting to do the trick. Once I had cut out the house shapes I filled in the holes with the other cakes crumbled together with frosting and stacked the whole thing together. It was very tall!  


Sadly I ran out of frosting midway through frosting the outside. If anyone ever tries this recipe, I recommend making two recipes of buttercream frosting instead of the one she recommends. Or else your cake will look like mine on the outside instead of the beautiful version in her book. 


While we all had some laughs at my cake's decrepit exterior, I have to admit to feeling extremely proud about the inside. At first you couldn't quite make out the door, but when we cut into it a little more, voilà! A house!


All told, this cake took over 12 hours to make, and I put it in the freezer for substantially less time than was ideal according to the recipe. That being said, a lot of those hours were not active time and, although more demanding then a regular cake, I wouldn't say this one was hard to make. I'd try a surprise cake again for a special occasion. I was glad to have such a happy event to celebrate with this one. Congratulations to Sara and Will!

I'm not including the recipe this month because it's long and involved, but if you are interested I recommend checking out Surprise-Inside Cakes from your library or buying it. Jumping down the Internet rabbit hole of surprise cakes is a fun way to spend some time, too. A zebra cake was the runner-up choice this month, and I may give it a try another time!

For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Saturday Morning Ritual


I was listening to a podcast recently where the folks were discussing their perfect morning routines. Their discussion was centered around how to start your day productively, but it made me think about those perfect mornings where you really aren't "productive" at all -- but rather you spend the time doing things just to enjoy the act of doing them.

This month's challenge provided a perfect opportunity for one of those perfect mornings. Last Saturday, I woke up to start preparing some of the most delicious dough I've made in a while -- springy, sweet and tangy, with perfect notes of orange and cardamom. I left the dough to rise, and headed out the door to meet Erica at one of my favorite yoga studios in SF. Now if I describe this class to most people, it sounds ridiculous (there's a disco ball, club music, lots of chanting, and about 200 people), but it's a great workout and a great space.

We got back to my apartment, whipped up some smoothies and lattes to tide us over, and started in on the cinnamon rolls. Erica rolled out the dough into a large rectangle, and I spread some truly terrible filling on top -- all full of brown sugar and cinnamon and spices. :-)


We rolled it up into a log and sliced, neatly tucking the rounds into two spring form pans (who knew I had two of those lying around?)




And then we popped it into the oven. We were pretty hungry at this point, and it was super hard to wait for them to be finished. But our patience was rewarded, because these were spectacular - great texture, great flavor.


This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!

 
 
Author:
Serves: 12-16 buns
 
Buns:
  • ½ cup whole milk, warm (110-115 degrees)
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 large eggs
  • 20 ounces (4 cups) all purpose flour (+1/4 cup if needed)
  • 3¼ ounces (3/4 cup) cornstarch
  • 3½ ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • zest of 1 orange (approximately ½ tablespoon)
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (approximately 1 orange)
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped and at room temperature
Filling:
  • 10½ ounces (1½ cups) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Glaze:
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (approximately 1 orange)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the whole milk and instant yeast, followed by the eggs.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, cardamom and orange zest. Break apart any clumps of zest if necessary. Attach the dough hook, turn the mixer on low speed and add the warm milk mixture followed by the orange juice. Allow the ingredients to combine for one minute. Increase the speed to medium and add the butter in pieces until it's all incorporated. The dough will be very wet. Allow it to continue mixing for 10 minutes. If the dough is still looking wet, add up to another ¼ cup of flour in 2 tablespoon increments. The dough should be very soft and delicate but not too sticky to handle. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased large bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to double in size, up to 2 hours. To speed things up, place the bowl inside the oven next to a small bowl of boiling water and close the door.
  3. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a bowl. Grease 2 8-inch cake pans thoroughly and set aside.
  4. Remove the dough from the oven and place on a lightly floured countertop. Roll the dough into a large, thin rectangle. Using clean hands, spread the butter across the dough, leaving a small border around the edges, and then top evenly with the sugar mixture. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Cut into 12 or 16 even pieces and place in the reserved cake pans, cut side up. Cover and allow to double in size, approximately 1 hour.
  5. Bake the buns at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Top each pan with ¼ cup of the glaze and allow the buns to cool completely. Top with the remaining glaze before serving.