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If my husband has taught me one thing in two years of marriage , it’s to not settle for the mundane; to follow your dreams. He teaches me to not just look at the stars but catch them and make my dreams happen.

[yeah, we started this blog two years ago, and it’s just now getting off the ground in earnest…life, right? Happy two-months-into-year-five!]

Unfortunately, like many of you reading this, we both are constrained by “boxes” – coffin-like morbid realities if you will. Mine self-inflicted, and his more so the office confinement inflicted upon him by typical American society – much to his chagrin.

So where’s the turning-point? Where’s the change and when’s the day when we break out of confinement?

I guess it’s when you realize you hit bottom. rock bottom. But you’re there together. And that’s all that matters to me in this life.

This blog was started because my happiest moments are in the kitchen with my husband. Our kitchen travels are endless, overwhelming, ridiculous, and delicious. We are true explorers of our kitchen – sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t and most times they end up in tears or arguments until the first taste of something we created together.

IMG_20160619_230843
Homemade Kimchi – Batch #2! One of the many things I never thought I’d cook!

Our meals of “clean out the fridge and make something new” are my favorites and our friends constantly comment on our social media posts of our take on a Korean or Japanese or other seemingly inaccessible meal that they’d love to join us for dinner.

So here’s our answer for now, because this is our escape, our freedom. I love my husband and every moment with him, the good, the bad, and the ugly-teary-mess-covered-in-flour that I often become.

We’d love to share these moments with family and friends more than just through social media and make people want to sit down at our table for a meal, so come explore with us and let’s see where this journey goes!

After all, that’s all I’ve done since the moment I met my husband, eating my first piece of “sushi.”

Nicole

The most wonderful time of the year

Baking, especially during the holidays is one of my most favorite things.

Christmas time is partially for baking, right?

One of the best parts of this time of year is it is perfectly acceptable to have Tupperware and plates full of baked goods and cookies at home and on the counter. I once had a secret Santa come drop off a bunch of candies and cookies and Andrew and I took on the tradition next year and did the same for family and friends…it was so fun and allowed me to bake more! There’s nothing like sharing baked goods during the holiday season and having a fresh cookie warm from the oven. I have my family favorites….heath cookies, oatmeal lace, old fashioned sugar cookies, turtles, and many more. I always love trying a few new Christmas cookies every year and this year…I found some keepers! I always wonder what “my family” Christmas recipes will be. I grew up on heath cookies and oatmeal lace cookies for sure. I was introduced to Gobs and nut roll and pizelles when I met my husband’s family. I think a Christmas cookie platter or gift box should be full of tons of different types of cookies…a few of each! It’s the season for a little bit of indulgence and an overabundance of love. I hope these cookie recipes bring as much joy to your homes as they did to ours!

cookies1

This year, like most, we’ve started decorating and baking early to most people, but I think it helps us fully enjoy the season. Time goes fast enough as is and if we can sneak in a whole weekend to bake and decorate before everything gets crazy busy, I’d say it’s perfect! This year was especially fun because we went all out decorating…our newest addition…..the bird snow luge on the banister!

banister

 

Spiced Brown Butter Muscovado Sugar Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

24 tablespoons (344 g) unsalted butter

1 cup (210 g) dark muscovado sugar, packed

½ cup (96 g) granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon (15 ml) real vanilla extract

3 cups (408 g) all-purpose flour

1 cup (136 g) bread flour

2 teaspoons (5 g) cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon cardamom

MAPLE GLAZE

2 cups (260 g) powdered sugar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) real maple syrup

½ teaspoon maple extract, optional

4 tablespoons (60 ml) milk, or more to thin

Instructions

  1. To make the cookies, place the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt over medium heat.
  2. Once melted, crank up the heat to medium high, stirring constantly. Small golden bits will start to settle on the bottom of the pan, and it will start to have a nutty aroma. This should take around 3 to 5 minutes. Once this happens, take the pan off of the heat and pour the butter into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Once cooled slightly, add the muscovado and granulated sugar and mix on medium until blended. The mixture will be thick. Add in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to blend completely before adding in the next. Add in the vanilla and mix for 1 minute more. Be sure to break up any large muscovado lumps.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, sea salt and cardamom. Add this to the brown butter mixture and mix on low until the mixture comes together and is no longer crumbs. Separate into two equal halves and pat each mound of dough into a disc. Typically sugar cookie dough needs a light hand. Not this dough. You’ll need to almost knead it to get it to adhere together.
  4. Press any cracks or fissures together.
  5. Place a dough disc between two layers of parchment paper. If you have a silicone baking mat, place it underneath the parchment to keep it from sliding on the counter. Roll the dough to ½-inch (1.3-cm) thickness. Pull the dough with the parchment onto a baking sheet and chill in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes or in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes, max. The dough should chill quickly. If at any point the dough starts sticking to the floured cookie stamps, put it back in the freezer for 5 minutes or in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  6. Conversely, if it’s too chilled, let it come closer to room temperature to stamp, or it will be too hard.
  7. Cover several baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. If using cookie stamps, dip the cookie stamps in some flour and dust off the excess. Evenly press the cookie stamp onto the dough, making sure to press firmly to get the detailed imprint, and then use a fluted, round cutter to cut the cookie from the dough. Grab a spatula to move the cut-out cookie to your prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and make sure a rack is in the top third of the oven at least 6 inches (15 cm) from the heat source.
  10. Place the cookies in the freezer for 30 minutes and then take them directly from the freezer to the top rack of the oven and bake for 9 minutes. It’s crucial not to overbake these. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
  11. To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, maple syrup, maple extract, if using, and milk until you have a thin glaze. Place a baking sheet underneath the cooling rack. Dip the cooled cookies into the glaze, letting the excess drip back into the bowl…you want the glaze to be thin enough that you can see the detail from the cookie stamps. Set the cookies back on the cooling rack to dry completely and serve!

Gingerbread Chai Cookies

Ingredients

113 grams unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)

150 grams granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 large egg

85 grams molasses

281 grams AP flour

1 1/2 tsp chai spice

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

200 grams sparkling sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and molasses.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk chai spice, flour, ginger, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture slowly to the butter  until well combined. With a 1/4 cup scoop, create 2 inch round balls and place on parchment after rolling in sugar. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on pan.
  3. Bake 15-16 minutes.

Chai Spice

Makes 1/2 cup

32 grams cardamom (1/2 cup)

15 grams cinnamon (2 1/2 tbl)

8 grams ginger (4 tsp)

4 grams cloves (2 tsp)

2 tsp (4 grams black pepper)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.

 

cookies2

Cardamom Cut-out cookies

Ingredients

113 grams unsalted butter, softened

67 grams granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

42 grams honey

3/4 tsp vanilla (3 grams)

188 grams AP flour

3/4 tsp (1.5 grams) ground cardamom

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

Vanilla-Almond Royal Icing (recipe follows)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg yolk, honey, and vanilla, beating until well combined.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cardamom, salt, and baking soda. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Divide dough in half, and shape into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Working with one disk at a time, roll dough to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using desired 2½-inch holiday cutters, cut dough, rerolling scraps as necessary. Place on prepared pans. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  5. Bake until lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on pans for 3 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Decorate as desired with Vanilla-Almond Royal Icing. Garnish with nonpareils, if desired. Let dry completely. Store in airtight containers for up to 1 week.
Vanilla-Almond Royal Icing
Makes about 4 cups
Ingredients

 

4½ cups (540 grams) confectioners’ sugar, divided

2 large egg whites (60 grams)

2 teaspoons (8 grams) almond extract

1½ teaspoons (6 grams) clear vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt

½ teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar

3 tablespoons (45 grams) heavy whipping cream

Gel food coloring

Instructions
  1. In the top of a double boiler, stir together 4 cups (480 grams) confectioners’ sugar, egg whites, extracts, salt, and cream of tartar. Cook over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until mixture registers 140°F (60°C) on a candy thermometer. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add remaining ½ cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar, beating until well combined and cooled to room temperature. Add cream, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) at a time, beating until desired consistency is reached. To test consistency, dip a spoon in frosting and lift, moving it in a figure-8 pattern over bowl as icing drizzles down. The figure-8 shape should disappear in 8 seconds for a cookie glaze and in 10 seconds for a thicker icing used for detail work. Color as desired with food coloring. Use immediately, or refrigerate with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly onto surface for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature, and stir before using.

 

Biscotti

I’ve said it before and said it again….one shouldn’t bake multiple things at the same time or in between rising times on making bread because it’s inevitable….GLORIOUS MISTAKES ENSUE. I decided to half this recipe. I have never made biscotti before and I also didn’t have quite enough hazelnuts for a full recipe. I needed to half the sugar….half of 212 g….so I used 606 grams. I have no idea what I was thinking. I realized when the recipe said “the dough will be really sticky” and mine was like sand. So I sat there and pulled out all my hazelnuts….because I didn’t have any more! Then, I remade the dough with what I figured had to be correct….66 g sugar. Yeah. Just think about that. But, it really was some of the best biscotti I’ve ever had!

 

2 tablespoons (28 grams/1 ounce) unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (212 grams/7.48 ounces) sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 plus 2 tablespoons (170 grams/6 ounces) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons (52 grams/1.83 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 3/4 cups (227 grams/8 ounces) hazelnuts, whole, toasted

3/4 cup (130 grams/4.59 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1 large egg for egg wash

  1. Position one rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar for 1 minute or until a sandy mixture forms. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and lighter in color, about 1 minute more.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk together. Add to the butter-and-egg mixture in 2 additions, and mix only until combined.
  4. Fold the hazelnuts and chocolate chips into the dough, and mix until evenly distributed. The dough will be thick and hard to stir. If it is too sticky, chill briefly.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, about 454 grams/16 ounces each. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a log about 2 inches wide by 14 inches long by 1 1/2 inches high. Place the logs on the prepared sheet pan with several inches between them.
  6. In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash, coating them evenly on the top and sides.
  7. Bake for 27 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking, until very lightly browned and somewhat firm. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF.
  8. Cool the logs for 20 minutes, then place them on a cutting board. With a serrated knife, slice each log on a slight angle into 3/4-inch-thick pieces, keeping them in a row. Slide the row of biscotti together, lift and place back on the cookie sheet, then separate the slices, leave 1/2 inch of space between each one.
  9. Bake again for 9 to 12 minutes, rotating once during baking, until the biscotti feel slightly firm.

 

Spiced rum coffee with butterscotch whipped cream

Weekend afternoons at home with my husband and my dog are pretty much the best, especially after a long work week and as the days get chillier outside. This was a great one. Yes, it would have made for an even prettier picture with a nice glass coffee mug but the most beautiful part of this picture is “our home”. Often times we forget to take a step back and keep things a little simpler. Sit down and enjoy a latte together, a simple glance at a beautiful sunset, or maybe even just a simple conversation of something from the day that we won’t remember in ten years, but the smile and glance into each other’s eyes during these times is what keeps me going. I love the big vacations and look forward to those every moment of every day we aren’t there, but this picture is my favorite day to day…the three of us in our house. A house full of love with strong arms that keep me safe and a puppy cuddled at my legs to keep me warm…..after she gets tired from playing fiercely for three hours. This latte will definitely be made again….and my new favorite whipped cream recipe. We found the custard powder at our local international grocery store and is definitely worth it! I’m sure you can also buy it on amazon.

coffee

For 1 drink:

  • 3/4 cup (175ml) heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons malted milk powder, such as Carnation
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • Tiny pinch kosher salt
  • 6 ounces hot black coffee
  • 2 ounces spiced rum
  • 1 tablespoon 2:1 simple syrup
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish (optional)

Combine heavy cream, malted milk powder, brown sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Beat, using the whisk attachment, electric beaters, or a whisk, until dry ingredients are evenly incorporated and cream forms soft peaks. (Note that we lessened the total amount of the whip cream topping of this recipe to about ¾ of the total and it was plenty still with delicious leftovers!)

Combine hot coffee, spiced rum, and simple syrup in a prewarmed mug. (You can prewarm it by pouring hot water into it, letting it stand for 1 minute, then draining.) Using a spoon, dollop whipped cream on top of coffee and top with freshly grated nutmeg, if using. Serve right away.

Pumpkin Tahini Breakfast Muffins

Hmmm. I have a love hate relationship with these muffins. They are good, and definitely worth remembering the recipe which is exactly why I wanted to keep the recipe here. They aren’t your typical cinnamon-y, starchy, strudel topped light pumpkin baked good from the local coffee shop but they are definitely “good”. A very satisfying muffin and that’s about it. Like I said, love hate relationship with these muffins right now. Our relationship status definitely falls under the “it’s complicated” type. Maybe I’ll feel differently next year. But for now, let’s just get to the recipe. The tahini in them is nice and offers a diverse balance in a muffin from your average home-baked cake.

Ingredients

nonstick cooking oil spray

1¹⁄₃ cups all-purpose flour

¹⁄₃ cup rolled oats

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp salt

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup olive oil

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin purée

2 Tbsp sour cream

¼ cup tahini

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup chopped dates

¼ cup chopped pistachios

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 12 muffin tins with cooking oil spray and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine next 6 ingredients and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine next 8 ingredients and beat on medium speed until combined. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients; blend until combined. Fold in dates. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each ¾ full, and sprinkle pistachios on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

Detroit Style Pizza

dpizza
Sorry for the awful picture: it was the only one I could snag before demolishing the rest of the pie.

This must be in my top three favorite pizzas I’ve ever made.  I very much have a love/hate relationship with making pizza at home. Pizza, when done right at home takes hours, a few more expensive ingredients, and often a bit of planning. Ideally we’d have one of the fancy-pants expensive pizza ovens but then I’d want pizza even more often than I already do.

This pizza though- it’s really a great one with pretty minimal effort. Plus, we topped it with turkey pepperoni as opposed to “real” pepperoni to save a few calories. As we ate, we decided next time it would be nice to through in a few banana peppers on top of the pepperoni for a bit of spice. I would definitely encourage you all to make this soon. Most the Detroit style pizzas I’ve made in the past have been a bit swampy and oily throughout the bottom but not this one! I did have to cook it considerably longer than the recipe said but I’d rather have my pizza a little burnt around the edges (especially Detroit style) and definitely cooked all the way through than a little underdone.

So enjoy this recipe, it’s a good one and super SUPER tasty!

 

Dough

Sauce

  • 7/8 ounce olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oreagno and basil mixture
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Toppings

8 to 12 ounces pepperoni, sliced 1/8″ thick, optional

10 ounces mozzarella cheese

4 ounces cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Mix and knead all the dough ingredients in a mixer with the dough hook or in a bread machine using the dough cycle.
  2. Cover the dough, allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then knead it again until it becomes smooth and elastic (if you’re using a bread machine, skip the rest and allow the machine to complete its kneading cycle).
  3. Form the dough into a ball, place it into a lightly-greased bowl, cover, and allow to rest until doubled, about 2 hours. Place in a proofing oven at 80 degrees Fahrenheit if possible.
  4. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 9” x 13” pan. Gently stretch the dough into the edges and corners of the pan until it starts to shrink back and won’t stretch any farther.
  5. Cover the pan, and allow the dough to rest and relax for 15 to 20 minutes before stretching it again. Repeat the rest one more time, if necessary, until the dough fills the bottom of the pan.
  6. Position a rack at the lowest position of the oven, and start preheating the oven to 500°F.
  7. In the meantime, make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a saucepan set over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in the garlic and herbs, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and sugar, bring to a simmer, and cook until the juices have reduced significantly and you have about 3 cups of sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and set aside.
  8. Gently press the dough down with your fingers to release some larger air bubbles. Top the dough with an even layer of pepperoni, if using, followed by the cheeses making sure to spread them to the edges of the pan.
  9. Dollop the sauce over the surface of the pizza.
  10. Transfer the pizza to the bottom rack of the oven, and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the edges have turned nearly black, about 15 minutes.
  11. Remove the pizza from the oven, run a spatula around the edges to loosen it from the pan, and let it rest for 10 minutes, or until you can handle it. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, cut, and serve.


Kouign Amann

kouignamann

(Keep in mind this is try number two. Totally a time consuming recipe here that needs to be made not while also making 3-4 other things in the kitchen for meal planning, dessert for the night, dinner, etc.)

Definitely one of my favorite things, and once you get the hang of it, this amazing pastry  isn’t so difficult to make! I’ve been on a bit of a pastry kick recently after seeing all of the pastries and bakeries in Quebec City. I don’t believe I’d get tired of baking pastries ever….in fact I think my stomach would start craving something other than sugar before I’d get tired of it. These pastries are so beautiful at the end result. I remember the first time I heard of them – it was on the British Baking show and had decided “I must try these!”.

I’ve made these years ago but recently wanted to try again after learning how to properly laminate dough through making croissants. The ingredients are straight forward and the result is completely extraordinary! I absolutely love these and they make such a nice weekend breakfast with a cup of coffee for my husband and I. I will say though, the lamination takes practice. I do recall being exceptionally confused at the folding process and how to shape the butter the first time I made them. If you’ve never laminated dough, I definitely recommend watching a few YouTube videos online and be aware there’s a few different ways to do it. I think they are all ok, just be consistent.

I tried these about a week ago and we ended up with…uh…not kouign amann. They were something in between a kouign amann and a croissant. I was baking breakfast for the week and dinner for the night and nanaimo bars all the same day and forgot to put the sugar in the last two turns….basically the sugar is what makes kouign amann the sweet, caramelly pastry it is. So, that stunk. Like bad. But they were still ok pastries, just not what I wanted. Needless to say the next weekend I gave it another go to prove to myself I could do it and sure enough – little masterpieces of brilliance!

kouignamann2.jpg

Kouign Amann

(adopted from thekitchn)

Ingredients

1 cup water, room temperature

2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast

2 3/4  cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) cold salted butter, plus extra to grease the pans (See Recipe Note)

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided, plus extra for shaping the pastries

Directions:

  1. Mix the dough: Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand for a few minutes to dissolve. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour (reserving 1/4 cup for later) and the salt.
  2. Knead the dough: Fit your mixer with a dough hook attachment and knead the dough at low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the dough is slightly tacky but smooth.
  3. Let the dough rise for 1 hour: Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise for one hour, until doubled in size. (Or put in proofing oven covered with plastic wrap at 80 degrees Fahrenheit.)
  4. Chill the dough: Once the dough has doubled in bulk, place it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
  5. Begin pounding the butter: Sprinkle your counter with a tablespoon or two of the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Lay the butter on top and sprinkle with another tablespoon or two of flour. Gently begin tapping the top of the butter with your rolling pin, and then pound more forcefully once the flour sticks to the butter.
  6. Continue pounding the butter until supple: Pound the butter flat, then fold it in half using the pastry scraper. Try not to touch the butter with your hands. (I cheated a little and it was ok.) Pound the butter flat and fold it in half again. Repeat another 2 to 3 times until the butter is very supple. Pound the butter into a rectangle roughly 6 inches by 10 inches (*Or 6 by 5 in if you are halving the recipe). Transfer for a baking sheet and refrigerate while you roll out the dough. (Do not refrigerate the butter for longer than 15 minutes or you will need to pound it to suppleness again.)
  7. Roll out the dough: Sprinkle your counter with flour and transfer the dough on top. Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 12 inches by 20 inches. (*Or 6 by 20 in if you are halving)
  8. Wrap the butter in the dough: Remove the butter from the fridge and transfer it to the middle of the dough. Fold one half of the dough over the butter and fold the other half on top, like folding a letter. Roll it out slightly to press the layers together, then fold it again into thirds.
  9. Begin “turning” the dough: You will complete 4 total turns to make the kouign amann: 2 turns now, chill the dough, and then the final 2 turns. “Turn” the dough 2 times: Rotate the package of dough and butter so that the narrower, open end is facing you, like you’re about to read a book. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 12 inches wide by 20 inches long (or 6 by 20 in). Fold the top third down and the bottom third up, like folding a letter.

Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the open end is again facing you, like a book. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 12 inches wide by 20 inches long (or 6 by 20 in). Fold the top third down and the bottom third up, like folding a letter. You have now completed 2 turns.

  1. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes: Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. “Turn” the dough another 2 times and sprinkle with sugar: Remove the dough from the fridge and transfer it to a well-floured counter. With the open end facing you (like a book), roll the dough out to a rectangle 12 inches wide by 20 inches long (or 6 by 20). Sprinkle it all over with 3/4 cups of sugar and press lightly with the rolling pin to help it stick. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up, like folding a letter.

Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the open end is again facing you, like a book. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 12 inches wide by 20 inches long (or 6 by 20 in). Sprinkle it all over with the remaining 3/4 cups of sugar and press lightly with the rolling pin to help it stick. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up, like folding a letter. If any sugar falls out, press it back into the folds. You have now completed 4 total turns.

  1. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes: Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the muffin tins or pastry rings: Rub the insides of the muffin tins or pastry rings amply with butter. Arrange the pastry rings on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. Roll out the kouign amann dough: Sprinkle the counter with sugar. Remove the dough from the fridge and transfer it to the counter. Sprinkle a little additional sugar over the top of the dough. Roll the dough out to a rectangle roughly 8 inches wide by 24 inches long (or 8 by 12 in) and roughly 1/4-inch thick.
  4. Shape the kougin amann: Slice the dough down the length to form two strips that are 4 inches wide by 24 inches long (or 12 in). Cut each strip into 4-inch squares to create 12 squares (6). Fold the corners of each square toward the center. Pick up each pastry and tuck it firmly into the muffin tins or pastry rings. If cooking in a muffin tin, it will feel like you’re squishing the pastry; this is ok.

Make Ahead Tip: At this point, the kouign amann can be covered and refrigerated overnight. The next day, let the pastries come to room temperature and rise for about an hour before baking.

  1. Let the kouign amann rise: Cover the kouign amann loosely with plastic and let them rise until slightly puffy, 30 to 40 minutes. (Mine took a little longer.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack placed in the center of the oven.
  3. Bake the kouign amann: Set the muffin tin on a baking sheet to catch butter drips during baking. Place the kouign amann in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350°F. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through baking. Pastries are finished when the tops are deep golden and the tips look like they might be just starting to burn.
  4. Cool briefly and then remove pastries from pan: Transfer the pan of kouign amann to a cooling rack and let the pastries stand until they are just cool enough to handle. Gently wiggle them out of the muffin tins or pastry molds, and set them on the cooling rack to finish cooling completely. Do not let the kouign amann cool completely in the pan or the sugar will harden and make the pastries impossible to remove. (This was the most difficult part. I had to take them out while they were still hot. I may try next time either pastry rings or keeping them in muffin tins until completely cool and place muffin tin pan over heat source to rewarm the bottom and see if they’ll come out easier that way.)

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

LPmuffin

Easy recipe. Easy post.

We’ve made this week a “take-it-easy” week.

Hopefully phenomenal results (this recipe sure was!)

I’ll be taking a break next week but I definitely suggest making this easy recipe for almond poppy seed muffins. It’s completely enjoyable, no crazy steps or mystery ingredients. Enjoy these….they are delicious. And of course……

 

TAKE IT EASY!

 

Almond Poppy Seed Jumbo Muffins

Ingredients

1 cup AP flour

1 cup whole wheat flout

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 c sugar (scant)

1/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 eggs

1 Tbl almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

2 Tbl poppyseeds

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, oil, and sugar well.
  4. Add the eggs, almond and vanilla extract, and buttermilk and beat until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until just combined.
  6. Add the poppyseeds and stir gently until incorporated.
  7. Spray 6 jumbo sized muffins tins with Pam and fill with batter.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Croissants

croissants

I’m not really sure where the love for these came from or the fascination of creating them. I mean I fancy some things fancy…like most….but these. These are kind of the most exquisite start to my morning. This and a nice espresso. And my husband. And my puppy.

The first time I really remember falling in love with these, like most things delicious, was on a Disney cruise ship at the coffee bar. They have croissants that come to your room for breakfast and croissants on the buffet at Cabanas but there is no croissant like the big fluffy, flakey croissants from the coffee bar. You walk in smelling the salty sea and it immediately turns over into coffee and café sway music and is just 100% delightful. The sun is barely up yet, the husband is groggily waking up to my excited pleas of breakfast and soaking up every minute of our vacation. It’s beautiful.

So, the other place I MUST mention for awesome croissants was at Palo brunch on the Disney cruise ship. Our waiter was so kind in mentioning, “if you’re interested the best thing you can do is go get a chocolate truffle or two off the dessert bar and a warm croissant from the buffet and insert the truffle into the croissant.” To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure if he was kidding or not…I mean this was a fancy brunch that started with a nice glass of champagne….the kind that you don’t even consider putting your elbows on the table and you always have to keep track of your napkin….but I didn’t care. I was so on this and it was every bit as good as it sounds. I’ve tried to replicate…but it just can’t be replicated until we go back ☺ and then it’s totally first thing.

croissants3

Back to these croissants. These are an achievement. And a frustration. And never perfect and take a ton of time to make.

Fortunately for me, time is what I had this weekend. I had a beautiful and needed weekend home with my husband and my dog, ‘Quila. I even had my husband help me make them perfectly…dimensions….and cutting…and rise time and all.

And they failed. Because they are croissants.

We followed the recipe perfectly, from a very well-known source. It was not the recipe itself, it was not not following directions, it was the part of the recipe that’s never written. It was the fact that it was not quite warm enough in our house to rise as quickly as the recipe said. I had a glimpse of a thought to let them rise longer but went with “if that’s what the recipe said, so shall it be done.” Nope. They didn’t cook through. (Hindsight I should have kept them and made them into a bread pudding but got so mad they all went in the trash).

I was so upset…all that time. But what a lesson. Life’s not perfect but I still got to spend all that time home with my husband and ‘Quila and it was perfect.

To finish the story, I was urged to start them again in that moment and not even look back. I said no feeling too much time had been “wasted”. It only took a few hours for me to sleep on it until realizing I was being more difficult than the twisted recipe for croissants and woke at 3 am to start again. There was plenty of wonderful moments in this whole process and this weekend. I feel so lucky to have my husband and pup by my side.

So here’s the recipe. Good luck. They are completely worth it and you can definitely do it but it might take a few tries!

croissants2

Without further ado…..

Ingredients:

500 grams all purpose flour

36 grams sugar

10 grams instant yeast

16 grams plus 1/4 tsp sea salt, divided

300 grams plus 1 tbl whole or 2% milk, room temperature and divided

70 grams Irish butter, unsalted, melted and cooled

One recipe Butter Block (follows)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, yeast, and 16 grams salt. Add 300 grams milk and melted butter stirring until flour is absorbed. Turn out mixture onto an unfloured surface and knead 4 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap in ball shape and let rest in room temperature about 45 minutes.
  2. Place dough in well buttered bowl and turn to coat with butter and cover with lid. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle. Roll dough into a 15 3/4 x 9 inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 10 minutes.
  4. For the first turn, place dough on lightly floured surface with short side facing you. Unfold chilled butter block from envelope and place in center. Fold top and bottom sides of dough over butter block so seems meet in the middle. Pinch seam closed and pinch closed right and left sides of envelope.
  5. Turn dough 90 degrees so sealed center is perpendicular to you. Roll dough into a 15 3/4 x 9 1/2 in rectangle.
  6. Fold top third of dough down over center and fold bottom third of dough up over top to make a 9 1/2 x 6 in rectangle. Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Then freeze 20 minutes.
  7. For the second turn, repeat steps 5 and 6.
  8. For the final turn, place dough on work surface with one short side facing you and roll into a 15 3/4 x 9 1/2 in rectangle. Fold top and bottom sides of dough until almost to center leaving 3/4 in gap. Fold bottom up over top as if closing a book and you should have a 9 1/2 x 4 in rectangle. Return dough to baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour and freeze 20 minutes.
  9. Place dough on work surface with long side facing you. Roll into a 20 1/2 x 9 3/4 in rectangle and trim to a neat 20 x 9 1/2 in rectangle.
  10. Using a knife, mark top edge every 5 inches. Starting 2 1/2 inches from the left, mark bottom edge every 5 inches. Connect the dots and cut dough. Place two smaller pieces on outside together and pinch both sides. You should have 8 triangles. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze 15 minutes.
  11. Place a triangle on work surface and roll until it is 12 1/2 inches long. Fold in bottom corners about an inch up, towards each other and begin to roll up from bottom. Stretch final 1 1/2 inch of dough and place on outside of roll. Let rise at room temperature AT LEAST 3 hours (or in proofing over) until 1 1/2 times their volume. Freeze 20 minutes.
  12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange croissants on a parchment lined baking sheet (only four at a time) and place remaining in the refrigerator.
  13. In a small bowl, whisk an egg, 1 tbl milk, and 1/8 tsp salt and apply to croissants with a pastry brush.
  14. Bake croissants 35-40 minutes. Enjoy!

Butter block

340 grams Irish butter, unsalted and cold

31 grams all purpose flour

  1. Cut a 20 inch long piece of parchment paper and fold the long way in half (so the two short ends meet up). Then fold over the three open sides to create an 8 inch square envelope.
  2. In a stand mixer beat the butter and flour at medium speed about 1 minute.
  3. Scrape mixture onto center of parchment and keep a 1/2 in border on all edges. Roll mixture in parchment envelope about 1/4 in thick. Freeze 20 minutes.

Whew. Made it.