How to Make Berry Shortcakes

Blueberry Shortcakes

Shortcakes were made for berry season! Top them with fresh whipped cream and a generous helping of your favorite seasonal berry for an irresistible summer-time dessert.

This is my Baking Partners challenge for the month and since it was my turn to pick a recipe I get to do the step-by-step tutorial.

Shortcakes are very lightly sweetened biscuits, but instead of butter these are made with heavy cream, making the dough easier to work with and practically fail-proof.

Start by mixing the berries with a little sugar to help them release some of their juices. You can use blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. These are wild blueberries…. 

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Savory Cheddar Herb Scones

Savory Cheddar Herb Scones

Flaky, herb-infused scones filled with tiny pockets of cheddar cheese that melt in your mouth. The baking world’s answer to the savory scone which is similar to a biscuit, only fancier.

They’re soft, dense and buttery with a little crispiness to the outsides. They’re perfectly delicious eaten straight from the oven piping hot with pats of cold, salty butter melting into them alongside a soup or stew, frittata or salad.

They’re even good later after they’ve cooled off, lightly toasted with butter or cream cheese. They’re great with bacon and eggs too. … 

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Chocolate Babka Muffins

Chocolate Babka Glazed Muffins

Ribbons of buttery chocolate are nestled into swirl upon swirl of sweet yeast dough with a sticky glaze topping. The dough has a slight crustiness to it that gives way to soft, tender middles.

The process is just like making cinnamon rolls except rather than baking them side by side these are baked in a muffin pan for stand-alone mini babka cakes. You have the option of topping them in the more traditional way, with streusel crumbs, if you like, or you can even leave them plain and have them still be delicious…. 

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Homemade White Cheddar Cheez-Its

White Cheddar Cheez-it Crackers Easy-to-make homemade crackers that taste exactly like white cheddar cheez-its! Thin and crispy with salty, sharp cheddar dominating every bite. They don’t look like anything like real white cheddar cheez-its but looks don’t matter when they’re homemade. Trust me when I say they’re just like them, only better because you know what’s in them. Real ingredients you can easily pronounce. Not too long ago these were a staple in my life. It was normal for me to wake up and crack open a box of cheez-its for breakfast. Eww. All those chemicals and preservatives. I wonder if they even put real cheese in them. The thought makes me shudder now. The dough easily comes together using flour, instant yeast, a small amount of butter and oil plus a pinch each of salt, sugar and baking powder. There’s a down side and an up side. The down side is the dough has to be refrigerated overnight and the up side is that even though there’s yeast in the mix there’s no rising time involved. Just refrigerate overnight and let come up to room temperature the next day when you’re ready to bake them. Even though the dough is a little on the sticky side I found it easy to work with. For the best results use plenty of flour and roll the dough out really thin, almost paper-thin. Don’t forget to dock them! Poke them a few times with a toothpick or skewer to allow steam to escape otherwise they’ll puff up like balloons with hollow centers. Still good but not what we’re looking for. You only need a bit of cheese on each one to bring in the white cheddar flavor, if you overload them they won’t crisp up as easily and the cheese will melt right off in a molten puddle. Because the dough isn’t salted, a sprinkle of coarse salt and pepper on each one is important for making that cheesy flavor sing. Homemade White Cheddar Cheez-Its If you told me five years ago I’d be making my own crackers someday I would have scoffed at you. I didn’t even know it was possible to make crackers from scratch without an industrial machine. Duh. My culinary prowess has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Can you tell how excited I am to have this recipe! My life will never be the same. I have my beloved cheez-its back along with endless possibilities for flavors. This uses a basic soda/saltine cracker recipe that you can add your own flavor twist to. I did make two other versions but these were the standouts. There was a salt and pepper version and a parmesan and tuscan herb version. They didn’t stand a chance. I can’t say enough good things about them!

Join my baking group!

Thank-you to Arthy of Cook With Arthy Sharma for picking these for our monthly Baking Partners challenge! I’ll be making them at least once a week. A double batch. White Cheddar Cheez-Its

Homemade White Cheddar Cheez-Its

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: about 3 dozen crackers, depending on size

 Homemade White Cheddar Cheez-Its

Easy-to-make homemade crackers that taste exactly like white cheddar cheez-its! Thin and crispy with salty, sharp white cheddar cheese dominating every bite.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 + 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (I like Saf )
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
For the topping:
about 4 ounces extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded from a block (not pre-shredded)(I like Cabot)
coarse salt
black pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, yeast, salt, baking soda and sugar together.
  2. In a small saucepan bring the water, butter and oil to a simmer, stir to melt the butter. Remove from heat and let cool
  3. Add the vinegar to the water then pour it over the flour mixture and stir until combined. The dough will be soft and sticky.
  4. Grease a medium bowl and set the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day bring the dough to room temperature.
  6. Line 2 large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Divide the dough in half and on a heavily floured work surface use a rolling pin to roll one out to about a 6 x 4 rectangle. Think of the rectangle in thirds - fold the left third over to the center then the right third over that. This will help make flaky layers.
  8. Turn the dough and roll it out until it is almost paper thin. Use a pizza cutter and ruler to cut into 3 or 4-inch squares. Use a bench knife or thin spatula to transfer them to the baking sheet.
  9. Poke each one all over with a toothpick about 5 - 6 times. Sprinkle each one with a little cheese, salt and pepper.
  10. Bake 10 - 14 minutes - until lightly golden. You can pull a cracker out to test - blow on it to cool - it should crunch when you bite into it.
  11. Repeat with the remaining dough until all the crackers are cooked. Let them cool completely and don't cover them tightly for a few hours - it will help them stay crunchy. I just laid a piece of parchment over mine to protect them. Then store in a tightly covered container up to 3 days.

Notes:

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/homemade-white-cheddar-cheez-its/

Easy White Cheddar Cheez-Its
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Dutch Coffee Buns

Dutch Coffee Buns

Dutch coffee buns are yeast rolls traditionally topped with a jam glaze and filled with custard and raisins. Always one to buck tradition and in an effort to use up my leftover holiday baking supplies, I filled mine with almond paste, dried cranberries and then topped them off with a tart cherry jam glaze.

This was my monthly Baking Partner’s challenge. Thanks to Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen, the creator of the group and Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal for suggesting these delectable buns! They’re easy to make with a process that is just like cinnamon rolls.

Dutch Coffee Buns with Almond Filling & Jam

The dough is proofed once then rolled out to a square and topped with almond paste and cranberries. It’s rolled up and sliced then left to proof again before baking. The buns are topped with jam glaze and are best eaten warm with a cup of fresh, piping hot coffee, the traditional way they are served in the Netherlands.

They bake up soft and fluffy with almond paste and chewy cranberries bursting from the seams. The sweet jam is the perfect topping for the tender, yeasty buns.

You can find the links to all my Baking Partner’s versions below along with recipes for the Dutch apple tart.

Dutch Coffee Buns with Jam & Almonds

Dutch Coffee Buns

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 buns, depending on size

 Dutch Coffee Buns

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet (7 grams) instant yeast
1 + ¼ cups lukewarm milk
3 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces almond paste
1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup fruit jam (tart cherry, strawberry, apricot or blueberry)
2 tablespoon warm water
a handful of sliced almonds, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with the hook attachment)whisk the flour, salt, sugar and yeast together. Add the butter, vanilla and milk, stir until the milk is combined then turn out on a lightly floured board and knead until the dough is smooth or use your stand mixer set to medium speed.
  2. Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with saran wrap. Set in a warm place and proof until doubled in size about 1 hour. Meanwhile, break the almond paste apart into small pieces.
  3. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Gently deflate the dough and knead on a lightly floured surface for about 2 minutes. Then roll it out with a rolling pin to about a 13 x 13-inch square.
  4. Sprinkle the almond paste all over leaving about a 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the cranberries over top of that.
  5. Roll the dough up to form a cylinder shape. With seam side down cut slices with a serrated knife 1-inch to 1 + 1/2-inch in size. Place on the baking sheet. If any of the almond paste falls out just pop it back in.
  6. Set a piece of parchment over top and then gently cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and proof again 30 - 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. You can brush the tops of the rolls with a tablespoon of melted butter, if you like. Bake 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Mix the jam and warm water together and brush over top of the warm rolls. Sprinkle with almonds.
  9. Serve warm with a fresh, steaming hot cup of coffee.

Notes:

Adapted from The Dutch Table

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/jam-glazed-dutch-coffee-buns/

Baking Partners

Crescent Moon Bread: Pataquetas

Spanish Patequeta

Pataquetas are the traditional bread of Valencia dating back to the 17th century. The bread is shaped into chubby crescent moons and is comparable to ciabatta. It’s baked in a steamy oven that makes the outsides crusty, a little chewy and the insides soft and airy.

This was my Baking Partners challenge of the month chosen by Marisa of Thermofan who lives in Valencia and wanted us to experience her traditional bread firsthand.

My family loved the rolls – we were all sorry to see the last one be eaten. Requests quickly followed asking me to make them again – a “double batch” next time.

That’s a tip and a subtle hint rolled into one. These don’t make a lot of rolls – 7 small or 5 – 6 big ones. If you’re going to go through the process of making them I highly recommend doubling the recipe. These babies disappear fast.

Crescent Moon Bread

Crescent Moon Bread: Pataquetas

Rating: 51

Yield: 7 small or 4 medium

Crescent Moon Bread: Pataquetas

Patequetas are the traditional bread of Valencia dating back to the 17th century. The bread is shaped into chubby crescent moons and is comparable to ciabatta. It's baked in a steamy oven that makes the outsides crusty, a little chewy and the insides soft and airy.

Ingredients:

For the ferment:
100 ml water
50 g /1/3 cup all-purpose flour
12.5 g fresh yeast/5g or 1 ½ teaspoons Instant yeast/6.25g or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
For the bread dough:
450 g/3 cups bread flour (you can substitute with all-purpose flour), plus extra for dusting the work surface and bread
200 ml tepid water
10 g/1 ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions:

    Make the Ferment:
  1. In a large mixing bowl stir the yeast into the water in your mixing bowl, then add the flour and sugar and mix well. Cover with plastic film. Refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours.
  2. Make the Bread Dough:
  3. Take the ferment out of the refrigerator and let sit on the counter 1/2 t0 1 hour.
  4. Mix in the bread flour and water, turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead the dough 10 minutes. Knead in the salt and continue kneading until smooth and elastic. Alternately you can use your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or your bread machine.
  5. Divide the dough into 150 gram pieces for a medium size roll or 100 grams for a smaller roll and form them into balls. Let the rest with a clean kitchen towel over them for about 20 minutes.
  6. Flatten them with the palm of your hand and using a sharp knife make a cut into the center and gently pull the pieces apart to form a fat, roundish crescent moon. Make another shallow cut to the side lengthwise.
  7. Dust a kitchen cloth with flour and cover them. Let them rest until they double in size about 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Carefully place a pan on the bottom rack and fill with boiling water. Bake the 100 gram size for about 22 minutes and the larger 150 gram size for 30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Notes:

Adapted from Entre Cacerolas

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/crescent-moon-bread-patequetas/

Pumpkin Ginger Bread w/ Maple Glaze

Pumpkin Bread

I baked you this lovely pumpkin bread infused with the zingy flavor of ground ginger and topped with a maple syrup glaze. A task for my monthly Baking Partners Group to celebrate October and all things pumpkin.

Pumpkin loves ginger and ginger loves it right back. A happy marriage. I couldn’t help but add a little cinnamon and vanilla extract to the mix. It’s just enough to enhance the ginger and not take away from its starring role…. 

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Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese Almond Cookies

Chinese almond cookies infused with almonds inside and out, including one of the most delectable creations on earth, almond paste, the main reason I find myself drawn to them.

Almonds decorate the top plus they call for amaretto or almond extract, an ingredient that drives that almond flavor home. Almost every bite is filled with 3 forms of almonds. … 

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