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What are you baking these days? January 2014 edition![Through January 31, 2014]

Hi all,
HAPPY NEW YEAR, BONNE ANNEE, BONNE SANTE, GLUECKLICHES NEUES JAHR, FELIZ ANO NUEVO and let's not forget
新年快樂!!!
New year, new recipes...and old favourites.
Here's one I've been meaning to post for the longest time, from Gourmet sometime in the mid-70s, clipped out of the mag at the time, and featuring something I'm not normally crazy about but that is very good in this recipe...nice for brunch or coffee/tea break...
Cinnamon cake
Sift together 2 1/2 c flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1.2 tsp salt.
Cream 8 oz (2 sticks) butter, 1 1/4 c sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon until fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, and beat well.
Add the flour mixture alternately with 1/14 c milk (I do flour/milk/flour/milk/flour) and stir smooth.
Bake in greased and floured (or PAM with flour or other baking spray) 9x9" pan for appx 45 mins at 350 deg F. It should be deep golden brown and a cake tester should come out of the middle clean.
Immediately upon removing from the oven, sprinkle with 1/3 c sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Serve warm.
I love the grittiness of the sugar against the softness of the cake. Yum. (ooh brainwave, cardamom i/o cinnamon...)
And a spice cookie trouvaille...from BA mag...the Chewy Molasses Cookies from their 2014 holiday cookies article, which I can't find on their website but will post later. Very cardamom-y and superb.
So...what are you baking these days?

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  1. Buttertart.. thanks for ringing in the new year by sharing a great recipe! Printing this one out for sure..
    Is this the chewy molasses cookie that you were referring to?
    http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/chew...
    I think that I read about it on the dish of the month Cookies thread for December, and printed it out... good to know that it's BT tested..

    2 Replies
    1. re: rstuart

      Yes it is...the cardamom makes them really special. They are darker than most when baked, the photo is a good guide -- I think it's the cardamom. Instead of the other spices I used 1 1/2 tsp of Lebkuchen spices, sold in packets in Germany...they may have them in European stores too? Listed on the label as cinnamon, clove, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, anise, hot pepper, ginger, star anise -- if labelling there is like it is here, this is in declining order of the amounts in the mix. Mine are in clear plastic 10 gm sachets, Alba brand.

      1. re: buttertart

        I love cardamom in both sweet and savory dishes.

    2. Happy New Year All!

      bt, thanks for inspiring us with that recipe!

      I just couldn't resist making the Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake recipe that a CH had recently posted a thread about here:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/929203

      The ricotta ensures the crumb is tender and moist and everyone is raving about this cake. Here's a link to the original recipe in the LA Times:

      http://www.latimes.com/features/la-fo...

      I reduced the salt to 1 tsp but otherwise made as set out in the recipe.

       
       
      2 Replies
      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        Looks excellent. I think I mentioned the cinnamon cake a while back and you expressed an interest in it, BC!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          That looks incredible! Thanks for linking the recipe.

        2. I made that large génoise I mentioned in the last thread, though it was 11 inches rather than 12. I decided that I was brave enough to be foolish, and did not look up any RLB instructions.

          I doubled the recipe for an 8-inch cake (11 squared is just slightly less than twice 8 squared), and the cake turned out great; the crumb looked really good when sliced into three.

          The cake was my Chocolate Chestnut Cake. I had forgotten that with some chestnut purées you have to give them a whirl in the food processor before use. When I added it to the butter I got lumps, so had to strain it through a fine sieve; talk about laborious!

          I made an interesting discovery recently: I always used a thin paring knife between the cake and the side of the springform pan to release the cake. The last couple of times I used a small, very thin spatula instead (this was for a chocolate cake and the génoise), and the side of the cake was smoother. I used to get a few crumbs breaking off; not this time.

          1. We had a brunch yesterday for New Years, so I whipped up some cinnamon rolls (Pastry Queen recipe with mashed potatoes) and biscuits for breakfast sandwiches.

            Other than some snafus about how much butter was included in the cinnamon rolls (I did not have that noted so a pound of butter total came as a shock) I thought they turned out well. Nice and light. Good caramelization. I froze and baked 2 pans later and they survived the process well. They did need an extra 5-15m in my oven though. The first batch was brown but the middle was dough, so I decreased the temperature to 325 and the next batch was on time.

            1. I just made a batch of Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery and Alice Medrich oatmeal raisin cookies to compare. They're completely different technique and composition. The Bouchon one blew me away... I never liked oatmeal cookies till today

              12 Replies
              1. re: Nevy

                Hi Nevy,
                I saw your post on the New Years thread and mentioned there that I made these recently too (the Bouchon ones). They are really good, aren't they?
                I tripled the recipe to give out cookies to friends and neighbors, but so far we've just kept the dough in the fridge, baking off a tray for the two of us almost every night. -Dangerous, but I'm trying to get oats in me as much as possible (nursing mom) and the nightly ritual has been fun!
                We added chocolate chips to the scooped batter before baking for my husband, and I think next time ill chop up some good chocolate and just add them as part of the recipe.
                Very salty and cinnamony, but in a good way.

                Wish I could remember who mentioned this recipe last month. I owe them a thank you. Haven't had a miss in this book yet.

                1. re: rabaja

                  Hi Rajaba - if someone told I'd love oatmeal raisin cookies, I'd laugh at them but the Bouchon Bakery book made me a believer. I am just in awe of the deep butterscotch notes with the sweet raisin flavour. Sadly the Alice Medrich ones paled in comparison, they melted into puddles, were too crispy in comparison, and didn't have the same depth. Both rested for 24 hours and baked within an hour of each other.

                  You're completely right about this recipe book. So far I'm 4 for 4 from this book. The chocolate chip cookie (amazing), oatmeal raisin (wow), Pullman loaf (it steals the word wonder from Wonderbread), and Bouchons (the best brownies ever... Even if they're not brownies). I'm getting ready to do the better nutter butters and possibly croissant.

                  I just also did 2 sets of Kouign Amann (Flour Too by Joanne Chang and David Lebovitz). They're proofing right now so I haven't tried them yet but so far, I like the David Lebovitz more because the dough composition is easier to handle. We'll see how the taste is!

                  I'm also planning my Chinese New Year baking. I have the dough for the pineapple tarts made already and frozen. I'm also planning a coconut mochi tartlet (nian gao variation) and I just settled on my kabocha squash fat gao recipe. To top it off, I think I discovered my Hokkaido Milk Toast recipe that doesn't use whipping cream or milk powder!

                  1. re: Nevy

                    Nevy,
                    Pls let us know how the better nutter butters turn out. I LOVE peanut butter desserts, and I've had that recipe on my mind for quite a while.
                    Thanks!

                    1. re: Nevy

                      Hi Nevy, What is Hokkaido Milk Toast? Can you share the recipe?

                      1. re: smfan

                        Hokkaido Milk Toast is my first bread discovery in Hong Kong. It's an enriched bread that is can only be explained as being a cross between a poor mans brioche, a touch of Finnish Pulla, and the innards of a croissant. It's actually fluffy and stays that way because of a technique called tangzhong or water roux.

                        You make the roux ahead of time, chill overnight for flavour development, and use it in the bread next day. The most popular Hokkaido milk recipe is by Christine Chinese Recipes but her instructions uses whipping cream, milk powder, and a bread maker. The one I adapted uses a greater amount of tangzhong, butter instead of whipping cream, a bit of whole wheat for an extra nuttier note, no milk powder (real milk only), and good old elbow grease (or a stand mixer). I have the recipe on my laptop so I'll post the recipe when I'm back home. Check out the freshloaf link below to see some good pictures of it in the mean time.

                        http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3299...

                        1. re: Nevy

                          Here's the recipe I'm using... I think the amount of flour really depends on your weather. For me, it's a very cool dry winter so I don't need extra flour but if I'm in a warm humid environment, you probably need to add more flour.

                          Hokkaido Milk Bread/Toast

                          675 g bread flour 5 2/5 cups
                          Note: depending on your weather, you may need to add more
                          85 g sugar 1/3 cup plus 4 teaspoons
                          12 g salt 1 teaspoon
                          2 large eggs
                          250 g milk 1 cup
                          8 g yeast 4 teaspoons
                          85 g butter, room temp 6 tbsp
                          1 serving of tangzhong: this is a separate recipe and you will use all the tangzhong made with the recipe
                          For the tangzhong:
                          50 g Whole Wheat flour 1/3 cup
                          250 g water 1 cup

                          Create Tangzhong by adding water and flour together in a small sauce pan. Over low heat, gently stir the mixture till the roux thickens (occurs at 65 C). It’s best when you can use your spoon/spatula can make a temporary line in the roux for at least a few seconds before it merges on itself. Place in a container when cooled and put a cling wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Place in fridge for a few hours (best overnight).

                          Combine the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add in all wet ingredients (milk, eggs and the tangzhong).

                          Use the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Begin mixing on medium speed until the dough comes together. Then add in the butter and continue mixing/kneading.

                          Keep kneading until it is a smooth dough. It shouldn't be too sticky (it should be tacky) and have some elasticity. It took me around 30 minutes to mix the dough in the mixture. I would also knead for a little bit by hand. I added some more flour to keep the dough from being too sticky.

                          Knead the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil. Place dough into the greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

                          After proofing, move the dough to a clean surface and split up the dough into four equal portions. Knead and form this dough into balls. Cover the book with the wet towel again and let it rest for 15 minutes.

                          Finally, bake the bread at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes.

                          1. re: Nevy

                            That should be 65C for the tangzhong to be ready, yes?

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Yes you're right... my autocorrect went straight for US temperature instead of Celcius. :)

                              1. re: Nevy

                                Thanks Nevy for the recipe. I mixed it up with the 8 inch "sacuer/UFO" bread with a thin crust.

                                1. re: smfan

                                  I just finished baking up the Hokkaido milk toast/bread and my house smells divine. I'm not sure if you can see the individual fluffy pulled strands between the bread, but is shows how soft the texture is. I'm really happy with this recipe as I don't have to stock milk powder or whipping cream in addition to all my regular pantry items.

                                  Once the bread cools down, I'll post another picture of the inside.

                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  1. re: Nevy

                                    That looks fabulous! Lovely bread!

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      Here's a picture of the crumb. The best part is the roux makes the bread stay soft for close to 4 days.