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.

Einkorn Rye Sourdough and Copper Chef Giveaway!

einkorn rye sourdough bloom
This post is sponsored by Copper Chef. As always, all ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.

Happy September! It seems like summer disappeared in the blink of an eye, but honestly I’m always happy to see fall arrive — the changing colors and warm spices signal my favorite time of the year. Plus, the cooler temperatures make me even more excited than normal to bake fresh loaves of sourdough bread. There’s something so comforting about the warmth of the oven and the aroma of fresh bread on a crisp fall day!

einkorn rye sourdough flatlay

This einkorn and rye sourdough loaf is a new favorite around these parts. If you’ve never tried einkorn flour, you’re in for a treat. It has a wonderful nutty/grassy aroma and gives dough a silky smooth feel. Einkorn is relatively low in gluten, which can make it challenging to incorporate in large percentages. Here I’ve kept it to 20% — enough to impart its unique flavor without making the dough too unruly.

einkorn rye sourdough crumb shot

Baking this loaf was easier than ever using my new Copper Chef Wonder Cooker. Many home bakers like to bake their hearth style loaves in preheated dutch ovens, which trap steam and retain heat similar to professional steam-injected ovens. Because I tend to shape my loaves as batards (ovals), I usually have to use a more complicated setup create steam in my home oven. The Wonder Cooker, though, can function as a dutch oven; and its oblong shape and 9-quart capacity easily fits my standard 1.5 – 2 pound batards — hooray!

Another of the Wonder Cooker’s winning features is the ability to configure it so that the shallow pan is on the bottom — I simply have to slide the prepared loaf onto the preheated pan rather than worry about dropping it into a deep (and blazing hot) pot. I definitely see myself baking a lot more loaves in the Wonder Cooker — it’s so easy, and the results are top notch.

einkorn rye sourdough on wonder cooker

I’m happy to announce that Copper Chef is graciously offering a free Wonder Cooker to one of my readers! I’ve enjoyed this versatile cookware not only for baking bread but also frying donuts; and I’m looking forward to testing out more of its 14 cooking functions in the very near future. Follow this link to enter the Wonder Cooker giveaway! Giveaway runs through September 18, 2018, and is open to residents of the lower 48 states.

Notes:

Einkorn Rye Sourdough

Makes one large loaf

Ingredients:

  • 150g AP flour (37.5%)
  • 130g bread flour (32.5%)
  • 80g whole einkorn flour (30%)
  • 40g whole rye flour (10%)
  • 70g 100% hydration ripe sourdough starter (17.5%)
  • 320g water, divided (80%)
  • 9g sea salt (2.25%)

Method:

  1. Mix together the flours and water (reserve 50g for mixing later) and autolyse (rest) for 2-4 hours, covered with a tea towel.
  2. Add the mature starter and about half the reserved water and mix until the starter is incorporated. Rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the salt and pinch in. If the dough feels like it can handle it, add in the remaining reserved water and mix to combine. If you did a long autolyse, the dough should be decently strong at this point and you shouldn’t need to mix too much (maybe 1-2 minutes). If it feels weak, do a couple minutes of stretch and fold or slap and fold so the dough is moderately developed. It will continue to strengthen through bulk so it doesn’t need to be smooth at this point. Transfer the dough to a clean and lightly oiled container and cover with a clean tea towel.
  4. Bulk ferment in a warm place, folding every half hour for the first 1-2 hours and hourly after that. Bulk fermentation is done when the dough has increased by 30-50%, you can see fermentation bubbles along the bottom and sides of the container, and the edges are domed where the dough meets the container. For me, with the dough kept around 74-76F, this took about 4.75 hours.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently preshape into a round. Let rest uncovered for 20-30 minutes.
    Prepare your basket (or other proofing vessel) by lining with a lint-free linen/cotton tea towel or lightly dusting with rice flour. Lightly flour your work surface and the rested round. Flip your preshaped round and shape as desired (boule or batard). Transfer to the prepared proofing container and cover with plastic. Proof at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 12-14 hours (or overnight).
  6. An hour before baking, preheat your oven to 500F (550 if it goes that high). You can bake this loaf in a Wonder Cooker (which you should preheat with the oven, covered with the shallow side down), or use your preferred method of steaming. While the oven is preheating, I also like to uncover my loaf (i.e. remove the plastic, but keep it refrigerated). This dries out the surface a little which I find makes scoring easier.
  7. When the oven is ready, invert your loaf onto a piece of parchment on a pizza peel. Score as desired, then transfer to the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 500F. If using a Wonder Cooker, carefully remove the preheated pan, remove the cover, and gently slide the scored loaf (still on the parchment) onto the shallow side of the pan. Place a few ice cubes around the edge of the pan (not touching the loaf — optional, but I think it provides an extra burst of steam) and immediately cover the loaf with the deep side of the pan and return to the oven.
  8. Bake with steam (or covered) at 500F for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 450F, remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes at 450F or until your desired doneness, rotating a couple times for even baking. When finished, the crust should be nicely browned and the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least an hour before cutting.

einkorn rye sourdough half crumb shot

Financiers

marcus eating financiers

I let out an audible “Oh, yay!” when I first received Mardi Michel’s delightful cookbook In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy. As I’ve mentioned a couple times on this blog, my older child is, as he reminds me often now, “Almost 3” and eager to help in the kitchen whenever possible. I’ve been looking for more recipes to try out with him, so this cookbook was truly a welcome delivery.

marcus reading in the french kitchen with kids

One of the things I appreciated most about In the French Kitchen with Kids is that it assumes kids are capable. There are recipes for quick croissants, creme caramel, eclairs, and steak frites — dishes one might not normally think of as “kid-friendly” but written up in a way that makes them very achievable for young people (with assistance). The book is thoughtfully well-written; the recipes are easy to follow and are peppered with historical tidbits and anecdotes to enhance the learning experience.

The first recipe we decided to make was financiers, or little almond cakes, because my son is currently very into muffin shapes and we had a few extra egg whites to use up. Buttery and nutty, financiers are the perfect little teatime treat and it’s all too easy to keep popping them into your mouth — they’re addictively delicious.

financiers

A couple of notes:

  • Michels’ recipe calls for melted butter, but I went the extra step to brown the butter. I love the extra nuttiness it lends and it’s worth the extra couple of minutes to me. Incorporate the browned butter while it’s still a little warm; this makes it easier to fold into the other ingredients.
  • I refrigerated the batter for a few hours after mixing because of time constraints (and I wanted to bake them off fresh for some guests). This isn’t necessary, but the batter does hold nicely in the fridge for a few days — it just might take a little longer to bake. My financiers took about 15 minutes to bake.
  • The recipe yield is 24 mini muffins, but naturally it depends on the size of your tin. I used this Wilton mini muffin pan and got 15 cakes, using OXO cookie scoop to portion the batter.

marcus mixing bowl
marcus pouring

Financiers

From Mardi Michels’ In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy. Reprinted by permission.
Makes 15-24 mini muffin financiers (see notes, above)

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) almond meal
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional; my addition)
  • Icing sugar, for sprinkling

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). If you are using a nonstick mini muffin pan you may not need to butter them, but otherwise generously butter the cups of the pan.
  2. Melt the butter either in a small pot on the stovetop over medium heat or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for about 1 minute. Set aside to cool. (Note: I browned the butter and let it cool until slightly warm.)
  3. Beat the egg whites until frothy with handheld electric beaters on high speed, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, almond meal, flour and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold them in gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  6. Add the cooled, melted butter to the batter and use a rubber spatula to gently mix until the butter is completely incorporated. (Note: at this point, I refrigerated the batter for a couple of hours.)
  7. Divide the batter between the cups of the muffin pan. You can do this with a 1 1/2-tablespoon cookie scoop or a small spoon. Fill each cup almost to the top.
  8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the center is slightly puffed and the edges are golden and slightly crispy and coming away from the pan. There may be cracks in the tops. That’s totally okay!
  9. Remove the financiers from the muffin pan immediately and allow to
    cool on wire racks.
  10. Once they have cooled completely, sprinkle them with icing sugar to serve. These are best eaten the day they are made, although they can keep for a couple of days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Option: Raspberry financiers

  • Just before you bake the financiers, cut 12 raspberries in half and place one half, cut side down, on top of each financier. Press down gently.

marcus reaching for financiers

Buckwheat Plum Berry Crumble

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.

I love a good rustic fruit dessert. Galettes, crisps, crumbles, pies — yes, please and thank you, to all of them. Homey and unfussy, they’re the kind of thing you want on a summer evening after a casual cookout with good people — a la mode, of course.

If you’ve been around these parts long, you probably know I like incorporating whole grains into baked goods when I can — not just for added health benefits but also for flavor! The nutty, toasty tones of whole grains pair especially well with fruit and give simple crumbles such as this one extra depth. In this plum berry crumble I’ve used buckwheat and oats; but you could easily substitute spelt, kamut, rye, or whole wheat if that’s what you have on hand. If whole grains aren’t your thing you can use all AP, but I encourage you to try some new flours if you have the opportunity! It really opens up a whole new world of flavors.

This crumble is very adaptable — substitute whatever fresh summer fruit you have on hand. You can also make the topping ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer — a great thing to have on hand for impromptu BBQs. And this is quite wonderful cold from the fridge with a bit of yogurt, should you want this to double as breakfast. (I always do.)

crumble a la mode

Buckwheat Plum Berry Crumble

Serves 9

Ingredients

For the buckwheat crumble:

  • 40g buckwheat flour
  • 80g AP flour
  • 30g rolled oats
  • 40g walnuts, chopped
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 25g turbinado sugar
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 100g cubed, unsalted butter, room temperature

For the plum berry filling:

  • 3 c plums, chopped
  • 3 c mixed berries, chopped if large
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2-3 Tbsp arrowroot starch (Use 3 if your fruit is particularly juicy or if you have a large proportion of strawberries)
  • 50g granulated sugar (or to taste)
  • A few turns of black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and lightly grease an 8×8 pan or 9-inch pie plate.
  2. First, make the crumble. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add the cubed butter and, using your fingers, rub it into the dry ingredients until crumbs form. The crumbs shouldn’t be uniform in size — a variety of large and small pieces are good to have. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling (topping can be refrigerated for several days, or frozen for longer storage).
  3. Combine the fruit in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir gently to combine. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, pour over the fruit, and stir gently to combine. Scrape filling into prepared pan.
  4. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit, squeezing some of it together to form larger pieces so you have a nice variety of crumb sizes.
  5. Bake until the filling is bubbling, 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.