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Category Archives: bakery

Martha’s Cookie of the Month

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I’m a Martha person. Are you? Her recipes are usually simple enough, well tested, and tasty. She only makes me feel like the most disorganized person on the planet some of the time. What a woman. When I get too discouraged I just remember she spent time behind bars and it makes me like her again.

This month the special cookie in her magazine is the “Nutty Butter.” This really isn’t a “throw it in the mixer and forget it” type of recipe. There are a few steps involved, so make sure you have about 45 minutes. You can find the recipe for these cookies after the pictures.

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Recipe can be found on page 56 of Martha Stewart Living Magazine, April 2012.
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Mix Mix Mixing up the butter and sugars.
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Thank you to my back yard chickens for making this egg and these cookies possible!
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Highly recommend investing in a full sized sheet pan. It takes up the entire oven and you can bake all of your cookies in one huge batch. Cuts a lot of time and energy…
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Here they are! And they were awesome. Not just because I’m pregnant.

Ingredients:

  • I 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (If that sounds too healthy, substitute chocolate chips. That’s what I did.)
  1. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring, until toasted, 5-7 minutes. Spread oat mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet; let cool.
  2. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat together the remaining stick of butter and the sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined. Add nut butter (I used peanut butter but you can also use almond or cashew), and beat until combined on medium speed.
  3. Add oat mixture and chopped nuts (or chocolate chips), and beat on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture, beat until combined.
  4. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets, can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week. But they won’t last that long.
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Liverpool Leading Lady

I’m not as English as I once thought.

My father and I were talking about having corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick’s Day and I said that it would be worth the effort, “Even though there’s not an ounce of Irish blood in us,” to which my father replied, “I’m half Irish.”

Oh. Really?

Well, then we certainly should have some corned beef and cabbage and throw in a loaf Irish soda bread while we’re at it.

Now, I was perfectly justified in thinking that I was English. My great-grandparent and company were all born in Liverpool. Well, there’s a story behind that.

It just so happens that I am not the first actress in my family. My grandmother Kathleen was certainly one of the most dramatic people I knew, but her grandmother certainly takes the gold.

For many, many years being Irish was not nearly as grand as being English and my great-great grandmother thought she could do something about that. When the time came to give birth to each baby in her brood, she would go to Liverpool, have her child, and then go back to her homestead in Ireland. Doing this made her English (In her mind, of course). She did the baby act a few times and it was not easy, but the performance must have been worth it.

So, in honor of her and her wild antics, I adapted Nick Malgieri’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread Muffins. Don that green apron of yours and bake some up this weekend.

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Makes 12 standard muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour     1 ½ teaspoons baking powder    ½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted    ¼ cup sugar    1 large egg    1 ¼ cups buttermilk

¾ cup raisins, currants, or cranberries tossed with 1 tablespoon flour

confectioner’s sugar    vanilla extract    half-n-half

  1. Set a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 F.
  2. Line your muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar. Whisk in the egg and ½ of the buttermilk. Gently stir in ½ of the flour mixture and then add the remaining buttermilk.
  5. Stir in the dried fruit and then the rest of the flour mixture.
  6. Spoon the batter in to the muffin cups and bake for about 30 minutes or until the muffins have a touch of gold and are firm to the touch.
  7. Allow the muffins to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Mix together a cup of confectioner’s sugar, two tablespoons of half-n-half, and one tablespoon of vanilla. Add liquid or sugar until you get a nice consistency. Drip the icing over cooled muffins and allow the icing to harden. The muffins should look glazed.

Jessica’s Rustic Apple Pie

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Rustic apple pie.

What makes something “rustic?” Is it unfinished looking? Usually. That’s the case with this apple pie. There are no crimped edges, no perfectly pressed crust. There’s not even a stitch of butter in the crust, which is normally a no-no for me [Jessica]. This pie takes about 15 minutes to throw together, and that’s what’s so beautiful about it. Maddy Lu has an eye for the “rustic” in dessert. It might not be pretty, but I bet it’s one of the best things you’ve ever eaten! Here is my recipe for rustic apple pie. I highly recommend it… and your husband will thank you when he walks in from work and smells the cinnamon. Maybe a back rub is in order?

Preheat Oven to 375…

Ingredients:

FILLING

  • 8 Medium Sized Apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • A generous sprinkling of cinnamon
  • 3 TBS Flour

CRUST

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. To begin, slice and core your apples. This is the time when an apple peeler/corer comes in handy.
  2. Melt a stick of butter on medium heat, once melted, add the flour.
  3. Add the white/brown sugars and the cinnamon.
  4. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. That’s it.
  5. Get that crust prepared- using a pastry cutter or a big fork, cut the flour/salt into the shortening.  Mix in the water with your hands until the dough comes together.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface- you want a big huge pancake.
  7. Lift the dough onto your baking sheet, and dump the apples into the center.
  8. Pull up the edges so they come in about halfway towards the center.
  9. Bake on center rack at 375 or until you can see the apples are bubbling and the crust is browned.

Have This On Hand and A Pie Story

From a triple layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and peanut butter filling to vanilla sheet cakes to pies, pies, pies.

And pies.

Oh, but I love it.

Pies are truly wonderful and I hope you get your fill (is that possible?) tomorrow. There are so many possibilities with pies, but what makes a pie fantastic is that it is both sweet and savory, no matter what the flavor. Think of your typical apple pie—sweet, chunky, spicy, fruity filling with a rich, buttery, flaky crust.

This is food perfection. Eat it any time and all of the time. And the chicken pie—protein and vegetable goodness in a crust that makes you feel loved. What more could you want?

My little man couldn’t agree more. Mommy and Baby can often be found devouring a pumpkin pie by the light of the open refrigerator.

With the holidays here, pies are necessary and excellent any time of day. There is nothing like a leftover piece of pie first thing in the morning. Or a forkful before a run.

It makes me go faster.

But you may want other breakfast possibilities. I’ve made a routine of making pan bread every other day. We usually work through a loaf in a day and I have another waiting in the freezer. I tried out Nick Malgieri’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread. A toasted slice with my morning latte was quite nice. It’s not a sweet bread, mind you. It’s a nice toasting bread and the cinnamon swirl dresses it up a bit for this time of year.

Cinnamon Swirl Pan Bread

*Adapted from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri.

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 cups warm tap water

5 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (substitute some whole wheat flour for all-purpose)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

5 tablespoons vegetable oil or unsalted butter, melted

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins

1. Oil two loaf pans.

2. Whisk the yeast into the water and set aside.

3. Place 5 cups of flour in a mixer with the salt. Add the yeast mixture, honey,  and oil or butter and mix on low with a dough hook for 5 minutes. If the dough is really sticky, you can add some flour one tablespoon at a time.

4. Oil a bowl and place the dough inside, turning it over once to oil it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to double. This takes a little over an hour.

5. Mix together 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons of melted, unsalted butter. Set this aside.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Deflate the dough and divide it in half. Make a clump into a rectangle. Spread half of the cinnamon mixture over the rectangle and sprinkle it with about 1/4 cup of raisins, fold in the short sides and then the long, making a cylinder. Put it in the pan seam side down. Do the same with the other clump. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let the loaves rise for about an hour.

5. When the loaves are about ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

7. Unmold and set on racks to cool.

This bread is great warm. Have a loaf today and freeze a loaf for tomorrow. You could also make some wildly good French toast with this stuff.

Thanks Nick!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Heat ‘N Serve No More

I’ve converted. Once upon a time I found nothing wrong with the “heat ‘n serve” dinner roll. I even fought on behalf of it.

There was one year my sister was hosting Thanksgiving dinner and decided to streamline the menu, cutting out those unusually white rolls. At the time, this seemed like an injustice to me. What will we use to dip into our mashed potatoes and swirl through the gravy?

Excellent argument. Somehow I won.

Then I had to force myself to eat part of one of those necessary rolls.

Now, I can say goodbye to heat ‘n serve. I made my own rolls. And oh, if you could smell these.

Once again I have Nick Malgieri to thank for making my day. He has the gift for fashioning breads with intense flavor. And I was fortunate enough to come across his book How to Bake.

Maddy continues her year of the bread with dinner/breakfast/lunch rolls. Oh they are anytime rolls.

Below is an adaptation of Nick’s recipe. Try it out or give me a ring and I will try it out for you.

Wheat Rolls

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour    1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey    1 tablespoon salt

1 cup warm tap water (about 110 degrees)    2 teaspoons active dry yeast    2 large eggs

4 tablespoons butter, melted    Egg wash: 1 beaten egg with a pinch of salt

1. Cover cookie sheets or jelly-roll pans with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand-mixer, with the dough hook attached, (you can do this by hand, too) combine the dry ingredients. Let the mixer run on low for 1 minute.

3. Add the water, yeast, eggs, nectar or honey, and butter and continue to let it mix for a minute.

4. Oil a mixing bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl to coat all of the sides of the dough with the oil. Cover the bowl and let it rest at room temperature until the dough has doubled, about 1 hour.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pressed it down to let the air out. Divide the dough in half and then slice each half into 8 pieces to get 16 pieces in total.

6. With the palm of your hand, roll each piece into a small mound. Try to create a smooth surface on each piece. If you’d like to seed or salt your rolls, do that now.

7. Place the rolls on the prepared pans and cover with oiled plastic wrap and a towel. Allow the rolls to rest for about an hour.

8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

9. Bake the rolls at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. The internal temperature of the rolls should be 210.

Enjoy the rolls warm. The rolls keep well for about 24 hours. After that, you can freeze the rolls and defrost as needed.

Delicious.

Does anyone need pies for Thanksgiving? MaddyLu’s Bakery is now taking orders for the big day. Check out our Facebook page for more information.  http://www.facebook.com/MaddyLus

Brown-Bier-Weizen-Brot

Butter melting in the skillet, beautiful baby white potatoes ready to dip in, crusty bread, red wine. Ah.

Josh and Sophie are playing “Catch Me” in the yard.

I was almost caught while sneaking out to gather some herbs.

And so the year of the bread continues with a loaf with roots–my  German roots. German food is good any time of year but the fall calls for pale boiled potatoes, luscious meats, pungent cheeses, good beer, and equally good bread.

I found a fantastic recipe for brown beer bread in an old Cooking Light magazine that a friend brought over. If you could have tasted the air in my kitchen while I was putting this bread together…oh my. Josh walked in while I was punching down the dough and commented on how much it smelled like Würzburg. I agreed.

Josh and I spent a bit of time in Germany over the Christmas holiday one year.

We had a ticket in to Frankfurt and a ticket out of Nuremberg. That was it. No reservations, no plans, nothing. It was up to us to make our way across the bottom of Germany. Without knowing German.

Oh but Germany during the holidays was enchanting and Würzburg was possibly one of the loveliest places of all.

We stayed in a charming bed and breakfast that had a dining room which served supper and was open to the public. And the German public came.

While we traveled, we had a rule: speak as little as possible. (We learned as much of the native language as we could, but knew our accents would give us away.) This worked quite well, except for when it came to ordering off menus. Waiters always discovered our secret.

At the inn in Würzburg, the waiter pretty much chose our meals for us and what a fine job he did. The brown beer bread recipe brings many of those flavors I experienced while in Germany together in one hearty loaf. I hope you get the chance to make this bread. If not, you’ll just have to book a flight to Schönes Deutschland.

Brown Beer Wheat Bread

1 tablespoon olive oil     1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/8 teaspoons sugar, divided   2 packages dry yeast (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)

3/4 cup warm brown beer (100 to 110 degrees)    1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon white vinegar     1 1/2 teaspoon salt     1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided     1 cup whole wheat flour (or rye)

cooking spray     1 teaspoon water     1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté 4 minutes until golden brown. Set onions aside to cool.

2. Warm beer (I used the microwave). Dissolve 1/8 teaspoon sugar and the yeast in the beer. Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. Stir yogurt,vinegar, and salt into the beer mixture. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sugar and egg. Stir with a whisk. If you would like to make a rye bread, this is when you would add 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds.

4. Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and the whole wheat flour to the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Stir in the onions.

5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding enough of the remaining flour to keep the dough from being too sticky to handle. Add 1 tablespoon at a time.

6. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in the bowl and turn once over to coat the loaf with the oil.

7. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise it in a warm place, free from drafts for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

8. Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes.

9. Shape the dough into a 12-inch oval loaf and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let it rise for another 30 minutes or until it has doubled again.

10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

11. Combine 1 teaspoon water and the egg white in a small bowl. Brush the egg mixture over the loaf.

12. Bake the loaf for 28 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when you give it a tap.

13. Cool on a wire rack.

*Adapted from Cooking Light, September 2006.

Pastry for Pleasure

Two nine-inch chocolate rounds. Two dozen biscotti. Two sticks of butter. Two eggs. Two cups of sugar. Two crying babies. Two more nibbles of cookie and I’m there.

But what about pastry?

Pastry for pastry’s sake? Yes, birthday cakes and birthday biscotti, but pastry? For kicks?

I feel like I’ve been waiting for this day for so long.

As I gather the ingredients and set up the processor, I have doubts. Can this happen? Can we go from start to finish here?

Asher is lying on his back, cooing at his rattle, while Sophie reads quietly in the parlor.

REALLY?!

I found myself holding my breath as I cut the  butter into 1/2 inch pieces. Dare to proceed? Once the butter’s cut, it’s a done deal. There’s no turning back.

Pulse, pulse, pulse. Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two. 

I check on the kids.

They’re fine. Wow.

Back to work.

Pulse, pulse, pulse. Thirty-one pulses and we’re in a ball. I don’t deserve this!

Out onto the floured surface and we’re pressing and rolling and pressing and rolling. Gently but swiftly.

The cut apples simmered in their own juices. A dash of cinnamon  and they’re perfection.

The entire process was just that–a process, but it was well worth it.

The house erupted after I set the dough in the fridge to rest. But I could handle it. The dough was safe. That’s what mattered.

In a few hours, I had the joy of tearing off the corner of my very own apple turnover. The steam ran out and I smiled. I tore the corner piece into smaller bits and savored each one. Oh, the pleasures of pastry.

Nick Malgieri, the king of pastry, has a fantastic quick puff pastry recipe in his book How to Bake. I highly recommend the recipe along-with his recipes for pan breads and pie crust. If you want to make turnovers, use about 2/3rds of this dough, along-with a filling consisting of 4 large cooking apples, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Beat an egg with a pinch of salt and brush the perimeter of a 6-inch square. Fill one half of the square, fold it, pinch it, and brush with the egg mixture. Slash a 1-inch vent hole in the top and bake at 350 for about 20 or 25 minutes.

Nick Malgieri’s Quickest Puff Pastry

10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter                                   1/2 cup cold tap water                                          1 teaspoon salt

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Cut 2 sticks of butter into 1/2- to 1/4-inch pieces and refrigerate.

2. In a small bowl, stir the salt into the water until dissolved. Set aside.

3. Coarsely dice the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Place the flour in a food processor. Add the 4 tablespoons of butter and pulse until the butter is absorbed–about ten 1-second pulses.

4. Add the chilled butter and pulse once or twice to distribute. Add the water and salt mixture and pulse until the dough forms a rough ball. (This took me 31 pulses.)

5. Turn the dough out onto a flour work surface. Shape the dough into a rough rectangle and place between 2pieces of plastic wrap. Press the dough with a rolling pin to flatten, then roll back and forth to make a 12 x 18-inch rectangle.

6. Peel off the top layer of plastic wrap and turn the dough out onto the floured work surface. Peel away the second piece of wrap. Fold the two into thirds to make a 4 x 18-inch rectangle, then roll the dough up from one of the 4-inch ends.

7. Press the dough out into a 6 -inch square.

8. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.

Oh yes.

Oh and here are some photos of a retro bridal shower Maddy Lu baked for.

We had a grand time.