Friday, November 20, 2009

Cheese Topped Pumpkin Muffins

If you haven't yet made a pumpkin flavored treat this November, its time- Thanksgiving is almost here! And these muffins are just the ones to try. They are delicious! The first time I tasted them I let out an audible "mmm...", that doesnt happen very often! The recipe says it makes 12 muffins, but I guess I didnt fill mine as full as I should have because I had some leftover batter. I just put them in my mini muffin tin and made them without the cheese on top, they were also very good!



Cheese-Topped Pumpkin Muffins (adapted from muffintop.com and a Machine Shed recipe book)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup of canned pumpkin(as suggested by the muffintop blogger, I used the whole 15 oz can for added moistness)
1/3 cup veg oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

*Whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside.

*In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin, oil, eggs, spices, sugar, baking soda and salt, until smooth.

*Gently stir the flour into the pumpkin mixture just until combined.

*Place in muffin tin fitted with papers and top each one with a piece of cream cheese and sprinkle with a topping of the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon.

*Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Angel Food Cake

It was my husband's birthday on Wednesday. His one and only request every year is for an angel food cake. Until I met him I had never made one, now I make one twice a year, for his birthday and fathers day. I dont think I will ever make one as well as his grandma did :), who made his every year for his birthday, but still, Im happy with the results!
When making an angel food cake start mixing the whites in a very large bowl. I use a 6 quart mixer and it is full to the top by time its done whipping! Its very sticky batter and requires a gentle touch. When decorating a cake, one tip on making sure you end with a fairly clean platter is to put wax paper pieces around the edge under the cake and then just pull them away after the frosting sets a bit.
Angel Food Cake (Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)
1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 large)
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
*Sift the powdered sugar and flour together 3 times, set aside.
*In an extra large mixing bowl begin whipping the egg whites (they seperate easier when cold, but then let them come to room temp, takes about 30 min, because they whip better at room temp)
*Once they are foamy add the cream of tartar and vanilla. Beat on med-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar about 2 Tbsp. at a time, continue speeding until stiff peaks form.
*Add 1/4 of the flour/sugar mixture. Gently fold in. Continue adding the mixture about 1/4 at a time, gently folding.
*Pour into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Gently cut through with a knife to remove air pockets.
*Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 min. until dry and top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake to cool completely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apple Custard Kuchen

Here is another apple recipe for your fall enjoyment. This recipe starts by making a chunky applesauce that you sweeten with honey. The girls and I really liked it. So even if you dont try the whole recipe you may want to keep this recipe in mind next time you make applesauce.
Kuchen (pr. kook-en), is a german sweet yeast coffee cake. It can be used and topped in many different ways. I made an apple custard, which turned out creamy and delicious. If you know you dont like custard, try topping it with a different form of fruit. If you are unsure whether you like custard, this may be a good one to try because it has the added layer of applesauce to "mellow" the custard texture and flavor.
The dough was very sticky to work with, even after adding more flour, and after dumping it in a bowl to refridgerate I thought for sure this was going to end in disaster. But several hours later when I pulled it out I was so suprised at how the dough had hardened. It broke easily after rolling it and trying to lift it and place it in the pan, but I just pressed it back together and it turned out pretty good. I almost wonder if you could skip the rolling step and just press it all in the pan.

I have never had or even seen an authentic kuchen so Im not really sure how this one stacks up. Has anyone had one? Do you know if this looks authentic?

Apple Custard Kuchen (from Prairie Home Breads by Judith M. Fertig)

The filling:
1 egg, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup honeyed applesauce (recipe below) or any chunky applesauce

*Whisk all ingredients but the applesauce together and set aside.

The dough:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp.) yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water (90 degrees)
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour (I used more)

*In a small saucepan combine the milk, sugar, salt and butter and scald the milk (heat until small bubble form around the edges). Remove from heat and stir until butter melts. Cool to lukewarm.
*In a large bowl sprinkl the yeast over the warm water and allow to proof about 5 minutes until foamy.
*Stir the milk mixture into the yeast, then stir in the flour, one cup at a time until you have a soft dough. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 3 hrs or up to 3 days.

Assembly:
*Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in two. Roll out each section into a circle and place each one in a 9 inch cake pan or springform pan, bringing the sides up a bit.
*Spoon half the applesauce onto each dough and then top with half the filling mixture on each one.
*Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 min. until the dough puffs a bit and has browned and the filling has browned, but will still look soft. Serve warm or at room temp.

Honeyed Applesauce
8 cups cored, peeled, quartered apples (about 3 lbs)
1 cup mild honey
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

*In a large saucepan combine the apples and 1/2 cup of the honey. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the apples are tender, about 20 min.
*Mash the apples with a masher, leaving it chunky. Stir in the rest of the ingredients
(I just made roughly a quater of this recipe for the kuchen)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shaker Daily Bread

I went hunting for some bread books from the library this week and came home with two. One had great pictures and a wide variety of world breads. The other one, from where I got this recipe, focused on breads found in the midwest. This one was made by "kitchen sisters" in a Shaker community in Ohio, who would make about about 60 loaves a day! My two was more than enough!!

What I liked most about this bread was that it had a really crispy crust, but unlike so many crispy crusted breads, this ones was very thin. It wasnt tough to bite through at all. It was a little "crumbly". As you can see in the slice in the top picture, the crumb gets looser at the top of the slice than it is at the bottom. That shouldnt be, but I have yet to figure that one out! All in all, a very good basic white bread and an easy to handle dough.
Shaker Daily Bread (from Prairie Home Breads)
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 90-100 degrees)
1 3/4 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
5-5 1/2 cups flour
melted butter, for brushing
*Scald the milk (heat until small bubbles appear around the edges) and then add the butter and sugar. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm (80-90 degrees)
*Meanwhile in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and allow to proof at least 5 min.
*Add the milk mixture to to the yeast mixture. With a wooden spoon, or your mixer, if you have a dough hook, beat in 5 cups of flour, one cup at a time, until you have a smooth dough, adding more flour if needed.
*Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 min until smooth and elastic.
*Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and brush top with melted butter. Cover and allow to rise until double, roughly 1 1/2 hrs.
*Gently punch the dough down and transfer to a floured surface. Cut in half and form into two loaves. Place in two greased loaf pans and brush with melted butter. Cover and allow to rise until doubled about 1 1/2 hrs.
*Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 min.
Oops, see the loaf to the right. For some reason it didnt rise as well as the other one. Oh well, I did two loaves because I wanted to let one of them "stale" a bit to try making a Charlotte. Guess I know wich loaf I will be using! And hey, even bad homemade bread is still good!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

My goal this winter is to broaden my repetoire of yeast breads. I can confidently produce a good oatmeal molasses bread, cinnamon rolls and pizza dough/ breadsticks, but that leaves a whole lot of untried yeast creations. This cinnamon raisin bread is my first new one.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread (from my kitchen aid recipe book)
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter
2 pkgs yeast (one pkg equals 2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 cup warm water
5-6 cups flour
*Heat the milk, sugar, salt and butter over low heat in a saucepan until melted. Cool to lukewarm.
*Dissolve yeast in the warm water in a warmed mixer bowl.
*Add the lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups of flour. Attach dough hook or beater and mix until combined. Continue mixing while you add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time.
*Take out of the bowl and continue kneading on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, several minutes (dough will be slightly sticky)
*Put the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double (about 1 hr)
*Punch dough down, divide in half and roll each section into approx 9x14 rectangle.
*Spread 1 Tbsp of softened butter onto each rectangle and sprinkle half of a sugar mixture over the whole surface of each one (1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon)
*Shape into loaves by rolling tightly, pinching to seal and tucking ends under. Place in greased loaf pans, cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size
*Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 min. (loosely cover with tin foil if top browns excessively)