Gingerbread Latte Snickerdoodles

gingerbread latte snickerdoodle stack
I’m a relative latecomer to gingerbread. Neither of my parents are fans of spice cakes and the like, so gingerbread men and houses weren’t a part of my childhood. It wasn’t until college, when one of my best friends suggested a gingerbread making party, that I had my first memorable gingerbread experience; and ever since then I’ve been trying to make up for lost time. I enjoy sneaking in gingerbread spices wherever possible — bread, morning pastries, coffee, cakes, and now — the classic snickerdoodle. And since one of my all time favorite flavor combos is espresso and gingerbread, I also added a bit of espresso powder to make these gingerbread latte snickerdoodles!

These festive snickerdoodles are delightfully simple to make. I’ve added brown butter and brown sugar to add a bit more chew. I also prefer a mix of flours — bread, all purpose, and some type of whole grain flour — for texture and flavor, but all purpose will do just fine as well. A drizzle of white chocolate and a few Crispearls add a little festive flair. I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as I do!

Gingerbread Latte Snickerdoodles

Makes 12 cookies

Ingredients

For the gingerbread spice mix:

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • Few cracks of black pepper

For the cookie dough:

  • 113g unsalted butter
  • 60g light brown sugar
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg (straight from the fridge is fine)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 80g bread flour
  • 60g AP flour
  • 30g einkorn flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp gingerbread spice mix

For the sugar coating and decoration:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar (or cane sugar)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • Remaining gingerbread spice mix
  • 30g white chocolate, melted
  • Sprinkles or Crispearls

Method:

  1. Combine all the gingerbread spice mix ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, brown the butter. First, melt the butter over low heat; then turn up to medium high and cook, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula, until the butter foams, crackles, then browns. Transfer the butter, along with all the browned bits, to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and 1 1/2 tsp of the gingerbread spice mix.
  4. Whisk the brown and granulated sugars into the brown butter until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes to allow the dough to hydrate and solidify slightly. (Cookie dough can be chilled overnight; if chilled for more than a couple hours, allow to soften for 20-30 minutes at room temperature for easier portioning.)
  5. About 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375F with a rack in the center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
  6. Prepare the sugar coating by combining the granulated and brown sugar with the remaining gingerbread spice mix.
  7. Portion the cookie dough into 12 golf-sized balls, about 35-40 grams each. Roll between hands into a smooth ball, then toss in sugar coating. Space cookies a couple inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake sheets one at a time for 9-11 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cookies should be puffed and the tops starting to crack, but the centers should still look a little soft. After removing the pan, bang it a couple of times on the counter to help deflate the cookies and get that crinkled top. Cool cookies on the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. When cookies are cooled, melt the white chocolate. Decorate cookies as desired, topping with sprinkles or Crispearls before the chocolate sets. Cookies keep well in an airtight container for about 3 days.

Sourdough Crackers: Lavash and Grissini

sourdough lavash

Crackers are a popular food in our house. My kids love them. They’d probably eat crackers for dinner if they could (or anything else labelled “snacks” for that matter). So while everyone else is whipping out their royal icing and cookie stamps, here I am over here making sourdough crackers.

Don’t get me wrong — there will be plenty of cookies happening in our house too. But right now, I’m just having a little too much fun with crackers! They are actually quite fun to make with kids, too. The dough is easy to handle and roll, and my son never gets tired of adding “sprinkles” to things (even if they’re sesame seeds instead of sugar).

sourdough grissini

This sourdough cracker formula can be used to make either lavash crackers (a crisp flatbread) or grissini (thin, crunchy breadsticks). Leave them plain with just a sprinkling of flaky salt, or add seeds / spices to add texture and additional flavor! (Just be careful with dried herbs and spices as a tiny bit goes a long way.) You can even sprinkle on some grated cheese or knead some into the dough. My favorite cracker flavor combo is smoked paprika, garlic flakes, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, black pepper, and a little flaky salt. Yum!

These sourdough crackers are tasty on their own, but also make a great addition to a nosh or charcuterie plate. They keep well, so make a few batches now to have on hand for your holiday entertaining needs!

sourdough crackers plate

sourdough crackers plate 2

A couple of notes:

  • This is a flexible formula for sourdough crackers that you can easily scale depending on the amount of discard you have. I usually save discard in the fridge for a few days, then bake off a large batch. The easiest way to scale this recipe is as follows:
    • Weigh the amount of starter you have
    • Add half that weight in flour (so if you have 200 grams of starter, add 100 grams flour)
    • Figure out how much flour you have total, including the flour in your starter (100 grams from the starter + 100 grams added = 200 grams total flour)
    • Add 2% of the total flour weight in salt (2% of 200 = 4 g)
    • Add 10% of the total flour weight in honey (10% of 200 = 20g)

    (I tried writing this out in baker’s percentages; but since there’s a bit of disparity over how to express starter in a formula, it ended up being more confusing than helpful. So there you go. Mathing for the day over.)

  • The baking temperatures and timing on these crackers are just a guideline and may vary considerably depending on your oven and how thinly you roll or cut your dough. If you like your lavash more like a flatbread (softer), pull it out sooner. If the edges are crisp but the middle needs more time, take out the sheet and carefully trim off the edges, then return the sheet to the oven finish crisping the rest. For grissini, you want more of a “low and slow” approach — you’re basically trying to dry the dough out without the breadsticks burning, so you need a lower temperature + longer bake. Experiment and find out what works best for your oven!
  • For more baking with sourdough discard ideas, see this post.
  • For a DIY Raincoast Crisp recipe, see this post (you can sub in 1 cup of starter for 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup buttermilk if you want!).

Sourdough Crackers: Lavash and Grissini

Makes about one baking sheet’s worth of crackers

Ingredients:

  • 100g ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 50g flour (I like a mix of bread and wholegrain)
  • 10g olive oil
  • 10g honey
  • 2g salt
  • Assorted seeds (poppy, sesame), spices, and/or flaky salt for topping, if desired

Method:

  1. Stir together the starter, oil, and honey until combined. Add the flour and salt and mix with a spatula until a rough dough forms. Knead for 3-5 minutes, or until the ingredients are well combined and the dough is smooth. It should be a medium-firm consistency and not sticky. (If it is sticky, add flour a tsp at a time until smooth, If it is dry, add water a tsp at a time until hydrated.) Transfer to an oiled container.
  2. Ferment the dough at room temperature until it is doubled in size, about 3-4 hours. (Note: you can also refrigerate the dough for a few hours at this point if you aren’t ready to bake yet. Not sure how long it will hold, but I’ve held mine for about 8 hours and it probably could last longer. No need to bring to room temp before proceeding.)

For lavash crackers:

  1. When the dough is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 400F (with a baking stone if you have one). Turn the dough onto a Silpat or piece of parchment paper cut to fit a baking sheet.
  2. Roll the dough into a rectangle as thinly and evenly as possible. It should be almost paper thin. (Alternatively, you can divide the dough into portions and use a pasta machine to roll them out. I like to get them down to the 2nd-thinnest setting.)
  3. Transfer the dough, still on the Silpat or parchment, to a baking sheet. Dock the surface all over with a fork to keep it from puffing in the oven. Mist with water and sprinkle seeds / spices / flaky salt if desired.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking, until browned and crisp. Cool on a wire rack, then break into shards and serve. Keeps well in an airtight container or ziplock bag.

For grissini:

  1. When the dough is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. If you’d like to coat your grissini with seeds, place the seeds on a plate or small baking sheet.
  2. On a nonstick mat or lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle between 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick. Cut dough into even strips into desired thickness (I like 1/8″ – 1/4″ inch). Roll them one by one in the bed of seeds, if desired, then transfer to the prepared sheet. If you like, you can hold one end of dough while twisting the other to get a corkscrew effect.
  3. Bake until dry and crisp, about 30-40 minutes (but can vary wildly depending on the size of your grissini). Cool on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container or jar.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Turnovers

cranberry cream cheese turnovers

If it were up to me, every weekend would start with homemade pastries. Taking a little extra time in the morning to make something beautiful, buttery, and delicious is a special form of indulgence. Now that the weather is a bit cooler, I’ve been trying to get in a little lamination practice. It’s actually quite difficult for me to find all-butter puff pastry around here, so I’ve been making this rough puff recipe (with two extra folds) as practice for making the real thing later on this winter.

If you can make pie dough, you can make rough puff. It’s a great thing to have on hand for weekend pastry cravings or quick appetizers. But if you’ve got easy access to all-butter puff pastry, certainly go that route if you prefer.

I’ll be honest: when making morning pastries I often don’t measure my filling ingredients. Usually I use a bit of whatever I have lying around: in this case, it was some leftover liquid cheesecake from Christina Tosi’s All About Cake, and the dregs of a bag of fresh cranberries. I think leftover cranberry sauce would be great here (as long as it’s not too runny), or even another thick jam. I do think a tart fruit works really well in these turnovers — it’s a perfect foil to the rich pastry and tangy cream cheese. At any rate, two tablespoons of filling for each pastry is about right. And since I assume most of you don’t have liquid cheesecake lying around, I’ve provided some classic cream cheese filling measurements.

One final thing — I’ve finally put together an Amazon page with some of my favorite baking supplies! I hope you’ll take a look if you’re looking for some gifts for the bakers in your life (or for yourself ;)). These are the tools and books I use most often in my own kitchen and am happy to recommend. Please check it out!

Cranberry Cream Cheese Turnovers

Makes 8 large turnovers

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed if frozen (homemade or storebought)

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 113g cream cheese, softened (about half a block)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

For the cranberry filling:

  • 1 c cranberries
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 30g dark brown sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of salt

To finish:

  • 1 egg, whisked with a splash of milk or water
  • Turbinado or sanding sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F with racks in the upper and lower third, and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Roll each sheet of pastry into a large square about 1/8 – 1/4″ thick (10-12 inches). Trim the edges to neaten and cut each square in quarters for a total of eight squares. Refrigerate pastry while you prepare the fillings.
  3. For the cream cheese filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add lemon juice a tsp at a time to taste.
  4. For the cranberry filling, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  5. Place about 1 Tbsp cream cheese filling and 1 Tbsp cranberries on each square. Brush the edges lightly with the egg wash. Fold each square diagonally to form a triangle. Use a fork to crimp the edges to seal. Refrigerate turnovers for 15 minutes, or until pastry is firm.
  6. Brush the tops lightly with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, or until pastry is well browned. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

chewy ginger molasses cookies on marble
When it comes to cookies, I am very much a creature of habit. When we need a batch of something sweet, I’ll usually whip up our house chocolate chunk cookies or maybe some snickerdoodles. And every fall, I have to make at least a couple of batches of chewy ginger molasses cookies.

ginger molasses cookies closeup

For the past several years, this Bon Appetit recipe has been my go to. Soft and chewy centers, sugared exteriors, a vibrant amount of spice, and dead easy to make — can’t ask for much more!

This year, though, I’ve been tinkering with this recipe and made a couple of tweaks to pack even more of a punch into each bite. Swapping in some rye and bread flour adds even more chew and richness of flavor. A little fresh ginger and black pepper add a spicy kick. I like to roll my cookies in a mixture of turbinado and sanding sugar for a nice balance of shine and crunch and top each cookie with a small piece of candied ginger. These are hands down my favorite fall/winter cookies — I hope you’ll love them too!

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Makes about 15 cookies | Adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients:

  • 125g AP flour
  • 75g bread flour
  • 50g rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 113g unsalted butter, melted
  • 65g granulated sugar
  • 113g fancy molasses
  • 50g dark brown sugar

To finish:

  • 40g turbinado sugar
  • 40g sanding sugar
  • Candied ginger

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F with a rack in the center, and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, spices (except for the fresh ginger), and salt together.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and dark brown sugar. Add the grated ginger and rub it into the sugar with your fingers to distribute.
  4. Whisk in the melted butter, molasses, and egg to combine.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm the batter up slightly to make it easier roll. (If refrigerated longer than an hour, let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to soften slightly.) Meanwhile combine the turbinado and sanding sugar in a small bowl.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or your hands, form golf-ball sized rounds (about 40-45g each). Roll in sugar and place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Press a piece of crystallized ginger on top of each cookie.
  7. Bake sheets one at a time for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until cookies are puffed and starting to crack and the edges are set. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

chewy ginger molasses cookies

Apple and Ginger Loaf

sliced apple ginger loaf

This post is sponsored by Weight Watchers Canada. Find out more about the WW Freestyle program, which encourages the freedom to eat the foods you love while nudging you towards healthier choices using the SmartPoints system. As always, all ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.

Around this time of year I tend to have a few extra apples / apple butter lying around, the products of slightly-over-enthusiastic orchard trips. Not that I mind at all — I really enjoy baking with apple butter (in addition to spreading it on toast). Like applesauce, apple butter adds moisture and flavor to baked goods. I actually think the flavor you get with apple butter is better than applesauce, because the fruit is much more concentrated!

This time around I wanted to use apple butter to make a hearty breakfast quick bread, full of spice and whole grains. Enter this Apple and Ginger Loaf! I’ve been crushing on ginger lately, so it’s a major player here. I ground some fresh ginger up with the sugar to see what would happen, and I love the fragrance and spice it adds (and that grinding it with the sugar avoids those gingery strings)! If ginger isn’t your thing feel free to cut back or substitute with your favorite fall spice (I think cardamom would be lovely here). Conversely if you’re really into ginger, you could go wild and toss in a handful of chopped candied ginger, or sprinkle some on top.

apple ginger loaf from top

apple ginger loaf grab slice

Apple and Ginger Loaf

Makes one loaf, about 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 60g dark brown sugar
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 50g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 30g molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 99g neutral vegetable oil (I prefer grapeseed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 170g apple butter
  • 177g white whole wheat flour or sifted whole wheat flour
  • 50g rolled oats (not instant)
  • 57g chopped, toasted pecans (optional)

For the topping:

  • 1 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp coarse sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease and line a loaf or Pullman pan with a parchment paper sling.
  2. Place the sugars and ginger in a food processor. Pulse until ginger is completely broken down. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  3. To the sugar-ginger mixture, add the eggs, molasses, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Mix on low to combine, then turn up the speed to medium and whip until the mixture is thick and expanded, about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn the speed down to low and slowly stream in the oil and vanilla. Mix until homogeneous. Add the apple butter and whisk on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour and oats. Mix on low just until combined. Add the nuts if using and use a silicone spatula to mix just until the batter is smooth and combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure the batter is evenly mixed.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the rolled oats and coarse sugar evenly over the top.
  6. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Using the parchment sling, lift the loaf out of the pan to finish cooling completely on the rack.

Cranberry Lime Shortbread Tart + Cookbook Giveaway!

cranberry lime shortbread tart
Every year around this time, I start thinking about edible gifts to make for the holiday season. I remember a few people who would annually gift us an assortment of homemade treats. We would look forward to receiving those gifts every year, and it’s a goal of mine to come up with my own traditional holiday treat box. I’m still a little ways off, but hopefully this year I’ll get a little closer with the help of my friend Fanny Lam’s new cookbook Oh Sweet Day!: A Celebration Cookbook of Edible Gifts, Party Treats, and Festive Desserts!

Fanny and I have been internet foodie friends for a couple years now (she runs a lovely blog and posts delicious treats on her Instagram page); so when I received a copy of her cookbook, I knew it would packed with delightful yet approachable recipes perfect for sharing with loved ones. As Fanny writes in her introduction, “A lovely dessert doesn’t require a demanding recipe. It needs love! It needs personality! I hope this book will inspire you to go beyond your comfort zone, try something new, play with abandon, share with your loved one, make it a tradition, and let it be a memory.”

Trying out Fanny’s famous shortbread cookies and cheesecakes are high on my to-bake list, but the first thing I knew I had to make was this gorgeous cranberry lime shortbread tart — a lovely press-in shortbread crust filled with a velvety, vibrant curd. And let’s not forget that showstopping natural color! This dessert would be perfect for Thanksgiving dinner — it’s tangy, creamy, and bright, the perfect foil for a rich meal. Plus, it can be made ahead of time — always a bonus on busy cooking days!

cranberry lime shortbread tart 2

Update: Winner of the giveaway is Quyen Weng. Congrats!I’m happy to be giving away one copy of Oh Sweet Day!: A Celebration Cookbook of Edible Gifts, Party Treats, and Festive Desserts to one of my readers! To enter, comment below with your favorite edible gift to give or receive. For more entries, you can also follow me on Instagram and enter on the related photo. Deadline to enter is Sunday, October 28, 2018, at 5pm EST. Winner will be announced here and on Instagram. Open to residents of USA and Canada.
oh sweet day cookbook cover

cranberry lime shortbread tart from side

A few notes:

  • I decorated the cranberry lime shortbread tart with a bit of melted white chocolate (about 25 grams), tinted the faintest of pink with a bit of cranberry powder. I transferred the melted chocolate to a ziplock bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the corners, then quickly piped it on. In her recipe, Fanny suggests topping the tart with whipped cream and lime zest (instructions included below).
  • I didn’t have quite enough lime juice, so I used about half lime and half orange juice (both freshly squeezed). The orange juice gave the curd a beautiful deep pink color; if you use all lime juice as the recipe states the color will be just as vibrant and beautiful but probably a little lighter.
  • The curd can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated with a piece of plastic pressed against the surface to keep a skin from forming. The tart shell can also be made a couple of days ahead and kept covered at room temperature. Assemble the tart the day you’ll be serving — just make sure to allow a full 4 hours for it to chill so you can get nice clean slices.
  • For clean slices, use a sharp knife cleaned with hot water after each cut.

Cranberry Lime Shortbread Tart

Makes one 9-inch tart

Ingredients

For the Vanilla Shortbread Crust

  • 113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 40g (1/4 cup) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 125g (1 cup) AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

For the Cranberry Lime Curd

  • 454g (4 cups) cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tsp. lime zest

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 28g (2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries

  • 1 tsp. lime zest

Method:

For the Vanilla Shortbread Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix in the vanilla until combined.
  4. Sift in the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  5. Press the mixture onto the bottom and sides of the prepared pan.
  6. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.
  7. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the Cranberry Lime Curd:

  1. Cook the cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and water on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are popped and release their juice.
  2. Pulse the mixture in a food processor.
  3. Blend in the egg yolks, remaining sugar, and cornstarch until combined.
  4. Cook the mixture again on low heat while whisking for 10 minutes until thickened.
  5. Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter until combined.
  6. Strain the mixture to make it smooth.
  7. Let cool to room temperature.
  8. Fill the cooled crust with the cranberry lime curd.
  9. Refrigerate the tart until set, at least 4 hours.

For the Whipped Cream Topping:

  1. Whisk the cream and sugar until firm peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag with a star tip.
  2. Remove the tart from the pan.
  3. Pipe the whipped cream along the edges of the tart.
  4. Top with cranberries and lime zest.

Recipe from Oh Sweet Day!: A Celebration Cookbook of Edible Gifts, Party Treats, and Festive Desserts, reprinted by permission of Front Table Book, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Gougeres

gougeres on plate

This post is sponsored by Weight Watchers Canada. Find out more about the WW Freestyle program, which encourages the freedom to eat the foods you love while nudging you towards healthier choices using the SmartPoints system. As always, all ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.

With the holidays fast approaching, we all need a few back-pocket recipes that are good for crowds, easy to prepare, and — most importantly — delightfully delicious. This is one of those recipes for me. Gougeres, or French cheese puffs, are made with the classic pate a choux dough. But instead of filling the puffs with cream or custard, you mix some herbs, cheese, and spices into the dough to make savory little appetizers that go down just right with a glass of wine or a cup of mulled cider. I dare you to eat just one!

gougeres close up

gougeres top down

A couple of notes:

  • If you’ve made pate a choux before — perhaps for eclairs or cream puffs — this recipe should feel very familiar to you. I prefer using bread flour and a mixture of milk and water when making pate a choux. The bread flour gives strength to the dough and helps the gougeres keep their shape better. The mixture of milk and water gives the puffs a more tender chew and flavor, but you can also use all water.
  • You can substitute other sharp, hard cheeses (or use a mixture) for the cheddar. Part of the fun of this recipe is making it your own: add some cayenne if you like a little heat, or switch out the scallions for other fresh, chopped herbs of your choice.
  • You can make smaller, bite-size gougeres if you prefer (this recipe will probably yield 30 or so). Just keep an eye on them in the oven as they’ll likely be done sooner than these large ones.

Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Gougeres

Makes about 15 large gougeres

Ingredients

  • 75g water
  • 75g milk
  • 75g butter
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • 100g bread flour, sifted
  • 150g eggs (about 3 large), room temperature and lightly beaten to combine
  • 100g grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 c finely chopped scallions

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F with a rack in the middle and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (I used a 13×18 sheet pan; if yours are smaller you may need two. Bake on the top and bottom racks in the oven).
  2. Combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt, paprika, mustard, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a strong simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the mixture is simmering, remove the pot from the heat and dump the flour in all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or spatula until the flour is completely incorporated.
  3. Return the pot to low heat and continue stirring until the mixture forms a ball and a thin film forms on the bottom of the pot, 1-2 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should read 170F. Immediately transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  4. Mix the dough on low speed for a couple of minutes to release the steam. An instant-read thermometer should read no warmer than 140F (any hotter and you’ll cook the eggs when adding them!). When the dough has cooled sufficiently and with the mixer still on low, add about half of the eggs. Mix until the egg has been completely absorbed, then add more egg about a tablespoon at a time, mixing completely before adding more. When you’ve added most of the egg, check the dough consistency — a finger dragged through it should leave a trough and a peak of dough should form where the finger is lifted. Once the dough passes this test, it’s ready. (You may not need all the egg.)
  5. Set aside about a quarter of the cheese. Add the remaining 3/4 of the cheese and the scallions to the dough and use a silicone spatula to combine.
  6. Using a cookie scoop (I used an OXO #40), scoop golf-ball size portions of dough onto the prepared sheet, leaving a couple inches between each. (You can also transfer the mixture to a piping bag pipe out mounds, or use a couple of spoons.) Sprinkle the tops of the gougeres with the reserved cheese.
  7. Bake the gougeres for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375F and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, or until the gougeres are browned and feel hollow when you pick one up. Avoid opening the oven for the first 20 minutes of baking or the gougeres may collapse. Cool in a slightly ajar oven for about 10 minutes.
  8. Gougeres are best served still slightly warm from the oven, though I’ve heard you can recrisp them in the oven for a few minutes. Mine have never lasted long enough to test, though…

Double Pumpkin Sourdough Milk Bread

double pumpkin sourdough milk bread
It’s that magical time of the year — the Virtual Pumpkin Party! Since 2015, Sara at Cake Over Steak has been organizing a huge pumpkin recipe explosion and I’m excited to participate again this year with this Double Pumpkin Sourdough Milk Bread. I always amazed at seeing the unique ways bloggers use this ubiquitous squash, and I hope you’ll take some time to browse this year’s recipe list.

This is a fall version that mashes up a couple of my favorite recipes on this site: the sourdough pumpkin hokkaido milk bread and the sourdough milk bread twists. Since today is all about the pumpkin, I’ve opted to fill this bread with a pumpkin butter-esque filling (you could totally sub in actual pumpkin butter, if you have some on hand).

crumb shot double pumpkin sourdough milk bread

One note about this bread: the pumpkin puree can be a bit of a wildcard, as the moisture content can vary from brand to brand. I’ve tried both canned and homemade purees; and they both work — but you’ll want to make sure your puree isn’t too watery. (If it is on the watery side, blot it with some paper towels before measuring it out.) If you’ve made my regular sourdough milk bread recipes, you may notice that the dough seems a bit stickier than usual. That’s totally normal. I usually crank the speed up a little higher (say 5 on a KitchenAid mixer) and mix for a few minutes longer to get the dough to come together, but you may have to add a couple extra tablespoons of flour as well.

Previous CTD Virtual Pumpkin Party recipes: Fall Cliche Cake and Pumpkin Apple Butter Pie.

double pumpkin sourdough milk bread with gourds

Double Pumpkin Sourdough Milk Bread

Makes one loaf (I love using a 9x4x4 Pullman Pan, but a 9×5 will work too)

Ingredients

Levain:

  • 18g ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 31g milk
  • 57g bread flour
  • Mix and ferment at room temperature until ripe, about 6-12 hours depending on temperature and strength of your starter.

Final dough:

  • 284g bread/AP flour
  • 46g sugar
  • 52g butter, at cool room temperature
  • 21g milk powder
  • 53g egg (about 1 large)
  • 7g salt
  • 104g milk
  • 100g pumpkin or butternut squash puree
  • All of the levain

Filling:

  • 170g pumpkin or butternut squash puree
  • 55g dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

To Finish:

  • Egg wash (1 egg whisked with a little water or milk)
  • 30g honey
  • 40g water
  • Pearl sugar (optional, for garnish)

Method:

  1. Mix together all final dough ingredients except the salt and butter until just combined. Cover and autolyse (rest) for 45-60 minutes.
  2. Add salt, and knead dough until gluten is moderately developed. The dough will start out sticky and rough but should gradually come together and feel quite smooth and stretchy. Add butter a tablespoon at a time, mixing the first completely before adding the second. Continue kneading until the gluten is very well developed and the dough passes the windowpane test as demonstrated here. The dough should be smooth and supple (and quite lovely to handle!). This will take quite some time, especially if done by hand. Consider it your arm workout for the day!
  3. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover, and bulk rise at room temp (73F) for 2 hours. The dough will be noticeably expanded, but not doubled. Fold, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or at least 8 hours).
  4. Grease and line a Pullman Pan or 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang of at least 2 inches on the long sides (for easy removal later). Whisk together all filling ingredients.
  5. On a lightly floured surface (I prefer a Silpat), roll out the dough (straight from the fridge) into a square roughly 10 x 15 in. Spread your filling evenly over the surface, leaving a 1/2 inch border along one short edge. Turn the dough so the short end without the border is facing you. Brush the opposite end with water, and gently but tightly roll dough up like a jelly roll. Once rolled up, roll gently back and forth a few times to seal. Transfer the log to the fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up (optional).
  6. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise. Place the two sides next to each other, cut side up. Gently pinch the tops together and twist the two together, keeping the cut sides up. Transfer twist to the prepared pan. (See here for a some helpful pictures.)
  7. Cover with plastic and proof for about 6 hours at room temperature. When ready, the dough should look very puffy and have risen to the top of the pan.
  8. When the loaf is nearly finished rising, preheat the oven to 400F and prepare the egg wash. Just before baking, brush the surface lightly with egg wash.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F, then turn the oven down to 375F, rotate the pan, and bake for about 15 more minutes or until the loaf is well browned and registers at least 195F in the center. If the loaf is browning quickly, tent with foil. (I cover mine for the last 10 minutes or so.)
  10. Immediately after taking the loaf out, brush all over with honey simple syrup and top with pearl sugar, if desired. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Cider Baked Apples

cider baked apples

This post is sponsored by Weight Watchers Canada. Find out more about the WW Freestyle program, which encourages the freedom to eat the foods you love while nudging you towards healthier choices using the SmartPoints system. As always, all ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.

Apple season is in full swing here. We’ve gone picking once already, and I suspect we’ll find our way to the orchards at least once more in the next couple of weeks to get our fill of Northern Spy, Ambrosia, Honeycrisp, Mutsu…you name it! Pulling a wagon through rows of trees and searching for perfectly crisp apples is truly one of my favorite annual activities.

While there’s always room for apple pies, galettes, cakes, and butters after these orchard runs, sometimes I crave something a little simpler but no less cozy. Enter these cider-baked apples. They make a lovely light dessert, but are healthful enough for breakfast — perhaps with a bit of yogurt and honey. You can also make them ahead of time, refrigerate, and gently rewarm in the microwave or low oven before serving.

hannah with apples

cider baked apples before bake

cider baked apples on plate

Cider Baked Apples

Serves 6-8 as a side

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs baking apples, washed (about 8 small apples)
  • 2 c apple cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick (feel free to add other favorite mulling spices!)

For the filling:

  • 60g raisins, finely chopped
  • 60g pecans, finely chopped
  • 60g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
  • 45g brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Juice of half a lemon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375F with a rack in the middle.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the cider and cinnamon stick to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow to steep while you prepare the apples.
  3. Combine the raisins, pecans, brown sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub it into the mixture to incorporate.
  4. Juice the lemon into a small bowl.
  5. Cut the tops off the apples and place the top into the lemon juice to keep from browning (keep track of which top goes with which apple for best presentation). Using a small spoon or knife, scoop out the core of the apples, leaving the bottoms intact so the filling won’t seep out. Stuff the apples with the filling mixture and place the tops back on.
  6. Place the stuffed apples into a baking pan just large enough to fit them snugly — an 8×8 pan worked for me, but will depend on the number and size of your apples. Pour the cider and cinnamon stick into the bottom of the pan.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until apples are tender but not falling apart. The time can vary wildly depending on the size of your apples, but I’d start checking around the 30 minute mark (my smallish ones took about 40). If you’d like, baste the apples with the cider a couple of times during baking.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can also make these ahead and refrigerate them, and reheat before serving.

Malted Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

malted cinnamon roll breakfast scene

This post was created in partnership with East Fork Pottery. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy Fall! Despite a bit of a heatwave this past week, I’m ready to fully embrace the change of seasons. Apple picking, pumpkin spice, chunky sweaters — bring it all on!

I’m so excited to share these malted sourdough cinnamon rolls with you today, in partnership with East Fork Pottery. Inspired by East Fork’s new malt glaze, I added the toasty notes of malt to these classic breakfast treats by subtly weaving it into the dough, filling, and frosting. I honestly don’t think I’ll make cinnamon rolls any other way now! Plus, these rolls just look extra inviting on that beautiful bread & butter plate, don’t you think?

hands on plate

malted cinnamon roll on east fork pottery plate

A few notes:

  • The base dough for these rolls is the sourdough Hokkaido milk bread that I’ve used several times on this site before. If you haven’t tried this style of bread before, I highly recommend reading through those posts for more tips and tricks.
  • To add the malt flavor I use both barley malt syrup malted milk powder (Ovaltine is easiest for me to find, but you can use Milo/Horlicks/Carnation/whatever is available in your local supermarket — just make sure it’s classic malted milk powder and not chocolate malt).
  • To have these rolls ready to bake in the morning, I recommend mixing the dough 24 hours before you plan to bake (build the levain the night before). Shape the dough right before going to sleep, proof at room temperature overnight, and bake first thing in the morning. It takes a little planning ahead, but the actual hands-on time is fairly minimal.
  • I highly recommend baking the rolls in an 8×8 or 9×9 square cake pan (square cake pan). They seem to bake most evenly in this kind of pan — ceramic dishes take too long to heat up and the tops dry out before the bottom is cooked.

Malted Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 9 rolls

Ingredients

For the levain

  • 18g starter (100% hydration)
  • 31g milk
  • 57g bread flour
  • Mix and ferment at room temperature until ripe (mine is usually ready in 6-8 hours, but it depends on the ambient temperature and strength of your starter). When ready it should be more than doubled in volume, puffy, and domed. You should see large bubbles if you pull back the top.

For the final dough:

  • 284g bread/AP flour (I use half and half)
  • 35g barley malt syrup
  • 21g malted milk powder
  • 53g egg (about 1 large)
  • 100g milk
  • 80g cream
  • All of the levain
  • 6g salt
  • 52g unsalted butter, at cool room temperature

For the filling:

  • 100g brown sugar
  • 15g malted milk powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • One egg, whisked with a bit of water or milk

For the malted cream cheese frosting:

  • 90g cream cheese, softened
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 20g malted milk powder
  • 75g icing sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Mix together all final dough ingredients except the salt and butter until just combined. Cover and autolyse (rest) for 45-60 minutes.
  2. Add salt, and knead dough (with the dough hook attachment if using a stand mixer) until gluten is moderately developed (I use speed 3-4 on a KA mixer). The dough will start out sticky and rough but should gradually come together and feel quite smooth and stretchy. Turn the mixer to low and add butter about a tablespoon at a time, incorporating each batch before adding the next. Turn the speed back up and continue kneading until the gluten is very well developed and the dough passes the windowpane test as demonstrated here. The dough should be smooth and supple (and quite lovely to handle!). This will take quite some time, especially if done by hand. Consider it your arm workout for the day!
  3. Transfer dough to a clean and lightly oiled bowl, cover, and bulk rise at room temp for 2 hours. The dough will be noticeably expanded, but not doubled. Fold, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or at least 8 hours, and up to 24).
  4. When ready to shape, mix together the filling ingredients and prepare the egg wash. Lightly grease a 8×8 square baking pan. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle about 10″ x 14″, doing your best to maintain an even thickness.
  5. Brush the rectangle with an even coat of egg wash and sprinkle on the malted cinnamon-sugar mixture. Go all the way to the edges and gently press to adhere.
  6. Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough up like a jelly roll, pinching to seal. Cut into 9 even pieces (~1.5 in. thick) using a sharp knife or dental floss (my preferred method). Transfer the rolls to the prepared pan, leaving space between each.
  7. Gently brush the rolls with a coat of egg wash (this keeps it from drying out) and cover with a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature until the dough is very puffy and roughly doubled. This usually takes me ~8 hours, or overnight.
  8. About 45 minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400F with a rack in the middle. Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes, rotating about halfway between. When finished, the rolls should be golden brown and register 195-200F in the center.
  9. While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. Beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt together on medium until smooth. Add the malted milk powder and about half the icing sugar and beat to combine. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for 1-2 minutes until fluffy.
  10. Allow the rolls to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack before spreading with frosting. Serve warm.