Tag Archives: King Arthur Flour

Day 9 of Baker’s Dozen: Sticky Toffee Pudding

A couple months ago I had never heard of sticky toffee pudding. I first learned about this British treat when watching Unique Sweets. I think they called it sticky date pudding and I had trouble finding a decent recipe. Since the holidays kicked into full gear though, it is everywhere. Everywhere! It’s the new thing. And for good reason – it is a tasty and very unique treat. Not overly sweet, fruity, and a great change from all the typical holiday treats!

After searching recipes I finally decided on one from King Arthur since their recipe used figs. Its not terribly different and substituting dates to make it more traditional would be perfectly fine. But I love figs so this was the recipe for me.

You’ll notice that this doesn’t look like American pudding. It’s definitely a cake but called pudding across the pond. Pudding can also be savory, like Yorkshire pudding. Here pudding is more closely associated with pastry cream.

It’s pretty quick to make and easy too. The caramel sauce takes a while but is easy. I spiked both my cake and sauce, because, well, it’s the holidays, and why not? Figs go great with oranges so I added grand marnier to my cake and put a bit of dark rum in the caramel sauce. Have fun this holiday season!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Yield: 6 to 8 individual cakes

Difficulty: Easy

Cake

  • 1 cup chopped figs or chopped dried dates
  • 1/3  cup + 3 TB boiling water
  • 2 TB Grand Marnier or orange juice
  • ¼ cup soft butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 TB dark molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour or AP Flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Sauce

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt; omit if using salted butter
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp dark rum, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter six ¾-cup silicone baking cups or oven-safe custard cups. Combine the figs and boiling water, and liqueur if using, and set aside.

2. Beat the 1/4 cup butter, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the molasses and vanilla, then the flour.

3. Purée the figs and water in a food processor or blender. Add the baking soda, and stir into the batter.

4. Pour into the prepared baking cups. Place molds on a baking sheet.

5. Bake the cakes for 18 to 22 minutes, until a cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Remove from the oven, and cool in the molds or cups.

6. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Cook the sugar, butter, and salt over medium heat until the mixture is a deep amber color; watch closely to prevent burning. It should take about 10 minutes.

7. Carefully mix in the cream. Cook the mixture until it’s thick enough to coat a spoon. This will take another 5 to 10 minutes. Add the rum, if using.

8. Unmold the cakes and serve with the sauce.

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Day 8 of Bakers Dozen: Peppermint Patties

Peppermint patties. People either love them or are indifferent to them. I’m in the latter category but my dear hubby has always loved them. He said he used to get them in his stocking at Christmas time. Mint has never been my favorite treat. I’m not one of those girls who’s favorite ice cream is “Mint Chocolate Chip” (it’s coffee, in case you were wondering) and Thin Mints from Girl Scouts were by far my least favorite (I’ll take a box of Tagalongs, please).

All that changes when something is fresh and homemade. I loved these peppermint patties. My husband loved them. My mom devoured them. And, they were easier to make than I expected. I thought I’d be pulling my hair out, but they weren’t hard at all to make. Time consuming, but not hard. And so worth it. Hubby did most of the chocolate dipping. He did a great job, don’t you think? It’s good to have a partner in crime in the kitchen!

This is my second batch. The first batch tasted great, but turned out less than photogenic. The second time around I froze the patties for several hours. It is much easier to dip if they are ice cold. I also added cocoa butter to make the chocolate mixture thinner which made for easier dipping. If you don’t have cocoa butter, you can try a tiny bit of vegetable oil. Or just skip it, but it will be thick and harder to dip.

Right now King Arthur Flour has $3 ground shipping so it is a great time to buy those hard to find items like cocoa butter (which will last for years!), black cocoa, and fiori di Sicilia. And don’t forget the sourdough starter! Merry Christmas to you, right?

Peppermint Patties

adapted from What Megan’s Making

Yield: 3 to 4 dozen

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Prep time: About 1 hour, plus freezing time.

  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 TB light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 TB water, plus more for spritzing if needed
  • 1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1 TB shortening (preferably organic!)
  • confectioner’s sugar, for kneading and rolling – I used about 2 TB
  • 13 ounces 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 TB cocoa butter, plus more if needed

1. Mix together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, water, peppermint extract, and shortening in a mixer. It will take a while to come together and will still only be crumbly. If it is very dry where you are, spritz lightly with a little extra water. Once you start seeing large pieces come together, it is ready. You should be able to form a ball and hold its shape.

2. Move mixture to workspace and knead lightly until smooth. You may need to spritz lightly with water. The first time I made these it was more humid out and the dough was easier to work with. It is a little more challenging when it is dry outside. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 15 minutes.

3. Roll dough until 1/8″ (or larger if you like thick patties). Dust with confectioners sugar as needed but try not to go overboard. It will make your dough dry. Return to freezer if dough becomes difficult to work with.

4. Cut into circles. I used a 1 1/2″ cookie cutter. You can use whatever you have. Even a shot glass would work. Place patties on a sheet pan. Re-roll scraps and cut again. Freeze patties for several hours or overnight.

5. When ready for dipping, prepare a double boiler by placing a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering (not boiling!) water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water!

6. Melt 9 ounces, or about 3/4ths, of your chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat and add remaining chocolate. Stir until smooth. Return to heat and add your cocoa butter. Add more if chocolate is too thick. Turn heat off but keep chocolate over the water to keep warm.

7. Using a fork, dip the peppermint patty quickly into the chocolate, covering completely and then shaking excess off. Use a knife to scrape patty off of fork back onto the sheet pan. Repeat until all patties are complete.

8. Leave at room temperature uncovered until completely set. Once set, you can cover them, but they may get spots so you are best just leaving at room temperature, preferably in a candy bowl where everyone can enjoy!

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Day 6 of Baker’s Dozen: Candy Cane Bark.

Candy cane bark is everywhere these days, but, amazingly, I just had it for the first time last year. And of course, I love it. I love chocolate and I love candy canes. And this treat just screams “Happy Holidays!” don’t you think?

I know I’ve posted a lot of stuff that I’ve said is easy, and I promise all are, but this is one of the easier ones amongst the easy treats. You don’t even really need a recipe. Just melt some chocolate, add peppermint, add crushed candy canes and you are done! See, easy!

I accidentally made mine thinner than I had planned. Got a little carried away spreading out the chocolate. But, turns out, I like it better that way! It’s more delicate and more pleasant to eat than a thick chunk. I planned it that way…right…

This makes a pretty small amount, but is easy to double. Adjust the candy cane and peppermint extract to your liking.

 

Candy Cane Bark

Adapted loosely from King Arthur Flour

Yield: A couple of cups, depending on how thin your chocolate is

Difficulty: Easy!

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces chocolate, semi-sweet or dark (not chips)
  • 4 ounces white chocolate (not chips, preferably)
  • 2 to 3 candy canes, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1. Chop both chocolates separately. Bring a pan of water to a simmer. Set up a double boiler: set a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Line a half sheet pan with parchment or silpat and set aside.

2. Melt the semi-sweet or dark chocolate first. Spread onto sheet pan making chocolate as thin or thick as you desire. Set into refrigerator for about 5 minutes to help set. Don’t leave the chocolate in the refrigerator or it will make your chocolate spotty.

3. Meanwhile, melt your white chocolate. Add peppermint extract to white chocolate. Once chocolate is mostly set, spread white chocolate over the chocolate. If it isn’t set yet, you may have swirls, but it looks pretty, I think.

4. Spread candy cane over white chocolate before it sets and gently press candy into chocolate.

5. Let set at room temperature until firm. It was rainy when I made this, so it took awhile to set up. Don’t be surprised if it has to sit overnight. Once set, break into pieces and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Bread

Thanksgiving hasn’t even arrived yet and I’m already falling behind. Why is it that no matter how hard I try to slow down time, it speeds up during my favorite time of year?

We all love banana bread. It’s easy, makes a great breakfast, and is super tasty. But this time of year, it’s time for something else. And you know I am a lover of all things pumpkin (and I recently discovered a dear friend of mine is not a fan of pumpkin. How can that be? I suppose I could forgive her, but ouch, that hurts).  Thus, it is time for Pumpkin Bread.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never actually made pumpkin bread before. And now that I’ve made it, banana bread will never be the same. I really loved this recipe. I don’t even care if others liked it or not (they did, but besides the point) because I liked it so much. In fact, if others didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have to share. Selfish, but I’m ok with that.

It’s incredibly moist, just enough pumpkin flavor, and very easy to make. What more could you want in a quick bread? This is a great change from banana bread and just as easy. The spices can be changed to your liking and it makes two loaves. One to eat  now, and one to eat tomorrow. Or to freeze. Whatever works for you. It does freeze well, which is a bonus. I’m not sure how it would be if you froze it for an extended period of time, but a week worked great.

I searched many recipes and finally settled on this recipe from King Arthur Flour. Their recipes are consistently great and the reviews were fantastic as well. The edges start browning a little soon for the center to finish, so I recommend covering with foil for the last 15 minutes. It’s hard to wait, but let it cool, wrap, and eat the next day.

I did not add the nuts or chocolate. This may surprise you (it surprised me!) but I am not a fan of chocolate and pumpkin together. I love them separately, but for me, they just don’t work together. Feel free to think I’m strange.  I also modified the spices, and you should too depending on your preferences. Enjoy this bread with a nice hot cup of coffee, or use it in a trifle, which will be my next post, coming soon. Three pumpkin posts in a row? It’s November. That’s allowed.

Yield: 2 loaves

One year ago: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Difficulty: Easy!

Pumpkin Bread

Modified slightly from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups (or one 15-ounce can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional (toast first for extra flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional
  • coarse white sugar,  for sprinkling on top, optional (recommend!)

Note: I did not add nutmeg because….gasp…I was out! I couldn’t believe it either. I have quickly remedied that issue, but wish I had some for this bread. It would be quite tasty. Add about 1 tsp. Yum.

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans (if you’re making the plain version of the bread); two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans (if you’re adding chocolate chips and nuts); or one of each, if you’re making one plain loaf, and one loaf with chips and nuts.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and water.

3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a separate bowl. Add to the wet mixture and mix until just combined!

4. Mix in the chips and nuts, if you’re using them (you can coat with about 1 TB of flour if you don’t want them sinking, but be sure to subtract that from the flour above). To make one loaf with chips/nuts, one loaf without, divide the batter in half. Leave one half plain, and add 3/4 cup chips and 1/2 cup nuts to the other half.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired.

6.  Bake the bread for 60 to 80 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean; and that same tester inserted about 1/2″ into the top of the loaf doesn’t encounter any totally unbaked batter.

7. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. When it’s completely cool, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and store it overnight before serving.

 

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Sourdough Pretzels

I’m still on a football kick, and what is more football than a big pretzel and a beer? Pretzels are surprisingly easy to make. They can be done in couple of hours tops, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the festivities.

This recipe is from King Arthur Flour and requires a sourdough starter. However, since not everyone has sour dough starter, I’ll also include an alternate. It won’t taste like sourdough, but should still work. If you are buying from KAF sometime soon, throw the starter in your cart (along with some black cocoa). You’ll love it and it is easy to maintain. Very hard to kill. And believe me, I’ve tried numerous times. It makes great bread, which I’ll post on here eventually.

Sourdough Pretzels

adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 cup sourdough starter straight from the refrigerator (or 1 cup bread flour with 1/2 cup water, with a tiny pinch of yeast, mixed together. Let sit overnight).
  • 3/4 cup water (6 ounces)
  • 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) Bread Flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) Dry Milk (I used this from KAF)
  • 1 TB sugar or 2 TB non-diastatic malt powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (sea salt is best)
  • 1 TB butter or oil (I used light olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

First, you gather all your ingredients in one big bowl.

If you are using the mixer with a dough hook, mix until well combined on speed one, about five minutes. Using a spray bottle, spritz the dough periodically if it looks dry. You want the dough to be slightly sticky. I prefer to use a spray bottle to add water. It distributes evenly and keeps you from adding too much.

You can finish it in the mixer if you think your mixer can handle it. But I finished kneading it by hand, only took a minute or two. Knead until you have a smooth ball.

Let rest, covered, for about 45 minutes. It won’t rise much and will look like this:

At this point divide it into about 12 pieces. If you have a scale, shoot for 2 1/2 ounces each. If you don’t have a scale, just divide into 12 pieces.

Flatten slightly and roll into ropes that are about 18 inches long.

The easiest way to roll is to roll as far as you can easily the first time. Let the rope rest and move on to the next one.  By the time you finish the initial rolling, the gluten in the dough will have relaxed on the first one and you will easily be able to roll to 18 inches. Don’t fight the dough. Dough can be temperamental and slow. Just let it be.

After rolling, shape into a pretzel first like this. Bring the ends together and twist twice.

And then like this. Fold the twisted ends down to make a pretzel shape. Pinch down lightly.

Then prepare the baking soda soluntion. The KAF method doesn’t have you do this. I have done both with and without the boiling first and they turn out much better if you boil first. Bring about 3 quarts of water to boil and add about 2 tsp of baking soda (it doesn’t have to be exact).

Boil a couple at a time, don’t crowd them. Then place on sheet pan and sprinkle with coarse salt. The ones on the right have been boiled.

Then place into a preheated oven, 450F, for about 20 minutes, or until golden. If you want them really golden, brush egg wash on them. I did not do that. After they are done, brush on melted butter.

These are great dipped in honey mustard. I used this recipe from Alton Brown and added a couple tablespoons of mayo to thicken a bit. But they are also delicious without. You will be amazed at how easy it is to make your own pretzels.

Enjoy!

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Lavender Cookies, With or Without Chocolate

After last week’s pie adventure, I needed something quick and easy. What is easier than sugar cookies? Not much. The oven took longer to preheat than it did for me to make the dough.


These are special with lavender added for that summer touch. They are good with or without chocolate, however, I prefer with chocolate (besides the obvious must-eat-chocolate-every-day) because it balances out the strong lavender flavor. Quite amazing how strong a mere tablespoon of lavender can be.

I made these very tiny, using a teaspoon scoop, as recommended by the recipe. It means you can eat more, right? Right. These would be perfect for an afternoon with the girls. Lavender is very girly, after all. Especially when you add a little chocolate. (But your male counterparts will like them too, even if they say they are too macho to eat lavender.)


The recipe comes from The Baking Sheet by King Arthur Flour, their subscription magazine (newsletter?). It was a housewarming gift from my dear friend (thank you!).

I changed the baking technique slightly and added vanilla. Because vanilla and lavender sound good together, which also means they taste good together.

Enjoy!

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups AP Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TB dried lavender (if you use fresh, use more)
  • 1 1/3 cups dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350. Line two sheet pans with parchment or silpat.

In a stand mixer (hand held is fine too), beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until very fluffy, about 5 minutes (set a timer!). Add the egg, mix, scrape bowl, and mix again. Stir in the flour and salt, mix until almost combined, add lavender, and finish mixing.

Drop dough by teaspoonful, leaving about an inch between cookies. They won’t spread much at all. Bake until slightly golden on edges, about 11 minutes.

Cool completely on rack.

Once cool, melt your chocolate. I prefer a double boiler for this because it will also keep your chocolate soft while you are dipping. Plus, you are much less likely to burn as you would if you melted your chocolate in the microwave. Dip cookies in chocolate and set out on sheet pan to set. If you live in a hot and humid environment like me, it may never set. Chill briefly (very briefly) in the refrigerator to at least get them off the sheet pan.

Now grab a bowl of these dish with the girls.

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Homemade Oreos. Yep, just like the real thing. Only better.

My dear friend challenged us to make homemade oreos. I was worried it couldn’t be done. It couldn’t just taste like an oreo, it had to have the same texture as well. Crunchy cookie, sweet center.

So I set about searching that big internet for oreo recipes.  I found there are two that are most common. This one from Smitten Kitchen and one that is apparently from Thomas Keller. I knew the one from Smitten would be delish, her blog never fails me, but the cookie was chewy. That wasn’t what I was looking for. And the filling had shortening. I despise shortening! So, I went with the Thomas Keller recipe. I was a bit unsure of the filling, since it was basically a white chocolate ganache. That didn’t sound too oreo-y to me, but hey, it might be good, right?

It was good, but it was no oreo. This is the recipe that you will find all over right now claiming to be just like the real thing. It sort of is, but the filling is very obviously not an oreo.  If you don’t like white chocolate, you won’t like this.

The reject cookie. Notice the off-white center? But, we couldn’t let them go to waste and had to eat them.

The cookie part is dead on. If you have the secret ingredient that is: Black Cocoa. That wasn’t in the original recipe but I happened to have some since I like to try new ingredients from KAF.  If you are curious about the differences in all these cocoas, check out this link from David Lebovitz. If you can’t get KAF’s Black Cocoa, try Hershey’s Special Dark.

Back to the cookies. The cookie part is perfect. The filing was not. So I ventured back to Smitten’s filling, still cringing at the thought of using shortening, but at the same time realizing butter would leave me with melting cookies (insert very large sigh here). I headed to Earth Fare and saw they sold Organic Shortening, with just one ingredient, Palm Oil. Ok, still not the greatest ingredient, but in the name of Oreos, sacrifices must be made! And it worked. The filling tasted just like an Oreo.

The “sort of” healthier shortening. 

Now for the semi-bad news: the cookies aren’t exactly quick and easy to make. Ok, the dough is easy, but you will work up a bit of a sweat rolling these thin. But again, in the name of Oreos, sacrifices. Enjoy making this special treat, and don’t forget the milk.

Chocolate Wafer Cookie (Adapted from here)

  • 1 1/2 cups + 3 TB AP Flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar + 1 TB
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TB Black cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 TB unsalted butter, cubed, and chilled

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powders, baking soda, and salt in a mixer. On low, add the butter a few pieces at a time. Mix until dough comes together. This will take a long time, around 10 minutes. You will think you did something wrong, but just wait, it will happen!

Form dough into a ball and divide in half. Chill. Once chilled, take half out at a time and roll to 1/8″ if you can, I had trouble with that thin and did 1/4″. It made my life easier and the cookie still turned out great.

Using a cookie cutter that is under 2″ (or bigger, it’s up to you), cut out cookies and place on baking sheet. Bake until done, about 8 to 10 minutes depending on your oven and the size of your cookie.

Let cool completely before filling.

Filling from Smitten

  • 1/2 stick room temp butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Beat until light and fluffy, which will take some effort. It will be very dry and you will again think you’ve done something wrong. Fear not, it will happen and you will soon be eating cookies that taste like oreos, but are so much better.

Take the filling and put into a piping bag (or a plastic baggie) and pipe a small amount of filling onto half the cookies. The filling is stiff, so prepare to use those muscles again. The press another cookie on top and there you have it. Oreos.


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