Thursday, November 7, 2019

Homemade Pretzel Bread

Homemade Pretzel Bread


One of my recent cravings are pretzels. There's a chain-bakery across my work (I say chain-bakery because it's not a very good chain bakery), and the only thing I really like from them are their pretzels. So once I week (I only allow myself once a week), usually on Monday, I get a pretzel for lunch.

I was watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and they mentioned pretzel bread. Pretzel BREAD? I thought to myself. I immediately went in search for a pretzel bread recipe and it didn't seem that hard to make. You only have to rise the dough once, and the dough is cooked in a baking soda bath. Which might seem daunting, but I assure you it's pretty easy.

The pretzel bread came out great! Dense, soft, chewy, and very salty - I think I added a little too much salt for effect. It's been a few weeks since I made this bread, but typing about it now makes we wanna have a pretzel again!

Taste: 4.5 out of 5
Consistency: 4 out of 5
Overall appeal: 4 out of 5


Homemade Pretzel Bread




Homemade Pretzel Bread: Joy Food Sunshine

Ingredients:
Pretzel Bread Dough
2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 cup warm water 105-110 degrees F
2 TBS whole milk
3 TBS brown sugar
4 TBS butter melted
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups all-purpose flour

Baking Soda Bath
4 quarts water
½ cup baking soda

Topping
1-2 TBS coarse sea salt
2 TBS butter melted

Instructions:
Combine yeast, water, and brown sugar in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let stand for 5 minutes (until foamy).
While yeast is proofing…melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix in milk and set aside.
Once yeast is proofed, add milk/butter to yeast mixture and mix on low speed with dough hook until just combined.

Add salt and flour and mix with dough hook until flour is fully incorporated.
Knead in a mixer until the dough forms a slightly tacky, but firm ball, you may need to add a little more flour 1 TBS at a time, but be careful, you want your dough a little tacky but not too sticky to handle.
Oil a large bowl, place the dough ball in the bowl, and cover with a damp towel in a warm place to let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda a little bit at a time (Be careful not to add too much at once or you will have a baking soda/water explosion)!
Remove the dough from the bowl and gently press out the air bubbles.

Make two balls of dough the same size (NOTE: The total weight of the dough comes out to be about 800 g, so each loaf should weigh about 400 g), forming them into the shape you want (Do not let it rise at all here! Straight from forming the ball into the water).
Drop one of the balls into the boiling baking soda water. Boil for 60-90 seconds on each side, turning it once to guarantee both sides covered. Drain the excess water from the dough and place it on an oiled baking sheet.

Immediately sprinkle coarse sea salt over the bread to your specific tastes, and use a knife to cut a small "X" on the top of the bread.
Repeat with second ball of dough. (Do not let it rise at all here! Straight from boiling into the oven).
Bake the bread for 22-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once.
Once removed from the oven, immediately brush the melted butter over the loaves to guarantee a soft crust. Transfer to a wire rack to cool just enough to enjoy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Maple Brown Sugar Cookies

Maple Brown Sugar Cookies


As I enjoy these last days of September and last rays of sun, I am gearing up to start on Fall baking. First stop: Maple Brown Sugar Cookies. Whenever I read a food blog and the author writes "best thing I've ever made", my attention heightens. What would be your "best thing you've ever made?" I honestly couldn't name just one recipe, but I definitely know a few go-to recipes that never fail me.

'Sally's Baking Addiction' writes that these are the best cookies she's ever made. I was so curious, I tried the recipe, and they are amazing! Such an easy Fall baking recipe. The cookies were so flavorful, that I omitted the icing on the cookies. I don't like things too sugary. Yes, I said it. You probably thought I have a sugar addiction, didn't you? Be noticed that the dough needs to be chilled for 2 hours so plan in that extra time.


Maple Brown Sugar Cookies


Taste: 5 out of 5
Consistency: 5- out of 5
Overall appeal: 5- out of 5




Maple Brown Sugar Cookies: Sally's Baking Addiction

Ingredients:
- 2 and 1/3 cups (290g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) packed dark brown sugar*
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple extract*
- 1 cup (130g) chopped pecans*

Maple icing:
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 cup (112g) sifted confectioners’ sugar*
- pinch salt, to taste

Instructions:
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and beat on high until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and maple extract, then beat on high speed until combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then mix on low until combined. Add the pecans, then beat on low speed until combined. Dough will be creamy and soft.
- Cover and chill the dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator (and up to 3-4 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, though, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Roll cookie dough into balls, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie. This cookie scoop is helpful. Bake each batch for 12-13 minutes until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft.
- Remove from the oven. If your warm cookies look puffy, lightly bang the pan on the counter when you remove it from the oven. That will help slightly deflate the cookies, creating lovely cracks as you see in the pictured cookies. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the icing: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and maple syrup together, whisking occasionally. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and whisk in the sifted confectioners’ sugar. Taste. Add a pinch of salt, if desired. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Icing will set after about 1 hour.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.


Maple Brown Sugar Cookies

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread


You vote. I bake!

I think that used to be my motto when I started this blog over 10 years ago. Back then, I had a new voting poll every week! It's actually quite hard to come up with 3 new recipes every time. This morning I tried to find 3 recipes that I wanted to try out. But I found a recipe for "Pretzel Bread", and I honestly don't even want to put it in a poll because I'm afraid it will not win! I want to bake that pretzel bread!

Anywho, I'm so glad the Irish Soda Bread won the poll because I've been wanting to bake one for ages! Every year when St. Patrick's Day comes around, I think to myself "I should make an Irish Soda Bread". I'm fascinated because of the name: Irish? Soda bread? I still haven't figured out if and why it's an Irish recipe, but the recipe uses soda, so hence, Soda Bread.


Irish Soda Bread


I love baking yeasted breads, but I like making a quick bread because it cuts time in thirds. Ina Garten uses dried currants in her recipe, which I substituted for dried cranberries because currants are not available in the Netherlands, and substituted the oranges zest for lemon zest. The bread came out as this wonderfully yellow colored loaf with red cranberries. I skipped buying bakery bread for the last few days and eaten this Irish Soda Bread with cheddar cheese. Such a nice lunch-recipe.


Irish Soda Bread


Taste: 4 out of 5
Consistency: 4.5 out of 5
Overall appeal: 4.5 out of 5



Irish Soda Bread: Ina Garten

Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1¾ cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants

Instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
- With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with one tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.
- Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
- Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Irish Soda Bread

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Vote for which bread I should bake next!

You can't call yourself a baker, if you don't bake your own bread every now and then - I've been told.
So for my culinary self-image, this is obligatory and I need your help on deciding which option to go for.
I'm leaning towards an Irish soda bread, because I've never made one before.

panel management

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Lemon Pie

Lemon Pie


My last recipe was 2 months ago. I was on a baking failure streak that lasted for months. I have thrown out so many bad recipes that resulted in bad food. I've thrown out a carrot cake, lemon - poppyseed cake, sugar cookies... the list goes on. This is the down-side of internet recipes; they are easy accessible but can be real failures!

I was seriously started to doubt internet recipes and myself as a baker when I stumbled upon a delicious looking lemon pie on Instagram. Can I just say that Instagram is the new Google?! I come across so much baking-inspiration through Instagram. This recipe is from a blog called "Live Well Bake Often".

It features a homemade Graham cracker crust, creamy lemon pie filling made out of condensed milk. I substituted the Graham crackers for Dutch bastonje-koeken, because Graham crackers are only available in the US. By the way, I'm hearing that some Dutchies have trouble finding condensed milk in Dutch grocery stores, but I always buy them at Albert Heijn. They have two kinds, and are usually found in foreign food sections.


Lemon Pie


This lemon pie is tangy and sour, yet sweet. The taste reminds me of a key lime pie. It's an overnight recipe, so it's great to make it for a dinner party. I'm taking it with me to work tomorrow because it's very filling and very large. I would say it feeds about 12 people.

I'm so happy it turned out great! I really needed a home-run recipe for my confidence. Also, I haven't made a pie recipe in years. The taste of the lemon pie reminds me of eating pies on my vacations in the States.


Lemon Pie


Taste: 5 out of 5
Consistency: 5 out of 5
Overall appeal: 5 out of 5
*HOMERUN!




Lemon Pie: Live Well Bake Often

Ingredients:
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180 grams) graham cracker crumbs, 11-12 full sheets of graham crackers
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the lemon pie filling:
- 1 cup (240 ml) fresh lemon juice (about 5 large lemons)
- 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 5 large egg yolks

Topping:
- Whipped topping or homemade whipped cream (I always use homemade whipped cream)

Instructions:
To make the graham cracker crust:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add the melted butter and stir until fully combined and all of the crumbs are moistened.
- Scoop the mixture into a 9-9.5 inch pie plate and firmly press it down into an even layer on the bottom and up around the sides of the dish.
- Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes while you make the filling.
- Keep oven temperature at 350°F.

To make the lemon pie filling:
- Combine the lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and whisk until fully combined.
- Pour the filling into the slightly cooled graham cracker crust and spread it around into one even layer.
- Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until the top of the pie is set, the pie will still be jiggly.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature for about 2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 5-6 hours or overnight. Once chilled, top with whipped cream, serve and enjoy!


Lemon Pie

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie


You know those days when you need a little extra oomph for your breakfast? Or when you need a little "pick-me-up" for lunch at work? Well, this is the recipe for those days! Vegan peanut butter banana smoothie. It's such a healthy recipe: vegan, gluten free, soy free, refined sugar free, paleo, high fiber, low cholesterol, low calorie, and high in protein. But most of all, it's delicious!

The recipe is basic and you can tweek it to your taste. I added flax seed and oats for extra thickness and more fiber. I'm really contemplating buying a NutriBullet for all of the smoothie recipes I'm making lately. I currently use my food processor, but it's such a clean-up afterwards. That being said, it was well worth it!


Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie


Taste: 5 out of 5
Consistency: 5 out of 5
Overall appeal: 4.5 out of 5





Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie: Chocolate Covered Katie

Ingredients:
- 2 overripe, frozen large bananas
- 4 to 6 tbsp peanut butter or pb2, or allergy-friendly sub
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups milk of choice, depending on desired thickness
- scant 1/8 tsp salt
- optional 1/3 cup quick oats or rolled oats
- sweetener of choice, to taste
- optional scoop protein powder

Instructions:
- If you want an even thicker shake, feel free to add an extra banana. The bananas should be at least partially brown before peeling and freezing.
- To make the peanut butter banana smoothie recipe, blend the oats until a fine powder forms, then add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Drink immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator if you’d prefer to make the smoothie the night before.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Caramelized Onion Quiche

Caramelized Onion Quiche


This might just be ... my first savory recipe I've ever put on the blog! But it is still a baking-recipe, and it's FRENCH! I quite often cook French food for dinner, but I never take pictures of it or post it on my blog because I hate the lighting in pics at dinner time. I baked this quiche in the afternoon for dinner, and it was still sunny so I thought, why not?


I made a Val-Dieu salad along with the quiche, which is a very popular salad in Limburg, The Netherlands where I live. Val-Dieu is a Belgian cheese. You roast the cheese and apples, use walnuts and onions, and make an apple vinaigrette for the salad.


I got the idea for an onion quiche after making a French onion soup the week before, which came out amazing! It was my first time making a soup from scratch - EVER! I even made the vegetable stock, which, in hindsight is the easiest thing ever to make, but it seemed daunting before. I'm not a huge soup-lover, except for pumpkin- and French onion soup. French onion soup and caramelized onion quiche would also make a great dinner pairing!


Caramelized Onion Quiche


Taste: 4 out of 5
Consistency: 4 out of 5
Overall appeal: 4.5 out of 5


Caramelized Onion Quiche: SimplyRecipes.com - please visit the site for extra tips & tricks!

Ingredients:
- 1 recipe pie dough
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 large red onions (about one pound total), French-cut (see below)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 large eggs
- Pinch nutmeg
- 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)

Instructions:
METHOD SLICING ONIONS STEM TO ROOT
- To caramelize onions, you'll want to slice them lengthwise, or from stem end to root end. That way the onions will hold their shape better during the long cooking involved in caramelizing. (See How to Slice an Onion for more details.)
- First, use a sharp knife, get a firm grip on the onion, and slice off the stem end of the onion, by about a 1/2 inch. Cut about 1/8th of an inch from the root end, cutting off the roots, but leaving the core intact. Then place the onion root side up on the board to stabilize it, and cut it in half, straight through the root end.
- Peel back the papery skin of the onions. If you want, to keep your cutting area clean, cut off the roots with the skins, but cut only enough to cut off the messy roots. Keep the root end intact. It will make it easier to slice the onion.
- With an onion half cut-side down on the board to stabilize it, make angled cuts into the onion, from stem end to root end, cutting to, but not through the root end. Work your way around the arc of the onion, aiming your knife's blade toward the center of the onion.
- Make a "V" cut in the root end of the onion to cut out the tough root end, to release the onion slices.

PRE-BAKE THE CRUST
- Make a frozen tart crust: If you are making your own crust (instead of using an already prepared frozen crust), roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface, into a 12-inch circle. Fit into a 9-by-1 1/2-inch round tart pan (or 9-inch pie dish), pressing dough into corners. Transfer to freezer to chill for 30 minutes.
- Line frozen crust with foil and pie weights: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line pastry with aluminum foil, pressing into the corners and edges, allowing extra foil on the sides (they'll be your handles when you remove the foil).
- Fill at least two-thirds with baking weights—dried beans, rice, copper pennies, or ceramic or metal pie weights.
- Bake with weights: Bake first for 15 minutes, remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. Carefully remove aluminum foil and weights.
- Remove weights and bake again: Poke the bottom of the pie pan with the tines of a fork and return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly golden. (Fork holes are for any air to escape.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool while making filling.

CARAMELIZING THE ONIONS AND PREPARING THE QUICHE
- The onions will take about an hour to cook on the stovetop before they are ready to go into the quiche. So timing-wise, if you are making the entire quiche from scratch, it makes sense to get started on the onions once you've put the crust into the freezer to chill before pre-baking.
- Caramelize the onions: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle a little salt over them. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened and are translucent. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are well browned. (See How to Caramelize Onions for more details.)
- Add 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar and cook for 10 minutes more, until onions are completely caramelized. Remove from heat.
- Assemble the quiche: Place tart pan on a baking sheet to catch any run-off there might be. Sprinkle half the cheese evenly over the bottom of the crust. Spread onions over the cheese and then top with remaining cheese.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, cream, and eggs. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour over the tart.
- Bake the quiche: Transfer to oven, and bake until just set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.


Caramelized Onion Quiche

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Easter Cakes & Cupcakes!



Easter Cupcakes





Easter Carrot Cake
(my personal favorite!)





Ladybug Cupcakes





Easter Nest Cupcakes





Layer Carrot Cake



Rose Buttercream Cake

Rose Buttercream Cake





Easter Cupcakes



Lemon Meringue Tart

Lemon Meringue Tart




Easter Cupcakes



Lemon Macarons

Lemon Macarons with Lemon Curd



Rose & Lemon Bundt Cake

Rose & Lemon Bundt Cake



Hydrangea Cake

Hydrangea Cake



Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes



Blueberry Cupcakes

Easter Blueberry Cupcakes - Little Chicks





Carrot Walnut Cake



The BEST Cinnamon Rolls you'll ever eat

The BEST Cinnamon Rolls you'll ever eat



Glazed Orange Scones

Glazed Orange Scones



Easter M&M Cookies

Easter M&M Cookies



For even more Easter recipes, click on the scroll down menu
on the top right of the blog!

Happy Easter baking!

Much love,